Improving Online Trust Indicators for Your Law Firm
If you need more prospective clients than what referrals produce, you can cultivate prospective clients online using your digital presence. To do that well, it’s worth considering how your law firm presents to someone with no trusted reference or personal connection.
At a high level, you have to check three boxes:
- Suitability: Your specialization needs to match their need
- Discoverability: They have to be able to find you
- Credibility: They have to trust you enough to reach out
Since you’ve already chosen your specialization and every discovery tactic is going to require a foundation of credibility, I recommend evaluating your current digital presence first to see if you’re building — or breaking — trust.
The eight strategies I recommend most for attorneys seeking to strengthen their online trust indicators are:
- Use photography to show your face
- Lead with reasons to trust
- Highlight points of connection
- Pass the glance test
- Leverage Google’s reputation for your own
- Work on your reviews
- Demonstrate your stability
- Make reaching out feel safe
More information is covered below on each strategy.
Use photography to show your face
People are hardwired to look for faces; babies do it within hours of being born. And getting a sense of who a person is starts with seeing their face. Ensure you have professional, approachable photos of yourself immediately visible online, including on your website, your Google Business Profile, and Local Service Ads. And really consider the photos you select. While you may feel best looking aggressive or intense, consider how a stranger may perceive you. Your goal is to look like a winner who they’re comfortable calling.
Lead with reasons to trust
While we skipped over suitability at a big-picture level, you can’t neglect it when reviewing your credibility. How clear are you about your specialization? How well do you demonstrate that you are an authority in your area of specialization? Provided objective data like:
- Win stats
- Affiliations (“State Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Board Member”)
- Work experience (“DA for 15 years”)
- Advice (“Six mistakes to avoid after a DUI charge”)
Highlight points of connection
People are predisposed to trust individuals who are similar to them in some way, so make it easy for your prospects to find points of connection. Your biography is a great place to create feelings of solidarity. A couple of easy trust wins to add to your bio:
- Community: You serve a local area and probably live in the same city as your prospective clients. Share how long you’ve lived there, if you attended local schools, and what local sports teams you cheer for.
- Personal experience: If you practice family law, share that you’ve been through a divorce and understand the complexity and emotions. If you practice labor law, share the personal story that provided your passion. You don’t have to say much to create space for trust.
Pass the glance test
There are endless best practice articles about how lawyers can make Google happy. You could read all of those OR you could keep in mind that, in general, Google is trying to deliver the best search experience to users. And if you do what makes users happy, Google will reward you with visibility. As an attorney, that means making sure:
- Your website looks professional
- Your website clearly communicates what you do
- Your website is easy to navigate and convert
- Your Google Business Profile is complete and verified
- Your contact information is consistent across digital platforms and directories
- Any content you produce is helpful and relevant to prospective clients
- You have positive reviews
While Google is highly detailed, you can likely eyeball problems in a quick glance. Just think about how your presence compares to the professional service providers you evaluate regularly. (Note: If you prefer a professional assessment, we’re happy to perform a free digital analysis for your practice.)
Leverage Google’s reputation for your own
Lawyers are able to get a green “Google Screened” badge for free. To get Google Screened, you go through a process to prove you have an active law license. It can be a tedious process, but it helps set legitimate attorneys apart from spam and provides third-party trust from a well-regarded brand.
Work on your reviews
In many industries, it’s best practice to ask all your customers for reviews. We recognize that won’t make sense for all types of legal specialties, but it doesn’t mean you get a pass on your review strategy.
If you aren’t comfortable asking clients for reviews, think of your online reviews like a voters’ guide: Who would you ask for an endorsement if you were a candidate running for office? Ask them for a Google review. If you practice family law, this may be another attorney who you work with in cooperative processes. If you practice criminal law, it may be a former district attorney you worked well with. Positive online reviews are worth asking for a favor!
Demonstrate your stability
Communicate how long you’ve been in business on your website, in Local Service Ads, and on your Google Business Profile. It’s such an easy step that so many lawyers miss!
Make reaching out feel safe
Most people don’t call attorneys every day. And if they are searching for family law, personal injury, bankruptcy, DUI, or another likely specialty online, they’re often in a vulnerable place. Give extra attention to your primary calls to action to make sure you come across as credible:
- Are your calls to action easy to find? People may enter your website through a page other than your homepage. Can they identify how to contact you from any page?
- Are your contact methods professional? For example, does your phone number use a local area code? Are your forms simple for both desktop and mobile? Does your email address look spammy in any way?
- Do you explain your process? You can lower the bar and make reaching out feel smaller by explaining what happens first. This can be as simple as “When you call, we’ll have a short conversation so I can learn more about your situation.”
I recognize that trust indicators can be hard to evaluate yourself. If you find that a second set of eyes would be helpful, get in touch. As a first step, we’ll ask a few quick questions about your practice and schedule a free digital analysis presentation. By producing the analysis, our marketing specialists will get a better handle on your current marketing situation to make more informed digital marketing strategy recommendations. Presentations are specific to your firm and typically last about 30 minutes. There’s no charge and no strings attached, and you’ll leave the conversation with helpful tools and recommendations.
(See what I did there? That’s a longer-form example of making reaching out feel safe. I hope we can connect soon.)
About the Author
Adpearance is the digital marketing company obsessed with generating quality leads. Our solutions combine cutting-edge technology, premium tracking, and an expert team to transform business results.
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