Once upon a time, lawyers started their practice by hanging out their shingle, joining local groups, and meeting potential clients. Then there were more lawyers, so they had to expand their efforts to attract more clients and, ultimately, lawyers were allowed to advertise. They used, and still use, billboards, yellow pages, membership in local groups, and volunteering to sit on boards and bring in business. They judged how these efforts worked by noting how many people came to them after a speech at the Rotary or seeing a billboard. In other words, which of their marketing efforts brought the most clients through the door?
Lawyers of the past didn't call those results conversions; however, that's what we call them today. A conversion happens when the contact to the firm occurred after seeing an ad or talking to the lawyer at an event and then taking the action that was wanted—calling for an appointment.
Enter the Internet, the Web Page, & Conversion Rate Optimization
Now it's 2017, and the Internet is racing around the globe and your website is up for all to see. Like the results from your billboard ad, you judge the effectiveness of your web page by the number of website visitors that take the action you want them to take. This called a conversion, meaning the visitor took the desired action.
What is a conversion rate?
A website's conversion rate is the number of desired actions divided by total visits to the page. To gather that information, use Google Analytics, client surveys, or the firm receptionist can ask, "How did you come to our firm today?"
Because most visitors to a firm's website are not ready to make a commitment, you should track micro-conversions as well, such as:
- Subscribing to the firm's newsletter or client alerts.
- Registering for a webinar or firm event.
- Following the firm on social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
- Subscribing to the firm's blog.
Those small steps show that the individual is interested in the firm and will remember your name when a need arises.
Being aware of your conversion rate is necessary in order to know what improvements are needed.
What is conversion rate optimization?
Conversion rate optimization is using web design techniques to improve or enhance your home page, making it more attractive for consumers to use. Consider changes that encourage micro-conversions such as follow buttons, an option that will print the page, and links to your blog, newsletter sign-up, contact page, or a scheduling button from SBM Member Directory.
Your visitor should be able to tell at a glance what your firm is all about and if they are the target audience—are you the type of lawyer who can solve their problem? Make your key practice pages prominent with separate navigation tabs and list the rest in a general "Practice Areas" section. In this way, the practice areas you prefer and where you get the most revenue are easy to find.
Like the advertising of old, whether it be word of mouth, yellow page ads, or a website, it is necessary to know what's working (the conversion rate) in order to know what needs fixing (conversion rate optimization). A little time spent reviewing the figures can significantly change results in your future business.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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