A website is your law firm’s presence on the Internet. When prospective clients are either referred to your firm or are searching for a law firm, often their first stop is the Internet. Many people start by doing a search in Google.
Your law firm’s website is virtual real estate. Virtual real estate is much cheaper than brick-and-mortar real estate and can market your firm much more effectively to a larger audience than a sign and a storefront ever could.
Your law firm website, or lack of a website, creates an impression with prospective clients. You can have the least-accessible brick-and-mortar office in the world, yet a great website can convey to your clients that the quality of your services rivals any major law firm in your area.
An unappealing storefront for a law firm, yet an amazing website.
But, if you’re a solo practitioner or a partner of a small firm you may be wondering, “Why would I even need a website?”
When I have asked, “Why doesn’t your law firm have a website?” I’ve heard certain responses over and over again:
All my clients are referrals
My firm is a fixture in the community
I advertise in print / television already
I have a steady stream of clients
I want to address each one of these points.
“All my clients are referrals.”
I’m going to address this in the form of a cross-examination.
Me: “Let me ask you a question . . . so you don’t have a website, correct?”
“And your firm doesn’t have an Internet presence?”
“Not really. I have a LinkedIn profile though.”
“OK. So, generally all your clients are referred to you by other clients, correct?”
“And these clients came to you after hearing about your firm?”
“It’s likely that these clients have computers, right?”
“Well, of course.”
“And some of these clients probably tried to look you up online?”
“Well, I suppose.”
“And if any of these prospective clients were to try to look your firm up on the Internet, they wouldn’t find anything, right?”
“Yes. Well, aside from my LinkedIn account.”
“But these clients used your services anyway?”
“It’s also possible that some referrals ended up going with another law firm that does have an Internet presence?”
“I never really thought about that.”
“And so by not having a website, you are aware that you may be losing out on a lot of potential clients?”
“I . . . I guess that’s correct.”
Even if you are just looking to keep your stream of referral business, a website for your firm provides an essential service..
Marketing to Lawyer Referral Clients
Even if business is going well based on referrals and word-of-mouth, you should still consider getting a website. For one, once people hear your firm’s name, they are likely to search for it on the Internet. If someone recommended to your firm types in the name to Google, Yahoo, or Bing, what are they going to find? They may wonder why your firm does not have a website with information such as your firm’s members, practice areas, and contact information. In an age when nearly every service we use, from hair salons to local pizza joints, has an internet presence, many people will be discouraged when they cannot find a website for your firm. Many firms have very basic websites with biographies on the firm members and contact information, so a potential client may be wondering why he/she cannot find any information about your firm. Meanwhile, when the client searches for an attorney in your practice area and location online, the client will go with another law firm.
“My firm is a fixture in the local community.”
You may be a fixture in the local community, but your services are only reaching that immediate area. You’re reaching a very finite number of people. Not everyone in your town is going to need a medical malpractice attorney. Everyone in your town may be getting divorced over and over again, which is great for your matrimony law practice, but your client base is still very limited.
With a website for your law firm, people all over your county and state can find out about your services. As soon as your website is visible in search engines, you open your firm up to a larger potential market.
“I advertise in print / television already.”
Because you are advertising already, you know the importance of a marketing campaign to reach new potential clients. You may be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars per month on print or television ads and have some return to show for it. But, you know that for every thousand or so people who view the advertisement, only a small percentage may actually require a lawyer.
With print and television, you’re paying for eyeballs, most of which aren’t even interested in your services.
With a website and Internet marketing campaign, you’re paying for a website directed at people who are looking for lawyers and law firms in a particular practice area. If someone searches for “Divorce Lawyer in Salt Lake City,” you know that the person is looking for a lawyer. With a website and Internet marketing campaign, your law firm has the ability to reach all of those potential clients.
Click to learn more about law firm Internet marketing.
Many clients today are finding their attorneys via search engines. While someone people may ask a friend or acquaintance which lawyer they would recommend for a particular need, someone without a recommendation will likely go to the Internet to find a law firm.
If your law firm doesn’t show up in search engine results because you don’t have a website, you are foregoing potential new business from a very minimal investment. (Here’s another one to make bold)
Your firm’s website is an important marketing tool to introduce yourself to people looking for lawyers in your geographic area who would otherwise not necessarily find your firm. If you are currently advertising in print or local media in your locale, you are paying for your message to reach many more people than are interested in your services. However, providing a website along with Internet advertising targeting people specifically seeking attorneys in your practice area and region will enable you to reach out directly to the people who would hire your firm..
“I have a steady stream of clients.”
So you’re done trying to get new clients? You’re not interested in making any more money? (I would rewrite this in a less aggressive manner. It comes off unprofessional, like a mother scolding her child)(Also, is a website only about attracting new clients? Can’t it also help current clients contact and interact with you more easily?)
Let me put this bluntly:
I WANT TO HELP YOU RETIRE SOONER.
A website for your law firm practice can help you to convince referrals to use your law firm’s services and reach more potential clients you wouldn’t otherwise reach.
Whatever your firm’s goals are, a website is an essential tool in maintaining a presence for your firm just as maintaining a brick-and-mortar office is essential for conducting day-to-day business. Your virtual presence is a necessity.