As law firm business development consultants and trainers, we know that a potential client referred to an attorney by even the most highly regarded referral source will inevitably do an internet search. It is essential that what they find validates what the referrer has said or what they think they know about the firm and/or the attorney.
Our clients grow their practices through referrals and word of mouth; whether an introduction from a past client, a professional contact, or a prior colleague, the lawyers we work with depend on their relationships and reputation to bring new business in the door.
For these firms a strong internet presence may seem unnecessary but, we live in a digital age and it is more important than ever for law firms to have websites that are accurate reflections of the professional, high quality, and efficient service businesses they are.
Presenting a website that illustrates exactly what a law firm does and for whom along with information confirming that its professionals are thought leaders in the practice area will make the journey from prospect to client faster.
Attractive overall design – Having a visually appealing, contemporary, and easy to navigate website is now the standard for any professional business. A majority of legal consumers visit websites from a mobile device or tablet so it’s important that your site is compatible. The firm logo is usually a prominent part of a website and a key component of the visual message your firm is projecting.
Professional imagery – The scales of justice, a law library, a gavel on an open book, and random attractive people in suits with their arms crossed…these kind of stock photos should be avoided. You and your team are the product you are selling so it is worth investing in professional photography to use on your website and anywhere else you need images for your marketing, business development and recruiting collateral.
Clear intent – Is your main objective to impress and appeal to other lawyers? Or do you need your site to resonate with potential clients? Get clear on what you want to achieve with your website.
Specific content – Invest in good copy. People generally do not read websites, so you do not want an abundance of information on your site. What is included needs to be concise, thoughtful, and well written. Make sure the language on your website is specific to your firm and practice areas and speaks directly to your target audience. Work with a professional copywriter or marketing writer to translate your experience and expertise into mainstream language your clients understand. Using well produced and targeted video on a website is another way to differentiate yourself and educate people on who you are and WHY you do what you do. Having a niche is the most effective way to differentiate yourself and your practice. Being all things to all people is not feasible today.
Representative matters and case studies – Including representative matters on the biography and practice area sections of the website is a great way to distinguish the firm and its professionals and to illuminate the types of cases you’ve worked on and want MORE of. Leave out the matters that don’t have relevance to the direction you want to take the firm or practice and the ones that don’t apply to the current market landscape.
Well written attorney profiles – The lawyer biography pages are the most visited pages on almost all lawyer websites. A thoughtfully written biography that highlights the work you’ve done that relates to the work you want more of, along with some insight into who you are as a person and how you show up as a member of the community, will make it easy for your prospects to connect with you. Include a recent, professional photo and make sure the biographies on the site are aesthetically consistent.
Thought Leadership – Whether it is a ‘News’ section, a blog, a ‘Resources’ tab, or a list of articles and speaking engagements on a professional’s profile page, it’s important to include everything you can that points to you as an expert and an authority in your field on your website.
At the end of the day, you want your website to quickly validate for your prospective clients and referral sources that the firm and its professionals are the best fit for the work at hand. You have worked hard to achieve your expertise, do not undersell yourself. Give yourself the credit you deserve and make it easy for the people who need your services to understand that you are the best solution to addressing their problem.
Lana Manganiello is business development trainer and coach at Equinox Strategy Partners, providing service professionals and firms with strategic counsel to drive revenue and increase market visibility.