Larry Bodine who works for Lexis Nexis is touting the statistic, “76% of consumers go online” when looking for an attorney. This is used as evidence that attorneys must be online to remain relevant to consumer’s selection process. I don’t disagree with that statement but there is a more important question which is what role does the Internet play in the consumers? If 76% of consumers start by asking someone they know for the name of an attorney, the Internet acts as a validation tool. The question to ask is “what is the first thing you do when you need an attorney?”
Word of Mouth
How your BEST clients come to you is probably what you want to know and focus on. If you are DUI attorney, being highly ranked on search is essential. These clients probably aren’t asking all their friends if they know a good DUI attorney. However, a high income individual looking for assistance with sophisticated estate planning probably isn’t selecting an estate planning attorney by plugging in “wills” into Google and calling the first attorney who shows up in the search results.
What This Means
Your practice will dictate how you use the Internet. Make sure you are utilizing what it offers in a way that supports your business development efforts. For example, if you have lots of happy clients then feature testimonials (preserving their confidentiality if warranted) on your website. Provide a badge to your LinkedIn profile showing that you are well connected. If you assist consumers with class actions and related lawsuits, include a Yelp badge and put some energy into your Yelp profile. Remember: think carefully about how you want to position your practice and use the Internet and don’t let simplistic statistics misdirect your efforts.