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The Top 5 Mistakes Lawyers Make Online

mistakes lawyers make

Attracting clients online through digital marketing can be overwhelming. What information do you include on your law firm’s website or personal profile? Which photos do you choose to post? What tone should you use in your narrative?

Unfortunately, you can’t just strike up a conversation with a client online and let them get to know you.  Clients are in the driver’s seat when deciding whether or not they want to reach out to you. So, you have to attract them first.

When you start thinking of publishing your profile online, think of it like you’re creating a dating profile.  Try to imagine you’re an average-looking man who’s trying to attract a far more attractive woman, and the ratio of men to women is against your favor, 10-to-1. If you don’t stand out or if you make glaring mistakes in your online profile, your success rate at attracting clients will plummet.

Identifying what you’re doing wrong is the first step to correcting your actions. And that means that you have the potential for achieving a much better success rate than what you may be achieving now.

So, here are the top five mistakes that lawyers make when trying to attract clients online.

1. They take too long to get to the point

Once a potential client finds you on the internet, you have about 8 seconds to capture their attention and provide them with information that’s relevant to what they’re seeking.

That’s why the most valuable real estate on any given page on any webpage is located “above the fold” – which refers to everything the user can see before they start scrolling.  

Think of this precious space like the entryway to your business. You wouldn’t deliberately place obstacles and clutter in the entryway to a business, would you? Of course not. The first step inside sets the tone for the entire visit.

So, don’t fill the most valuable portion of your webpage or profile listing with superfluous information that your clients don’t care about or understand.

Which brings us to the next mistake that lawyers frequently make…

2. They talk like lawyers

Lawyers are notorious for using language on their profiles that only other lawyers can understand. 

Most clients have no idea what a civil defense litigator is or what an admiralty attorney does. Think about the language your clients might use to describe their legal issues. Then use clear, concise, common language to describe what you do, describe some real cases you’ve recently taken on, and let the client know why you’re a good match for their needs. 

But don’t make the mistake that so many other lawyers do…

3. They brag too much

Your legal accolades may be important, but your clients have no basis or context to understand what they mean. That you’ve “recovered over a billion dollars” or were selected for an award aren’t things that a client understands. These things only mean something of significance to other lawyers.

And while it is important that your profile communicates to other lawyers, there’s an appropriate place on a page or profile to place this information –and it’s not at the beginning. Put this information further down the page or on a page that specifically covers your awards and honors. The few people who want to find that information will find it.

Besides, leading with your accolades puts you at risk for another mistake lawyers commonly make…

4. They’re too generic

Clients surf through many lawyer or law firm profiles on online legal directories and many of them resemble any other lawyer’s profile. Even awards and honors start sounding the same, diluting any perceived distinction you might have otherwise gained in your client’s mind. 

You have to put some real effort into your profile to make it stand out in the crowd while remaining relevant, professional and authentic.  Which brings us to the biggest mistake lawyers make online…

5. They don’t build trust

Trust is an essential element that leads to conversions in any business. Similarly, clients look for two things in particular when choosing an attorney: 1) indicators of your professional competence; and, 2) indicators that they can trust you.  

Trust may seem hard to build without an established relationship, but when clients take the time to view your profile, they’re searching for reasons to trust you, versus reasons to not trust you.

In the absence of an established relationship, searching for shared personal attributes such as gender, race or ethnicity, veteran status, or language spoken often play a huge role in a client’s decision to choose one lawyer over another, otherwise equal, choice.

[Related: Clients Choose Lawyers Based on Race and Gender, Data Shows]

In fact, nearly 97% of Laws 101’s users select at least one of these personal attribute filters when searching for a lawyer on our attorney directory. And a whopping 82% of these users convert to leads.

These extraordinary statistics reveal two compelling points: 1) that when given the option, clients will look for a lawyer based upon shared personal attributes; and, 2) that clients perceive a basic sense of trust when they share such personal attributes with their lawyer.

So take the time to create a detailed and authentic online profile instead of putting out generic or esoteric content that only a lawyer can really interpret. Most importantly, be sure to showcase your personal attributes and communicate in a way that empathizes and builds trust with the clients that you want. By avoiding the five mistakes above, you’ll save a lot of time, money, and energy while also attracting far more clients.  

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