It's no secret that content is one of the most effective forms of marketing. The fact of the matter is that consumers are doing a TON of research on their own before reaching out to companies for more information. In fact, 57% of the sales process is actually complete before a prospect ever reaches out to a salesperson! This is because we, as consumers, have access to so much information that we feel there's a lot we can do on our own prior to contacting a company. Although it might be concerning, this is no different for businesses in the legal space. When a person is faced with a legal issues, oftentimes the first place they'll go to learn more information is Google. Not only do you, as a law firm, want to make sure that person finds your firm to work with, you also want to make sure that they're getting the best information available so they don't end up ultimately hurting their case. Content marketing is a great way to do both of those things! While blogs, social media, website design, and email marketing can be very valuable tools for legal marketing, one of our favorite content tactics for lawyers specifically are high value content offers. Let's take a look at why and how it can help your firm.
What is a high value content offer?
The way we define a high value content offer here at HIVE is as any item that a prospective client would find valuable enough to give up some of their personal information in order to download. This can be in the form of a whitepaper, ebook, checklist, infographic, case study or a number of other types of content but it needs to be something that prospecitive client will want enough to provide a company with some information. These types of content usually dig pretty deeply into an issue or provide something that will help the prospective customer to do something. When developing a high value content offer, you need to think about how much information the end user will be looking to get in order to download the item. The last thing you want to do is make someone give you their contact info to download a piece of content that they don't think is valuable! So make sure you're giving them enough information to make the download worthwhile to them.
How does someone access a high value content offer?
Another term that you might have heard for high value content offers is a gated content offer. This is because the content (ebook, whitepaper, etc.) lives behind a "gate" that the visitor must get open in order to download the content. This isn't content that they can access merely by visiting your website like they would a blog or video you've posted, this is content that requires a little more work from them. Here is the process someone would go through in order to access this content:
Step One: Click on a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Calls-to-action should be sprinkled throughout your wesbite (check out some of the other pages of our site for inspiration!) and each should promote a high value content offer that a visitor can download.
Step Two: Fill Out a Form on a Landing Page
Once your visitor has clicked on the CTA, they should be sent to a landing page with a form on it. The visitor will have to fill out the form and give you some of their personal information in order to download the content. The length of your form and the types of information you are asking for should directly relate to the value of the content offer. No one wants to provide a whole bunch of contact information for a content offer that they don't think is that important. I'd recommend veering on the side of asking for less information rather than more.
Step Three: Thank You Page and Content Download
Once your visitor has filled out and submitted the form, they should be sent to a thank you page where they can download the content offer.
That's how easy it is! And, just think, once they've done those three steps they have a valuable piece of content that will help them deal with their legal issue and you have contact information that you can use to further nurture them as a lead.
Why should law firms be using them?
I've touched slightly on some of the values of high value content offers to a law firm but let's break them down one-by-one:
1. Legal Education
It's no secret that the legal field is incredibly complicated and that most clients and prospective clients don't educate themselves on any legal issues until they're actually dealing with one. And once they're ready to educate themselves on their particular legal issue, don't you want to be the resource they turn to? Content is the most effective way to provide prospective clients with information that they will need during their legal issue. If you consider that the majority of people are doing significant amounts of research prior to reaching out to a company (remember that 57% of the sales process is complete before a customer ever reaches out to a salesperson), it's pretty obvious that you need to provide information and education about your practice area so that you get in front of prospective clients during that research phase. While blogging and social media are great for content that doesn't require a lot of explanation, high value content offers are perfect for the more dense and complicated material for which prospects might be looking.
2. Thought Leadership NOT Advertising
Depending on what part of the country your law firm is located in, you might be subject to strict regulations on the types of advertising you can do. Legal advertising regulations are typically based on the American Bar Association's Model Code of Professional Responsibility and regulated by your state court or bar association. These regulations can make it difficult to advertise your services using traditional forms of marketing. The good news about content offers is that they are more about thought leadership than advertising. The most successful content offers do not advertise your firm's services or promote your capabilities, rather, they tackle a topic that a person who might be interested in your law firm would find valuable. For example, let's say you work at a family law firm that regularly deals with divorce and child custody matters. You might develop an ebook about how to talk to your children about a pending divorce. While this isn't something that outright advertises your services as divorce lawyers, you are providing prospective clients with information that will be valuable throughout their divorce process and, therefore, identifying your firm as a thought leader who will be able to provide them with all the information they will need throughout their divorce process.
3. Highlight Your Firm's Strengths
As I mentioned in point 1, most people don't educate themselves on legal issues until they're dealing directly with one. Likewise, people generally aren't very educated about the law firms in their area and the practice areas of each law firm. As someone who Googled a lot of law firms in Colorado in the process of researching this blog post, I noticed that law firm websites aren't always entirely transparent about the types of issues that they deal with. Sure, maybe your website says that you're a personal injury law firm but does that mean that I can go to you about the car accident I was just in? What about if I want to file a medical malpractice suit against that dentist who botched my wisdom tooth extraction? One of the great things about content marketing is that content can help you connect the dots between what your website says your practice areas are and what you actually do. So, for example, if you're a personal injury lawyer who regularly deals with medical malpractice suits, you could develop a checklist that outlines all the documents a client should bring for their first meeting with their personal injury attorney. This will not only help the client understand how to prepare for a meeeting about their case but will also showcase that your firm understands medical malpractice and knows what needs to be done in these cases.
4. Add leads to your pipeline
This point differs from the points above in that while the points above can really apply to many different types of content rather than just high value content offers, this point is specific to high value content offers. As I mentioned above, high value content offers are items that a prospective client will find valuable enough to give up some information in order to download. That's what makes then "high value" to the client. But these are also high value to you, the firm, because you are recieving information from the prospect in return for the content offer. This person then becomes a lead that you can nurture into a customer using other tactics including email marketing and SMART calls-to-action.
EXPERT TIP: Lead nurturing is especially beneficial for lengthy legal issues that require a lot of education in order to make a decision. For example, a person might start researching the legalities of divorce proceedings before making the final decision to divorce their spouse. Staying in front of this person between when they start researching and when they finally make their decision will help them remember you when they make the final decision to proceed with the divorce.