Do Law Firms Even Need an Online Presence?

Most of my initial conversations with attorneys start from one of two positions or mindsets.

  • All of my business comes from referrals, I’ve never gotten a lead from my website, so why should I even bother?
  • Oh crap! How do I get myself seen online? My competitors are everywhere online and I’m pretty much invisible.

In both cases, I start with the facts. According to multiple surveys, 90-95% of those seeking legal assistance use the internet to research their legal predicament and who they should call for assistance. And, 70%+ said they preferred reading or watching content on a law firms website over advertising to help them find an attorney.

All that’s to say, It’s important. It needs to be a priority.

The next question is, what should you be focused on to get this necessary online visibility?

  • Get super focused on your brand and identity. Clarity is essential online. People are wicked ADHD online. You have to give them one and only one focus to grab their attention and their inquiry – lead.
  • Tune, iterate, or redesign your website to deliver this clarity.
  • Give them depth – content – to build trust, credibility, and a better client (lead).
  • Content, combined with Google AdWords, helps you to begin taking ground to improve your online visibility. This means higher search positions and rankings that sends you qualified visitors that become leads and later clients.

Finally, let’s speak directly to the mythology of referrals. No partner or client has ever handed your business card to a person to refer you. Instead they tell, email, or text their friend or colleague your name (most likely) or your firm’s name – probably misspelled.

Then that person Google’s you to…

  • Check you out
  • See if you have any information or guidance relevant to their situation
  • Find your contact information

Then, if they are satisfied/confident you can help them, that referral calls you – from the website!

So, what’s your next move?

I recommend prioritizing your digital strategy. It’s unquestionably consuming all of our attention. Ignoring it will only make your law firm increasingly invisible in the “real” world.

We want to guide you on this journey. Call or email to schedule a 15-30 minute discovery call to see how you can get in the game or just take it to a new level.

We love talking legal marketing!  In fact we were recently featured in Blogger Local’s Best Attorney Website Design Agencies.

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Transcript

Do law firms even need an online presence. Hi, my name is Bill Rice. I’m with Kaleidico. We’re a digital agency focused specifically on lead generation. And that’s our topic this week on just sort of discussing the debate on whether or not a law firm even needs to, uh, focus on or invest in their online presence.

Believe it or not, uh, in, in a day and age where everything seems to be focused on that mobile phone, uh, that screen in front of you, uh, whether you’re walking down the street or you’re at a restaurant or unfortunately as you’re kind of looking next to the person commuting, uh, with you on the way to work, uh, chances are 80, 90% of those people that you look at are actually not looking at you or looking around in the world. They’re actually focused in on that mobile phone. Um, but at the same time, uh, most of the law firms that I talked to, uh, this is a question that they’re still wrestling with. And so I get, um, usually one or two sort of different camps as I talked to a law firm for the first time. Uh, there is one perspective, uh, that says, Hey, I don’t actually need, uh, an online presence.

All of my business now has traditionally and continues to come from referrals and this makes a lot of sense. And most law firms are actually, uh, kind of a grouping together or partnering of individual attorneys that are doing a lot of networking, a lot of, um, interactions with other professionals, building relationships, creating a referral network. Um, and, uh, in most cases, most attorneys, uh, even today get most of their case inquiries via, um, a professional network and referrals. Um, but we’re going to kind of talk about why, um, digital online presence is probably still critical and essential to that categories of lawyers. Then I get the second sort of encounter when people come to me, uh, talking about digital marketing or potentially a website redesign. And that is, um, the attorneys or the firm that comes to me, uh, kind of in an Oh crap moment, uh, because somebody or some competitor or some influence in the market has started to encroach on them and they’re starting to feel the digital pressure pressure, um, whether or not the actual firm or the attorney is doing a really good job and they’re just simply showing up as these attorneys are kind of researching their own online presence or they’re actually feeling the impact to their business because those, uh, with strong online presence are actually taking those initial case inquiries away from the firm and the firm or the attorney’s actually seen a decline.

So those are the two different perspectives, um, that attorneys and law firms, uh, come, uh, at Kalydeco with. And I kinda want to talk through both of them because in both cases, um, I want to make to you a very strong case that digital online presence is essential in both of those scenarios. So let’s talk about that in deep and depth. So, uh, in both cases it’s important to just simply start with the facts according to multiple surveys out there. And you can, you can Google, uh, these surveys relatively quickly. There’s been several conducted. Um, most of them are focused specifically inside of the legal industry, uh, and they’ve actually surveyed individuals who have, uh, used and retained legal assistant and those surveys in general show that 90 to 95% of those seeking legal assistance, um, uses the Internet, uh, is the first and the primary research tool to actually find a one whether or not they have a case to be inquired about.

