Blog/Podcast: How Data Is Giving Law Firms More Business Development Opportunities Than Ever

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The digital world is constantly changing and presenting new opportunities for law firms and legal marketers. Is your firm taking advantage of all the tools available?

Adrian Lürssen, Co-Founder and VP of Strategic Development for JD Supra, has a wealth of digital media and technology knowledge, having been in the industry since the early days of Yahoo!. He’s seen all the good and bad of the internet, and he joined the Law Firm Marketing Catalyst podcast to talk about how the digital world has evolved to create more opportunities for lawyers and law firms.

The digital landscape has made lawyers’ voices more needed than ever

We live in a landscape where it’s never been easier to say something online to a constituent audience. There are fewer barriers than ever to getting on the microphone to speak, whether literally at an event or podcast, or figuratively on a blog or social media profile. Although this proliferation of information has exposed people to ideas they never had access to before, it also means that everybody’s talking, but very few people have something to say that’s educational or beneficial.

Lawyers are one of the few types of content creators who actually do have something of value to offer. They’ve worked hard to put themselves in a position of credibility, and the things they say are well-informed and well-conceived—and not only that, but the people listening really need to hear them. Legal content isn’t like the majority of the online landscape, which is often focused on entertainment and hastily formed opinions. The insight lawyers have to share is truly useful for their audience.

Reader data makes it possible to give clients what they want

The digital landscape has allowed for the rise of client-led growth, a new way of looking at marketing and business development. At its core, client-led growth is the formalization of something savvy marketers have always known: that marketing isn’t just a matter of telling people what you want them to know, but is also finding out what the people you want to connect with care about and delivering that to them.

The difference now is that data allows us to see exactly what people care about, based on what they’re searching for and browsing online. Having this insight allows firms to make better-informed decisions about how and where to spend their marketing dollars. Instead of making assumptions about the kind of content and services that potential clients are interested in, this data shows marketers exactly what their audience wants—which makes it possible to create almost foolproof marketing plans.

Data takes thought leadership to the next level

There is an almost unfathomable amount of information online, which gives consumers the upper hand when choosing where to purchase legal services. Most lawyers have responded to this by becoming thought leaders, recognizing that the only way to cut through the clutter is by being an authority on their subject. Thought leadership is an important branding and credentialing activity, but today, it isn’t enough for visibility to be the end goal. Visibility gets eyes on your work, but data allows you to see exactly who’s looking and act on it.

Tracking reader data leads to a wealth of opportunities, whether you discover a single person or company who’s interested in your work, or a larger trend that you can take advantage of. Data gives some of the power back to lawyers and makes thought leadership even more valuable.

Digital insights help firms break down silos

The larger the firm, the more likely that content is under the realm of the public relations and communications staff. Their goal is to get as many targeted people as possible to see the firm’s content, and that’s the benchmark they use to measure ROI. That’s all well and good, but if business development or sales staff saw the same numbers, they would use that data in a very different way. This is why it’s important that data doesn’t just stay in the hands of one person or group.

There is tremendous value in sharing data between departments; having a system for tracking and sharing this information can be a great starting point to break down silos between them. Many firms that have mastered this have found it beneficial to have a once-a-month meeting, where they bring together people from different departments and roles to look at the metrics together. Then, they can decide together what it means for the firm and base initiatives on what they conclude.

Data supports savvy marketing choices

Once the data has shown you what content your clients are reading, the last step is to actually do something with that information. This can also be the point where lawyers and business development staff start to feel hesitant because they think they’re supposed to sell aggressively. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. Instead of calling a client and saying, “I see you’re reading all our cybersecurity content. What would you like to do about that?” you can take a more subtle approach by saying, “You’re a valued client and I want you to know we do webinars about cybersecurity. Since you have a legal team spread across multiple offices, we’re going to put on a cybersecurity webinar just for you. Are you interested?”

Not only does this approach remove any “creepiness” factor, but it also shows that your firm is anticipating the client’s needs. You’re offering a solution to a problem, perhaps even before the client has recognized they have a problem in the first place. Using data to take smart action like this removes any reason to be aggressive or overly salesy. You already have evidence showing that the client is interested; you just need to close the deal.

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