On this week’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast, we speak with Karin Conroy, Founder and Creative Director of Conroy Creative Counsel. Conroy Creative Counsel is dedicated to creating smart, strategic websites for the law firm industry and providing clients with insightful marketing strategies to support their goals.
Karin says, “There’s constant evolution and change in marketing; there’s never going to be a textbook answer from one point in time that’s going to apply forever. The way we talk to clients is different than it was in 2007 and the way we approach positioning and technology is a completely different ball of wax. I’ve relearned how to make a website I can’t even count how many times over. So, I think the thing to focus on is that things change. And yes, you can really get it right and good right now, but you need to be aware of how things might be different a year or two from now.”
We speak about Karin’s journey, as well as:
- The evolution of web design and digital marketing
- Helping clients build unique brand identities
- The importance of integrating a call to action on your website and in your marketing
- Why continually refreshing your website and marketing is a necessity
- And more
Mentioned in this episode:
- Conroy Creative Counsel
- Conroy Creative Counsel Facebook Page
- Conroy Creative Counsel Instagram
- Karin’s Twitter
- Karin’s LinkedIn
Davina Frederick: Hello and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. Our mission is to provide thought-provoking powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth-generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m here today with Karin Conroy, founder of and creative director for Conroy Creative Counsel. Conroy Creative Counsel is dedicated to creating smart strategic websites for the law firm industry and providing clients with insightful marketing strategy to support their goals. So welcome Karin. It’s really great to talk to you today.
Karin Conroy: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to talk to you too.
Davina Frederick: Great. So why don’t you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself and kind of your journey to where you are now and the founding of Conroy Creative Counsel? So, what led you to this?
Karin’s Path to Creating Conroy Creative Counsel
Karin: Sure. Well, I started, I used to live before way back in the heyday of the browsers and, you know, Napster and everything in a little beach town called Laguna Beach, and there was this tiny little internet cafe there. And I started working there and doing websites that were in a completely different world than websites are now. Then I went through a bunch of years of corporate marketing, and I got my design degree.
And then I went back and got an MBA. So my background is really a combination of that. Design that is kind of at the core of my thought process, but then also, I add this MBA on top so that it’s much more of a strategic kind of business approach. And I have, you know, all kinds of years of experience in all the various aspects of those different kinds of work that I eventually started my own firm. And I was doing a lot of work for different kinds of marketing at, for different kinds of companies.
And I just stumbled into lawyers and law firms. And that was right around the last recession. And that’s kind of how I built my own firm. I have, there’s a lot of lawyers that were leaving their firms unexpectedly and starting their own firms. And so I stepped in and was helping them with their website and online presence and marketing and all of that and just kind of built my own firm out of that.
Davina: Right, right. That’s great. That’s a great story. So you combine sort of the creative part, which is probably where you started was as a creative and artistic sort of person. And then you’ve got all, you’ve put in all the work to really learn how to help your clients make an effective marketing vehicle, right? Because I think so many times people get confused about web design and they think it’s a pretty brochure. And when we started, you know, in the 90s, with websites, maybe that was the case, but they weren’t.
Karin: Yeah, I oftentimes had way back, I had law firms that would literally mail me their brochure and say, make a website from this. And I would just be typing in the exact same content and scanning the photos and converting that to a website. And, you know, for, it’s logical for where we were starting when we didn’t really know how to use the internet, that was what made sense. That was how people promoted themselves and talked about themselves. And we’ve come a long way, or some of us have come a long way. There’s a lot out there that are still that way.
Davina: Yeah, we know that the law firm industry can be, we lawyers know that we tend to be a little slower moving, although I suspect you’re seeing a lot more changes, though, because so many firms are now really embracing the whole virtual, remote distributed, you know, lifestyle, and their clients are enjoying that. So tell me about that and how that’s changed maybe some of the work that you’ve been doing with clients.
