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Give the People What They Want: Creating a Helpful Law Firm Website

View profile for David Gilroy
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From the moment somebody – anybody - clicks on a website, a timer starts in their head. That timer is set to roughly one minute. As soon as this timer begins, the visitor says to the website: “impress me.” The website then has one minute to do just that. If the website is really successful, the company behind the website will step up to the next round (also known as the customer service round.)

However, if the website does not impress the visitor within this time, the visitor will chuck the company behind it in the metaphorical bin and move on to the next search result. You may think that one-minute is not enough time to fully understand a company’s products and services and even their values perhaps, but actually, it is.

Try it for yourself: imagine yourself as a client. Open your browser, look at any law firm website and see how long it takes you to form an opinion about that firm. Go on, have a go. How long did you last? Did you spend longer just to prove me wrong?

The underlying message here is that people want to know how your business will benefit them as soon as they click on your website, and your main goal is to keep them from clicking away from it. To make one minute become two, and then two become five. To do this, your website should try to answer the questions that visitors would have been on the verge of asking, had you not answered them already.

Questions such as: Where can I find you? How much will a divorce cost? Why am I choosing you over the law firm down the road?

This rule doesn’t just exist for prospects, either. Having a website that acts as a main port of call for clients enhances their experience and therefore their overall satisfaction. To keep people on your website longer, you’ve got to provide incentive. You’ve got to give the people what they want.

Say, for example, someone is browsing around your site, in need of a conveyancing solicitor to assist them in buying a house. Let’s say it’s their first time, and they aren’t sure about the costs. Who’s going tell them?

You, that’s who! Rather than allowing them to stray away from your site and research the costs, you should be making it easy for them to find out. An example of this would be by having a conveyancing calculator on your website, so they can enter their information into the system and get a quote generated in seconds. Will they call you after getting a quote? Possibly, but either way, once they’ve entered their details they get sent straight to your email inbox. That means when you want to follow it up, you already know what they want before asking. Simple for them, simple for you.


Example of conveyancing calculator from Frettens Solicitors 

Lisa Gevelber, VP of Marketing at Google, says that rather than focusing on reach and frequency, brands should focus on intent and immediacy, as it’s these things that drive engagement. Not only giving the people what they want, but also when they want it.

Once they have their quote, why not help them out more by providing further resources? In this instance, it could be a link to Homecheck, the free online guide to environmental, social and property risks in their area. Were it a divorce calculator, you may want to provide links to divorce support groups or local family law courts. The principle is the same: once you’ve already assisted your prospects by answering their questions, calculating prices and even supplying further information, there’s possibly less chance that they will go looking for another law firm to help them out.

But that’s not all. There are quick fixes such as adding directions to your office as well as information on parking that will save time for your prospective client. In fact, why not go the whole hog and integrate a virtual map to your location? Perhaps even local bus routes or nearest tube stops? Essentially, you'll be laying out everything they will need before finally contacting you to arrange a meeting. 

And what about your existing clients? Well, there’s more you could be doing for them too. An example of this would be giving them the opportunity to pay you through your website. It works quite simply: a client visits your website and clicks on a ‘make payment’ link which takes them to a secure form that collects payment information. The website then contacts the Credit Card Gateway and instructs it to collect the amount of money that your client has agreed to in the form and provides both parties with a payment reference. It’s a quick and yet safe way of completing a transaction, and another way of simplifying things for your client.


Example of BillPay module from Stephensons Solicitors LLP

But other than these solutions that you know will increase your value, one question still remains: how will you know what else your really clients want? The above suggestions will undoubtedly increase their satisfaction. But what else could you be doing to make their lives easier? There’s only one way to find out: by asking!

I’m not suggesting you set up a ‘feedback meeting’ where you awkwardly quiz your client on your strengths and weaknesses. Not exactly. Instead, you can use a tool like LawLeague, a legal-centric survey you can send to your clients in order to receive direct and honest feedback. The survey comes with the option of editable questions and appears professional as well as being straightforward: you direct the client to an online survey via email, they take a couple of minutes to complete it, you get the results. This process, which in total takes approximately five minutes, can give you valuable insight into how you could improve and most importantly, what your clients want.

It’s these steps you should be taking in order to ensure your website can answer the questions that will undoubtedly be asked. Because if you don’t answer them, another law firm website will. We all know that it’s great to have a website which looks good, but it’s time to think of how it can do good. Because if it does good, then you look good. And that’s just very good.

 

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