ABA Techshow

How can lawyers connect with more clients online?

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With so many lawyer websites and pages out there, having a consumer-friendly site that encourages clients to contact, evaluate and identify with you can allow you to stand out from the pack.

In their Friday panel at the ABA Techshow entitled “Is Your Web Presence Customer Friendly?” Julie Tolek and Gyi Tsakalakis discussed how lawyers can more effectively communicate their commitment to clients through their website and other online channels.

Tsakalakis, president of digital marketing agency AttorneySync in Chicago, explained that while lawyers emphasize direct contact with clients, many potential clients are actually searching for information about them online without even speaking to them.

“You need to put mechanisms in place to communicate your experience both online and offline,” he said. “If you think about the ethical duties you have, you have a duty to reasonably respond to clients. That’s all part of client experience.”

Tolek, the founder of Think Pink Law in Southborough, Massachusetts, encouraged the audience to start by thinking about who they are and how they can portray their background and interests to people who find them online.

She pointed out that many clients make hiring decisions based not on facts, but on emotions.

“If you can invoke in them something that makes them want to work with you and honestly trust you, then you’re on the right path,” she said.

audience at the panel.The audience at the “Is Your Web Presence Customer Friendly?” panel came away with many practical suggestions. Photo by Adam Music.

Tolek highlighted her own pet peeves, including not seeing photos, bios or an about section on lawyers’ websites. She also stressed the importance of consistency in branding across domain names and social media to alleviate confusion over similar names or practices.

“You’re trying to make things easier for people who are trying to find you,” Tsakalakis added.

He recommended several tools that lawyers can use to stand out online, including Google My Business, a free service that aims to help business owners manage the information that people see when they search for their products or services.

“It’s Google’s world,” Tsakalakis said. “No matter how people hear about you, the first place they will look you up is Google.”

Lawyers can list basic information, such as their website, phone number and street address, on their profiles, as well as post photos and videos, read and respond to reviews, and view insights into what people were searching for when they came across them.

“People say all the time when they meet me, ‘You really are just like you sound, I feel like I already know you through your videos and your website,’” she said. “I feel that I have already made that connection with them.”

Other tools Tsakalakis and Tolek recommended to boost lawyers’ web presence include:

  • GTmetrix, to analyze website speed
  • DocuSign, to exchange electronically-signed documents
  • Acuity, to schedule appointments
  • AskNicely, to collect client service feedback
  • MailChimp, to send digital birthday or holiday cards

Tolek also encouraged the audience to make their websites accessible for people with disabilities. She directed them to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, a series of international recommendations for improving web accessibility, and UserWay, a free tool that they can incorporate into their websites to make them easier for everyone to use.

“It’s easy to implement, and if you think of how many people aren’t making their sites accessible, this will make you stand out even more,” she said.

The two speakers at the panel.Julie Tolek and Gyi Tsakalakis had a number of best practices for their audience, including making sites accessible to people with disabilities. Photo by Adam Music.

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