Give your website a boost and get more clients for your firm

You can boost response from potential clients who visit your website by making it easy for them to contact you impulsively.

Significant buying decisions always have an emotional foundation, especially when we have a limited understanding of what we’re buying. We do basic analysis: this seems like good SUV, good computer network, good physician, good attorney. Then we decide whether we “feel” this is a good choice for us. Do we “like” this choice? Will it make us happier? Do we feel comfortable and confident that it’s right for us? For our business or company?

We usually don’t stop to analyze feelings. Once we “feel this is a good choice” or “feel right about this” we also feel ready to act. If it’s easy to act impulsively, we probably will. Conversely, if our impulsiveness is slowed down or frustrated, our positive feelings begin to fade.

We can use this knowledge to boost response to a legal website by making impulsive contact easy while eliminating frustrations and slow-downs. Here are four simple ways:

  1. Limit the navigation menu choices on any page. Numerous page links (especially on the home page), drop-down menus, and “search this site” boxes have all been proven to diminish response. Offering fewer and more relevant choices leads to faster, easier, more impulsive action. Put your less-important page choices on sub-menus on inside pages.
  2. Put your telephone number in large or bold type at the top and bottom of every page. If your clients live in more than one telephone area code, a toll-free phone number has been shown to boost response even among wealthy or corporate clients.
  3. Make your “contact us” button prominent at the far left or top of every navigation menu and sub-menu, in a bright color setting it apart from other page links. This is your “take action” button—it’s equivalent to “buy now” on a retail site. Provide multiple ways to contact you on the contact us page: an administrative e-mail address, fax number, phone, street address, and contact form.
  4. Put a very simple contact form at the bottom of every single page on your site. Make it fast and easy to complete with blanks only for a name, email address, a message box for potential clients to answer “how can I help you?” and (at their option) their home or work phone number. Avoid the temptation to use the contact form as a screening device by including blanks for any other information. An easy contact form lets a new client stay on the page that has inspired them and make that contact decision instantly – it’s often the biggest response-booster of all.

Another way you can significantly increase the response to your website is if you organize it by the kind of problems you solve for clients rather than by your practice areas. The reason is this: fewer than 1% of clients use the web to search for words like attorney, lawyer, or law firm, or for typical practice area names, like “business litigation” or “personal injury.”

Website visitor statistics show the other 99% arrive at attorney websites through searches performed on search engines using words and phrases that describe their problem – such as:

  • collecting money owed me
  • defending a preference
  • spinal cord injury
  • dui arrest
  • child custody

The reason: clients are looking for information and solutions to their problem. They don’t care whether the solution is an attorney, an accountant, a computer program, or a gizmo in a box delivered by UPS.

To get these clients to come to your website, you’ll need to come up at the top of the search engine results when they type in words describing the kind of problem you can handle. The only way to do that is to create pages within your website that each discuss a client problem in detail. That’s because search engines give priority in rankings to pages that are devoted to discussing a single topic (such as “selling a business”) and that use words related to that topic over and over again in normal sentences. Each problem-oriented page should be about 600 to 900 words long and should explain in detail how you can handle and solve that particular client problem.

There’s a second benefit to doing this: when a potential client arrives at your website from a search engine, they arrive on the page that correlates to their problem, and can immediately see that you can provide a solution. They’ll then be much more likely to stay on your site and learn about your services. And because your site will be organized the way clients think, they’ll also be more likely to return to your site, and to keep you in mind for future business and referrals.

It’s definitely more work to organize your website by client problems than by your practice areas, and it usually means your website will have numerous pages. But the potential payoff is worth it. Websites that are organized by client problems, and that explain how the attorney can handle and solve each problem, attract more clients and generate more calls than websites organized by practice areas. The financial rewards and increased business make problem-solution organization the best one for increasing response to attorney websites.

Free tools to research keywords

To obtain your desired potential clients from search engines, you’ll need to determine what search phrases they’re using. Two fast, cheap research tools work well for this:

http://inventory.overture.com (free)

http://www.wordtracker.com (free trial – use the back button on your browser to keep testing phrases; $8 for one day gives more extensive information)

Both tools will report how many searches there were for each phrase you type into the blank http://inventory.overture.com will also show related searches that used at least one of the words in your phrase, and http://www.wordtracker.com will show synonyms and popular related searches.

How to organize your web site

The following is one example and is based on “Selling a Business”

Make separate pages for the little problems that are included in the big problem (selling a business), after researching exactly what “little problems” are the subject of frequent searches. The search process is trial-and-error but the results are very useful.

To find an example, I began with the premise that potential clients who are selling their business will likely want to know how much it’s worth. http://inventory.overture.com reports that last month there were 305 searches for “valuing a business,” 1172 searches for “business value,” and 277 searches for “business worth.” An astute business lawyer could potentially pick up some new clients from search engines by making a page link called “Business Value” and titling the page “Business Value: How Much is Your Business Worth?” The lawyer would then discuss the problem, using related search terms, and explain how the lawyer could help a client seeking to value a business in a sale.

More interestingly, there were 28,257 searches for “business broker” and thousands more in which the phrase “business broker” was coupled with the name of a state or city, such as “queensland business broker” (1543 searches). Again, an astute business lawyer might devote at least a page to the issue, explaining how the lawyer could protect and assist a seller using a business broker. Although this is not a topic that would instinctively spring to mind in creating a business law website, it could well attract clients, and few other law firm websites would likely cover the same ground. If this page attracted new clients, more research could be done to expand the concept into multiple pages, each page focused on two or three crucial related search terms.

Using the lawyer’s website visitor statistics to track response, the most popular pages could then be further expanded upon, and the pages that were never visited could be taken off the site. Most websites come with basic visitor statistics, but for real firepower in website marketing, I use and recommend visitor stats from http://www.indextools.com at $20 per month.

About the author: Antony Firth