By Leslie Valenza, media and communications consultant
You don’t have to start from scratch and rebuild every five years to sustain your firm website’s relevance as a client resource and new business lead generator.
According to COLAB digital strategist Tyler Pease, by identifying key audiences and tracking their user journeys, as well as aligning website content with firm business goals, law firms can continuously create opportunities to convert website visitors into new business leads.
To that end, Pease outlined a three-step process in his July 29 program, “Maximizing Your Current Digital Assets,” hosted by The Virginias Local Group.
Step one: Identify your firm’s brand values, business goals, and key audiences.
Breaking down your firm’s values are integral to understanding your firm’s short- and long-term goals. That includes understanding your firm’s purpose, what the desired outcome is once your firm achieves its purpose, and what tactics the firm will employ to carry out its mission.
And identifying its business goals will guide your firm in pursuing specific sales and marketing initiatives and understanding how the organization is changing and progressing over time.
Step two: Organize your website’s user journeys, sitemap, and persona keywords.
Thoughtfully mapping user journeys and understanding your audiences’ needs, activities, and decisions is perhaps the most important part of converting leads, Pease noted.
First, ask what begins or motivates a user’s journey to our website? What are they trying to accomplish or what questions do they need answered? What actions do we want clients to take? What content must we craft to address their needs and point them to corresponding key areas on our site, beginning on our homepage?
And mapping user journeys is critical in organizing a sitemap, according to Pease.
But a website can only speak effectively to a focused group of three to five audiences, he cautioned. To communicate with key audiences, crafting a cohesive brand – including personality, tone, and presentation – matters.
Ask what personality or human-like attributes give your firm distinct character? How does the firm sound when it communicates? What adjectives best describe the visuals, style, and colors your firm uses to convey its brand? To assist in identifying persona keywords, Pease recommended using Brand Deck cards.
Step three: Create strategic content that drives conversion opportunities.
Pease breaks down step three into three phases – early, mid- and late funnels.
In the “early funnel” phase, users read website content and learn more about your firm. In the “mid funnel,” users might download eBooks, subscribe to your newsletter or use other online learning tools. In the “late funnel,” users might contact a lawyer directly, inquire about rates or request an initial consultation.
To steer users to the late funnel phase, your website must drive users to take actions that are both “beneficial to them and valuable to your organization,” Pease said.
Creating strategic content that benefits users is critical. Content should include fresh and timely blogs, articles, and case studies; targeted newsletters or niche material; and evergreen material such as brand messaging, service descriptions, testimonials and recognition, firm news and insights, and call-to-actions.
Pease shared best practices for creating effective content.
- Break up content with bullets, headlines, and short paragraphs to make it easier to read
- Focus content on one idea per section
- Speak to your audience by using the words and phrases your audience uses to communicate about specific topics
But even after following these steps and best practices, Pease cautioned that firms often encounter certain roadblocks before successfully launching a website. Beware of not getting early buy-in from firm leadership, design-by-committee, failing to have the right technology in place, and letting perfect be the enemy of the good. Planning to prevent or overcome these obstacles will make the process unfold more smoothly.
“The beauty of a website is it’s not one and done,” Pease said. “It’s a cycle and you’ll continually optimize and update your site.”