Trending Towards Virtual
Karin: Yeah, it’s really been interesting. I mean, over the course of my career, I started when I was newly married before I had kids. And so I was available. And, you know, my life was a completely different arrangement. And websites and marketing were different, obviously. And so over the course of the last 12, 13 years, everything has changed, including this crazy moment that we’re in now, where when I had, when my kids were babies, I really had to hide that.
I never would have even mentioned that I had kids. When I went through pregnancies, I was in the hospital emailing and, you know, responding. I had a firm that got really upset that they knew I had alerted them that I was going into labor and they got upset that, you know, I hadn’t responded within 24 hours, versus my second kid who was four years later, I purposely didn’t want to have that experience.
And so it’s still, I got some pushback and had some challenges with that. And now that the world is different, and they’ll oftentimes pop their head up in the middle of a Zoom meeting that I have with a firm, and everyone, this is how everyone is. And so there’s a different recognition for number one, this is life. Everyone, you know, has their families in their life and their kids and everything kind of cross-pollinates. And it shouldn’t be something I have to hide and, you know, be embarrassed about if there’s a kid noise in the background or if they recognize that I’m working from home.
Or, you know, I think do we need to kind of organize ourselves and make sure that professional time is as professional as it can be, but at the same time make allowances for, you know, things that come up. And this is not a normal moment, either. This is not how it will be long term. Eventually, our kids will go back to school and, you know, eventually, things will come back to a different version of normal. But at this moment, it’s been interesting to see a different recognition for, you know, every conversation I have starts with how are you doing? And do you have kids at home? And no one ever brought those things that before, ever.
Davina: Right, right, right. Yeah. And I know a lot of women law firm owners will really agree with you. You know, as they’re listening to this, they’ll relate to what you’re saying because so much has changed from, you know, when I started my career in marketing and it was a completely different world than what it is today. And even now, even when I started my law firm in 2007, everything is so different today.
And the way we market our businesses has even changed from, you know, when I was in the marketing world, it was in the late 90s and early 2000s. And then when I started my law firm it was 2007, and so much has changed at each stage. And it’s really an exciting time for marketers because we have all of these great tools now available to us to really help us level the playing field and help our smaller clients maybe compete with some of the larger businesses. Why don’t you talk to me about that a little bit, about some of the ways we’ve seen the evolution of websites and marketing?
Karin: Yeah, I think that’s really important just to recognize the change alone because I do talk to firms all the time, that have a website. I talked to one yesterday. They’re very, they do high profile work in LA with very high-end public figures, and their website is over 10 years old. And it looks at. And I think that makes a really negative first impression. They’re trying to do media appearances and things like that. And so they’re getting traffic that is coming and not representing the kind of work and things that they’re doing out, you know, in their firm.
So, the first thing I think to hone in on is that fact that you’re talking about where there’s change, and it changes all the time. And right now will be different from a couple years from now. And you need to try to stay on top of that otherwise, you’re going to be stale and stagnant. And then you’re going to be wondering why things aren’t working. And, you know, and then try to, a lot of times it’s pointing the finger at, you know, someone’s not doing their job or whatever the case might be. But there’s constant evolution. There’s constant change in marketing and it’s, there’s never going to be a textbook answer from one point in time that’s going to apply forever.
So the way we talk to clients is different than it was in 2007. The way we approach the whole positioning and the whole technology is a completely different ball of wax. I mean, I’ve relearned how to make a website I can’t even count how many times over. So that’s, I think that’s the thing to focus in on is that things change. And yes, you can really get it right and good right now. But you need to be aware of how things might be different a year or two from now.
Davina: I think you’ve hit on something that’s really been a frustration for a lot of law firms, you know, in the past And when I was working in marketing, I worked for one of the largest law firms in Central Florida and I would, we had committees, you know, around our website or around our brochure, around whatever, right? And decisions are made by committees and it would take a year before we get a website done.
And now if you do that, it’s obsolete, you know? And I think that’s one of the frustrations that a lot of attorneys feel like, they feel like, you know, gee, I just did this website, didn’t I? And then they look, and it was three years ago. And they don’t understand why something doesn’t have a long shelf life. So give me an idea of like, some of the changes and the reasons. I mean, are we talking design? Are we talking, like, functionality? Or what are we talking about that we see changes?
