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PERSPECTIVE
Lead Generation Success in Law Firms

How buyers go through the journey of making a purchase and how marketers go about targeting them, keeping in mind the buying lifecycle, is one of the key element for lead generation success in law firms.

State of Demand Generation in Law Firms

While business development through relationship marketing will continue to be very important in driving new business, digital marketing can play a key role in the sales process to acquire new customers. According to Incisive Media Corporate research on Law Firms, marketing/business development professionals at larger firms are more likely to use web to support cross selling and repeat business

Another interesting survey proves that marketing professionals are more likely to report using e-newsletters/alerts to drive traffic, followed by email campaigns, search engine optimization and social media to target new clients.

But it isn’t working! Quality lead gen is a big challenge for law firms

The concern for “Quality Lead Gen” remains as the biggest challenge for law firms. This essentially means the entire demand generation process is not synchronized to convert leads to sales. And this issue is not only limited to the legal industry but spread across B2B marketing.

According to e-marketer, 39% of marketers are not happy with the conversion rates. While spend is $23 billion, conversion is as low as 3%. According to Omniture, the cost to traffic and conversion ratio is 92:1. So, the focus needs to be on conversion, not traffic.

Challenges Faced by Law Firms

Websites are not driving conversion like they should – Most of the legal websites are static information repositories. It’s very hard to find relevant information in the pool of content. The website tends to provide everything for everyone instead of personalized engagement. Moreover there is very little use of intelligence in understanding what a prospect really wants.

Channels don’t work together to engage prospects – The communication that is sent through emails, newsletters/alerts are not aligned with what is provided on the website. Hence, it results in inconsistent messaging across the channels and further confuses the prospect.

Quality of lead is poor – Converting lead to customer is becoming increasingly difficult as there is no process involved in qualifying the leads before they are shared with the sales team.  Lack of lead scoring and nurturing model in law firms result in friction between marketing and sales.

Marketing and business development gap – Marketing and business development are not playing the same game, which results in a strong negative impact to lead generation. In a survey conducted by Bloom group, 57% of law firms reported in the survey were not working off the same timeline of demand creation activities for most or all of the time. Moreover there is a notion in many law firms that marketers don’t really contribute to revenue.

Strategic Roadmap for Successful Demand Generation

In order to address the above mentioned issues and challenges, you essentially need a strategic roadmap which would pave the path for successful demand generation. To be able to drive quality and quantity of leads and laying the foundation for this strategic roadmap, you need to:

Understand how clients buy and organize – First and foremost, you need to understand how buyers buy. By looking at the buying lifecycle and coming up with a strategy that wraps around it, will fundamentally change how you market your capabilities.

Be multi-channel – The messaging should be consistent across all the channels and aligned with what you say on your website.

Get your strategies right –You need to get all your strategies — content, website, demand generation, SEM/SEO and social — flowing and working cohesively.

Get the insight – This would allow you to optimize and understand the experience your buyers are looking for and it would further enable your partners and attorneys to be able to close the business effectively.

Test and optimize – Continuous testing and optimization is most important to improve lead acquisition and ensure effective utilization of several marketing capabilities.

Join the dots with technology – Ultimately it’s the technology that has to make everything happen. Several platforms engage to drive conversion, thus successful integration and automated workflows ensure the desired outcome.

The Buying Lifecycle to Improve Acquisition

This concept of buying lifecycle is of utmost importance in the present scenario, as the clients are more informed and driving the buying process. Publishing and social media has fostered an ongoing dialogue among peers, and Web 2.0 tools have enabled B2B buyers to be well-versed on service offerings even before they have their first conversation with the firm. Thus the firms must direct and guide prospects through the buying phases of their decisions (as shown in the image below).

According to DGR Report, almost 95% of the recent b2b buyers said that the provider they chose “helped them navigate through each stage of the buying process with ample content.” Consistent with other industry research, case studies, best practices data, white papers, ROI tools and vendor comparison analysis, were cited as the most helpful content sources.

