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Could an online video convert Partner to Firm Star?

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I recently came across one of the many law firm websites in which the senior people in the firm had been inveigled to create videos offering advice about various topics. It got me thinking.

What’s the cost per video?
Promotional videos: A cost effective break from fee earning?

The first thing I did was to work out the likely cost per video. Adding together the scripting time, the cost of shooting, editing, and the time presenting, I reckon they’d have been very lucky to get it out at less than £1200 or so a video, which incidentally means doubling the cost in new fees that the firm would not have obtained without the video to break even.

What’s the benefit?

Then I looked at what they had achieved. On average they have fewer than 8 views per video in the last year, which includes the very casual person who clicks on it, and all of those who don’t watch all the way through – which would have been most of them, as, at 7 minutes or so, they were WAY too long!

What should be in the background? Ah yes, the classic law library book shelf

They were also uninteresting – person in business clothes (clearly without professional training in presentation and without a professionally-written script) talks to camera for 7 minutes. To sum up: Not a great video and at least £150 per view.

What’s the shelf life of a video?

One other issue, while I am thinking about it, is that if the content of the video becomes obsolete (eg because Theresa May has changed the names of a number of ministries), then you either have to scrap it or edit it at great expense (which may not work anyway – you may no longer have the clothes, have changed your hair colour etc). With text that would take a couple of minutes… The answer here is to make only generic videos…which are even more boring!

How about SEO?

Then I thought about what these will have done for them. They may have pushed the firm up in search terms, but I’d argue that even if they made it more likely for the site to be visited, they may well reduce the likelihood of the watcher making contact, because they were dull.

Is SEO one of the most cost effective marketing tools for law firms?

By the way, my views on the efficacy of search compared with other marketing techniques are well known. If you are unfamiliar, start with ‘The Google Myth’ and work forward. My blogs are on the website and LinkedIn.

Sold the Sizzle, not the Steak?

I then asked myself WHY they had done it. Well, most of the best salespeople I know are selling marketing and IT services The problem is that when their emotions and egos are being appealed to, those making the ‘buy’ decisions often don’t ask themselves ‘Does this make sense?’ They are ’sold the sizzle, not the steak’.

The ‘ego sell’ works really well advisory services, because most professionals believe that they are loved by their clients and often that they are uniquely capable of providing great service. So, when offered the chance to market by putting images of themselves in front of the public, they engage…

Don’t believe me? Take a look at firm’s websites. Increasingly, they are moving towards image-heavy approaches (incidentally making them harder to use in many cases) and the images are either clearly models (who exactly is fooled by those?) or the partners, smiling away as if they don’t have a care in the world.

Here's a picture of a middle-aged guy with a whimsical look...does it make YOU want to buy what we sell?
Here’s a picture of a middle-aged guy with a whimsical look…does it make YOU want to buy what we sell?
How compelling is Presentation by Partner?

Now I don’t know about you, but when I need help for something important, having a middle-aged person in a suit beaming away at me doesn’t add a lot to the process. In fact, it gets in my way.

I regard myself as a pretty senior guy. I’ve had 18 years in the accounting profession (14 as a full equity partner), the same advising law firms at partner level and overlapping all of that I’ve been the chairman of decent sized charity, on the audit committee of one of the Russell Group universities, taught on a good MBA and been chairman of  a successful tech firm and the NED of a plc and run consistently profitable business. I mix with similar people.

Do we trust Google, or people we know?

When I, or anyone else I know, needs legal services, we pick up the phone, not go to Google… Why? Because it is practically impossible to build a successful career and not also build a substantial network of people you know and can rely on. THEY are your first port of call.  Besides, I’d rather have an hour at the dentist than watching the sorts of videos I’m talking about (no, really, I would).

The next time you are pitched about ANY of this stuff, ask yourself ‘Does this make sense?’ Pull out a calculator and do some best case and worst case estimates.  Let your calculator, not your ego decide…

Joe Reevy has more than 30 years’ experience in successful professional services growth, including using the web since 1997 and 14 as a full equity partner.

To reduce your firm’s marketing costs, save staff time and grow your business faster, get in touch. 01392 423607 or see our websites at  and

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2 thoughts on “Could an online video convert Partner to Firm Star?

  • August 10, 2016 at 5:15 am

    I like this a lot Joe, and I think the fundamental thing you are saying rings true – although many will treat Google as God when it comes to marketing, in fact a lot of us haven’t moved on from the traditional way of doing things – when it comes to choosing a professional service we’ll go by recommendations from friends/connections rather than google. But I think Google is onto this and we’re not far away from a legal services world where google reviews of law firms will become important in my view. And to get those Google reviews we are again back to SEO and standing out from the crowd on search engines. And on the video views, that stat of 8 views in a year is just staggeringly bad. Surely the video must have been hidden away somewhere and not on the home page?

  • August 10, 2016 at 7:57 am

    The Google issue, indeed the social media issue generally is simple maths. As more and more people do it, the probability that your use will lead to the outcome you wish decreases.

    I have my own views on the importance of reviews. The issue there is credibility. It is a particular issue in law, where a lot of the process is adversarial and the users are in many ways unqualified to understand the quality of the service received. Likewise of course, the lawyers are largely unqualified to make sound decisions on the marketing propositions put to them, why I like what Jason Campell is doing with prolinked.

    I do not think the views of the general public will ever be a significant factor in choice among the boards of directors I know for either their business or personal representation although for the public at large, they probably will. The question of whether the lifetime value of clients gleaned this way is is worth investment to obtain is an interesting one….

    I see one of the big issues in law firm marketign is that because the web is extremely trendy, and blogging etc are loads of fun for the bloggers, this will be passionately defended/promoted by its adherents and agencies to the purchasers (who would not be purchasers if they had the expertise themselves) when other methods may be more effective.

    We have a lot of clients doing well with very ‘traditional’ methods…one reason is that ther competitors have moved to the overloaded digital sector, leaving their methods to be much more effective.

    I thnk what I am saying is that you have to do the maths, not be driven by fads.

    As regards the visibilty issue: no, the videos were on the service etc pages. But the bigger point is that I’d bet NO-ONE has ever watched one all the way through. They are too dull (I’d love to see an interesting law firm video and would be happy to have references to any you know of). They probably (I think) put people off.


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