Choosing An Attorney Online

How People Choose The Attorney They Hire Online

As a law practice, big or small, a significant chunk of your expenses goes towards marketing. And rightfully so; attracting potential clients and getting a return on investment is crucial. That's where we come in - at Lab Coat Marketing; we're a reputable and scientifically-driven law firm marketing provider. We gain deep insights into consumer buying behavior in the legal industry, and we know that the competition for legal business online is more intense than ever before. 

The Competitive Landscape

To succeed in this crowded space, your law firm must understand why and how consumers choose one firm over others when advertising and promoting your practice online. Your objective, like every other law firm, is to attract clients. And to do that, you need to understand how people find, select, and ultimately hire an attorney. By gaining knowledge of this process, your firm can more effectively target your marketing budget and increase your chances of success. 

Even though word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family still hold a certain charm, most people nowadays begin their search for legal services online. That's why we'll take you through the fundamental steps that potential clients take when searching for an attorney, from the initial inquiry to retaining legal counsel. With our help, you'll easily navigate this process and attract clients like never before.

Where Do People Start?

Typically, people only search for an attorney online to solve a legal problem. However, not every person will immediately seek legal counsel. Some may need convincing that taking legal action is the right path. As an attorney, it's wise to have website content that addresses this topic and provides guidance.

Once people are convinced that legal counsel is necessary, they'll likely take the following steps to find the best attorney.

Consumers Use Google To Research Their Problem

When searching for an attorney, most people turn to Google first to find answers to their legal questions. With a commanding market share in the US, Google dominates the search engine landscape. 

As a result, most law firm marketing strategies focus on securing top positions in Google search engine results (SERPs). 

Create Helpful Website Content: One of the best ways to do this is by answering common questions that people type into search engines. For instance, questions like "Can I get a DUI on a bike?" or "Do I need a lawyer for a divorce?" are commonly searched online. By answering such questions through articles and content on your website, you can improve your website's user experience or search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and generate new leads.

Online Users Consider Yelp Reviews

Notably, Google's dominance in the search engine market is unparalleled, with Bing and Yahoo commanding just 2% and 1%, respectively. 

Additional Third Party Review Sites: Even Facebook, despite its massive user base, only accounts for 2% of searches related to finding a lawyer, according to an study. Yelp, typically associated with restaurant reviews, also has a role in the search for legal services, with over 9% of people using it as their primary source for researching law firms. Pay attention to your Yelp reviews, as they can impact your online reputation and lead-generation efforts more than you may assume.

People Target Attorneys Near Them

After finding an answer to their most pressing legal question, people often search for attorneys in their area. For instance, they may look up "criminal defense attorney near me" or "personal injury attorney in Phoenix" to get a list of lawyers to help them with their legal issues.

  • Google Local Service Ads (LSAs): Google displays search results in a specific order, starting with Local Service Ads (LSAs) that law firms pay for to appear as "Google Guaranteed" or "Google Screened" ads. According to BrightLocal, LSAs get 13.8% of clicks when they appear on a search engine results page (SERP).

  • Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads: These ads appear next in search engine results, but these ads only consist of text and may draw less attention than LSAs. When LSAs appear, PPC ads at the top of the page receive about 11.1% of clicks, while top-of-page PPC ads get 14.1% when there are no LSAs. However, whether or not consumers find these ads impressive varies from person to person.

Where Most People Click On The Search Results

  • Google Local Map Pack: Under the Google PPC ads are three map-based results named the Local Map Pack. These results show the top three businesses relevant to a local search query on a map, with ratings, addresses, and a brief business description displayed beneath it. These results are generated from information in Google's business listings, so updating your Google My Business information frequently is crucial to enhance your local SEO efforts.

  • Google Organic Results: The rest of the page is filled with organic search results generated by complex algorithms. BrightLocal says the top three organic results on a Google SERP get 34.6% and 39% of user clicks with and without LSAs. Ranking high in organic search results is difficult, so many law firms hire SEO specialists or marketing companies to help them rank higher.

  • Where should you invest the most? LSAs, PPC ads, the Local Map Pack, or organic ranking strategies? The answer depends on your geographic target area, legal practice type, and website conversion data. Typically, a comprehensive approach that includes all of these strategies is best, increasing the likelihood that users will click through to your law firm's website.

How Do People Research An Attorney Online?

Online searches are usually divided into three categories:

  • Navigational
  • Informational 
  • Transactional

Informational searches are conducted when people need immediate answers to questions. If your information can directly answer a user's question best, Google may provide a featured snippet at the top of the search results. Website content must be informative and valuable to become the top result that meets users' needs. 

