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Breaking Down How Clients Actually Find, Select, and Decide to Hire an Attorney

If your law practice is hoping to attract a more steady stream of clients, it’s useful to understand how potential clients typically find, choose, and decide to hire an attorney. Implementing targeted strategies to boost client engagement and retention can help you achieve these goals.
December 24, 2023

In just a few weeks, 2024 will arrive and provide people with the opportunity to set goals for the new year. Businesses often use the first few months of the new year to focus on identifying and pursuing targets to maximize their efficiency and reach a broader range of consumers. Small to mid-sized law firms are no different—the new year offers attorneys the opportunity to reflect on the aspects of their practice that are running smoothly and identify areas for improvement. Many law firms want to attract and engage more clients, an endeavor that begins with making their legal services more visible to potential clients in their communities. Before you can start implementing marketing strategies to grow your law practice, it’s important to understand the typical client journey from finding, choosing, and ultimately deciding to hire an attorney. This post will break down the key steps of the client journey and highlight strategies for connecting with potential clients in meaningful and impactful ways that increase the likelihood that they will enlist your services.

It Starts With Search Engines

Most people move through four steps before they’re ready to choose an attorney. Gone are the days when someone with a legal question consulted a phone book to find a law firm—in today’s increasingly digital era, nearly every person uses an internet search engine to find an attorney. Therefore, it’s critical that your law firm has an active and client-centered website that incorporates search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to boost the site’s visibility to search engine algorithms like Google. Optimized websites catch the attention of these algorithms and appear higher among the search results pages, meaning that those looking for legal services in your area will come across the highly optimized websites sooner. Below are the four basic phases of the typical client journey toward settling on a law firm to handle their legal matters.

A Legal Question or Issue Arises

Many people do not realize that they need a lawyer when an issue arises. Instead, their journey will likely begin with a question about a particular legal matter, and they will search for information about this topic by performing an online search. For example, someone who is thinking about ending their marriage may search for information about the divorce process, while a car accident victim may wonder if they can recover compensation from the party responsible for the collision.

Searching for Answers to a Legal Question

Once a question about a legal topic arises, the person will likely turn to search engines like Google to perform a quick search for information. They will enter common keywords to look for relevant information, such as “How long does the divorce process take?” or “Can I get compensation after a car accident.” The search engine will use these search terms and the searcher’s location to display results that are relevant and convenient. For example, if someone searches for information about divorce and lives in your city, you can make your website more visible to the searcher by maintaining a website that mentions your location and includes content that anticipates and addresses common client questions about divorce. Ultimately, search engines like Google will connect searchers to nearby services whose website content closely matches the search terms they entered.

Considering Convenience and Location of Legal Services

Next, the searcher will likely click on a few websites of law firms practicing in the field most relevant to their search. As they assess these websites, viewers may start to realize that hiring an attorney is their best option for securing their desired resolution. A significant factor in determining which law firm to work with is convenience (as in the physical location of the office). Search engines allow businesses to purchase local service ads that propel their listing to the top of the search results page. Your law firm could also invest in a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign to boost your position towards the first few results, increasing the likelihood that the searcher will see and click through to your website. Another strategy to make your listing more visible is to update your law firm’s Google Business Profile listing, which boosts your overall local SEO strategy and maximizes the chances of Google using this profile to make you visible to potential clients looking for services in your area.

Visiting Your Website and Reading Client Reviews

When the searcher has perused the results and clicked through to your website, you will want to make sure that their initial impressions of your website are as positive and effective as possible. It’s critical that your website loads in three seconds or less and displays correctly on any computer, smartphone, or tablet. Any loading issues or distorted images may send visitors to another website. Capture the visitor’s attention right away without overwhelming them—use a soothing color palette, minimal text with plenty of negative space, and encouraging or reassuring word choices that invite the visitor to put their trust in you to assist them during this challenging time. Most potential clients respond positively to attorney websites that inspire confidence, trust, and reassurance, so think about how you can reflect and convey these qualities in the written content and visual aesthetics of your website. Finally, many potential clients will read client reviews to determine whether to enlist your services. It’s essential that you monitor your online reviews to ensure that the comments reflect your values and accurately demonstrate your firm’s commitment to delivering high-quality, client-centered legal services.

If your law firm’s goal is to engage with more clients and grow your practice, talk to the LegalRev team today about how we can help. Call us at (800) 893-2590 or schedule a quick meeting here to discuss your vision and marketing goals. 

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