The marketing and sales funnel is a key part of any business today. The concept of leading a prospect on a journey to becoming a client is commonplace in most sales organisations, and has helped to shape the way many organisations communicate.
Splitting the bucket of clients up by their stage along the funnel, or client journey, helps to more carefully engage with each individual based on their needs.
This applies not only to those members of the organisation who speak to the prospects or clients - whether that’s face-to-face at a conference, over the phone, or via email as part of direct outreach methods. This also applies to the inbound methodology too - creating content that is relevant to each stage of the client journey.
For law firms, the client journey extends beyond simply signing a contract. Far from being a one-off purchase, clients seek to develop long-term relationships with their legal service providers, often engaging a panel of firms specialising in different practice areas.
The legal client journey begins at the point where they’re seeking legal help in a specific field. A potential client might be searching online for a law firm with the expertise that suits their needs. Once they engage with a firm they expect to gain knowledge and value from their relationship with the firm. And there is even an opportunity for the firm to sell additional services to this client later down the line.
Different types of content help with each stage of this journey, and enables firms to nurture their clients into becoming loyal and repeat customers. In this post, I’ll look at the three key types of content - public, high value, and premium - and show you why they help at each stage of the client journey.
What is public content?
This is content that you publish freely and openly on your website. It can be blog posts, videos, webinars, social media posts - anything that is free to access online. This content should form part of your content marketing efforts, aimed at attracting new prospects as well as brand-building.
It’s useful for existing clients who gain value from high quality public thought leadership content and can freely engage with the firm online. This kind of content should be accessible from mobile devices and content must be mobile optimised as more people now access the internet from their smartphone than from their desktop.
Why does public content help at this stage of the client journey?
Building up your online profile using public content is the first step towards gaining new clients. It is where a new client will first get to know your firm and your lawyers.
Think of it as your shop front. If you have nothing in the windows, how will anybody know what’s inside? If you have interesting displays with hints of things that people might like to buy, you’re much more likely to get people coming in the door.
Public content is your magnet that draws in leads. It allows your firm to be visible online, as you’ll appear in searches and on social media. If it’s good, people will share your content and spread your name by word of mouth.
Without public content, it’s hard for potential clients to get an idea of your firm’s or your lawyers' level of expertise. Public content is the perfect way to showcase lawyers as thought leaders.
High value content
What is high value content?
High value content is one of the benefits that clients gain from becoming a client. It can be knowledge portals, reports and alerts that offer deep expertise exclusively available to clients. It available online as part of the usual client fee but requires an account and a login to access.
Many firms provide this kind of content to clients already as a standard part of their service offering. There are various ways of delivering this kind of content, from sending simple email newsletters to creating rich multimedia client extranets and portals.
The content type can be just as varied as public content, with videos, articles, reports, visuals and alerts that offer expertise to your clients above and beyond what can be made public.
Why does high value content help at this stage of the client journey?
High value content can be used as part of your pitch to win new clients as an added service to their legal needs. This kind of value-add helps premium firms to differentiate themselves from other firms not offering this type of high value content.
It also helps clients to self-serve. If a client has a question about their case or about an area of the law, they may be able to find the answer with the help of your high value content. Clients' expectations of law firms have risen dramatically in recent years, and they have come to expect far more than billable hours.
For firms that aren’t prepared to offer services to meet today's client’s needs, they will quickly fall behind and lose their competitive advantage.
What is premium content?
The final stage in the content funnel is premium subscription content. This refers to digital online products and services that law firms can choose to charge clients to access.
These types of digital services are bespoke content products created for the needs of the client. These could include services like comparison toolkits and research reports - resources with a value on par with legal advice.
Premium content also encompasses personalised content, whereby firms package up content that is specifically curated or created for the client and presented to them in their personal resources centre.
Why does premium content help at this stage of the client journey?
This kind of content allows firms to upsell clients, by offering add-on services charged at extra cost. This is effectively pushing your clients beyond the funnel, benefitting them by offering services specific to them.
Providing them with these kinds of digital services can extend the length of time a client stays with a firm and can solidify their status as a client.
For instance a client who goes to a firm with one matter to resolve may leave at the end of the work, but if the client has bought into a digital service they will continue paying for this service and will be more likely to return to the firm at a later date if another matter arises.
Why do you need all three types of content?
These three types of content work in tandem to nurture your prospects into clients and then into repeat customers. Firms can use content to attract prospects, win clients by offering value-add, and keep them with premium services.
Tackling each of these three content elements will help your firm to stand out in an ever-crowded legal marketplace and provide a better client service overall.