Your law firm website is not just a pretty face – it’s a lead generator, a brand ambassador, a client resource, and your number one marketing asset. If your website currently isn’t generating any leads, then this article is for you. We share our top four secrets to creating a lead generating website.
We’ve come a long way with website design over the past decades – remember the stagnant pages, blocks of capitalised text and rudimentary design with little to no functionality?
Fast forward to the 21st century, and we have all the tools and technology to bring your law firm website to life, to drive traffic, generate leads and increase your clients. What’s more, the tools and technology to do this are generally within the reach and affordability of the average law firm.
Your website as an online lead generator.
A professional law firm website can produce the lead generating outcomes of many traditional marketing activities – the Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting, the Rotary Club presentation on estate planning, and Friday afternoon golf with your clients and referrers. While these types of activities remain important, they are time consuming and have recently been compromised. Your law firm website acts as an online business card with many bells and whistles – a rich resource with useful information about your areas of service and how you can help people with their legal affairs, while promoting your brand, building your authority as a competent advisor, and turning visitors into prospects, then clients.
Our observations are that most lawyers convert 80% of their leads to clients after initial contact is made. Your law firm website needs to make this contact happen. It must perform like an online lead generator – attracting visitors, getting them to stay while trust and rapport is built, and encouraging them to make contact – whether that be picking up the phone, filling in an online form or sending an email.
Everything on your law firm website matters.
We know that most people shop online for goods and services. Legal services are no exception. In a competitive market, an outdated and under-performing website will not generate the leads you want to convert into quality clients. A website must evolve in line with technology and what potential clients are looking for.
Almost everything on your website can influence whether or not a visitor identifies themself as somebody who needs your legal services and makes that initial contact. Successful law firms know this. They know that everything about their law firm website matters – the design, the navigation, the functionality, the speed, security, and the content. They do what they can, or outsource what they can’t, to ensure that their website is optimised and has the best chance possible of showing up in search engine results when people need answers to their legal problems.
With the exponential increase in remote working and online shopping, an outdated website could mean that you’re relying on the estimated 3 percent of consumers that don’t do their initial research on the web. The bottom line is, if you’re not doing all you can to turn your website into a fine-tuned lead generator, then you’re losing a significant share of the legal market to your competitors.
Following are four tips to turn your website into an online lead generator.
1. Great design and consistent branding.
It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for visitors to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your business or not, whether they’ll stay or leave to jump onto your competitor’s site (source https://www.sweor.com/firstimpressions).
It’s important to maximise your first impressions with a clean, contemporary design and high quality images. At first glance, your home page should paint a picture of who you are, what you do, and how you help your clients. Your firm’s practice areas need to be front and centre with a succinct message about your values, without excessive fluff.
Professional websites are crisp, uncluttered, and sophisticated, with branding reflected consistently across the site. Your law firm website should look great and be user friendly on both desktop and mobile.
There are various principles to successful website design. Getting them right can be challenging, so it is well worth engaging a professional to ensure your law firm website is built for maximum aesthetics and useability.
2. Create a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) friendly website.
Just because you have a website doesn’t mean it will feature on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) when somebody looks for services like yours. For your website to generate leads, you have to get visitors there in the first place.
You may be wondering what SEO is, and why it’s so important SEO describes the various steps that can be implemented to increase the quality and quantity of your website traffic through organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics).
Yes, it’s a bit technical, but it can’t be ignored, and the good news is that you can get started right now on improving your SEO by understanding the basics to get your website noticed by Google and onto the search page.
Not unlike the practice of law, SEO is really about understanding the principles, and methodically applying them to the various components of your website. The bottom line is, your website must be SEO friendly to attract more clients to your site.
3. User experience – site structure and navigation.
The customer journey across your website can make or break its potential to generate leads. Websites that are well structured with good navigation improve user experience. They encourage visitors to stay longer and explore various pages and content.
The architecture and navigation of your website should match the user’s expectation. It should be simple, logical, and effective, helping your visitors find the information they need quickly, with links to relevant resources.
Page titles should be clear, and descriptive of the content your visitors can expect to find, and the URL for each page should reflect the navigation path of that page.
Poor site navigation is frustrating and can turn a prospective lead into a disgruntled deserter who leaves quickly to find your competitor’s more user-friendly site.
A well-structured law firm website not only enhances user experience, but is great for SEO. Good structure makes it easier for your website to be crawled and indexed by search engines like Google. This impacts your search engine rankings and helps you to be found on the search engine results page.
Your contact details should be obvious on each page so your visitors can get in touch with the click of a button no matter where they land. Online contact forms should be functional and operate seamlessly and, of course, be complemented with sound follow up systems.
4. Using relevant content to get visitors to your website and stay there.
If you want your website to be a lead generator, you need to create quality content that your visitors will want to read. Here, we’re talking about useful information that provides value to your audience, shows that you know what you’re talking about, and develops trust and confidence in your ability to help with their legal matters. Interesting content means visitors stay longer on your website to have a look around. This is a great way for them to get to know you and also helps with your SEO.
Articles, blog posts and short case studies that answer questions are great. These should be written in simple language and, where possible, avoid legalese. To get added value from each piece of content, they can also be linked to, and shared, from social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Implementing a content calendar will help you publish regularly and keep your content relevant and up to date. If you can’t manage this inhouse then you can outsource a regular content writing service.
You can also offer e-books and white papers as a lead magnet to capture details of potential clients and, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous and really want to get in front of your audience, why not create a short webinar or podcast about an interesting legal issue.
Where to next?
In a digital world, your law firm website needs to be a lead generation tool, attracting visitors and turning visitors into clients.
We are a law firm marketing agency. We formulate effective marketing strategies for busy lawyers to help them grow their practice through digital marketing, e-newsletters, and quality content. We build, host, and manage law firm websites for optimum performance and conversion with the visitor and user in mind. If you want more leads and are serious about turning your most valued marketing asset into a lead generator, call Peter on 0417018 109 or email me [email protected].
About the author
Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.