In this webinar, McKay Allen, VP and head of marketing of Kenect, and Dan Couvrette, CEO of Divorce Marketing Group, offer useful tips & advice on how you can improve your family law firm website right now.
McKay Allen: My name is McKay Allen. I’m in the marketing department here at Kenect, and I’m so excited about today’s webinar with Dan Couvrette from Divorce Marketing Group. Some of you probably have never heard of Kenect. Let me give you just a quick sense of that so that you know where we’re coming from.
We are a two-way text messaging company that provides service to your law firm. The great thing about our company is that you don’t need to give out your cell number anymore. This is different from the blast texts that you get. This is just you communicating with your clients via text with your actual current phone number. Those texts come into what essentially looks like an email inbox. We also do inbound web texting and chat from your website. You can immediately click on a little widget on a law firm’s website and start texting with your clients immediately. We also collect payments remotely via text messaging, so if you’re having a difficult time getting clients to pay you, this is a great way to get them to pay you in real-time. We also do online review generation. We’ll talk about that a little bit during the presentation as part of the ‘how to improve your website’ portion.
Your clients do want to text you. 98% of all text messages are read, and 95% of them are read extremely quickly. I don’t know about you all but I have around 35 emails that haven’t been read in my email inbox, but I have zero text messages that haven’t been read. That little red bubble is too alluring to ignore. I always respond to my text messages immediately. This is an example of the way it can look on your website. A little ‘text us’ widget appears that allows you to click it. You can have any menu item or structure you want. They put in their phone number and suddenly you’re texting them on their cell phone, and they’re going to respond.
How does it look like and what does it look like? It comes in just like this into an inbox that you can assign ownership to. You’re able to respond to those texts in real-time and have instant communication with your clients. When we see people put the text widget on their website, they immediately get more leads than they had before, in some cases doubling and tripling the number of leads from their website. This makes it critical to talk to your clients in the way they want to be talked to, and that’s via texting.
With that, why don’t we introduce Dan? Dan Couvrette is a marketing expert for divorce lawyers. He’s the CEO of Divorce Marketing Group and the publisher of Family Lawyer Magazine, www.DivorceMag.com, and www.DivorcedMoms.com. He’s been in the marketing space for a long time, and he knows his stuff. He was kind enough to join us today. Dan, thanks for taking the time, sir. We appreciate it.
Dan Couvrette: Thanks, It’s a pleasure to be here.
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Divorce Marketing Group before we get started?
We’ve been around for 25 years (since 1995), and we’re 100% focused on working with divorce lawyers and professionals serving the divorce market. We own three main websites including www.DivorceMag.com, www.DivorcedMoms.com, and www.FamilyLawyerMagazine.com. We build websites, do search engine optimization, develop content, videos, podcasts, newsletters, divorce guides, pay per click, and online reputation management. If you’re listening, almost everything I’m going to say will relate to you whether you’re a lawyer, a financial professional, or anybody who’s building their practice.
Dan, why don’t you dive right into this?
Dan: I’ll start by talking about how to figure out the top goals for your website. The top goal is to get you the clients that you want. Your website is your 24/7 spokesperson and salesperson, so you want it to be doing the best job possible to help you attract and secure clients. For me, it starts with powerful branding. It’s like the foundation of your website and all of your marketing is your branding is to have a clear picture of who you are, what you do, and why people should hire you, and it can get very personal. When we’re doing branding work with clients we sometimes get down to what they did in high school, or what they did on the high school gym team that helped create their character, style, and approach. All of this goes into a branding conversation. If you’re somebody who thinks that you don’t have a brand, well you probably do, whether you designed it intentionally or unintentionally. For example, if somebody goes to Avvo, and they see that you have a 6.7 rating, that’s part of your brand whether you like it or not. So your website should be a trusted resource of information. It should have relevant and current content on it. This is because out of date means out of touch.
You need to have a strong call to action on your website. You also need to make it easy for people to communicate with you so that they can make that initial contact. And of course, you want to be found on the internet, but we’re not going to go very deep into that conversation here. We could spend several webinars on search engine optimization, marketing, and advertising.
So as I mentioned, you have your brand, whether by design or not, you have your Google results, which is part of your brand as well. I highly recommend if you haven’t Googled yourself in the last month that you do so and see what comes up. I also recommend that if there are listings on there, make sure that all of those are up to date. You should also make sure those listings reflect your brand. Your logo and latest photos should also be there, along with all of your latest information. This is all part of the foundation.
