Whether you are thinking of setting up a website for your law firm, or feel that you need to improve your current offering, it’s vital that you have some form of presence on the web these days. There is a multitude of reasons why this is the case, and we’re going to go through a few of the most important ones with you today. If you want to start finding more clients, increase visibility, and establish your authority in your sector, read on. Continuing our series, here are the top reasons why your law firm – however large or small – needs a good website.
If you want to grow your law firm, it’s important to increase the size of your potential market. Running your firm from an office is going to restrict you in a variety of ways, including location and your ability to get your central message out there into the wild. Ultimately, a website is a primary slice of real estate, that could be viewed by millions of people – not just in your city, but also your state, and even around the country. And when you bear in mind the huge costs involved to get that kind of exposure from a TV ad, for example, it’s a great way to get the word out about your firm to a wider audience.
Search Engine Rankings
When you want to find out more about a product or service, what do you do? If you are anything like the vast majority of the population these days, you will turn to your computer, smartphone or tablet and type in a few words to Google’s – or any other search engine’s – search function. Don’t underestimate the huge volume of searches that take place on an annual basis – Google currently processes somewhere in the region of 1.2 trillion searches every day (that’s 40,000 per second). It’s what people do now, rather than looking in their local business phone directory – and if you don’t have a website, you could be missing out on a whole lot of potential customers. Of course, it’s not enough to just ‘have’ a website – it needs to be good enough to rank highly for the specific search terms that apply to your business. By using SEO tactics, it’s possible to climb your way up the rankings and ensure when someone is looking for legal help in your immediate area – and beyond – that it’s your firm they see first. Just make sure that you are careful as to what tactics these are, the wrong SEO strategy can quickly end in a Google Ranking Penalty! Watch out for these SEO Scams and make sure you get references from your prospective SEO agency.
24/7 opening hours
Your law firm’s offices can’t be open all the time, and give or take an hour or two either side, the chances are that you are only answering phones or meeting with potential clients during office hours. And, let’s face it, people need legal help at any time of day, and if you aren’t around to answer important and pressing questions, you could be missing out on a valuable stream of prospects. With a website, however, it’s possible to have a presence 24/7. If you know the type of questions a prospective client will ask, you can give them the answer online. A good website will offer information, advice, and enable your visitors to get in touch with you there and then. Without a website, those visitors don’t exist – and you will lose them to your competitors instead.
Nothing is more important for a law firm than absolute trust from their clients. When you have a website, you can drive home the message that you are trustworthy, have experience, and the necessary skills to help them out of their situation. You can do this in the form of testimonials, helpful blog posts, and highlights of how many cases you have won. If you believe you are the best you can prove it on your website, without the need to take a phone call, arrange an initial meeting, and prove your credentials face to face.
Let’s assume you are just branching out as an independent law firm for the first time. How, exactly, are you going to prove your credibility? Talking about cases you have worked on for the big company you have just left is likely to be a no go. However, with a blog on your website, you can underline your expertise by discussing all the most important issues your ideal clients are facing. Not only will this establish your expertise in your chosen niche, but it will also contribute towards appeasing the search engines, helping you rise up the search engine results pages. In turn, this will help you get more visitors to your site, more prospects getting in touch, and more clients deciding to work with you rather than the competition.
Look around at the vast majority of law firm websites, and it’s pretty clear that one important thing is missing from all of them: personality. People like people, and tend to choose products and services from those they like. And if your website shows off your likeability, personality, and passion for the job, it can put you streets ahead of the competition. You can inject some personality into your site in a multitude of ways, from an interesting and human-sounding About Page, through to engaging, witty blog posts. Sure, you need to be careful – you aren’t selling ‘fun’, of course, and the law is an incredibly serious business. But ultimately, your website is the perfect opportunity to create a tone of voice that shows off your legal authority and friendliness. Nobody wants to buy from a robot, whatever services you provide. And by making your legal firm accessible, understandable, and human, you will find the number of clients you attract will rise by a significant amount.
