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WHY MOST LAW FIRM WEBSITES ARE DESIGNED TO FAIL
 

LOGIC, EMOTION AND TODAY’S LEGAL CONSUMER

Presented by
ANDREA GETMAN
Digital Marketing Expert, Web Conversion

MICHAEL OWEN HILL
Product Manager, Social Media and Blogs

MARK JACOBSEN
Senior Director of Strategic Development
and Thought Leadership

WHY MOST LAW FIRM WEBSITES ARE DESIGNED TO FAIL

“Now, wait a minute,” you may be thinking.Y ou’ve already invested in a professional website development team’s services. And you’re largely happy with the result. Maybe you’ve received compliments from your peers. And perhaps your site seems to be performing well because it has a high search rank and significant traffic.

Even if all of these things are true, your website is likely failing to deliver on its full potential. Why?

Because most attorneys and their website teams do not adequately focus on conversion.
What is conversion?
In a marketing context,conversion means getting visitors to take the actions you want them to take on your site.

Every aspect of your website’s design and content should focus on motivating potential clients to act. For most law firms, the primary goal should be motivating visitors to contact the firm. In practice, however, conversion is rarely the top priority in law firm website development. Rather, firms and designers too often focus on design aesthetics, the professionalism of the content or conforming to the prevailing template for a law firm website.

While these objectives may have merit, making them the sole priority can undermine the most important goal: encouraging site visitors to contact the firm and become clients. A conversion focus places this goal front and center. All other site elements should work to support it. Indeed, smart Web marketers view conversion optimization, or the continuous improvement of a site’s conversion rate, as critical in today’s crowded online marketplace.

That’s a bold statement, but it’s true. When evaluated against their potential in a given market, many law firm websites generate less business impact — sometimes far less — than they could if they were constructed more The Impact of Conversion Optimization. The goal of conversion optimization is to maximize the number of conversions you receive from visits to your website. This concept is often expressed as a conversion rate:

To illustrate this concept, let’s review an example:
A law firm website receives 400 visits per month on average. Before conversion optimization, it received 20 contacts per month, resulting in a conversion rate of 20/400, or 5 percent. To improve conversion, the firm’s website team optimized the site through visual and content enhancements designed to motivate users to contact the firm. In the month after conversion optimization, the site again received around 400 visits, but 34 of those visitors contacted the firm, for a conversion rate of 8.5 percent. That’s a 70 percent improvement in conversion. If this improvement is sustained, it would result in 168 additional contacts over the course of a y e a r.

Law firms too often view the search rank of their website and the amount of traffic it generates as the key success measures. But as we discussed in a previous paper, rank is a poor measure of success in and of itself. And traffic has little value unless it translates into actual contacts and billable hours. In that context, conversion optimization represents a powerful, cost-effective way to boost website performance — not by attempting to attract a greater volume  of visitors, but by increasing the yield  from existing traffic.

The First Step to Optimizing for Conversion: Understanding Key Motivators
Conversion optimization involves the continual formulation and testing of hypotheses related to conversion improvement. Since the goal of conversion optimization is to motivate more users to take the actions you want them to take, we must begin with the fundamental factors that drive consumer decision-making. While a complete exploration of this topic is beyond our scope, this paper explores some of the most important — and often hidden — motivators that come into play as consumers evaluate attorneys and law firms through their websites.As we understand these factors more deeply,we can employ website development tools to formulate and test conversion optimization hypotheses. We can then use the findings to continually hone our websites to target powerful behavioral motivators and lead visitors (often at a subconscious level) to take the actions we wishthem to take.

The Fundamental Drivers of Human Decision-Making
We all would like to think that we make decisions — especially important decisions — based upon a rational evaluation of risks and rewards. If we believe our own decision-making to be completely rational, it is only natural to believe the same of others’. Soon we find ourselves assuming, largely without question, that the best way to encourage a specific behavior is to make a logical appeal. The problem with this approach is that the world is not populated by rational human beings making logical decisions. Countless studies in psychology, sociology, economics and political science have debunked the myth of humans as fundamentally rational actors. The reality is that we are motivated most strongly by emotions, we process information and make decisions primarily with primitive parts of our brain, and our self-proclaimed rationality is often the illusory result of rationalizing our decisions after they have already been made. This is reflected in the fact that a purely rational argument is rarely sufficient to change peoples’ minds or convince them to take a desired action. Ask any trial lawyer who wishes to influence a jury if a dry, logical argument with no emotional appeal will be effective. This fundamental irrationality is not an accident. Our consciousness and decision-making are strongly influenced by parts of our brains that evolved over millions of years to provide us with survival advantages. This is not to suggest that the rational mind — generally associated with the frontal cortex, or the part of the brain associated with higher cognitive functions such as reasoning and moral choice — is not important to motivation. Rather, there are less well-understood and powerful processes at work that are unconscious and non-rational in nature. Understanding these motivators is critical to maximizing conversion potential. With that in mind, we will avoid lengthy discussion of obvious, conscious motivating factors and focus on eight that are often overlooked:

