“Bland”, “boring”, and “self centred” are all words that can be used to describe the many cookie-cutter law practice websites that inhabit the web. The practice name, attorneys’ pictures, and contact information not withstanding, most law office web pages are all painfully alike, from the layout and design (is your’s shades of blue by chance?), through to the lackluster content. This makes your practice unmemorable, unrecognisable, and results in lower engagement. If you do what everyone else does, you’ll get what everyone else gets.
Wouldn’t you rather be outstanding?
So why not take the time to step back, look objectively at your website, and ask yourself, “Why specific elements would keep me on this site, and entice me to move through it?”. If you can’t identify those elements, then perhaps you should consider the following:
1. Stop Modeling the Competition
There’s a reason why lawyers aren’t inbound marketers or writers – your talents lie elsewhere. But if you take a few minutes to visit other lawyers’ websites, even without any marketing or design expertise, you will likely see that they are just like yours. Often they feature content full of legalese, which I think is often put there to impress fellow attorneys, rather than to connect with the most important audience: your existing, and potentially new, clients. So my first piece of advice is to stop copying the competition. There’s a good chance that they (wanting an online presence but having no idea how to go about building one) copied someone else before them – who was also doing it wrong. Rather than replicating what they do as far as Practice Areas and About pages, it’s a much better idea to ask a professional content writer to compile these pages for you. This way you will get copy that is original, tailored specifically to your practice, and which will have subtle marketing nuances and a gentle call-to-action.
2. Write For Your Clients
Here’s the problem: despite your name or law office being emblazoned on your website, your website isn’t really about you – it is about what you can do for your clients. Of course there has to be information about you on your website, but lawyers need to be writing for their audience, and in language that their clients can understand, if they dare hope to build a connection. Focus on:
- Intuitively helping your web visitors through your content and answering their questions – even before they’ve asked them!
- Rather than saying how good you are at ‘abc’ illustrate how that skill solves your clients problems/eases their pain/gives them peace of mind. Less ‘we’ and ‘our’ and more ‘you’ and ‘your’!
- Understanding that every client or potential client visiting each page on your site is asking themselves the question “What’s in it for me?”, which relates back to point 2.
- Being human and showing your businesses ‘personality’.
3. Include Testimonials
No matter how impressive your credentials, and how many cases you say you’ve won, writing about yourself has nowhere near the impact of someone else saying it about you. Asking your clients to give written feedback about you and your work is an often overlooked, yet key, component of a successful legal practice marketing. Having such ‘social proof’ these days is priceless. I’m not exactly sure why so few lawyers use the power of testimonials on their websites, but I suspect that it is because they just don’t ask for them. I suggest my clients’ support staff ask for this at the completion of a case, either by snail mail or email, and include some examples of ‘ones that you’ve received in the past (real or professionally written, it doesn’t matter for this exercise) to show them what to do. For past clients you might consider sending a note saying that you are revamping your website which will include a Testimonials page – would they be kind enough to take the time to provide one? Again, include the examples, and provide an email address to make responding quick and easy.
There is no doubt that more and more law firms are implementing sophisticated strategies (often through digital marketing consultants) to get their websites found easily by online searchers. It is the content that visitors find when they land on your pages that will keep them there – and guide them towards picking up the phone or sending an email enquiry to you. Your website is your 24/7/365 reception area – it’s just smart business sense to ensure that it looks its very best.