Um, any sort of information kind of legally to get them in context or understand the scenario or situation that they’re in. And then ultimately, uh, to research and determine, uh, which attorney can potentially help them the best, uh, in their, uh, predicament. Then, uh, on top of that, so everybody’s starting their, uh, kind of the first fact is everybody, 100%, uh, are very close to it, uh, of the people that you’re going to encounter, whether the referral or they’re coming to you directly through the Internet channel, um, or going to come and check out your website, or at least they’re going to attempt to, or they’re going to go to the Internet to start finding people like you. So that’s the first fact that’s important in this discussion. The second fact is that 70% of those folks, um, said that they would prefer to actually read an article or watch a video or consume sorts of, some sort of content, uh, on a law firm site in order to kind of understand them better, uh, and potentially leads up to inquiring for their assistance over an advertisement so they preferred content, uh, and looking at that on the larger from site in order to kind of do that research and to, to do that, kind of get that comfort level, um, over, uh, just simply, uh, an advertisement and kind of driving them straight to an action.

So think billboards, think, um, sort of even online advertising as well. But some of those traditional things, um, that, uh, attorneys, uh, do in, in traditional marketing advertising and TVs and billboards, those are the kinds of things they’re saying, hey, I don’t really prefer that anymore. I want to sit down and actually look at some content, the, that the attorneys have created, whether that’d be a video or written to help me kind of at my own pace, understand more about the attorney. Uh, in my particular situation. Okay. So the next question is, uh, should we be focused on this to get our necessary online visibility? So hopefully I’ve made a case that it’s a priority. Um, and now the second thing we kind of need to do, um, is to figure out like what do we do, uh, to start to get focused or to create this online visibility.

So step one is to get super focused on your brand and identity. Um, the clarity, uh, online is essential. Uh, so there’s so much noise, there’s so much distraction when you get online that it’s really important to have a very specific and clear, uh, description of what you do and the benefit or how you do it better than other attorneys. So taking some time, uh, even if you’ve done a lot of offline marketing or even maybe a little bit of digital marketing, stepping back and spending at least an hour or so to kind of really re go through your brand and identity and tighten that message down, uh, as much as possible to create ultimate clarity. Cause again, online, lots of distractions just in the world. In general, lots of distractions. So the clearer you can be with specific messaging, uh, and, and kind of what that person needs to do as a next step is going to be a super important.

Um, the other thing, uh, and we see this again all the time. If as you look at your website, uh, there’s a chance if it’s been around for a while, a one or two things have happened. One, you try to get everything on there, all your practice areas, all your attorneys, um, and you kind of pushed that all to the front because everything on your website has the same priority. So, um, we’re certainly saying you do want all your practice rep practices represented, you want all your attorneys represented, uh, but you’re going to have to do some, some hierarchy and prioritization. You can’t push all of it, uh, to the top of the priority. And you see a lot of homepages that turn into that where everything on that page, um, has the same level of priority and it’s just really overwhelming to a visitor, whether you’re talking about a landing page, a blog article or the homepage.

Again, there’s a tendency for us to kind of shove everything to the front. So, um, we’re going to have to kind of tweak, uh, and create some prioritization in there, uh, in some clarity. Uh, so again, to iterate and redesign your website in order to show some clarity and some hierarchy, um, to what they potentially need and to kind of get them, uh, on the right path or journey as it applies to your website so that, that clarity that can start to have some depth. So we certainly don’t want to take away the depth of your website and of your message, uh, but we definitely do want to put some hierarchy behind it and create some pads and some journeys to go into that depth. Not just hit him with it all at once. Um, Kinda went into my third point there. We want to give them the depth and that’s what content does.

So as we’ve taken down these journeys, we want to give them the depth of content. Um, hopefully that can include video. Um, but definitely the written word is so important and attorneys are really good at this. Uh, the only thing that I would caution here is there’s a tendency, because one of the things that make you guys great attorneys is that you’re so attuned to detail and specificity. Um, but on an online channel, again, you’ve got to sort of boil some things down, create some top level simplicity and some and some clarity of message and then take them a deeper, so don’t, don’t be careful not to kind of go over their head again. We’re just trying to get the inquiry and so that they can talk to you because you are the best, uh, person. Uh, and, and that sort of one on one communication is going to be the best way for you to advise that individual on their individual situation.

So you don’t want to try to get everything into that article or everything into that video. You just to want to tease up, uh, what your conversation will be, uh, like, and give them confidence that they potentially have a case at hand and should contact you, uh, for better, uh, counsel. So that’s number three. Number four, um, content, uh, combined with ad words, uh, can help you start to take ground, uh, in this highly competitive space. So I always think about online, uh, searches in particular like real estate. Uh, you wanna use a combined effect of the content, uh, and then some paid Google ad words to start to take in those little niche areas and get that traffic and get those inquiries coming into you directly. And that’s a great way to do that. So that’s kind of the four step plan to starting to get, uh, that online visibility.

