For the past couple months, I have spent a gigantic chunk of my “free” time reworking and re-launching my rainseed™ marketing brand and website.
I’ve been marketing for my entire career, and had already developed the initial rainseed brand and website. So of course I already knew that that this process is not for the faint of heart. And even though I’ve been working on other business's messaging and websites for all this time, I was reminded how much rigor and decision-making goes into a complete re-haul. I’ve blogged before about how our personal brands ARE our business brands, and that becomes crystal clear as you develop your message and manage the details of your site to completion.
When I’m working with clients I advise them well. But in the end of the day, it’s their firm. It’s their reputation. It’s their life work. This is personal, it matters, and they (you!) want it to be right.
While the experience I’ve just had is fresh, I’ve pulled together four simple, guiding principles for anyone who needs to do some work on their own site.
Hire a professional
Have you ever read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks? If you haven’t, oh how I wish you would. Among other amazing insights he provides about how to succeed, he articulates the concept of the Zone of Genius. It goes like this - there are four zones that we could occupy depending on the activity:
The Zone of Incompetence
The Zone of Competence
The Zone of Excellence
The Zone of Genius
The idea is that optimally, we should reside in the Zone of Genius all the time, whatever we do. Regardless of how one would actually rise to living in that zone at all times, I am going to make an assumption here - that fussing around with a website template is NOT in your Zone of Genius, or even in your Zone of Excellence. And even if it is, it’s not a core competence you need for practicing law.
But you know who DOES work in their Zones of Excellence and Genius for websites? Website designers! Just be sure to find one who will build your site and then teach you how to manipulate it, so that you don’t have to rely on someone (or pay them) every time you catch a comma that’s in the wrong place.
Dedicate your time to this project
OK, so now you have your web designer locked in. What’s next? The designer will probably ask you to fill out a few questions that help her to get a feel for what you are looking for. She will also almost certainly (if she is good) ask you for some representative websites that you like. When the direction is determined, she can start developing your gorgeous new client magnet site.
I frequently see a mistake happen at this point – the designer sets a schedule and needs feedback and guidance, and the client disappears on them. Big mistake. Big. You are paying good money for this designer, and the more you can dedicate to being part of the process, the better. Trust me when I say, the designer is saving you time and money in the long run, but for the short term you need to be involved to get it right.
And related to this is the requirement to be decisive. So easy to say, so tough to do. When you get the site concept back, pay attention and think about what you really, really want. And then make decisions, make them fast, and remember that you can change things down the road. It won’t be 100% perfect when it’s done, but if you did your pre-work, it will be pretty darn close.
Define a clear message
This is the pre-work I’m talking about. Ahead of your first meeting with the designer, take a brutally hard look at your messaging.
· Do you sound unique, or exactly like the law firm down the hall?
· Does your site give valuable information to potential clients? (Hint, it should.)
· Do you provide information about you that helps the potential client relate to you and want to connect with you?
· Are you being authentic? (Because people can smell it if you aren’t.)
· Is your site copy written for the potential client? Or is it written for your law school professors, your fellow attorneys, or your friends and family? If it’s written to impress anyone but a potential client, it’s time to rethink.
Dial in the messaging ahead of your kick off and the web design phase will be a breeze.
Make sure you are driving potential clients to an email list
I love and I mean LOVE when I tell my clients this and the lightbulb goes on. ZAP! It’s truly one of the most satisfying moments I get to have in business. While your site should absolutely drive clients to contact you if they need your services right away, I think of that as a basic threshold utility of your site. But what about those who aren’t quite ready to hire you yet? You want to make sure that when they are ready to hire a lawyer, you are top of mind, right? If you put a system in place to keep potential clients interested, you will achieve this. And for what it’s worth, there are so few firms doing this that you will help your firm really differentiate from other firms. Because take it from me, not many firms are paying attention to this critical marketing activity.
It's really quite simple to make this part of your site. With your designer, craft a newsletter system and develop an opt-in on your site for them to sign up and stay in the know. And when you send those newsletters out, on a frequent and predictable basis, make sure there is seriously valuable information in them.
Having just gone through my own web redesign, I know how much time and effort goes into this. I also know how satisfying it is to get that sucker launched. Follow these guidelines and watch your website turn into a client magnet machine!
I can help you dial in your firm’s messaging ahead of a web redesign. Click on Private Coaching in Services for more information.