Karin: Yeah, I think all of the above. Design is constantly changing. It’s really hard to keep your finger on the pulse of that. So, you know, that’s always changing. Trying to find something that sets you apart will always be the answer. And so even though I said things are always changing, there are some of those core concepts like, you know, making sure that you’re positioned differently within the market.
So in my, you know, kind of core marketing class in grad school, the professor would put this chart up and it was just a simple graph. And you would find two main kind of things that people define their business by. So for example, if your car, it’s either price and luxury. And so you take a bunch of different car companies like a Prius is going to be on the low price, kind of, you know, whatever you define their luxury to be, and versus Mercedes might be over on this part of the chart and whatever.
So you put a handful of existing car companies in your chart in that sort of, you know, different areas, and hopefully, there’s kind of a cloud of different dots. Some people are on the low end of this and the high end of that or whatever. And you want to find a space that no one is occupying as much as possible. Maybe there’s a few people there, but you want to find that empty zone so that you don’t have to compete quite as much.
So finding that and running with that, as much as you can is always going to be a solid starting point. But as far as the things that have changed over time, I would definitely say technology. We, when I first started, it was HTML sites that were 100% the brochures that we were talking about. And now they are WordPress sites. They are not these kind of, originally, they looked kind of like a Word document that was just plopped into, on a page. Now it’s these really involved, technically difficult sites where they’re changing based on the size of the screens and for mobile devices and that kind of stuff.
But I would say one of the things that a lot of people are missing or not quite getting right is the positioning and messaging and how to really be strategic with their content. So making sure that they’re speaking to their clients and making sure that it’s really client-centric, instead of where it was in the beginning with those brochure sites where it was very, more egocentric for the firm and it was much more about let us tell you about where we all went to law school and how many cases we’ve solved. And, you know, let us tell you about us.
And by no means do I mean to say that that’s not important because we do need those validators and kind of trust things to show that the firm is legitimate and has done all of these things but it’s secondary from the client’s perspective. The first thing they need to know is that they’re in the right place and you can solve their problem. So until you communicate that, they don’t want to hear about where you went to law school and what kind of super lawyer you are. So that is the probably number one place that has really taken a shift in the last decade, I guess. Or maybe less than that. And a lot of firms are really getting that wrong.
Davina: Yeah, yeah. No, I totally agree with you. Now, you know, we’re so used to turning to the internet for information and social media for information. And so you have to be constantly thinking about the questions that arise in your ideal client’s minds and how you’re going to answer those and how you’re going to stand out from your competitors.
And I just had this conversation with another marketer about, she’s someone who specializes in sales conversations, and we were talking about how the language that marketers use, the mean that attorneys use is so common that, and repetitive and everything. So if you’re looking for a law firm, you’re seeing a lot of aggressive in the courtroom, you know, compassionate and collaborative, you know?
And so you see, you see a lot of the same sort of terminology. And you think to yourself, you know, this is good and this represents me. But then if you look at it from a client perspective, the client is hearing the same thing over and over again. So what makes you different? You know, branding, really branding yourself is key. So talk to me about some of the ways that you help clients with their branding. Do you guys sort of have a process for that?
Karin: Yeah. And just to take one quick step back as far as branding, a lot of attorneys, language-wise, they think the branding is just the logo. And so on a lot of times, I will have a conversation and I’ll just say, Okay, let’s just call the branding and your identity pieces and your letterhead and all of that, your business cards, let’s call that your branding. And as far as what I define branding as, which is your entire client experience, it’s let’s call that positioning.
And so that is going to have to do with your messaging and making sure that we found that little spot in the chart for you that is your point of differentiation. And we understand who your clients are and what kinds of problems you solve. And all of those pieces of that positioning and that definition that you go through in that very first step, which should be like step one of your marketing strategy before you even set up your firm, which I fully recognize a tiny, tiny percentage of lawyers ever do ahead of time. They’re usually doing it like five years in.