If you’re going to take a look at your branding message or start from scratch, you want to define your target audience. Who are you trying to attract as your clients? That’s where it starts. Then you should think about the benefits that you offer and if you’re going to do a deep dive into that. That’s everything about your personality, your experience, and your firm’s experience. Of course, that has to do with your staff as well. Everything should be brought into your firm’s branding. If you want to distinguish yourself from your competitors, this is the way to do it. Otherwise, your website looks just like every other family law website.
One thing to point out with branding, too, is it’s certainly about logos. What spot can you occupy in your client’s minds? When they think of your firm, what do they think about it? Are you a competent firm? Are you easily approachable?
Dan: Absolutely. I’m also focused on what their referral sources think of them because every mental health or financial professional can send them business. They all have an opinion about this person, and I call this opinion their branding message. It’s very easy to enhance that branding message. Even if they’ve been practicing for 30 years, they can alter and improve and enhance that branding message. Everybody has an opinion about the Apple logo, it stands for whatever it stands for, for you. Amazon is the same thing. We think differently about Amazon now than we did 10 years ago. 10 years ago we questioned the viability of Amazon. Nobody’s questioning the viability of Amazon right now, as the stock prices will show. I recommend that every lawyer has a logo because that’s part of their branding message. It should not only be on your website. It should be on everything. It should be promoted everywhere. It will be recognizable to your professional referral sources over time.
The process of setting up your branding is to set your business goals clear about who you’re trying to attract. Are you trying to attract high-net-worth people? Are you wanting to spend your time litigating? Mediating? You do a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Just go on google and type in SWOT and you’ll get more details on that. Out of that, you would create a marketing positioning document and statement, and it’s probably going to take the help of an outside marketing professional, whether that’s Divorce Marketing Group or another company that can help you. It takes getting your message down to a positioning statement that clearly defines what you’re trying to do. From there, you create your marketing plan, and you execute your marketing plan. Then you apply your branding with discipline and consistency. This is where working with an outside firm helps because if you pay us or you pay somebody else, there’s a better chance that things are going to get done. If you take it on yourself, you tend to run out of steam because you just don’t have the time and energy. We know that you know your focus is on your clients. That’s why working with outside professionals can help you make sure that you have discipline and consistency.
The second thing we’re going to talk about is photographs. I see lots of terrible photographs on websites with no thought about branding, whether it’s a photo of the firm members that are just terrible photos because they’re not professionally done, or they’re photos that just don’t matter. Number one, hire a professional, tell the professional you’ve hired what your branding message is, and make sure they take a look at your website. Make them understand who you are, what you do, why you’re doing it, and what makes you different. And take the photographer’s advice. You might think about a location, either in your office or outside of your office. For instance, if you want to do a lot of litigation, then a photo of you standing outside of the courthouse would be a good shot. It all depends on your market. It also depends on you, but think a little bit outside of the box. Make sure you take photos of everybody in the office. I highly recommend that you feature everybody who works for you on your website. I often see it’s just a lawyer that’s on the website. You’re part of the team, you’re not the whole team. The more you show the other people in your office and have a little bio about them, the more inclined they will be to help you market your practice. They can bring you clients, and they also know that their livelihood is dependent on the success of your firm, so engage everybody in the marketing of your practice, and take multiple pictures.
Here’s an example. This firm is an award-winning Virginia family law firm, so at least we know what they do. But what they show on their website is a picture of their building. Nothing against the building, the building looks fine, but I don’t think it’s helping me understand what differentiates this firm from other firms. Here’s another firm. At first glance, you might not think it’s a bad photo and that it represents what a divorce is about. The problem I have with the photo is that it’s not a great photo, technically speaking. It’s a picture of a misty pathway. If I’m a person going through a divorce, I want a path that’s clear so that I can see where I’m going. I don’t want a path that’s taking me into mist and monsters.
Even a well-intentioned photo which is a little bit different may not work. The next one is one of our clients: Fairfax County lawyers serving Northern Virginia. Thoughtful, thorough, and trusted. We had to make sure that they took a professional photograph. They’ve got a building in the back, so you know that they have a conservatively modern office. I have the feeling from looking at it that they could be trusted, and they could be thorough, at least from a visual point of view. It looks like they can get themselves dressed and look pretty good. Thoughtful, that’s a hard one, but they look like they could be compassionate and understanding.
Number three is client reviews. Client reviews are critical because people need a third-party endorsement, to show potential clients that you are doing a great job. When people refer you, they send somebody to you. This person will go and check out your website. It’s a reinforcement of what the referral source had to say.
