Every wardrobe needs at least one black outfit, and every professional services business needs an inbound marketing strategy. In a world where people are increasingly disaffected by outbound advertising, it’s quickly becoming an essential.
Inbound marketing lets your clients find you. It’s less intrusive than mainstream advertising, which people hate so much they’d rather run ad-blocking software than experience adverts. It’s also cheaper. Direct mail campaigns run at around $10,000, newspapers and magazine adverts will take you well into the six-digit range and television spots can edge you into seven figures. Their impact is, of necessity, temporary, meaning that in a month or so you’ll have to reach into your wallet again. Pay-per-click advertising on popular websites, while it has a lower entry point, still works out at 62% more per lead than inbound marketing. Over and above all of this, there is a cultural suspicion of law firms who are seen to market aggressively. Inbound marketing is much more subtle, which fits perfectly with a professional services brand.
Inbound marketing has four stages.
You do this by creating excellent, informative content that’s laser-targeted right at your market base. The reality is that people use the internet to search for information all the time, so if you’re offering something that’s helpful to them, they’ll find you.
Knowing what those people are interested in is a large part of the work done, so compile what you know about your existing customers and brainstorm some ideas. Also consider which online sites those customers are visiting. Your content can have maximum impact as a guest post on a widely read website. The ones you choose will depend on your audience.
High quality content is recommended for anyone wanting to increase their visitors, of course. But it’s especially critical for law firms, accountants and anyone else selling professional services. That’s because in these industries, reputation is everything. People know that they want expert advice, and also that it’s likely to be costly. As a result, they’re going to spend a long time evaluating the services on offer and deciding if they’ll fit the bill.
Convert to leads
Visitors are nice, but what you want are leads. That means collecting the information of your potential customers so you can make contact later. Most people won’t be keen on sharing their phone number and email address with you for no reason, but if you have something they want, the exchange is more likely. A free ebook on your rights at court, for example, especially if you specialise in criminal law. A summary of the latest legislation affecting corporate clients, if that’s your niche.
One word on contacting potential leads: don’t. At least, not out of the blue. Someone researching solar panels might be receptive to a call from a solar provider, but nobody is likely to appreciate a lawyer calling them up out of the blue. “So, I gather you’re going through a divorce…?”
Instead, consider more roundabout ways of putting yourself in contact with those leads without driving them away. You could host a free information session on a topic of interest and use the information you collected to invite the right people. A newsletter, sent out to targeted leads, is another way to persuade them a little further down the path to hiring you.
This is the stage that turns a lead into a paying customer. If you’ve carefully nurtured your leads in the stages above, this stage should follow naturally. Your potential lead started off by googling their rights at work, was further supported by your newsletter showcasing a win in this area, took advantage of a free information session or ticket to a public event. Now they’re coming to you as a paying client to open their own file.
Closing the lead isn’t the end of the journey. Your satisfied customers are part of your inbound marketing strategy, so make sure you delight them. Personal referrals are very powerful pieces of advertising. Especially in law, where trust is an intrinsic part of your relationship with the client, a personal connection is compelling. Treat your existing customers with kid gloves and turn them into ambassadors for your firm’s future!