Marketing tips for intelligent dummies: Why you need a mobile-friendly website.
By Martha Chan, Marketing Consultant to Family Lawyers and Divorce Professionals
“Intelligent Dummies” are smart professionals who do dumb things outside of their areas of expertise and interest. I include myself and some of my family lawyer clients in this category. At times, we just need a friendly nudge to do what we know is good for us, and this column is intended to be just that.
Time for a Mobile Website
Today, practically all lawyers and business professionals are on smartphones. People are searching for information on the go. So are your clients and prospective clients. In 2012, the number of smartphone users topped one billion, with another billion people expected to become users by 2015. What this means is that it’s time you had a website that is mobile friendly and engaging. There’s a good chance your firm is judged on your website’s appearance and its usability on smartphones. If you already have a mobile-friendly website, congratulations!
The Power of Smartphones
A mobile-friendly website makes your firm more relevant and can bring in referrals and business. For one of the websites our company owns, 50 percent of the traffic from Facebook comes through mobile phones.
Although your firm’s regular website can be accessed by any mobile device, most likely it will not display well and will be frustrating to use on a smartphone. Your site may be slow to load, the text may be small and cause users to pinch and zoom to navigate or read the content, or your call to action may not be easily found, not to mention your all important “Contact Us” page.
Here are Seven Things to Know Before Getting a Mobile Website:
1. Your mobile website is a version of your current website. It will have the same URL/website address. The mobile version will automatically show up when some- one is searching on a smartphone. It will draw its content from your existing website. When you update your existing website, your mobile website will be updated as well, but you need to check regularly to ensure that the new content is displaying properly, or you may have to adjust it on the mobile site.
2. Be strategic with your mobile website. If your existing website has many pages, choose key pages and optimize them for your mobile website. Work with your provider and determine what these pages are.
3. Be engaging and action oriented. Determine what actions you want visitors to take, and then make sure those actions are prominent on the smartphone. Do you want them to share a page from your site? Call you? (They have their phones in hand!) E-mail you? Or find out where your office is and access a map with directions?
4. Be “thumb friendly.” Make your navigation intuitive and the tabs big so that visitors can find what they want quickly, without hitting the wrong tab.
5. Even if you don’t like the design of your website, you can still have a mobile website. As long as you have some content on your current website, you can make a decent mobile site because a mobile-friendly site needs to be simple in design for fast loading.
6. Keep the branding. Keep your mobile site looking similar to your current website by using the same colors, images, logo, and tagline, etc. Smartphone users are likely to visit your current website for more information once the mobile site intrigues them.
7. Consider creating a mobile site for each lawyer or practice area. Often a lawyer in a firm with multiple family lawyers, or a firm with multiple practice areas needs a separate marketing effort. Here’s a perfect opportunity to initiate a multipronged marketing program without too much of an investment. Each lawyer in your firm can have a three-page mobile website: a page about the lawyer, a page about the firm, and a page about the areas in which he or she practices.
Creating a mobile experience for your customers does not have to be expensive. Depending on the number of pages you want, you can have a decent mobile website for a few hundred dollars.
You Still Don’t Have a Regular Website?
If you don’t have a professional firm website, you are definitely an intelligent dummy in need of this nudge: get a website! Follow my column and find out how you can quickly create a mobile website while you build your regular website.
*Originally Published in Family Advocate, Vol. 36, No. 2, (Fall 2013) p. 4-5. © 2013 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
Martha Chan is a marketing expert for family lawyers. She is co-owner and Vice President of Marketing for Family Lawyer Magazine, Divorce Magazine, and Divorce Marketing Group, a marketing agency dedicated to promoting family lawyers and divorce professionals. She is co-author of The Essential Marketing Guide for Family Lawyers. She has served as a marketing consultant to many Fortune 500 companies and countless family law firms over the past 30 years.