Building a website for your law firm isn’t like building for any other type of line of business. While the approaches can be similar, there are key differences that can make or break a practice’s customer facing web portal. The key to creating a successful website, as with any other website, is to build with conversion in mind. Attaining conversion is the key reason to have a website in the first place. Let’s take a look at the so-called “conversion funnel” and how it applies to garnering traffic.
- Discovering a need. This is the top of the funnel – or, if you will, the event horizon. A person discovers that they need a lawyer in specialty X.
- Google to the rescue! This person will go to their favorite search engine, and input their search terms such as “attorney,” “lawyer,” in addition to their locality, and the specialty or task that needs to be performed. The results will lead to a firm’s website, blog, or social media presences.
- Doing the research. The person doing the research may visit several websites, so making your firm’s site stand out is critical in bringing them back. You want to be informative to the layman, as well as professional. People are intimidated by the legal process, so projecting professionalism, confidence, and competence is key.
- Getting in touch. At the point which they return to your website, they are a potential client that you have converted from raw traffic. Your site needs to have pertinent information, multiple ways of getting in contact – such as phone, email, contact request forms, or even live chat.
- Converting to a lead. Contact, once made, is the real make or break. You have converted a browser into a lead. If you can bring them into the office to discuss their problem face-to-face and in person, you have very likely landed a new client. Strategies such as offering a free initial consultation give you a chance to make it clear that they do need specialized legal assistance, and that you are eager to provide that service.
- Closing the deal. Once you have closed the deal, or converted a browser into a client, you have a client who will very likely use your services in other matters. Keeping your customer engaged is the cardinal rule of bringing them back for more. Subscriptions to mailing lists, engaging with them on social media, or bringing them regularly to your blog will keep them engaged with you and your firm.
Time is a critical factor with any website. The average attention span in 2015 is 8.25 seconds, that is .75 seconds less than that of a goldfish. Even a one second delay in the loading of your pages can result in a customer going elsewhere.
- The top of the funnel is the widest point you are aiming to catch people who are in the initial stage of searching for an attorney. Build your online presence with blog posts, shared articles, press releases, and case studies.
- The middle of the funnel is what you could call the persuasion layer. People are now aware of your brand and are looking for specifics, these can take the form of reviews, presence in media such as local press and radio shows, or podcasts and blogs. You can also self-generate content such as webinars and videos based upon your specialty.
- At the end of the funnel, you have already established a relationship with the client and should continue to engage with them by bringing them back to your site for quality content.
Very simply, optimizing for conversions means that your website engages at multiple levels with the customers’ needs. By using quality content that is fresh, relevant, and informative, along with intuitive web design for both desktop and mobile, you are setting the stage for a productive and continued relationship. By creating a landing page, or multiple landing pages for each specialty, you stand a much better chance of garnering valuable local traffic. The National Law Review advocates some key steps to conversion.
- Setting up a targeted landing page.
- Making a valuable offer.
- Linking your landing page to your social media presence or advertising, or a Google PPC advertising.
- Giving customers multiple opportunities to give you their contact information.
However, people are generally wary of opting in to any database simply for fear of yet more spam, or an unsecured database falling prey to hackers. There is a fine line between being proactive and engaging, and being multiple pop-up pushy. AB testing for landing page effectiveness may give you a better idea of what strategies will work for obtaining that name, email address, and telephone number.
In the next article, I will be giving advice on getting results with your SEO strategy while still keeping that white hat firmly in place.