Rural attorneys need a web presence, as I argued in a post a few weeks ago. But, what exactly should that web presence look like and how should a rural practitioner’s presence differ from a metro practitioner’s presence?
1. Know Your Audience.
The first thing, as with any marketing strategy, is to know your audience. Who do you want to reach through your web strategy? Do you want to locals who know you to have your contact information as close as a google search of your name? Are you looking to reach out to new, potential clients and demonstrate your knowledge of a specialized area? Where does this audience look for information? All of this should be altering your web strategy.
2. Determine What Type of Presence Will Be Most Effective for Your Practice.
With your target audience in mind, consider what types of web media will help you reach your audience. Websites, facebook pages, twitter, blogs and e-newsletters are all potential tools to communicate to your audience. Many of these options are free or low cost. However, web marketing does take effort. Sometimes, even a free option won’t be worth that effort if it doesn’t reach your intended audience. While a metro criminal defense attorney may see a big return on tweeting, you will not if your target audience doesn’t use twitter.
3. Elevate Your Look.
Just because you’re not in the metro doesn’t mean that your web design should look outdated. Outdated design and stock photos can send the wrong message. A website that doesn’t have a modern, clean look can further a stereotype of being technologically behind your metro competition. Stock photos can be useful. However, rural practitioners in particular need to be cautious. More of your potential client base knows what your office looks like and what your local courthouse looks like. If your pictures show an image that doesn’t reflect your area, you are not effectively communicating an advantage you have over any metro competition, that you live, work and, most importantly, understand the needs in your area.