Are Clients Hungry For What Your Law Firm’s Website Offers?
As it turns out, a pie can be an appropriate analogy for web design and inbound marketing. You can think of the crust as the graphic and website design of your online presence, and the pie filling as your content. The crust (design) functions to hold the ingredients together, but the quality of the filling (content) is what we remember.
The trouble with most website designs for professional services is that they tend to overlook the importance of content (a great pie filling). Some attorneys and CPAs believe that if you build your site, and update it every few years, your clients and potential clients will come. Another common myth is that a website’s main purpose is “just to prove we’re for real”. This half-baked (apologies) approach is the same as taking time to make a great crust, but using a cheap store bought filling. In other words, the facts and figures about your business may be online, but they don’t hold much interest (flavor). There’s nothing like a fresh filling in a pie, and in web design and SEO marketing, great content is like a fresh filling.
Inbound Marketing Tips to Create a More Attractive and Engaging Website:
1. Understand your audience by developing buyer personas.
Buyer personas are a fictitious representation of your ideal customer. Developing personas is critical in reaching your business goals. They’re based on research, and interviews with existing and potential customers. The general idea is to gain an understanding of their needs, wants, pain points, and how your product or service addresses those issues. You’ll want to build content around your findings that keys to your customers & potential customer’s input. You can read more about personas in our free guide.
2. Articulate your strengths and expertise with benefits-oriented language.
Being confident about your abilities and skills doesn’t mean your potential clients see what you already know. Good content development anticipates questions, concerns and objections. And while you can’t possibly anticipate every situation, developing buyer personas will help you with the most important ones.
3. Develop Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, Google+ and Place pages that help you get found more easily.
Page Titles: Page Titles appear as the first line of search results. More often than not, attorneys and CPAs default to a single Page Title for every page on their website. In effect, you are signaling the search engines that you have limited content to offer. Taking this “default” approach will only help other professional service firms in your industry with unique Page Titles rank higher than you. If you would like to learn more about Page Titles, here’s a good blog.
Meta Descriptions: This is another website SEO services procedure that is often overlooked. Meta descriptions are the text that appears below the Page Title in search results. Meta descriptions are limited in character length and should relate to the Page Title in a way that helps clarify your services or strengths. Below is an example of what a Page title and Meta description look like in search results.
Place pages: Place pages appear in search results as a text/graphic areas that appear in the top right of Google search results. You can create a google place page easily to help your business be found online more quickly.
4. Shift from a keyword or hashtag only approach to high-quality content for your site and blog.
Search engines continue to evolve. At this point in time, some search engines are making it more difficult to measure the results of organic keywords and phrases without the use of pay-per-click (PPC) approaches. Unless you are planning to do PPC, you need to work harder to ensure your content is valuable and original. There’s no getting around keywords, but the best content will attract the most traffic. Industry experts estimate that close to 40% of web content is duplicate in nature, and so there is a reason to go beyond simply reposting blogs, paraphrasing or sharing articles written by others. The more original and valuable your content is, the better chance of your site being found and ranked highly.
5. If you use video, take a fresh approach
Many attorneys and accountants incorporate videos on their websites. The facts about the increase in click-throughs and engagement are impressive. As the use of video grows, it’s only logical that the commonplace “talking head” style solution won’t be as effective as well-constructed creative stories that showcase your practice in a unique way. In fact, web visitors are more likely to navigate away if they are asked to watch a video that essentially teases you to wait for a few tidbits at the very end. Whatever you decide to do with video, focus on valuable content (benefits about how your firm can help) rather than features (what your firm can do). Good video isn’t necessarily expensive, but you should invest in a strong script rather than fancy effects.
6. Take time to create an appetizing story with unique words and images.
When it comes to pies and other food, what we see actually affects our sense of taste. “Pretty” food whets our appetite. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the menu has pictures of the food, and they were less than appealing? DId that affect your choice?
It’s the same with website design. A unique design, a creative statement of benefits can make all the difference in the world as far as engagement. Take time to focus on what makes your practice unique. What is it beyond skills that sets you apart? Is it price? Turnaround time? Experience? Business niche? Type of clients? You need to understand your place in the competitive landscape. When you can define your law or CPA firm in a way that is clear, developing an appropriate message and design is easy.
7. Focus on the right social media channel by using comprehensive reporting
There are many “marketing experts” out there offering social media training or services. Most promise to show you how to leverage Facebook or Pinterest or Linked In with “dashboard” type platforms that post to many channels simultaneously. The trouble is, without an understanding of what your ideal client relies on for social media, you may be investing time and money on the wrong channel. Simple reports on likes, clicks and shares are not enough.
In reality, your social media activity should be based on the channels that return you the most qualified interactions. And if no channels make sense, you can redirect your marketing resources to other areas. Even for small firms, a more comprehensive reporting tool that includes social media as well as other valuable tools is very affordable.
8. Start today.
Managers, partners and owners of successful firms tend to understand there is value in having a strong web presence or social media program, but don’t have the time to implement, or be willing to allot the monies. Our experience shows well-conceived programs will amortize themselves with new business, or new brand value.
You can use online search to locate a qualified inbound marketing + web design professional in your region. They should be able to help you identify “challenges and pain points”, articulate goals and create and manage a measurable plan with structured activities. Depending on your situation, the cost of a comprehensive inbound program can compete with “social only” approaches and deliver better results.
About the author: Tom Weinkle is a founder and partner of Vortex Communications, a graphic and website design firm who offers graphic and WordPress web design, build, troubleshooting and training services along with search optimization, social media and inbound marketing services. Based in Miami, Florida, Tom has over 25 years of experience in visual communications for the healthcare, medical, law, accounting, software, financial services and banking industries.