Establishing a strong online presence to improve visibility and generate leads is generally an effective strategy for these firms. However, to meet this goal, firms need to go beyond building an optimized, informative and easily navigable website. To drive conversion and retention, attorneys also must appeal to mobile users. BusinessCreator helps firms reach and attract this growing base of clients by developing mobile responsive websites and strong mobile marketing strategies.
Marked Mobile Growth
It is critical for law firms to reach mobile users more effectively because mobile device use and mobile search are only increasing. According to the Pew Research Center, as of January 2014, 90 percent of Americans owned cell phones. In October 2014, the same source reported that 64 percent of Americans owned smart phones. Most consumers use these devices to conduct online searches. Pew Research data from May 2012 shows that one in three smart phone owners performs most Internet searches via phone. Over one in twenty smart phone users depend exclusively on their smart phones for Internet access.
Given these figures, it is not surprising that the number of mobile searches that consumers perform has grown remarkably. From the first half of 2012 to the first half of 2013, mobile traffic grew 125 percent, or at more than 10 times the rate that desktop traffic did, according to Forbes. The growth of mobile advertising also reflects the increase in mobile searches. Recently, Business Insider reported that mobile advertising is growing faster than any other form of digital advertising. Mobile users represent an increasingly large and influential market for most businesses, including law firms.
Impact on Attorneys
Limited data indicates that the shift toward mobile search is changing the way that clients find attorneys. According to the American Bar Association, a 2012 Lexis Nexis survey found that 21 percent of clients used smartphones to find attorneys, while another 12 percent conducted their searches from tablets. Cumulatively, this represents nearly one in three people who used their mobile devices to search for attorneys.
Since that survey was conducted, smart phone ownership and mobile search rates have only increased. As a result, these figures likely underrepresent the proportion of potential clients who now use mobile devices when they look for attorneys. Unfortunately, law firms that lack mobile responsive websites and effective mobile strategies may lose the business of many of these clients. Websites that are mobile responsive, or designed specifically to support mobile users, can encourage these visitors to take immediate action. In contrast, websites that are not optimized to support mobile device users can drive these potential clients away.
Importance of Responsiveness
Compared to other websites, mobile responsive websites generate higher conversion rates among mobile users. According to Forbes, one online retail publication reports that mobile visitors make 160 percent more conversions on websites that are mobile responsive. This high conversion rate may occur for a few reasons. A mobile responsive website may be easier for these potential clients to find, since Google is more likely to give better rankings to websites that support mobile users. Additionally, mobile users may be less inclined to convert after struggling to navigate a website that is not mobile responsive.
Websites that are not mobile responsive do not just reduce conversion; they can also actively push customers away. Forbes states that 43 percent of mobile users will not attempt to revisit a website that loads slowly, which is a common problem among websites that are not optimized for mobile users. When faced with slow load times, 40 percent of mobile users will visit the websites of competitors. Mobile users may also be less likely to recommend websites that are not mobile responsive. In short, websites that do not properly support mobile users often create harmful first impressions that have far-reaching effects.
Converting to Mobile
These findings underscore the benefits that mobile responsive websites offer for law firms. A firm can significantly improve leads and conversions with a website that provides the growing base of mobile clients with a simple, streamlined experience.
What sets mobile responsive websites apart? These websites feature fast load times, minimal clutter and easily legible text. These websites also enables mobile users to navigate or find information easily, through features such as buttons that are easy to press, pages that require minimal scrolling and readily accessible links that lead to key pages. Law firms with existing websites can typically choose between updating those websites and building entirely new websites to better support mobile users. BusinessCreator often builds new websites to ensure full responsiveness and optimization.
Mobile User Marketing
In addition to appealing to mobile users, law firms with mobile responsive websites can increase their exposure in numerous ways. For example, BusinessCreator lists every client in its mobile directory and in a mobile app called iSeekLaw. These measures help firms increase contact with local clients who conduct mobile searches. BusinessCreator also creates branded mobile apps that let firms connect with new clients and improve retention. Firms with mobile responsive websites can also employ various mobile marketing strategies. These include text marketing, which generates leads among existing clients, and mobile display advertisements, which identify nearby potential clients and offer deals that drive conversion.
All of these marketing strategies are technically available to law firms with websites that are not mobile responsive. However, given the tendency of mobile users to reject websites that do not offer a convenient browsing experience, these methods are less likely to benefit these firms. BusinessCreator can assist these firms in becoming more appealing to mobile users and tapping into any of these marketing strategies.
Investing in Mobile
Marketing to mobile users allows a law firm to keep up with competitors and bring in more business. With a mobile responsive website, a law firm can reach a growing segment of potential clients, improve conversion of those clients and take advantage of new marketing strategies that are geared primarily toward mobile users. These measures can pay off noticeably in the short run while offering a substantial long-term return on investment.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.