Like any service provider, law firms send content to clients. But they are under a special burden not to waste the reader’s time, judging by the 2019 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey, a study by Greentarget and Zeughauser Group.
Of the in-house counsel polled, 51% are turned off by content that is “too salesy.” And 37% dislike content when it’s “not impartial, and 36% when it’s not sufficiently relevant."
The order is reversed for C-suite types: 51% dislike content that is not relevant, and 41% dislike content that is too sales-driven. In addition, 39% deplore content when it is not timely and 37% when it’s not impartial.
Greentarget and Zeughauser Group surveyed 200 executives, including 100 in-house counsel and 100 C-suite officers, along with 40 law firm CMOs.
On a weighted scale, email newsletters are ranked third in term of overall reader preference, after articles and events (for example, conferences, presentations & webinars). Fourth is interactive charts. But C-suite execs give newsletters a lower affinity ranking, placing them fourth.
Recipients like email newsletters that are easy to read (58%), brief (54%) and relevant (45%). But the senders feel newsletters work best when they are timely (88%), relevant (83%) and easy to read (68%).
Also on the sending side, 93% believe that email is a valuable tool for marketing and business development. But a lesser percentage -- 68% -- believe that their law firm is effectively using email.
Meanwhile, of the C-suite readers polled, 57% feel that email targeting is effective. But 63% say the same about LinkedIn targeting.
Not that the two channels should be used independently of each other.
The study notes, “you may publish a topical report or survey, then create an event around it that includes a client panel, send individual emails to relevant recipients and publish a post on it to a targeted LinkedIn group.”
When seeking legal services, prospects rely most heavily on input from trusted sources (84%), bios on the law firm’s website 971%), LinkedIn profile (68%) and articles and speeches by thought leaders (63%).
All that said, law firms face many of the same challenges as other content providers:
Only 68% of law firms say that the amount of content they send will grow, down from 81% in 2017. In addition, 33% say the amount will stay the same, up from 19% two years ago.