All say aye if you’re in law and you’ve ever felt completely lost in the world of digital marketing. Detangling website and online essentials can be cryptic and frustrating, but some of the most compelling and influential tactics are based on simple fundamentals.
Here are a few pointers, made easy and translated for the attorney and law firm world.
Key Points (Click to Tweet):
Marketing and trust have a long standing relationship no one can afford to ignore. Great design gets people to trust you and to stick around. Poor design creates mistrust and makes people leave. Design and Content work together, and cannot live apart.
Reputation is everything. Respond to positive reviews by conveying a humble thank-you that expresses appreciation and nothing more. If a user’s first impression is negative, it might cause prejudice against you for years. Collect great reviews and testimonials as a safety net that supports you outside of your website.
Design = Trust.
Did you know that first impressions are 94% design related?
Only 6% of feedback is about the actual content.
Today, people make snap judgments based on what they see online. Carefully considering your digital appearance can have a huge effect on the success of your marketing efforts.
Whether you’re an individual attorney or working with a firm, your website is an extremely important asset that can work for you or against you. It needs to be good.
You walk into business A and have 10 seconds to assess the situation. It’s crowded, disorganized, and the staff seems busy but ignores customers. Business B is clean, aesthetically thought out, has suitable decor, and the staff is friendly but not overbearing.
Which business do you think has better sales? The same principles can be applied to websites. Research shows your website can be the most effective marketing tool in reinforcing trust among potential clients—as long as it’s good, clean, and helpful.
Even if your content is amazing, no one will read it or gain anything meaningful from it unless your design supports it. If your design is great but your content is thin or ineffective, your message falls through the cracks and users won’t feel enticed to submit their information (convert into a lead).
Once you have good design, you have their attention and trust. The next step is to make sure they’re inclined to stick around for more info.
A good starting point: your identity. According to consumers union, websites that adopt these basic policies promote credibility:
Do not ignore user’s feelings about content…these were the most aggravating annoyances and indicators of mistrust in participants of this research study:
We already know you treat your clients well and you’re always improving.
Discover the influencers in your niche area through review monitoring. Take note of what experiences garnered positive, highly rated reviews and bring those insights to your business.
Think of current cases that you can apply the insights to, pay special attention to client services for those who might be active reviewers, and keep an eye on any mention of your firm.
Always be on top of new reviews. When you do come across a positive review, you should absolutely contact them, but the purpose should only be to convey a humble thank-you and express that you care—that’s all.
People who leave reviews are opinionated, vocal, and expressive. They don’t want to feel like they’re being solicited, so be careful with your words. You wouldn’t want a kind gesture like a gift, event invite, or email subscription to be left to misinterpretation.
Monitor and address negative online reviews about your company. Socialnomics reports that 25% of search results show review sites, blogs, and/or social media updates. According to eMarketer, users consider those results most heavily when making purchasing decisions.
If their first impression is negative, it might cause the user to have prejudice against you for years.
Start collecting your positive feedback in a central location and if you have a close relationship with a former client, ask them to provide a statement on their experience with you or your firm.
Make sure you communicate your motive clearly. Things like case studies peppered with client quotes prove to the user that the business behind the aesthetics is a credible one and worth following up with.
One of the first things potential clients look for once they’re already interested in a website is a set of customer testimonial. If people instantly like your site, they’re ready to cut you some slack for any hiccups down the line, too, so make sure their first impressions are good ones.
Use genuine, original, kind words others have said about your practice, and back it up with transparent case study information.
Blogging for credibility and visibility is a major trend in digital marketing today. Because it’s still a growing tactic in the field of law, blogging can be a useful and effective way to harness the power of your online presence.
Law blogs (“blawgs”) can be extremely effective tools for law firms and can serve multiple purposes, including reporting current developments to colleagues, clients and the general public, attracting traffic to the firm’s site, or sharing valuable insights with prospects, clients, the public, and the media (source).
In 2014, almost 75% of lawyers reported they are using social media for career development and networking. Almost 50% of lawyers reported they also use these platforms for education and awareness.
The most important finding of this study was of the 44% of respondents reporting they use social media for client development, 23% reported their social media use resulted in getting new clients.
At the very least, use LinkedIn (dubbed “The Facebook for professionals”). Build out your company profile page, and make sure the information provided is up-to-date.
LinkedIn continues to be the most popular social media platform for the legal industry. In 2014, 75% of all lawyer and law firms reported they use the platform for professional purposes, with Facebook at a distant second—slightly less than 26%.
Have you ever visited a company’s website and then later noticed the same company’s banners ads on another website, mobile site, or even on Facebook? This is a simple yet effective marketing campaign called retargeting.
Retargeting (sometimes called “remarketing”) is a digital marketing technique that helps you stay in front of your most important prospects. You worked hard getting people to your website, retargeting can help you drive them back to your website and ultimately choose your law firm.
Before or after you meet with new clients, they will look you up and read about your firm or practice. The goal of online branding is to have consumers continually recognize a brand and control how people feel about it (source). You can reinforce your law firm’s image as the elite by keeping your name and strong messaging in front of an audience that’s already interested.
Retargeting involves a high level of selectivity — your banner ads only appear to people who have visited your website in the past. Even when people aren’t on your site, the digital landscape allows you to show off your brand all over the Internet.
The more people see your brand message online, they more likely they are to gain confidence about your company.
Retargeting also supports an extremely important marketing strategy known as brand differentiation. Your firm will win more cases because you’ll gain an edge over your competitors. Potential clients invest less trust in companies if they’re unfamiliar with them, further instilling trust in your firm because of its high visibility.
Retargeting (in my opinion) is a must-have solution for law firms of all sizes, from solo attorneys to dominant practices. It’s extremely cost effective, drives only the highest quality traffic within a target audience, allows transparent reporting, and it’s quick to set up.
Your ads start targeting your hottest prospects immediately – the people who have already been on your website. These people are the most likely to choose your firm over all your competitors with this little push. Retargeting equals value.
When you are researching digital marketing for your attorney website, keep good website design and website content at the forefront of your mind. Make sure you deliver a great user experience on any sized device – you want your law firm website to be an asset of value that appreciates and increases revenue, not an online business card.
Always monitor for online reviews and seek opportunities for great testimonial statements to build out your case studies.
Don’t limit your efforts to your website. Take advantage of blogging and social media so your voice and authority is heard via two way communication.
Capitalize on paid ads through retargeting, the most cost effective and efficient paid advertising that converts leads and results in new clientele.
Stay on top with digital marketing, and your practice will soar.
What areas you need more support in? Tell us your experiences, thoughts, trials, and triumphs in tackling digital marketing and your attorney website.