Living in our current COVID-19 pandemic environment law firms must create valuable content for each stage of their sales funnel.
With limited or no access at all to pre-COVID opportunities like in-person client consultations, legal conventions, live networking events, and live guest appearances, what is one of the best methods for your firm to generate new cases?
Answer: Create content that answers potential client questions, showcases firm results, educates people about practice areas, and proves expertise.
Creating great content will help to generate new leads and cases if your firm produces the right content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Law Firms Must Create Valuable Content
Understanding your buyer persona, aka the profile and characteristics of the optimal client for your law firm, is the first step in landing new cases.
The second most important step is the fact that law firms must create valuable content for each stage of the sales funnel.
3 Stages of the Sales Funnel and Why Law Firms Must Create Valuable Content for Each
Top of the Funnel: Awareness
The first step in the buyer’s journey is potential clients discovering your law firm exists – brand awareness. In the awareness stage, potential clients are in search of answers to their legal problem(s), education about the law, customer testimonials or opinions, or insights from firm partners. If your firm can produce resources that help people answer their most worrisome questions about the law, you will land on the radar of potential clients. This is another reason why law firms must create valuable content.
Types of Content for the Awareness Stage
The Awareness stage is the top of the funnel (TOFU). This is the stage where impressions are made about your firm that help potential clients move to the next stage in their quest for help.
The following are content ideas to help your brand:
Consumers prefer watching video over reading information. Explainer videos are one of the most popular forms of content a firm can produce.
- According to Cisco, 82% of all internet traffic will come from online videos by 2020
- Explainer videos provide an introduction to your firm’s practice areas and focus, how you work with clients, and what a client can expect when hiring your firm
- Example: A firm’s managing partner can create a Q & A interview style video that explains who they represent, how effective the firm is in their work, and how each step of the legal process works
A firm’s ongoing publishing platform, blog articles are the life blood of brand awareness.
- Blogging provides a voice for the firm that allows a potential client the opportunity to understand the tone and type of representation a firm can provide
- Blog articles that solve problems are assets that live on your firm’s website. They are crawled and eventually indexed in Google search. This provides a potential search engine optimization (SEO) asset for your website
- Example: An article describing types of personal injury cases people bring to court could help a reader decide to seek an opinion on whether they have a case or if the statute of limitations has run out
Social Media Updates
According to Statista: “In 2020, an estimated 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide. . .”
- Social media posting provides limitless reach to audiences on a global, national, state, and local level
- Posting on your firm’s social media profiles drives brand awareness as well as traffic back to your website and other online properties
- Example: Twitter “tweets” with appropriate hashtags can help a firm announce firm news, notify people of breaking news, or offer a downloadable resource for potential clients
Checklists and Outlines
Awareness begins with solving problems. One of the easiest to consume formats, beside video, are checklists and outlines.
- Ease of use, step by step instruction
- Less time to consume the information
- Infographics are ideal for this format providing images and text that guide the reader
- Example: A list of medicines, doctors, procedures, and treatments can be helpful to a person who needs representation with a medical issue
Webinars designed to inform and educate can act as a launching pad to the next stage in your sales funnel.
- Provides more time for more in-depth explanations and information
- Prospective clients willing to make the time commitment to watch a webinar could be provided that last piece of information about a firm or partner that helps move them into the next stage in the sales funnel
- Example: A webinar can be created that outlines the requirements to file a wrongful death suit, statute of limitations on such actions, past examples of wrongful death lawsuits, and an outline of how a firm prepares for a court proceeding on your behalf
Middle of the Funnel: Consideration
This is the stage of the buyer’s journey where they begin to act more invested in researching and vetting your law firm. The level of evaluation is more intense which requires content that will provide answers to your prospect’s questions.
Types of Content for the Consideration Stage
People look for “social proof” when they begin to review a lawyer or firm. One of the most effective methods of gaining a prospective client’s trust and interest are client testimonials. According to Wordstream “85% of the US Internet audience watches videos online.”
- Psychology Today study reports that the brain processes video 60,000 times faster than it does text
- Video testimonials make an emotional impact and connection
- Video testimonials communicate with gestures and tone in a way text can not fulfill
- Example: A personal injury plaintiff can recount their accident story, the anxiety and worry about family, health, and finances during their ordeal, and how your firm brought answers, relief, and a solution to their pain and suffering
- Testimonial videos may be the most important reason why law firms must create valuable content.
Online review sites like Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, NOLO, AVVO, Lawyers.com, Yelp, and Google Lawyer reviews are all extremely important during the consideration stage of the sales funnel.
One of the first places consumers begin the research process is a Google search of sites that review lawyers and law firm performance. Take the following steps to optimize your review site presence.
