Why Are My Law Firm Phones Not Ringing?

An insider’s tips to increasing your caseload from the Web

It is frightening when a law firm’s phones go silent. The overhead expenses continue while the firm’s attorneys realize too late that prospective clients are contacting another firm. The difference between the businesses at those two firms may boil down to their approach to Web marketing.

Too many law firms still have a storefront mentality, with little or no serious Web presence. A storefront mentality, which relies on old marketing methods such as Yellow Pages and newspaper advertising, could lead those firms down the same road to financial turmoil that Blockbuster recently found itself on. On the other hand, the Internet mentality of companies like Netflix and Amazon has resulted in the doubling or tripling of their stock prices in the past eight months.

This article will tell you what you may be doing wrong (or not doing at all) on the Web and what you can do to get your phone ringing and your firm receiving clients from the Web.

Design

Let’s start with design. There are several design elements that can make or break your law firm’s website:

  • Calls to Action – An effective website design includes multiple methods through which prospective client visitors can choose to contact you. These may include a fill-in-the-blank form (detailed or abbreviated), an online instant messaging chat feature and a link to your direct e-mail address. Obviously, your firm’s telephone and fax numbers should be prominently displayed;
  • Videos – Online videos are very popular these days. If you have ever received a link to a video in your email, chances are you were directed to YouTube.com. YouTube is the second most visited website (after Google, and ahead of Facebook), and it is no wonder why. Videos are available on virtually any subject. Viewers can choose which videos they want to watch and for how long, with very little interruption from advertisers. Strategically placing law firm videos on your website can go a long way toward converting visitors to your site into solid inquiries.
  • RSS news feeds – The Internet allows information to be transferred instantaneously. Why not let your Web audience know about news regarding your firm as it happens. Settle a large case? Make Mr. Doe a partner? Let your clients learn of this news with an automated RSS news feed;
  • Photography – Adding photos of your, lawyers, staff and office may put potential clients at ease. Attorney bios are the second most visited section of a law firm website. People like to see the legal professional who may be representing them. If prospective clients see your office, attorneys and staff online, they may be more inclined to walk in your front door for a consultation.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Not only is it vital for your law firm’s website to have a captivating design that entices potential clients and gives them all the information they will need when choosing a lawyer; your site must also be readily found. Law firm SEO is the key tool to being found online among the myriad of other law firms in your city/state. Law firm SEO is a highly involved process that augments your website’s online search-ability with on-site as well as off-site optimization techniques. Some of these techniques are listed below:

  • Organizing your website’s file structure to improve the ability for search engines (like Google) to index, or read, your site;
  • Integrating high quality, easy-to-read and relevant content;
  • Placing meta tags, ALT tags, TITLE tags and other information that search engines use to determine the quality and intent of your website;
  • Adjusting the keyword density of your website;
  • Developing an inbound links campaign.

Using a reputable legal-based Web marketing provider is the best option for any law firm. This way, you can be sure your marketing firm fully understands the legal field as well as the mindset of your websites’ visitors. Read more on our blog to learn about the importance of choosing a legal-based Web marketing firm.

Content

It is critical that your law firm website and social media content be up to date, and more importantly, in compliance with State Bar requirements. If possible, have your content developed by legal professionals or working attorneys. They will be familiar with the general ethical standards and professional requirements. Besides giving your readers substantive, useful information, providing keyword-rich content on your website will allow long tail search users to find you more readily in the search engines

Online Videos

Consider this: more than 180 million viewers in the U.S. alone watched 31 billion videos on the Internet in March 2010; more than double the 15 billion Internet videos that were watched at the same period in 2009. This trend shows no signs of slowing down. Why not take advantage of this and include videos on your website? You can film and post attorney bios, practice area explanations or just an introduction to your firm.

Videos will help you convert many of your visitors into legitimate inquirers. Online videos have been shown to hold an audience longer than simple text-based Web pages, and to create greater product recall. Professionally produced videos allow you to introduce yourself and your services to potential and existing clients. They allow you to tell your story in a warm, compelling fashion. A summary of how video can help you convert visitors to clients can be viewed on Consultwebs.com, Inc.’s website.

Social Media

Who hasn’t heard of Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter? Besides giving you an outlet to publicize recent news and events regarding your law firm, these sites also help your overall SEO efforts. Social Media sites provide another platform from which your main website can be found. Google and other search engines use links from these sites when deciding in which ranking order to place specific results. The more legitimate sites, with relevant keywords, recent updates, etc. that link to your firm’s website, the more likely search engines will consider your website the most relevant and authoritative search result. That’s why is a great time to develop your firm’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. If you need help starting your social media networks, contact a legal-based marketing firm today.

Other Marketing Techniques

Besides the techniques mentioned above, there are many other options your law firm can employ to get your law firm’s telephone to ring:

  • Free books: This is a great marketing tool for law firms. How many business cards have you thrown away in your life? And, how many books? I am willing to bet that the former is significantly higher than the latter. I suggest educating yourself on this topic by reading Dale Tincher’s recent article on marketing your law firm with free books.
  • Blog: Blogs can be an incredibly effective tool for promoting your law firm’s expertise and practice areas. If you do decide to start a legal-focused blog, keep these tips in mind:
    • Commit yourself to posting articles regularly or contract with a professional legal content provider to do so;
    • If appropriate, consider asking your professional connections to write guest posts and;
    • Most importantly, offer a subscription option such as an RSS feed. When guests are leaving comments and coming back to check on the blog, you have succeeded.
  • Online Chat: Online chat services for attorneys can trigger visitors to enter into a live text conversation with your firm. This may prevent them from going to another firm’s website. Some highly recommended companies include Client Chat Live, NGage and Olark. Consultwebs.com can help you find and implement the chat service that best fits your needs.
  • Press Releases: Online press releases for lawyers can be a very cost-effective way to promote your law firm through multiple outlets, including news sites, social media sites, blogs and online directories.
  • Lawyer Marketing Association Conferences: In addition to receiving invaluable marketing tips from presenters and attending attorneys, conference-goers pick up referral arrangements and leave with renewed energy.

An experienced marketing provider can assist you in developing and managing a step-by-step plan of action that will keep your phone ringing. Law firms that have properly invested and implemented strategic Web marketing campaigns are receiving Web inquiries. They are receiving an excellent return on their investments because they have implemented the above techniques and continued to improve them.

Finding a Law Firm Website Design Consultant

Finding a website design company that can tailor a site to your law firm’s exact website needs and desires can be challenging. Choosing a legal specific design and marketing firm will save you great deal of time and money.

If you have any questions about how to evaluate your Web presence or would like to know how we can help or would like a law firm audit of your current website, please contact us at marketing@consultwebs.com or 1-877-278-6796.