How will your potential clients contact your firm?
If your potential clients don’t pick up the phone to call you, there’s a good chance they’ll contact you through your law firm’s website.
Good contact forms on your law firm’s website can help your firm accomplish a number of communication-related tasks.
They can help encourage potential new clients to contact you; they can help with client intake once someone is already engaged, and they can also facilitate client communication for certain things. Good contact forms help you to communicate directly with people on your website.
(Contact forms aren’t the only kind of forms you can have on your law firm’s website. There are other forms to use for newsletter subscriptions, collateral, drip marketing cycles, etc. However, but this post will be limited to a discussion on using contact forms effectively.)
Contact forms that drive business to your law firm have a couple important features. Here’s what you need to know about contact forms that help (and encourage) potential clients reach out to you.
Law firm website contact forms don’t work well by themselves.
For a contact form to work effectively, it needs to be part of a compelling webpage on your law firm’s website.
Contact forms don’t exist in a bubble, and they don’t work well on a page without high-quality content.
The page(s) where you feature your contact forms should have a clear directive. The page and the form should be easy for a potential client to navigate, understand and use.
Usually, the primary purpose of a form on a law firm website is for a potential client to contact your firm. But the reason why a potential client should contact you isn’t always clear. And, if the answer to why they should complete it isn’t clear to you, it won’t be clear to them.
Why should a potential client fill out the form? If the answer is, “To contact you,” think about specifics. Is the reason they should contact you to “schedule a free consultation”? Is it to request some kind of report?
You can even be more specific than that. A DUI attorney might create a form that tells a potential client to contact the firm if they were arrested as part of a particular checkpoint.
A personal injury attorney might instruct a witness to an accident at a particular corner to fill out the form because they’re representing the person in that accident and need the witnesses help in the case.
The directive that you give doesn’t necessarily have to be something complicated. It could be something as simple as, “Get quick legal help.” It’s an imperative, a call to action. It’s short, but it also gets the point across nicely.
If someone fills out the form on your law firm’s website, how will that information be used?
When someone is about to fill out a form, they may be asking themselves how safe it is to do so.
Make it clear how the information you ask for on your form is going to be used.
Safety is a big concern — people don’t want their contact information to fall into the wrong hands. They don’t want to get bombarded with advertising messages, either. You want to let them know it’s safe to fill out the form by letting them know what will happen.
A note on sensitive information
As an attorney, you might have a client or potential client provide you with sensitive information in a form. Make it clear to them what’s unsafe about doing so.
If you provide general fields, and if you have clients who are prone to share sensitive information with you that should be kept confidential, instruct them to only give you the basics and you’ll get the rest of the information from them over a more secure channel.
Does your law firm website contact form help to set expectations?
Is your form intuitive? You’ll want the “Submit” button — however you label it — to be clear.
You want the form to be clear in terms of the outcome, too. Once a potential client submits information, what happens to that information? Who receives it? Where does it go? What happens then?
Providing information about a contact timeline can be useful. Otherwise, a potential client may not be sure whether they can expect a call back in five minutes or five business days.
As an example, let’s say you’re a criminal defense attorney or you work in another practice area where there’s an urgent need of some kind (ie, someone is arrested today and will be arraigned tomorrow). Maybe there’s a lot of competition in your particular market.
If someone is about to fill out that form and they don’t have a clear expectation of when you’re going to contact them, then they may keep trying to reach other attorneys until they actually get an attorney on the phone.
A contact form can help to manage expectations and still capture the potential client’s information.
It could be the middle of the night when someone finds your law firm’s website. But let’s say you’ve indicated on your contact form that your office policy is to contact within 15 minutes during normal business hours and first thing the next business day.
This helps a potential client understand when they can expect to hear from you, especially if it’s after normal business hours. They’ll know that if they’re up at 2 am, they can’t talk to you right now. But, they can expect that call the next morning.
Can your law firm deliver on the promise that your contact form makes?
Once a potential client or client has submitted information, it’s important that your law firm can deliver on whatever promise that form makes.
If your law firm website contact form says that you’ll return calls within thirty minutes during normal business hours, make sure you have the infrastructure in place to do that. If your contact form says you’ll return calls within 10 minutes around the clock, make sure that the infrastructure to do that exists.
We often encourage attorneys to make sure they’ve thought about things like client intake and practice management tools, especially once their marketing is working. Your marketing may be working well, but without the infrastructure to handle things like client intake, you may end up dropping the ball unnecessarily.
If you have the infrastructure in place to return calls quickly (like in the above examples), and you can deliver on that promise, then it makes sense to indicate that on your form.
However, if you don’t have that infrastructure in place to call someone back after 5 minutes, 24 hours a day, it can make sense to have a form that is more general, but that still has a clear outcome. Such a form still allows you to get a potential client into your system.
What will your law firm website contact forms do?
The LawLytics system allows you to easily create and nest forms on your law firm website and in blog posts.
Our system allows you to create a variety of different forms, from basic “Contact Us” forms to complex client questionnaires, and there’s no limit on how many you can create or use on your site.
To learn more about how LawLytics makes forms simple to create and use, see our webinar: Using Law Firm Website Contact Forms Effectively.