Driving the success of your firm’s website, through the power of empathy

Is your firm’s website attracting and keeping the attention of today’s legal consumers? It’s a question worth considering. As a solo or small law firm attorney, you’re trained to exercise logic and reason, and you do it well. But those characteristics may not be enough to win over potential clients. The reason? Human beings are inherently irrational. Research shows that emotions, not logic, primarily influence consumer decisions.

Amid this pandemic, it’s even more vital to understand the emotional needs of those seeking legal services. Due to necessary lockdowns imposed by state and local governments, job losses and permanent business closures have already surpassed those experienced during the Great Recession. Potential clients are anxious and fearful about uncertain futures and are desperately seeking relief in the form of legal representation they can trust.

Therefore, designing a customer-centric website that communicates empathy for the legal situations potential clients face is crucial. We’ve talked about how to connect with legal consumers during this time in previous blog posts, but here are some tips specifically related to your website on how to ensure you are sending a message of understanding, trust, and security in these trying times.

Step into the shoes of potential legal clients

It’s easy to get caught up in your website analytics and forget there are real people behind those numbers. If you aren’t hitting your target, you may want to take a hard look at how you are representing your firm. Clients aren’t looking for an explanation of why your firm is the best. What they want is connection — someone who understands their needs and can offer a sense of comfort and reassurance.

Begin by focusing on the needs of potential clients. Put yourself in their shoes and tap into their feelings. For example, the first thing you see when landing on the website of Ronald W. Ramirez, Attorney at Law, is that he is “Focused on Helping.” The mental image these words conjure is that of an extended and welcoming hand. The use of the serif typeface, which is associated with tradition, respect, reliability, and comfort, helps to strengthen the message that the attorney will advocate for justice.

Pay attention to language

You might assume that fancy legal jargon will provide proof of your intellect and knowledge, but it may, unintentionally, make you seem out of touch and arrogant. Remember that your audience doesn’t speak legalese. They need someone they trust to explain their legal situation in terms they can relate to and understand.

Don’t make legal consumers break out their dictionaries. Use plain language and words that speak to and address their concerns and needs. The website of Brock & Gonzales, a personal injury law firm in California, is a good example. The firm’s use of the phrase “here to help,” conveys empathy. What follows are additional emotional terms that paint the picture of a firm that has their clients’ backs. Who wouldn’t want to hire a firm that is “committed” to your case and to “protecting” and “fighting” for you?

Choose the right imagery

Can you remember a time when you felt an instantaneous wave of emotion from a photograph or piece of art? Perhaps it gripped you before your brain could even process or give it context. That’s the power of imagery.

Studies show that people remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see — leaving no doubt that the right visual choice is essential to your communication strategy, especially during this current crisis.

Strive to appeal to potential clients by using images of people with friendly faces that depict openness and understanding. Looking again at Brock & Gonzales’s website — notice the kind expressions and open body language juxtaposed with the force of a marching army. These attorneys appear ready to go to battle for clients — a perfect balance of empathy and strength.

Legal consumers need you to provide hope by being a light in the midst of their darkness. Therefore, stay away from dark, somber imagery or expressions of fear, worry, and doubt.

For more information on how to emotionally connect with legal consumers via your website, download our new guide, 9 Law Firm Website Design Must Haves to Cut Through the Clutter.

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