May 30, 2019

3 Ways to Improve Your Online Presence and Protect Your Referrals

This is a guest post by Brianna Brailey, the director of sales and marketing at GNGF, a full-service marketing agency works exclusively with law firms across the U.S.

A lot of the attorneys we meet get a majority of their business from referrals—from past clients, other attorneys, or other professionals in their network.

And we keep hearing the same complaint over and over: "My referrals are drying up!"

When I search for the law firm’s name online, I can immediately see why: Their online presence is either non-existent or woefully ineffective.

When you are referred to a potential client, they’ll immediately search for your business on Google. If they aren’t impressed by your online presence, they won’t call you, even if they got a glowing recommendation from someone they trust.

Are you losing clients you didn't even know you had? Here are 3 ways you can use your online presence to protect your referrals and boost your incoming clients.

1. Get online reviews

Quick thought exercise for you: When was the last time you bought a product without reading reviews? Most of us probably can't remember the last time.

Choosing which attorney to hire is a serious decision for your potential clients. If they wouldn't buy a garden hose on Amazon without reading reviews first, why would they hire an attorney without doing the same?

Even a referred potential client will read your reviews. According to BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If you have positive online reviews, they will boost the initial referral and the potential client is more likely to hire you.

2. Optimize your Google My Business listing

When potential clients search for your business, Google now offers most of the information consumers need right on the search results page. Many people no longer need to even click on your website.

The information Google provides comes from a site called “Google My Business,” where you can claim your business listing and update your information to ensure it’s accurate. We recommend that you treat your Google My Business listing like a mini website. Make sure a searcher can find everything they might need.

First and foremost, claim your listing and make sure all of your contact information is accurate and up-to-date.

Secondly, ask your past clients to leave reviews for your firm. Your star rating on the search page is one of the first things a potential client will see, so it's a good idea to get that rating as high as you can. (Honestly, of course! Never pay for or fake reviews for your firm on Google or any other platform.)

Lastly, employ two advanced techniques for an edge above your competitors. The Google My Business “Posts” feature can be used for updates about your firm or to direct searchers to useful pages. “Questions and Answers” allows you to directly and publicly answer questions potential clients ask on the Google search page.

3. Create a simple and informative website

When you're not relying on the internet as a lead funnel for your law firm, your website doesn't need all the bells and whistles. But it does require some non-negotiable basics.

Have visible contact information

If a potential client has to work hard to find your contact information, I can almost guarantee that 9 times out of 10 you're not getting a call from them.

Here’s a checklist to make sure your contact info is readily available:

  • Your phone number is prominent on every page of your site
  • Your address, email address, other relevant info appears on a contact page
  • You have an easy-to-find and well-labeled contact form

Tell people who you are and what you do

This might seem almost condescendingly basic, but you would be surprised how many law firm websites are vague about what types of cases the attorneys handle. Make sure your homepage mentions your practice areas, service areas, and the attorneys at your firm somewhere near the top of the page.

But you don’t need a ton of content on your website. The important thing is to accurately describe your practice areas and the types of people you help. Don't worry about hitting a bunch of "keywords;" Just be authentic in describing your firm and how you help people.

If you want to prioritize content, update your attorney biography. We always say, "people hire people" (seriously, we're like a broken record). Make sure your attorney biography tells your story and isn't just a resume of your education and accolades.

Make your website mobile-friendly (a MUST)

Your website doesn't need to be the fanciest on the block. But if your site was designed before mobile-responsiveness became standard, you MUST update it.

No one has the patience for websites that don't work on their smartphones or tablets. Full stop. They will hit the back button and find another attorney to contact.

Our data has found that about half of all traffic to law firm websites comes from mobile devices. If your website is hard to use on a phone, you're likely missing out on half of your potential clients.

How can GNGF help me protect my referrals?

GNGF has created digital marketing strategies for law firms since 2011. Our clients' goals run the gamut, from those trying to dominate their local market to others who just want to have a solid online presence that shores up established referral business. We take the time to understand your law firm's goals and needs and develop a customized strategy to meet those goals. Hear from our happy clients by following this link.

Talk with an expert about your online presence

If you're feeling the pinch of a lighter caseload and think your online presence may be to blame, reach out to one of the experts at GNGF for a free consultation. In under an hour, we can give you actionable advice to help bring in those referred clients you're missing out on and see where we may be able to help. Schedule your consultation now.

About Brianna Brailey

Brianna Brailey is the director of sales and marketing at GNGF, where she has been since 2014. Using her previous experience with design and brand strategy for companies such as Kroger, DICK’S Sporting Goods, and 7-11, Brianna operates GNGF’s internal marketing and sales teams. She prizes the educational component of the company’s core values, ensuring the content created by her team is high-quality, unique, and useful.

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