5 Things Law Firm Websites Get WRONG
Lawyers are notorious for having terrible marketing strategies. Personally, I think it’s why so many law firms spend exorbitant amounts of money annually on marketing.
According to this article:
Some personal injury firms, that tend to be very successful, spend as much as 20% of their revenue on marketing and advertising…their long-term strategy is a number’s game. Paying to acquire as many cases as possible to pay the bills, salaries and keep the lights on, while waiting for a few large cases that will generate huge fees and produce the real profits for the practice.
To overcome their ineffective marketing message, they spend money like crazy to plaster their faces on billboards, TV commercials, PPC ads, and more. What they lack in a clear marketing message, they attempt to overcome by spending millions of dollars every year.
Now, before you say, “Hey, Joe! Stop picking on attorneys!” let me just say that I’m a bit of an insider here.
My dad, Chris Garrison, and my uncle, Greg Garrison, are both attorneys here in Indianapolis. Together, they have run Garrison Law Firm since the early 80s. I worked for Garrison Law Firm as a personal injury investigator, legal assistant, and marketer for a time as well.
My brother worked there for almost 10 years and my sister-in-law is currently a paralegal at GLF.
#LawyerLife runs deep in the Garrison family. I’ve also worked with several law firms over the last few years on their marketing messages and websites.
I want to help your law firm create a better marketing message and more effective website because I want to help you help more people without having to spend so much money to do it.
Let’s get started by identifying a few things lawyers often get wrong on their websites and why you should avoid them.
5 Things Law Firms Get WRONG on Their Websites.
There are five common mistakes law firm websites make. I want to help you overcome these problems and make your website more effective in generating more leads. You will get a higher ROI on your ad spend when your website is more effective.
Stop doing these things…
1. You make your website all about you.
One of the biggest mistakes law firm websites make is making the entire thing all about themselves.
If you open your website and the header has a picture of you and your attorneys looking tough shelves full of legal books, and the text either says something about fighting for clients or immediately talks about clients served, awards, money collected, and other accolades, I’m talking to you.
Did you know that in storytelling, the hero is not the strongest character in the story?
The hero is actually weak. The hero is insecure and uncertain whether they can overcome the evil they are fighting.
The strongest character in the story is the Guide (think Yoda). The guide has already won the day in their own story. They’ve done the thing the hero is trying to do and know how to win. They step into the hero’s story and help them succeed.
Lawyers often think they need to play the hero because they don’t realize the character they actually want to play is the guide.
I’ve actually seen a law firm website where the attorneys are ripping open their white button-up shirts under their suit jackets to reveal superhero logos. No kidding.
A big misconception law firms and lawyers make is thinking that potential clients care about all of your awards and accolades. They don’t. Now, those things are important, but they are actually just a small part of what makes a potential client choose which attorney they’ll hire.
Your customer cares about themselves. Put the focus on your customer. Your customer is the hero, not your law firm or attorneys.
2. You Don’t Quickly Address Your Client’s Problem and Their Success
Empty phrases aren’t what clients want from you. Phrases like
- “Committed to You”
- “Fight for You”
What they want is for you to answer these 4 questions in your header so they immediately know if they’re in the right place.
- Who are you?
- What do you do? (the problem you address)
- How does it make my life better? (client success)
- How do I hire you?
When you answer those 4 questions, your visitors will know in less than 5 seconds if they are in the right place. Only then will they keep reading and hire you. For more on how to create a successful website header, check out this recent blog post.
3. Too Much Content In Your Navigation
Your navigation at the very top of your website needs to be simple. Think about it in terms of 3-4 of the most important links your ideal clients need to make a buying decision. Your call-to-action button needs to be one. Other options that might be helpful could include
- Practice Areas (dropdown with areas of law you practice)
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to link to every page from your header navigation. Your footer is a great place to link to secondary content.
4. You Have WAY Too Much Text To Read
I can hear you now, “But, JOE! What about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).”
You’re right. Law firm websites actually do need a good amount of text on the page for SEO purposes. However, that doesn’t mean your entire page should be jammed with text and legal jargon your visitors don’t care about or even understand.
Get creative on how you break up the content on your homepage. Create blocks of content with plenty of white space. Use lists. Consider expandable boxes where only the title is visible until clicked and the description appears.
Whatever you do, don’t put huge sections of text on your website. People aren’t going to read it and it makes it clear your page is designed for Google bots and not your ideal clients.
In addition, make sure a 5th grader can read the text you do include on your website. Your clients didn’t go to law school. Some didn’t go to college. Some didn’t finish high school. If your content is written at too high of a level, your clients’ eyes will glaze over and they’ll have no idea if you can help them.
5. You Give Visitors Too Many Options
Call, Chat, Text, Form, Smoke Signals, Morse Code. It’s overwhelming. Honestly, it looks desperate. Especially, when every option is jammed into the header of your website.
No one is going to call you before they know if you’re possibly the right fit for their needs. Hook them first, THEN ask them to contact you.
All of these forms of contact (sans the sarcastic ones) are valid, but you don’t need every point of contact all within 2 inches of each other on your website. Stop putting every last one of them in your header. It takes away from the message you need to convey in your header (point #2 above)
Spread them out throughout the page and make sure you have ONE call-to-action button that takes your clients to your most desired form of contact. Then, have a contact page with all the various ways someone can contact you so they can choose.
Importantly, you don’t want to overwhelm your visitors. They will go somewhere else. Statistically, when people are given an overwhelming number of options to choose from (for anything…contact points, jars of jelly, anything) they choose none. Give them 2 or 3, but make sure it’s clear which ONE you prefer.
Simplify Your Law Firm Website and Win!
The biggest takeaway here is that law firms have notoriously just copied and tried to “one-up” each other for the last couple of decades on the internet. If one has a little content, the next has a little more, then a little more, and suddenly legal websites have become a mess.
Keep it simple. Speak directly to your ideal client’s problem and your solution to their problem. Do this and your website will see an increase in conversion rate and you will see growth in your client roster.
Let us help!
Still not sure? Hire Clear Brand Story Marketing to lead you through our Brand Messaging Session. We will walk you through a proven messaging framework that is based on thousands of years of storytelling theory.
What does that mean? Our narrative messaging framework helps you invite your ideal clients into a story that leads to their success instead of beating your clients over the head with your awards, accolades, and heroic positioning of yourself.
Instead of making you look like the hero, we make your client the hero in their own story and position you as their Guide. You step in when they need you most, take their hand, and lead them to overcome their situation.
Schedule a Call today and find out how you can ditch the old ways of legal messaging and marketing and cut through the noise to build the firm you deserve.
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