Many people assume that first impressions happen in person. When we think about the importance of making first impressions, we often picture attending an in-person job interview, going on a first date at a coffee shop or restaurant, or meeting a potential client at the office. However, many first impressions start well before in-person interactions begin. In some cases, you may not even be consciously aware that a brand is making an impression on you; as you scroll through social media, you may see an advertisement for a clothing brand that you might not take the time to view, but the messaging, color palate, and other details are likely affecting you on a subconscious level. You may even find yourself thinking about this brand when you decide to purchase new clothing. So, how does this realization translate into marketing strategies for law firms? Understanding that the typical client journey begins way before you meet with your new client for the first time ensures that your digital marketing efforts will shape their impression of you in a positive, meaningful, and impactful way. This post will provide a general overview of the client journey and provide some simple strategies that your law firm can use to make a lasting initial impression and grow your practice steadily and sustainably.
Understanding the Client Journey
A high-quality and effective marketing strategy is built around the client’s journey with your law firm, from forming an initial impression to establishing an ongoing professional relationship long after you have resolved their legal matter. It helps to take some time to identify all the points of contact you have with any one client, ranging from the important in-person meetings, video conferences, or phone calls to the seemingly minor interactions they have with your firm (i.e., scheduling an appointment, visiting your website to find contact information, etc.). Once you realize how many opportunities your law firm has to make an impression on a client, you can be more focused and deliberate in creating an effective digital marketing strategy. For example, someone who visits your website on their mobile device may find that it takes too long to load on their phone, prompting them to look elsewhere for legal services. Many law firms are unaware of how many potential clients they lose due to these seemingly small and insignificant experiences. However, by mapping the scope of your firm’s interactions with potential clients, you can invest in marketing efforts that cultivate a favorable first impression and maximize the odds that these individuals will enlist your legal services.
A First Impression Starts With Reflection
As you start to channel your energy into making your law firm’s digital marketing strategy more effective, you should carve out some time for reflection and goal-setting. Although this practice may sound superfluous, unnecessary, or even like a waste of time, consider how crucial it is for your law firm to capture the interest and trust of potential clients at first sight. With so many law firms to choose from, you need to set your law practice apart and inspire potential clients to select your services over those of your competitors. When you determine the kind of first impression you want to make on your clients, you can design your marketing strategy to speak to and address these goals. For example, what qualities do you want to highlight and broadcast to potential clients? Perhaps you want to play up your experience and trustworthiness, or you may want to showcase your genuine concern for serving your clients. Once you have articulated the impression you want to convey, it’s time to start building a strategy that supports and expresses these attributes.
Making Your Law Firm’s Website Welcoming and Impactful
If it’s been a while since you looked at your law firm’s website through the eyes of a potential client, now’s the time to do so. Start with the home page—how long does it take to load? If it takes more than three seconds to display correctly, you should look for ways to boost the loading speed (i.e., removing broken links, using images of smaller file sizes, etc.). Next, take a look at the layout and composition of your homepage. Without reading the text, what impression does it convey at first glance? Does it instill confidence and reassurance, or does it overwhelm the senses? In general, websites full of flashing words, all-caps lettering, dense blocks of text, or cluttered compositions can intimidate visitors, prompting them to click away in favor of a more calming and less “busy” website experience. Consider including a color scheme that is aesthetically pleasing (cool, muted tones) and harnessing the power of neutral space to create a welcoming homepage that draws potential clients in rather than pushing them away or overwhelming them with urgency and too much information.
Using Tone to Instill Confidence and Trustworthiness
Once a potential client lands on your homepage, you want to ensure they are inspired to take the next step and schedule a consultation or appointment with your firm. You can use language to create an inviting tone, encouraging the site visitor to contact your office for more information. Most people are motivated by gentle, open-ended invitations rather than all-caps, almost threatening calls to action (CTAs). For example, a site visitor will likely choose to contact a law firm with a CTA like, “If you’re ready to speak with a dedicated and caring attorney who will listen closely to your needs and goals, contact us today” instead of one that reads, “CALL US IMMEDIATELY!” Gentle and inviting websites overwhelmingly attract and retain more viewers than those that are overly sales-like and alarmist in tone. Finally, make sure that every page on your website displays your firm’s contact information clearly and accessibly, providing a seamless transition from viewing your website to scheduling that critical first appointment.
The dedicated team at LegalRev is here to help you take your law firm’s digital marketing strategy to the next level. Call us today at (800) 893-2590 to discuss your goals.