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Do your added value extras actually add value? – part 2

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Last time we looked at how to work out what the clients of each of your practice areas consider to be of real value so that you can insulate your client development plans with added value extras that actually add value.

Now we’re going to look at the execution; now you know what you need to deliver, how and when are you going to deliver it? The following outline some of the most successful initiatives we’ve been involved in:

Legal updates

Obviously these are a mainstay of legal service provision whether you are involved in marketing a commercial or private client practice or both. However attendance at traditional seminars is dropping across the board so here are a few alternatives you could look at:

Electronic delivery

One of the reasons less people go to seminars is that they generally have less time. When that happens, it’s the non-essential items that are first to go (with the irony being the updates you are providing are absolutely essential). If you film them – even using off the shelf slide & talk options like GoToWebinar - you will build up a library of shorts you can house in your media library or send out as mail pieces and people can watch them when it’s convenient for them.

Smaller, more focused 'round tables'

Rather than running a chalk and talk style seminar, invite a smaller handpicked audience and discuss the topics of the day. This allows you to be more relevant and gives people a more comfortable environment in which to ask about and debate what really affects them so they draw more value from the event. It also gives them an opportunity to grow their network properly rather than speed-date which is valuable in itself.

Listicles

Just as your fee earners don’t really have time to write 2000 word missives (and you don’t have time to chase them to do so), your clients don’t have time to read them. Listicle is an appalling word; the output is a very effective marketing tool. By using a 'to the point bullet point’ structure you can write and release '10 things you must remember when -' or '5 things you tend to forget when -' list-style articles quickly and easily. As they’re brief people are more likely to read them and save them for future reference. As they’re direct and straight to a specific point, they allow you to be more relevant, which means more people read them. Better still, as they start with a number and will be packed with key words, the search engines love them.

More practical ‘in your shoes’ advice

Relaunch your e-newsletter

The days of introspective newsletters promoting a new partner or a new office are over. People want to know what to do in certain situations so make full use of listicles and case studies so they are getting that from your newsletter not your competitors’. If you are producing longer content, give them paragraph one and a link back to your site and the full article rather than producing text heavy pages. The best advice however is to use all of the functionality in your CRM system to split down your content and your lists so that people only receive what’s relevant to them. This will immediately mark you out as a source or reference rather than annoyance.

Take something out of the news

The world is saturated by rolling news and popular culture. To bring your point to life relate it to one of these sources – pick a heavily reported item and adapt it to make a point for the practice area you’re promoting. One of my favourite examples is a Leeds employment team who welcomed their client list/target database on the Monday morning after Suarez bit Ivanovic with the headline: "What will you do if you walk in today to face a case of oral assault?"

Use social media properly (and regularly)

Too many firms are still using LinkedIn and Twitter as a notice board; there are nods towards upcoming seminars or the re-run of a press release from last month’s Insider, but there is very little of real practical value coming out. Again the watchwords are brevity, relevance and practicality and if you persuade your fee earners to publish these as posts (thereby alerting all of their contacts to their new contact immediately) then share, tweet and retweet the results – your social media feeds will immediately gain more gravitas (and by extension more followers and more reach thanks to increased shares and forwards).

Openly promote "5 minutes"

I have no doubt at all that your fee earners are more than happy to give their clients and contacts 5 minutes on the phone to answer a quick question. The only thing is do they know that facility is available? How well do you promote it? To you it’s obvious, but make sure it’s obvious to your clients... then remind them... then remind them again. The more frequently you can engage your fee earners and clients in conversation, the stronger your client relationships will be. And the more tangible benefit is once they’ve got that first free bit of guidance, the chance of the instruction not coming to your solicitors is less than anorexic.

Because I’m restricted by space this is only a small sub-set of the topics you may come across once you’ve opened up a conversation about true value with your clients. Drop me a line at douglas@tenandahalf.co.uk if there are any you’d like a quick steer on … after all, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t offer you 5 minutes would it?!

This is the final bog in this two-part series, view part one

Tags: InterAction

About the Author:


With more than 20 years of professional sales and marketing experience, Douglas McPherson is now one half of Size 10 1/2 Boots, a specialist business development agency that works solely with the professional services and with law firms in particular. Their aim is to pass on the proven and practical tips they learnt from their senior commercial roles in-house and in industry to lawyers and accountants who want to win more new clients and more work from the clients they already have. Doug is also a regular columnist for Solicitors Journal, Private Client Adviser, The Lawyer and is the author of The Visible Lawyer.

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