Posted by Chris Davidson, a director at Legal Futures Associate Moore Legal Technology
Written in honour of Malcolm Young, recently deceased founding member of AC/DC, there are nine references to AC/DC songs throughout this article. We will send a £20 iTunes voucher to the first person who gets in touch to tell us what they are.
The forces that are driving change in the legal profession are wide and varied. The ability of law firms and individual solicitors to respond positively and innovatively to these challenges will determine who survives and prospers. Competition for new business is fierce, a dog eat dog world, one might say.
Which brings us to AC/CD. Not my favourite rock band, but an acronym for Attract, Convert, Close and Delight – the four pillars of inbound marketing.
What is inbound marketing?
Does your law firm still focus on and invest in traditional (outbound) marketing activities that require you having to go out and compete for the attention of prospective clients (buying advertising, email lists, cold calling etc)?
Is having to attend networking events every other night proving to be a touch too much? If so, maybe it’s time to stand up and suggest injecting some high voltage into your marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing refers to activities that deliver interested parties to you (such as creating and distributing targeted content that answers your prospective clients’ questions and needs). In a nutshell, inbound marketing will earn you the attention of your prospective clients and help you generate more new business enquiries.
Inbound marketing for your law firm
New business finding you as opposed to you having to go out and hunt it down. Sounds good, doesn’t it? As it becomes ever harder to juggle fee-earning targets with business development activities, keeping your sales pipeline plump with qualified prospects is a sure-fire way to reduce the pressure on and maximise the fee-earning potential of your staff.
How can you take advantage of the principles of inbound marketing to help your law firm generate new business? Let’s look at each of the four actions mentioned in the opening paragraph.
Attract traffic to your law firm’s website
The best way to do this is to ensure that your website is full of robust, authoritative, unique content that is relevant to your areas of practice and location(s). Google does not like websites whose content is ‘thin’.
Once you have this content, it is essential that is presented effectively to Search from a technical SEO perspective and aligned with current Search best practice. If you do not take proper care of on-page optimisation elements – such as heading tags, meta-data, URLs, alt-text, etc – this will prejudice the performance of your site.
Convert your traffic into enquiries
You have brought the visitor to your site. Now what? Now you need to convince them that you are absolutely without a doubt the firm or individual solicitor that they need to speak to and make it easy for them to do so.
How do you do this?
Not only will robust quantities of in-depth, relevant, unique content help you rank well, it will also turn your site into an easily accessible portal of thought leadership and opinion. This content will help build trust with the visitor and help convince them that they need search no further.
All too often we see law firm websites that do not accurately convey the firm’s brand online. Just like you wouldn’t leave five-year-old magazines and dead flowers in your reception area, your online presence should be viewed as a work in progress that requires ongoing care and attention.
Even if a potential instructing agent has been referred to your firm, the chances are that the person will still check you out online. First impressions count. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward online.
Ensure that your website contains prominent calls to action. Ensure that the visitor knows what you want them to do – phone, fill out a form, download a whitepaper, sign up to an event etc, and make it easy for them to do so.
This is probably a topic that requires a whole blog post on its own. I’m sure you are very good at closing once you get the lead on the phone or into your office. But if enquiries aren’t converting for you, what is the reason?
It could be that the content on your site isn’t focused enough and is bringing in the wrong type of traffic. It could be that you just aren’t a live wire when it comes to sales. If the reason that your fee-earners aren’t closing is because sales just isn’t part of their make-up (it should be), then we can help you with that.
If the prospect simply isn’t ready to buy, then it’s vital to keep track of their details so you can easily get in touch with them at the right time. You should have software in place to help facilitate this process.
Now that you’ve got them on board as a new client, make sure you keep them. Turn them into bona fide evangelists for your firm by engaging with them and creating a positive, lasting client experience.
Give yourself every opportunity to upsell to your existing client base by delivering what is expected of you and much more besides.
Your brand may be well known, professional and trustworthy, but a client is much more likely to be loyal to a person than to a brand. Putting in that extra effort and giving a personal touch to your services is key to creating delight – every client should feel cared for and important.
Achieve this and you’ve got the basis for strong, long-lasting client relationships.