Law firms increasingly rely on their websites to attract customers. Whilst many people still use a local firm, they often choose that firm through a search engine, recommendation or review. It is essential that firms are visible online and present themselves in a positive light.
Search Engine Optimisation
Years of experience, highly trained staff and excellent customer service are no longer enough to ensure that law firms attract customers. Whilst existing customers, referrals and word of mouth advertising still make up a percentage of a firm’s income, it is increasingly important to attract new customers using the internet. The higher a firm’s website appears on the results page of any major search engine, the more likely it is that people will visit that website. Consider who your target customers are. You should be able to pinpoint whether they are individuals or businesses and what areas of law they use your firm for. Based on this information, it is relatively easy to gauge some generic search terms that they may use when looking for legal services. For example they may enter the phrase “criminal lawyers, West London” into a search engine. If this is the case, you should be looking to incorporate these terms into your website. This can be done through a blog or regular news articles. Further advice can be taken from marketing experts.
Recommendations and Specialist Searches
Choosing lawyers online is a big decision for most people because of inherent cost of legal work. That’s why customers often look to friends or trusted sources to find a solicitor. The law society website has a search facility for law firms worldwide. Whilst it is possible to opt out of this list, it would be sensible to remain a part of it, as it effectively offers free marketing for your firm. Customers also look to social media for recommendations so it is worth having a presence on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. In terms of recommendations, it is great for your reputation to have independent reviews on relevant websites. If a customer is pleased with your service, don’t be too shy to ask them to recommend you. It is also important to make the most of your own site. For example, Dutton Gregory solicitors draw on recommendations from the Legal 500 for one of their partners to add credibility to his bio on their website.
Converting Visits to Customers
Despite spending time and money on search engine optimisation and encouraging recommendations, you may find that people visit your site but then don’t contact you. To eliminate this problem, it is very important to get your branding right. Some quick tips are to go back to thinking about your ideal customer and what they want to see from your website. Make sure that they see what they want as soon as they look at the site. If you are unsure if your front page is clear about what you do, print it off and give it to someone who knows nothing about your firm. Ask for their honest first impressions.All of the above are suggestions that may help you to be at the forefront of people’s minds when searching for lawyers online. It is worth seeking individual branding and marketing advice from an expert to maximise your online potential.
Anton Smythe is a lay employee of Dutton Gregory Solicitors. He writes regularly on optimising web presence for a range of legal and commercial websites and blogs.