But all of those things will then lead to the items that you’re talking about that most lawyers define as the branding pieces, which are really just identity things like the logo and the, all the print materials and things like that, that would then the choices that you’re making for those pieces and the visuals on the website.
And all of those future choices will be then based on those positioning statements. So if you are a strong advocate in the courtroom, and hopefully you have better language than that, then we are going to choose colors and fonts and visuals that support that positioning. We’re not going to just pick a photo of the Cincinnati skyline because that’s where your office is.
We’re going to make strategic decisions based on all of these previous definitions where we’ve figured out where you’re specifically positioned and, you know, all of those things that we’re going to keep going back to those large scale ideas of your brand and your position to make future decisions. So in the long term, your decisions become easier because you can say, Okay, this guy down the street said that he’s doing a bunch of pay per click advertising. Is that the right decision for me? And you can kind of go back to Okay, how do I define my firm? Who am I going after?
Is that where they are? Is that where they go to find a lawyer? And if the answer is no, then you can just walk away and know right away, okay, that’s not a strategic, great decision. But if you say, okay, the guy down the street is doing that and you decide, oh, he found a place where all of our clients are, and I really need to be in there to be competitive, and it aligns with, you know, all of the things that I’ve already predetermined, then, you know, you already know that, okay, that makes sense. So it’s that path that lets you, leads you towards all of the future decisions and makes those easier.
Davina: Mm-hmm. So this is a great time, right here, I think to interject and talk about the DIYers and the difference. Like, even if you know how to use the program, like you could figure out Wix or something like that. You can hear just from everything that you just said, like, you know, you’ve got an MBA, you’ve got a degree in design, you’ve got, you know, so you really focused on strategy and marketing strategy and how to really create websites that convert and help you get those leads and generate, and get those phone calls, get those messages.
Get those, you know, what you need for people to be able to contact you, but also to really help them create a position and a brand that speaks to the right audience. So it’s a very, it’s, there’s a lot that goes into the process, right? Like before you ever get started on actually sitting down with your designers and saying, Okay, let’s lay out the site, you’re doing a lot of groundwork, right?
Karin: Yes, absolutely. So before I started doing all this work with lawyers, I was the director of marketing at Century 21. So I worked with real estate agents who are somewhat similar. You know, they’re all also independent contractors and have their own kind of, it’s almost like little small businesses. So every industry I’ve ever worked at has a version of a DIY.
For real estate agents, it’s people who do the for sale by owner. And for lawyers, it’s LegalZoom. For me, it’s Wix and Squarespace. And if you as a lawyer or a real estate agent or a marketing person, feel threatened and worried by those DIY solutions, then you need to take a step back and look at your firm overall because you should recognize those as tactics, not strategy.
They are just a tool that people are using to get a website up and running. My websites don’t even, they don’t even come close to competing with what is happening with the websites that I create. And the website is only a piece of everything we do for a firm. So I should hope that a divorce lawyer is offering their clients a whole different thing than if they were to go on LegalZoom and just, you know, pull down a divorce document or will or, you know, whatever the case might be.
And they’re offering years of law school years of their expertise, all of their advice, all of the things that could go wrong. They’re helping them navigate all of the potential issues. And I mean, when it comes to the technology and websites, there are so many issues. And as a lawyer, you should be able to sell that very easily. You should be able to say Listen, why are you wasting your time putting together your own will? You should be out there doing your thing.
And so this is what I say to lawyers, why are you, you should be being a lawyer. You should not be a marketing person. You should be, you know, surrounding yourself with the smartest people in the room so that you are elevated to a level that you can go and be the best lawyer. You are wasting your time if you’re sitting there trying to figure out Wix or trying to figure out Squarespace. And, you know, and you’re spending your time and effort and mental energy on something like that. That is not what you went to law school for. So
Davina: There’s also a level of effectiveness too, You know, like, doing your own Google Ads using Ad Express when anybody knows that when you, you know, if you’re in the marketing world like you and I are, you know, if we do a pay per click campaign for our client, you know, we got Google certified people who have experience and doing ad campaigns.
