Reading a post this morning from Attorney and law practice consultant, Lee Rosen (@leerosen), on how to get perspective clients to visit your website, I wondered why law firms get bent out of shape about getting people to their website.
If law firms spent ten percent of the time and money they put into websites and getting people to them into Internet activities that grow relationships and a word of mouth reputation, they’d be a heck of a lot better off.
Ask the vast majority of lawyers how they get their best work? It’ll be word of mouth reputation, referrals and relationships. Ask them if they want to get more work in this fashion and they’re likely to say yes. I’d be shocked if that were not the answer of every managing partner or chair of a large firm.
Now ask them, “How is your website building relationships and a word of mouth reputation?”
Rather than asking for people to come see your website, why wouldn’t you go out on the Internet and and engage people in a way that builds relationships, word of mouth and a referral network.
- Identify the audience you are looking to engage. You are not looking to network with every Tom, Dick and Harry in the world. Focus on how you will network with the folks you want to get to know and with whom you want to build a reputation.
- Connect liberally on social networks. LinkedIn in the case of virtually all business people. Facebook more liberally than most anyone would advise so you are friends with people you know and want to get to know – so long as they are using Facebook to share personal and other information.
- Listen to the discussion (what is being written) among those people you are looking to engage – thought leaders, influencers and prospective clients via a RSS reader ala Feedly.
- Share the insight you are reading with the appropriate attribute (so they will see you) on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Share both personal items and business insight on Facebook.
- Engage in the exchange that follows what you sharing and what others in your network are sharing. It’s how we get to know and trust each other.
- Realize the reputation you are now building by demonstrating you are on top of your game by following developments in the law and business (via this sharing) and now networking with the thought leaders and influencers in the field.
- Blog in a way that shares what you have read, quoting the leaders, and offering your take. It’s this blog that will demonstrate that you have written the book on the subject, whether it’s something of national interest or sharing local business news in a small town and offering your insight. It’s this blog which will be much more meaningful to prospective clients when they are referred to you than your website .
The list goes on and on and doing these things will draw lawyers and law firms out of their comfort zone. It will require some teaching, some learning and some trial and error.
But the Internet was invented as a communication medium, not a broadcast medium. Communication meaning more than “Psst. Look over here, I have something to show you – my website.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying not to have a website. I had one of the best when I practiced. They come with the territory of being a good law firm.
Do note that in the case of a small firm a website may not be needed. You need to blog/publish. Do it and include the information that’s on every website – who you are, what you do and how to get a hold of you.
Sure there will be tens of thousands of lawyers who look at the Internet as a place to post advertisements, just like the yellow pages were a place to buy ads, the highways a place to post billboards and television the place to buy expensive ads.
The Internet though, used effectively, can mean so much more. The Internet offers the opportunity to network, just as the best lawyers did long before we ever had the net.
I didn’t mean to slight Lee Rosen and his post. Rosen offers some of the best insight and commentary on law practice management you could get anywhere. I’ve been following him for almost twenty years.
I am just suggesting that you take another look at the Internet and how you are you using it.