The impact of corona on people and organizations is enormous. This also applies to many consultants and lawyers. Orders are delayed or postponed, so that otherwise always busy professionals suddenly 'sit on the couch'. As a result, they suddenly have time for marketing and business development. What can such consultants and lawyers do now to become stronger when the market recovers?
Of course, Corona is primarily about people's health and well-being. In addition, the crisis measures have an unprecedented impact on organizations. This also applies to many consultancies and law firms, with which I work a lot. It's great to see how the need to deliver services remotely wherever possible has sparked unprecedented innovation. Think of Skype sessions, online training, webinars, and so on. That's great, but that's not what this blog is about. The reality is also that many consultants and lawyers suddenly have time for things they normally don't get enough. Such as marketing and business development.
Here are 10 tips for what consultants and lawyers who have time left can now do marketing to become stronger:
1 Show commitment to your customers
This is not time for commerce but for attention. Sincere attention. Give that attention to your customers: call, show interest, think along and ask if you can help with anything. Not to win an assignment, but out of involvement with your customers. Obviously there are limits to what you can do 'free of charge', but your customer understands that as well. Furthermore, your customer will appreciate this attention, so that he or she will call you sooner if they need your expertise again at a later time, but that is not your goal now.
2 Sharpen your personal branding
If a potential client is reading or thinking about contacting you, chances are he or she will review your LinkedIn profile first. The same applies if you seek contact yourself. What does your LinkedIn profile look like? Does this provide a good and current picture of you and your value for customers? There is a good chance that maintenance may be overdue, perhaps due to a lack of time.
There are numerous blogs about what a good profile looks like. As far as I'm concerned, three things are most important: the headline / headline, the summary and your profile picture. In your headline, don't just say 'senior advisor' or 'partner', use the available number of characters to say something about what you're doing, for whom and what it yields. Also use keywords in your headline so that you can be found online, such as Netteke Koster (see image). Realize that many people don't click and therefore only see the first 2 lines of your summary; so start with the most important. Jesse Hartgring uses a distinctive headline that stands out and opens his summary with what he does and for whom. And use a professional and recent profile photo on which you appear accessible and 'as you are'.
3 Work on your attraction to talents
You could almost forget it because of corona, but consultancies and law firms have a hard time finding good people. This will be no different after this crisis. Many organizations spend an unnecessary amount of money on recruitment and search agencies because they neglect the trajectory before and after: they do not communicate sufficiently what they have to offer professionals (employer brand) and they pay too little attention to the status of the people who have been hired, resulting in a high turnover. Mopping with the tap open.
If you want to successfully attract and retain good people, marketing and communication, recruitment and HR must join forces. They know that, of course, but that is usually not the case. This time offers an opportunity to reach concrete, joint agreements in a small working group, by calling and skyping. Not from their own teams or functions, but from the perspective of the candidate. Such that marketing, employer branding and recruitment reinforce each other on the basis of a clear Employee Value Proposition that matches what employees really experience. You can read more about this in this article recruitment and the 'war for talent' by Diederik Gosewehr. Also join some Millennials important (article by Glenn Holster), as they already represent some 35% of the labor market.
4 Organize your relationships
It is not news that it takes a lot of time and money to get an assignment from people who do not know you yet. So warm relationships are worth gold. But consultants and lawyers keep things like 'who do I know where?', 'When did we have contact about what?' and "when should I follow up?" often very bad. No matter how beautiful your CRM system is, you cannot retrieve information that you do not put in. The result is that relationships are neglected, so you miss opportunities and it takes much more effort to get assignments.
Time constraints are often the main reason why the relationship file is not in order. This period is therefore very suitable for updating your relationship data and determining who you will approach when. The same applies here: if you are already approaching people, do this based on involvement and save commercial proposals for later. Read more about relationship management in these articles for management / board and marketing, respectively for consultants and lawyers.