  1. Safety
  2. Surprise
  3. Status
  4. Scarcity
  5. Certainty
  6. Similarity/Dissimilarity
  7. Sympathy
  8. Selfishness   

All can have a powerful influence over whetheror not potential clients will contact your firm.The eight hidden motivators that influence decisions: Safety,Surprise, Status, Scarcity, Certainty, Similarity/Dissimilarity,Sympathy and Selfishness

Motivator #1 — Safety: Desire for security and aversion  to risk and loss. While most people appreciate a sense of security,we are more strongly motivated by perceived risk and threat of loss than by the promise of safety. Humans are generally averse to taking risks when there is a lot to lose. The degree to which an individual’s decision-making may be driven by aversion to risk or loss is highly situational. But given that people seeking legal help often have a lot at stake, understanding the human desire for safety and fear of loss is critical to designing for conversion. Information regarding actual or perceived threats to safety is processed by the hindbrain — a “primitive” part of the brain that regulates many autonomous functions. When we perceive a threat, we encounter an acute stress response often referred to as “fight or flight.” This reaction is not based upon a conscious, rational assessment of the situation; rather, it is entirely governed by the sympathetic nervous system. If you have ever experienced the strong physical sensations that accompany narrowly avoiding a car crash or waking to a strange sound in your home, you can attest to the power of this wholly unconscious response. Since perception of threat and response to perceived threat are nearly instantaneous processes that bypass the rational mind, these can be used to powerfully influence behavior at the unconscious level. One intriguing fact about threat avoidance and loss aversion is that they can actually outweigh potential gain as motivating factors. For example, studies have demonstrated that the fear of losing a given sum of money can be a far stronger motivator than the prospect of gaining an identical sum of money.  In fact, for most people, the potential gain would need to be double the potential loss for the motivation to be equal.

Loss aversion refers to the tendency for people to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains.

This has specific implications for law firm marketing. For example, it may be perfectly logical to believe consumers will contact a personal injury plaintiffs’ attorney based on the suggestion that doing so could lead to a substantial financial recovery. But research indicates that a more powerful approach is to frame the conversation around what the potential client has to lose from not contacting an attorney.

Let’s apply the same concept to another area of legal practice: divorce. It might make sense to include such messaging as “we’ll help ensure you receive a fair share of marital assets.” That approach appeals to potential clients’ desire for financial safety and may be effective in motivating some to contact your firm. However, tapping into your potential client’s fear of losing  that security is often more effective.

Research indicates that such statements as “if you don’t have aggressive representation, you stand to lose your financial security,” are, all things being equal, more powerful at motivating the decision to contact an attorney.
KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The desire for safety and security are strong drivers of human behavior.
  • Focusing on how you can protect clients from the threat of losing something is more effective than focusing on how you can help them gain something.
  • Imagery and messaging that position law firms as being able to protect against threats to safety and security can drive desired user behavior

Motivator #2 — Surprise:
Attraction to the novel

Georg Simmel, a German sociologist active around the turn of the 20th century, introduced the concept of the “attraction of the novel” in a 1904 article which proposed that fashion derives
from a tension between our tendency to imitate others and the desire to distinguish ourselves from our peers. Although more than 100 years old, this concept remains pertinent to a discussion of modern legal marketing, in which there is a prevailing “fashion” in law firm websites that should be obvious when conducting a Web search for an attorney or law firm.

 

Novelty is the quality of being new and unusual and is one of the primary identifying aspects directing focus.

Law firms often stumble on this dichotomy when approaching the design and development of  their websites. Many understand that to stand out from the competition, the design must be fresh or unique. At the same time, there is a significant impetus — perhaps based upon sound reasoning, perhaps based upon an irrational aversion to risk — to imitate other successful sites.

