“Growing up, I always wanted to be somebody, but I see now that I should have been more specific.”
– Lily Tomlin
For some reason law firms seem to skip over their websites when thinking about digital marketing. Many law firms are missing a huge chance to set themselves apart from the other lawyers in their area.
Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that somewhere, there’s a Law firm that does actually care about its website and recognizes the opportunity to use it to differentiate itself and attract new business. How might this firm use the vast store of digital marketing knowledge that exists today and what might they do to reimage and reinvent their website?
Here are some thoughts:
- Look different – Create a visual identity for your website that signals to the client world that you’re a leader and not a follower. When was the last time you saw a Law Firm with a clear image that stood out and made you recall there name at a moment’s notice? A visual sign that gave trust, and summed them up to easily remember them when you saw them in an ad in a magazine or billboard?
- Get the clients in the picture – partners brag incessantly about their great, long-term relationships with clients. Ask them for help leveraging these relationships for business development and the silence is deafening. Most will claim that their clients can’t or won’t do it, but the reality is that they never even asked. Let me be clear…it’s not about asking clients for testimonials or endorsements, but there are other ways that don’t involve talking about a case that people will talk about and be more than happy to let you highlight so you stand out.
- Become a storyteller – Big Law websites today are largely data repositories (generally coupled with frustrating and inadequate search engines). But data does a poor job conveying the intangibles that differentiate Law firms and create relationships – expertise, personality, communications style, humor, empathy. For those who don’t think storytelling is important, consider this: In a recent study of the professional services industry, by Hinge Marketing, the number one reason why buyers ruled out referrals before ever speaking with them was “I couldn’t understand how they could help me.” You need to rethink your website and your marketing; everyone assumes you speak legal jargon, but they don’t understand why your knowing that helps them. You need to work on crafting a brand people can connect with just like any other profession does.
- Lose the stock photos – The scales of justice, gavels, courthouse steps, law libraries, empty courtrooms with empty judges’ chairs, and things along those lines don’t really stand out any more. We have all seen them on every lawyer site, people want to connect on a personal level and feel they can trust you, not feel like they have to randomly pick from a barrel of fish that are all the same.
- Write less – On average, studies indicate that web visitors read only 28% of the words on a page, yet much of the content on Law sites relies on huge chunks of copy. Being a visual site that gets the point across in fewer words, will both make you seem more approachable and help the visitor retain more about your law firm over others.
- Distribute your content throughout the website – In this day of search and link-driven visits, more visitors enter sites through landing and other internal pages than your home page. And some of the content you might not think matters is actually more important and should be show cased over other things that a person visiting your site really doesn’t want to know. Remember you want them to feel like you are a real person who cares about them, and not another rich lawyer that’s out to get their money.
- Video, Video, Video – Short-form video is the fastest-growing form of web content. Ditch the static 20-minute conference room panel recording and show off who you are, who your clients are, and why you’re the best thing to happen to law since the invention of law!
Finally, Law firms should stop trying to just be somebody, and be something. Every law firm can easily claim to be a somebody, but what makes you special, what makes you the best in your field, and why people should trust you over all the others is the thing you need your website to highlight and drive home. But, tackling these questions and presenting the answers in a unique, creative and engaging way requires hard choices and hard work. It’s important to partner with a company who is willing to work hand-in-hand with you and help you create and develop all of this so your law firm stands out and makes people say, “I need them to represent me”. It’s not about looking like the crowd, it’s about rising above and making yourself the cream of the crop.