Creating content to market your firm should be easy. You pick a relevant topic and write away, right? Actually, there’s a lot more science behind content marketing and what it should contain in order to attract a potential client, and then help them decide that you’re the best firm for them.
This process is called the sales funnel and it’s based on your buyer’s journey. First, let me put the content marketing jargon into words that make more sense for your firm. When a potential client has a legal or financial issue, they may not realise initially that they need your services or even that it’s a legal or financial issue. So in order to find out how to resolve their issue many start researching and educating themselves, with 93% of people doing at least part of this research online. For example, they may have had an encounter with someone at work that made them feel uncomfortable, but they unsure if they’re reaction is “normal”. This is called the “awareness” stage.
Once they’ve done some research and have identified what they believe is the issue they then start looking into solutions. At this stage, they’re doing a lot of heavy research to work out what their options are to resolve this issue. Perhaps they’re looking into how to deal with discrimination in the workplace, or even speaking to HR. This is called the “evaluation” stage.
After they’ve evaluated their options and perhaps even tried to resolve the issue without success, they may realise they need to speak to a lawyer or accountant. At this stage they start to research who they should speak to, asking friends and family or even Googling “accounting services” to identify someone who can help them. At this stage, they’re ready to engage someone’s services but need to find the right person, so they might contact a few firms before settling on the one that’s the best fit for them. This is called the “purchase” stage.
In marketing speak, this process is called the “sales funnel.” It’s the different stages that your potential client goes through when trying to work out how to resolve their problem, and it’s core to online marketing for lawyers. At each stage of the funnel, they are seeking out different types of information. That’s where the content on your firm’s website comes in.
While many firms tend to feature a lot of information about themselves and how they can help a client on their website, most potential clients aren’t interested in this type of information until they get to the purchase stage. If this is the only information that you have on your site, then it’s unlikely that a potential client will come across it until right at the end of their “buying journey.” After all, they won’t be typing “X & Partners” into Google. They’ll be searching for things like “tax advice” or “how to complete my BAS.”
That’s why it’s important to put a range of information on your website so that potential clients come across your content much earlier in the process. While they’re unlikely to contact you at this earlier stage, they will have contact with your brand and start building trust in it, which means they’re more likely to contact you when they are ready.
Essentially the purpose of creating a sales funnel on your website, through different types of content, is to encourage people to share their contact information with you when they’re ready.
At each stage, it’s important to ensure that your content marketing uses the kind of language and information that your potential client is using at that point in their journey. Here’s some examples of the kind of content you could include on your website to help people at each stage.
At this stage, your client is just trying to understand their problem, they may not have identified that it’s a real problem that needs solving yet. So things like blog posts or eBooks that explain what the issue is can be helpful here. This should be informative but doesn’t have to be too technical. Perhaps you could include some FAQs like “When you need to lodge a BAS?” or include some simple case studies that your reader may identify with.
This is the stage where a potential client is getting into the detail and is weighing up their options. They know they have a problem, and they’re trying to work out what to do about it. There’s a lot of different type of content you can use at this stage including webinars, podcasts, case studies and detailed legislative or case summaries. How technical you make this type of content really depends on who your target audience is. If you’re targeting CFOs who may have some experience in taxation law then you can assume some knowledge, but an individual who runs their own business may need you to educate them on the entire process.
For most firms, this stage is less about actually purchasing, and more about deciding that your firm is the best one to advise them. Here they’re weighing you up against other firms.
Information that lets a potential client get a feel for what it’s like to work with you is helpful here. Case studies of real client situations or even short videos or testimonials from clients describing their experience with you can help alleviate any hesitations.
While many firms have call-to-actions on every page of their website (like contact forms or phone numbers), it’s essential that it’s on content at this stage. This is when people are really getting ready to choose a firm, so you want to make the process as easy as possible for them and make sure that you have a process in place to respond to inquiries promptly.
For those more visually inclined, here’s a summary of the type of content to use at each stage of your funnel.
When creating content for your firm’s website it’s a good idea to plan it out, to ensure that you’re addressing each of these stages in the process.
If you’re not sure whether you have set up the sales funnel on your website in a way that helps potential clients find you, I’d be happy to take a look and let you know.
Rakhee graduated from the University of Melbourne with Honours and began her career practising taxation law. While working for blue chip companies like ANZ, Foster’s and General Motors she developed a flair for writing. She’s been featured in The Australian, Forbes and BBC publications, and enjoys creating content that leverages her knowledge of the law and business. Her expertise includes taxation, migration, financial services, corporate and employment law.
Rakhee is based in Melbourne. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on +61 409 418 297.