The decision to imitate is easy to rationalize. A site that imitates the popular fashion might hope to benefit from the results it is assumed other, similar sites are driving. But by unquestioningly following the crowd, you risk copying the bad conversion and usability decisions made by the sites you emulate. It makes good sense to conform to established Web usability standards, but it’s equally important to be unique in your market. The decision to imitate rather than innovate will likely prevent your site from reaching its true conversion potential. Imitation and conformity are safer than creating something new. Standing out is often perceived as risky. And as we have discussed, human beings (including attorneys making marketing decisions) tend to be risk-averse. So instead of focusing on the benefits of creating a distinctive design, consider the risks associated with conforming too closely to the current fashion. If your marketing approach too closely echoes that of others, you will miss out on an opportunity to differentiate your practice in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Prospects will likely view your website (and therefore your firm) as unremarkable. If so, many of these potential clients will not be sufficiently motivated to convert. The risk to your firm in terms of lost business is substantial.

More contemporary guidance relevant to the tension between the novel and conventional comes from Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of the Ogilvy Group and a popularizer of behavioral economics. He notes that the best way to sell a product is to make new things seem familiar and make familiar things seem new. For example, a tax practice might present information about law changes in a way that is understandable and relatable to readers. On the other hand, the same firm might highlight the experience and qualifications of its partners — a ubiquitous aspect of legal marketing websites — in a fresh and novel way.

In other words, you can leverage the attraction to novelty and reap the benefits of distinctive design without “reinventing the wheel,” and without jeopardizing the investment in your website by creating content or design that is so unfamiliar as to be confusing or unusable.

So, while we encourage you to prioritize distinctive design that motivates users to convert, you don’t have to completely break the mold or implement untested approaches. Rather, if you wish your site to convert at an optimal rate, you should choose to stand out rather than conform,to innovate rather than imitate.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Humans are attracted to the novel. Focus on innovation instead of imitation.
  • While many firms may shrink from the perceived risk of being different, departing from the prevailing “fashion” of the crowd can help you stand out.
  • Messaging that clearly differentiates your frim in your market is important

 
Motivator #3 — Status:
Desire for social power and affirmation

Does your website speak to your potentail client's desire for status?

Humans seek status because, evolutionarily, higher status equated to greater access to resources for survival. Like safety, this is a deeply rooted desire. And also like the desire for safety, the threat of losing status may be a more powerful motivator than the promise of increased social standing.

The desire for social status is one of the most important factors driving human behavior.

One study found that negative social signals and experiences predict psychological behavior more strongly than positive ones.Similarly, another study found that social conflict and undermining behaviors are far more likely to diminish feelings of status and self-worth when compared with how positive factors such as social support and affirmation can increase self-worth.

In the West, where employment and income are generally perceived to be core factors of social status, the threat of loss of status through loss of income or position can be powerful motivators. This has far-reaching implications for attorneys .For example, criminal defense attorneys often find that conversion improves when messaging focuses explicitly on the threat of loss of employment, income and status due to criminal charges and/or conviction. Statements that speak to these emotions — “if you are found guilty of a felony, you may find it very difficult to find a job in the future” — can be more effective motivators than promises to “protect your rights.”

Another way to tap into status is through “social proof,” which involves leveraging social signals through testimonials, reviews or impressive Facebook “like” numbers that can powerfully influence your potential client. Effectively leveraging social signals is a complex methodology that we will address in a future paper. That said, your potential client is more likely to be drawn to your firm if your website demonstrates proof of others’ trust in you. Marketers and advertisers in other industries have long understood that status is a primary motivator in decision-making. So why do relatively few legal websites leverage the desire for status and the fear of its loss?

One reason is that the connection between hiring an attorney and social status acquisition is less obvious than, say, the purchase of a sports car or the choice of one brand of clothing over another. That said, the primary reason legal websites often fail to leverage the desire for status to drive conversion is this: The status needs of the firm — and not those of potential clients — too often drive decision-making. Desire for status is as much of a motivator for attorneys as it is for potential clients. It’s almost unavoidable, and these desires come into conflict during the Web design process. You must decide who your website is for and who it’s intended to motivate — yourself, or your prospect

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Humans strongly desire status, social power and affirmation.
  • Firm messaging that ensures the preservation or expansion of social standing can be a powerful motivator.

Motivator #4 — Scarcity:
A sense of urgency drives action

Does your potential client understand what's at stake if he or shee fails to act

Suggestions of scarcity — “while supplies last,” “for a limited time only,” etc. — have long been staples of marketing language. Why? Because perceived scarcity can be a powerful motivator to take action.

