The first step in your marketing plan, is to design the entire tapestry of services you offer and then thread the marketing needle throughout your design to take care of the details of how you will engage with prospects to introduce them to your services and get them inside your sales funnel.
Before you can start gift wrapping your service offerings, you need to know as much as you can about what similar services are being offered in the marketplace of competitors.
If you want to frame your service offerings so that you look appealing and stand out from other providers of similar services, you need to understand on a granular level what is you can do for clients that makes you seem more desirable than other service providers.
Here’s an example of digging deeper.
If you are a lawyer, then your gut response at a networking event is to describe yourself as a person (or a firm) that offers legal services. “Hey, what do you do? Oh, I’m a lawyer.” It’s hard to be more irresistible than this typical response, right?
If you were really interested in making a connection to the person who asked what you do, at the very least you would go into more details in terms of the type of law you practice and the different practice areas your firm covers.
Look at it this way. It’s just not very sexy to say “I’m a bankruptcy attorney” when you can say “I specialize in bankruptcy law for businesses who need a Chapter 13 expert” or “I help companies negotiate with creditors when going through a Chapter 13 reorganization.”
The act of “packaging your offer” is merely a way of saying you need to be more expressive and find a way to break through the white noise so you can gain attention to YOUR [hopefully] unique brand.
What you want to convey with your brand is this expectation of EXCELLENCE – which is not just about the wonderful things you say about your firm on your website. It’s also about the input. What are you doing to be excellent? What are you reading? What are you eating? What are you doing to produce a celebration of excellence that finds its way into your core values?
As a brief example, let’s take an employment attorney and highlight a few different ways this attorney can describe his or her service offerings:
- A simple version of an offer (i.e. practice area) is “I practice employment law.”
- A more complex version of this offer is “I practice employment law and represent employers.”
- Going deeper … “I represent companies and businesses in the aerospace industry who need a law firm that specializes in employment law.”
In all three of these cases, if a prospect is looking at your law firm website to learn more about what you do, there can be a link in the navigation menu (e.g. that bar of links across the top of a web page) called LEGAL SERVICES than can direct the visitor to an internal section of the website that describes your firm’s “practice areas.”
This practice areas section can include one page that lists all the different subsets of employment law. As well, if you have spent the time to invest in more verbose pages, this section can be enhanced by including different web pages for each sub-specialty within your larger arena of employment law.
Since we have been talking about an employer side law firm, here are examples of how you could extend your practice areas and resources sections of your website. You could include articles, blog posts and even recorded webinars where you discuss:
- Employee handbooks.
- Sexual harassment training.
- Rules about breaks and meal plans.
How does all this lead into the goal of packaging the offer?
To start with, the “packaging” ecosystem also describes the process of highlighting your offer in a way that commands attention of the viewer.
Let’s try this analogy by borrowing some marketing techniques from the automobile industry.
Just because cars get you from here to there, does not mean all cars are equal. Nor does it mean that people perceive cars to be the same.
Two effective ways manufacturers distinguish their cars are by:
- Designing cars with varied features and different price tags
- Building showrooms and promotional campaigns that set their cars apart from each other (and competitors’ cars)
In the context of a law firm website, we can take the analogy of a car manufacturer and learn some valuable lessons.
Each of your legal practice areas is like a feature of a car.
Just like two cars can have 4 cylinder engines that perform differently, you can have two law firms both doing employment law that provide different levels of service – even within the same or similar practice areas of law.
But this distinction in terms of features is only part of the decision-making process for a consumer who buys a car or a person looking to hire an employment lawyer.
Remember, the automotive customer needs to be “sold” before committing to make a purchase. Just because a car has certain features does not mean a purchase is forthcoming.
And this is where “packaging the offer” of the P6 Recipe can add value to our analysis.
In the same way a car company like Toyota builds a website and drives traffic to the website (and to its often very pretty and stimulating showrooms) by running commercials on TV, print ads in newspapers, streaming video ads online and broadcast spots on radio, a law firm often has to undergo a similar step-by-step marketing process.
Toyota needs to get its cars in front of buyers again and again because cars are not usually an impulse buy. Toyota has to run TV ads repeatedly, build beautiful showrooms usually in highly trafficked areas, create glossy magazine displays and showcase the features of its cars online in beautiful videos merely to package the value of its cars in a way that commands attention in a busy arena.
A lawyer needs to do the same thing by starting with the building of a website and in some cases the corollary social media properties such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
And that is just the essence of the “packaging” framework.
- People think “packaging” is just saying what YOU do instead of saying what you do for YOUR CLIENTS that produces results.
- Prospects in a service business need to be sold again and again.
- Packaging leads ultimately to trusting – which is something you have to earn because it’s not given freely by your clients.
- A “me too” brochure website can never compete with a “professionally intentioned” website.
Packaging is a mindset you need to embrace that says “I am going to find a way to talk to the clients I want to reach in a way THEY want to be talked to so I can get under their radar and establish a hypnotic connection that starts the process of converting each of them into a prospect and ultimately into a lead.”
Since this book is primarily about growing your client funnel through online methods, your Internet presence must also package your service offerings in such a way that you look like you can not only deliver the “goods” but also outperform your competitors.
This goal does not mean that your website has to be expensive and have the latest gadgets and apps. But your website has to be presentable and that’s what we are going to talk about in our next blog post: The 2ndingredient of P6 – Presenting Your Offer.