Notes from Google: How people buy legal services

December 06, 2019

We’re now living in the Google era, where your digital footprint is critical to the commercial success of your firm. Remember when your website was a lovely brochure for who you were and what you did? Those days are gone.

The modern website is an active space, where users come to engage with content, check your credentials and instruct your firm. What’s certain is that if you don’t encourage the first two, then the third simply won’t happen.

Google recently conducted a survey of 1500 business owners, asking one key question - when looking for specialist legal support, where do you start?

The results we’re enlightening. 35% of business owners admitted that the Internet was their first stop. It had overtaken using an existing legal contact, or asking for a referral (both on 21%), which are the traditional BD channels the legal sector references.

They also discovered that 48% of business owners would search for more than one firm and, critically, that their decision would be influenced by the user experience they received online.

This suggests a fundamental shift in business owner purchasing habits.

Think mobile

Mobile and tablet usage now accounts for 50% of web traffic and the trend suggests that soon our “out of work” browsing will overtake traditional desktop use.

This means that it’s increasingly likely that the first time a prospect encounters your firm will be from a portable device - drawn to your website by a social media post, a marketing email or even just browsing on their commute home.

If the mobile user experience is poor - ie they’re just sent to a squished-up version of your main website that is hard to see and navigate around - the likelihood is they will “bounce” (i.e leave without doing anything).

How do you prevent this happening?

Most good creative agencies now design websites “mobile first”. This means that they think about the layout and navigation of your site as used by someone on a mobile phone, or a tablet.

It’s a nice technique, as it focuses the mind. Desktop websites tend to become huge repositories of content, but a mobile user won’t take the time to browse through it. Thinking from a “mobile first” perspective enables you to identify your most critical content. What do you absolutely want users to see and how quickly can you get them there?

The result is a trend of much leaner, easier to navigate websites that incentivise the user to engage and instruct the firm.

 
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