And we can see automatically just from looking at what they’ve done, you know, what, that they’ve created issues for themselves they didn’t even know they created because they don’t have that level of expertise. And websites, although they’ve gotten simpler to, you know, you can make a website without knowing code, right?
Although there’s that part of it, there’s a whole lot that goes into it from an SEO standpoint, search engine optimization standpoint, from a copywriting standpoint, from a persuasive copywriting standpoint, from a, you know, a design standpoint. And then also, you guys, I know you do some work with clients to develop their online, you know, marketing strategies beyond websites and there’s a lot that goes into that decision making process as well. Why don’t you talk to us about that a little bit?
Karin: Well, I mean, different firms decide to do different kinds of marketing depending on their practice areas. And so some firms, their websites really are their referrals and their majority of their clients are coming in through referral networks. And so they’re not looking for big-scale pay per click campaigns that pull in mass amounts of traffic. They’re really looking for people to come and validate a decision that they are kind of halfway done making.
So it really depends on the firm. So we create marketing strategies, anywhere from a firm like that, that where we are just going to make sure that the messaging is on point and maybe we do something like an email campaign to past clients or potential clients. But we’re really working within the world and the client list that they maybe already have or are slowly dripping in, all the way up to a large scale SEO and pay per click campaign for personal injury firms that really do, are on the other end of that spectrum. So it really needs to be defined about who those clients are, where they are, how we go and find them and pull them into the firm.
And then we make a marketing strategy based on those things. So, you know, a small estate planning firm in Ohio is not going to have the same strategy as some big, you know, corporate insurance law firm in Manhattan or personal injury firm anywhere. So it really depends. I mean, there’s a lot of different tools and techniques and tactics that you can use to go and find those clients and pull them into the firm, but it just varies from one form to the next.
Davina: Right, right. And you guys really work on helping people sort of develop that strategy and figure out what’s good for them. I think one of the things that kind of always amuses me when I’m listening to lawyers in groups talking about marketing. And, you know, if you own your own business, you’re trying to figure it out. It’s another piece of the business you have to figure out is that you, you know, looking at what other people are doing and say, Hey, what are you doing?
Should I be doing that? And then they sort of shiny object of this firm is doing this and that firms doing this, maybe I should do that and maybe should do that. And then a salesperson calls and then they’re like, well, maybe I need to do this. And then they kind of have a big cluster because they’re like, what, you know, now I’ve invested in all these things or, you know, and I don’t understand any of them. And so that’s why strategy is important.
Stay in Your Lane
Karin: And nothing’s working, and. Exactly. And nothing’s working and I don’t understand why and I’m so frustrated. I’m throwing all this money at it. I actually had this hilarious conversation, well, I thought it was hilarious. Last October I was at the CLEO Conference in San Diego and I sat down, it was lunchtime, I sat down at this table. And I was, it was one of those larger tables so I was kind of across from a few people and just kind of eating my lunch and they were talking, they were having the same conversation. Like, Hey, what are you doing? What should I be doing?
I feel like maybe I should be doing social media. And I don’t know. What is Twitter anyway? And I, you know, should I even be doing this? So I looked at him, and I think maybe I had introduced myself so that was why we were talking about marketing in general. And so I’m just kind of sitting there listening. And then he said something like, well, what is Twitter? And I said, well, let’s back up a second. What kind of law do you practice? And he says, Well, I do construction law. And I said, so to like corporate construction firms, or you’re working with construction workers? Or who are you working with?
And he said, construction workers. Kind of, sometimes some personal injury stuff, maybe I can’t quite remember exactly what it was, but it was definitely not like a corporate kind of client. And so I said, Okay, well, let’s think about those guys. Do you think they know what Twitter is? And he’s like, Oh, no, they have no idea. And I said, so why would you go there? Why would you go onto Twitter if your potential client has no idea what that is and you don’t really know, either? Why are you doing that? And he said Well, you know, some guy down the street said that he was doing Twitter and, you know, he’s getting a lot of traffic.
