General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

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Practice Area Newsletter

American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice

SPRING 2011

Vol. 7, No. 3

 

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

 

Attracting Window Shoppers to Your Virtual Law Firm

By Kevin Chern

When you open a traditional brick and mortar law firm, one obvious benefit is the fact that your front door and signage serve as a type of advertisement for your firm. Assuming you list your name and phone number on the front door, anyone who walks by your office knows that they can get in touch with you in at least two ways: by picking up the phone or walking through the door. With a virtual law office, however, it might be a bit trickier to catch people just browsing by your window.

While marketing a virtual law office isn’t entirely different from marketing a traditional brick and mortar practice, it does take a bit of creative thinking to attract “window shoppers.” Just like when you have a physical office, you need to make sure that your web-based practice is (a) positioned so that it will get a lot of traffic and (b) designed in a way that makes your front door look attractive to passers-by. The goals are the same, but the execution is a bit different. Here are a few tips on how to create a website that will help you attract regular visitors and convert these visitors into clients:

Create a Website That Looks Good

For a virtual law firm, your homepage is a lot like your front door. You wouldn’t maintain an office in a rundown neighborhood with your shingle hanging by a broken chain, so why would you host your virtual office on a cheap site with a lengthy web address? If you want to website visitors to choose your firm over thousands of others, make sure you give them a great first impression by investing a little bit of time and money on a unique website address. While you are at it, drop the free email address, and opt for something more personal. Not only will it make your website look more inviting, but it also will let potential clients know you care about quality and professionalism.

Build a Consistent Online Presence

If you want to position your law firm to get more traffic, it is important that you build an online presence that directs traffic to your website and boosts your reputation. Use social media to connect with other attorneys, business professionals, and potential clients. By creating profiles on multiple sites, you are essentially creating more than one “front door” for your firm. In addition to engaging in social media, create a blog or post regular updates to your website. Not only will this showcase your expertise and give consumers a reason to regularly visit your website, but it also will help boost SEO (search engine optimization) so your website can appear higher in search engine results.

Spend Less Time on Traditional Methods of Advertising

If you want to run a fully virtual practice, you want to attract clients who are comfortable working with attorneys online. If you advertise a lot in phonebooks, on billboards, or in print ads, you may discover you are spending a lot of money on the types of clients you do not want to attract. Instead, focus your advertising dollars where your best clients will be: online.

Make It Easy for People to Communicate With You

Make sure potential clients know exactly how to get in touch with you on the first page of your website. One virtual attorney website that I really like has three visible links on her homepage: one for consumers who are ready to become new clients, a registration link for free consultations, and another button that will set up a phone call for the consumer and attorney at the click of a button. Another website includes a live chat box that welcomes visitors to the screen, helps them navigate the website, and encourages visitors to set an appointment to speak with an attorney.

Stand Out

With hundreds of thousands of attorneys competing for business both online and off, it is important for you to create a presence that is both unique and memorable. Avoid using cliché images in the design of your website, and build your practice and marketing plan around the types of law you want to practice and the types of clients you want to attract.

Kevin Chern is president of Total Attorneys, a leading provider of marketing and practice management services to small law firms, serving solo attorneys and small law firms nationwide. Previously he was managing partner of the country’s largest consumer bankruptcy law firm. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, websites, and blogs, and he frequently speaks about legal technology and marketing across the country. For more tips on how you can market your law firm, check out his blog. Total Attorneys is a sponsor of the GPSSF Division of the American Bar Association.

© Copyright 2011, American Bar Association.