One of the Most Important Things Your Law Firm Can Do in 2018
The far majority of well-established firms when thinking client acquisition, always look outside their walls. It can be not only an expensive but fatal mistake, particularly given the shift within the industry of numerous startups with fairly compelling value propositions.
Pick any industry and you’ll find that the latent complacency of the market leader or leaders was severely disrupted by an incumbent or a series of them.
Case in point that is playing out at the moment, is the Insurance company Youi, who 8 years ago launched into the then lethargic insurance market in Australia dominated by the slow-to-move heavyweights, like Aon, Suncorp, IAG etc, culminating over time, in exponential growth.
Youi launched with its “we get you” advertising campaign with their young, guy next door, claiming that the industry was antiquated and not consumer-focused (not far from the truth). Thus, it was a fairly good value-proposition to the marketplace of pricing premiums based on individual customer profiles, as opposed to circumstance. Accordingly, growth was rapid — in the six months to December 2013 net earned premiums lifted 69 percent to $145 million.
However, as paradox would have it, this quarter, Youi has been relegated to the back of the field, being barely positive in the first half of 2017, as the old stalwarts cultivate their existing client database and shift their approach towards customer or client centricity.
In the context of the legal industry, it’s a well-based premise that one of the most strategic responses to thwart off competitors is to keep your past and existing clients close.
Practically speaking, as soon as possible you need to wrangle with your legal practice management software to segment your client and referral lists. The more granular the better. Segmenting by practice area is a good start and for referral sources, by industry.
If the wrangle with your legal practice management software beats you, we won’t be surprised. If you’re stuck, drop us a line at [email protected]
Once you’ve got that sorted, start publishing content. Yes, I know your lawyers have better things to do and you’d much prefer them billing, but to stay engaged with your clients and referral sources, publishing blogs, podcasts, videos, webinars is imperative. If you seriously haven’t the time to do this, we have lawyers on our team who write content and we do video, podcasting and webinars etc as well.
Next, send out an email campaign to your database regularly. The bare minimum really is a relevant campaign to each segmented list monthly. Why not just a general campaign to everyone? Because you don’t really want to be sending a campaign to your family law clients that have content relating to how to get a divorce. Alternatively, content relating to estate planning post separation may be more appropriate.
The platforms of which you can design and execute such a monthly campaign are plentiful. Our preference and we send hundreds of these for firms each year, are Vision 6 or Mailchimp. However, there is another layer to this which may necessitate your firm considering an alternate platform.
Let’s say for example you’re sending a campaign to your family law list. The campaign has 3 articles.
1. The dire consequences of not updating your estate plan post-separation;
2. When is it time to update your parenting plan arrangements;
3. Sweeping changes to Superannuation Laws
Now, rather than just sending out your campaign and neglecting the results, you’re able to set up a variety of automations based on the interactions with the campaign content itself.
In the event that John Smith, a previous family law client clicks on article 3, it may signal his interest in this particular topic. We can now automate a follow-up email, perhaps the following day, with one article and a call to action (CTA).
This article may be titled, The New Superannuation Laws Demystified and the CTA may be an invite to a webinar facilitated by one of your lawyers or maybe a downloadable guide.
This methodology is often referred to as a funnel sequence, because essentially what we’re doing is deepening the engagement with this prospect.
Now, obviously, there can be a variety of further automations following this interaction, including remarketing a further relevant CTA to John Smith via Google or Facebook etc and based upon that interaction, you can deepen the sequence with further automations. Building a perfect sequence isn’t rocket science, but it takes time and the starting point is to get your lawyers from the relevant practice area to map the journey through the funnel, then test, and test again.
So, in contrast, you can see the difference in simply just sending out an email campaign and hoping for the best, or doing a deep dive and devising a funnel sequence.
But, quite apart from just letting these automations do all the heavy work for you, we’ve seen success in which past clients regularly interacts with specific content and subject matters, prompting a call from the lawyer who has the client relationship, simply asking them how they are. Never, ever disregard the personal touch in any marketing sequence!
There is, of course, a plethora of other ways to design a lead nurture funnel sequence, but this is s good start.
Keeping your firms’ clients engaged and enhancing client experience through an array of content mediums consistently proves to us that not only is email a stable effective source of engagement, but diversifying how you produce that content through podcasts, videos or webinars etc is also a strong signal to the market of your firm’s innovative and dynamic nature. These are of course, characteristics that startups invariably hang their value proposition on and garner traction.