Don’t believe everything you read on the internet – especially when it comes to law firms and online marketing.
So said a panel of experts last week in a provocatively titled panel called “The Outright Lies and Absolute Truths of Relationship Marketing on the Web.” The panel presented their ideas during the 4th Annual Mass LOMAP Super Marketing Conferenceand the panel included:
Here are eight online marketing tips for attorneys we gleaned from the session:
1. Law firm websites should be inexpensive. Some experts credibly argue that even amid a rise of social media, a website is still the most valuable new business tool a law firm possesses online. However, it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. The panel explained that if a small law firm is spending $2,000 a month on a website, it might be time for a change. As a benchmark, a small law firm should be able to manage its own website for just a couple hundred dollars a year.
2. Add a personal touch to your content. Should your website strictly contain legal-oriented content? No, said the panel. While this idea may surprise some attorneys, adding personal touches to a website such as including a personal hobby or family connection can help prospective clients get a flavor for you as an individual and broaden your firm’s appeal.
3. Tend to those online reviews carefully. Some lawyers are inclined to believe that online reviews do not matter, but the panel suggested online reviews do matter – big time. According to data from Avvo, 84% of clients say online reviews matter and have a big impact on their decision making process for purchasing legal services.
74% of clients polled are willing to do law firm reviews
4. Go ahead, ask a client for a review. There’s a perception that clients do not want to be asked to complete reviews, but this isn’t accurate. The panel cited data that suggests 74% of clients polled are willing to do law firm reviews. However, word of caution, do not ask clients to do reviews from company devices. These reviews will be discounted by sites like Avvo and Yelp as not being authentic. Instead, encourage clients to do reviews from their home computers and on their own time.
5. WordPress is the ONLY website platform to use. WordPress is an easy to use tool for creating websites and blogs. It already has a long list of plugins and themes to attorneys can used to create a distinctive design and enable engagement. Better still, a reasonable investment in WordPress costs just a couple hundred dollars per year (if not less) to develop and maintain. If you don’t know how to use WordPress, the experts advise in investing in a copy of the book WordPress for Dummies.
new client leads convert 22 times more often if you respond to a client inquiry within minutes
6. Responsiveness is incredibly important. Speedy follow ups to initial client inquiries can improve conversion rates. By contrast, taking too long to follow up might mean a prospective customer goes with the competition. According to the panel, new client leads convert 22 times more often if you respond to a client inquiry within minutes. Studies show clients expect a reply within 5 minutes or they will move on. The panel suggests setting up an automatic email response system. For example, if an inquiry email comes in, call the client back immediately.
7. Another way speed matters. In a web-enabled world, seconds matter. A website that takes too long to load often results in prospective clients moving on. In web analytics, this is called the “bounce rate” and it can also lead to double-jeopardy as site speed and the bounce rate can also impact a website’s rankings in search.
8. Pictures are still worth a thousand words. Never underestimate the power of a great head shot. While most attorneys believe posing in front of books or in a library with a gavel in hand is the way to go, the experts all agree, no books or gavels in the background. Rather, a natural pose with a smile is the way to go. Also, don’t do a DIY job, invest in a professional photographer.
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What tips would you add?
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