Emma sitting at table writing notes and holding a crystal in her hand

If Elle and Vivian had a law firm: A marketing funnel in action

Season 3

Episode 4

When we think of a marketing and sales funnel, it can be easy to check things off as covered and completed. But when you get into the nitty gritty, there are often ways to at least improve the performance and experience, if not notice steps that are being missed or done by halves. While we want to be sure we're covering off each step of the marketing and sales funnel, we also want to make sure that the brand experience as a whole as enjoyable and sells itself as much as possible, optimising to a point of enjoyment while leaving in personality and authenticity. This episode is a continuation of Episode Three so if you haven't listened to that, I highly recommend you start there since I explained each of these 11 steps in much more detail. Today, I'm going to walk you through how a marketing and sales funnel can work in action using a completely fake client. Welcome to the Digital Hive Podcast where we talk all things digital marketing for small businesses, subscribe to the show on YouTube or your chosen audio podcast app to get weekly insights into your next marketing move.   Let's pretend Elle Woods and Vivian Kensington of Legally Blonde have a law firm together called Woods Kensington & Associates and make a marketing strategy for the business. We know from the first Legally Blonde movie that these two became friends but have pretty different styles. So here's the brief. Let's say they're now a large firm offering full service. As their peers with smaller firms retired, they would buy them out and acquire their teams to keep running the accounts so they've just reached full service status and it's now time to elevate that brand to match that. You might recognise a full service law firm from shows like Suits or The Good Wife where they don't specialize in any one type of law, which obviously made those shows a little more varied. Teams within the firm still tend to specialise but the firm houses all types of law. Let's just say that's why they're going through this new marketing strategy process in this hypothetical scenario.

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Time has passed so Elle's style will have evolved further since the second movie where her style was quite bold and bright, mostly to show how different she was especially in the first half with an evolution throughout the movie. She initially dressed in a more professional wardrobe than she did in the first film and then became more casual as the story progressed. Elle's style now will have evolved even more, maybe a little more relaxed. Surely she'd still stand out in the courthouse but not in the same way in a hot pink suit. In the movies we don't see Vivian's true style after becoming friends with Elle but we do see her new hair and makeup look in her cap and gown and everyone else evolves into the second movie, so we know she will have to just like we all do in life. I love Selma Blair and some of her style is what I hope a softer nicer Vivian would dress like. While Elle and Vivian's styles influenced the brand identity somewhat, it's not all about them. It's also important as part of your marketing strategy to define what the brand looks and feels like exclusive of the owners face being in imagery. This is often called the brand moodboard or brand guide, if it has everything included in it like brand terms and brand voice. The general aesthetic of most well established law firms is usually very monochromatic going for a look that screams established, but also can be quite inorganic and a little too vanilla for what we want.

Their branding and websites aren't necessarily disrupting the industry so that is definitely not what we want to go for, in this scenario. A core part of their business is legal strategy helping clients set up or change their business in a legal and honest way rather than playing Whack a Mole with lawsuits. Their team knows the ins and outs of their clients businesses meaning they don't do all the research for each case individually and can reuse research over time. Once they take on a client for a specific case, they then urge them to become a strategy client to offset future lawsuits. The brand should embody feelings of purposeful strategy, sustainability, honesty, transparency, and making everything comprehensible. The experience should be high touch and feel luxurious with seamless technology and human interactions. They're big on transparency, which also includes thei staff with banded salaries, clear partner tracks, and allowing their team to shine individually instead of just making them as the partners look good. This brand means they attract a lot of sustainable brands, charities and activist clients as well and means they walk the talk that they then help their clients with so they're not moral-washing. They empower their team to make a name for themselves online and through cases. They currently only have themselves as named partners but very much want to add new partners in the next few years so they do have a succession plan.

