By Gina F. Rubel
Special to the Legal
Imagine walking into an auto dealership to purchase a luxury vehicle only to find faded photos of the Great Depression on the walls, ripped vintage sofas and rule-lined sales ledgers on the desks. No one greets you at the door – all the sales reps are smoking cigarettes in the break room, chatting amongst themselves. As a luxury vehicle customer, you would likely be quite taken aback. Your gut reaction would probably be to turn around, walk out and go to the competitor just down the road. When you get to the second dealership, you find modern decor, plasma wall monitors displaying auto performance videos, desks with tablet computers and you are immediately greeted with a smile and a handshake. From which of these two dealers selling the same line of luxury vehicles are you most likely to purchase?
Take this scenario and apply it to your law firm website. When someone lands on your law firm website, what do they find? Are they greeted with outdated imagery, old technologies and broken links? Do they find years-old news items as the most recent headlines? When they search on a mobile device, does the site even work or are they greeted with outdated Flash, which is incompatible with Apple devices? And when they visit your attorney bio pages, do they find one full page of names and single-paragraph descriptions with no professional headshots? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, I can just about guarantee that your lost opportunity costs are through the roof.
Today's tech-savvy audience is online and while some traditionalists and baby boomers wish to believe otherwise, a law firm's website and other online profiles, including those on social networking sites, are a law firm's primary front doors. Just like the luxury auto consumer, purchasers of legal services have certain expectations of the attorneys they wish to hire. For most, they want to see a record of success and experience with the same types of issues that they are facing. They want to know who the attorneys are and how they can help them with their problems and legal issues. They want to be assured that the law firm and its attorneys are ready, willing and available to assist with their legal matters. They want immediacy of contact and response. When was the last time you looked at your firm’s website or your personal biography to determine how it is being seen from the eyes of your prospective and current clients?
The legal industry is a service business. When purchasers of services are shopping the Internet, they don’t care if your website is 50 shades of blue or 50 shades of gray – what they care about is if they can easily find the information they need, whether or not your law firm can help them and, if so, how they can contact you. Once contact is made, the next step is to have a sophisticated and prompt response procedure in place. Just like the auto dealership, no one wants to be left standing alone in the lobby.
Gina F. Rubel is the owner of Furia Rubel Communications, a strategic marketing and public relations agency with a niche in legal marketing. A former trial attorney, she is the author of Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers. Rubel and her agency have won many awards for legal communications, PR, media relations, website and graphic design, strategic planning, corporate philanthropy and leadership. She maintains a blog, is a contributor to National Law Review, The Legal Intelligencer Blog, AVVO Lawyernomics and The Huffington Post. You can find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter. For more information, go to www.FuriaRubel.com.