The good news is your hard work has paid off. Potential legal clients are absolutely motivated by your expertise. The bad news though – many law firms promote themselves in terms that aren’t important to these same legal consumers, which is a key finding from FindLaw’s 2014 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey.

In its third year, FindLaw’s survey provides valuable insight into the minds of legal consumers on a variety of topics. When asked this year what factors they considered when choosing an attorney, “expertise in a particular field” was the most important.

So, what were among some of the least important factors? They would include the attorney’s law school, firm size and surprisingly, even the attorney’s win/loss record. Each of these rated one percent or less among survey respondents.  And yet, they’re often displayed prominently on law firm websites. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements, but it doesn’t speak to the consumer, and therefore not as effective in terms of marketing to them.

To really convince potential clients to contact your firm, you need to speak to their needs. Your expertise is important, but as a benefit to consumers, not as a testament to yourself. Don’t simply list what you’ve achieved or what you know – explain how your expertise makes a difference for your clients. If your website’s content isn’t showcasing expertise at all, or if it’s only speaking to it as part of your greater biography, it’s probably time for a rewrite.

Expertise is also a valuable search engine marketing tool. By now you’ve heard of “long tail” searches like, “dog bite lawyer Detroit Michigan” or “daughter car accident not her fault.” These searches typically signal a specific legal need and a relatively urgent timeline. By populating your website with high-quality content that illustrates your expertise, you’re increasing your chances of showing up in long tail searches. Obviously this is good for your firm’s business, but your future customers also benefit from an easy, intuitive search that leads them to a qualified expert.

It really is good news for attorneys. By properly leveraging your expertise, you can place yourself in front of motivated legal consumers and ensure that they feel confident choosing you. It’s not every day that you get two birds with one stone, but this is one case where the right insight can make a real impact on your business.

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