Using Your Law Firm Website to Enhance Client Services

Many law firm websites are little more than static brochures providing general information about the firm and attorneys. As Web technology evolves, more firms are enhancing client relationships and attracting new clients via the Web by using their sites to exchange information with clients and potential clients. Firms that are not maximizing their Web presence run the risk of losing existing and potential clients to other law firms that are effectively using new technology.

Make It Easier for Those Looking for Your Services to Find You

Most attorneys will agree the majority of their business is generated via referrals, and some see that as a reason not to worry about the quality of their Web presence. Those attorneys who do not invest in their Web presence run the risk of losing potential clients because the client may be unable to find the referred attorney using the Web.

If a firm's site is not optimized correctly, it will not appear at the top of search results when a user performs a search under relevant terms.

For example, the law firm of Sedgwick Detert is referred to a party looking for counsel. When that party performs a Google search for "Sedgwick Law Firm," one would expect the firm of Sedgwick Detert to be at the top of the results. However, this is not the case. Because the referred firm's website is not properly optimized, the potential client may decide to hire another firm whose site is easily found on search engines. Under such circumstances, the referred attorney will miss out on this business opportunity.

Write Content That Demonstrates Your Expertise and Superior Client Focus

Many potential clients visit the websites of several firms prior to contacting an attorney. Therefore, firms must communicate expertise during this comparison stage. Quite often, business is lost at this stage because the firm's site is merely a brochure with high-level overviews of practice groups and attorney's general biographical information.

In order to win business, firms must provide users with proof of the firm's credibility as well as each attorney's expertise. The best ways to demonstrate credibility is to have specific examples of each attorney's experience and to identify your firm's competitive strengths. In short, it is important to take the time to write complete industry and practice area descriptions and extensive attorney biographies.

Identify the Needs of the Site Visitor

Qualifying visitors through online forms or registration pages allows the firm to gauge its site users' preference and market more effectively to their interests. Firms can use information collected using online forms to market to various segments of their practice.

For example, a firm with a strong IP Patent Litigation practice might also have a strong Corporate Law department, and each group's target clients may differ significantly. If the IP group is interested in attracting inventors and entrepreneurs, and the Corporate Group is interested in catering to Fortune 500 clients, the site must effectively speak to the needs of both client groups.

Firms should also note that some visitors are existing clients and consider creating special content and features for those clients. For example, some firms provide forms and other useful information and/or access to billing information behind password protected areas.

Firms can also reduce costs associated with client services such as newsletters by distributing information via the Web. The costs associated with printing and postage for newsletters can be quite high. Using back-end tracking technology, firms can evaluate the success of their electronic newsletter distribution. This is a feature that is virtually impossible to do with traditional mail.

Providing customized information, such as industry news, serves to convince potential clients your firm is more focused on their needs than competitors, and to provide existing clients with added value. Sanders and Parks website features real time news to its visitors within the areas of health care and insurance law. Such services demonstrate expertise and encourage clients to frequently visit the site and rely upon the firm as a reliable source of information.