When you develop a law site, the users’ perception of your services is influenced by many factors. If your site does not communicate the idea that you are the best choice by providing a framework of information visitors can understand, they may be unable to interpret your credentials on their own. This will equal lost business for you and could have profound legal consequences for them. To ensure your firm gets the respect and attention it deserves from potential clients, you must keep marketing in mind.
Legal marketing and legal advertising share some fundamental qualities with marketing and advertising in other industries. However, there are many more intangibles that weigh upon the choice of a law firm. These intangibles require you to ensure you project an image that is at once professional and approachable, encouraging the potential client to take that next step and contact your office. What do you need to know to ensure you have an effective legal marketing and legal advertising plan?
It’s crucial to understand these three steps in a user’s first visit to your site:
Step One: Users Arrive With Specific Legal Questions in Mind
The vast majority of your site visitors will be people in your local area who have specific legal worries in mind. Maybe they just been in a car accident and need a personal injury attorney. Perhaps they have been accused of a crime. No matter what their situation is, your average user will be a person with profound legal concerns and a lack of knowledge about what to do next. Addressing their concerns should be your marketing priority.
At first, it may seem counterintuitive to offer basic advice online. However, you are building a relationship of trust when you allow visitors to access useful information. If not for your expertise, they may say or do things that would put their legal future in jeopardy. They may be confused, anxious, angry or depressed; your site may be one of the first things available to help restore some sense of control for them.
As a result, you should try to structure your site around the specific legal questions that you handle regularly. Users will typically ignore information about your credentials and case history until after they have found the information they need. Only after they get this information will they consider using your law firm their opinion on your firm will be shaped largely by how clear and helpful the information you provide is.
Step Two: Users Ignore Credentials Until They Are Almost Ready to Contact You
The average visitor to your website does not know the difference between a tier one or tier two law school. Users may be mildly impressed by “big name” schools such as those in the Ivy League, but they will have difficulty understanding what your legal education and professional credentials really mean to them unless you put things in context.
What is the most effective way of contextualizing your legal career? The answer will depend on the type of law you practice. As a general rule, however, people respond to data that is specific and quantifiable. If you are a personal injury attorney, users want to know how many millions of dollars you have helped your clients claim in settlement money. If you focus on defective product suits, users want to know which major companies you have fought in court. These factors make an impression on the average law consumer.
Step Three: Users Evaluate the Difficulty of Getting in Touch With You
Believe it or not, users can decide your law firm is ideal for their needs and then decide not to call you. The final step in making the connection between a potential client and your firm is ensuring the client actually makes the call. While some clients will be willing to find your firm’s phone number and get in contact with you right away, many will continue to “shop around” for a law firm even at this stage in the process.
To make sure that users get in touch, make it as easy for them as possible. You should try to provide more than one option; even in an urgent legal situation, some users prefer email because they do not wish to end up waiting on the phone. Many law firms have seen an increase in overall contacts from potential clients simply by changing the contact forms to indicate that telephone responses are provided by an attorney.
“Content marketing” and “relationship marketing” combine to create the most effective way to structure your law site for browsing. The average user will first reach your site in a state of agitation; he or she has a burning question in mind. Responding to that question through well-written articles on your site establishes you as an expert. Only then will your impressive career and professional credentials burnish that image. Finally, users seek a way to get in touch with you and must find a path of low resistance. To get the best results possible, optimize your site with these three phases in mind.
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