People will then use navigational searches as they become more informed, and online users will look for specific attorney websites or web pages. However, transactional searches are not commonly used in attorney-related online searches, as paying for legal services requires more than just a click of a button. So, until consumers can buy legal victories online, transactional searches will remain a distant dream.

Impress With Your Website 

Enhance your online presence by creating an engaging and user-friendly website offering valuable information to potential clients. Today's savvy online users are discerning and will compare multiple attorneys' websites to assess their personality, experience, skillset, and unique value propositions. Crafting a website that is easy to navigate and packed with helpful resources is crucial in establishing credibility and building trust with your audience. 

Therefore, you must effectively showcase your unique qualities and strengths on your website. By doing so, you'll not only attract potential clients, but you'll also communicate your value to them in the most compelling way possible. So, if you want to make a lasting impression on your target audience and become their go-to resource for all their legal needs, investing in a dynamic and informative website is the foundation of your success. 

To make sure your website's user experience is high quality, look at each of the following:

  • Have a fast-loading website
  • Present information in a clear and easy-to-read format
  • Make sure your website is easy to navigate
  • Boast visual graphics
  • Provide helpful content 
  • Ensure your website is accessible on mobile devices 

Make Online Reviews A Top Priority

The success of your law firm hinges on its reputation, which is why attracting and retaining clients is paramount. While a high average rating is undoubtedly essential, having a significant number of ratings is equally crucial. After all, consumers are more likely to choose a law firm with a higher number of ratings, even if the rating is the same as another firm with fewer ratings.

Potential clients often turn to online attorney reviews on sites like Google and Avvo to gain insight into your firm's reputation. These reviews hold incredible sway and can significantly impact your revenue. Boosting your Yelp rating by just one star can increase your revenue by up to 9%, according to a study by the Harvard Business School!

But it's not enough to merely have a high rating. Consumers also value law firms that take the time to respond to positive and negative reviews. That's why actively seeking out reviews from past clients on review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp is crucial. Regularly responding to these reviews can enhance your firm's reputation and help attract new clients.

What Is Your Client Intake Process?

For people, there's no substitute for a face-to-face meeting with an attorney to determine if the client is the right fit. Consumers often contact the law firms on their shortlist to schedule a consultation. And the firms that respond promptly and make the intake process seamless and pleasant are the ones that leave the best impression. That's why it's critical to have caring, compassionate, friendly, and knowledgeable employees answering your law firm's phones and responding to online requests.

With consumers calling law firms all day and night, you must be ready to respond whenever they find the time to reach out. Having a 24/7 call answering service can dramatically increase your conversion rate. So, whether it's a late-night emergency or a midday inquiry, your law firm is always available to help potential clients navigate their legal needs. Google can measure how many calls are answered and determine who satisfies online users the most.

Here are some of the vital pieces that can determine your website's conversion rate(the rate at which prospects convert to leads):

  • Response time
  • Amicable employees
  • Supportive communication
  • Availability
  • A streamlined intake procedure
  • Complimentary consultations

Following Up With Prospects

After meeting with a law firm, potential clients may wait to hire an attorney instead of making a quick decision. They might take days or weeks to weigh their options and decide. However, there's no need to worry as you can still stay top of mind and convert these prospects into clients.

The secret to success is keeping your law firm in their sight. You want to be the first firm they think of when they're ready to hire a lawyer. Some firms accomplish this by using some of the following tactics to remain in contact with potential leads:

  • Always provide a professional business card
  • Offer promotional materials
  • Create Insightful social media posts 
  • Create engaging online videos
  • Send out newsletters 

Additionally by offering valuable, exclusive information unavailable on your website, consumers can provide their email addresses and keep the conversation going.

Sending handwritten letters or friendly follow-up messages can be an effective tool. But, avoiding overwhelming consumers with too many unrequested contacts is crucial. A law firm marketing consultant can guide you to ensure the right amount of targeted, valuable information is sent at the right time.

The ultimate goal is to persuade leads to schedule appointments without causing them to block contacts due to pressure. With a strategic approach, you can boost the chances of converting potential clients into loyal, satisfied ones.

Sealing The Deal

Getting a potential client through the office door is just the first step, and it's up to you as the attorney to seal the deal. However, it's important to remember that every initial consultation has the potential to generate numerous new leads for the firm. Attorneys must continuously improve and implement a digital marketing strategy to transform information into clients.

In today's digital age, the internet has transformed how people search for legal services. Law firms that understand how clients select and hire attorneys can allocate their marketing budget more effectively. 

At Lab Coat Marketing, our team of law firm marketing experts understands the challenges of standing out in the crowded attorney marketplace. We offer transparent, science-based digital marketing services to help you hit your goals. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed!

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