One of the many benefits of publishing a blog like Construction Law Musings is the ability to connect online, and then many times in real life, with a variety of people. These connections then give me the opportunity to review materials on subjects from construction contracts to online professional service marketing.
This last topic is the subject of a recent study and subsequent e-book (appropriately titled Online Marketing for Professional Services) from Hinge Marketing. The study and the book focus much attention on the changing marketing landscape for professional services. It has many of the usual calls to action relating to the use of blogs, websites, social networks, and other Web 2.0 (or is it 3.0) type marketing like adwords management services. Where the book differs from many information services on the supposed marketing “goldmine” that exists in the Cloud is that Hinge at least tries (and in many cases succeeds) in putting solid reasoning and even empirical study to the topic. The book is essentially a report on a study of high producing professional services firms (though no law firms) with large employee and revenue bases.
Without rehashing the entire book, the folks at Hinge put together a compelling case for being not only online but actively so. The point to everything from the fact that potential customers and employers will use Google, Facebook and the like to research potential candidates for employment/services to the fact that those just slightly younger than me grow up in a digital world as reasons to have a presence on the World Wide Web. Refreshingly, and unlike many pushing the case for social media, Hinge does not abandon the face to face contact piece that I believe to be crucial to marketing my solo construction practice.
While the study is great, my first thought was does it apply to me and the other solo or small firm lawyers that need business and growth as much as these larger firms? In short, does the web hold the same growth potential for us as for those firms that can dedicate staff (not to mention money) to the tracking of SEO and other metrics? Refreshingly, the book does have some nuggets for us pluggers.
As the fact that I’ve been blogging here at Construction Law Musings for over 4 years can attest, I find blogging to be rewarding on many levels. Aside from the pleasure and the fact that blogging keeps me up on the construction law landscape, any online “hits” I receive are from my construction law blog. For this reason, the mantra of consistency and enjoyment found in the book hits home.
I also appreciate the fact that Hinge treats the online piece of a marketing strategy as the first step in the “closing” process. Representing contractors (or any client with a legal issue) is a face to face sort of thing. While a blog and/or active presence on LinkedIn or Twitter can certainly get a potential client’s interest, the fact remains that a smile and a good solid “off line” relationship makes for a happier and longer term client. In short, to market your practice, you have to be online, but you have to be more than that and Hinge accepts that fact.
In sum, the book is a good one. Unlike many I’ve read, Hinge takes an almost scientific approach to analyzing the use of the web for marketing and concludes that a good, judicious use of the Cloud is a necessary though far from complete part of all professionals’ arsenal.
I recommend that you read the book and would love to hear your thoughts. Did you find pearls of wisdom?
Please join this conversation and add your experiences with Web 2.0 with a comment below and subscribe to keep up with this and other Musings.