Rural Attorneys Need a Web Presence

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Web presence is crucial, even for rural attorneys. For most of us outside the metro, our bread and butter comes from person-to-person referrals. Someone in need of legal services ask people we either personally know or have worked with for suggestions on the right attorney. But just because most of your potential clients already know you exist, doesn’t mean you can ignore a web presence.

1. Clients don’t have your phone number memorized.

A big reason law offices maintain a web presence is branding. It can be easy for rural attorneys to dismiss the need to use the web in order to communicate who you are to prospective clients. After all, you run into your client base every day… at the grocery store, high school basketball game, etc. However, even if you are fully confident that potential clients in your area know about you, you have to be easy to get a hold of in order for them to hire you. While you might rely on the belief that potential clients can use the phone book, many people use search engines to look up information. This is especially true as more and more people use smart phones. At minimum, your contact information and areas of practice need to be able to be found online.

2. Other attorneys don’t have your phone number memorized.

You not only need to make sure potential clients can find you, but that other attorneys can find you. Obviously, opposing counsel wants to have your contact information at their fingertips, and that includes your email and fax number along with your telephone number. However, having your contact info available to other attorneys isn’t just helpful for the opposing side. It can be helpful for you. Everyone knows that attorneys refer potentials clients to other attorneys when they have a conflict or don’t practice in that area of law. If you come to mind, but your contact information is easily available, that potential client may be referred elsewhere.

3. Potential clients aren’t always from your area.

You might think that your client base is limited to your county. But, there are plenty of potential clients that don’t live in your area and don’t know you, but need a local attorney. Whether it’s an adult child living in another state that has to open a probate in their parent’s estate or a non-local small business being sued in local court, there are plenty of instances where a non-local client is looking for a local attorney. For many of these clients, the only resource they have to select an attorney is through the web. In order to be accessible to that client base, you need to accessible on the web and stand out from other attorneys in your area.

Start thinking beyond the yellow pages and start thinking about how to have a web presence.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/togawanderings/4084956243/)

Legal Marketing, Legal Technology

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  • http://www.rocketmatter.com Larry Port

    True dat. We find that lawyers in rural locations often need to depend on technology as much if not more than their urban counterparts. This is true especially in software, where they may not be able to access consultants. We found that some of our earliest adopters of our cloud legal software were attorneys in small towns.

    LP

  • http://ohiobankruptcysource.com Bill Balena

    I am a small town bankruptcy lawyer in Ohio. A few years back I noticed that none of my clients had landline phones and were off the grid for yellow pages distribution. They find everything, including me, through Google on their smart phones. Two years ago my client base was all referral. Now it comes through my blog.

    • Jennifer Gumbel

      I think having a web presence is extremely crucial for rural attorneys who specialize or are looking to be a ruralsourcing provider. You have to attract more clients than just those in your backyard.

  • http://vergepipemedia.com/ Don Crow

    Google places is a great place to start (places.google.com/business); Linkedin is another resource to help spread the word about your practice – and by all means look at the investment in Search Engine Optimization for your site, even if you only have a 2 or 3 page website.
    Make sure your phone number is prominent and include recent pictures of yourself! Too many legal sites I see have the same stock photography of law books, lady justice and a courthouse and it just does not resonate with people who need legal help.

  • http://www.coyelaw.com Wade Coye

    I can safely speak for my office when I say that we use Google on a daily basis, in fact for this very reason. It’s so cumbersome to drag a phonebook (if we even have one) down from a shelf to look up an office’s phone number. Having it listed on the Internet is so much faster.