1. Online is on the rise
When we say that more consumers are searching for lawyers online, it’s not hyperbole. According to our latest survey, one-third of legal consumers in the U.S. exclusively use online sources to find an attorney. That’s almost double the rate since 2014, and it doesn’t even account for those using a combination of online and offline sources. So, your presence online matters now more than ever.
2. Google is a verb
Among those who looked for legal help online, search engines are the leading resource, increasing since 2017. Our survey found that 76 percent of contacted lawyers were found on these sites, with Google being the clear favorite. Dedicated attorney and legal directories like FindLaw and Lawyers.com remain the second most common resource online thanks to their prominence in search engine results. We also found that the majority of searchers only visit three websites or less. Make sure that your own website is well optimized for online search and consider paying for an ad to get higher placement.
3. Reputation is everything
When searching for information about a lawyer, consumers care most about their reputation and expertise in a particular legal field. In fact, these have consistently been the two most important factors since the inception of the U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey in 2011. Online, these factors are represented by reviews of the lawyer from previous clients on sites like Google, FindLaw and Facebook. This is reflected by an increase in reliance on past client reviews by 5 percent, making them just as important as a lawyer’s certifications and average cost. If you have a positive experience serving a client, an online review from them could make a big difference in the view of potential clients in the future.
4. Contact is changing
For the first time in the history of our survey, mobile phone calls are now the number one way that legal consumers contact lawyers. It is important to remove any possible hinderances that could keep a potential client from contacting you for legal help. Make sure that your website is built to suite mobile viewing and your contact information is accurate. In addition, the use of email to contact lawyers has doubled recently, so make sure that no email goes unanswered.
5. The f factor
In this case, the F stands for family and friends. Our survey found that legal consumers’ dependence on referrals from those closest to them is greater than ever, accounting for almost a third of all legal service sourcing. This can be seen online by the increase in consumers’ use of social media to find their lawyers by 13 percent since 2014. We also found that the importance of a lawyer’s Facebook, Twitter and blog activity has risen greatly in recent years. So, while many people are getting help from their family and friends, they then follow up on those recommendations using social channels. Make sure that your own profiles are up to date and active, so that visitors know you are attentive.
Want to learn more about legal consumers’ behavior? Read our newly updated white paper ‘Your next client wants to hire you now!’, to get all of the latest insights from the 2018 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey.
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