At the end of a week that began with me forgetting Valentines Day (again), I found myself in a meeting with a prospective client talking about how, in order to win online, they needed to view their website in much the same way as they view any relationship that is important to them.
Online marketing for law firms - The romantic view
Relationships, like high performing law firm websites, aren’t easy and straightforward to maintain. They require constant attention, nurturing, and honest to goodness hard work. If you understand and accept the need for frequent attention and work in your relationship with your website, then you are starting out on a solid footing when it comes to building something that will last and provide you with the rewarding experience you hoped for at the outset (i.e. a platform that generates lots of profitable new instructions for you on a consistent basis). Like any relationship, when it comes to your law firm’s website, and your online marketing strategy in general, the more that you put in to it, the more you will get out of it.
Given that I managed to forget Valentines (again – my wife isn’t letting me forget) you may not think that I’m the best person to take relationship advice from, but I am passionate about helping our law firm clients generate business online. That being the case, here are 5 top tips to help you maintain a healthy relationship with your website.
Relationships are about not only taking, but also giving. One objection that we sometimes hear from our law firm clients is that they feel that we are encouraging them to give away too much information on their website. If you want people to contact you for professional advice, it’s important that you exhibit your authority and expertise. The chances are that somebody visiting your website will be shopping around before making any decision on who to contact. If you aren’t putting your best foot forward and focusing on making a great first impression online (your website will very often be a potential instructing agent’s first contact with you and your firm) then you are giving your competitors an advantage come decision making time (see this blog on the zero moment of truth for further information). As well known digital commentator Jay Baer says, “give away information snacks to sell knowledge meals”.
In a crowded market place you need to be able to establish your firm’s vision and core messaging online in a clear and concise manner. Be clear about who you are, what you do and why you do it better than your competition. Be sure to communicate this clearly throughout your website. Remember that not everyone will enter your site via the homepage, if properly optimised, those searching for a particular service will be directed to the relevant landing page on your site, and so make sure that you are meeting and exceeding expectations no matter where a new visitor alights. If your law firm covers a broad range of practice areas, it’s important that you segment your audience and make sure that you are addressing individual groups in a language and tone of voice that is relevant to them.
3. Pick your battles
If, like most clients, you are working within a limited marketing budget then it’s important that you focus on targeting the types of work that you want more of, that you enjoy doing and that is most profitable for you. Spreading your budget across 12 areas of practice when only 3 or 4 of those really fall within you core area of expertise or are profitable to you isn’t really the best use of your resource. Focus on bringing in more of what you want.
4. Don’t hide your needs
This tip is more in relation to your relationship with your digital agency should you have one. When we take on a new client we look to develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships based on transparency and trust. As mentioned earlier, we are passionate about helping our law firm clients generate business online. Everything we do is designed with that end goal in mind. The most successful accounts we manage are the more collaborative ones, where there is regular two way dialogue between account manager and client. While we can see if what we are doing is generating enquiries for our clients, we rely on feedback telling us if those enquiries are of a decent quality, are of the right type and converting into profitable new business. This type of feedback is vital to allow us to continue to improve our service offering and ensure that we are utilising the time given to an account in the most effective way possible. While regular communication with our clients means that this doesn’t happen very often, feedback such as “we’re getting loads of enquiries but they aren’t converting”, or “we’re getting lots of legal aid enquiries but we don’t want legal aid work” is important as it allows us to adapt our offering to suit your business needs on an ongoing basis and ensures that your website continues to bring in the type of work you want.
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of trust
Building trust is crucial if you want your website to convert. If you can showcase your own expertise and gain credibility through your website you will have a higher chance of converting visitors into paying clients. You can do this through the inclusion of testimonials, 'trust icons' such as Legal 500 or Chambers logos or logos of your industry memberships, or through publishing relevant case studies explaining how you have helped other clients.
Content has a key role to play when it comes to building trust. When considering your content, it’s worthwhile considering what Google constitutes a “High Quality Page”. In their eyes, a webpage must:
- Have full and robust main copy;
- Be on a site which has a good reputation for the topic of the page, and;
- Be expert, authoritative and trustworthy
- Contain relevant information
A robust approach to content on your site will help you to attract and convert visitors. Google also likes to see websites that are regularly updated with unique, authoritative content. This can go a long way to improving brand recall, establishing your authority and building trust with your audience.
For more information on what Google expects from law firms from a content perspective, check out our recent blog on the subject.
(Website) Relationship counselling from Moore Legal Technology
If you’re up for it and follow these tips, you’ll be on the road to having a more successful relationship with your website. We can help you too - get in touch today for a free audit of your website or online marketing strategy in general. Call on 07969336526 and ask for Chris.