Just like convicted felons have trouble getting jobs because of their criminal records, a poor web presence and online reputation can stop you from getting new clients. How so? Well, similar to background checks on potential employees, tenants, nannies, etc., everyday consumers now turn to the Internet before making their own purchasing and hiring decisions—especially if they’re getting ready to fork over a lot of money.
Criminal defense services are no small expense, and the quality of your legal representation majorly impacts your client’s future. So, it makes sense that the prospective clients will want to do their research before deciding whether to hire you. Research shows that 76% of people searching for an attorney use online resources at some point during the research process. The question is whether your online presence is helping to build your reputation and get your more consultations, or whether it’s tarnishing your name and driving potential clients away.
Here’s how a potential client is going to perform a “background check” on your law firm on the Internet. They’re going to…
1. Google your name or the name of your law firm and see what comes up
Your law firm website should be one of the first listings to appear (especially since it’s a direct search for your firm name). Other results that will probably appear will be third-party sites such as Yelp and Avvo with listings and reviews for your firm, as well as your social media pages.
BAD Record: Your online listings have outdated or confusing information, which can become especially frustrating for the potential client if they call the wrong phone number or visit an old office address. Also, you have few to no online reviews, or even worse, bad reviews that quickly makes the user decide not to choose your firm. Your firm also does not have much of a social media presence, which may make your firm look a bit behind-the-times.
GOOD Record: In addition to your website, the first page of the search results is filled with online listings and social profiles for your firm, giving the searcher plenty of options to learn more about your practice. Because you actively manage these pages, you know that all the information is up-to-date and properly represents the quality of your services. Your firm also has numerous positive reviews on a number of different sites, which help to outweigh the occasional negative review that may pop up here and there.
2. Check out your website to make sure you’re qualified and professional
Think of your law firm website as your chance to make a strong first impression on your potential clients. It only takes a matter of seconds for online users to look over your site and form an immediate opinion about you and your firm. The key is to quickly impress your website visitors, let them know what differentiates your firm, and explain how you can help them.
BAD Record: There are issues with the design of your website. For example, it looks outdated, it doesn’t visually draw the visitor in, or it has so much going on with colors, imagery, graphics, etc. that the user gets annoyed and quickly leaves the site. The user concludes that your law firm is a low-budget practice and therefore offers low-quality legal representation and moves on to another law firm website.
GOOD Record: Your website has a sleek, modern, professional-looking design that immediately catches the visitor’s eye. With a website this nice, the user assumes that your firm must be prestigious. The visitor decides to keep exploring and quickly finds out what sets your firm apart (i.e., “Former Prosecutor with Over 20 Years of Criminal Law Experience,” “Voted a Top Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney,” etc.) This spikes the visitor’s interest even more, leading them to…
3. Read about your services and what makes your firm the best choice
Once you have successfully captured the web visitor’s interest, they will start browsing the other pages of your website to learn more about your services and your firm. This will help the user determine whether or not they actually want to take the next step of calling your firm and setting up a consultation.
BAD Record: The site visitor has difficulty finding the information they need due to a poor website layout or poor navigation, which may lead to a frustrating user experience. The visitor might find that the content doesn’t answer their questions, or that it doesn’t really show why your firm is any better than all the others. In some cases, the visitor may even think your firm has something to hide by not sharing things like your case results or client testimonials.
GOOD Record: The more the user reads about your firm and your services, the more they start to think that you are the right attorney for the job. Not only can they see that you have extensive experience and knowledge in your practice area (as confirmed by your bio and About Us page), but you also have amazing results and client testimonials that help to seal the deal. Plus, you make it easy for the user to take the next step with a quick web contact form. Consultation scheduled!
Do you need help improving your online presence? Our lawyer marketing team at Scorpion can help you take control of your online “record” so you can generate more cases. Contact us to get started!
If you want to take your online credibility a step further, check out our recent blog post on how to become a thought leader on the Internet.
About the Author
Brian Blades is Senior VP of Sales at Scorpion and one of the company’s founding members. He has been with Scorpion for more than 15 years, and he has taught attorneys about Internet marketing at events such as Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars and bar association meetings. Brian focuses on helping criminal defense law firms improve their web presence, acquire more clients, and grow their practices.
Prior to working at Scorpion, Brian served in the Marine Corps during Operation Enduring Freedom. When he is not working, he enjoys wine tasting, trying out different types of food, traveling, and spending time with his two children.