How do you get reviews? Well, number one, simply ask your clients. You should be doing an exit survey with your clients. I highly recommend exit surveys. You should also use technology.
I think asking is the most important thing, like you said, Dan. We know most people are going to go with the highest-rated company that has the most reviews. If you have less than 50 reviews, that’s a problem. This is because Google is going to start to ignore you, and your potential clients are going to gravitate away from you. New reviews are also ideal. Sometimes we focus too much just on the rating when in reality, we need to focus on three factors: recency, quantity, and the rating.
Reviews are the first things people will read about your firm. So how do you get reviews? If you send an email out after a positive case and say ‘leave us a review,’ only about 1% of those people will leave a review. This is because you are requesting a review via email. However, if you follow this process and send a text requesting a review, you’re going to get a review of about 35% to 38% of the time. It’s still not 100%, but 35% or 38% is a heck of a lot higher than 1% or 0.6%, which is where you’re going to be at if you send an email.
So how do you do it? You send a text that has your logo on it. You can customize it however you want and add a link that takes them to the review site. These two review sites are on Google and Facebook. Most people are logged into Google and Facebook all the time, so it’s not like they have to go through a laborious login process. They click the link, they post the review, and you can manage the review within Kenect. The trick is to be aggressive with this. Don’t let the angry clients determine your success and your reputation. Don’t let the ones that are mad at you determine how many more clients you can get. No longer is it possible just to let those angry people speak for you or your firm. You have to aggressively try to get reviews from the positive case resolutions that you have. Build a process. Make it a part of someone’s job to contact clients after a positive case resolution. Make sure it’s a repeatable process.
You should also respond to reviews. That’s critical. When you get a positive review, thank them. When you get a negative review, don’t argue. Get on and make sure that you acknowledge and say ‘give us a call and we can talk about this privately.’ Whatever it is, don’t argue with them. You can then use all these great reviews as part of your marketing strategy.
Dan: You can also direct your clients to write a review on your website. For example, if you want to attract more business owners to your practice and you’ve just handled and settled a case for a business owner, the review may be able to help you attract future business owners.
We’re going to move on to podcasts now. The reason why I’m talking about podcasts is that from my 25 years of experience in working with divorce lawyers, podcasts appear to be the easiest way that we can extract content from them. If I ask a family lawyer to sit down and write 10 questions and answers, they likely will not ever get around to it. But if I ask them to set up a 15-minute phone call with us, they don’t have a problem doing that. If I send them five or 10 questions before the phone call, they don’t have a problem writing down a few point-form notes and then answering those questions, which we can then record. We can then turn those questions and answers into a podcast that we put on www.DivorceMag.com. We put it up on iTunes, Podbean, we put it on the client’s website, and we transcribe the podcasts. So now we’ve got the text that we can use. When you add text to your website regularly, it has a lot of search engine value. Podcasts also demonstrate your expertise and help you stand out from your competitors. The easiest thing we’ve found in terms of creating content that can be used on your Facebook page and LinkedIn is setting up a podcast channel. As I mentioned, they are great for search engine optimization because it allows you to add text to your website regularly, which Google loves.
Here’s an example of what podcasts look like on one of our client’s websites. The subject the podcast is focused on should be based on who you’re trying to attract as your clients. In this case, they’re trying to attract high-net-worth people and business owners. Having videos on your website is also important. Somewhere between 70% and 80% of all traffic to the internet occurs through video. I shouldn’t have to make a more compelling reason than that for you to consider creating and posting videos. Most family lawyers do not have videos on their website, so if you want to stand out from other family lawyers, this is a great way to do it. And you can do it very easily.
These days, everybody’s doing Zoom videos. We do them with our clients. You can do them on your own or work with a professional marketing company to create them. We also do in-office videos. We’re not doing them now because of COVID, but when we do, we take the time to plan the whole video day out. We use a teleprompter as well. If you’re going to do professional videos, make sure you use a teleprompter. Videos are much better if there’s a script. And you can do all kinds of things with videos to attract business. They are going to be on your website to help differentiate you, they provide information, and they can be uploaded onto YouTube. You can also use them in a newsletter, on your Facebook page, LinkedIn, and so much more. There are just so many uses for them and places you can put them.
If you don’t want to do podcasts and you don’t want to do videos, then your next choice would be to write content. If people come to your website and don’t find the information that they’re looking for, they are going to go elsewhere. You need to have information that answers their questions, so you have to create it yourself or have outside professionals help create and write the content for you.