5 Translate current solutions into a new service
I have seen many examples of organizations that, more or less forced by the corona measures, have found new ways to help their customers. For example, by using online collaboration tools, such as Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts, or webinars and online training.
Many lawyers and consultants still work on the basis of selling and supplying hours. With the known drawbacks such as: no scalability, great dependence on individual people and geographical location, and difficulty in moving from 'hourly invoice' to value-based pricing. As a result of corona, an unprecedented amount of innovation is now unleashed. Wouldn't it be great if, based on the experiences you are now gaining with remote working, you can develop a new service with which you can help customers in an innovative, future-proof manner even after the corona crisis?
Write some blogs or articles
As a result of digitization, people are less and less open to what organizations want to report (push) and they want to decide for themselves when they want to contact and with whom (pull). Hence the enormous rise of content marketing and inbound marketing. The 'rule of seventeaches us that on average 7 'positive interactions' are needed before a potential client is open to doing business.
Writing blogs or articles is an excellent way to create such positive interactions, provided they are valuable to your target audience. But this takes a lot of time. If you are calmer now, this offers an excellent opportunity to write a number of blogs that you publish later in time, so that you will remain visible in the market even when you are busy again. Do not start writing until you have a clear view on the match between your articles, looking at the match between your expertise and what is going on with your target group. Also take a look at previous successful publications by yourself or colleagues: updating and partly reusing takes less time and is a great way to keep your content current and relevant. Consider different ones options for repurposing.
Create a lead magnet
One of the best ways to build online relationships is when people sign up for your newsletter or emails. The chance that they will leave their email address is much greater if you can offer them something valuable in exchange for free, a 'lead magnet'. This can be anything, a white paper, a tool, a checklist, a video, as long as it is valuable and accessible to your target group and distinct from competitors. Make sure that you do not promise more than you can deliver, because you want to build a relationship of trust. You can find out more about lead magnets in this article from Ian Brodie. If you have more time now, this is a great time to devise and make a lead magnet together with a number of colleagues.
8 Check older articles on your website
If you and your colleagues have been writing regularly for a long time, you probably already have quite a few articles on the website. But is there anyone who regularly checks these articles? In the first place, this prevents customers and prospects from finding information on your website that is outdated or no longer relevant. For example, a message announcing a new law while it has been around for a long time, or the announcement of an event in 2019. This comes across as very unprofessional. Secondly, chances are you will come across articles that you can republish, with some updates and other changes, with a limited time investment. So divide all articles into 3 categories: keep, adjust or delete.
9 Determine opportunities to do more with data
Personalization based on data is perhaps the most important marketing development of our time. We all know the examples like Coolblue and Spotify. Business services still have a long way to go in this area. At the same time, the question is not 'if' but 'when' you no longer get away with generic marketing in this sector either. And we are now also seeing more and more examples of lawyers and consultancies gaining experience with personalization, fed by data from, for example, the website, the CRM system, email marketing and social media.
Data-driven marketing is not easy. It is often wise to first experiment on a small scale, in order to gain experience with what works. See if you can form a group with a few fee earners, someone from marketing and someone from IT. Map out what data about prospects and customers is available - or can be made - and how you can use it to personalize marketing campaigns.
10 Learn from others' marketing approach
Professionals are always busy with their customers and in addition there are usually all kinds of internal things that require attention. Now it is very good to think of things yourself, but why invent the wheel when the inspiration is a few clicks away? Take the time to look at the marketing approaches of other organizations and professionals. Not to copy this literally but as a source of inspiration. Most consultancies and law firms do much the same thing. Look at organizations and professionals who do innovative things, such as the podcast series Light up Legal by Van Benthem & Cologne. And you get the greatest innovation potential from examples from other sectors, so it's good to look out-of-the-box!
These were my 10 tips for professionals who now have time and want to be stronger commercially. Of course you don't have to work with all 10; see which ones make the most sense for you and your organization. Are some tips useful but more applicable for a colleague? Then forward this blog.
If you have any questions or need help, don't hesitate Contact with me. Good luck and good health!