I recently had the pleasure of talking with Mitch Jackson, a successful Southern California trial lawyer and the mastermind behind LegalMinds. Mitch and the LegalMinds Mastermind Group asked some excellent questions, on topics ranging from website design to social media. I also got the chance to share some tips on how to successfully do it yourself—or how to find the right web marketing firm to do it for you. If you didn’t get a chance to join us live, here’s an in-depth breakdown of what we covered.
How can a properly created and managed website help a lawyer or law firm?
Like any business, people know you by your name and your brand. They will check out your website before they do anything else. You can forget about keywords. Keywords are no longer everything you might believe them to be, and scam artists are taking advantage of people who are still putting all their stock into them. Stop being a sucker for it. If you’re doing it right and building a professional site, the “keywords” you need will appear naturally, and you can focus on driving direct searches for your brand and getting great referrals from your existing relationships.
You need to think of your website as your “virtual brick-and-mortar office.” Your website is the funnel for all marketing at intake, and it’s often the first chance potential clients have to get to know you. A great website will help you get better, as long as you treat it with as much love and care as your real office. It should always be comfortably usable, and you should be ready to respond to search data, numbers, and analytics that tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
With social media and other digital platforms, are lawyer websites still a necessity?
Definitely. Your website not only reinforces your brand, it is the funnel for the content shared on all social media. To be the effective, social media should link to web pages with “smart” calls to action. A strong social media presence doesn’t replace a great website.
Social media does have a place, though. You can be yourself while acting as the voice of your practice or firm. It’s something that you just can’t outsource for the same effect—we don’t recommend it. It’s a great way to personalize your brand and help people understand what you’re all about, while pointing them back to the “virtual brick-and-mortar office” of your website.
Should lawyers create their own websites, or should they outsource this to an expert—and why?
It’s more than just your website to consider. You also need to think about reputation management, back links, social media, content, potential penalties, etc. Who knows how complicated your online situation is? Before you decide, get an expert opinion. You need an analysis to know where you are and where you need to go from there.
After that, it really depends on how much you want to do. If you have a do-it-yourself personality, you can build and maintain your own. Foster Web Marketing was originally built for DIY, but we found out that many of the people we talked to didn’t really want that. Now, for a monthly fee, we do it when they don’t want to.
What are some of the things a lawyer or firm should keep in mind when hiring a firm, like yours, to help them with their website?
Just like there are no two legal cases that are alike, there are no two lawyers, law firms, or marketing clients that are the same. The marketing firm that is the right fit for someone else may not be the right fit for you.
Take the time to get with someone you can trust, not just the least expensive. Your website and the measurement of your marketing are very important to the success of your business. Without this solid core, your business will ultimately fail or be crushed by other firms with healthy marketing campaigns. Make sure the web marketing company you choose gives your own access to your data, such as Google Analytics, domain hosting, and intake. It is also CRITICAL that you know where, how, what you are doing to get current clients and cases.
Remember, too, that you don’t need to do everything at one time. Content is still king, and that can take time to build up. Pay-per-click (PPC) is a short-term, quick fix about 70 percent of the time, but it’s also very expensive. Choose a web marketing firm that you get along with and that is interested in building up your long-term success.
When designing a website, what elements or components do you believe should be on the first page?
- The first page is the first thing your visitors will likely see, and should include:
- How you can help
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you do it
- Easy-to-find contact information, such as phone number, driving directions, email, staff directory, etc.
- Testimonials of what others say about you, with photographs or video, if possible
- Case stories of how you’ve helped others
What is a mobile-responsive website?
A mobile-responsive website is coded specifically for the mobile device visiting the page. Mobile user engagement is very different, so the design and layout needs to be tailored to the device. For example, the version of your website that smartphone users see should be easy to navigate with taps instead of clicks, and that mobile-optimized page should be automatically loaded when users visit on their phones.
Can you walk our viewers through the entire process of how your company designs, builds and maintains websites for lawyers?
To start, we give you a “web marketing 101” qualification to see what you know, what trouble you might have gotten into with search engines or other firms, where you stand today, what your goals are, and if we want to work with you. We only work with certain kinds of law firms and doctor practices.
After that, we offer you a quote. Once you’ve approved, we start the process of building your custom-based website on a proprietary foundation that’s supported by our own super easy to use software, Dynamic Self-Syndication (DSS).
We teach you how to use the software, and you can choose to do it all on your own, ask for some help, or have us do it all for you. We believe training and support are the keys to success. We stay current and keep you current with everything going on with Google and the internet as a whole.
How can lawyers keep their sites updated and current with interesting and useful content?
Keeping a website updated with fresh content is no small task. You really need a team to do it, and you need a website that can be updated quickly and easily. Some of the best content is case stories, and it is content that can be very personalized and easy for lawyers to write. Talk about the past cases you have done, and also ask your clients to tell their stories through testimonials and reviews.
Do you have any examples of how having a properly created and managed website helped a lawyer or firm? Maybe one of your clients?
Absolutely. Here are some success stories from and about some of our clients:
- Bill Turley of the Turley Law Firm
- Mike Cardoza of Cardoza Law Corporation
- Jim Dodson of Jim Dodson Law
- Bill Voss of the Voss Law Firm
- Hupy and Abraham
Any other thoughts or tips you'd like to share with respect to designing, building and managing a website?
At the end of the day, it’s all about having the right attitude. When you’re looking for a company to help you, hire a good coach that you can trust and that comes recommended by peers you trust. Stay involved in your marketing, but be comfortable with letting the company focus on doing the work you hired them to do.
Many thanks to Mitch and the community at the LegalMinds Mastermind Group for a great discussion! Do you have questions about what a marketing firm can do for your practice? Do you need a little training and guidance to do it yourself? Reach out to the marketing experts at Foster Web Marketing at 888-886-0939, and start turning your vision into reality today.