A majority of potential customers look up an attorney online before they hire the attorney. But what if you’re not getting new clients online? It’s easy to generate new business on the web, so long as you use these 8 practical ideas.
1. Opt-in form. Let website visitors subscribe to your law firm blog or newsletter with an opt-in web form. You can put it on the home page or in the sidebar of your blog posts.
Also consider creating a dedicated landing page for subscriptions. You can link to it within blog posts or on evergreen material. A dedicated blog subscription landing page eliminates online distractions that can discourage potential clients from signing up.
2. Mobile-friendly. Take a look at your website on your smartphone. Can you read anything? Is there a click-to-call link? Are there big buttons?
A mobile-unfriendly website is hard to read. “Nearly 50 percent of web visitors end up at law firm websites from mobile devices,” says LawLytics blogger Victoria Blute. “Your law firm’s website should be responsive. This means that your website adjusts to various screen sizes and devices to provide an optimal viewing experience. Without a responsive site, potential clients may become frustrated and are likely to search elsewhere. That can mean lost business for your firm.”
3. Respond. Don’t let phone messages, emails and contacts from others pile up. It is in those messages that new business is waiting. Attorneys are busy people and have important work to get done. Bear in mind that growing your practice and engaging your website visitors is also important work.
“When you are busy, don’t let an email from a prospect go hours or days until you respond,” says Bernard Sullivan of Salesforce. “Take 15 seconds to acknowledge their email and let them know that you intend to respond within “X” timeframe.”
Business development is about relationships, not just the services you are selling. People hire lawyers they know, trust and like. Nurturing these relationships doesn’t stop once a person has visited your website. To build a tribe of loyal referral sources, continue to get to know clients and potential clients at every stage.
Attorneys have a multitude of channels, like email, web forms, instant messaging and social media. “Technology actually helps you communicate more effectively with the people that matter most, “ says Conrad Bayer, CEO of Tellwise. “When times are tough and you need to rely on the relationships you’ve built, think about who’s in your inner circle and if they are truly receiving the level of privilege they deserve.”
4. Web options besides “Go Away.” Most law firm websites market the organization of the firm — practice areas, attorney bios, name, rank, serial number. Often the website will be a pretty postcard of local landmarks — or worse yet, a picture of conference room with no one in it. The lack of more options telegraphs the message “Go Away” to visitors. Don’t let this happen to you.
Instead give visitors options to:
- Read your blog.
- Click a link to read other useful blog posts.
- Download an ebook, such as “10 Things You Should Know Before Talking to Your Insurance Company After an Accident.”
- See your infographic. For example, a divorce attorney could create an infographic about “7 Things You Should Know Before Getting a Divorce.”
- Click to see a news story about your firm.
5. Improve your SEO with content. Many attorneys ask “Why isn’t my SEO strategy working?”
“The best answer to that question is that they’re not blogging often enough. If you’re blogging only once or twice a month, you’re not creating enough content to attract search engines, help your potential clients, or benefit your firm. Content marketing works better than any other form of SEO,” Blute says.
What’s more, Hubspot research proves that the more often you blog, the more clients you get.
Realistically, lawyers should update their blogs three times a week to harness the marketing power of their blogs. Frequent posting of original, unique content will also improve a lawyer’s search engine rankings and generate more traffic.
If you don’t have the time to write that frequently, you should hire an attorney-supervised law firm content marketing service. Thousands of law firms are already doing this.
6. Tell a story. People remember stories, not strings of data. When was the last time you told a great story? It could have been told to a group of friends, to coworkers, to your children, to anybody really.
For example, I remember giving a presentation about business development at a law firm. One of the lawyers spoke up mournfully, asking, “How do I get people to like me?” I could identify with that question. I thought for a minute and told him, “Ask questions.”
When you are talking to someone in person, ask them questions to get them talking. I told the attorney that all he had to do was pop a good question and follow up with “Tell me more about that.”
I went on that when he was writing a blog post, he should discuss the benefit for a potential client to act now on their claim on the one hand, and the downside of delaying on the other hand. Wind up by asking, “What do you think is the better approach?”
He was so relieved. It completely changed his outlook about marketing and business development.
“Being a good storyteller is the secret-sauce skill that will help you win more friends, influence more prospects and have a lot more fun in work and life,” says Mark Raymo of Salesforce. “A well-told personal story breaks down barriers, engages your audience, humanizes you as a speaker, and can take your sales skills to the next level.”
7. Bulletproof your text. Nothing kills a sale faster than a typo or misuse of grammar. These mistakes may convey that you are not very smart. Furthermore, web visitors don’t have time to sift through complicated sentences. They need content that’s easy to digest. To avoid writing content that’s too complicated, attorneys may want to try the Hemingway Editor. This app examines the readability of your article by grade level. The easier your content is to read, the lower the grade level assigned to it. It also highlights the following problems:
- Sentences that are hard to read.
- Complex phrases that have simpler alternatives.
- Use of adverbs instead of forceful verbs.
- Passive voice, which is a weak way to write.
Here’s an example of what the Hemingway Editor does:
To eliminate typos, try the free Grammarly app on your computer. It adds a spell-checker to your browser, to Gmail and Facebook, and to any online form. You can also compose your next article in Grammarly, use the app to dry-clean your material, and then paste perfect text into the content management system of your blog. I use Grammarly all the time for bulletproof content.
8. Add a Call-to-Action. This is a small bit of text that tells your web visitors what to do next. For example, you can tell your blog readers to promote your posts on social media, or email the post to their friends.
Many law firm websites just sit there.
“A solid call-to-action drives activity. A call-to-action doesn’t have to be creative to be powerful. It can be something simple: “Arrested for DUI? Subscribe to our blog and learn how our firm can help,” Blute says.
The best call-to-action is, of course, “Call our office now to make an appointment.”