Six Website Trends to Define Your Brand
Websites, social media, blogs and mobile apps have created a host of new technologies for law firms to promote their brand. Given all the digital channels that law firms are faced with today, where does the website fit? As Dharma Pachner and John Albert from Herrmann Advertising explained in the first LMA Marketing Technology SIG webinar, “Keeping Your Brand Ahead of the Digital Curve: What Law Firm Websites Are Doing to Shine,” a law firm’s website is still the single most holistic and representative experience of a law firm’s brand online. The following is a recap of some key takeaways from their presentation.
Your firm’s website reflects the face, personality and values that you present to the world. It describes your organization and influences perception. Yet, most websites have the same visual patterns and organization. Like the headlines of a newspaper, websites follow basic layout conventions, but there are six trends that all companies should consider to help define their brand and set their website apart.
- Make it relevant.
Before you can determine which content strategy will best resonate with your audience or what screen resolutions need their own layout template, you should take a step back and ask a broader question: Why would someone want to come to your website? Furthermore, once they are there, what do you want them to feel, think and do?
Creating a website that feels relevant to the viewer is critical to user experience.
Determine the answers to those questions and use them as a benchmark for all subsequent decisions during the website development process. Once you have this information about your audience, only then can you meet their content and technology needs.
- Make it intuitive.
You have 50 milliseconds (really – this is what studies have shown) between when someone arrives at your website and when they start to form an opinion of your firm.
To make this instant reaction more relevant, you need to guide your visitors on where to start. You have to create obvious hierarchies and paths of information for your visitors to follow.
Keep your site focused through scale, size and proportion. If in doubt, look at your website and squint. See if you still know where to start. Use visuals like animation and iconography to allow people to understand the paths they should take to get the information they need.
- Make it distinct.
Color, shape, typography, imagery and composition come together to make a distinct brand identity. Nothing about design should be about ornamentation. Rather, design should present signals that come together to convey your brand message and organize your website. Disciplined color palettes, consistent applications of typography and white space, vivid photography, color treatments, and visual structures all create an identity.
- Make it personal.
We are entering an era of the purpose-driven brand.
People are aligning themselves with a firm’s brand and values. Your values should be more than a list of adjectives. Create stories that align with your brand messaging and values. Present these values and stories in a deliberate, motivational and intentional way. Then, carry these messages throughout your website.
Allow your website to show a sense of personality. You will see that many firms are doing this using their biography pages. Metrics show that biography pages are the most visited section of the website; and photo size, day-in-the-life stories and videos can all be used to show the personality of a firm and your lawyers.
- Make it flexible.
Mobile-first or content-first strategies are important, but in B2B, desktop experiences cannot be ignored.
Responsive design has to be a driving force behind any design, but it’s more complicated than moving items on a page. All designs must scale across devices, and two ways have emerged to make this happen: the grid and content cards.
Use the grid to allow information to move and shift naturally on a screen, and use content cards to show an image, the title, body copy and calls to action. These two elements can be applied to everything from bio profiles to practices.
- Make it marketable.
Law firms need to communicate information on complex topics. Create concepts that can communicate this content in a way that is understandable, digestible and motivating for someone to take an action. One way to achieve this is through dynamic storytelling. Create stories and then combine them with design elements like pull quotes, images, videos and infographics. Use this in place of text-heavy content, such as practice descriptions.
Law firms are viewing their website as the first “handshake” with a new client. As your clients visit websites throughout the day, they are comparing your website to all other websites they’ve visited and expecting similar experiences. To compete, law firms of all sizes should work on their website with these six trends in mind.
Looking to learn more about marketing technology? Check out a webinar sponsored by the Marketing Technology SIG: “Keeping Your Brand Ahead of the Digital Curve: What today’s law firm websites are doing to shine.”
The Marketing Technology SIG focuses on the role of technology in the ever-changing legal marketing landscape. This SIG discusses and offers programming on marketing tools and their application, developments in other industries, and the integration of marketing technology with other functions in firms. It also discusses how marketing technology is changing the way law firms interact with clients. This SIG's goal is to offer a significant opportunity for networking, thought leadership and career development for those responsible for and interested in legal marketing technology.
This SIG is intentionally wide-focused in an attempt to give an open forum for members to learn from each other and discuss the many different aspects of marketing technology in and out of this industry. All should feel welcome to bring questions, discussion, ideas and tips to the table. To contact the SIG leaders, email MarketingTechnologySIG@legalmarketing.org.