And I’m like, so what? Who cares? Stay focused, stay in your lane. You know, let’s just stay in your lane. Let’s figure out where are your clients and go get them. Go find them. So for me, my clients are lawyers. And so when I first, you know, in this last recession, when I first was starting to build this business, my lawyer, my clients are on these websites like Lawyerist, and I started writing marketing articles there. And so I was providing value and expertise and I was the only one there really talking about marketing and that was it.
That was the answer to, you know, finding my people and pulling in a bunch of just kind of resources and clients and leads. And I tried everything else. And I, you know, I’m always trying things because I feel like I need to at least explore any new little thing that comes up. And it always comes back to that. It always comes back to being present where my potential clients are, providing value, and then just putting out my contact information so that they can then, you know, follow that path that they’re supposed to take.
Davina: Right, right. Absolutely. You have to go where your clients are hanging out, and you’ve got to know where that is. And what you think maybe the case may not be the case. You have to experiment. Sometimes you have to ask the experts. Just to use Facebook and Instagram, as two examples of that, you know? You have different target demographics on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn.
You know, they all have different audiences in different mindsets when they are on that platform. And so you have to take all that into account before you can start, you know, really getting your message out. And then also you have to find a way for people to, you know, to connect with you once your message is out there. How are they going to, what call to action are you going to have for them to take when you’re putting your message out, right?
Karin: Yeah, I feel like that’s, one we could do a whole separate show on call to action. It’s something that a lot of, still to this day, a lot of people I’m talking to, I have to explain what that is. And so if they don’t even understand what that is, it’s definitely not happening on their website and it’s definitely not even happening in their thought process. So, you know, it’s great to be out there and do all those things, but you then need to have something happen. There needs to be an action that happens after that. So it’s something that, you know, as basic as it sounds, it’s a missing piece for a lot of people.
Davina: Right. Absolutely. So let’s explain what a call to action is. Because I think they’re, you and I as marketers, I mean, that’s jargon and lingo that we use for internet marketers, you know? And, but I think a lot of, you know, a lot of attorneys, they’re not thinking about that. They’re thinking about their clients’ case strategies and their clients. And they may not, just like other people aren’t familiar with attorney jargon, you know, you’re probably familiar with call to action. So let’s talk about what a call to action is and give some examples of calls to action.
Karin: Yeah. So every part of your site, whether it’s a page or a section, or wherever, should have some main call to action. We have primary calls to action. These are going to be simple. For most attorneys and firms, it’s going to be probably a phone number and email. It could be a contact form. But those are by far and away the most common and, you know, likely answer.
Davina: So what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to get the viewer of our message and our media to take an action. We’re trying, we’re making a call to them to take an action, and we’re saying, you know, if you, if this sounds like you, and this is your problem, then do one of these things now. Like, call us now or fill out a form now, right?
Karin: Right, exactly. So Seth Godin, who if many lawyers listening may not know who he is, but he’s kind of this marketing guru who wrote this book way back, something about a purple fez or something like that. And his whole idea is that treat your client, and this may sound a little rude, but treat them a little bit like a monkey and put one banana on each page.
So there should be, it should be very clear, very simple, especially on your homepage or the main page where people are coming through. You don’t want clutter, you don’t want confusion, you want their eye just straight go to that call to action and click on it. If it’s very clear, it’s high contrast, and it’s leading them in the right type of language, then they’ll do it because it’s just a natural, they feel like you’re speaking to them and you’re telling them exactly what to do and they want to just kind of grab that banana.
And so oftentimes, the place this falls apart for a lot of firms that I’m working with, and, you know, this is kind of a habit of lawyers, is they want to overcomplicate it. So there’s a phone number and an email and maybe a Facebook link, and maybe we throw in LinkedIn and just for fun, let’s also talk about our whole team and have them click on each one of our team bios.
And so we’re going to put 14 calls to action right on the homepage in the same level of priority, so like in the same really high contrast button, or something like that. And that is, that’s usually where I’ll start when we’re doing a refresher redesign on a website, I’ll start by having those conversations about, let me talk about what’s happening with my eye right now on your site, and it’s bouncing all over the place. And I don’t know where you want me to go. And should I click on your Facebook page or should I click over here?