We provide two things that our clients love at Divorce Marketing Group. One is our Divorce Guides. We have 10 different divorce guides with 32 pages each. They cover subjects like children, finances, military divorce, mediation, divorce recovery, and much more. We also can provide a monthly electronic newsletter to you that you can send out to your clients and other referral sources. You can customize these things as well to make it more personal to your firm, which we always recommend. You can go to Divorce Marketing Group’s website to see samples of our Divorce Guides.
If you’re going to do downloadable content, it’s got to be valuable enough and useful enough that someone is willing to give you their information. If you do that, people will willingly give you their email address. If you are going to go and buy a car, one of the things you may have to overcome is the first salesperson that you run into. They may rub you the wrong way, or they may not have the right color of the car that you want. You don’t have time to wait so you’re going to take it in gray rather than in blue. I could go on and on. But there will always be things we have to overcome when we’re buying something. Very rarely do we get 100% exactly what we want. We also rarely get the experience that we want. This is why I recommend that you look at what people have to overcome when they’re going to hire your firm, and one of those things is technology. You have to overcome not reaching out quickly enough, not having a great website, having a 6.7 rating on Avvo, dealing with your receptionist who isn’t the friendliest person in the world, and everything in between.
Think about what people have to overcome to hire you. That ties into technology. You need to tighten things down in terms of technology for yourself and your firm, particularly pre- and post-COVID. People are relying on technology more than ever before. Speed and engagement are very important. You need to respond quickly to any inquiries, and you need to have multiple ways for people to access you 24/7. I know you need to sleep, but people still need to be able to get some basic information from you at all times, and this is where having a chat feature on your website comes into play. You can also have an appointment calendar on your website.
I think you’re right about the fact that you’ve got to have speed, and engagement is the most critical part of this. And removing the things they have to overcome is critical because you want to make it as simple as possible. That’s the key right there.
Firstly, I like their COVID messaging and that they are specifying that they’re still open for remote consultations. I think there’s so much confusion depending on the state or the province you’re in around what is open and what is not open. That’s why it’s important to have messaging like that somewhere on your site. You can also customize text widgets by customizing the font, the look, the feel, etc. Once they click on those, they’re able to put in their phone number and you’re able to text them. Chatting on a site has value, but when you’re able to text somebody on their phone, it’s the best way to communicate.
Now what about responding quickly, and what does it do in terms of leads? Having someone assigned to this as part of their job is crucial. You can also set up autoresponders to these texts. If you have somebody wanting to schedule a free consultation, you can have an autoresponder that links to a calendar tool. You can do all these different things that immediately respond to them. A client puts the widget on their website, and suddenly, instead of getting one to two inquiries a day on their website, they’re getting 20. This is because the primary way that people like to communicate is through text. It’s that simple. We see this with almost every law firm that we work with. They put that little widget on the corner of their website, and their leads start to improve.
How does it look like when these text messages are coming in? The text messages come in essentially what looks like an email inbox. They flow into your company’s Kenect texting inbox and you can assign them to people. You can also make it so only certain people see certain types of texts. We also have a mobile app that allows you to respond to texts in the app itself, so you can do it from wherever you want. It is also important to remove any barriers or obstacles to generating leads from your website. You need to put your website in the best position you can to succeed.
Any thoughts from you, Dan, before we move into the question portion of this webinar, is there anything that you wanted to make sure we doubled down on or clarified from the actual presentation?
Dan: No, I think you’ve done a good job. I hope that people do a few of the things that we’ve talked about. It would be impossible for anybody to take this on whole. I’d start by doing a Google search of yourself, and then taking a hard look at your website. Then you should make sure that you’ve got the service and services that can get you connected to people and easily accessible to people as well.
Here’s our first question: “What are the biggest issues you see with websites?” So let’s say you take on a firm as a client, what are usually the biggest issues you see on day one? Is it that they don’t have a clear call to action? Is it that they don’t have a clear brand, or that they don’t know who they are as a firm?
Dan: My wife, Martha Chan, is my business partner at Divorce Marketing Group. She’s the one who does the strategic planning with our clients. I would say that her first challenge is to create a strategic plan. More often than not, it looks to us like a website has been created by a committee, so there’s been the input of eight different people on it. One person likes bold type, the other person likes yellow, the other person likes something else. So it’s just a mishmash rather than a clear and focused strategic plan based on the branding and marketing message. It comes down to the core of the website, and then you get into the functionality of the website. In the beginning, it’s the foundation that’s missing and lacking. If they don’t have a strong foundation, you don’t have a clear ability to build out from there, so I’d say this strategic planning part is missing for most people, and also a lack of understanding about what divorcing people are truly looking for.
