It’s widely believed that there are seven essential characteristics that people look for when seeking legal representation. Do you know what they are? Chances are that you’re already ticking all seven boxes if you can (honestly) look at yourself and feel that you’re achieving all of your goals. But let’s be honest. Regardless of the size of your firm or practice, you can always afford to bring in new (and better) clients. And to do so, you need to do more than simply ‘know’ what those seven attributes are. So, when approaching your legal marketing initiatives, your success (or lack thereof) will be primarily based around your ability to communicate your aptitude in these areas attributes to prospective clientele. This doesn’t mean blatantly touting your credentials or misrepresenting yourself in a manner that paints your aptitude in a more positive light. Such a removed approach is viewed as a negative in today’s day and age. As an advocate, there is some expectation that you present yourself as such to those in need of your services. This can only be achieved through transparency, accessibility (or, at least, your ability to convey a sense of both). To put it bluntly, failure to do so reinforces your complicity in (pretty much) every lawyer joke ever made.
So, let’s take a moment to explore those seven attributes in the context of a well-realized online presence, to show the crucial role it plays in converting new clientele.
No matter your strengths in terms of client representation or procedural practice, it means little if you’re not easily accessible. Whether to make initial contact with a new client or to maintain communication with an existing one, accessibility is key.
But this is so much more than just returning a voicemail. Based on consumers’ lacking attention spans and expectations of immediacy, you must be visible by the means in which they seek you out. In order to be successful, your practice must have a thorough and thoughtfully-conceived website, and that website must be easy to find.
Now, some prospective clients might seek you out directly, but others might need to find you as part of an online search. Without a proper Search Engine Optimization strategy, your firm could find itself well beyond page two of a search result, with the understanding that you may never be found. Unless you’re prepared to continue losing revenue, web design and SEO should be a significant focus.
Above, we mentioned both web design and the best means of conveying your aptitudes. An informative website serves as your introduction, the basis upon which a client forms their first impression of you, both professionally and personally.
That said, what does your website say about you? Does it effectively communicate your credentials and background? Does it share your professional experiences, validated by client testimonials? Does it convey your unique perspective and/or approach that makes it compelling to those who might be seeking you out?
With experience in anything comes a more nuanced understanding of it. Just as clients seek out knowledge and experience in a legal advocate, they are also looking for someone who possesses a genuine understanding of their circumstances, in the hopes of reaching a resolution that serves them well. This, in essence, is the second benefit of a positive testimonial, since it establishes a precedent of your ‘understanding’ from a satisfied third party.
Ability to Communicate
This is where your digital strategy needs to expand beyond the static nature of a traditional website. It’s simply no longer ‘good enough’ based on the aforementioned expectations of accessibility and immediacy. But we’re not here to talk about one-on-one consultations. Communication takes many forms, one of which is the sort of unscripted dialog that comes via social media. Whether in the form of active dialog through post commentary or video streaming there are so many ways of engaging your clientele. This only serves to enforce an accessible and personable image, which will help to secure more clients.
The manner in which you engage with a client exists on three levels. First, in the courtship of prospective clients. Secondly, in the maintenance of your relationship with existing customers. And finally in the resolution of a negative experience with a dissatisfied experience.
The first two points seem like common sense, but the third is a more slippery slope. While you may not seek to leave a client dissatisfied, it might have little to do with you and more to do with their perception. And in a world of social media posting and public review sites, it can become easy to slander any professional in a way that can be damning to their reputation. Addressing such concerns in a respectful and professional manner is crucial, but doing so openly can increase transparency in a very positive way. It reinforces that you care about your clientele and their satisfaction. This will always prove enticing to new clients, who are considering your representation.
Think of everything we’ve talked about as a means of referral. Through an accessible and well-designed website, active social media engagement and a close eye on the resolution of any issues, you enable clients to see the best of what you have to offer. As a result, they are far more likely to refer new clients to you and endorse your professional ability. Bottom-line, failing to recognize the power that digital marketing (and your online presence) play in your continued success might be the best example of modern self-sabotage.
Okay, this one’s on you. After all, you’re not here telling us how much we should charge for our insights, right? That said, we’ll leave you to your business, and we’ll get back to ours.
Take the Right Steps With Your Legal Marketing Approach
At the end of the day, a successful digital marketing initiative will combine a comprehensive and client-friendly website, SEO strategy, reputation management and a strong focus on social media management. The above serves to provide a better understanding of how each applies to the legal industry in ways that you might not even recognize.
Now get back to work, because you’re probably reading this while charging someone by the hour.
Oh, don’t worry…we’re just kidding…