Using Your Online Presence to Gain More Attorney Referrals
For lawyers, the purpose of blogging is twofold. On one hand, its purpose is to generate business: Prospective clients sit down to search for a particular legal topic and upon stumbling on your content, they come to view you as the preeminent authority on their legal issues. But there is a second purpose that many attorneys don’t consider in thinking about whether it is worth their time to start, or continue, blogging: Your blog posts also serve as a valuable resource for OTHER attorneys.
Attorney referrals are a tremendous source of business for many firms. While many professionals perceive a separation between an “online” or “digital” network and an “offline” network - in-person connections - the reality is that today, they are really intertwined. Even if you have a robust personal network of colleagues, friends, and professional connections, it is nonetheless still important to maintain a strong digital footprint as well.
When it comes to scoring more attorney referrals, there are two primary reasons.
First and foremost, other lawyers will hop online when they are trying to decide to whom to refer a case, especially if they are located in another jurisdiction or a completely foreign practice area and may not know you personally. After all, many valuable referrals come from other jurisdictions and from people you don’t know. If your site is populated with valuable, up to date, fresh content, they will be more likely to call you rather than someone whose website is seriously outdated…or who doesn’t have one at all.
Second, even if the person making the referral is doing so because he or she knows you personally, once that referred client arrives at your website, he or she will check it out. And once again, if it is chock full of valuable information, regularly updated blog content and practice area pages, and a user friendly, secure layout, then you will be more likely to attract their business.
Here are a few ways to make sure your website is optimized to be attractive to both attorneys making referrals AND to prospective clients once they are referred to you:
- If you have a blog, make sure it is updated regularly. This doesn’t mean you need to post daily or even weekly, but if your last post was on January 4th of 2013, this will not look good. Maintaining an active online presence will instill trust in your prospective clients, as well as the attorneys who are referring them to you.
- Make sure that your website is secure. Update your security settings and ensure that your site is completely safe and virus-free. A warning message or error page will discourage attorneys and prospective clients from further exploring your content.
- Include a contact form AND another means of contact. Many clients may want to contact you directly rather than sending an inquiry through your website – so be sure to include an email address or phone number prominently on your site.
- Dust off your social media profiles. Attorneys and clients will likely explore your social media presence – especially LinkedIn or a firm Facebook page – to learn more about your and your practice. As with your blog, make sure that your page is regularly updated with recent branding, including a clean logo and updated head shots that are professional and crisp, and engaging, relevant content.
By paying attention to both your online and offline networks, you will position yourself for success when it comes to attracting - and earning - valuable attorney referrals.