Four key principles for attracting potential clients

Andy Cullwick, head of marketing at First4Lawyers, offers four key principles that should direct your marketing strategy in the personal injury legal services market

Law firms have a long way to go and getting your website right is central to attracting potential clients, but it’s not just the technical side. Your content strategy, which extends far beyond your website, plays an equally important part. There are four key principles that should be applied: 

We recently wrote about how law firms are having to put more work into getting work, and having to be savvier to meet the increasingly sophisticated shopping habits of consumers. With consumers now shopping for services online, in the same way they used to shop for goods, first impressions count more than ever. Research shows that a positive experience when first contacting a provider was often an influential factor for consumers when choosing a law firm—and how long do you have to create that great first impression and positive experience? Seven seconds. Some research suggests that a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining trustworthiness, a key principle for attracting potential clients.

Ignore your website at your peril. The recent Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) tracker survey conveyed a clear message: law firms need to improve the basic information they include on their sites, how cases are progressed, broad timescales and who is doing the work. Make sure you give them the information they need to be comfortable that you know what you’re doing as well as what they’re facing.

The research also found that when it came to quality indicators, consumers were keen on being given more information on staff experience including their time in service, time with the firm, key areas of expertise and CVs to help them assess service quality upfront.

A popular phrase in the world of customer experience is ‘frictionless interactions’—meaning you make it as easy as possible for consumers to contact you. An article on US website Smart Lawyer put it last year: “For starters, it means that a phone number on your website’s landing page just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Even an email form won’t do the trick. Consumers want lightweight modes of communication. Frictionless interactions. Why do you think more people prefer ordering a ride from Uber with a few clicks over calling a taxi company? If your firm is onboarding new clients by phone, then you are missing out.”

This does not mean that you need to rush to invest in artificial intelligence or other expensive, cutting-edge technology, it just means making it straightforward for clients, allowing them to arrange meetings through your website or Facebook page, for example, or being able to offer online document signing.

Live chat has also soared in popularity in the last couple of years. Answering service Moneypenny says that, over the past year, it has seen a 115% increase in the number of law firms using its live chat service. However, of the 17,000 legal websites in the UK, only 2.5% currently have live chat installed.

Law firms have a long way to go and getting your website right is central to attracting potential clients, but it’s not just the technical side. Your content strategy, which extends far beyond your website, plays an equally important part. There are four key principles that should be applied: 

Be transparent

It may not be easy to be totally transparent about price, but you can help consumers understand how your charging system works. A description of your services, details of your credentials and specialist knowledge, and your success rates are all important information. Many consumers see review and comparison sites as a trusted quality mark, so sharing customer reviews, client case studies and testimonials can help to put potential clients at ease.

Show brand personality

Think about your brand personality and the character you want to portray to potential clients. Your people are at the very heart of your brand, reflecting your ethos and values, and can play a pivotal role in showing the personality of your brand to the world. Consider putting them at the forefront of your communications strategy. Team member profiles and ‘meet the team’ articles are a good way to focus on your team’s credentials and specialisms. Your content strategy could also include employee milestones and achievements within your firm, as well as any academic, professional and perhaps even personal achievements.

Focus on the benefits you offer to consumers as a way to make you stand out. Be bold and don’t be afraid to sell your firm—show consumers you want their business.

Build trust and reputation

Brand reputation and trust are by far the most significant drivers of all consumer decision-making. A trusted brand takes years to build and is no mean feat, but once established has the potential to deliver an even greater return on investment.

Consumers who have an accident or injury claim are more likely to be using a lawyer for the first time, and so showing potential clients that your brand has a good reputation and is trusted by other consumers are prerequisites for winning new business. Featuring client case studies, testimonials and reviews as part of your content strategy will help you to build trust with potential clients.

Be accessible 

Ensure consumers are able to make appointments quickly and easily via a range of channels. Include access to online tools so appointments can be made easily and consider allowing clients to arrange meetings through your Facebook page. With more people calling outside usual office hours, do you have an out-of-hours service? Live chat functionality on your website could help with this and also encourage consumers to ask that initial question, opening up opportunities for you to engage with and convert them.

Accessibility needs to continue once you have been instructed. How do you keep your clients updated as their case progresses? Do you offer online document signing and online case tracking? How do you make it easy for clients to share information with you and arrange meetings?

Research shows that many consumers—particularly younger ones—would rather communicate via web or mobile rather than telephone, and this is only going to grow. With personal injury clients reckoning that greater use of artificial intelligence would improve the experience of interacting with legal service providers, the accessibility of your firm is a key area for consideration and improvement.

The full whitepaper report from First4Lawyers can be downloaded here