If we perceive a resource to be scarce, we’re more likely to believe it’s valuable. Likewise, scarcity taps into loss aversion, or the fear of missing out. Most individuals will take action when presented with an opportunity to acquire a valuable product or service — along with a threat that failing to act quickly will prevent them from ever being able to acquire it.

Scarcity taps into the theory that wewill be driven to desire an object more if we can’t have it.

Clearly, we can’t suggest that legal services are in limited supply. One thing that is in short supply, however, is time. Personal injury claimants may “miss out” if they act too late. Individuals accused of crimes may find their defense options limited if they wait too long to consult an attorney. Divorce clients often wish they had legal guidance before making decisions that can affect future disposition of assets and child custody arrangements. Clients facing DUI charges may not be prepared to take quick action to preserve their right to drive. The list goes on. You probably have numerous such examples from your own practice.

One way to tap into scarcity motivation is to craft website design and content that convey a clear sense of urgency. A simple “contact us today” doesn’t communicate urgency. You must explicitly present the risks and quantify potential losses that might result from a lack of action or delayed action if you want to motivate potential clients to contact your firm.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Perceived scarcity is a strong motivator to take action.
  • The negative consequences of failing to act quickly can offer a powerful way for law firms to tap into this motivator.

Motivator #5 — Certainty:
Too many choices is a bad thing for conversion

Do potential clients havea a clear idea of the action you want them to tak on your website?

We desire comfort and certainty. We like clear, definitive answers. Conversely, we dislike confusion, ambiguity and doubt. These make us uncomfortable and can trigger anger and frustration.

The last thing you want a prospective client to experience when visiting your website is confusion. To maximize conversion, you need to provide clarity to encourage your prospects to feel certain in their choices. If you don’t, they may refrain from making any decision — such as contacting your firm — and instead seek help elsewhere.

The concept of choice overload or “overchoice” plays a role here. The term was coined in the early 1970s to describe the observation that the proliferation of choices available to consumers does not make it easier to come to decisions. Overchoice can be related to such phenomena as “analysis paralysis” and “information overload,” and has been verified in numerous studies and experiments.

When presented with a wide variety of choices, consumers — such as law firm website visitors —often prefer to make no choice at all. Presenting too many choices can prevent your potential clients from deciding to contact your firm.

One study demonstrating the impact of overchoice on consumer behavior found that for every 10 mutual fund options an employer offered in a 401(k) plan, the rate of employee participation went down by 2 percent. It may
be counterintuitive, but providing employees with more choices had the opposite effect than intended.

The human ability to manage choices is limited, and too many choices can lead to choice apathy.

Likewise, our experience indicates that for Web design in general — and site navigation in particular — presenting too many or too confusing choices can dramatically impair conversion.

One way to identify if overchoice is preventing your website from achieving its full conversion potential is “bounce rate.” Bounce rate is the ratio of visitors to a Web page who view the page but navigate away from the site without clicking onto additional pages on the site. While bounce rate is only one of many metrics that may provide insight into your potential clients’ decision-making regarding your website, a high bounce rate (e.g., greater than 50 percent for your website’s home page) may be a good reason to take a look at the number of choices the page presents to visitors and to clarify or simplify wherever possible.

So it may seem logical to present your visitors with numerous options to navigate to pages targeted to specific case types. But the reality is that providing too many choices may result in potential clients making the one choice that has a certain outcome — to go elsewhere

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Presenting an overabundance of choices on your website can confuse and repel users.
  • Think carefully about the most important choices and navigational pathways you want to provide site users, then design the architecture around those

Motivator #6 — Similarity/Dissimilarity:
We appreciate consistency and notice contrast

Does your marketing effectively balance consistency and contrast?

Designers understand that creating strong visual contrast is an effective way to attract attention and guide user behavior. Similarly, conceptual contrast — such as a point-counterpoint or side-by-side features comparison — can attract and hold readers’ attention and influence decisions.

The power of contrast to influence attention is related to the neurophysiology of awareness. The reticular activating system — neural fibers connecting the base of the brain to its outer layers or cortex — within the central nervous system mediates shifts in awareness and levels of attention.

When we view the elements in our environment, the brain seeks clear contrast in order to make decisions.

Understanding how this part of the brain affects behavior can help you make good website design decisions. If you want a visitor to focus on a contact form or other conversion-oriented feature, consider using contrasting colors or other visual distinguishers.

