There are a million and one reasons to have a strong web presence, but the strongest and most relevant to you is attracting more clients. People who have recently experienced a traumatic incident are panicking and looking for an attorney they can trust.
Are any of you thinking: I don’t need to be online. I get plenty of referrals and organic traffic to keep me busy.
You may even get a majority of your clients this way. The traditional client-acquisition model has been tested and proven to work. All it takes is for you to spend hours and hours networking with other lawyers and building relationships; make your office visible by choosing a trendy location, open your office near the town’s courthouse, or put up billboards and other costly signs.
However, if spending more time and untracked funds are your preferred methods, then maybe this article will give you something to consider.
For those of you who are realizing that it is finally time to put more effort into online and less on your business cards, this post is for you.
Now, of course, you can simply hire a marketer to handle pay per click ads so you frequently show up in the top paid search results. However, the reality is that paid ads are only one component of a bigger picture – the journey a person goes through from being a lead to becoming a paying client.
Without understanding the road they took to reach you, you will be unable to take full advantage of the internet and social media. This fact is especially true for people looking for family, personal injury and criminal defense attorneys. These individuals are usually in a terrible situation, suffering from physical injuries or are emotionally scarred from their experience and quickly searching for a lawyer to help them.
Even in the legal industry, the world has become more consumer-driven than ever. The dynamic between the provider and the consumer is shifting. It is not about you, your fancy degrees or your fancy office. This is about the people and how much value you provide before they become clients.
Most importantly, recognize the vulnerability of your client’s situation before they reach you.
How Consumers Search for Attorneys
The number one tool people use to find a lawyer is—you guessed it—Google. That may not be a surprise; what is surprising, however, is how they search on Google. By 2020, over 50 percent of consumers will use voice search to input data into Google’s search engine. Why is this important?
Because people tend to use conversational speech when they use a voice search engine, making websites written in an everyday style will place them amongst the most relevant search results.
For example, if you have a Legalese-laden site, the chances of a potential customer voice searching for ‘assignment of benefit’ is very unlikely, so it may be best to update it.
For personal injury and criminal defense websites, words like hurt, accident, car, motorcycle, slip, fall, head injury, broken, DUI, resisting arrest, etc. are what people use to search for services. Be sure to incorporate those in your blog posts and other content. Potential clients also look for language that indicates you are familiar with the types of injuries they may be experiencing.
Pro tip: Ditch the Legalese; use layman language and make browsing content on your website a pleasant experience. It is challenging to consume overly technical information when all they need is to understand their legal problem better. Also, talk about the various injuries your firm has handled in the past, as this information goes a long way towards building trust. The more specific you are, the better the engagement your website or blog will receive.
What does that mean for you? If you are not coming up in search results, you are missing on the vast majority of people seeking legal help. If you do have a website, your website best be responsive, and it must load fast.
How Consumers Select Attorneys
Your potential clients care most about accountability, customer support, and transparency. What this says to me is:
- Reviews matter. A lot. Potential clients are looking at what you have done for previous clients to see if you hold yourself accountable and are following through on client expectations.
- The client intake and customer service process matter. From the first contact; whether your lead form or phone call, must all lead potential clients to feel like they matter to your law firm.
- Expectations matter. We see this as everything that you are putting out into the great world wide web (or in person). Transparency is a lot about expectation, so you want to represent yourself in person and online as the kind of law firm you are. If your firm prefers to meditate, make sure potential clients know that in your website copy and initial consultation.
Your reviews, client experience, and expectation setting will all culminate in more positive reviews, creating a continuous cycle for future clients to see.
Must-do tip: Claim your Google business page if you have not done so already, and ask all your clients to leave star ratings and written reviews there.
Pro tip: You want to reduce the friction clients may have to leave reviews – try a review platform like Grade.us (helps you get more reviews and catch negative reviews), Podium (automate reviews + chatbots), or GatherUp (formerly GetFiveStars; pulls all reviews into one place).
Additionally, if you are running any sort of offline ad campaign, in the form of TV ads, bus ads, or radio spots, online reviews could make or break a potential client calling you when they search for you on Google.
How do you know that people are searching online, instead of just calling from the ad? Check your website analytics for a branded search lift once that ad goes live; you’ll see how offline and online marketing are intertwined.
What Consumers Want to See
People want videos, and they want them everywhere, even on business and law firm websites! Information is so readily available that if you’re going to attract clients, you must give them value first. Video consumption is a growing trend; in fact, 54 percent of consumers want more videos from brands and businesses.
Consumers also look for good design. The trend in 2019 is a clean, minimalistic design. Traditional digital advertising does not produce the same results it once did—clients want education-based marketing. As they learn something valuable from you, they start trusting you, and quickly convert from leads to clients.
Pro tip: Content, content, content! You need to have content across multiple platforms, but at the very least, you should have a robust array of information on your website.
Personal injury clients want to know that you have the network to help them navigate the medical service process. They want to know what to expect, how long it may take for them to get back to their healthy lives, and what health services they should get. This is an entirely new world to them, and they will often look to you, whether appropriate or not, as their port in the storm.
Consumer habits are changing rapidly due to technological advances, and the only way to stop your firm from dying a slow death is to adapt accordingly and become consumer-focused.