How Can We Attract More Enquiries From Potential Clients?
To stay healthy, all businesses need new clients.
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)
Your Development Challenge:
How to attract more and/or better first contact enquiries from likely prospects,
without substantial extra recurring costs.
1. Advertising: The First Step Of Your Client-Attracting Pathway
A Well-worded website helps clients find you.
9 out of 10 people who need a solicitor do not contact one, the Solicitors Regulation Authority says. Despite all the advertising for legal services in the market-place, something is going wrong.
There may be less pressure on other professions, but their own ambitions may seek more enquiries.
Your most-often seen advert is your website.
Almost everyone seeking a professional for the first time will search online nowadays.
Of course, new enquiries can start from people wanting your services who have found your other advertising messages - social media posts, leaflets, adverts, business cards, etc - or heard recommendations from friends or referrals from other professionals.
Use Business Psychology
To understand how our advertising is received, let's consider the client's perspective.
Nowadays, most people check websites when they want help with unfamiliar issues.
- Today's clients want to check your background via your website before they consider making contact with you.
- Even those who have seen your other marketing materials - or recommendations about you - are still very likely to check you are who others say you are, through your website, before contacting you. These days it's almost automatic: we're all so used to using the internet!
- In fact, people tend to check with several sources such as family, colleagues, website, social media, review providers, etc. The average is 3 different sources.
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.
It is a truly multi-tasking promotion machine.
Improve your system step-at-a-time
People want 2 things from your website:
FIRST: information on their problem or opportunity:
to understand it better and try to make plans as far as they can,
and to judge your expertise to help them deal with their situation.
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:
Because an irrelevant, distracting or off-putting 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.
The danger is that it will make you even less visible and less visited.
How to attract more enquiries:
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
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.
It may need some authority to let go of the 'Normal' advice many agencies will offer.
There are risks - being different for difference's sake is probably not advisable!
2. Aim Your Website To Attract ENOUGH Enquiries
Let's look at the two most obvious undesirable outcomes:
1. If it does not ATTRACT 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 directory lists.
- But less well-known professions like Planning Consultants and Insolvency Practitioners may be searched for via a wide range of idiosyncratic terms (eg "avoiding bankruptcy"). 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.
These are technical problems and lead to the area of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) development and maintenance.
2 . If you get some Enquiries (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 frequent 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 plus an attractive invitation...
These are more psychological issues, rooted in how potential clients think and feel, and are swayed by impulses.
Get best results by designing marketing developments around both technical AND psychological areas.
Working on this level of development takes a degree of separation from the daily routine. Alex Ferguson (the famous Manager at Manchester United Football Club) said that it was only when he learned to sitin the audience seats that he could see the whole game.
3. Or Aim It To Bring MORE SUITABLE Enquiries
Your Choice Of Words Is Critical To Engaging Potential Clients
While they must be a true reflection of your firm, your messaging should differentiate your firm from your competitor-colleagues. And you will want to be as persuasive as possible to carry visitors along your Client-Attracting Pathway.
This is not always amenable to 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.
Client-Friendly Marketing Brings 'Better' Clients
Writing client-friendly text is really effective.
This new approach 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 introductory 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 do not 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 - at least, to discover more answers to their natural questions.
do you want To attract More Enquiries?
Your website must perform these three tasks well:
- 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's based on people feeling comfortable and cared for. Achieve this by giving potential clients what they want when they visit your website.
- To activate as many of those people as possible to enquire 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 moves to the next steps of your Client-Attracting Pathway.
Human Choice Optimisation (HCO) uses the best psychology to quietly tune your Pathway.
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.
4. PS Once Attracted, Your Website Has To Persuade Visitors
Too often, many businesses assume that marketing ends with the prospect making contact.
It seems that 67% of marketing teams across industry as a whole use 'lead generation' as their sole aim.
But Enquiries Do Not Necessarily Lead To Instructions.
Inviting enquiries is not the end of your website's job. It can do MUCH more!
It can be developed to provide more information that helps both you and your would-be client to get through the next stages more comfortably.
This is because the psychology of human decision-making is extremely useful in designing choices to be as easy as possible for potential clients as they read through your website.
READ NEXT: Help More Clients To Agree After Enquiring