Research conducted by BIA/Kelsey indicates that 97% of consumers research local products and services online before purchasing. Furthermore, the research showed that 19% of respondents made an online appointment in the previous 6 months. These are key reasons why you need to get your law firm website right.
The statistics are staggering and emphasises just how important and powerful your law firm website is in a customer’s “path-to-purchase” and why a significant portion of your marketing budget should be allocated to your online presence.
Your law firm website is just as important, if not more so, as your physical location and speaks volumes about your legal practice.
If designed correctly, your website is a powerful marketing tool that offers a channel of communication (share valuable information with your customers and create engagement), a branding tool (represent your law firm’s personality through your content), a sales channel (promote your services and generate leads) and an education tool (provide answers to your customers' questions).
Your Law Firm Website - a Marketing Powerhouse
These are the key factors to ensuring your website is a marketing powerhouse:
The key to successful marketing is to give customers information according to their immediate needs.
When driving customers to your legal practice website ensure you take them to a landing page that is relevant to what they were searching for, rather than simply defaulting to your Home page.
High-value content is critical along with an easy-to-use website e.g. clear, well-organised and simple navigation, a professional look and feel, and up-to-date information.
Engage Your Visitors
Customers typically visit websites looking for answers to their problems.
Your website is a showcase for projecting your skills and expertise through providing high-quality content that provides value-added information to solving visitors’ problems. Diversified content increases engagement, which increases the time visitors spend on your website, positively influencing your search engine rankings. So, consider using images, videos, charts, infographics and audio as well as written content.
Be creative and let your legal firm’s personality shine through the content you offer your visitors.
It’s also imperative that you add fresh content to your website regularly as this builds trust and promotes visitors to return, along with having positive SEO benefits. Also, remember to add calls-to-action to your content so customers can easily take your desired action e.g. a link to your Contact Us page for an enquiry, a link to an online calendar to set up a free 30-minute consultation, a Skype link to call you immediately etc.
Build a Marketing Database
One of the greatest marketing benefits for a website that offers a service is the opportunity to build a marketing database. This is achieved by encouraging your visitors to give you their name and email address in return for something of value e.g. a discount for their first engagement, a legal DIY guide on a particular topic, a free 30-minute consultation etc.
A marketing database is one of the most valuable assets in your marketing armour and building it successfully depends on the perceived value of what you are offering for free (so make it worthwhile), the quality and value of the information you have on your website (as these contribute to forming a first impression of your legal practice) and the business credibility your website portrays.
You can then use this database to send informative newsletters to subscribers, providing an opportunity to engage regularly with your customers, opening the channels of communication.
Extend Your Reach
Your law firm website presents the perfect opportunity to integrate with your social media accounts. Your social media channels should be clearly visible on your website, and every post you add to your blog should be social media friendly, with social media buttons that allow your visitors to easily “share the love”.
The viral effect of social media is an explosive marketing tool that extends your reach of communication, generating a healthy flow of new business – but once again its success depends on the quality of your content and whether it’s worthy of sharing.
Traditional advertising shouldn’t be forgotten and should be used to drive traffic to your website, creating the foundation from where you begin to interact at a more personal level.
As a local business, you can no longer ignore the importance of having a website. As a basic requirement, your law firm website should look appealing and should match your marketing goals e.g. drive customers to contact you, schedule an appointment, subscribe to your newsletter, attend an event etc. However, to remain in business you need to offer your customers high-quality, informative content that assists them in making their buying decision.
Your law firm website is your own online marketing channel and should epitomise a top-performing salesperson and act as an unpaid fee earner – well presented, knowledgeable, value-adding information, an expert in the legal field and readily available to answer questions. If you get this right, why would a customer choose to go anywhere else?
About the author
Brian has more than twenty years' experience in marketing and management across diverse industries including legal, real estate, tourism and technology. Brian lives in Sydney with his wife and two daughters.