Your website is the foundation of your firm’s marketing efforts. It’s where your inbound leads land, learn more and take action—it’s every lawyer’s ultimate marketing tool. In this article, you’ll learn what makes your website your most effective legal marketing asset.

It’s not uncommon to hear attorneys say the majority of their new business comes from referrals—so is a website really that necessary? Some might ask, “wouldn’t it be smarter to focus on word-of-mouth marketing and reputation management and forget about the confusing, expensive and (seemingly) less-effective website stuff?”

Even if most of your new clients come from referral, who says they’re not visiting your website before contacting your  firm? Studies show they are: by 2016, 70% of lawyers have generated new business because of their websites. And even if your website isn’t the source of a lead, 74% of legal consumers will use your website to get in contact with your firm.

Check out: Your Website is an Appreciating Asset

Still, many firms have no website, and many more have very poorly designed and developed sites, ones that are not growing consumer trust, generating leads, converting, etc.

If you’re one who relies only on referrals because your website hasn’t been historically successful, maybe referrals are your top source because your website was built ineffectively

When it’s great, your law firm website can be your greatest legal marketing asset. Here are 7 reasons why, plus tips to help improve your website today:

#1 — Your website is always selling your legal services (even when you’re closed)

Your firm’s website is essentially a big, branded sales pitch made out of code and text—and it never sleeps (unlike your referral network). Once you’ve put the initial time, effort and money into getting your website built, it will cost you only monthly hosting to keep it up and running, indefinitely.

The most effective websites encourage visitors to get in contact—while avoiding the hard sell. To do this, use your target audience’s very specific legal problems in your website copy; this can be much more powerful than displaying award tacky award emblems or telling them how hard you’ll fight. 

Compelling copy and strong Call-To-Actions (CTAs) give prospects a glimpse into what your legal services can do for them, offering them a preview of how they will benefit from hiring you.

Here’s an example:

Attorney Jen Roskowick practices immigration law in the Chicagoland area. On the home page of Attorney Roskowick’s website, she’s aptly written:

“One of the most experienced immigration attorneys in Illinois” 

She can inject emotion and appeal to most common fears & desires of her client persona. A better welcome statement might be:

“We know the importance of protecting your rights and keeping your family united.”

#2 — Your website builds consumer trust & credibility

If your law firm doesn’t have a website, you’re losing 30% of consumers straight out of the gate: they won’t even consider contacting a business without a website. And when a consumer judges the credibility of your firm, 48% use your website as the biggest determinant.

But just having a website isn’t enough! 

Go for the cheapest website you can find can be even worse. A confusing website with lackluster copy, boring visuals and unapparent CTAs shows carelessness and sloppiness. Consider how your visitors feel: would you hire, for instance, a careless doctor?

Every detail matters, especially when legal consumers notoriously have trust issues. Princeton University conducted a study to understand consumer perception of “warmth” for various professions. Can you guess what other profession consumers find about as “warm” as lawyers?

Prostitutes.

But there’s a silver lining: people find lawyers about as competent as scientists and if you’re charming, you’ve got a big edge on a group that’s (apparently) perceived as “cold” as a call girl (or boy, gender-neutral, etc.).

#3 — You website provides various methods of contact

Your website gives legal consumers a means to quickly and easily contact your law firm. Strong UVPs and CTAs subtly encourage visitors to get in contact.  

Surprisingly, 70% of law firm websites do not have a CTA on their homepage. 

CTAs are to be apparent as soon as a website visitor lands on any page, and the page design should “flow” in a manner that leads your visitors to take action. If a visitor cannot figure out how to navigate or take action on your website, it’s very likely that they will abandon your site. The intuitiveness of your website is a major factor in bounce rate (the percentage of website visitors that come to your website and leave after viewing only one page or taking no action).

A well-built website is as compelling on mobile/tablet as it is on desktop—and this is vital given the growth of mobile search. Google has recently announced that mobile search volume has finally exceeded that of desktop search. Ensuring your website properly adapts to mobile devices is just as essential as having a website in 2018, plus search engines reward responsive websites. Those who use search engines on their mobile devices almost exclusively visit responsive websites. In fact, 8 out of 10 people will stop engaging with your website if it does not properly adapt to their mobile devices.

Test your website using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

#4 — A Resource For Legal Content

The importance of publishing targeted content on your legal website’s blog cannot be stressed enough. Publishing to your blog is critical for two reasons:

  1. Lawyer SEO: High-quality content is one of the top two factors in Google’s ranking algorithm, as explicitly stated by their Search Quality Senior Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev, in a Q&A. The other top factor is links (backlinks) to your site.
  2. Building trust: Offering personalized content on your blog helps your leads become more confident in you as an attorney. Content marketing is a great way to build a dedicated audience, grow industry trust, generate & nurture your leads and help legal consumers. A study conducted by HubSpot found that blogs are the fifth most trusted source of information.

HubSpot also discovered that businesses that blog capture 67% more leads than businesses that don’t blog, and companies who prioritize blogging in their digital marketing strategies are 13-times more likely to see a positive ROI.

Check out Better Legal Content Writing in 5 Simple Tips

#5 — Your top competitors have websites

Copy success: if your competitors are doing something that works, do it better. Get a better website, write better copy, build more compelling content, position yourself with a better value propositions—leverage your strengths.

Gathering data from your competitors’ marketing campaigns is easier than you think. Thanks to some sneaky online tools, you can spy on and take advantage of the digital marketing strategies developed by your competitors. Using tools like SpyFu, ahrefs, and SEMRush will help you pinpoint your competitors, direct their strategy, build your own marketing strategy around their strengths (and weaknesses), and much more.

Using competitors’ content is one of the best ways to build SEO Copywriting Strategy. Check out 20 SEO Copywriting Tips for Lawyers

#6 — A website helps you optimize & improve your marketing ROI

It’s very difficult to determine exactly how you acquired your clients when it comes from marketing avenues involving print—unless you explicitly ask them where they found you. Digital marketing provides you the advantage of tracking your metrics with precision and using them optimize campaigns, and discover & explore other strategies. 

Google Analytics is a free website data-collection tool that lets you better understand who your visitors are, how they reached your website and what they find engaging. You can see navigation patterns, which pages are the most visited, how long visitors are sticking around and way more. 

Verifying your site on Google Search Console is a fantastic way to find top-performing blog content and keywords so you can write more of what brings the traffic and leads. You can even revise your top-performing articles to include more detail and keywords that your visitors frequently type into search queries. When adding keywords, though, don’t overdo it; keyword-stuffing could do more harm than good. 

There are many, many other analytics tools available to set up multi-channel attribution, pixel tracking, etc. With digital, the data-collection & optimization tools are endless.

#7 — Your website opens avenues for more robust marketing & advertising methods

Your website acts as the home base for many digital campaigns. Without a website, you’re missing out on Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Content Marketing, SEO, and more.

As a small business owner, it’s important to consider how consumers in all industries use the internet and how their purchasing habits are evolving. The internet is a pillar in consumerism and continues to evolve the way buyers are buying. Having a website—a great one—is the best way in 2020 to supplement your marketing efforts, to keep your law firm alive and well.

To build an actionable small law firm marketing strategy, check out: Small Law Firm Marketing Plan: 7 Must-Do’s For Growth

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