October 20, 2021

Volume XI, Number 293

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Law Firm Marketing: The Importance of a Strong Website

Law firm marketing may not be top of mind for every attorney, but as more clients flock to the internet to vet their services, it’s imperative to step up your marketing and create a strong value proposition to keep up with an already competitive legal market. Yes you, they’re forming detailed first impressions about your law firm in as little as 50 milliseconds. Here’s why this is so incredible. There’s no thinking involved in this first impression.

Why digital first impressions matter to your law firm

When prospective clients see your website, they’re instantly and automatically categorizing your law firm. Research from Google shows your prospective client’s first impression about your law firm takes place before they’ve had a chance to even think about what they see on your website. These first impressions determine outcomes. 

Negative first impressions can be tremendous deal breakers. The horn effect kicks in once a first impression is made. At that point, clients are looking to confirm their first impressions about your law firm. 

All based on your website. Most of us have a sixth sense about the websites and brands we visit. If our first impression is “yikes this looks sleazy,” we tend to go with it, searching for evidence to confirm that belief, ignoring any evidence that suggests otherwise.

The problem is that most people believe this research is all about looks. In reality, this is actually about presentation, which is completely different. Presentation is a mix of tangible and intangible factors working together.

Tangible

Intangible

Color

Behavior

Formatting

Trust

Layout

Values

Topography

Expectations

Images

Prestige

Clarity

Power

Your clients use tangible details they can see to clarify the intangible things they can’t see. Here’s an example that demonstrates what I mean.

This was an actual webpage. Kevin Nations, the consultant in the screenshot, didn’t include navigation. He didn’t provide you with his about page; there is no bio, no list of services, just his name, photo and a small contact link to the left. You can see the tangible.

When you look at the tangible, what intangible details jump out at you? 

  • Power

  • Prestige

  • Confidence

  • Mystery

  • High-Value

  • Experience

  • Directness

The tangible details clients see on your website communicates the intangible things they can’t see. 

Website marketing mistakes and what they cost

Let’s take a look at an extreme (and unrelated) example. 

This e-commerce website sells gadgets; hundreds of sites list this company as a prime example of what not to do. It’s described as a “bad website.” The color, formatting, layout and design – all of it, it’s a mess. These are the tangible presentation factors, the details you can see. And it costs them revenue.

This isn’t the devastating cost I’ve referenced in the headline. These tangible factors are simple to fix. It’s the damage to this company’s intangible presentation factors that’s devastating. Here are the words people have used to describe this website across the internet: 

  • Ugly

  • Bad

  • Horrible

  • Complex

  • Untrustworthy

  • Scammy

  • Disturbing

  • Overwhelming

As mentioned earlier, your clients use the tangible presentation factors they can see to make assumptions about the intangible things they can’t see. These intangible details remain.

This is the devastating cost. 

These website mistakes could create a negative perception that can affect a company’s: 

  • Ability to attract all-star employees

  • Sales and revenue 

  • Ability to attract investors

  • Their employer brand

  • Ability to attract financial support

  • Market share

  • Ability to attract profitable customers

Your website shapes public perception. The quality of your brand, the way your firm is perceived in the marketplace, the employees they’re able to retain; it all depends on your firm’s identity. That identity is shaped by the tangible and intangible presentation factors you’ve created. 

Use law firm marketing to make a great first impression

Your next client is searching for you right now and as we’ve seen, your clients form detailed first impressions about your law firm in as little as 50 milliseconds. Research shows, “it takes 500 milliseconds or half a second for sensory information to be incorporated into our conscious experience.”

First impressions matter and you can use your law firm marketing tactics to build a website that leaves a lasting impression. This perception shapes the outcomes; these outcomes determine the success or failure of your law firm in the long-term. Most of us have a sixth sense about the businesses we see. Your clients are no different.

©2006-2021, BILL4TIME. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 225
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About this Author

Founded in 2006, Bill4Time’s cloud-based legal practice management software was created with the guidance of law and consulting firms. Now, Bill4Time is trusted by both small and large professional service firms to automate their daily tasks. Bill4Time has created simple to use, intuitive, and user-friendly software at a fraction of the cost of other legal practice management systems. With a strong focus on convenience, Bill4Time offers online access to your account and mobile apps anytime, anywhere. Bill4Time’s goal is to streamline the time tracking and billing aspect...

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