An old US Highway ran through the middle of a small town a half an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, Utah, where I grew up. The highway was lined with at least a half dozen country drive-ins with bright blinking signs and billboards. But when my high school friends and I drove down the it, we sought and saw only Pace’s Dairy-Ann. We were driven, drawn in by Pace’s Rainbows, a marvelous combination of a Slushee and Pace’s wonderful soft-serve vanilla ice cream, and by their Astro Bars, outstanding dry-ice frozen ice cream bars with a deliciously unique taste.
We easily could have stopped at any of the other drive-ins on that highway and had a decent meal and maybe even good ice cream. Their signage made it easy to see them, but we drove right past.
The same is true on the electronic superhighway. Prospective clients “pass” qualified lawyers and firms on their way to the lawyer they will ultimately hire. But what is it that draws them to your site? What do you have on your site that attracts them? Something that other firms, or maybe even other community resources, link to? What compels those visitors to come back to your site over and over again? What’s your Rainbow, your Astro Bar?
Spurred by a similar conversation at a recent legal conference I wondered what lawyers and law firms are doing to not only differentiate themselves on the electronic superhighway but to draw potential clients to their sites.
I found four interesting examples of law firm websites or experiences that not only tell clients that they exist (like the billboards and signs) but that attract clients to their firm, like Pace’s attracted us.
1. California DUI Checkpoint Locations
California DUI Checkpoint Locations on Facebook is run by The Law Offices of Thomas Wallin in Southern California. Gathering content from a wide variety of local municipal websites, which are required by California law to publicly disclose this information but who frequently do it in obscure places on their sites, this Facebook page alerts drivers to the locations of DUI patrols in jurisdictions throughout the state.
2. Work for Fame
The “Work for Fame” contract by Counsel for Creators is for the many people who offer creative services that frequently do work for prospective clients in exchange for “exposure” and then never get any kind of benefit. Jon Tobin, the founder and managing partner of Counsel for Creators, admits that the “Work for Fame” contract began as a joke. However, he soon realized that there was a need for such a contract. Tobin freely admits he’s not sure that any companies offering “exposure” to creatives will actually sign the agreement, but it’s a great idea and educates his potential clients about the risks of doing “Work for Fame.”
The next two are family law examples.
3. Main Line Family Law
Main Line Family Law of Havertown, Pennsylvania created some great tools and content to attract family law clients to their site, including a Divorce Mediation Checklist, a Communication Toolkit to help a spouse talk to their partner about divorce, and a " The Top 5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Approaching Separation or Divorce.” Although these tools may be less sophisticated than some of the others mentioned, their success was noted by online marketing gurus, Hubspot, in this piece on their blog.
4. Divorce Tools’ Equitable Distribution Calendar
Finally, Divorce Tools’ equitable distribution cCalendar is impressive. The user-interface is clean and well done, and, although I wasn’t able to use the tool in full, it seems comprehensive and well-thought-out. Definitely something that could get heavy, repeated use.
The electronic superhighway that is the Internet provides significant opportunity for lawyers to create valuable immersive experiences that inform, educate, and enlighten prospective and current clients. Just as Pace drew us in with its fabulous frozen treats —causing us to ignore and even fail to recognize the existence of other drive-ins—your website needs content and experiences that draw returning clients back and prospective clients in. Whether your firm is a DUI, family law, or creative-focused practice, it can use technology to stand out from the competition and attract new business that might otherwise pass by.