How effective your online marketing is in generating leads for your law firm and nurturing those leads to become clients depends on how successful you are at identifying and speaking to your prospects’ “point of pain” – the problems they need your help in solving.
You don’t have much time to engage them – industry research indicates most prospects spend less than 10 seconds evaluating your website or blog and if they find nothing immediately relevant to them, they quickly move on. You must grab them from the very first moment they land on your site.
Here are four questions your prospects want answered when they visit your website:
- Do you practice the kind of law I need? Whatever type of law you practice should be spelled out clearly with words and visuals. It should be blatantly obvious within seconds, even to the casual observer. This is not the time or place to tell them every single thing you can do. Focus on your major practices, not the one that you helped one client with five years ago. Position yourself and your firm as a specialist.
- Do you understand my specific problem? Get as many legal words off your pages and speak to prospects in their language so that they understand that you understand. This builds trust and if they don’t trust you, they won’t do business with you. For example, no consumer uses the term, “family lawyer.” Many of them don’t even know what it means. Only 5 percent of visitors that end up at personal injury websites use the term, “personal injury lawyer.” 95 percent are searching for something else (car accident lawyer, dog bite attorney, etc).
- Can I relate to this attorney? Lots of law firm websites have information that clients want to know hidden under a “References” or “Resources” tab. While information and education are important, what people really want to know is, “Can I relate to this attorney?” and I know of no better way to demonstrate this than through video. Over the years, I’ve become a major supporter of having multiple videos on your website. There should be one on your home page, your bio page, each of your major service pages, as well as your contact page. Talk about why you got into law, what your passion is, what kind of clients you love to work with, frequently asked questions they have and success stories your firm has achieved.
- What are the benefits, value, results and solutions this attorney has achieved? This is a tough one for most lawyers because they don’t really understand the benefits of working with their firm, so you must spend some time giving serious thought to what makes you different. When asked, “Why should I hire you?” most attorneys give the same stale responses: “We have good quality services,” “We have a lot of experience,” and “We are a boutique law firm that will take care of you.” The problem is when you look and sound like everyone else, people start to compare you based primarily on price. Instead, focus on the benefits you bring to clients, the results you have achieved and the creative solutions you have developed. Use client testimonials to tell your story. Using terms like, “We care,” is both trite and commonplace. Get to the heart of the matter.
7 Essential Elements of a Great Law Firm Website
By now, you surely know that prospects are checking you out online and one of the first places they will go to is your law firm website. Be sure to check your site for these features – having them incorporated into your site can double your Internet and website leads:
- Onsite optimization. If you don’t know SEO, then this is definitely something you need to farm out. Your title tags should reflect what each page’s content is about and each one should be unique to the content on that page. Pay attention to your URL structure and be sure the terms in the URL represent the focus of each page on your website.
- Strong content. When it comes to content, more is better because more content leads to more traffic. So what is good quality content? It all depends on your user. What is your prospective client going online to find? Probably not a laundry list of your accomplishments (although, you do want that too). They are looking for usable information that is relevant to their situation. FAQs are a great way to accomplish this with quick links to even more detailed content on that particular question. For example, if you are a personal injury attorney, you will want to have content for every type of accident your prospects are likely to encounter – car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, pedestrian, etc.
- Market like a news publisher. Did you know you could hang just about everything you do on the Internet (marketing- wise) to a great blog? A blog is simply the best platform for lawyers to establish their credibility and build an online reputation that will help draw potential clients to your firm. Here’s how it works:
- Create a blog on your website.
- Post to it 3-5 times per week with relevant, original content.
- Link your blog posts to your social media profiles and pages.
- Watch your traffic and search results improve over time.
- Great mobile experience. Mobile platforms have now surpassed desktop computers in terms of where consumers access online content. If you do not have a website that is optimized for mobile, then you are letting leads fall through your fingers. Consumer attorneys especially need to have mobile websites, since it is far more likely your services will be needed when a mobile device is the only convenient one at hand. Research shows that 40 percent of mobile searches are local and 81 percent of those searches lead to action – a phone call or email to your firm.
- Local search. Local search is critical when trying to improve the ranking for your law firm website on Google and other search engines. After all, someone searching for an attorney in Scottsdale will not care about a lawyer in Scarsdale and Google knows that. Google is all about delivering relevant search results to its users, hence, the importance of doing whatever you can to rank well for local search. Here are some tips law firms can use to rank better in local search results:
- Fix your NAP. All your NAP listings on local directories and review sites must be the same – name, address and phone number. I strongly recommend you check out your current listings on yext.com and moz.com and get them fixed fast.
- Use the proper keywords. Use the same words in your content and header tags that your prospects are using when they search online. List 20-30 key phrases you believe prospects use and then, research them further online.
- Use Google My Business. List your firm on Google My Business (google.com/ business) – it’s free and keeps your information consistent and updated across Google Search, Maps and Google+.
- Use local terms in your content. Be sure you are using cities in your website content. Include your company name and address, as well as a geo sitemap on your site.
- Obtain reviews. Google has decided that reviews of local businesses are important, which means that you need to proactively encourage clients who are happy with your services to review you online. Spread the reviews around – Avvo, LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and other directories.
- Optimize social network pages. Wherever your law firm is visible on social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – be sure you have posted your firm’s name and address information on those sites. Remember to keep it consistent with all your online listings!
- Optimize your site for mobile. More than half of website visits are now made on a mobile device – tablet or smartphone – so your website must be optimized for mobile. The best way to do this is to use responsive Web design for your main website, which guarantees that it will perform well no matter what size screen a prospect is using to find you.
- Updated photography and bios. Every attorney on your website should have a current photo; to make the quality consistent, you should have custom photography taken. Consider making it unique by having more casual shots taken outdoors at local landmarks people will recognize. Make your bio a narrative, not a resume. Frankly, your prospect doesn’t care where you want to law school or that you were on the rowing team – leave that for the end of the bio. Always include videos on your site! This gives prospects a true feel for what it’s like to do business with you.
- Easy to contact. On every page of your website you should have three ways for people to contact you – your phone number prominently displayed at the top right side of your website (in the header), a contact form that people can fill out that asks for their name, email or phone and a comments box, and a live chat function that allows a prospect to chat online with someone immediately. Our clients tell us some of their best and hottest leads are chat leads and many are converting into good cases.