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How do people hire lawyers in 2017? What matters most to a person who is considering hiring a lawyer? Does a law firm’s social media activity matter to consumers? iLawyerMarketing conducted a new study to find out the answers to these questions as well as other insights by polling 400 participants in the U.S. who had previously hired a law firm.

What information on a law firm’s website matters most to consumers?

Participants were asking to identify five things they felt would impact their decision on which law firm to hire from a list of 12 items.

  • Pictures of the attorney and/or staff
  • Pictures of the law office
  • Years of experience the law firm has
  • Office location
  • Pricing/Rates/Fee Structure
  • Past case results on cases similar to your situation
  • Legal information on the type of legal issue you are having
  • Client testimonials
  • Endorsements from a judge or retired judge
  • Awards & Memberships
  • Videos that provide information about the law firm
  • Social media activity

The results are shown in the chart below.

what things matter most to consumers on a law firm's website?

Here are some key insights:

  • More than 4 out of 5 participants (81%) in the study said that the years of experience a law firm had was important.
  • 76% of participants said price/rates/free structure was important.
  • Nearly 2/3 of participants (66%) said that past case result history would impact their decision.
  • Only 26 out of 400 participants (less than 7%) listed social media activity as a top 5 factor for choosing a lawyer.
  • Just 15% listed awards and memberships

Clearly, law firms should make it a priority for website visitors to easily find experience, pricing information and past case results as these are very important to consumers looking to hire a law firm.

What device do people use to research lawyers online?

Participants were asked what device or devices they would use to research a law firm online. They were given the following options:

  • Smartphone
  • Laptop Computer
  • Desktop Computer
  • Tablet
  • Smartphone and desktop/laptop computer
  • Tablet and desktop/laptop computer

It makes sense given mobile usability rates in 2017 and considering that for many users, their phone is the only source Internet that they have. Some interesting takeaways here:

  • 57% indicated that they would use a smartphone (iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, etc.) if searching online for a lawyer
  • 31% of participants said they would use only use a smartphone
  • 26% said they would use a combination of smartphone and laptop/desktop computer.
  • 25% of those polled said they would only use a desktop/laptop computer

The biggest takeaway here is that you need to make sure you are paying attention to how your website renders on mobile devices. If it’s not a good user experience, you are going to lose visitors, and you will also lose out on cases. Today’s Internet users expect a quick and snappy mobile web surfing experience. Additionally, Google has announced they will be using a mobile-first index for their search engine. Make sure you are making mobile a priority!

How important are 3rd party reviews?

One of the most important aspects of converting potential clients is 3rd party reviews online. You need to be making reviews a huge priority. Not only can this help with your Google maps rankings, but you can be sure your potential clients want to see what others are saying about you on websites other than your own.

Which review sites are most important?

Participants in the study were asked which reviews were most important to them. While we have known Yelp reviews are important, we didn’t realize how important Google reviews are to consumers looking to hire a lawyer. Over 60% of participants (243) listed Google reviews as the most important 3rd party reviews, followed by Facebook at 18% and Yelp at 16%. Avvo reviews were only listed at 5% because most people outside of the legal industry don’t know what Avvo is.

Negative reviews

Some attorneys we talk to are afraid of reviews for fear of having angry clients (or competitors) leave negative reviews. We asked participants in our study, “If a lawyer had mostly positive reviews but some negative reviews online, would you still consider hiring that firm?”. A total of 368 out of the 400 polled (92%) said “yes”, they would still hire a lawyer.

Of course, the question is assuming you have more positive reviews than negative ones so make sure you are asking your clients to review you. One important tip regarding negative reviews. If you receive one, make sure you respond to the review and of course respond in a professional manner. In a separate study we conducted in 2016, those in our study said they were much more likely to hire a lawyer if negative reviews had a response from the law firm.

How far will consumers travel to a lawyers office?

Consumers were asked how far they would travel to visit the office of a law firm. I think this information if especially important if you are running paid ads and are trying to get the most out of your law firm’s PPC campaign. If you are on a tight budget you want to make sure you are spending your click dollars on leads that have a higher chance at converting. The data here:

  • 41% would travel up to 30 miles
  • 34% would travel up to 15 miles
  • 19% would travel up to 60 miles
  • 6% would travel up to 120 miles

Are consumers clicking on Google Ads in 2017?

With all the changes Google has been making over the last few years, clearly they are making a play to get more people to click on paid ads. Without doubt, it’s working. A few years ago you would hear the majority of users say they would avoid ads and that was because not all ads were very relevant to the users query. That has changed as ads are much more relevant and ads are being clicked on at a much higher rate than previous years. Study participants were asked “When you search for something on Google, how do you decide what to click on in the search results?“.

Just 24% said that they avoid paid ads which means 3 out of 4 visitors will click on paid ads. We manage millions of dollars in Google Adwords campaigns and considering we know that many of our clients are generating plenty of business though their PPC campaigns, we know this is an important source of revenue for law firms in 2017. If you haven’t considered advertising your law firm through a paid Google campaign, you must consider it.

What percentage of web searchers click on paid ads vs maps listings vs organic search results?

Click Test Google Serps

We conducted a click through test to determine how many people are clicking on paid vs maps listings vs organic search results. For any law firm engaging in SEO or PPC, it’s information you will very valuable. We also collected information on the reasons why people were clicking on where they clicked on which provided some great insights. If you would like to see the results of this part of our study, fill out the form below and we would be happy to share this information with you.

Request Study Information


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