The legal profession is highly regarded for being both noble and elite, with its complex processes, powerful arguments and distinct language that can overwhelm an ordinary person. Building a prestigious brand of service can attract A-list clients but your website or blog content must be able to speak directly to prospective clients in a language that they understand – not legalese or courtroom speak.
Marketing your law firm with web content
About you: Many website owners take the ‘About’ page for granted and spend little time in brainstorming and writing its contents. The About page, however, is a great way to introduce your firm to website visitors who often reach your site because they searched for an attorney with your skills. In fact, your ‘About’ page is the only page that should be you-focused and not client-focused.
About what you do: This is perhaps where most business websites get it all wrong – not just law firms. Too often the website content sounds like a giant advertisement, or an exercise in what I think of as ‘business peacocking’ (see below).
When you are explaining the services that you provide your clients, the focus should always be on them: how what you do will help THEM, ease THEIR pain, solve THEIR problems.
Tone and language
Lawyers write pleadings and contracts using legal terminology that can be difficult to comprehend in one reading. Having been trained and accustomed to legal writing, lawyers who create web or blog content are often unaware of how their articles come across to ordinary readers. Connecting with your readers is vital and can lead to new retainer accounts or engagement letters.
Law firm websites need to build trust among its readers before they are converted to clients. The best way to grow confidence in your practice is to provide useful information, tips or solutions to nagging problems that they’ve been losing sleep over.
Again, you must write with the ordinary reader in mind. Break down complex solutions into small bite-sized chunks of information that they can digest to the extent that they become engaged with you. This engagement will make it so much more likely that they will pick up the phone or hit the email button to make contact.
Some common failings in law firm websites
1. They are old, tired and not mobile-friendly: for many people the only way they access the internet is via their smart phones. If you look at your website on a mobile phone and find that the copy is the size of ants, then you’re already losing prospects. The extra effort to ‘stretch and scroll’ is, for many, just not worth it.
To illustrate what I mean, look at my www.KerryFinchWriting.com website on your desktop and then on your smart phone. You will see that it automatically reconfigures the content to be easily read – it is ‘responsive’. With this in mind, consider whether now might be the right time to revamp your current site.
2. They are just like everyone else’s: If your website color scheme is dark blue with accents of black and white, then you are just like almost every other lawyer with an online presence. There are ways to be professional without being downright boring; create a presence that is not intimidating – one that breaks down any barriers to engagement. The objective is not to impress your competitors (the ‘business peacocking’ mentioned above) but to appeal to your potential clients.
3. In your main website page copy, particularly your ‘Services’ or ‘Areas of Law’ content, you’ve gone all out to demonstrate your high degree of legal knowledge: But do your prospects need information at this level? The short answer is ‘No’.
What they need to know is that you understand what they are going through, and that you can help them. Its that simple. You can go into detail on specific issues, or explain concepts in your blog, which brings us to……
4. Not having a blog/news section: Because the search engines want to see your site growing with original relevant content, if you don’t have a blog/news section on your website, then you are squandering a big opportunity.
The maintenance of a blog, I know, is often what holds lawyers back from creating one as part of their websites. But having ongoing written content for this purpose should not be a chore, it should be part of your marketing budget – and it doesn’t have to be much. For instance, I can provide several 400 word law-related posts each month for less than $250.
Blog or News sections provide a great opportunity to expand on sometimes complex subjects, and are ideal to link to from your main pages – and vice-versa.
Your Clients Are Looking For You – Get Found!
Your prospective clients are looking online for providers of legal services, so your website needs to be found by them. Just having a website is not enough; ‘set and forget’ does not work in the dynamic online environment. You need to invest in content marketing strategies, including written content, in order for your website to be given the Google tick of approval that will see it delivered to searchers looking for legal services in your area.
What they see when they arrive at your website will determine, often in a matter of seconds, whether they stay or leave. And once they reject your site, they are unlikely to return.
So my recommendation is to get an outsider, someone who knows abound current and modern online marketing strategies, to cast a critical eye over your site structure and its content. The second step, one only made by those who are truly committed to building a solid and professional online presence, is to take the action they recommend.