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The trend line is increasing and now around 97% of consumers are going online to find local goods and services according to various consumer surveys including Lighthouse Marketing, Bia/Kesley and ConStat. If your law firm website currently looks tired to the ‘reasonable man’ and is not working effectively, then take a deep breath. You need to acknowledge that not only have you already missed out on new work that your firm and other staff could have been doing, but this will continue indefinitely.

Ask yourself how much longer will this be allowed to happen? What will be the total value of new work lost for putting up with a sub-standard website? Will good staff leave because you can’t keep them busy? Are your competitors gaining the upper hand?

If your marketing strategy is that law firms are different or to wait for the 3 percent of consumers that don’t do their initial ‘shopping’ online, then you’re missing out on a massive share of the market. Add the challenges of 2020, the exponential drive towards a digital platform and remote working to the mix, and the numbers speak for themselves.

Ninety-three per cent of online interaction starts with a search engine search, Google being by far the most popular – in other words, the days of searching ‘Smith Jones & Co. Lawyers’ in an address bar are being replaced by more far-reaching searches like ‘family lawyers in Greentown’. What does this mean? It means that if you practice family law in Greentown, whether or not your name is Smith Jones & Co., you (a) need a website and (b) should be doing all that you can to ensure it is optimised for search engines.

The more consumers go online to research goods and services to make informed purchasing decisions, the further behind your law firm will be if you do not have a website.

As the saying goes, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right, and nothing could be closer to the truth than when you are building or upgrading your law firm website. Having the right website brings in more visitors, leading to more conversions and ultimately more work.

Making the right impression

First impressions count, particularly when it comes to the first 5 seconds or so that a visitor spends on your website.

The fact that most consumers research products and services online before making any contact with the business, provides an easy ‘out’ if they don’t like what they see straight away. Without having to respond to any awkward sales pitches, your potential prospects simply disappear – they click out of the site, go back to their search results, and find the next firm.

Your website needs to load quickly and look and feel professional. Your home page should make it abundantly clear to your visitors who you are, what you do, and how they can get in touch.

Your firm’s practice areas and values should be front and centre without excessive pretence or accolades. Your website needs to show potential clients how you can serve them, not tell them how lucky they are to be served by you.

Design and navigation

Professional web design that is aesthetically pleasing and optimised for mobile usage helps foster trust and brand awareness and creates the right first impression. Your site should have a crisp clean look and use consistent branding, style, colour and imagery.

Even if the website design is good however, the positive experience is short lived if visitors cannot easily find their way around. Poor or clumsy navigation soon turns a prospective client into an exhausted visitor who leaves quickly to find a more hospitable location, i.e. your competitor’s website. Labelling should be clear and practical, saving the clever and creative language for other areas, and using every-day terms that help your visitors find what they are looking for.

Creating the right content to convert

Content is information you provide to your visitors, referrers and potential clients that is helpful, timely and relevant. It includes a range of assets such as newsletters, articles, case studies, blogs, social media posts, e-books, white papers, webinars and podcasts.

The value of good content should not be underestimated. It builds trust and credibility and demonstrates your firm’s expertise across different areas of law, assuring clients, referrers and potential clients of your capacity to help with various legal matters. Good content is written in a helpful style that avoids legalese and self-serving claims. It can be used across various digital platforms (i.e. in blogs, via e-newsletters and shared on social media) and repurposed as needed for different media.

Getting Search Engine Optimisation right

Your website structure and content should be optimised for search engines such as Google. The technology behind search engine optimisation is constantly evolving, however there are some essential SEO tips that can assist with getting your website found. Professional site design can include SEO services to ensure consumers can find your law firm online.

The right website for more work

As your most important marketing tool, your website works for your law firm even when you are not. Having the right website for your law firm doesn’t necessarily mean having the most extravagant or showy website around. It does however mean investing sufficiently to ensure that your website:

  • is professional, well-designed and makes a great first impression;
  • makes it clear who you are, what you do, how you can help and how your visitors can get in touch;
  • is user friendly with easy navigation;
  • is rich with engaging, informative and useful content;
  • has a chance of getting found by potential clients through search engine optimisation;
  • is secure.

Law firm marketing is all we do, providing busy lawyers with effective content, marketing and communication strategies. A big stumbling block we find is that lawyers don’t know where to start or how to go about getting the right content together. We solve this by doing it for you.

We build, host and manage secure law firm websites for optimum performance and conversion with the visitor and user in mind. If you want to know more about how to grow your business, please contact me.

About the author
Peter Heazlewood

Peter Heazlewood

Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.
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