By Daniel Griggs, founder of ATX The Brand, a tech agency focused on solving problems, building businesses and strengthening communities.
There will always be a demand for quality legal advice and representation, but the way consumers go about seeking legal services has changed over the past few years, and law firms that don’t keep up with the trends will be at a serious disadvantage.
Nearly 75% of individuals looking for an attorney begin their search online, 98% use a search engine and more than 70% visit a law firm’s website before making a decision, according to the National Law Review.
The Covid-19 pandemic means that consumers are relying on online services more than ever, and businesses that are not keeping up with the digital demands of 2021 are sure to forfeit leads, engagement and sales. According to Facebook’s research, more than half of small businesses have increased online interactions with customers and more than one-third are doing online sales.
In addition, the millennial generation — which is the largest consumer demographic — has now aged to the point where certain legal services are more necessary. These include family law services and real estate law services.
As the founder and CEO of a web design, web development and digital marketing agency, I have worked with a number of attorneys and law firms to develop their online brands. I have been able to observe how the legal profession is adopting certain digital trends and steer clients toward strategies that can help law practices grow in the short- and long-term.
In the past year alone, I have worked with several local attorneys to upgrade their websites from stock templates and online directories to robust sites with custom functionality and search engine optimization (SEO). Here are the five strategies I recommend to my legal clients:
1. Make sure you own your website. If you don’t have 100% ownership of your law firm website, you could be losing business. It may seem tempting to hire a template-based web design company that can plug your law firm’s information into an existing website design, but this approach can prevent you from customizing your website and tailoring it to your target demographic. It might also mean you will have to start from scratch if you ever want to hire another web design company.
2. Take a user-centric approach. Your law firm website should focus on the person who is visiting your site — their concerns, needs and questions. In 2021, it is a best practice to employ user-centered design, meaning both the graphic design and content on your site should engage the user and feel personal to them.
3. Invest in SEO. Consumers in 2021 like to do their own research when determining the best products and services for them. An individual who is going to invest in legal services will likely use a search engine such as Google and scan through multiple websites before deciding on one they like. It is important that your website is search-engine-optimized so it appears on the first page of search engine results.
4. Employ mobile-first design. Consumers today are much more likely to use a mobile phone to search online and access websites than they are to use a desktop computer. The mobile experience should be the first priority in establishing a credible and engaging online presence for your law firm.
5. Use social media. Social media isn’t just for lifestyle brands and entertainment. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become critical parts of marketing strategies for businesses in every industry. The average consumer spends more than six hours each week using social media. By directly engaging with followers, answering questions, commenting on posts and asking for feedback, your law firm can build trust and credibility.
The changing economic landscape and consumer habits of 2021 mean that law firms need to take a strategic approach to digital marketing and online presentation if they want to stay competitive.