Once you have a law firm website you’re bound to hear from all kinds of charlatans promising to “drive traffic to your site.”
They’ll proclaim to know a lot about “SEO,” which stands for “search engine optimization.”
In other words, they’ll supposedly make people searching for a lawyer via Google find your site before they find any of the thousands of other lawyer websites. Hmmmm, sounds so appealing.
If you’re as trusting as Jack in the famous beanstalk fable you might instantly believe that kind of claim.
Don’t be gullible.
Getting people to your site by “driving traffic” isn’t as easy as most SEO gurus claim. And, anyway, “driving traffic” is only one part of the equation, and they never talk about the super-important other part.
If you happen to wind up on the phone with an “SEO salesman” (or worse, sitting across a desk from one), here’s a script of questions you can ask them to find out if they’re worth paying attention to, and hiring.
Why would I want to drive traffic to my website?
This question will make the SEO guru believe you are incredibly naive, but that’s okay.
This question is a set up, so be sure to ask it (keep a straight face). Then sit back and get ready for some serious bloviation.
Most SEO gurus will imply (or claim outright) that driving traffic to your website will magically create new business for you. The rare, sensible SEO expert will try to get you to focus your SEO efforts on a very narrow niche.
If you say you want your site to attract people searching for a divorce lawyer, a good SEO guy will ask you if you handle a certain kind of divorce case, as opposed to “every kind of divorce case under the sun.” They’ll explain that it’s hard to drive traffic for broad categories of law, unless you focus on a small geographic area where few other lawyers are competing for web surfers.
Once the SEO guy has finished answering, serve up the next question.
What typically happens when the “traffic” gets to my site?
Most SEO gurus will say something like “well, they’ll call you to see about hiring you.” And then they’ll start blabbing about making sure your phone number is prominently displayed, and that your site is “mobile-responsive.”
At this point the serious disconnect from reality has started.
Yes, it’s true you should have a mobile responsive site (but that should cost you less than $500), and you should DEFINITELY have your phone number prominently displayed.
But, this business about phone numbers and “mobile responsiveness” is trivia compared to a much more important thing: what you REALLY need your website to do.
Reality Check: what do you really need?
You don’t need just a bunch of new clients. Let me explain.
For example, let’s say that if 5 new clients walked in the door tomorrow and that would be all the business you could handle for at least 3 months.
What happens if 10 new clients called you up in one week, and wanted to hire you? Well, you can’t represent them all effectively. So…
You’d suddenly become really discriminating, and try to pick the best 5 clients to work with, right?
The Super-Important Thing SEO Guys Ignore
Do you just want any old person to call you, or do you want high-quality clients? The answer is obvious.
So, now stop and think about this: what kinds of people are high-quality clients? What do thoughtful, discriminating people who have money (and are careful about spending it) act like when they search on the Internet?
Do they hire the first person with a nice website that they come across?
No, most high-quality clients won’t do that.
Poor quality clients will. But I’m guessing you’d rather have high-quality clients than low quality ones.
Now, speaking of low-quality clients, what do they typically act like. Here’s a partial list.
- Low quality clients will hire lawyers at the drop of a hat (and switch just as quickly)
- Low quality clients expect to pay as little as possible.
- Low quality clients are unrealistic, unreasonable and tend to complain a lot.
- Low quality clients are more likely to take their unrealistic complaints to the bar association.
So, when the SEO expert starts talking about phone numbers and “mobile responsive websites,” interrupt him. Ask him the next question.
Why would any potential client call me right after visiting my website?
See if the SEO guru acknowledges that MOST people who visit a lawyer website (especially the aforementioned high-quality clients) aren’t immediately going to call the lawyer’s office.
Ask the SEO guy how important the copy on a webpage is in building trust and establishing rapport with visitors to the site. Ask if he works with copywriters to help craft words that inspire trust for folks who visit your site.
At this point you’ll lose almost all of the SEO experts. They’ll probably say that you don’t need to hire a copywriter. They’ll offer to write your copy as part of the deal.
Often, if you let the SEO person write your copy (with the sole intent to “drive traffic”) you’ll wind up with verbiage like the “Orlando personal injury attorney” used in in this blog post that I wrote a few months ago.
If you let an SEO expert put verbiage like that on your site, do you know what will happen? You’ll wind up with the opposite of your main goal.
You’ll attract low-quality clients, and repel high-quality ones. So, you now understand that you don’t just want to “drive traffic” to your site, right?
Wrap things up by asking the SEO guy this last question.
What can I do to make sure that folks that don’t decide to hire me on the spot, but are still interested, stay in touch so I can help them when they are ready?
See if the SEO guru suggests that you should capture people’s email address so you can follow up with them, and build rapport through the use of periodic emails. Odds are they won’t mention using email as part of your web strategy.
Again, that’s because most SEO “gurus” know nothing about the main thing you need your site to do.
You need to build rapport to attract quality clients
Few people know how to build rapport online, but virtually all of the folks that do build rapport have serious copywriting skills.
And those folks are usually also good at using email to build and sustain rapport.
They know that, if someone visited your site but isn’t ready to hire you yet, you can still build rapport over time if you get them to give you their email address, and then follow up periodically.
In fact, building rapport over time (with those not ready to hire you instantly) is actually the best way to get good clients.
And, if you want to see an example of a copywriter who is incredibly talented at sending out emails that establish rapport, click here and subscribe to his offer to see what happens next.
P.S. ignore the fact that that fellow’s market is “internet entrepreneurs,” and just pay attention to how he builds rapport, both on his page, and in the email he’ll send you if you subscribe to his offer to be notified.