Most of the clients have found them to their high profile cases. But even amongst high profile law firms, they stand out by being honest and open with their clients not over promising and always being on the right side of the law. Within the brand mood board we want to show off that feeling of luxury to embody the upfront strategy, high touch nature of their work, and blend who they are as a duo while also taking into account their team behind them so it's not all about them either. We want the new marketing to attract a lot of sustainable brands, charities and activist clients as well. While we want to use fonts that look classic and established we will be using colour and texture to bring things to life. We'll also use people's faces in the imagery, which is often rare in legal marketing. Sometimes the reason for this is because teams change over time so they don't want to include people who no longer work there. We'll combat this with plenty of photos of the partners in the team so the photos can be changed out as well as having annual photoshoots. All of this information I've just run through usually comes from the client in my work so naturally I've made it up for this. I don't often work with clients on building the initial brand design, but we need this information to have a fake brief to create a marketing strategy from. This is often where I take over from and other times I'm involved in part of the digital strategy. A brand asset strategy, at least for a marketing campaign is mostly focused on their photography and graphic design. But it could also include their marketing materials like business cards, what an ad would look like in a business magazine or on a billboard, if they gave their clients a workbook for the strategy portion of their service, all of that kind of thing. This shows the brand in a more tangible way than a logo or brand design would. Collateral is how the brand would show up physically. For a law firm that might be the shirts they were at a firm funded charity event, the delivery of physical documents to clients, or client gifts where the items aren't chosen specifically for the client themselves, but a more general like a compendium folder, mug or a desk calendar. Before we can create a marketing and sales funnel, we need to have photos and videos to use. You could start on the content and figure out what you need, but it's best to have some imagery to work with. For a branded shoot, Elle and Vivian could pose together sitting on a couch at different heights smiling talking to each other or at a meeting table so it's not as formal a little more feminine, their own style, while still showing them both in the shot. They'd do some in-situ shots where people are working together sometimes with someone acting as the client. Any type of shot where someone is looking at something over someone's shoulder would be best if it was a senior person seated while the other is looking or to look like they are peers so it isn't giving an idea of someone senior looming over a junior. Similarly if there was a video that summarised the firm it would be their scale, clips from their high profile wins, showcasing their team and testimonials of clients given to camera, social content would be created on demand. But we could do a shoot of clips that could be inserted into content like B roll. B roll is the items you cut away to while you're talking about something else off screen. Their team's headshots would include shots of them smiling in a light and bright space in the office. Full group shots would mean that someone was missing as they grew, so they'd be unusable after some time but their team will be showcased often and need their own photos without it being a mug shot or passport style that's a little stale. Plus each team member should have their own alternate shot with them doing their work at their desk in a meeting in a court environment or a research library depending on their role, or the department or type of law they work in. Through this imagery, we can show the firm's size as well as a little brand personality. If you've seen my series on TikTok or Reels, I broke this marketing strategy down by platform, including a website strategy, content, strategy, and so on. Today, we're going to break it down into this funnel so you can see how a business can cover each step, even though you probably don't own or market a full service law firm. Again, there's more detail about each of these 11 steps in episode three. We're planning on having a website, podcast, articles, email list, social media presence, some public relations and events. So let's see how the steps come into play.  

Step One: Discovery

For the SEO strategy, the most specific searches will likely match content on the articles and podcasts pages to get people to the website, then serve them real value in the interest step. On the blog would be articles written by people all over the company. They speak on news, precedents and breaking down many of their own cases rather than letting other platforms review their work from the outside like journalists, so they can speak to the key points and how these link with the strategy they offer within the firm. The discovery step is perfected by knowing what people will search and then tailoring the metadata to that. In this case, the metadata is the meta title and description which are the text shown on Google or other search page results, and alt text for images in case people are looking in the images section of their search engine. We'd monitor their ranking using third party tools like SE Ranking, and regularly run a website audit to fix little things that get missed like alt text or if a link is going to an error since these things can impact how highly they rank. We'd be on the lookout for new keyword opportunities which would mostly be based on search within the website and changing the language on different pages to match what people are searching for, through the comparison of SE Ranking data and being on top of new legislation which would be topics for the articles and podcasts to keep them up to date anyway, so it's a win win. Since there is a large volume of brand awareness for the business already through the news and word of mouth, their long form content would grow that search awareness. While they'll have a firm run podcast we've discussed how that isn't an easy way to build discovery. But they will occasionally have guests on the show who will share about the podcast as well as having Vivian and Elle guest on other people's shows for their audiences to discover the firm. On LinkedIn the firm would have a profile for the business but so would every team member. They'd be encouraging everyone to have their own presence and it's likely that team members would share information about their cases, maybe news media or their own updates when appropriate, and any episodes of the podcast or articles they contribute to. From the firm account, they would be wanting to focus on also sharing every podcast and article and all of that but they would also share about new team members internal promotions, things that they're doing at work to make work more enjoyable, any charity work they're doing. This would market them to clients, but would also show off what it is like to work there as a recruitment tool and would be great for search. LinkedIn in particular is fantastic for companies whose team members are engaged on the platform and who want to increase their own profile. Since it is common to see content your contacts have been tagged and liked or commented on, as well as shared or posted.

