Some lawyer websites are business cards. These sites are one-dimensional places where potential clients can find your contact information and little else. And for some lawyers, that’s all they need.
For other lawyers, websites are an advertisement. These websites are aggressive. They draw in traffic and turn that traffic into paying clients.
Whatever your law firm’s online marketing goals are – whether you are looking to just post your resume for referrals, or you are trying to appeal to new clients – there is an opportunity to take further advantage of your web presence. And that’s with a “productive” website.
The productive website is not just an ad or a phone number, it’s a multi-tool. Think of it as the Swiss Army Knife of websites. A productive website works in tandem with your marketing goals. It works in tandem with you as a lawyer. It works to save you time, make your clients’ lives easier, and make your life easier. If you are looking to save time (and who isn’t), adding productive dimensions to your existing website can help.
Here are some ways you can make your site a productivity tool in your practice.
I hate setting appointments with clients via email. Do you have email threads that go back and forth like this?
- Hey, are you free to talk on Tuesday?
- Sure, what time?
- How about 3:00pm?
- No, I can’t do that. How about 12pm?
- No… I can’t do that.
- Then how about any of these three times… ?
- No… how about this time…?
And it goes on…
Instead of wasting time just trying to come to an agreement as to a later time when you will talk with a client, you can allow clients to make appointments via your website. Using a popular tool like ScheduleOnce or Calendly and embedding it on your website, you can allow potential and current clients to schedule calls with you whenever they’d like. These scheduler tools sync with your calendar so clients can only schedule appointments when you are available. Embedding these tools on your site ensure that clients can find the right time to talk without having to go back-and-forth in an email. And, they’ll always know they can make time to talk.
Here’s how my scheduler looks, for reference. In 2014, I was telling people that my online scheduler was my favorite tool of the year. In 2016, I’m still telling people that. It’s by far the biggest time-saving tool that I have implemented in my business.
For firms working in volume-based practices, client intakes can be a nightmare. You have a paralegal or lawyer talking with each potential client just to get basic information to qualify them, and then make sure that they provide the exactly right name, address, email, and phone number. If they are providing this information to you over the phone, it takes up a lot of administrative time when it would be easier if they could just message you the correct information.
To fix this, you can add intake forms on your website. First – make sure your website is secure in the event clients are sending confidential information. This means buying an SSL certificate so your website appears as “https” instead of “http”. Second – Create a page (or pages for multiple forms) on your website for the intake forms to live. Add all of the required fields you’ll want clients to provide.When they come to you asking for representation, direct them to the online form. When they submit the information, you now have it all in once place, and you didn’t have to spend hours of potentially-unbillable time on the phone.
Clients love to pay with credit cards if they can. Writing checks can be inconvenient, and often getting paid by check results in you waiting longer to get paid. Sending a paper or email invoice to a client with a request for a check means you will have to wait longer than if your clients could quickly pay you with a credit card online.
Most clients expect to be able to pay with a credit card online. They can pay for everything else they want online. Why not legal bills?
So, integrate a payment option on your website. Add a connection with Lawpay or Paypal to your site. Allow clients to pay their bills and your clients will pay you quicker. Now you will not have to spend so much time as a bill collector, and can spend more time doing actual legal work.
The last piece of the puzzle is the client portal. If you use practice management software in your firm, chances are you have the ability to allow clients to share documents with you via a client portal.
If so, you should consider adding your client portal link to your website. This way, clients can easily log in to see any documents you’ve shared with them. They can also see confidential communications and their outstanding invoices.
Having a link to the portal on your website makes the client’s journey easier. Instead of searching old emails for your portal link, they know they can go to your website and find everything they need. Client portals can even be custom built to integrate directly into your website and practice management software.
By adding productivity elements to your firm’s website, your website becomes more than just a business card or advertisement. It saves you time and money, provides value to your clients, and helps you run a more effective practice.