Whether you have a small or medium-size law firm, one need remains the same: clients. But not just any warm body will do. You need to find clients who are qualified and have a need for your services. That’s a tall order, but one that we’ll fill by the end of this post.
Stick around to find out how you can use the magic of the Internet to find qualified clients for your legal practice. Let’s discuss!
Identify Your Ideal Client
The best way to start is by identifying your ideal client. To aid in this, I’ve provided a list of questions to help:
Who are they? Include basic demographics such as age, gender, location, and income.
What do they need from you? How likely are they to reach out to you?
Why do they need your service? If you offer more than one service, consider creating a client persona for each.
Where do they live online? Are they mostly on Facebook, Google (everyone’s on Google), Instagram, LinkedIn, Yelp, Avvo Law, or Pinterest? If you’d like to know which platform you’d be more likely to find clients, check out this post on Choosing the Best Social Media Platform for your Law Firm.
When do they research lawyers? Does your target client wait until the last minute? When they do reach out, what time do you get the majority of your calls? Is it 10 AM? 3 PM? This can indicate a lot about your average client.
Create a Website
Now that you’ve compiled a client persona, it’s time to create a marketing strategy to welcome those clients in.
When trying to find and nurture clients, always start with a website.
Remember, it’s not the 90s anymore. Folks use the Internet (not the Yellow Pages) to find everything from appliances to Zumba. As an attorney, you’ve got to make sure that your services are represented online, too. The way to do that is with a website.
A website is like an “always on” salesperson. Your website works for you even at midnight and on holidays. If you plan it right, your website can provide just as much information as your front office staff (but don’t tell them I said that).
On your website, be sure to create a blog that people actually want to read. Blogs are a powerful tool that can help you educate your site visitors and establish yourself as the knowledgeable pro that you are.
Use Paid Advertising
We’ve discussed how to use paid advertising before, so I won’t rehash it here. Check out how to use paid advertising to dominate the local search listings. Be sure to click on that link because there we discuss what SEO and search advertising really means for your law firm. I also give you the exact formula for how to get on a first-page listing on Google’s search results.
Create a Call-Only Ad Campaign
Have you ever searched on the Internet with your smartphone? Chances are, you’ve seen a little call button to the right side of the top few listings. That’s little button is going to transform your online marketing campaign, and here’s how:
People who search for lawyers with their smartphones are motivated to go beyond “research mode” and into results mode. They want to speak to a live person. Instead of directing them to a webpage, you should offer a call button for quick access.
This is known as a call-only ad campaign.
It costs the same as a regular headline click, but you’ll have a much more engaged prospective client who wants to act now.
In the order of things:
website < phone call < consultation < representation
By the way, don’t forget about Bing. While Google is the undisputed giant in Internet search, Bing does have 20% of the market share. You can follow these same steps on Bing to find qualified clients there, too. And it may even be cheaper.
Provide Enhanced User Experience
Did you know that a bad first impression of your website can lower your chances of getting clients? It’s true that you can lose site visitors just by a slow website– and by slow, I mean a site that takes three seconds or longer to load.
No one wants to wait for answers. You’ve got to make sure that your website is fast load and provides all of the answers your prospective clients need immediately.
Even worse than a slow-loading website is one that’s completely disorganized and hard to navigate. If your site visitors have to click a lot of links trying to find the answers they’re looking for, they’re going to give up and hit the back button.
Here’s how to prevent a disorganized website:
Get clear about what information you’d like to share on your website. Here’s a good idea of where to start:
On your Homepage: Discuss what services you offer and who would benefit most from them. Keep it short, simple, and clean.
On your About page: Discuss who you are but keep it client-focused. Craft your About page to help the prospect understand why they should choose you. It’s good to underscore the kind of cases and clients you often work with in this page.
On your Services page: Be very clear about what services you offer and then break it down even further. Remember, your prospective client probably doesn’t know much about law, they just know that they need a lawyer. Use language they would understand. Oftentimes, a layman doesn’t know exactly what something’s called. Here’s your chance to educate and empower them to figure out what service they need from you.
You may also find it helpful to create a separate page for each service that you offer.
Prepare a Thorough FAQ Page: A lot of folks head straight for the frequently asked questions page, if you have one, to decide whether they need your services. This is yet another golden opportunity to answer common questions that you’d normally discuss over the phone. It’ll free up your phone lines for more specific questions, and provide a valuable resource to online prospective customers who are searching for answers.
Follow Up Immediately on the Phone
There are times when you’re just not available. For example, maybe the caller left a message after hours. Perhaps you’re on another line. Whatever the case, don’t let that prospect fade– be sure to follow up immediately whenever possible.
Here’s the thing to keep in mind: a prospective client who doesn’t reach you will oftentimes go to the next attorney on the list. Boo. But, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re out. By calling that person back in a reasonable timeframe (by the end of the business day), you may be able to persuade them to choose you – especially if you’re presenting yourself as friendly and helpful.
Unlike emails and voicemails, phone calls are great for gauging interest.
Push the In-Office Consultation
Of course, you don’t want to give away everything in a phone call. It’s so crucial to get the caller into an in-office consultation. This is where you’ll be able to separate those who just want free legal advice from actual paying clients.
Should you offer free or paid consultations?
There’s compelling opinions on both sides. The benefit of offering:
A free consultation – You’ll definitely set more appointments because everyone loves “free”. You’ll also separate yourself from your competitors because they’re more likely to charge for consultations.
A paid consultation – You’ll get more motivated prospects. People who are willing to pay an initial consultation fee are more likely to sign a representation agreement.
A happy medium? Consider charging a consultation fee but then crediting it back to their account if they choose to retain your services.
You can also explain your process over the phone and on your website to help drive the in-office consultation.
Polish Your Profiles
By now, you know how important it is to have a website, but that’s not the only way to represent your law firm online. You also need to expand to social media networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
We’ve actually covered this in-depth here: Choosing the Best Social Media Platform for Your Brand. If you need help figuring out which platform to use, be sure to check out that post.
Being on a social platforms helps you extend the reach of your online marketing. You can start amassing followers and then updating them through your social platforms. While they may not always come to your website, they can always be connected to you through your social media updates.
Also make sure you’re fully utilizing online review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Avvo. We’ve also gone in depth on those topics here: Pick Me! Your Beginner’s Guide on How to Attract Local Clients Via the Internet.
Prospective clients may head to these review sites first before even starting a Google search. What will they find once they get there?
Negative reviews are one thing; negative reviews without a follow up from you are a death sentence. Don’t make that mistake. Follow up on all reviews, trying to resolve those that you can, but acknowledging everyone else with a heartfelt thanks for their feedback. No sarcasm, please. Remember– you’ve got an audience.
Remember how we discussed that a website is fundamental to finding qualified clients? We can help with that. Let’s talk about building you a site that you can be proud of.