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How to Leverage Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool

By Kelly O'Brien
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005

What if you could reach thousands of prospects, build fruitful, pro-active relationships with them, and stay top-of-mind with them on a regular basis…and not spend a fortune in the process?

If this sounds too good to be true, then you’ve not mastered the art of leveraging your firm’s online strategy. A web site is one of the most unique and powerful marketing tools you have, if you develop and use it correctly. It can also be a huge drain of wasted money and resources if you don’t know what you’re doing.

High Tech is High Touch

There are two components to this powerful marketing tool – the website itself, coupled with a well thought-out online strategy. Done right, here’s what a website and online strategy can do for you:

• Build relationships. Marketing your law firm is about creating and sustaining a trust-based relationship with your intended and current clients. A good website and online promotion strategy can do just that, without requiring more of you precious billable hours to be present in your clients’ and prospects lives.

• Tap new markets. Why do clients come to you in the first place? Is it because they have a real problem, an immediate need, and no choice but to hire an attorney? What if you could tap a less crisis-driven, more pro-active market that provided you with more predictable and longer-term cash flow? Amazingly, an integrated online/offline marketing strategy, centered around your website can do that for you.

• Accelerate your sales cycle. By the time someone calls you, chances are they’ve already visited your website. With the right online approach, you can increase a prospect’s confidence that your firm is the right one to call, reduce the number of unqualified prospects, encourage a “call to action,” and begin a long-term relationship.

• Stay in sight and top of mind. The adage, “out of sight is out of mind” is true, even in legal matters. There is simply no guarantee that an existing client will return to your firm the next time they need similar services. Too many variables and influences can intercede, particularly if a lot of time passes between needs. Your website and online strategy can painlessly bridge the gap between more time consuming, “off-line” keep-in-touch activities (i.e., phone calls, direct mail, customer surveys) that are often hard to carve out time to do and expensive to implement.

• Turbocharge your business development efforts. A well-constructed website can be the “hub” of your firm’s presence in the marketplace. Ideally, your website is the first place prospects go when they learn about your firm through a referral, while networking, in the press, or perhaps a direct mail piece. Once they’re on your site, you can educate them, build their loyalty and confidence, demonstrate your results, and motivate them to take action…all for a fraction of the time, energy, and money these things require off-line.

• Manage your marketing dollars more wisely. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell which off-line marketing activities pay off and which ones don’t? With the right approach, you can do just that, using your website – and underlying technology – as a tool for “measured marketing.” You’ll never have to wonder if the money you spend on direct mail, networking, or publicity is really worth it again – you’ll know for sure!

The Essentials

The money you spend on a website and promotional strategy is only as good as the work they do for you to turn “surfers” into real clients. For a website that works hard and gets results, here’s what to consider.

1. Function over form. There are plenty of visually appealing websites that fall far short of what clients and prospects are really looking for. When someone visits your site, they want it to…

• load quickly

• be easy to read

• provide a range of information (not everyone will read it all, but everyone is attracted and motivated by different things – so you’ve got to offer it all)

• make it easy to contact you

• not distract or waste their time with unnecessary effects

• be easy to print out

• perhaps teach them something they didn’t know. Graphic design is a very important element of any website, but it should not be what drives content, navigation, and usability. At most, it should weigh in equally with content and navigation.

2. Long, well-written copy sells. Believe it or not, if what you say speaks to your target audience in language that’s about them, their problems, their world, and their needs, they’ll read a lot more than you’d think. The key, though, is that what you say has got to be about them, not your firm – at least not initially.

This goes back to the laws of marketing discussed in the first article of this series, “How to Put Law & Order into Marketing Your Law Firm.” (on our website at ( under Free Resources: Articles). Most professional service firms break this rule…and end up sounding alike. Differentiate your firm by writing website content that speaks to your clients’ worldview, not yours. Educate them, motivate them, soothe them, convince them, inform them, and move them to action.

3. Load up on value. Give visitors to your site a reason to stick around and to “bookmark” your site because it’s so darned valuable. Increase their knowledge and help them feel competent every time they go to your site, and they’ll fall in love with your firm. Ironically, the more you share about what you know, the more people are drawn to your work and will trust that your services are highly valuable, not a necessary evil, and worth every penny they pay.

4. Integrate online with off-line. Think about how you get new clients now – word of mouth? Referrals? Networking? A letter of introduction? Quoted in the press? Usually it’s through off-line activities. While you’re at it, invite people to visit your website and let it do the initial relationship-building work for you. Follow up an initial introduction with an email link to your site and an invitation to subscribe to your firm’s free e-newsletter. Attach an article you’ve written that specifically addresses the concern they approached you about. Follow up with a phone call to see if they got the article and continue your conversation.

Maybe you get a new client right away, but if not, you keep in touch through your monthly e-newsletter that reminds them of how valuable you are, and drive them back to new content on your website. Before you know it, you do have a new client, and a lot of the heavy lifting was done by your great website.

Even if your firm has a website, take a look at how hard it works for you. Remember, marketing is about creating and sustaining a relationship with your target audience and current clients. Leverage the power of a well-crafted website and online strategy, and that process gets a lot easier!

TurningPointe™ Marketing, Inc. helps professional service firms attract more clients, stabilize their business, and take their practice to the next level.

To learn more about our website audit services, Marketing Your Professional Services Firm Clinic, market strategy coaching, 3-hour market strategy analysis, and one-day learning and strategy session, please visit our website (

About the Author
(c) 2004 TurningPointe Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Marketing educator, Kelly O'Brien, is creator of the "Create a TurningPointe!" Marketing Bootcamp. To learn more about this step-by-step program, and to sign up for FREE how-to articles and 20-page marketing guide, visit (


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