The legal field might be notorious for moving slowly towards innovation that threatens the status quo, but it’s still shocking to discover that a significant chunk of law firms do not have a website, at all. Not having a website does not just leave a well of potential clients untapped – it can actually alienate potential clients who have heard of your firm and who want to hire you, but who do their due diligence online and find nothing.
Lost Marketing Potential from Not Having a Web Presence
The most obvious repercussion of not having a website or even a social media presence is that potential clients who look for a lawyer online cannot find your firm. Granted, some law firms are not going to suffer much – ironically, the big law firms that have the most money to spend in online marketing tend to need it the least, as their corporate clients are less likely to be wooed by legal blogs and prominent search engine rankings than by white papers and precision sales pitches.
However, for small and mid-sized firms that rely on clientele from the public, a significant portion of those potential clients are online. The number of people who turned to the internet to find a lawyer passed the number of people who turned to friends and family for a referral all the way back in 2014. In the course the ten years from 2005 to 2014, the percentage of people who said they would go online to find a lawyer jumped from 7% to 38%. In the five years since, it has likely gone even higher, possibility becoming an outright majority over all of the other ways to find an attorney.
Many lawyers think that forgoing this source of clientele is the only repercussion of not having a website or other online presence. Unfortunately, that is just not the case.
Potential Clients are Actively Turned Off By a Lack of a Web Presence
Increasingly, people who are searching for a lawyer online are becoming actively deterred by a firm’s lack of web presence. Simply put, there is an expectation that businesses have a website for interested customers and clients to peruse. When interested clients hear of your firm and want to know more – due diligence is completely foreseeable, given the importance and the expense of hiring a lawyer – the first place they go to do this research is the internet.
Of course, not every law firm can make it to the first page of the results for targeted keyword searches or vanity keywords. However, when even a branded search – one that includes the firm’s name or attorneys in it – does not find anything, clients can become suspicious. With nothing to alleviate their sudden distrust, they are far less likely to hire your firm to fix their problem.
The worst part of this phenomenon is that you will never know how often it happens. If you don’t have a web presence for your firm, you can count on not reaching the portion of potential clients that are searching the internet for a firm like yours. You cannot, however, know how many potential clients have sought out your firm by name and been deterred by what they could not find.