As we discussed in our review of FindLaw’s legal marketing services, not all websites are created equal. Some visitors might see your homepage and immediately leave because it looks like it was made in 2004.
Even though your website says nothing about your proficiency as a lawyer, that’s not how most potential clients will see it. I know this fact personally because my firm’s website used to look outdated, and people would tell me. I didn’t listen to them then, but I should have.
How do you know if your firm’s website design is attracting clients?
The best way to tell is by looking at your site’s Conversion Rate. The Conversion Rate is the number of people who interact with your firm in the way you want (either by calling you or submitting their information/case details online) out of the total number of people who visit your website. If your website looks outdated and boring, few people are going to interact with your firm. If your website looks respectable and offers the visitor an easy way to find out if your firm is right for him, you’ll have a high Conversion Rate.
There are many web design business that focus specifically on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) by improving a website’s home page to make it the most attractive for customers to interact with. We will be reviewing some of the businesses in the future, but for now, let’s talk about what YOU can do with your limited knowledge of web design:
1. Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What makes your firm better than the rest? A unique selling proposition brands your firm’s services as distinct. It’s more than just a slogan or tagline—it’s the difference-maker.
Surely you’ve heard “melts in your mouth, not in your hand” by M&M’s and “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it’s free” by Domino’s. It’s their way of showing you why their product offers something different or better as compared to its competitors.
For Law Firms, USPs are a bit more difficult. You and your competitors offer a very similar service, so you’ll need to distinguish your firm in a different way. Many firms use their firm’s history as a USP: “Representing Accident Victims in New York Since 1973.”
Assuming your firm hasn’t been around for that long, you can distinguish yourself in other ways. For example, “Get the Most Money for Your Accident” or “The Most Trustworthy Attorneys in the Dallas Area”.
Make sure your USP is in line with the jurisdiction’s Rules of Professional Conduct. You can’t say “Serving the Houston Area for Over 100 Years” if it’s factually inaccurate, but you can make up superlatives for yourself: “The Best Attorneys in Tuscon”.
2. Make Your Main Practice Area Obvious
Clients are never sure if your firm is right for them. Many of them want to know what your firm’s specialty is immediately. This is why your firm’s main practice area should be conspicuously displayed on your home page. Take a look at the following example:
How does the client immediately know if you’re the right lawyer for his case?
People have very little patience on the internet. 40% of people will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. You should assume a similar rule for how long it takes a client to figure out what your practice area is. Make it obvious. Take this next example:
You know what they do after looking at the website for a few seconds. Sure, they have other practice areas (which you can access by checking out the “practice areas” menu tab), but it’s clear that personal injury is their bread and butter. Also notice their UPS: “Accomplished, Respected, Trusted”.
So if you are a jack-of-all-trades attorney, but a majority of your business comes from one area of the law, you need to prominently display your expertise in that area, or face a low Conversion Rate.
3. Make Contacting the Firm as Easy as Possible
A major trend in web design for law firms is getting the client to submit their information easily on the front page for a free consultation.
In the past, the client would need to look for the contact number or email address. This might seem like an easy thing to do, but it takes a lot of motivation to pull the trigger and initiate contact. People have their own anxieties about talking to lawyers. Especially in contingency fee areas like personal injury, clients might feel like they don’t know enough about the law to talk about the circumstances of their case. By having a contact form on the front page easily available, the firm lessens that burden of initial contact. Take a look at the following example:
Your eyes are immediately drawn to the blank form to input your information. You can write as much or as little as you want, and it’s then on the attorney to follow up with you. This makes the process much less anxiety-provoking for the client, and it produces more clients for the firm.
When evaluating your law firm’s Conversion Rate, it’s important to keep track of the data. How many people are coming to your site? How many are contacting your firm? As you become more involved in your firm’s marketing presence (and yes, even learning a bit of web design, which we’ll cover in the future), you’ll need to know what kind of tweaks to your site are effective and which are harmful. Getting traffic to your website is only one step of your firm’s larger internet marketing plan; you also need to make that traffic count. You can lead a horse to water, but you can make it sign a retainer agreement.
Which law firm web designs do you think are the most effective for converting visitors into clients? Which designs are the worst? Are there any other conversion tips that I’ve left out ? Please feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section below.