How Can We Attract More Enquiries From Potential Clients?
To stay healthy, all businesses need new clients.
This often starts with new enquiries from people wanting your services who have seen your marketing messages - website, leaflets, adverts, etc - or heard recommendations from friends or referrals from other professionals.
Your website has a vital job to do: attracting more first contacts from ideal prospects.
The website is the first step of your Client-Attracting Pathway.
Nowadays, most people start online when they want help with unfamiliar issues.
Today's professional services clients are younger, more web-savvy and nosey.
At least 80.8% of people who have an issue that might need professional services for the first time go online to find out more about their situation . In fact, in the USA in 2015, 96% of people seeking legal advice used a search engine . (Google Consumer Survey, Nov 2015)
Even those who have seen your business card, advert or leaflet - or have received a recommendation about you - are still most likely to look at your website before contacting you. In fact, people tend to check with several sources such as family, colleagues, social media, other review providers: the average is 3 different sources.
Unfortunately, 'Normal Marketing' methods do not work very well for professional firms.
It is in the nature of professional services that they do not fit well with traditional marketing procedures.
Your website is your most useful marketing tool.
- It can display more than leaflets ever used to.
- It can be more interactive than leaflets.
- It can be updated very quickly.
People arriving at your website search for two things:
Improve your system step-at-a-time
FIRST: information on their problem or opportunity to understand it better and to judge your expertise.
SECOND: clues about you as people, to get a feel of how caring and supportive you would be.
This means getting your website in front of more people will not necessarily bring more enquiries.
An off-putting, distracting or blandly irrelevant website will be discarded by just as many more people. Search engines will notice this lack of connection and will then down-rate your ranking.
And that will make you less visible and less visited.
Therefore, to attract more enquiries you need:
1. As much visibility in search engine results as possible, and
2. Visitors quickly finding information relevant to them makes a good impression, and
3. As many ideal candidates actually clicking or calling you as possible
If your website doesn't perform well
Let's look at the two most obvious undesirable outcomes:
If it does not generate enquiries At All:
...it's probably because it is not easy to find and very few people visit it.
This could well be due to it being listed away from Page One on Google and other search engines, making it effectively invisible because 96.1% of clicks go to websites shown in Page One results.
(Even people with your business card, leaflet or advert will use a search engine rather than laboriously type in your website address.)
- Well-known professions are likely to be searched for easily (eg "solicitor near me"). In this case, your entry on the Google results page is probably squeezed out by rival competitor-colleagues and by directories listing your profession.
- But less well-known professions like Planning Consultants and Insolvency Practitioners may be searched for via a wide range of idiosyncratic terms. This means that your task here is inferring what your Ideal Clients will put into their online searches at this stage, and including them on your website.
This leads on to the area of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) development and maintenance.
If you get some inquiries (but not as many as you would like):
... it is probably because it is not visited often enough.
People searching do see your website's details in Google and other search engines, but prefer your colleague-competitors' alternative options.
- One frequently-found reason for this is that the result shown by Google about your website is uninviting to the people you want to attract.
These few lines of text are a key step in a potential client's journey towards you because people judge search engine results within milliseconds and often on very human grounds. This affects which website they visit.
- This is an area of Human Choice Optimisation (HCO) where you can actively influence choices. That's much better than allowing Google to automatically generate what it thinks is relevant.
The size of this micro-advert displayed on search engines is limited by them.
So its design is the most ticklish part.
Within about 40 average English words
(11 in the Title, 29 in the Description),
you have to place relevant keyword phrases and craft an attractive invitation...
Your choice of words is critical to attracting potential clients.
While they must be a true reflection of your firm, they must also differentiate your firm from your competitor-colleagues. And you will want them to be as persuasive as possible to carry visitors along your Client-Attracting Pathway.
That will bring you the number of new requests you want.
This is not always common-sense, as the "we're friendly" problem shows.
Most professionals are more comfortable with facts than what seems like "flowery language".
But to make sense to potential clients, your firm and its services need to be described in words they recognise. Writing user-friendly text is really effective.
This may not be easy, so we should ask:
how adventurous you feel about this? (5 minute self-assessment survey)
Is This Why Your Website Isn't Attracting The Clients You Want?
There are a range of issues to sort through here: I explore it in this in-depth article.
For instance, what I call 'Generation One' websites are announcements.
They are like billboards at the side of the road. They provide information but make no attempt to prompt action. Left to their own devices, potential clients will move on to build a shortlist and will maybe come back to one of them.
But 'Generation Two' websites are invitations - like party invites.
Their intention is unmistakable: they ask you to take action - to RSVP. Because would-be clients are searching for someone to meet, they are more likely to respond to an explicit invitation than to build a shortlist of uninviting announcements. On a level playing field, most people will accept the first invitation they find as long as it meets their basic criteria - like location, skill-set, languages spoken, etc.
do you want To Get More Enquiries From Potential Clients?
Your website must perform three tasks well, in a joined-up way:
- To attract internet researchers who have a current need for professional advice (or may have soon), and are actively researching their problem and the available service providers. This requires a focussed form of welcome to immediately confirm that the website page is relevant to the visitor's interests.
- To engage those people with information relevant to their first-timer situation well enough to at least make their short-list as 'helpful people'. Rapport-building creates a virtual form of bonding that is based on a feeling of being comfortable and cared for. Achieve this by giving potential clients what they want.
- To activate as many of those people as possible to make an enquiry to your office by phone, email or visit.
Here, the quality of invitation will influence the choice to make contact.
Their acceptance of your invitation starts progress to the next steps of your Client-Attracting Pathway.
HCO (Human Choice Optimisation) uses the best psychology to quietly tune your Pathway for you.
For best results, each of these three tasks must work at the best efficiency possible.
And they must then link seamlessly with the next steps that likely take place in your office, where you will be encouraging the potential client to agree to instruct you, because getting more enquiries is really only the start of the story.
Once found, your website has to persuade visitors
It should be informing and convincing people to make contact with you.
The psychology of human decision-making is extremely useful in making choices as easy as possible for potential clients as they read through your website.
Not every enquiry leads to an instruction.
READ NEXT: Help More Clients To Agree After Enquiring