As an attorney, trust is everything. Without it, it’s almost impossible to achieve any type of sustainability or long-term success for your law firm. And while it’s relatively easy to convey your trustworthiness offline when you’re interacting with potential clients in person, it’s an entirely different matter online. Prospects have limited information to go on — and you need to instantly build client trust without any physical interaction.
But which areas you should focus on? Here are four primary factors that ultimately determine client trust online so you’ll know where to place your efforts.
1) Website Appearance
The moment a prospect lands on your website, they’re going to instantly form an opinion about your firm. How accurate that opinion is or whether it’s even based on reality or not doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that their initial impression is a positive one and that you’re able to establish a base level of trust. That’s why conveying professionalism and adeptness through your website is of the utmost importance. Consequently, mickey mouse web design, poor functionality, ugly aesthetics and tricky navigation are unacceptable.
2) Legal Service Information
In most cases, the individuals that land on your website are in need of legal services and want to know what your areas of practice are as well as what your specific experience in those areas is. When you make it easy for potential clients to learn about your legal services and thoroughly explain where your expertise lies, you should be on your way to building trust. For example, you might want to create a “practice areas” section on your site that can easily be found on either your header or sidebar so visitors can learn more about you.
3) Online Recommendations/Testimonials
When personal recommendations just aren’t possible, what’s the next best thing? Online recommendations and testimonials. In fact, Moz reports that “88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” That’s why it’s so important to create a section on your site that features at least a handful of testimonials from unbiased individuals. Doing so can expand upon your qualifications and alleviate any doubt that a potential client may have. Ideally, you’ll include headshot images of individuals who share their testimonials — and you may want to consider using video because of the impact it can have.
4) Third-Party Certifications
Last but not least, people tend to respond favorably to third-party certifications that lend credibility to yourself and your law firm as a whole. For example, you might point out that you’re a member of your state’s bar association or mention any relevant awards you’ve received over the years. It would also be a good idea to become accredited by the Better Business Bureau and place their logo on your website.
Understanding the psychology behind client trust online is the first step to gaining it. By taking the right measures, you can do your law firm a big favor in terms of bridging any gaps and helping prospects feel more comfortable with contacting you and seeking your legal guidance.