Don’t forget that a website is a fantastic tool for finding out more about your visitor’s needs – and everything else about them. Using tools like Google Analytics, you can start looking at your visitor’s demographics, including things like age, location, and sex. You can also see the search terms people are using to find your site. There is an enormous amount of info you can pull from your website visitor statistics that can be used to form a perfect picture of your ideal client. Once you have all that data, you can start adapting your site’s content to appeal more to them – and find more customers that will find your services useful. Compare this tactic with the alternatives – creating customer and client surveys and hiring marketing research firms, for example – and you will see that it is a cost-efficient way of getting vital information.
Whether you are a large law firm or a small, brand new one, there is a huge range of tasks that require your attention. And the more you can automate, the more efficient you can be, and the more money you can earn doing what you have studied for. A good website can ease your pain in a number of ways, minimizing the need for back-office support and increasing your efficiency. For example, how many hours each week do you spend filtering out potential clients who can’t possibly meet your budget? How many times do you need to answer the phone – or pay someone to do it – to people that need a different type of lawyer? Given that most people start their search for legal help online, if your website is clear and concise about your offering, you’ll find that it also automates the screening process. You can also set up contact forms, sync it with email automation, and reduce the need for drawn-out phone calls altogether.
Mine for future clients
Not everyone seeking for legal advice needs it straight away. Perhaps they are looking for a friend or relative, or maybe they are looking into potential problems that might occur to them in a month or year’s time. But make no mistake about it, everyone who visits your site could be a potential customer of the future, and it’s important for your law firm to seize on the opportunity that ‘casual’ visitors to your site can bring. If you can establish yourself as the authority in your niche, there is more chance of your visitors remembering your name in the future. You could also use what is known as ‘pull marketing’ to ensure visitors don’t get the opportunity to forget. You might set up a regular newsletter to people who sign up, for example – maybe even tempt them by offering a free e-book that includes helpful and valuable information. Using this kind of tactic is another way to extract useful information from your potential and existing clients, too. What is making them open your emails? What subjects are they clicking through to find out more? You can also segment your audience into categories, and send them highly targeted emails and newsletters with special deals, updates about your company, or general legal news.
A good website can also help you attract more people to your law firm. Not everyone wants to use a contact form to get in touch, of course, and some might want to come in and meet you in person. But these people will still be using the web to research their needs, and either give you a call or pop by your offices once they have the information they require. Even if your firm is something of a fixture in the local community, a website can help you find more clients and get them through your doors. By using local SEO tactics, you can widen your appeal to potential customers, make it easy for them to find you, and start benefitting from a huge market rather than the finite number of people in your direct vicinity. Let’s say you are a divorce lawyer in a town of 5,000. There’s only so many people that will have need of your services, so your potential client base is incredibly limited. By looking further afield and utilizing your website, it’s possible to get people from all over your county or state to come and pay you a visit.
You could spend years building up an excellent reputation in your local community. But unless you have secured your brand online, you have no control over what people think about you. How does this impact you? Well, let’s assume that your law firm shares the name of a similar business from another state – one with a tarnished reputation. If people want to find out more about you, but you don’t have a website, what happens when they do a Google search for your company name? It could bring up all kinds of results, from negative reviews on the Better Business Bureau to newspaper articles about how you have been ripping people off. Except, of course, it isn’t you – it’s the firm that shares your name in the next state. Also, you have to be aware that anyone with a particular axe to grind could go to great lengths to tarnish your name. It’s not inconceivable that an unscrupulous competitor could set up a website that is purely for damaging your reputation. Like it or not, in the legal world you will make enemies, and owning your site will make it harder for these foes to harm your brand.
Law Firm Websites
As you can see, there are many different reasons for creating, developing, and maintaining a good website for your law firm. Ultimately, in today’s modern world it is an absolute ‘must have,’ rather than a ‘would like.’ Not only will you be missing out on a huge market of potential clients without a site, but you will also risk losing customers to the competition. Even if you think you have a solid local reputation, get constant referrals, and are advertising enough on TV or in print already, you will be leaving a lot on the table if you don’t have a good website. And also, with a great, attractive, and user-friendly website, you can target the exact people you want as clients, rather than taking a scattergun approach to your marketing and advertising.