The problem with law firm websites
By Jim Thompson
Most law firm websites meet what I call the market hygiene level – that is, they are acceptable, look and sound presentable, don’t offend anyone and give a basic overview of the law firm and what it does.
And therein lies the problem – they only MEET the hygiene level.
They don’t provide a reason NOT TO engage them and conversely don’t provide any compelling reason TO engage them despite what their partners and marketing teams might think.
Why law firm websites don’t compel us to buy?
Because most law firm websites are basically all the same, conforming to market expectations and service definitions, and trying to differentiate on subjective cues via design, wordsmithing and meaningless brand statements.
It’s difficult to substantiate if you are any good at what you do until a client works with you and they may be none the wiser even after they have if they have nothing to compare you to.
Most have of us have a half decent CV but we’ve all been caught out by that before so why do we hide our true expertise behind the brand and not expose it?
Another reason is that they are set up on the assumption that the potential client has already self-diagnosed what they need.
Self-diagnosed clients have expectations in common with each other. If your firm positions itself to meet this audience, it will force you to be generic in order to match their common expectations.
And what about those clients that don’t know they have a problem or are researching how to solve the problem they have and haven’t made the connection that they need a lawyer?
How are you serving them, wouldn’t it be better to catch them in the research phase before they start shopping around?
Why law firm websites push actual expertise to the background?
In my experience that old chestnut “working in the business and not on it’.
Exposing your expertise requires significant time and effort that can’t be billed to a client.
It’s easier to come up with brand statements and make claims that can’t be substantiated. It also staggers me how many law firms rebrand every five or so years or after a change of marketing manager or managing partner.
One good insightful eBook supported by a well thought out and implemented content strategy could provide 100 times the return and impact on clients but for some reason, we revert to fluff and chest beating instead.
Brand based marketing for law firms is dead and buried.
You’re not Apple or Nike and thankfully never will be, have you seen their marketing budgets?
But more importantly not you’re a consumer product or a commodity (unless you want to be) so why would you market yourself following the same principles.
You’re selling knowledge, expertise and outcomes to in most cases intelligent people with access to practically all the information in the world via Google, yet you market to them like they are buying a pair of shoes.
No one will ever care about your brand as much as you do and to those who have never heard of you, it has zero value.
If you can solve my problem better and more effectively than someone else, I couldn’t care less what your brand was, what it said or what it looked like, would you?
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