ABA Techshow

Panelists: Web Branding Should Assure Potential Clients You Can Meet Their Legal and Nonlegal Needs

Want to expand your Web presence beyond your basic website?

Here are a few tried-and-true techniques, courtesy of Jeff Lantz, an Oro Valley, Ariz.-based lawyer and website developer, and Robert Ambrogi, a lawyer, journalist and legal technology expert from Rockport, Mass.

Lantz and Ambrogi offered several practical and ethical tips for energizing your practice and driving prospective clients to your firm at a Techshow presentation Friday called “Beyond the Basic Website: Proven Techniques to Expand Your Web Presence.”

The first thing you need to do, Lantz and Ambrogi say, is to create an effective brand for your firm—something that differentiates your firm from others offering your target audience the same or similar legal services.

To do so, you need to focus on serving prospective clients’ legal and nonlegal needs. For instance, reassure a divorcing client that you can help him or her get through this difficult stage of his or her life.

Sometimes, the perceived ability of the attorney to fulfill a prospective client’s nonlegal needs may be the most important factor in a client’s decision who to hire, they say.

“Firms that focus on communicating how they serve nonlegal needs in their branding strategy will thus have an advantage over those who don’t focus on nonlegal needs,” Lantz said.

Once you have an effective brand, Lantz and Ambrogi say, you need to communicate it in a way that resonates with prospective clients through a website and other social media in which your firm may be involved. To do that, the two advised starting with strong and simple messages on your home page and using a website’s other pages to show how your firm is right for particular client matters.

You also need to create short and compelling attorney bios, using facts that show how your lawyers serve clients.

“Think ‘elevator pitch’ as a starting point,” Ambrogi said.

You should also strongly consider starting a blog, which conveys expertise, creates a dialogue with potential clients, has a viral impact, raises your media profile and can dramatically improve your search engine rankings, Lantz and Ambrogi say.

And don’t stop there. Get on Facebook. Sign up for Twitter. Put up a profile on LinkedIn. And explore other social and professional networks that fit your practice or where your potential clients are likely to be.

“Think of your website as the beginning, but by no means the end, of your online marketing,” Ambrogi said.

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