Did you know that most people searching the web or visiting your site are not ready to hire you when they land on your website? In terms of where they fit in your sales funnel, they’re generally right at the top, still researching various options. This means you need to use your website as a tool to acquire their contact information so that you can continue your marketing efforts so that when they are ready to hire a law firm, yours is the first one they think about.
But most people are cautious about what data they give to whom. They don’t want to be hounded by emails or receive calls from you three times a week. If you want to persuade your prospective clients to give you their data, you need to give them something of value in return. An e-book is a fantastic way to do this.
In this section, we explain why you should be creating legal e-books and how they work to set you up as a firm with expertise and provide you with real leads that could turn into customers.
Demonstrate your thought leadership
If you’re not already using e-books as part of your marketing portfolio, you should be if you want a viable way to demonstrate your knowledge and provide your audience with useful information they can access as and when they please.
You might not think you have enough content for a book. Or, the idea of creating an e-book seems well beyond anything you’d be capable of or have time for.
But when you think about it, as lawyers, you and your team members write every day. You know your industry well, and an e-book is a great way to showcase your expertise.
One way to easily create enough content to fill an e-book is to use interviews. You are an expert in your field of law, so talking for an hour at a time about a specific topic you think your audience might find interesting and having it transcribed is a relatively painless way to create the base of your book content.
Brian Tannebaum, a criminal law attorney from Florida, created an e-book that helped prospective clients understand what factors to consider when hiring a criminal defense lawyer. It’s a great tool because anyone who’s read the e-book and subsequently contacts Brian has already been educated on what they should or shouldn’t do when hiring a defense lawyer.
Not the snazziest cover design, but at least he got it done — and it can always be improved later.
Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, as you likely have enough content on your blog or through other resources like podcasts, videos, or email newsletters that you can pull together in an e-book.
How long should my e-book be?
Your e-book should be as long or as short as it needs to be, although this perhaps might not seem like helpful advice. The rules of thumb are:
- Only say what you need to. If you can convey the same point in 10 words as in 100, use 10 words.
- Only cover the topic outlined. Your audience is time-conscious and if they want to read an e-book about Florida criminal law changes, then that’s exactly what they want to read about.
- In the same way, however, you don’t want to rush through the points so quickly or superficially that the reader doesn’t get any value from reading your book.
That said, legal e-books can range in length from five to “pages” all the way to 40 pages and beyond.
You can even make a one-page checklist-style PDF that is a bit like an e-book and will help you get subscribers but is easier to create.
If you’re struggling to think of ideas for your legal e-book, we’ve come up with seven topics to spark your thinking.
- How to Protect Your Intellectual Property: A Quick-start Guide
- The Guide to Divorce Law In New Orleans
- How a Car Accident in Georgia Will Change Your Life
- Immigration Information You Need to Know in Michigan
- Disability Benefits Ultimate Guide
- What You Must Know about Boating Accidents in Oregon
- Your Family’s Guide to Understanding the Basics of Wills and Trusts
The best e-book topics are those that you are an expert on and/or those that represent the practice areas your law firm specializes in.
Your cover design should be carefully thought out to compel people to click “download” and provide you with their contact details. If they don’t believe they’ll get any value out of your e-book, they won’t click. You could outsource the design of your cover, or you can do it in-house, perhaps finding an e-book template online to produce the cover yourself. If you’re cash-strapped or don’t have any graphic designers in your network, this is an option to consider.
HubSpot offers 13 free e-book templates you can use.
Ideally, you’d want to hire an expert graphic designer who can give your e-book cover design a “wow factor.” Our e-book cover designer, for example, doesn’t do any other work for us beyond design, which is just one example of using highly specialized team members.
Lead generation tool
We mentioned earlier that most website visitors are not yet ready to hire you and so creating and distributing e-books that are hidden behind a data capture wall is a great way to feed prospects into your sales funnel, thus giving you a chance to further engage and persuade them through your marketing automation techniques.
The way to do this is to create a landing page for each e-book, where a user must give you their email address in exchange for downloading the book. Their contact information (name and email) are then fed into a “drip” workflow campaign that is intended to take them further down the sales funnel until they’re ready to hire you.
When you create your call to action (CTA), you need to make it compelling. “Free quote” or “buy now” is not convincing enough, nor relevant. Instead, try a CTA like “read now” or “download.”
Distributing your e-book
When it comes to distribution, you have two options. The first is to put the content behind a wall, whereby prospects have to give you their email address and name to access it. This is a good method if you want to use the e-book as a lead generation tool as explained above. If this is the option you choose, consider using HubSpot, MailChimp PRO, or iContact Pro to put together your email campaign. The second option is to give it away freely, as added value to the site, but not make people give up their contact details to download it.
Legal e-books are a great “bribe to subscribe.” They are top-of-the-funnel content pieces that help you increase your leads and position yourself as an authority. However, don’t forget to tie your content and landing page into your overall marketing strategy.
You should write your e-book with your target keywords in mind. And when you do, you’ll start to see a number of benefits, like being able to explore specific legal topics in much greater depth as well as length.
Your clients will be able to access easy-to-understand, state-specific information on the legal issues they care about most. You’ll set yourself apart from other law firms as you’ll consistently be offering a valuable resource for those in need.
A series of shorter e-books can also be combined to make a longer printed book, which is an even bigger step forward to becoming the “big dog” in your practice area.
Once you have created an e-book or a print book, you are just the type of thought leader that journalists want to hear from. In the next section, we explain how to use press releases to get journalists to help get your public relations efforts off the ground.