At the same time, designers and marketers know the importance of maintaining brand consistency with imagery, layout, language and the like. Consistently applying the same or similar features helps to create an “identity” for a site that can facilitate a potential client’s sense of understanding a firm. Extending identity to offline marketing and holistic brand-building through consistent design features such as logos and slogans should be a high priority. Consistency also helps limit confusion, which links to the concept of overchoice discussed earlier.

The most effective approach is to balance your prospects’ appreciation for consistency and attraction to contrast in your site’s design. Too much contrast creates visual chaos. Too much consistency may be insufficient to direct and motivate users to take the desired action.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Consistency in look, feel and tone throughout a website promotes usability, reinforces a firm’s brand image and helps meet potential clients’ expectations.
  • Within a context of consistency, contrasting images and messages stand out and boost impact.
  • Use contrast strategically to drive users toward desired behaviors.

Motivator #7 — Sympathy:
Trust, likeability and the human touch as
conversion factors

Feelings of affection and trust for a brand can powerfully motivate a consumer’s purchasing decisions. But while the value of trust is easy to recognize, many law firms do not understand the fundamental factors that influence the perception of trustworthiness. In marketing your firm’s services, you might think it logical to draw attention to your years of experience, your top-flight alma mater, your vast professional awards and other distinctions. The reasoning is that potential clients will conduct a rational evaluation and determine that these factors indicate trustworthiness.

The truth is that trust does not reside in the rational part of the brain (the frontal cortex), but rather in the amygdala. In addition to playing a significant role in primal emotional responses such as fear and aggression, the amygdala is deeply involved in our value judgments. This partof the brain helps us decipher facial expressions and decide whom we should trust. It also influences many of our purchasing decisions.

It’s easy to make suboptimal design and content decisions if you mistakenly presume website visitors will come to trust you based upon a rational evaluation of your experience, credentials and accolades. If you want to optimize for conversion, your website must appeal to the part of the brain where decisions about trust are actually made.

Images that depict trust appeal to our “emotional brain” and influence purchasing decisions.

 

You can start by thinking about representations of human faces on your site — particularly images of attorneys. Take a hypothetical firm with seven attorneys. It seems logical to present a photograph of all seven attorneys looking suitably somber and professional on the firm’s website, under the theory that it will convey power and gravitas. That might be what the rational mind would infer. But the emotional mind that is looking for trust signals will find little to motivate it in such an imposing, humorless “wall of lawyers.

”Instead, consider the unconscious impact of softer photos that depict smiling, friendly, open faces. These are faces you can trust. These are individuals you can imagine having a conversation with. These are people with whom you can feel comfortable sharing the difficulties that led you to search for a lawyer in the first place.

Similarly, consider language style and tone. You might assume that complex diction and abstruse construction will provide evidence of your intelligence and erudition. This approach, however, misses the opportunity to signal trustworthiness and likeability to your prospect, who is relying on his or her unconscious mind to make quick decisions about trust.

Contrast that with a more natural approach that employs matter-of-fact language and terminology. Consider the impact of a website that clearly signals caring, openness, kindness, strength and honesty through the use of emotional words. This type of content is more likely to motivate action, according to an analysis of 180 law firm websites conducted by FindLaw in 2010.

That study categorized the content of each site using three technical properties of tone: pitch (indicating mode of address) being either abstract or conversational, approach (indicating marketing style) as either subtle or aggressive, and language (indicating diction and syntax) as either formal or informal. Further, we grouped the sites into five topical categories based on the similarity of their target audiences.

We found that a conversational and relatively informal approach tended to be more highly correlated with conversion than a formal, informational tone. Interestingly, this bias toward
more friendly, understandable content was present across website types, including those targeted to a business-to-business audience.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Consumers want to do business with firms they sense are trustworthy and likable.
  • Law firms should work to attract consumers with images that present attorneys as likable, approachable and trustworthy, along with content that addresses laypeople’s core concerns in language they can understand

 

Motivator #8 — Selfishness:
Forget “what’s in it for me?” and answer the bigger question: “What’s in it for my potential client?”

A firm’s legal marketing website is a tool that can accomplish many things. It can promote the firm’s experience, capabilities, accolades and prestige. It can make the firm appear impressive to peers. In short, it can satisfy the ego-driven needs of the firm’s attorneys. This is the right approach if the firm values that outcome more than generating new leads, more cases and more billable hours.

