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How to Write Like Your Potential Clients Think

One of the easiest ways to create high-quality law firm website content that helps you connect with your potential clients is to write like your clients think. Getting into the mindset of your potential clients helps them find you when they’re conducting searches about their problem and makes your content likely to resonate with them when they read it.

Here are three ways to help you capture more business by mirroring your potential clients’ thought processes.

Listen to the kinds of questions your clients ask you.

The kinds of questions that your clients ask when you’re face-to-face with them are also the kinds of questions your potential clients are likely asking of search engines.

Are you answering those questions on your law firm’s website with enough detail to be useful to your potential clients? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to get inside the minds of your potential clients and connect with them when they conduct searches that are similar to the questions that they ask you.

Don’t assume that the vast majority of your clients search for things like “[practice area] attorney [city].” (For example, “Family law attorney Phoenix.”) Many don’t search that way, and some may not even realize that they need an attorney yet. 

Unfortunately, a common misconception among attorneys is that to succeed online, they must rank well for simple keyword searches such as “DUI Attorney Los Angeles,” or “Bankruptcy Lawyer Georgia.”

These kinds of searches do not reflect the way that many potential clients search about their case or matter, nor how they ultimately find and hire an attorney.

However, many potential clients use search engines to research their case or problem. These search engine users often use Google to ask complex questions and search for answers. These complex searches are referred to as “longtail searches,” and they likely comprise many of the searches that your web visitors conduct. Here’s an example of what a longtail search could look like:

Instead of something like “Bankruptcy Attorney Georgia,” what a potential client might be looking for realistically is: 

  • “Do I have to sell my house if I declare bankruptcy in Atlanta?”
  • “How long does a bankruptcy due to medical hardship stay on your record in Georgia?”
  • “Can I file for bankruptcy without an attorney in Fulton County?”

Consider focusing on longtail searches that reflect the questions your clients ask you and, by extension, the questions that your potential clients are researching online. 

Mirror the language and wording that your potential clients use.

It’s important not only to answer the questions your potential clients and clients are asking but also to use the language that they understand best.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of potential clients don’t come from a legal background and are likely to be intimidated by legal language.

While you, as an attorney, understand legal terminology, the use of that language can scare potential clients away, especially when they’re trying to understand their problem. To avoid turning off potential clients, it generally makes sense to avoid legalese. If you need to use a legal term, be sure to define it in a client-friendly way.

Aside from avoiding legalese, it also makes sense to focus on how your potential clients speak. Are there various names that people use for a particular location, for example? You may want to integrate those multiple placenames into your content. 

Remember that potential clients tend to think locally, not legally.

In some of the longtail searches above, you’ll notice that there’s usually a location attached to the search. That’s because many of your clients think locally — not legally. As a result, their searches tend to include the name of a city, county, neighborhood, or even a particular intersection.

While something might be governed by state law, for example, your potential clients tend to think — and search — with a local focus. (This is especially true if they don’t have a legal background.)

Because of the way that potential clients tend to search, you’ll likely want to include geographic indicators in your content. And, the more specific, the better.

Here’s an example: a Pittsburgh family law attorney may choose to write his or her content with a general “Pennsylvania” focus. However, by doing that rather than taking a local, granular focus (“Pittsburgh,” “Allegheny County,” etc.), this attorney may not attract the clients that he or she is looking for.

Taking a statewide approach puts this attorney in direct competition with all of Pennsylvania, including somewhere such as Philadelphia, which has a much more competitive, saturated market.

For more on taking a local focus, see: “Thinking Locally, Not Legally: How Potential Clients Find Law Firm Websites.

Learn more about how to write like your clients think.

Pay attention to how your clients talk to you. Observe how they respond to your answers. When you do, you’ll have a blueprint for what to say and how to say it. Thinking this way isn’t always easy, and most marketers can’t do it for you. But making this kind of writing a habit will ensure that your firm’s website will be successful.

To learn more about taking a client-centric approach to your law firm’s website content, listen to our podcast: “Writing Like Your Potential Clients Think.”

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