On Instagram and Facebook, they would share much of the same as LinkedIn but knowing their team are less likely to share the posts to their own profiles, and without as much of the recruitment angle, they'd really focus in on the strategy side. On TikTok, they would mostly share handy legal tips that are relevant for the wider public or business owners, some legal strategy information and clips from the podcast. They'd utilise hashtags and captions for search-ability, but also using captions to make sure the algorithm can accurately represent the content. They would get involved in some trends, but they will be selective since they do want to remain somewhat professional and don't need to target only the younger demographics. Some of this content would also be shared to YouTube Shorts when it's relevant, as well as more clips from their podcasts that wouldn't go up elsewhere. Since the podcast will be on YouTube this will help with YouTube search discovery specifically but we are at a point right now where the common YouTube podcasts are entertainment focused, so we wouldn't have extensive expectations. It's still worth posting for the discovery since they record video for the social media clips, and would have the option to create shorter clips from the podcast as individual YouTube videos. They'd post each of their articles and podcasts as pins on Pinterest too with loops setup in Tailwind, to resurface the more evergreen content making the most of SEO. Brand awareness advertising is when you show up in front of people who have not seen your content before to introduce the business and the key points for communication. For this client if we did paid advertising, we'd be focused on explaining the firm the strategy and how the firm can serve clients. Since we'd be paying for this discovery we'd want to cover as many steps in one, often making sure the first ever ad they see is most likely to cover both interest and engagement as well. This is why ads are mostly used for the later steps since that's a lot to achieve in one interaction. The team would also have a public relations agent. Given the size of the firm, they'd likely use an agency rather than an in house person for press to make the most of their connections. They might have someone who works in house on other types of PR, but they'd outsource the proactive media like podcasts, conferences and shows. This is also a great opportunity for a working relationship where they refer to the PR agency and the agency refers clients to the firm. They could have a stand at any conferences they speak at or which are super relevant to allow new people to certain industries to find them. This might be because it is a newer industry or because the law firm they acquired for that type of law wasn't as well known. They could also be startup conferences, so businesses would likely be in the early stages of growth those but the business would the firm would grow as the business itself did. These likely would be run by more junior team members, junior partners, and the office manager and sales team members, not the name partners. This would also allow for people who were in the later steps to meet someone from the firm for the first time, or to meet new team members as they recognise the logo on the stand. So as you can see, the discovery stage has a lot of different options and as we get through the steps, the number of platforms that we cover in each will start to diminish.  Step two: interest. Interest happens through content. After people land on a page from any kind of search discovery, they'll see the content they clicked through for, which will then refer them directly to the About and Services pages or to the email marketing list. The interest step takes place on the page content before that prompt to click through so you need to be making sure you are creating content and writing pages for your target audience to increase the likelihood of the discovery actually turning into engagement via the content. This interest can also happen in the social media content or YouTube. The more you know your target audience, the more aligned this can get. In this case, the brand awareness content is mostly aimed at getting people interested in the strategy sessions, rather than being the top result when people desperately need a lawyer last minute since they prefer to work with people strategically.

Regardless of actual content we would be going for a design aesthetic on the website with lots of space great use of colour, light and bright, more feminine than masculine but organised with whitespace around the content. The brand visuals come into play since they can increase the attraction of the right target audience, which greatly increases engagement since they can see the content is visually appealing to them, and includes them in a way.

The podcast can start being relevant at this step. This podcast will be hosted on their website, available on all audio platforms and with a video version on YouTube. The focus here would be creating the content so it is right for their target audience and not for other lawyers and in house counsel. This way that interest can also act as a gatekeeper. TikTok could be a long term interest game. While we don't know about the longevity of a TikTok follow yet they do know that they can create awareness amongst a younger demographic, which could later become clients or staff in the years to come even if they aren't a good fit right now. Ideally, they'd catch people in their 20s and older rather than teenagers. While it's less likely they can convert people to their website for an email signup right away, we can still use it for interest and be patient to later receive the engagement and familiarity. On their bio, they'd link their Instagram and YouTube and they'd pin their two most viral posts and one post that introduces the firm. On the Instagram Stories highlights they'd have things saved like testimonials, their high profile cases, how they work on strategy, team shout outs office behind the scenes, articles and the podcast. They've pin a couple posts that explain best what they offer and another about the strategy process as well as one viral piece of content. On all of their platforms, they would regularly mention the podcast articles and some of the freebies on the email list and their content highlighted content or about section.

