Marketing a law office is far different from selling other products and services. Many times, prospective clients are confused, afraid or angry when searching for an attorney. They want to be assured someone is there to look out for them, to be on their side, to fight for them. These prospects may never have had an experience with an attorney before.
So what goes into the design of a good law firm website? We think it starts with three main goals.
Your website acts as your first impression. We all know how important first impressions are. Don’t skimp on building a quality website with professional photography. We cannot overemphasize the concept of putting the best version of yourself online.
1. Your website should effectively communicate who you are and what you do.
There’s a lot more here than meets the eye. This is about branding and building that brand through your website. It may be time to revisit exactly what type of law office you are. What are your best attributes, and who is your target market? Don’t try to communicate a corporate feel if you work with families and small businesses. Don’t be afraid to communicate why you got into law and the type of law you enjoy practicing. If you have a two-person office with a secretary, “sell” your personal service and one-on-one attention. Instead of enhancing their identity, many smaller firms lose their identity through corporate-style websites. Don’t talk over the head of your visitors. Tell your story and tell it in an honest and compelling way. You are selling trust, empathy, effectiveness and even compassion.
2. It should serve as the centerpiece of your firm’s online presence.
There are likely many aspects of your online marketing. You may use various social media. You may have a blog or use email campaigns. It’s possible you may decide to use banner ads and/or pay-per-click advertising to generate visitors. No matter what you do online, it all revolves around your firm’s website. Your website is not only the centerpiece of your online marketing, but many use it as the core of their total marketing efforts. Your website empowers you to control the message and your brand. It is important for your other marketing efforts to be consistent with it. Colors, fonts, attitude and imagery should have a cohesive feel with any billboards, pamphlets, business cards and print ads you may create. All of the aforementioned should direct readers to your website. When all of your marketing elements are working in harmony, you build momentum and an unstoppable marketing force.
3. It should be designed to “funnel” prospective clients to you.
A website may be “pretty” and even get your message across, but if it doesn’t funnel new prospective clients to you or serve as a valuable resource for current clients, it is missing the mark. A website is a critical part of your office’s marketing efforts and should therefore produce tangible results. There are many aspects to how funneling or inbound marketing can work for a law firm. It generally starts with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC). This is the strategy of having prospects find you online through the keywords they may type into a search engine. You can certainly pay for search engine visibility or you can build it organically through proper content and design elements. You can also funnel people to your website through email marketing, your social media and online advertising. Once prospective clients locate you, they should find something of value to help funnel them further. This could be in the form of a free downloadable “How to…” guide, blog, video, or free initial consultation. It may be website content that demonstrates your knowledge and capability and places you in a position as a sought out expert. Ultimately, you want it to result in them initiating a contact.
Know Who Your Competition Is… and Isn’t
If yours is a small legal office, marketing your firm is significantly different than that of the big firms. You have something they don’t — the ability to be more nimble, the opportunity to know each of your clients. You have the chance to show clients they are more than a case number. You can look them in the eyes and help them understand their options and what they can expect. Use this unique advantage to better market your office with effective small law firm web design.
You know why a prospective client should choose your office over the other firms. But they don’t; and more than that, they may not understand why a small office is better. ‘They don’t know what they don’t know.’
So help them figure out the questions they should be asking.