I had an engaging conversation with Mr. Lindy Urso on a cold and rainy March morning about a month ago. I liked him from the moment I met him, and wouldn't hesitate turning to him if I had a criminal matter, or someone needed a referral.
I asked him about his on-line strategy. The gist of the conversation was that most people who come to a criminal attorney's website are there because they need a criminal attorney now. They're either going to call now, or they'll never show up.
This made sense to me. I said to myself, "David, it's a good thing you're marketing family law." I didn't think about it again until I was sitting in front of my computer this morning, as was Mr. Urso's card.
So now I've visited his site, and I've changed my mind. Following are some thoughts that I share with Mr. Urso, and anyone else who might want to upgrade their on-line presence.
Set the Stage
As lawyers, we are students of human nature. And one thing we have learned is that people make up their mind, and then go and justify their opinions. It's why first impressions are so important. And it's why your website just has to give a good first impression.
At trial, we'd look straight at the jury. We'd relate to them. We'd let them know we, and our client, have nothing to fear. All the trier of fact need do is exercise their good judgment and they'll see what we already knows, that our client is in the right.
We want to do the same with our web page.
Start with the picture. If you're going to have a picture (and you should), have it relate to the person on the other side. Look into the camera, get closer to the camera, and smile. Lindy is a good looking guy. He does relate well in person. The picture shouldn't have him looking like any other cold fish of an attorney.
Tell Your Story,
Like You Would at Trial
You start with a punch. You start with this punch:
When you hire Lindy, you get the best of Lindy, and that's saying a lot.
You get the absolute straight story about your case, and what might happen. He's been there. He knows what's likely. And he's not going to try to scare you with worst possible scenarios.
You leave Mr. Urso's office feeling better. Why? Because he knows what's important, and what's important to you. His honest assessment is based upon many dedicated years as a top Stamford criminal defense lawyer, and it's his purpose in life to put that to work for you.
Even better, you get a few testimonials from clients that paint this picture, and you use those to lead into this.
And all I did here was take his last paragraph, tweak it a little and push it up front.
Start the Conversation
You've all seen it before. This is a great place to use it. You are going to ask for your prospect to give you an e-mail address, for which you will give him a checklist.
You'll have a box pop up in the middle of your page that says, Get Your Defense Checklist, and then has a space for a name and e-mail, or phone if you prefer that (but I like e-mail). This checklist will have what might seem obvious for you, but it's really not for most people. These could include things like:
- Record the full details including:
- vehicles involved:
- persons involved:
- responding officers:
For people, include full names and as much contact information as is you can.
- If you just weren't there, collect all the above information for where you actually were.
- Collect any evidence (but don't tamper with the scene of a crime):
- Take as many photographs as close to the time and place of occurrence as possible.
- Check if any video cameras might have been on the scene, including municipal, or local businesses surveillance cameras.*
- Note anything that seems out of place.
- Don't handle a weapon that someone else has used to commit a crime, and don't handle the proceeds of a crime.
- If you don't want to talk to the police, you don't have to.
- If they don't have a warrant, in most situations, you don't have to let them in.
- And if you have any question, you should call an attorney right away.
*if there are, it's best to retain an attorney as soon as possible so that he can take all necessary steps to secure copies.
And this is where we'll put your contact information.
Now, we've set the stage, we want to follow up. I saw recently that it could be four to twelve months from the first site visit to actual engagement of an attorney.
Even if we assume the timeline is compressed for most criminal cases, it might not be immediate.
An E-Mail Sequence
So we'll send over the checklist, and then we'll say hello. We'll introduce our attorney. Over the next few weeks, we'll send some news bits or articles for the potential defendant.
Maybe this will include short articles like:
- Your Rights at a Traffic Stop.
- The Police are Knocking. Do I Need to Let Them In?
- Can I Really Remain Silent?
- Isn't it Just Better if I Cooperate?
- Do I Have the Same Rights in School?
- Can the Police Arrest Someone For Drinking Under Age?
- Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
- Don't Talk to the FBI, Ever
To the Right Audience
But we'd always make sure that our material is directed to our client. Mr. Urso has this great piece on his blog about Police Brutality - Is There Any Solution? The problem is that it's great reading for another lawyer, or a policy maker, but it's not talking to his prospective client.
He get's closer with his Should Anyone Speak To The FBI? but only if he puts that article in front of the right type of client. I'd probably dumb it down some so that it speaks to more people.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
I've borrowed this subtitle from a popular marketer's book. The point is, once you've given value, it's much easier to ask for the sale.
Now we'll obviously put our contact information on every piece we put out. The point here is that every now and then, we will give ourselves permission to ask for what we want:
If you have been arrested, call us now. The longer you wait, the harder it is to do what's necessary to defend you.
Last Comments for Mr. Urso
Put the News Where it Will Be Seen
You boldly announce: “*NEW – Click here to jump to Attorney Urso's self-authored ‘CRIMINAL LAWYER BLOG’”
You do this below the fold (a term borrowed from newspapers, I mean below the first 500 pixels on your screen) It's big news. These articles represent a real effort on your behalf. Announce them on the top of your site.
Fix Your Menu
You've got some great stuff. Quite a bit of it is buried somewhere under the “More +” menu item. I'd probably cut your menu items to three, max four, on the front page, but use a dropdown menu, or two, so that people can easily get to what is important.
Link the Video
You list a bunch of news programs on which you have appeared. To the extent you can still get your hands on the video, embed it on your page.
Police Your Links
A bunch of the links on your page don't link to the material that once was there. In the future, grab screen shots of the materials when they come up and save them for future use, and link to those when the links become stale.
Last Comments for Everyone
The first just makes me feel good. The second we know just works.
Maybe it just appeals to my vanity, and maybe they'll never really catch on, but I just love the .law TLD (Top Level Domain). Only lawyers can get them. As I write this, Urso.law is available, as is ctcrime.law. They run about a c-note a year, and if you appeal to the Spanish speaking crowd, you can add the .abogado version for another forty bucks.
I just think it's classy, and I just love my firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address.
And yes, it is a pain to change over your business cards and letter head, but you can wait until you run out. You keep your current mail and website addresses, and redirect them until everyone is on line. And as you run out of materials, you order with your short elegant, .law address. In the meantime you pay no more than twenty dollars a year (the cost of domain registration) to maintain and redirect the old address.
Love it or hate it–and as a politician, I can tell you I have my reservations –Facebook is where people are these days.
Which also makes it my favorite direct to consumer channel at the moment. A lot of people search Facebook first. If you are not there, you don't exist. We can easily create daily content, in digestible pieces, to have you look current and with it. But again, it must be on message to our prospects. Too many of us write content that appeals to our colleagues instead.
We can also use it to place advertising in front of exactly the people who might be ready to use our services.
But that might be putting the cart before the horse. Let's get your website set up, doing all it can, first, and then we can think about how to drive traffic there.
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