Thus, capturing the prospect’s online footprint becomes important as it allows the sales team to understand where in the buying cycle prospect lies, and plan interactions accordingly. Similarly leads deemed not to be “sales worthy” should be passed back to marketing. These are usually qualified prospects who simply aren’t ready to purchase yet and requires proper nurturing.

Digital marketing can have a strong influence on the buying lifecycle, so marketing and business development must align and wrap their processes and tactics around it.

  • Understand your buying cycle – Understand your customer’s mindset through the buying cycle journey
  • Segment your audience – Determine the target groups within your audience
  • Map the messages – Understand and align your messages with the segment and their objectives
  • Implement the platforms – Deliver consistent messaging across various platforms

The buying lifecycle eventually provides direction to your digital marketing initiatives.

Content Strategy to Target the Buying Lifecycle

The number one challenge is producing truly engaging and compelling content that grabs your audiences’ attention and makes them want to reach out to you. Your content strategy should focus on the needs of the buyer/client, while ensuring your other set of audience, such as talent, gets the information they need. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Focus on Buyers’ need
  • Consider mapping the buying lifecycle
  • Keep minimal copy
  • Focus on thought leadership content
  • Ensure your content is searchable
  • Leverage interactive content like videos
  • Structure and implement content relationships effectively

Engaging Website – A Key Asset of your Digital Strategy

The next generation websites should:

  • provide experience which is engaging
  • be multi-device
  • be multi-lingual
  • provide intelligent content that targets the buying lifecycle phase
  • provide personalized and relevant content
  • make the content and information searchable
  • be SEO friendly

Law firms have rich content and complex taxonomy which makes search essential:

  • Type-ahead – Enable people to find content while entering keywords
  • Guided Navigation – Suggest recommendations by integrating personalization capabilities with the user’s search history
  • Faceted Search – Help quickly filter search results with common parameters

Attorney Bios are among the most visited section of websites, they should be:

  • Easy to find through faceted search (by name, practice area, location)
  • Linked to thought leadership material — blogs, webinars, whitepapers — created by the attorney
  • Personalized
  • Easy to navigate

Call to action is the key to driving conversion. It’s important for you to:

  • Merchandise — make whitepaper seem like a significant item
  • Make the content simple and persuasive
  • Use simple forms
  • Give engaging and obvious call to action

Email Marketing – Nurturing Strategy that Drives Prospect Engagement

The days of batch email marketing campaigns with low response rates are over. It’s time to execute mail dialogue campaigns:

  • Deepen prospect relationship with multi-step email campaigns based on thought leadership marketing
  • Engage in 1:1 dialogue and deliver personalized content
  • Track who opens and click on emails or who visits a specific webpage
  • Focus on continuous testing and optimization coupled with targeted email marketing
  • Employ lead scoring to score opportunities and identify leads that are sales ready

Lead Nurturing Model to Drive Conversion

Approach to successful engagement through lead scoring:

  • Use a scoring system to identify your segments
  • Build a nurturing model
  • Develop a content map
  • Use interactive channels
  • Measure and refine

SEO to Drive Traffic and Demand

Law firm can grow traffic exponentially by SEO strategy. You can generate link-back traffic and long-tail searches through internal and external article distribution, public relations, social media and blogs.

It is very important to regularly publish new content containing “long tail” key words (e.g. “Clean Energy Litigation Law”).

Social Media for Demand Generation

Social media requires strong strategy and planning. The key recommendations are:

  • Target social media across the buying lifecycle
  • Build your attorney’s linkedin profiles
  • Manage your Twitter account
  • Make your website social by linking it to Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook
  • Create a Facebook page for recruiting purposes
  • Prepare a content distribution/publishing plan
  • Create a governance strategy

Data Analysis, Technology Integration and Optimization

  • Single view of the client and closed loop marketing
  • Cross channel analytics across web, mobile and email
  • Integration with CRM
  • Insight and behavior for decision making

CMS, analytics, onsite search and email marketing are critical for law firms to enable the conversion process.

In a recent Webinar we have discussed this subject. Click here to watch the on-demand webinar now.

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