Law firm website strategy – do you have one?
A friend of ours runs a retail business, and has been trading online for a number of years. Online sales overtook shop sales about two years ago, and when it came to planning future expansion they decided to focus on building their online business rather than opening another store. Their website strategy has replaced their high street expansion strategy.
Yet, how many law firms view their website with the relative importance of a new office? And how many have a strategy to ensure that they are maximising the business obtained from their website?
Sue Bramall of Berners Marketing outlines the key areas that your law firm's website strategy should cover:
Make sure that you have written SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, objectives). For example in the next twelve months: to increase number of enquiries via the website by 30 per cent, increase average value of instructions from the website by 10 percent, and launch a new practice area for XYZ law.
Agree a number of key performance indicators that you monitor monthly via your internal lead reporting and google analytics. For example, enquiries per practice area, value of new business instructions per practice area, total website visits, and average time on website.
At least once a year you should check how effective and how easy to use the website is for a number of practice areas. Getting an external person to mystery shop your firm via the website is a great way to identify any weaknesses in the site, and any gaps in the enquiry handling process.
If you have not yet gone to a mobile version of your website, then now is the time to do so.
Set up a rolling calendar to ensure that every month, one part of the website is being checked for accuracy and updated.
Content planning and management
Plan ahead how you wish to develop the content. This should be dictated by a number of factors:
- practice areas requiring strengthening;
- new legislative developments that need to be covered;
- search terms that need improvement; and
- newsletter production schedules that need material to link into.
Putting all this into a plan will give you a clear indication of what you need and when, and whether there are peaks where you may need additional assistance.
In our experience you can make it near the top of Google fairly easily, for all but the most competitive of search terms, through good content practices.
Use pay-per-click advertising while you are climbing the rankings - or when you need immediate exposure, such as when a news item hits the headlines. Focus in on a few terms at a time, and build content until you have got them onto page one. Once this has been achieved, you can reduce the effort on these terms and refocus on another set.
Social media integration
All your online marketing should be integrated to ensure that your social media activity is used to drive maximum traffic to your website.
Make sure all your social media activities can be reached (follow and share) via your website. And ensure that you have a process to ensure that all new content on the website is shared across all social media.
What next? Talk to your clients about how they think that you can improve your service to them via your website. Whether it is an online secure service - or a new app - plan ahead.
In the case of a new office, it would not be acceptable to ignore potential clients who walk through the door. Yet some lawyers still view enquiries from a website as a waste of time, low priority, less important and do not follow up promptly, or such leads are passed to someone with no experience or training in inbound sales.
Mystery shopping will help you identify where any leads are slipping through the gaps.
If you have not been doing all of the above, then you may be wondering how you can find the time and resources to do all this.
Again, if you were opening a new office, you would accept that a degree of investment was required before you start to see a return. A similar approach is required if you wish to make your website work for you.