How to maximise your online presence for more client referrals

Law firms rely on referrals to generate more business. And if you’re one of them, you’ll know it takes a lot of time, effort and investment in cultivating strategic relationships.

Strengthening your most valuable connections – including members of the legal community and your clients – is crucial to any referral generation. Business is largely based on good word and that is most likely to be shared by and with, people we trust.

When someone needs a service and is weighing up options, we say this person is in the ‘consideration stage’ of their decision-making process. It’s the most important one in the buying process as it ultimately determines if your services will be bought.

So what happens when someone needs your services and they’ve been given a good word about you from a friend or attorney?

Before they even consider a phone call to your firm, they’re probably going to look you up online.

Now think about this for a second: Right now, if someone were to search firm your firm on Google, what sort of experience will they have? What will they find, or worse, not find?

Your digital presence is a major factor in whether this person will choose your legal services. If they’re not satisfied or find something better looking online, you’re going to miss out on winning this referral.

Just like researching a restaurant or hotel before a booking, legal consumers will look online for reviews, ratings, a physical address, a website and social network pages, before they consider hiring you.

So what can you do to make sure your potential client has an excellent experience with your firm, starting from the moment they search for you or your services online?

Three things you can do now to boost your online presence and ensure law firm referrals get the perception you want them to:

1. Update your Law Firm Website (and regularly)

When did you last update your firm’s website?

Ok, we get it. The to-do list is piling up and you’re drowning in matters, so editing your website is the last thing on your mind.

While it can be an annoying task, it is something that shouldn’t be ignored. It significantly contributes to a better online presence, acting as your firm’s ‘digital headquarters’.

So when a potential client or referral source arrives at your digital HQ, give them something to be sure about and have them pick up the phone.

Things you can easily do now:

1. Out with the old in with the new: Old content harms your search engine optimisation (SEO), so make a few tweaks to your home page copy, update keywords, have recent photos and write a new firm update or blog post every few weeks.

2. Brand consistency: Are your website colours consistent and in line with your brand or logo? Swap the stock images for relevant photos, colours and text that truly represent your brand. Tip: stick to a colour theme of 2 – 4 colours, and 2 – 3 fonts.

3. Check that your site is mobile-friendly: There’s nothing worse than scrolling on your phone and landing on a poorly-laid out website with text overlapping and pictures running off the screen. Make sure your website looks just as beautiful on mobile as it does on desktop. Most website builders automatically optimise for mobile now, but if your’s isn’t check out this list of plug-ins for WordPress.

4. Client-centric copywriting goes a long way: This one can be easy to miss but is super simple to update and correct. Swap out first-person use of “I”, “we” or “us”, and change it to “you”. Speaking directly to your potential clients is much more engaging and compelling, than talking about yourself and services from your personal point of view.

2. Register for Google My Business

Did you know that almost a third of mobile searches are related to location, and 86% of consumers use the internet to find a business?

That’s why Google My Business is so important to have. If you haven’t already, then this will be a major game-changer for your firm and website.

Google My Business is an online listing tool to help maximise your firm’s presence across Search and Maps. You can use it to rank your firm’s website amongst the top spots in Google’s organic results when people are searching for you or legal advice in your location.

In most circumstances, it’s your potential client’s first impression of you.

When you optimise GMB, your firm is more likely to show at the top in a search engine result page – increasing the likelihood of someone landing on your firm website and not a competitor’s.

When you register for Google My Business, make sure to include the following in your profile:

  • Firm location
  • Operation hours.
  • Pictures of you, your staff and your office.
  • Description of your practice areas.
  • Reviews / Testimonials
  • FAQs about your practice.
  • Contact information.

Hubspot has created a great free guide on how to register for and optimise your Google My Business account. Check it out here.

3. Get testimonials & reviews

If you’re not going about it the right way, asking for a review from your happy clients can take days, even weeks before they respond or even provide you with one.

Google Reviews is the solution to any time wasted or potential errors. You can easily email your client with a Google review link – when they click it they’ll be sent directly to the exact online location, to write a review about their experience with your firm.

You can even include the link in your signature or website so it is always available.

We love this website for generating your FREE Google Review Link: https://arrivala.com/google-review-link-generator/

It’s a good idea to create a review collection and follow up process for your firm, so you always ask for a review and make it easy for your satisfied clients to leave one.

3. Have a social media account

Social media and digital marketing used to be somewhat contentious in the legal industry. Now, as it becomes more progressive and embraces the online world, they’re important strategies for business growth and building relationships.

Social media allows you and your firm to ‘be’ where your current and future clients are, as well as your fellow industry peers and organisations.

Firms can use social media to position themselves as thought-leaders and experts in their area of practice, in a way that is highly engaging and builds trust with people.

Social media forms part of your business’s identity and online presence. So how you leverage this impacts how people will perceive you and your services.

So how can you use it to your advantage?

Share content that people want to consume. This can include sharing news or opinions about a contemporary legal issue, making valuable statements and sharing insights on the world.

Strike a balance between demonstrating your thought-leadership and knowledge, and providing entertaining and informative content that delivers real value to your audience.

Create a content strategy before you start posting and stick to 1 – 2 social pages. We recommend a LinkedIn and Facebook Business Account.

Tip: Unless they’re big, try to avoid sharing announcements that are about your firm. They tend to be more about you and less about what your audience truly cares about. While you can share this type of content, your potential clients will care more about your insights on pollution plastics or social policies affecting young people, than about a new staff hire or office expansion.

If you need help with your firm’s business development or digital marketing strategy, get in touch with our very own ex-lawyer turned legal growth specialist, Ben Chiraboga at [email protected]

You can also sign up for a free membership on NEXL, a lawyer-exclusive online referral community, to start building better relationships and referral networks online.

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