[Checklist] Digital Body Language Helps You Turn Your Firm's Audience Into Clients

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Your audience’s digital body language – the aggregate of their online interactions with your content – provides valuable data on the business and legal problems they’re trying to solve and the solutions they’re exploring. This useful information helps to shape your content strategy, refine your understanding of client challenges, and tailor your advice to real-world needs.

Equally important, digital body language gives you a window into your audience’s journey toward retaining the firm for new or additional work because it allows you to situate them on ‘the sales funnel.’

That’s where this checklist comes in. A list of steps to take in response to what your audience’s digital body language tells you, it’s also a guide for putting your content to use in support of your broader business development efforts.

Stages in the Sales Funnel: Awareness, Interest, Engagement, Action

1. When your audience is aware of your firm, they do this:

  • Open webinar invitations
  • Read firm content and thought leadership
  • Like posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other digital media channels

To move them down the sales funnel, you should do this…

  • Produce more content on their most popular topics
  • Maximize the value of content across different channels: develop a webinar on a topic addressed in a well-read client alert, write a series of blog posts about the issues covered in a popular webinar, etc.
  • Provide more opportunities for readers to engage additional content: more LinkedIn posts, more webinars, or a ‘related reading’ list to accompany webinar invitations

2. When your audience is interested in how your firm may help them, they do this:

  • Run multiple searches on your website
  • Read biographies of speakers and authors
  • Open ‘related reading’ articles in your blog posts
  • Register for second and third webinars on a given topic
  • Share your content and invitations with their colleagues

To move them down the sales funnel, you should do this:

  • Start tracking the names, companies, and industries of your most engaged readers
  • Pay attention to both the subjects that people are interested in but also how they’re accessing them: blog posts, articles, podcasts, webinars, etc.
  • Share audience data – who’s reading your content and signing up for webinars, of course, but also popular topics, website searches, etc. – with relationship lawyers, practice leaders, and others in the firm.
  • Produce new content around the issues and subjects that people use when searching your website
  • Repackage popular content for new audiences by making it industry- or geography-specific (for example, with a client alert for financial institutions addressing key cybersecurity issues)
  • Develop new ways for your audience to access content, as with a content portal that consolidates thought leadership on specific topics

3. When your audience is starting to engage with your firm, they do this:

  • Subscribe to firm communications, like newsletters, announcements, and client alerts
  • Respond to surveys, webinar evaluations, and the like
  • Ask questions and seek clarifications in webinars and presentations
  • Send follow-up emails seeking out greater detail on matters covered in white papers and alerts

To move them down the sales funnel, you should do this:

  • Continue sharing audience data throughout the firm: subscriptions, webinar registrations, survey responses, and - most importantly - questions.
  • Contact clients to offer tailored training when people from their company are downloading and sharing articles on a particular topic
  • Develop a system to send out emails from the firm, say by Practice leaders or Marketing Partners, to new subscribers to thank them subscribing and offer additional thought leadership on related topics
  • After webinars and presentations, have speakers follow up personally with the people who asked questions to make sure the answers were helpful
  • Make it even easier for audiences to subscribe to your announcements, client alerts, and the like, by simplifying the registration process and by actively encouraging subscriptions in your marketing communications

4. When your audience has moved to the action stage, they do this:

  • Share your content – client alerts, white papers, webinar presentations, videos from your content portals, etc. – with colleagues and connections and on digital media channels
  • Sign up for additional subscriptions to your firm’s thought leadership
  • Start new conversations on legal and business issues with your lawyers via email, messaging apps, and in webinars
  • Encourage colleagues to subscribe to your content and attend your webinars, reflected in increases in audience numbers from clients
  • Ask for help

To maintain and enhance the client relationship, you should do this:

  • Continue to produce additional thought leadership – webinars, in-house training, white papers, etc. – on topics that resonate well with clients
  • Run A/B testing on the subject lines of your webinar invitations to see if reframing the language generates additional responses
  • Make it easy for your audience to share your content

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Katie O'Rourke is Regional Vice President, Sales, at ON24. Connect with her on LinkedIn; follow for her latest writing on JD Supra.

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