As a lawyer or legal marketer, how do you get the right content to the right people at the right time?
Our very own Guy Alvarez, founder of Good2bSocial, joins us on the Legal Marketing 2.0 podcast to discuss the buyer’s journey in the search for legal services and how marketing automation helps to pinpoint where your buyer or target audience is in that journey so you can serve up the most useful content to them exactly when they need it.
Some law firms create blog posts or videos or attorney bios, but this isn’t necessarily what you want to create for an automated nurture or drip campaign. The buyer’s journey consists of the awareness, evaluation, and purchasing stages with loyalty following close behind.
The same analysis can be used in legal services even though it’s slightly different. Instead of purchasing a product, the client decides to choose your firm’s services. But how can you produce the right content that reaches the right people along the right stage of the buyer’s journey? Often law firms create a lot of content around the purchase stage, but forget about the awareness and evaluation stages.
What does each stage of the buyer’s journey mean?
Awareness is the initial research stage when someone is not ready to choose which product or service to buy, and they just want to be educated as much as possible. Then, once they decide on a budget they begin to evaluate their options. They might also reach out to friends and family for recommendations or more information. Finally, they are ready to purchase.
Firms that focus on consumers have a shorter buyer’s journey to work with than B2B law firms whose buyers are typically much more complex with more decisions to make. Whether purchasing a product or service, consumers will go through the buyer’s journey.
What do you need to begin this process?
You must create buyer personas to figure out who your clients are and they types of people who actually buy from you. You must define these personas and consider their challenges and questions to develop content that they will be interested in. Based on your buyer persona research you can identify topics and then understand what types of content to create for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Awareness stage content is top of funnel, more general information. Then, evaluation (or interest) stage content is more in depth and for the middle of the funnel. Finally, the bottom of the funnel is where the purchasing (action) stage is found and is when you present prospects and clients with an offer. Your ultimate goal is to direct people toward the bottom of the funnel.
After you have a content strategy and a defined target audience, you need a platform to implement an automated marketing process. Marketing automation tools let you know what stage of the funnel or the journey a person is. Without this level of individual tracking technology, you will just be guessing and cannot effectively produce the right content for the right people at the right time.
What kind of content should a law firm produce in the awareness stage?
Blogs are really good for the awareness level because they can effectively explain topics to your audience. They’re high level, educational, and easy to create.
Checklists are also great because they’re easy for the consumers to read. Another medium to convey awareness level content is explainer videos that discuss topics and trends in your practice areas which are helpful to educate clients and prospects.
What kind of content should a law firm create for the evaluation stage?
The middle of the funnel is where you need to start demonstrating your expertise in a practice area or subject matter. At this point, prospective clients are already aware of their problem and are evaluating possible solutions. It’s not enough to just state credentials in your attorney bio. People are evaluating you for experience, skills, and knowledge.
One of the best types of content for this stage is a case study. You can create general case studies if you don’t want to name clients, but still demonstrate your level of experience. Webinars, white papers, and e-books are other opportunities to establish yourself as an expert in a way that’s more in-depth than blog posts or checklists. There’s a lot you can do with this type of content afterwards as well.
What kind of content should a law firm create for the purchasing stage?
This can be the more difficult part of the stage for legal services. However, you can provide foot in the door services that can give prospects a small trial of what you offer. For example, audit tools or free consultations allow prospects to try out your services risk free while helping your law firm build trust.
How does marketing automation implement this strategy?
With marketing automation tools you can create workflows. When you’re ready to launch a campaign, you can create a drip campaign that begins with awareness type content, move to evaluation stage drips that include webinars or case studies, and finally gives your audience an offer.
Marketing automation allows you to create drip campaigns efficiently. You don’t have to worry about manually sending these drips or categorizing contacts by buyer journey stage. Automation platforms do this all for you and allows you to monitor, analyze, and edit these campaigns after they start.
Law firms can begin implementing a buyer journey driven content marketing strategy by creating just one campaign and seeing how that goes. It can make a big impact to actually see the results of marketing automation when you utilize it to its full potential.