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From the Law Society

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How clients find us

How our clients find us is an important part of ensuring that we have the wherewithal to continue in our calling.

The days when lawyers could not advertise are long gone. Back then, our main promotional tool was the shingle we hung outside our office, or the name of the firm painted in the front window or on the door of its offices.

Back then, too, word of mouth was an important tool. As lawyers, we all know that when it comes to professional service, people look for someone those in their circles of friends, relatives, professional advisors and acquaintances have come to trust. That is as important today as it has ever been – possibly even more so given the fact that people can now make online searches for references and testimonials.

While the importance of word of mouth remains important, many other factors have changed, particularly when it comes to marketing.

Photo of Allister Davis
Allister Davis

One phenomenon that is vastly different today than it was even 20 years ago is that people seeking a service provider no longer tend to go to town looking for the "shingle" or "shingles". The search today is much more likely to be via an online search engine.

What is important for us, as lawyers, is to find out as much as we can about how people find us, and what we can do to help them in their search.

One way we can do this is to ask people what they would type into Google given the situation they are in. At present, little research has been undertaken into what people type into Google (at least research that is available publicly). That is why it is useful to ask people.

They may, for example, be buying a house, and so they type "buying a house" or "buying a house nz" into the search engine. Isn't it interesting that the search results displayed on the first page are quite different than if a person types in "purchasing a property nz"? More legal-oriented results come up on the first page for the latter.

So one important lesson is to aim the key words on your website to what people are more likely to enter, rather than how lawyers would normally describe the service.

Having got people to your website the next task – if you want to convert them from website visitors to clients – is to answer their questions: to give them what they want.

You need to answer in language they are comfortable with. Specific information your website visitors are looking for includes:

  • what you do;
  • how to get in touch easily;
  • testimonials (with any industry recognition below or as a side bar); and
  • the services you provide (and, ideally, prices – as research has indicated that website visitors rank pricing as their second most wanted item after a list of services or products).

We are living in changing times. That has, in fact, been the case for centuries, if not always. That makes it vital that we stay up to date – in the business of law as well as in our areas of law practice.

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