That’s a great point. So a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish on the website is critical. We’ve got some questions asking about how texting works. It allows you to send and receive texts from your business line, so you don’t need to change your phone number. We just convert your business line to a textable number as well. Those texts flow into that inbox I just showed you. It’s pretty simple to use and easy to onboard. When we onboard a new law firm, the first thing we try to get them to do is put that little texting widget on the website because that’s our quickest time to value, which means that it will be the number one thing that the law firm is going to notice the most that will help improve their leads. During one activation, the client started to receive texts as we were activating the widget. So much so that the lawyer had to get off the activation call with our team and start responding to these text messages.
Let’s talk real quick about reviews. We’re getting a couple of questions about that. In terms of reviews, Dan, how many reviews are the firms that you’re working with getting? I think from what I’ve seen, it looks like firms are getting 30 to 50 reviews and then calling it a day because they have a 4.8. But that probably isn’t enough. It’s got to be consistent.
Dan: This is why I recommend that people have an exit strategy so that with every client, you’ve got a process in place to gather those reviews. The more the reviews, the better. Because as you know, you can be adding reviews to your Google My Business page, which is always looking for information. And Google’s paying attention to that. There’s no reason not to get a review from your clients. It’s also a great check-in to see what sort of job you’re doing for your client. I’d ask their opinion throughout their engagement with you, but at the end, make sure you know what your client thinks so that you can rectify the situation so they don’t go and put a one-star review on Google without you knowing it.
Do you have any advice for responding to negative reviews? Because no matter how hard you work and put in your best person, it’s inevitable that you will have the occasional person who’s just ticked off. What’s your best approach there?
Dan: Number one would be to respond to it. You should always respond to any negative review. And that’s the other reason to get more reviews because if you have 100 great reviews and two bad ones, they get completely watered down. I think everybody expects that there’s going to be some negative reviews, even for the best restaurant in the world, somebody has had a bad experience there. As long as you’ve got lots of reviews, and most of them are good, then you’re still doing great.
That’s where the volume and the quantity play into it. You want to have enough that you can drown out the inevitable negative reviewer. The restaurant example is great. I’m not going to leave a bad review after disliking the mashed potatoes at a certain restaurant, but some people will, so you have to make sure you’ve got enough positive reviews about your mashed potatoes that the one guy who had a bad day doesn’t ruin your restaurant.
We’ve got another question from Adam. He asks: “In divorce cases, many of my clients won’t do Google reviews because their full name will appear. Is there any way around that? Or any suggestions for mitigating that?”
Dan: I’m not sure if there’s any way to get around having their name appear. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I wish Martha Chan were on this call with us because she would have an answer to that. I’ll gladly look into it. Do you know, McKay?
No, I don’t know the answer to that exact question. But for divorce cases with sensitive information, you can always say ‘thanks for working on my case with me, I had a great experience and you did a great job.’ They don’t need to go into the specifics of the case. You can also stress in the text messages you send asking for reviews that they don’t be specific about the case. You can just tell them that anything they can say that is positive about how you handled the case would be great.
Dan: And of course, when people put reviews on their website, they typically don’t put the person’s name. I know Adam was specifically asking about Google, but again, if you ask all of your clients to do reviews for you, and you’ve got a system like McKay is talking about, then some of your clients will be willing to write reviews for you. So the more you ask, the more you’ll get.
And keep in mind even with the texting strategy, only 35% are going to leave you reviews. Now that’s much better than the 1% or the 0.6% you’re going to get from email, but 35% can get you to 150 positive reviews very quickly.
One more question. “If you are working with high-net-worth clients, can you risk overwhelming yourself with too many leads if you include a text feature or succeeded SEO?”
I would much rather have that problem than I would not have enough leads. My advice would be to create the problem where you’re drowning in so many leads that you have to figure out how to filter them better than not having enough. So I would just say yes, create that problem and then cross the second bridge.
Dan: If you’re getting more leads than you can handle, and if you want to build your practice, it may be time to hire somebody. If you don’t want to practice any more then you can send those leads out to a very trusted family lawyer who you have worked with. I know that family lawyers collaborate all the time. They all know each other. Send that person some business and you’ll be in a very good position in the future. If you want to help your clients and give business to somebody else, you will be ingratiated tremendously with that family lawyer in the future.
Thanks very much for listening, everyone. If you want to connect with me, feel free to do so.
We encourage you to reach out to Dan. Thank you, everybody, for coming.