And I’m confused and I don’t like that confusion feeling. And all of this is happening within the span of maybe a second or two at the most, and I don’t like it. So I just am gonna go. I’m going to go find the next guy who is going to give me a clear path and tell me exactly what I need to do and make me feel calm and understood. So you are going to tell them learn more if you really are trying to get them to pull over to your bio page maybe. But most likely, it’s contact us right away, or send us an email and tell us about your problem.
Davina: Mm-hmm. And chat is really helping with that too. When you have a live chat maybe going on in your site, you might have somebody there.
Karin: Yeah. And I would just say it really depends on your practice area. So if you’re a personal injury or criminal offense or immigration, yes, you have people who have really urgent, desperate needs sometimes. But if you are an estate planning attorney or maybe you’re working with corporate clients, that’s annoying and kind of smarmy looking. It looks too salesy and it’s not at all the message of, you know, maybe your message in positioning is about really high quality, high-end clientele.
They don’t want that chat person popping up in their face and where they have to dismiss it to go and read. For a client like that, they really do want to go to your bio or maybe to read a few articles that you’ve written to validate their understanding of you and your expertise. So for that kind of a site, it’s going to be, the button is going to say something more like learn more and take you either to a bio page or maybe some, you know, very highly popular blog or post or resources or things like that.
Davina: Right, right. So again, that goes back to really knowing who your ideal client is and who you’re trying to attract. Totally different. Every site, you know, people tend to lump attorneys, you know, the general public will tend to lump attorneys together in their minds. And what we as attorneys know, is that, that the law is very fast and detailed and we couldn’t know it all And we have to narrow the scope of the work we do and focus on picking a niche and focus and really get clear on who our ideal client is. And how, you know, how we’re going to serve them in a way that’s unique.
And until you do that work, then the rest of it, it’s going to be sloppy messy, it’s not going to make sense. What kinds of trends are you seeing in website design? Like, are there color schemes? Are there fonts? Are there, you know, is there a certain look? are you noticing some changes? I mean, we all know that the, you know, columns, like the Grecian columns like that, as opposed to be like, you know, that’s outdated and the scales of justice outdated. But in early web design there were, you know, clip arty things in websites. You’re like, Oh, my gosh, no.
Karin: It was all, yeah. I had an article at one point about like the 10 images not to use and it was gavels, columns. The woman with a headset, you know, like, please call us now. I can’t remember what the other ones were. But it was all of those very cliche images. And so it’s very easy for me to say what not to do. Don’t do that. Don’t use cliched generic stock images, which doesn’t mean that stock images, all stock images are bad.
It’s just that you want to find things that convey some level of uniqueness and communicate your difference. And so when you use stock photos, it’s harder, but that’s, it’s not impossible. I use stock photos all the time. And the effective and well-done use of stock photos is when they’re conveying a concept instead of something generic like a skyline of Cincinnati or, you know, a gavel or those columns.
Davina: So what’re some things we should be doing?
Karin: Well, I think that it’s, instead of kind of talking generally, there is no universal design trend that I would say, you see across all websites, because it’s similar. I was thinking as you were saying that it’s funny that you said that right after you were talking about how lawyers and law firms are all different, so their website should be reflective of that is the short answer. And I think as far as trends and things like that, it’s across the board. But the main trend that is really the most effective thing is to be client-centric.
And so make sure that you’re speaking to that client, that you are, and that you’re representing those messages with the visuals instead of what it used to be, which is, you know, what you were talking about, the columns and generic skylines and things like that. So, you know, the imagery is really different and more emotional because it’s supporting concepts instead of silly stuff.
Davina: Well, we are, you know, the majority of our audience are women law firm owners who have smaller firms. So, you know, the people listening to this are not going to be having the, you know, large corporate, you know, insurance defense firms or whatever. Most of them, they’re going to be smaller. And some of the things that I’ve been seeing is, you know, sort of more personalized and modern looking sites. Maybe more whitespace, more branding photoshoots where they’re getting personal so people can see this is who I am, this is my face, this is what I look like in my home instead of sort of just that state sort of headshot.
