For lawyers and law firms wishing to expand the reach of their web marketing, we provide five simple ways to reach more prospective clients and expand your business. These ways include adding video and live chat to your website, being responsive to contacts, and offering initial consultations, where feasible. The points may seem basic, but a surprising number of attorneys fail to do at least one of them, thereby losing valuable business.
With Internet marketing, and in many other types of marketing, there is a type of funnel phenomenon by which prospective clients are either attracted or driven away. The phenomenon goes something like this:
First, people might see your site in the search results or in a link from another site. Then they need to actually click the link to arrive at your site. Once they arrive at your site they may or may not take some type of action to contact you. Once they contact you, they may or may not hire you. Each step of the way there are actions you can take to increase the likelihood that a potential client takes the next step to becoming a client.
This post will cover five way to increase conversion rates for potential clients visiting your site.
1. Make it easy to contact you.
This sounds basic but in our experience, many firms make the mistake of burying their contact information. Potential client are more likely to contact you if they are easily able to find your contact information. I see numerous law firm sites where you have to click the contact item in the navigation to get contact information. While this may be elegant from a design perspective, you will get more contacts if your contact information is readily noticed. Put your phone number above the fold (that is, high enough on the page that users don’t have to scroll down to see it), and also give clients other ways to contact you, such as through an embedded contact form or email address.
2. Answer the phone.
You might be surprised by how many attorneys screen their calls with voicemail. If you want to increase your conversion rates, do not screen calls this way. Have a live human being answering the phone. People who are seeking legal counsel are often in stressful situations and may need a response quickly. If a prospect reaches voicemail, the individual might be afraid to leave a message, or might just move on to the next potential lawyer on her list. Likewise, if the prospect leaves a message with an assistant, follow up promptly. Otherwise the prospective client might move on to the next lawyer before you have the chance to connect and demonstrate your value proposition.
3. Add live chat to your site.
Live chat allows visitors to chat online with a representative of your firm when they visit your site. Once you sign up for the service, you can either staff it with someone at your firm, or use a service that handles the chat for you. (Many law firms opt for this second option, as it can be easier and less resource-intensive). Usually the goal of the chat is simply to schedule a call or appointment with an attorney at the firm. This service can be helpful in increasing calls/appointments with potential clients, as it makes your firm easier to reach.
Some practice areas are more conducive to live chat than others. For instance, it is popular in consumer-focused areas such as personal injury but less common on law firm sites that cater to businesses. There is always the slight risk that a potential client might be put off by live chat, finding it annoying or impersonal. Fortunately, however, most chat providers offer month-to-month contracts, so it’s easy to experiment with this feature and see whether you see an uptick in new clients.
4. Add video to your site.
A professionally produced (or at least high quality) video can demonstrate that you are an eloquent speaker and give clients the confidence to call you. Video can also help build empathy and allow clients to connect with you personally before they even meet you. I especially like videos when attorneys are being interviewed by the media because these types of videos build confidence via third party credibility.
5. Offer a free initial consultation.
People are often concerned about the potential costs in hiring an attorney. If you offer free consultations, letting potential clients know about the free consultation lowers the perceived costs in contacting you and will help your conversion rates. If you are paid on a contingent fee basis, letting clients know about this can also improve your conversion rates. Many lay people don’t realize how different types of attorneys are paid, and just assume that lawyers mean big expenses. So letting potential clients know about how fee arrangements can help them will be good for your conversion rates. Be sure to follow the ethics rules in your particular jurisdiction in describing your fee arrangements.
Improving the number of potential clients that reach each stage of your marketing can make a big difference. Following the above suggestions can assist you in reaching a great number of potential clients and winning more business.