Step three: Engagement

People might go to their more specific website pages at this step and while they're not making any purchase decision yet, we need to show off that this is the firm they'd want to support. The content would include a mix of showing off their team and their mission, sales and education. The majority of pages would aim people towards the Services page, others to an email newsletter signup page showing a freebie. We'd need a homepage, about, services page for each individually, contact new client forms, a client login page, and all the legal pages like a privacy policy, as well as the articles and podcasts pages. At this step we'd need to get people onto the email list. To do this, we'd be best to incentivise it to grow sales, we generally can't just rely on those who are already clients. So we'd create some strategy based freebies that people would receive once they signed up, or a library of freebies. This might include documents that would otherwise be sent to new clients to help them describe their business to prepare them for that process.

This works with double perks since the clients who sign up after being on the email list tend to be more prepared for the process. Other freebies could be self audits, the top five things to consider when doing XYZ, or a mad lib style fill in the blanks document. These could be based on questions by new clients, potential clients or ways to better prepare those clients. People could sign up to gain freebies to help them prep for their legal strategy sessions. And these are great for those who are smaller businesses or are in need of a change. Traffic advertising is all about getting people to the website so while some brands might only focus on this, we're going to get more specific with the other types so this can be equally as specific. We'd share articles, podcasts, client case studies and information on the strategy process, inviting people to click through to find out more, but getting very granular in the targeting so they're likely to go to a page that is very specific to them.

Step Four: Familiarity

While the sign up for the email list happens at the engagement step, familiarity can be built by the freebie or incentive itself and any content then received by email. Once people are signed up to the email list and receive the item they signed up for, we'd want people to receive a welcome sequence. This might include access to the rest of the freebie library if there is one so they don't have to sign up for each individually. Then it would walk them through introducing Ell and Vivian, their experience, how the strategy process works, how they work with litigation, and more on demand work, introducing the wider team and pointing people towards the other resources they offer, like the blog and podcast. From there, people would receive a monthly or twice monthly newsletter. This would collate all of their content into one digest and update their clients and potential clients on the information they need most with a little narrative on recent law changes that is only shared via the newsletter. They could also segment the list and send a few variations so they can get specific about which posts they send to who. They'd shoot almost all photos and video in their office and if there was a video element there podcasts that have recorded there too, so people get familiar with it, and would feel more comfortable when it's time to go in. People will also become more familiar with the people on the team, their strategies and how they operate via continual social media content in the podcast, as well as by having multiple people contribute articles to their website. Their Articles page on their website would heavily show off search, but also highly show their most timely pieces with legal updates on recent law changes or precedents. The podcast page would prioritise showing where to listen but also has posts for each episode. This helps with search but also allows people to see the range of episodes and start listening to more so they would become familiar faster. While this helps people become familiar with their team, it also helps them become familiar with their work.

Graphic of a man sitting on a couch with his laptop and cat

Step Five: Consideration

This is where the majority of the website strategy comes into play. The first thing we need to refine is the purpose of the website. We want to educate their current and potential clients, have potential clients join the email list and allow people to sign up for an initial meeting. At this step, people might not book a meeting, but it's important to let them know that they can book a first call for free, or at what price. The service pages would break down how the process works, who it's for, and what they get at the end of it, so people can start to think if this is the right kind of offer for them.

Step Six: Timing

The majority of timing will be based on the client. With such a large team, there wouldn't be much of a time to wait to book and there'd be no time of year where it's not possible to book and no waitlists. Instead, we'd want to show up for people consistently, especially on the email list so that when the time is right for them, they're easily able to make contact.

Step Seven: Decision

The website will need to clearly display a phone number people can call to be directed to an on call partner when they're in urgent need of a lawyer, so we'd put that in the footer, but not front and centre since it's not their biggest selling point. Conversion advertising is about getting people to a sale or some other kind of conversion like filling out a form or signing up for the email list. We'd use this for freebie signups, workshops and presenting people with sales pages. When you run these kinds of ads, they tend to evolve the targeting over time based on who converts so we'd use that for those times where that's all we want to happen. In a sales call they'll walk people through the high-line details of the strategy process and will send them a document afterwards with all the pricing details, testimonials, information about who they will go through the process with, and information on how they can confirm and make payment.

