Most consumers in the United States don’t trust lawyers. Research over the years has reinforced this. For example, an ABA study found that a full 69% of consumers surveyed believe that “Lawyers are more interested in making money than in serving their clients.”
Obviously that’s not accurate. We know this firsthand – the vast majority of our clients are lawyers who are dedicated to solving problems and making their clients’ lives better.
But that’s not how the general public perceives the legal profession.
Most of your potential clients are pre-disposed NOT to trust you. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that there is plenty you can do to overcome this perception. And once you do, you’re at a competitive advantage compared to all of the other lawyers in your market who haven’t figured it out.
The challenge is to establish a personal connection with potential clients – so that they can get to know you, sense your passion, and recognize your expertise and your ability to solve their problems. Otherwise, you’re “just another lawyer” who is out to make a quick buck.
Here are several ways to establish this all-important connection through your internet presence:
- Include video on your website, giving potential clients the opportunity to see your face, hear your voice, read your body language, and develop trust. Short of a face-to-face conversation, video is the best way to establish a connection and establish trust with potential clients. Click here for an example of the type of video that we shoot for our clients.
- Get active on social media, giving your audience the chance to engage with you, ask you questions, and get to know what you and your firm stand for. An active social media presence gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your passion and your expertise is an open, transparent environment that encourages trust. Make sure that you’re not just promoting yourself, however – it’s important to provide content and information that has value to your audience. Otherwise they’re going to tune you out.
- Create a value-based email newsletter, a regular feature that focuses on providing helpful and practical information to your audience. When you focus on providing value to your readers, without asking for anything in exchange, you prove that you’re not only looking out for yourself. We recommend that law firms send out their e-newsletter at least once per month, and platforms like MailChimp or Constant Contact usually work well.
- Write blog entries which demonstrate that you understand common questions and concerns facing your clients and that you have the know-how and the passion to help clients solve those problems. We recommend that you focus on sharing practical information and answers to questions that your clients are asking. For example, a bankruptcy attorney could write a blog entry entitled “How to Determine Whether Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is Right for You.” A business attorney could write a blog entry entitled “Four Steps to More Effective Business Contracts.” This approach allows you to address common concerns, provide value and enhance your credibility – while still encouraging readers to contact you when they’re ready for a solution.
And a bonus tip that is applicable in the “real world” as well as the internet:
- Drop the “legalese” when discussing what you do, and instead speak the language of your target market. Let them know, in language that makes sense to them, what it is that you do and how you can solve their problems. This is important when you’re posting on social media, when you’re meeting people face-to-face at an industry function, and just about everywhere else. The goal is to let your audience know that you understand the challenges that they are facing and that you have the knowledge and ability to help them solve these problems. And most of all, show them that you really care – you’re not just in it for a paycheck.
Most of your potential clients are conditioned NOT to trust you. But you can use the internet to break down those barriers and establish trust. If you’d like help evaluating your internet presence, we’re currently offering a FREE Website Appraisal for Legal Ink readers. Click here for the free download.