The fact that you’re reading this proves that you recognize the power of the online experience in discovering, engaging, retaining clients, and growing your practice.
That today’s populace initially resorts to an online search is a given. The question is, are your services out there for the world to see? It’s not enough that you have an online presence. It’s imperative that when a search goes for, say, estate litigation or injured at work, your firm pops out as one of the top results.
Unfortunately, a lot of law firms adopt a less than unified approach to marketing their firm and their services. Either a meagre budget is set aside, or resources are applied and distributed haphazardly with the hope that someone sees the website and gives the firm a call. If your competitors are employing a streamlined and comprehensive law firm marketing strategy, then your game plan may be dead in the water. Only a systematic approach will ensure that a law firm’s clients will get the best online experience. For this, you, the firm, will need to know what works and what doesn’t.
Why it’s important to ensure a great client experience
Ensuring a great client experience ensures that your firm gets recognition as a business that responds well to the need of its clients. It is a well-recognized fact that a satisfied client is the best marketing you can have for your firm, as it is trustworthy and is spread to friends and family with little or no prompting from your end. Needless to say, word-of-mouth marketing generates revenue for little outlay.
On the other hand, a frustrated client will have no good words for you. Even a small caveat from a client may be enough for a potential client to seek consultation elsewhere. As all of us have seen, a negative review has a far-ranging and lasting impact on a law firm’s reputation and is often indelible if the review is on Google or Facebook.
When you land a client, the process of listening to their problem, developing a strategy for it, guiding them through the legal process, and obtaining a favourable resolution, all contribute to the client’s experience and memory of the matter. It is this perceived positive experience that will compel the client to do business with your firm again. Sometimes, the very personalized experience will even influence a client who did not get the expected results to give the firm continuing business. The perception that the firm did their very best for the client can be enough, even with a negative outcome.
Now, more than ever, the customer is king. Your law firm marketing strategy must revolve around giving your clients the best customer experience, as the global reach of social media and the Internet means that potential clients far and wide may have heard of your firm even before you make the first move of reaching out to them.
When you think about it, a client is either awed or not by their experience with your firm. This experience, which creates a positive emotional connection, is affected by many factors. Creating this connection requires a combination of people, technology, and processes to produce a positive result. And with your competitors being able to monitor reviews of your performance online, going the extra mile gain positive reviews is not just expected, but practically a requirement.
How potential clients shop for legal services
These days, it’s safe to assume that people tend to check for preliminary information online, before narrowing their options and making contact. With this assumption, it’s vital for your firm to be on the first page of the search results. More diligent searchers will go to the 2nd or 3rd pages, but that is not always the case.
Here is an example of a well-deployed SEO strategy we have devised for long-standing client, McNamara & Associates.
Increasingly, searches on mobile devices are becoming the norm, and this also means that your site design must be adaptive. What this means is that the formatting must respond to the type of device and screen size. Slow load times and fancy eye-pleasing graphics? That can you help retain desktop users but will turn off mobile users and even encourage them to click on your competitor’s links.
Once a potential client finds a site he or she likes, the search will narrow down to finding answers. Your site should have plenty of varied information (related to your services of course) that will pique the searcher’s interest and compel them to contact you. The information you provide must be concise yet comprehensive enough to satisfy a particular query.
When designing the content of the site, you must also be aware that the searcher may have reached your site not by looking for specific firms, but by typing a question into the search bar. If your site has the best answer to that particular search query, then the search engine will put your site in the top results. Over time, tracking the questions that your site gets the most hits on, and tweaking the information contained there improves not only site traffic, but brand recognition as well.
This is where law firm client mapping comes into play, where tracking client questions is just one of the touchpoints that are factored into a comprehensive and continuing marketing strategy.
Ensuring a great experience
Ensuring a great online experience for your clients depends on data. Big data and data analytics are common buzzwords these days, but the volume of data available can easily swamp you. Especially if the firm’s forte is providing legal advice and service, and not in analyzing bounce rates, time on site, engagements, conversions, client feedback, and reputation management.
For this, you need an agency like Fast Firms that can provide marketing, engagement, monitoring, and the host of other services a firm with an online presence requires. This where marketing strategy and law firm client mapping expertise comes into play. We call this comprehensive marketing approach a”omnichannel.” The term basically means the production and syndication of the best content for the best audience. By way of example, in our experience, Facebook users are less inclined to migrate away from their social platform to another website to read, watch or listen to the content. So, in response, we recalibrate all our podcasting and video production to suit. Here is an example of our podcast format for social channels.
There are several phases in the client mapping process. There are different words and phrases used to describe the stages, but in general, these include discovery, engagement, and post-engagement. Some models employ a more strung out description, but the simplest description is the one enumerated above.
- Discovery is when a potential client does an online search. This can be a direct query for law firms or one that asks a specific question. It can also be qualified by a location, service type (divorce, criminal, bankruptcy, etc.), ranking, or review. This is the point where a well-designed and responsive site with pull in the prospective client to look more closely at the information you are providing.
- The engagement phase is where you will do the most interaction with your client. This is also the phase where you gain a long-time client, or lose one with attendant negative reviews of their experience. The engagement phase includes initial contact, consideration of your firm by a prospective client, getting hired, performing the service, and concluding the matter.
The engagement phase is where a response team comes into play. Whether it really is an entire team or an individual or two, the response team talks to the client, takes their calls, notes their concerns, schedules their meetings, and yes, even entertains them. It’s important to note that the middle of the engagement phase is where the marketing takes a back seat to great lawyering. From the actual legal proceedings to concluding the service, the best lawyer for the job at hand should be fully engaged with the client. At this juncture, we believe that a client portal can not only prove to be an awesome platform to keep clients engaged with their matter, but our own proprietary client portal software does significantly more than that.
- The post-engagement is where you solicit client feedback and keep your company in the client’s mindset. This is where you solicit comments on the client’s experience and ask for online reviews. A personal thank you note from Partners within the firm would be great. If the client was satisfied with your work, you can ask for references, and ask them if they’d like newsletters from the firm sent to them. If you are privy to your client’s personal details like birthdays or other significant dates, dropping a note will make them feel special. In this respect, at Fast Firms we have made it easy for your happy clients to leave a review where it counts most, and that is Google. Our platform that we built, wesay.co is responsible for acquiring hundreds of positive reviews for our clients.
All these details can make for a great personal and online experience. Remember that getting a client to sign for your services is only the beginning in terms of cultivating a mutually fruitful relationship.
Accordingly, never before has it been more important than now for your law firm to create an extraordinary client experience, but also a marketing and technology strategy that supports your firm’s every step. That’s where we can help.