- Optimize firm profiles, on review sites by adding contact information, photos of partners, bios, and firm history. On Yelp, every one–star rating increase leads to an average of 5-9% revenue increase
- Add description of services and your practice areas
- Answer questions, write articles, provide opinions when the opportunity exists
- Thank people who leave positive reviews and address any negative review you may receive by opening a line of communication with an offer to speak directly with the person(s)
- If your firm is comfortable, provide rates
- If your firm is a contingency fee compensated firm be sure to emphasize the advantages of this arrangement for potential plaintiffs
- On some review sites, if you are a subscriber, you can choose your two best reviews to be placed at the top of your profile
- Example: Firms can participate in Q&A activities answering questions on a review site, advertise services on the site, and become a contributing writer in order to showcase their expertise
Awards, Certifications, Industry Associations, Media Coverage Proof of Expertise
Proof of expertise goes hand in hand with reviews to showcase your ability to help potential clients. Awards, certifications, media interviews and coverage, and written contributions to newspapers/magazines are assets your firm should make available.
- Strive to acquire and showcase legitimate and respected awards such as placement on a Super Lawyer’s list, National Law Journal’s Lawyers of the Year, California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY)
- Place badges, certificates, or icons representative of an award or recognition on your firm’s website
- Share your firm news related to awards and recognition on your social media profiles
- Certification in a specialty field of law has become an important way for attorneys to gain recognition for their specialized practice and to help consumers during the review process
- Legal industry organization memberships like your local bar association, officer appointments, special interest group leadership
- Local and national news media coverage, interviews, opinion pieces, contributions to industry magazines like Plaintiff and Advocate, and Law.com
- Example: Law firms that are recognized for a Super Lawyers List can place the badge on their website, publish a blog article announcing the award, share the announcement on their social media profiles and craft a press release for distribution to local and national media organizations
Bottom of the Funnel: Decision
Types of Content for the Decision Stage
Offer of Consultation
Before COVID-19 you could host a potential client in your offices, provide them a comfortable setting that could give them a feel for you and your firm. Today, those in person consultations are being replaced by Zoom consultations.
Family or group consultations are very good because they help educate the attendees on how a firm works to represent their case and support their needs during the legal process.
- Personal touch has been lost due to social distancing, but a Zoom meeting gives potential clients the chance to see your face, hear your voice, and connect on a level above a phone call or email
- Example – An estate attorney can offer a meeting to multiple family members about new developments in family law, estate law, and how they can proceed in making the right choices
One of the most effective bottom of the funnel (BOFU) content ideas is a detailed Case History page on your firm website. Identities of your past plaintiffs are not revealed but many facts about the outcome can be outlined.
- Case history pages listing verdict amounts and settlement amounts (when allowable)
- Deep description of the legal case as allowable
- Timeline and dissection of a case to show the stages of the proceedings
- Create a firm branded YouTube channel placing videos showcasing your firm’s results and biggest wins for clients
- Example: Create a Case History page that utilizes profiles of each case, with results, and intersperses video interviews with firm principals and attorneys providing vignettes of each case scenario
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs are one of the most visited pages on a law firm website for good reason – they provide answers. Here are some ideas on what to do to make your FAQs page appealing to potential clients:
- Organize FAQs by practice area
- Place the top 3 FAQs at the beginning of the page
- Provide detailed answers for each question
- Place links to your other relevant website pages that will help answer questions
- Place a call-to-action at the beginning of the page and the end of the page
- Provide contact information including phone, email, and any other forms of communication you wish to offer potential clients
Top of the Funnel and Middle of the Funnel Video Assets Can Also Fit the Decision Stage
In many instances, people will circle back to the piece(s) of content that connected with them regardless of the stage in the sales process. Content such as explainer and testimonial videos can strengthen the reasons a prospect will hire you in the decision stage.
if your firm has gone through significant changes, grown, added new practice areas, customer policies, principals, or attorneys you may need to update or recreate your video(s).
How can you update your explainer video?
- Add new contact information or office locations if your firm has grown
- Add new important partners or principals in the video
- Add or change client policies that positively affect a new client
How can you update your testimonial video?
- Add testimonials for your work in a new practice area of law the firm now supports
- Create a family testimonial with immediate family explaining the positive impact your firm had on their lives
- When applicable, shoot video in language(s) other than English to showcase your firm’s ability to work with multi-cultural clients
Do You Understand Now Why Law Firms Must Create Valuable Content? Here’s How to Get Started
Remember before you can begin creating content for each stage of the sales funnel, you need to understand your audience and buyer persona. Who is your perfect client? Answer that question and you can move into the next phase.
Once you have that buyer persona identified then you need to understand the buyer’s journey. According to Conductor, the “buyer’s journey is a framework that acknowledges a buyer’s progression through a research and decision process ultimately culminating in a purchase.”
After you have a good idea of your buyer’s persona and their buying journey, you can begin to develop your law firm’s funnel around your industry and the buyer’s intent. What is the intent of your prospects, what do they need that your firm can provide?
From here you can create your content strategy that outlines custom content aimed at each phase of your best prospect’s journey through the sales funnel.
Remember these steps in setting up your content strategy for your sales funnel:
- Identify your audience and best prospects aka buyer’s persona
- Understand your prospective buyer’s journey
- Build your funnel and content for each stage by your buyer’s intent and your industry
Set up this process effectively and you will have the opportunity to initiate a relationship with your prospects culminating in a higher conversion rate and new revenues for your firm.