Many professional service providers have been late to the game when it comes to having an online presence. Lawyers and law firms are even farther behind the pack due to the slow moving nature of the industry. Having an online presence, however, is becoming crucial for client development.
1. More people are turning online to answer their first questions
There is a reason why eHow and About.com have such great Google rankings. It is because people have, and are increasingly asking “how” and not “who.” Business owners, notorious for doing things on their own, are the prime example. Entrepreneur, the magazine, makes their living on top 10 and how-to lists that small business and entrepreneurs eat up.
2. Improve online content
For some reason, like enterprise software, professionals have been late to the game of consumer web consumption and thus their tactics are sluggish. As such, there are a number of companies that already have a great deal of generic content on the web.
Times are changing. Discovery of high quality content is becoming easier through improved search algorithms and leveraging social networks. What is needed now is more specific content and a better way to organize it. Let the entrepreneurs of the world worry about the second piece, and start getting better content out there.
3. Your writing creates a first impression of your brand
Thought leadership through content marketing coincides with your “brand” and is crucial when digitally introducing yourself to people. First, you have the opportunity to introduce yourself through your writing. Personality comes out through writing whether it is playful, serious, sarcastic or a little of everything. People will subconsciously pick up on this and create personality associations. Before a phone call or an in-person meeting, the potential client already has a preconceived idea of who you are. Second, and probably the most obvious, people engage with your “brand” longer when there is relevant content to consume.
4. Complete an online presence
A complete online presence helps to answer potential client questions when seeking help from a service provider. A minimum online presence should include a website or profile for your business, a social networking profile (LinkedIn is the most ubiquitous) and at least one form of content marketing. They should all be connected to one another.
This allows a potential client to assess the relevance and quality of your services. Quality is now being assessed more online through social applications – reviews or a social connection. High reviews on a service like Yelp, or sharing a social connection on LinkedIn or Facebook will many times lead to at least a call.