Are you frustrated with your website? Is it not producing any results? If so, there are three important changes you must make to transform it from a billboard into a business development machine.
1. UPDATE YOUR BLOG FREQUENTLY
Update your blog frequently, at least two to three times a week. High-growth firms focus on blogging, and research from Hubspot and Hinge proves that more blogs = more leads and clients. That is, the more frequently you post blog articles, the greater the response you will get. This is because a website must be filled with new, practical material in order for Google to give your site a high ranking and for clients to find it.
Most law firm websites fail because they display only an unchanging collection of bios and practice descriptions.
To find new material for blog posts, write about emerging trends – something that is not well understood, like new legislation or a new court opinion that affects your clients. Find a current event and offer some perspective about it – your viewpoint is what engages clients. If you don’t have time to write the blog posts, hire a service to write drafts for you.
All of your content should not consist of written material. Think about creating an infographic, which many law firms are doing these days. An infographic conveys a message in a single glance. Infographics are so powerful because the human brain deciphers am image instantly, while it takes more time to process something in writing.
To create an infographic, start with five or six points of data on a subject you have researched, organize them into a story, and hire a graphic artist to display it graphically. For ideas on infographics, visit Pinterest.com and search on “law” or “legal.”
Video is also an important feature of an effective website. There is no excuse for not having video because YouTube now has a free Webcam Feature, where you can sit in front of your computer and present a monologue — about a current event or emerging issue. For directions, please view this video: http://bit.ly/WebcamVideo. Be smart and invest $75 in a plug-in webcam for good picture quality. I personally recommend the Logitech HD Webcam C920, which you can buy at a computer or office supply store.
2. INCLUDE ADDED-VALUE OFFERS
Put an added-value offer on your website that visitors can download after completing a form. Your free offer can be a printout, a guide or a list that has practical, useful information for clients. A PDF of the firm brochure does not count.
For instance, if you are a plaintiff injury lawyer who handles traffic cases, you could put online a list of the most dangerous intersections in your city. Or, if you are business lawyer, you can put online a checklist for employees on how to prevent employee legal complaints. A divorce lawyer can put online a guide to “getting your life back together after your divorce.”
Probably the most popular added-value offer is a subscription to a regular newsletter from your law firm.
Before anyone can get the free offer, they must complete the online form in which they give their name, email address and phone number at a minimum. This enables you to add them to your mailing list and nurture the new relationship with follow-up messages. Plan ahead, so that when you get this information online, you are notified by email and it is also added automatically to your mailing list database.
3. INVEST IN MARKETING AUTOMATION SOFTWARE
If you are serious about getting leads and new clients from your website, you must invest in marketing automation software. Some of the popular brands are Marketo, Hubspot, Infusionsoft and Salesforce. The cost ranges from $25 per month for a barebones Salesforce account for one user, to thousands of dollars for many users and many features. I recommend you do a Google search using the terms “best CRM software.” (CRM means client relationship management).
These services allow you to send out an email with a link in it – such as a newsletter with the hyperlinked headline of a blog post on your website. When a person gets the email and clicks on the link, the automation software will connect that visitor with their name. Now you have the identity of someone you can follow up with.
One kind of effective follow-up message is a simple newsletter that summarizes your most popular blog posts. It now possible to create a newsletter automatically and have it sent out at a particular date and time – with no human input.
This works if you are using the WordPress platform, the most popular platform for blogging. Your I.T. staff can add a plug-in for Mailchimp, which is the most popular email newsletter software. The plugin will automatically collect all the email addresses that you have stored in Mailchimp, and scan your website to find the most popular articles as determined by page views. It will automatically format a nice newsletter, with headlines and thumbnail pictures, and send it out, for instance at 10 AM on every Tuesday morning.
I have used automatic newsletters successfully on several websites that I operate.
If you are not willing or able to take these three steps – frequent blog posts, an online offer with a form, and marketing automation software – rest assured that your competitors are doing so to get a leg up on you.
On the other hand, if you recognize that your website can be working for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – even when you’re asleep or on vacation – you’ll make the investment and enjoy the results.