Why a website can be a waste of money
By Ingvar Grimsmo*
HOW do most law firms get new clients? The old-fashioned way. By holding free seminars, referrals from other lawyers and clients, newsletters and the old stand-by "send out many brochures and they will come" strategy. Personal contacts in the community help too. Lots of hand-shaking and schmoozing. It works, it has always worked. And it will continue to work. People do business with people.
However, a few years ago lawyers also caught on to the web. They envisaged mass exposure and a steady stream of potential clients calling them for an appointment. They signed up in droves with web designers to see who could create the most elaborate site. The results have often been dismal, to say the least. Most websites produce more spam than leads. Why?
Web designers and marketers alike have tried to create websites that inform and entice potential clients to contact the website owner, using three basic concepts:
None of these approaches seems to work well. The info-sites are just that – information. They may meet the visitor’s need to get answers, but do nothing to persuade him or her to contact the information provider for help. The brochure site simply bores people to tears with self-interest verbiage and "award-winning" graphics design. And consumers are very weary of strong sales pitches, especially on the web.
Most law firm websites fall into one of these categories. And they spend a considerable amount of money creating these sites – wasting valuable money.
So what does
So now they are on the website of your elder law practice. What do they want to see first? Graphics? Pictures of your office? Your mission statement? No. They are seeking help – so the first answer they are looking for is: "Is this the right place for this problem?". What if your site comes right to the point and states: "Are you concerned about protecting your assets from nursing home expenses?" BAM. Now the visitor with exactly this problem will respond. Even better, your site immediately provides basic answers. Free of charge. In a friendly, non-threatening way. Just folks helping other folks. At this point the visitor is pleased. He or she has got some answers and is ready to move ahead seeking professional help. Where to go? Answer: "You have come to the right place. Call us and we’ll help you – you know we can!"
Point: answer the visitor’s most burning question before establishing credibility and seeking contact.
Why have a website in the first place if they don’t work well? There should be two main goals:
To have even a small chance of a productive website, you must: