Every law firm needs a website, and that website has to work. By “work,” we mean it has to attract the kind of clients you want and make it easy for them to get in touch with you. But those components are the bare minimum. Frankly, a website that doesn’t do those things isn’t worth having, and your website vendor should make sure on the back-end, that it’s working with search-engine algorithms and user trends to get your website in front of likely consumers. However, making your website work requires more than that, and this is where you (or your marketing vendor) comes in.
Developing a target audience
Before we go any further, let’s pause and discuss the concept of audience. There is often a strong temptation to use your website as a digital billboard to show off your accolades, awards, and accomplishments. But for whom? A little tasteful self-promotion has its place, but your website and the content it contains should be developed with your audience in mind—that is, they should be engineered to appeal to the kind of potential legal consumers you’d like to hire you, and frankly, those people care less about accolades, awards and accomplishments than most attorneys think.
To start conceptualizing your audience, you must first identify and state who those audience members are specifically. That helps for two reasons. First, it keeps your focus on whom you’d like to speak to and prevents your online content from wandering or drifting. Second, it confirms for the viewer that what they’re reading is indeed intended for them. It makes visitors to your website think, “I’ve landed in the right place.”
For instance, describing yourself as a law firm that “caters to the needs of senior citizens” is a weak attempt at identifying and targeting an audience. A more robust description would be, “a group of experienced and compassionate attorneys working with senior citizens on estate planning, elder care and family law matters in the Tallahassee region of Florida.” The latter description explicitly describes your audience and explains why you are the right choice.
Now that you have identified your audience, you can set about putting the components of your website to work for you. Here’s how to do that:
Crafting your unique value proposition
What makes you different from the plethora of other firms offering what consumers see as comparable legal services? Your website should highlight your value proposition or the extra advantage that your prospective clients get for securing your services. There isn’t any one individual place to do this. Rather, your value proposition should be clearly and specifically stated and woven throughout all elements of your digital presence, including in multiple places on your website.
Showing and telling who you are
A law firm benefits from showing personality because legal problems are often personal problems. Your clients need help from people, not impersonal representation from an identity-less law firm. You should use all facets of your website to express who you are and what it’s like to work with you. A clear, professional, and current headshot photo of all attorneys in your firm is more of a must-have than a nice-to-have, and your website copy should be written in an approachable style that can be easily grasped by a busy reader. Remember, your website isn’t here to impress other attorneys with 25-cent words or dense legal jargon. It’s here to work.
Sharing valuable content
Your web content and blog posts should not be random; they should be based on your prospective clients’ issues. To revisit the idea of a law firm that caters to senior citizens in the Tallahassee region of Florida, the questions to ask when determining what to write would be: What problems are particular to this demographic? What parts of the legal system are these clients often confused about? What has likely driven the reader to your website? The answers to these questions can inform educational and engaging blog content that bolsters your firm’s credentials without being too salesy.
Like everyone else on the internet, your prospective clients probably have a short attention span, which is why a well-crafted website is critical. You should make every effort to make a great first impression with your homepage by getting straight to the point. A website meant to impress other attorneys won’t work—a website that follows the guidance we’ve shared here will.
For more information, read the free FindLaw guide on website design must-haves. Or, if you’re stuck with where to begin, the FindLaw digital marketing experts are here to help, from getting ideas started to getting an award-worthy site up and running.
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