On the other hand, if conversion is a goal for the website, it’s important to focus more on your potential clients’ needs than your desire to look impressive to your peers. As much as you may expect a website to be designed to meet your own expectations, site visitors will not be convinced to take action unless their needs and
expectations are met there.

In short, when you approach a website design, you will almost certainly face a difficult choice: Are you building it for yourself? Or is your goal to drive business by motivating potential clients?

The latter approach will lead to higher conversion. If you make this choice — and we urge you to do so — you will need to carefully consider each design and content decision. It’s far too easy to start with the intent of designing
for your audience, only to let ego influence each decision.

Why? Because attorneys — like consumers — are motivated by self-interest. We say that not as a criticism. It’s a biological and psychological reality that you must address to maximize your website’s conversion potential.

Too often, attorneys motivated by self-interest fail to consider that the potential client’s interests must  dictate design and content decisions for a website to be fully optimized for conversion.

You must be vigilant to avoid allowing ego to color your decisions. Rather than instructing your website development team to focus on elements that stroke your ego, assist them by providing insight into your potential client’s
questions, concerns, fears and aspirations. Make it clear that you will be happy only if meeting his or her needs is at the heart of every content and design decision.

Visitors to your site will not be convinced to take action unless their needs are met there.

When successful, the audience-focused approach affects many aspects of website design and content. Here are a few examples of how to create content designed to drive conversion:

  • When promoting your firm’s credentials,describe them only in terms of how they may benefit a potential client.
  • Address your website visitors directly. Tellthem “we can help you,” instead of “our firmhas a track record of success.”
  • Remember, your potential client is focusedon his or her own immediate needs, and studies indicate we are much more likelyto act on messages we feel are personallydirected at us.Present legal information and marketingmessages in a way that is understandable to a layperson.Address real, immediate (and oftenemotional) needs, rather than emphasizingthe firm’s erudition and fluency in “legalese.”

Your potential clients’ self-interest may be the most difficult motivator to correctly integrate. But designing for website users instead of website owners  can significantly improve a site’s conversion potential.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • In a scenario in which “everyone is in it for themselves,” the needs of prospective clients must prevail.
  • It can be uncomfortable for a law firm to prioritize the needs of prospective clients over its own desire to emphasize its status. Doing so is key to constructing a site that maximizes conversion, however

The State of Legal Marketing Websites Today

Are you losing potentail clients because you are doing what "seems logical" instead of what works?

While the science of marketing and the understanding of human behavior and motivation have advanced rapidly in recent years, the template for most law firm websites has
evolved little since firms first began employing the Internet as a marketing channel. Most law firm websites feature some combination of the following:

  • overemphasis on credentials that are likely to impress only other attorneys
  • bland and often exhaustive overviews of every practice area and case type the firm handles
  • overblown content that leaves most consumers cold
  • overreliance on clichés — “we are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients,” “we provide aggressive representation,” “our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience” — that do little to distinguish firms or motivate prospective clients.

Why do the majority of legal marketing websites fail to meet their potential? We contend it’s because they were designed to appeal only to the potential client’s rational mind. As a result, many law firms miss opportunities to grow their business. Some may even struggle to survive in a crowded marketplace in which simply having an attractive website is no longer a significant differentiator.

In short, most law firm websites fail their firms because they are designed to fail

The only solution is to approach website design from a radically different perspective, one characterized by a rigorous focus on what will motivate real people to choose the firm from the many options available to them.

Conversion Optimization as an Iterative Process

No website can ever be 'fully" or "permanently" optimized for conversion

Understanding the key motivators we share as human beings sets the foundation forconversion. That said, a successful conversion optimization program must begin with a thorough understanding of what will motivate your specific target audience. This means that the best approach to conversion optimization will almost certainly depend upon variables unique to your firm and market, including the demographics of your client base and the common pressures your potential clients may face. In short, conversion optimization is neither a one-time nor a one-size-fits-all proposition

Conclusion

Conversion optimization involves the continual formulation and testing of hypotheses. This in turn generates lessons that, if applied, can improve a website’s conversion rate. Central to this process is understanding the factors that motivate — or fail to motivate — your potential clients to convert.

By effectively targeting consumer motivators, law firms can dramatically improve their conversion rates and generate substantially greater returns from their website investments.

This paper has addressed these powerful and often subconscious motivators to provide insight into some of the primary considerations in the conversion optimization process.