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?
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!
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.
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 www.legalrss.co.uk 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.
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 www.words4business.com , www.legalrss.uk and www.crosselerator.com.