I believe that solos and small to mid-size firms fall into three categories when you review their web strategy. Those who view their website as an advertising platform to acquire new clients, those who view it as an online brochure, and those who don’t have a site. The first generally work on the site and dedicate resources in the form of internal staff and outside vendors to promote the site in hopes of generating clients. The second group will work with a vendor to create and launch a site, and then they do very little to maintain, update, or promote the site. The last group does nothing because they don’t have a site.
Where does your firm currently stand?
Are you where you should be, and does it matter?
The firms that work to promote their sites and leverage them for client acquisition are generally the firms that are involved in practices that require advertising to compete and survive. So, if you have a personal injury practice handling motor vehicle accident, fall down, medical malpractice, and other related types of injury cases, and actively promoted website is essential. Without a promoted strategy, you may not survive. This is also true of criminal firms with active traffic and DUI practices.
Many of these firms actively promote their firms across social media platforms, paid search, television, and outdoor. Some even have multiple websites focusing on different practices. All media promotes the brand and the firm website. If you are one of these firms, you can stop reading. Good job.
The second and third groups need to pay attention. The days of pure referral and word-of-mouth recommendations to support a practice are over. You need to realize that most people search the internet – usually Google to find a local lawyer.
If you have a placeholder website that is not properly maintained or doesn’t have a site, you are out of luck. You will miss out on these people. I hear lawyers in this category tell me all the time that the lawyers that show up in the searches are not good. That may be true, but they are good marketers, and they will retain the clients before you do. The good news is that it’s easier to become a good marketer than becoming a good lawyer. Since I am both a marketer and a lawyer, I think I can say that attending law school and learning to practice was harder than learning to be a marketing guru. 😉
If you have a solid website and a good marketing and SEO company working to promote your firm, you can catch these local searches because it’s easier for potential clients to find and contact you. All the while, you are showcasing your practice, building your brand, and building online relationships.
Suppose you are lucky enough to get referrals or recommendations. In that case, you must understand that 99.9999999% (that is not a real stat – I made it up – but the point is almost everyone) of the people that you are referred to will immediately go online to check you out. If they don’t find a website or find a shoddy website, it’s game over – you lost.
Get in the game and play hard. Talk with multiple internet marketing companies. Many specialize in law firm marketing. Schedule demos, pick their brains, and invest the time. It’s easier than going back to law school, and it will pay off.