June 30, 2016
by Lori Shecter
Disruptive legal web design
The case for modern design and new content types
Partners must acknowledge the fact that people, no matter what their age, consume media very differently than they did 10, 5 even 2 years ago. With even baby boomers on the bandwagon with Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat, law firms must keep up with modern design and technology trends in order to continue to grow their practices and maintain their current practice base. To illustrate, let’s compare the content on an ad agency to that of a law firm:
Law firms have: Branding, Practice Areas, Partner Profiles, News/Blog/Opinions, Search, Awards, links to social media and sometimes, Case Studies.
Agencies have: Branding, Services, Team Profiles News/Blogs/Opinions, Search, Awards, links to social media, and Case Studies.
The difference between an ad agency and a law firm is that the majority of ad agencies are far more creative with their websites and media than law firms because they are all about communicating their brand and message to people that want to hire them for their creativity. But isn’t the practice of law creative? Don’t lawyers have to use every ounce of their creative brain to engage a client, write a brief, win a case? So why isn’t that creative thinking revealed for all clients to see?
EXAMPLES OF GLOBAL AD AGENCIES
You might not think these are the perfect fit for your firm, but these are just 4 out of thousands. There is no reason why a legal website can’t have the same structure and the same unique design as a creative agency.
We all hear the word “disruptive”. It is going to be a term that partners must embrace in order to stay current with today’s consumer behavior.
Here’re a few law firms, that either through content, design, or both are disrupting the legal digital footprint:
HOW ARE THEY DISRUPTIVE?
- Search right up front and center
- Clear branding: we are modern and cool
- Focus on their partners and what “your team” could be
- Success Stories
- Case Studies
- Firm Awards
- World Class Technology: You can save pages that you want in a “briefcase”.
ADVANTAGES OF A DISRUPTIVE WEBSITE
- Attract the right client base – clients that are right for your practice areas, not people who are looking for a low cost/hour
- Advanced CRM: Control the user journey so they contact you from being driven to correct pages.
HERE’S HOW CRM WORKS:
- Add “join our newsletter” on your website. Ensure that correct practice areas can be selected. Each newsletter bucket can collect specific names so your email list is built without you having to do anything.
- Release a targeted newsletter with new content, information, whitepapers, etc. to users who signed up for your newsletter.
- Tracking: Track site traffic and user journey through Google Analytics. Track clicks by email through your email client (i.e. MailChimp, Constant Contact, Etc.)
- Retarget ads: based on traffic to your website, you can retarget those people both with Google Ad Words campaigns and with Facebook. Your campaigns can be set up to target people who have visited your site.
- Business development: reaching out to users who clicked on specific articles or partner names
- Integrate your client leads with SalesForce: SalesForce technology can be integrated with your contact form on your website so that leads go directly to the appropriate department.
Microsites: If you can’t convince your partners to step out of their comfort zone, take small steps.
Redecorate, don’t tear down: If a microsite is still too tall of an order, consider revamping only sections of your website, like the homepage and practice area pages. If your website was built in a content management system (all We Are Immediate websites are built-in open-source code such as WordPress, or Umbraco) your web developer should be able to make these changes at a lower cost than a website overhaul. Additionally, site-wide changes can be made with colors and fonts.
- Client feedback
- New clients
- Increased traffic
- Increased Newsletter Subscriptions
ALL SITE REDESIGNS/REFRESHES SHOULD HAVE:
- Easy Search: The new black in website design
- Great structure and navigation
- Fresh content – if not possible, reuse and reimagine
- New Photos
- Videos – If you can swing it
- Case studies/Success Stories
- Calls to action
- Contact forms
- Great SEO (another story for another time)
- Complete content control: Make sure that you or someone in your firm can add content, images, and videos as well as delete content. You may want to have your designer or developer handle this for you, but if you are on a budget, this is something that can be handled easily by an internal person.
It is true that Winston and Bryan Cave spent a small fortune on their websites, but that does not have to be the case. There are many top-notch branding and design firms (including We Are Immediate) that can bring your website to a new level at a fraction of the cost.
- Smart Sheet: Project management – $10/month and help manage your process
- Survey Monkey: Get opinions quickly – Free – Ask questions without having a meeting. Send designs around to lawyers and ask them to vote.
- Invision App: Free Trial (or $30/month) Upload designs and easily send to partners for review.
- Mail Chimp: Free newsletter up to 2000 names
- Grammarly: Amazing FREE grammar checking tool for new content
- Wistia: Very cool video viewer (missing YouTube SEO features, but much better players. $25/month
Your website might need a new design. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation. Rather use the phone? Contact us: 212-929-9980.