Marketing automation is arguably the biggest shift we will see for law firm websites in 2017 and the coming years.
Marketing automation is “software designed to execute and automate marketing efforts in a highly segmented, efficient, and results-oriented way,” according to Right Source, partner of big-name marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Marketo and Salesforce Pardot. In other words, marketing automation helps marketers generate, segment, nurture and qualify leads.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of moderating an LMA webinar, “From Art to Science: The Coming Paradigm Shift for Law Firm Websites,” where Robert Algeri, Partner and Co-Founder of Great Jakes, talked about transforming a website into a proactive business development tool, an idea that was reintroduced by Michael Teitelbaum of Right Source at the November LMA Baltimore City Group/ILTA joint program, “Adding Value for Our Internal and External Law Firm Clients.”
Here is what I learned:
Marketing automation is nothing new.
It uses technology to enhance the tools already in our boxes in a better, more efficient and measurable way.
Users willingly engage.
Users willingly provide their personal information, typically through a web form, in order to obtain access to something they desire, such as a whitepaper, webinar recording, or to register for an event. Then, marketing automation software tracks a user’s web engagement, even movement that occurred prior to obtaining the user’s personal information by matching their IP address to its records.
Yes, you read correctly. The implications of this are huge. Marketing automation is applied for creating buyer personas (i.e. identifying your target audience), nurturing and qualifying leads, cross-selling, retaining clients and measuring ROI. Finally, a very easy way to track and identify data is at our fingertips.
Marketing automation takes content marketing to a new level.
Your content marketing goes beyond blog posts and e-newsletter articles. It includes whitepapers, infographics, videos, webinars, events and speaking engagements, podcasts, case studies, guides, worksheets, checklists, brochures and so on.
By placing content of various types behind a form to engage marketing automation, you instantly generate a leads database. You can align your pitch more accurately based on a visitor’s viewing habits. You are able to better determine where the visitor is in the sales cycle (e.g. gathering information or ready to hire an attorney). You can evaluate the effectiveness of your content marketing based on which content is or isn’t reaching a particular audience.
“Based on how enthusiastically prospects consume your marketing content, [marketing automation software] generates a list of high-value leads, complete with numerical scores indicating their likely level of interest.” –Robert Algeri
Use marketing automation to prompt a one-on-one conversation.
Not only is information about a particular user recorded, marketing automation can also be used to trigger very specific actions, like a seemingly personalized email, event invitation or addition to a particular practice area’s e-newsletter distribution list.
“Marketing automation is all about nurturing...We avoid the hard-sell approach in favor of content that is personalized, relevant and aligns with what our customers and prospects are [seeking].” –Alyssa Rimmer
Users expect to be tracked.
If marketing automation sounds a bit invasive for your firm, consider this. Users expect to be tracked, and there is no longer any expectation of privacy for web users.
It’s that phenomenon when you are shopping for a new sofa, and then, as if by magic, you start seeing the sofa of your dreams everywhere – Facebook news feeds, banner ads, etc.
“…the public’s expectation of privacy, and their willingness to be tracked online, are rapidly changing. People are beginning to understand that their actions online are constantly being tracked, and they don’t mind. In Europe, websites are required to let visitors easily opt out of tracking cookies, and studies show that a minuscule percentage of people choose this option…” –Robert Algeri
Marketing automation allows you to quantify successes.
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points for adopting a marketing automation platform is the ability to measure ROI. Replace the guessing game with actual facts. With the information gathered, you can see which content is actually yielding a return on investment.
The data produced can show the exact path that a person takes from being a prospect to becoming a client. And, with the proper tracking in place, one could potentially assign a dollar value to their acquisition. –Robert Algeri
Source: Great Jakes
How many webinar attendees actual become clients? Which type of content actually attracts viable prospects? Are the buyer personas of one practice group more engaged in video content while another’s prefer articles?
Use the data you obtain to measure which marketing activities are actually worth the time invested, and constantly re-evaluate your efficiency and effectiveness.
To learn more about marketing automation, and to see it in action, I recommend the following articles:
- “From art to science: the coming paradigm shift for law firm websites” by Dion Algeri, Robert Algeri and Andrew Gonsalves from Great Jakes
- “What is Marketing Automation? A Beginner’s Guide” by Alyssa Rimmer from New Breed Marketing via Hubspot
- “What is Marketing Automation?” by Marketo
By Ashley Smith, Marketing Coordinator, Gordon Feinblatt LLC, for the November/December 2016 issue of Capital Ideas.