The title of this blog post seems simple enough — use your website to give your potential clients a way to relate the law to their issues. Yet despite the apparent simplicity, a high percentage of lawyers ignore this simple thing and waste the opportunity. And marketing agencies that write content for lawyers are typically unable to accurately apply the law, so they simply regurgitate it. And yet, without explaining how the law applies to your potential clients in a way that they can easily understand, you might as well be speaking a language they don’t know.
Most of the content on law firm websites simply states the law. Some content goes slightly beyond stating the law and tells the reader that the attorney or law firm can help (often in a pushy and self-serving way). But very few law firm websites explain how the law applies to specific scenarios. I think there are some good reasons why most lawyers are missing this opportunity to attract, convince, and close more new clients.
It takes more time, effort, and expertise to write about a range of hypothetical scenarios and create fact patterns to explain. And doing so seems like an all-or-nothing endeavor because, if the attorney only covers one fact pattern, but there are other fact patterns that potential clients may have that fall under the law or process being addressed on a web page or blog post, it’s easy to imagine that potential clients with unaddressed fact patterns will become alienated. Add to that the fact that it’s unlikely that a paid, non-lawyer marketer would be able to effectively and accurately imagine (let alone appropriately address) credible potential fact patterns, and this kind of legal content creation becomes the responsibility of the attorney(s).
But why does explaining how the law applies to your clients move the needle?
Describing the law is relatively easy. Most non-lawyer marketers do by simply “rewriting” descriptions of the law that they find on other legal websites, and most attorneys who write their own content do so in a relatively rote way. But your potential clients can get a description of the law in multiple places online, so a simple description does not add value to their search for information. When potential clients visit your website the ask themselves the following questions:
- What is the law as it applies to me?
- Does the lawyer (or firm) have the ability and experience to help me with my specific situation?
- Does the lawyer (or firm) care about me and my specific situation?
Potential clients often visit more than one legal website before deciding which firm to contact. If you are only competing with firms that also don’t explain how the law applies to their specific situation, then your website will be competitive until one of your competitors makes the effort. If you don’t connect those dots, and your competitor does, you are at a disadvantage. The opposite is obviously also true.
There is a huge legal marketing opportunity for attorneys who are willing to take the time to write about how the law applies to potential clients. In my own practice, I found that doing this was a significant advantage, and was relatively easy to do once I got started. You can easily do it by drawing on your own experience.
Take inventory of all of the cases or matters you’ve handled that touch on the legal topic that you are writing about. Think about all of the conversations or consultations that you’ve had with potential clients who you didn’t work with. From there you’ll have a range of fact patterns that can be modified as needed to maintain confidentiality or paint with broader strokes by removing specifics while maintaining the underlying foundational facts. Depending on your practice area(s) you may discover that a few broad fact patterns cover most of the real situations that your potential clients encounter, or you may discover that there are many. From there you can make a list of the fact patterns to outline and explain how the law applies to them.
If you are crunched for time, there is no need to go very deep into each fact pattern. Simply addressing a fact pattern will put you ahead of most of your competition. That said, the deeper you’re able to go into a particular fact pattern the better. The more points of intersection that your potential clients detect between your hypothetical and their actual situation, the more they will relate to you, trust you, and believe that you can help them.
If you’re already a LawLytics customer and want guidance or ideas, please let us know. We’re here to help. If your law firm’s website is not yet powered by LawLytics, take an interactive demo to find out how LawLytics makes explaining the law as it applies to your clients easy and accessible with our technology and support.