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Legal issues suddenly crash into life, and when they do, consumers usually start looking for help online. Although this consumer journey usually starts with a search for information and ends with a hiring decision, the path may be interrupted along the way. So, what is the general pattern of this consumer journey? And how can your law firm be there to give answers to future clients? Knowing the process from start to finish can help your law firm attract more potential clients in 2021 and beyond.
Encounters a Legal Issue
In the beginning, a consumer is faced with a legal issue. It may be marriage trouble, an arrest or an accident that prompts the individual to look for help. Whatever the issue, questions arise, and the person needs answers. Any consumer facing a legal problem may feel anxious, confused and stressed, even if they have encountered a legal issue before. As you answer their questions, keep your soft skills in mind. Empathy and patience means a lot to someone at this stage of their legal journey. Consider the following thoughts and feelings that may be circulating in the mind of consumers:
- Why is this happening to me?
- I need someone on my side.
- There are too many options.
- Has this law firm helped people like me before?
- Can I afford this?
- How can I protect myself?
- I don’t have time for this.
- I need a recommendation from someone.
- Lawyers scare me.
- Where do I start?
- I need someone I can trust.
Searches Google For Answers
When consumers need help, Google is there to provide answers, since it absorbs almost 88% of the market share in the U.S. A market-savvy law firm will anticipate consumer questions and answer these in their website and blog content, since some individuals do not even realize what they need until they read a law-related article or blog post. Providing a large amount of quality content that answers typical consumer questions can put you in front of consumers and boost your law firm high up in the search results.
Looks For a Lawyer
Consumers may start out by researching what type of lawyer they need. They will want to know if a law firm has dealt with similar issues, so it is helpful to provide details on your website and on your blog regarding cases you have handled. Client stories and testimonials can speak louder than any claims of success you make. After researching the proper type of lawyer for their legal issue, consumers may start conducting targeted local searches to find a law firm. Your law firm needs to be easily found by any local consumer, and the competition can be tough. Using common search phrases can give you higher ranking in the search results and get you into the Google 3-pack. Your law firm may also want to consider optimizing your business for Google maps, or invest in a paid search. The more visibility your law firm has on page one of search results, the more likely it is that consumers will find you.
When researching law firms online, consumers often visit many websites before deciding who to hire. In fact, reports say that online users visit at least five websites while looking for a lawyer. Because of this, it is crucial that YOUR law firm website looks impressive, stands out, and offers a great user experience. To be competitive, your law firm website should contain helpful and relevant content for both desktop and mobile users. Including video content and optimizing for voice search can really set your law firm website apart.
Online reviews influence hiring decisions more than people realize. Around 89% of consumers will not hire a lawyer with less than a review rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Without great reviews on Google or Yelp, your law firm will likely lose a bunch of potential clients. Consumers require social proof from fellow consumers in order to validate the claims you make about yourself on the website. Reviews give evidence that engages consumers who are in the decision-making process. The star rating is important, but users take into account the number of reviews you have as well. The more reviews, the better — if they are positive ones. Google considers reviews uber-important as well, and this is reflected as they rank you in local map packs. Video reviews and testimonials pack an even greater punch in reviews, so try requesting these from your clients. The key thoughts to remember about reviews include:
- Asking every client for a review at the conclusion of a case
- Reminding your clients to write a review if necessary
- Thanking your clients for their reviews
- Responding professionally to every review (even the negative ones)
Contacts Law Firms
Most consumers contact three or more law firms before hiring a lawyer. When an individual contacts you with questions, you only get one chance to make a great first impression, so remember the following tips:
- Avoid legal jargon and answer any questions in plain, simple language.
- Make your intake process as smooth and easy and possible.
- Use friendly, empathetic people to answer the phones.
- Employ an answering service to catch consumer calls after hours.
- Respond quickly to any consumer contact.
- Soft skills matter, and often clinch the decision whether or not to hire an attorney.
When consumers research their hiring decisions, they are often interrupted by normal life. If someone clicks on your website and leaves it, they may fall into the 97% group of website visitors who never return. This is why it makes sense to initiate a retargeting campaign, to reach out again to those visitors. Retargeting campaigns on social media or other websites may effectively bring your brand to mind again.
When more questions arise, or the legal issue is becoming an emergency, the research becomes serious again. After taking a break, the consumer may resume the search, repeat the first steps taken and finally hire a lawyer. Your law firm can use its content, remarketing ads, and social media ads to capture the attention of consumers who land in your path.
Hires a Law Firm
When the searching consumer reaches the end of the journey, he or she will either have their questions answered or will hire an attorney. That means one down and billions to go in a legal search market that is growing every year, so keep finding new ways to answer the questions and meet the needs of consumers. Reviewing the steps of a consumer’s journey to hire a lawyer can help your law firm stay sharp and relevant.
How Law Quill Can Help
Every consumer’s legal journey is unique, but most follow a general pattern. Understanding the typical consumer’s journey can help your law firm answer questions and direct individuals with empathy. Grasping the process can also help your business target specific marketing strategies that will allow your law firm to be visible in the marketplace, attract traffic and assist more clients.
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