Content kings by Doug Hargrove, Advanced Legal

This blog post was also featured as a column in the April 2016 issue of Legal Practice Management magazine. To read the issue in full, download LPM magazine.

In last month’s LPM we explored how 'the modern lawyer' plays a pivotal role in delivering a quality service to the client. For this, our last in this series, I wanted to look at how marketing is fundamentally changing the legal services market, and how your solicitors can significantly contribute to the marketing process.

In reality, it is not marketing that is changing the market but the audience that is forcing the change. Prospects and clients are no longer one dimensional in how they receive marketing messages – gone are the days where the Yellow Pages is the only place to promote your firm. There are now many channels through which to share your message, not just social media and the web.

Yet it’s simply not good enough to pepper the market in every way possible in the hope to land a lead. Every other law firm is fighting for the same customers and that approach will simply waste what limited marketing budget you have. Instead, before spending your valuable marketing funds, you should first understand how (and why) your clients buy, and more importantly who they are. Through doing this you can become far more effective in your marketing activities.

Understanding the customer’s personality, their drivers and the trigger points they have that will get them to buy (the ‘customer journey’, if you will) can help you paint a picture of the customer’s interaction with you and allow you to start influencing their decision making process.

It is important that you affect these influences in the right way and at the right time to maximise the chances of them choosing your service or product. This is where fee earners can add significant value in the marketing process – their knowledge is pivotal in creating a profile of the client and identifying the right ways to engage with them.

Beyond customer profiling, there is one other area of marketing that fee earners can play a key role – and that is in the creation of content, specifically advice and guidance. A law firm that offers tips, how-to guides and practical guidance to customers and prospects will quickly establish a position as being helpful, insightful and customer-orientated. Content has to be unique to differentiate you from your competitors and the knowledge held within the modern lawyer is the key to that.

Business development manager, marketing guru, service expert – even project manager. I’m sure you will agree that the modern lawyer or fee earner adopts elements of all of these roles in their daily activities. Yet, despite that, I want to return to a comment I made in the first part of this series: that despite the need for the modern lawyer to become multi-skilled, their legal knowledge and experience is what the client is investing in and that, above all else, needs to remain their focus. 

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