Marketing would often include taking an ad out in the paper or phonebook or perhaps purchasing space on a billboard somewhere in town. Other than that, attorneys had to hope that clients would pass their names along to friends and family. This was the primary way of growing legal practice. It was slow, painstaking, and often unsuccessful.
Fast-forward to today, and the internet has changed that narrative dramatically. Prospective clients are increasingly starting their search online when they need legal help. If you’re not capitalizing on this enormous shift in legal consumer habits, you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to grow your legal practice.
The results of a recent legal consumer survey conducted by Attorney Sluice highlight the importance of digital marketing and give key insights into how attorneys can capitalize on this huge opportunity.
The following are some highlights from that survey, along with actionable information you can use to start getting more clients from the internet.
1. 70% of survey participants said they would start by looking online if they had a legal question.
- 23% would call an attorney
- 62% would use a search engine (Google, Bing, Etc.)
- 8% would use YouTube
Prospective clients want their questions answered. 70% of them said they would start their search for a legal question by looking online. To ensure you’re reaching these prospective clients, you must start cultivating your online presence. Having a website that functions for both desktop and mobile is the first place to start.
Writing quality blog posts that help answer the questions you most often hear from prospective clients is another great place to start. Also, consider starting a simple YouTube channel to further increase your exposure online.
For example, a DUI attorney should include a blog post or website page that details the process of a DUI in their state and region.
2. 32% of people surveyed would start with an internet search to hire an attorney
- 45% would ask a family member or friend for a recommendation
- 13% would look at social media platforms
Personal recommendations still appear to be the most common method of hiring an attorney. However, if you combine those searching the internet and social media platforms, it comes out to 45% as well. Relying only on word-of-mouth recommendations ignores almost half of your potential clients. People are searching and finding attorneys online more and more, and you must incorporate this new insight into your marketing plan.
And although 45% of people said they would search for an attorney online, 80% of participants said they would seek out online reviews for an attorney before hiring them.
Even if you have a high number of referrals, most of those prospects are seeking out your reviews before they decide to hire you. If you don’t have online reviews, you may have a harder time converting those referrals into paying clients.
Use your current clients to appeal to new, online prospects by asking them for reviews and testimonials. Some tools will automatically request reviews from clients, and personally reaching out can go a long way toward boosting the number of quality online reviews you have. Focus your efforts on getting reviews for your Google Business profile.
3. 82% of participants stated that specialization is the first or second most important thing to them when hiring an attorney.
- 77% said that experience is the first or second most important to them.
This statistic highlights what is important to prospects, and what they need to see on your website. Prospects want to see that you specialize in the area of law they need help in and that you have experience solving legal problems in that area of law. These two areas vastly outweighed awards, accolades, and the law school the attorney attended.
Attorneys often have multiple practice areas, but this can stand out to prospects as a lack of specialization. They want to feel as though you specialize in what they need help with. To appear more specialized, you can create multiple websites for each area of law you practice, or at least have separate pages on your website detailing your experience in each of your practice areas.
4. 36% of participants said they would prefer to make initial contact with an attorney by a method other than a phone call.
- 14% preferred an online form.
- 9% preferred a text message.
- 9% preferred an email.
- 4% preferred a chat box on your website.
Phone calls are not the only way prospective clients are reaching out to attorneys. If you diversify ways to contact you and schedule a consultation, you will get in touch with, and potentially convert, far more prospects than if you only rely on phone calls.
Focusing your marketing efforts on just a few small details brought to light by this survey data can have a significant impact on the number of new clients you’re getting.
A well-thought-out and properly executed law firm digital marketing strategy can attract more of the clients you want on autopilot, freeing you from the concern of where your next client will come from. It can empower you to be more selective with the clients you choose to work with and to start charging more for your services.