How well do you know your clients? Do you understand their needs, or simply know what forms to fill out for them? In an age of digital services and social media, you can’t afford not to know your clients. Unless you get personal, you could see them, and your business walk out the virtual door.
This week’s blog continues a review of the book, Reinventing Professional Services; Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, by Ari Kaplan. In Chapter 5, Kaplan explains how important it is to know your clients, and their needs, to get ahead in the digital world. He says:
“Today a legal issue can be put into a search field and a computer does all the work; despite an increased reliance on technology to execute the work, one must know his customer to get the work in the first place.”
Knowing Your Customer Can Focus Your Blog
Since the purpose of most professional blogs is to generate new customers, knowing your target audience is key. Understanding who you represent and what they need will help you come up with blog topics, and write articles they can and will want to read.
Remember that your target audience doesn’t have to represent your current book of clients. If you are attempting to shift your business to a new model or attract a new clientele, blogging with that new target in mind can help you create authority and expertise. By showing your new ideal clients that you understand their situations and can help with their needs, you will attract customers who want more than just completed paperwork.
Getting Personal on Social Media
In a social media market, attracting readers isn’t enough to get clients in the door. There is a lot of reading material out there on your industry. You need to be ready and willing to engage with them in the comments and on social media.
But doesn’t answering personal questions create an attorney-client relationship?
Attorneys need to avoid giving legal advice to digital visitors, that is true. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be responsive to honest requests for help just because they come to you through Facebook or LinkedIn. This is where your blog can come in handy.
If you are a real estate attorney, you will be well-served by creating an arsenal of blog posts on frequently asked questions. Then, when someone tweets at you “How do I know what repairs I have to pay for?” you have an article ready at hand. You aren’t providing legal advice because the article isn’t tailored to their particular circumstance. But it gives them insight and information. If the article doesn’t answer their question, your responsiveness and personal attention will build trust you need to become their go-to real estate attorney.
Answer the Question the Client Should Have Asked
In an era where LegalZoom and other legal document services are taking an increasing share of the market, you need to distinguish yourself as an attorney clients can trust. Kaplan says:
“The increased competition and wider selection has increased the reliance on trust in the decision-making process. In the same way that social media and technology have created more noise in the communication environment, competition and lower-cost solutions have created confusion among prospective client. That has increased the level of influence over the selection process.”
In other words, if a potential client asks you which divorce packet they need, having that person’s trust will be the difference between a cold lead and a paying client. By demonstrating that you know their needs better than an online competitor, you can show value that can lead to an ongoing legal relationship.
To keep up in a digital world, lawyers need to get personal with their clients and potential customers. Careful use of well-written blog articles can help you walk the line between impersonal and unethical, and help you grow your business in a digital and social media age.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If you need help generating regular, reliable blogs for your business, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.