Step Eight: Purchase

At this step we'd be introducing the technology and automation. It's always complemented by human interaction but is seamless and quick so that people aren't left waiting. For the strategy process, the client can go to the website, purchase a package, complete an onboarding form, and book their first appointment all in one session. The onboarding form will save if they don't have the time to fill it in, but making it possible to all happen all at once speeds up the process. After 30 minutes of inactivity, they get an email with portal access and the ability to resume their onboarding form or other relevant information. For those clients who need help with litigation before the strategy sessions, they'll simply sign up by contacting the team.

Step Nine: Delivery

Functionally they'd need a client relationship management or CRM software connected to the website for documents and client communications, whereby clients could be given logins via the onboarding form, or by being invited by a team member. Throughout the strategy process, the team works through a clear system so that the service is the same regardless of which team member walks them through it. The Client Portal would allow them to review all the documents the firm has for the client or their business. All internal communications between team members about the client would also be done via the CRM so that information is accessible. The client will not see this information usually, but as lawyers, they understand there are times these notes will be shared.

Step Ten: Loyalty

The team would also run regular workshops, which would be paid but would deliver an in person or online experience to potential clients, they likely wouldn't be attended by active clients since they'd be delivering the information to them separately in a one to one scenario. These workshops would educate people on a specific niche topic, so they'd follow up with a package of information to allow that person to see what the firm could help them with outside the workshops. While these workshops continue to educate their clients, they also create a way for the firm to be in more regular contact throughout the year. They'd be a paperless office scanning all documents in and using software to digitise everything, so all documents are searchable. This gives them an additional edge and allows them to be speedier than other firms. The cost of these systems are built into their hourly fee and clients would only pay based on the actual time spent so it can work out cheaper in the long run too. This means that clients want to stick around after seeing those benefits, even if they don't fully understand how they're so quick.

Step Eleven: Advocacy

Some of their business relies on referrals, so they work closely with other types of businesses. Accountants refer new businesses, and they often refer clients back when people need a new accountant or they need forensic accounting work, or they need an impartial accountant for a case for example. The same goes for other services like brand designers, real estate agents, PR firms, interior designers, anything where a new business or an established business would hire in a time of growth. They could also have relationships with startup investors so that they are more likely to be referred to startup founders. Elle and Vivian could regularly run their own events on the side of events they speak at like a client dinner after a conference. This would allow their existing clients to introduce the firm to their friends or family who could be suited to their service for the plus one. If they don't bring a friend, it's an excuse to post something on social just like when they send client gifts. They might like to run these at fancy restaurants who have a separate room so they can host their guests separately to other patrons of the restaurant. They could even invite people they want to make deeper connections with, like the referral partners or local people who have researched their services but not signed up. This in person meeting would follow some prior conversations but would help to cement that reciprocal relationship. These would operate like networking events so they wouldn't deliver any kind of talk just to chat to people. They would also ask people to complete a survey after undertaking their strategy service, so they can gain feedback and gather testimonials to share online plus they'd ask people to leave a Google review. It's through these events and surveys that they facilitate opportunities for more advocacy, but ultimately, the majority of it will happen by word of mouth separate to the business.

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We want to be sure we're covering off each step of the marketing & sales funnel, and make sure that the brand experience as a whole as enjoyable, optimising to a point of enjoyment while leaving in personality and authenticity

That's the full steps in the marketing and sales funnel. Ultimately, this is all made up as a fake client for a fictional business and made up based off of movie characters. But the marketing strategy I've discussed here is one you can compare to your own strategy. You'll likely notice I didn't talk about many tactics in this episode. This is partly because of time but also because like I talked about in the episode one of this season, tactics can change week to week while the majority of your strategy will stay consistent for months, if not years.

Use these worksheets to plan your own marketing and sales funnel within these steps, and each of the platforms you use to promote your business and offering. These worksheets will prompt you to document what you were already doing, and to add in interactions for any steps you're missing. As you work through this, be sure to get into the details of how the items you're doing add to the customer's experience, so you can make sure that you're doing more than ticking boxes. In the next episode, I'll be walking you through the different ways you can track, report on and analyse each step of the funnel so that you can continue to optimise them over time.

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