Um, and then finally, uh, let’s speak a little bit more directly to the mythology of referrals. So no partner client has ever, um, sort of handed out a business card. Um, and I think I want you to really just kind of take a second and think about this. We’ve all got business cards, we hand them out. Uh, but when you’re really thinking about the case inquiries that you get and the people that you help every day, um, it’s important for you to kind of get to a realization, um, that there is a very low probability, um, that that professional partner actually took your business card and handed it to that refer the person that they referring and said, hey, take this business card and call, uh, whomever is represented on that attorney. So you, I’m handing that business card and them calling you. It’s probably not how it happens, right?

Realistically, what happens is they’re in a conversation and they say, hey, you should call sue. She is the best at immigration. You should call, uh, Bob. He helped, you know, my cousin, uh, in this truck accident and being able to just have a conversation. They use a, usually it an individual attorney’s name, uh, sometimes the firm, uh, and then what is the next action that happens, right? The person who was referred, uh, goes to their mobile phone probably or their desktop, uh, and they type in that name, uh, and potentially add the firm to it. And so being able to collect, um, those kinds of searches are super important. So if you get most of your business from referrals, you still need to have a great online presence, particularly for the attorney’s names. Most of our, uh, legal clients, their actual website, the majority of their traffic actually does come from attorney names.

So people typing in those attorney names, they’re coming from referrals. But imagine for a moment, um, if someone uses your name and you don’t rank on that first page, uh, you as an attorney, um, then they are not going to be able to find you and they probably will not dig much deeper. The next search they’ll do is a more generalized search to look for somebody to help them with the specific, um, legal problem that they have. And guess what, that’s going to lead them away from you. So if you don’t have a strong online presence and most of your businesses from referrals, you will probably see yourself losing a business as a, the Internet. And just kind of our linkage to our mobile phones gets deeper and deeper and deeper. Um, people are just not handing physical paths to you. Um, they’re actually using the search engine and go after that.

Um, so that’s one important reason. So, um, so I would encourage you specifically to go ahead and kind of think through that process and take a look. Go ahead and Google your name, figure out where you’re at, Google your law firm, figure out where you’re at. Um, and then of course you can always add to that the particular legal issue. So we see a lot of those kinds of searches too. They’ll search for bill rice and then they’ll search for a truck accident. Um, because again, that’s the problem. So they’ll put those things together. So go ahead and do a couple of those searches and see if your online presence is holding up. Um, and then the other thing, um, that I think is really important, and this is why the way we kind of structure, uh, individual attorney pages when we’re designing these is when they do come into that individual attorney page of that law firm page.

Like law firm page kind of goes without saying, but even in the individual attorney page, it’s important to list the different practice areas, um, that you are involved with so that they can again see their particular issue and potentially go deeper by clicking on that. So that’s super important. And then at the very top, um, where it’s kind of presenting you as an attorney, maybe even before your CV and your practice areas, uh, we wanna make sure that it’s really easy to find your contact information. Cause again, most likely, especially if you’re getting most of your business from referrals, um, that’s first search is simply to find your contact information because your professional partner, uh, probably didn’t take the time to dig into, uh, his or her own contact database and give them your phone number or your email. So it’s really important to have that, uh, at the very top.

So, um, hopefully, um, that will kind of give you some, as you kind of do that, own your own research there. Um, we’ll potentially either give you some confidence or adjunct, uh, in your positioning with your online presence. Again, um, whether you’re being impacted by a competitor that’s really getting good at this, um, or you just, um, uh, under the assumption that all of your business comes from referrals and they don’t touch the website. Um, hopefully you’ve considered everything that I’ve said, um, because this is something that’s going to become more and more important. So hopefully this has been helpful. Um, this is something that we do each and every week. So I would encourage you, if you enjoyed this too, uh, please like the video cause that helps us, uh, in a big, big way, uh, to get this information out to more people. Uh, but we’d also love for you to subscribe, um, so that you each and every week our getting all of our kind of new tips, uh, about digital marketing and how you can apply that to your business, uh, to grow your practice area.

Also, uh, encourage you to hit the little bell that will show up after you subscribe. If you hit that bell, you’ll actually get a notification every single time that I go live or we release a new video. So hope to see you next time. Again, hope this is helpful in a, below this video in the comments here on Youtube. I am very, very active. So if you have a very specific question, um, I would love to have you drop that in the comments and I will go in there, um, and actively give you the most detailed and specific answer that I possibly can. So with all that, hope to see you next time. Enjoy.

About Kaleidico

Kaleidico is an award-winning, premier digital agency based in the Detroit-metro area of Michigan. In business for nearly 15 years, we have supported top brands in the US and Canada with digital strategy, web design, development, SEO, Content Marketing, PPC, and email marketing.

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