Personal injury television commercials have become iconic. The litigation industry has never been known for its high-quality advertising, including clichés like, “If you or someone you know have been injured in a car accident, call this toll free number…”
Today, that can change. Marketing for law firms has shifted from Technicolor images on a television to digital interfaces over the worldwide web. Now law firms rely on their websites to attract new clients, communicate to existing ones, and generally exhibit the superiority of their services.
But, poor online webpage strategies can be just as costly as cutting corners on a television commercial.
Websites, like commercials, have limited time to get a single message across. And clients, for their part, are really only interested in one thing: “what’s in it for me?” So instead of touting the firm’s awards, longevity, or pedigree, Shorr suggests company websites use a “word budget” with a 50-100-150 rule.
To summarize, if your firm’s home page consists of 200 words, 50 words should be on law firm features, 100 words on benefits to the client, and 150 words describing the experience clients will get by working with your firm.
For example, if your firm offers in-house transcription services, the feature you’re advertising might be staff capable of typing100 words per minute. The benefit of which is a faster transcription time at lower costs. Leading to an experience where clients pay lawyers to prepare for dispositions and trial (instead of menial audio discovery transcription) and can rest assure that the confidentiality of the case is secure.
Why does this matter?
- Setting a “word budget” forces discipline. Not only that, it relieves the anxiety over having to determine how to approach each individual product page, thus eliminating one of the biggest causes of delay in Web development projects.
- Focusing on the experience forces you to think about the target audience of the page in question. The experience I described speaks to an operations person. If my audience is made up of C-level executives or purchasing agents, then I would need to describe a completely different experience. If I’m writing for all three audiences, I may have to rethink my word budget. In any event, having an audience in mind prevents a Web page from devolving into that cursed, watered-down, “everything for everyone” messaging that says absolutely nothing.
- The purpose of a high-level page is to get people interested in the product. Once they’re interested, they may crave more information about features and benefits. Perfect. Tell the long version of your story on a detail-heavy product sub-page. Companies need not neglect features and benefits; they just need to suppress the urge to hit visitors over the head with them the minute they walk through the door.
Among some of the other errors identified are “no calls to action” and “saying too much.”
In terms of the former—no calls to action—if a prospective client likes what they see on your website, the home page should provide clear instructions on how to get in contact with an attorney at your firm.
“In the real world of Web marketing, visitors want to be led. If they have to stop and think about how to take the next step, you’ve already lost them.”
In terms of the latter—saying too much—well, we rest our case.