Continuous web development and SEO are often overlooked pieces of a law firm’s overall marketing strategy. A firm will invest significant time and money in creating or redesigning their website and then breath a sigh of relief, thankful that they won’t need to worry about their website for a couple of years. In doing this, many firms miss out on great opportunities to promote their website.
Much of the hesitation towards web development and SEO stems from the static and defensive approach many law firms take towards their web presence. We often hear clients say, “no one is going to hire a lawyer without meeting them first” or that “our work comes from referrals and personal contact, not from our website.” These firms believe their site is only needed to keep them from being disqualified.
Enhancing Current Marketing Efforts
Practically speaking, this approach is not all wrong, but it is limiting. I agree that personal contact is important to client generation. However, I see a website and related content (blog articles, resources, news stories) development as opportunities to enhance this personal contact.
For example, when I meet with a potential client for the first time, and they tell me that they have read my blog or reference a particular piece, the conversation can immediately become substantive. The point is that an informative web presence promotes a real conversation with a potential client long before ever meeting in person. It also continues to build value with existing clients. Consider how many client marketing calls, especially early in the relationship, are about small talk. Small talk is a part of being likable and may be necessary, but it less costly if a potential client is already comfortable with how a firm or a lawyer thinks.
Developing useful website content that answers questions your potential clients are asking is valuable to client development, but only if the content can be found. This is why a commitment to search engine optimization (SEO) is also essential. A law firm’s position in search engine results can directly impact client development and the overall reputation of the firm. The world of SEO is ever-changing and complicated. For firms to develop a well-optimized website that establishes the firm as an authority in particular areas of expertise, it is essential for firms to always remain focused on SEO.
An Offensive Approach to Web Development and SEO
We recommend firms take an offensive approach to web development and SEO. The idea is to have a website and related content (blogs, resources, profiles, case studies, social networking etc.) constantly marketing the firm. Picture a never-ending digital stream of value associated with the firm.
There is demonstrable value in taking an offensive approach to web development and SEO. Firms and lawyers shifting to an offensive strategy that includes continuous web development and committed search optimization will benefit most from engaged professional support. Finding a web developer that is interested in a firm or lawyer’s mission is essential. We encourage firms to allow their lawyers maximum leeway to maximize their web presence. Law firms should also rely on the help of experts to succeed in the complicated, ever-changing world of SEO.
Law firms that seize the opportunity to invest in these online marketing strategies will not only advance their offline marketing efforts; they will also have a vital advantage in a highly competitive legal market.