Maybe there are more pictures of their team together, you know, or they’re able to see who they’re going to be meeting when they’re coming in. The things that really make it personal. I know one client, I mean, a woman law firm owner that I spoke with recently has a virtual firm, but she actually includes her dog in her website and it really, and the mountains and all of that because she lives kind of in the mountains and it’s very Colorado, and she has a virtual firm.
And people, she’s a really down to earth person and so it really speaks to her clients when they, you know, get to know her with her dog and this is her life, you know, it’s her lifestyle. And really having that personal kind of touch to whatever that is. And for some people their personal touch maybe me in a suit at the courthouse/ I mean that maybe their thing. They’re like driven, sort of, you know, to not be at the courthouse every day.
Karin: Yeah, absolutely. And it just really depends on who those clients are. Because I do have a number of very small women firms that I work with the, you know, one in particular I’m thinking of that does criminal defense, and it would look, she has these gorgeous black and white photos of her in, you know, meeting with clients and things like that and it’s very strong and powerful. And it just really resonates appropriately for who her audience is. And so I think that’s just the key. But when you were saying that I was thinking that the trend that kind of aligns with that is that I think we do have access to so much better photography.
So there’s so many good photographers out there, number one. Most of us even can take some great photos on our own. Whereas in the past when I was first starting, oftentimes, it would just be let me pull my headshot from my previous law firm of me standing in front of law books because I don’t have anything and I’m not going to spend a ton of money hiring a photographer. I don’t even know what that would look like. And so the photos, I agree, have totally changed because we can really have so much better photos for such a reasonable amount and I’ve seen all kinds of people doing really unique things with their photos because of that.
Davina: Right, right. If you find the right stock photos, it can work seamlessly with maybe some, and supplement, maybe some of your, but you have to have the right kinds of images to convey the same message. Are you seeing too, more videos?
Karin: Sometimes. It really, you know, I feel like I’m answering every question with it depends. But yeah, I hear a lot more people asking about that. But, you know, the video-making them and getting that done, that is in and of itself a project. So it just depends on where that firm is, how much time they have. And oftentimes, it’s just another thing on the list, kind of like their blog content that they’re worried about getting around to.
So sometimes they’ll do like one or two kind of explainer videos that are more, they can, that are more evergreen where they can keep that on their site for a while, but I don’t see as many firms, I will see right A firm that really wants a strong video content strategy where they feel like they’re going to put out a video every week. And they’re going to, you know, kind of convert a lot of their blog content to video and things like that. But it’s a lot of work. And those firms almost always have more than one person on their team. So they either have an assistant or somebody else that’s going to support that idea.
Davina: Right, right. So, what would you recommend to women law firm owners who are looking to create change? I know that one of the things that you talk about is you talk about now it may be a time for a really refreshing and updating your marketing efforts because we’re kind of, as you and I recording this, we’re in the middle of this pandemic. And of course, we have also a lot of strife going on in the country for other reasons. And are there some, you know, recommendations that you would have for them? And why do we need to maybe make changes and refresh our websites and our online marketing strategy now?
Trustworthy and Safe
Karin: Yeah. So for a lot of reasons, number one, I feel like there’s the majority of people who I’m talking to are either coming in with a really outdated site, and it’s not something that they’ve done well, you know, as it is right now. As their site is or as their marketing strategy is right now, that’s not something they’ve considered, they’re not, they really feel like something’s not quite right. And they don’t feel like they have that path forward. And so, the first thing is to make sure that you have the all those things defined.
Make sure that you know what kinds of problems you solve and how you communicate to your clients and that you’ve got that positioning. But more specifically for as we come out of this COVID Coronavirus moment in time, it’s going to be important to make sure that you’re ready and positioned and saying the right kind of message. Because there’s marketing experts out there that have done all these extensive surveys about where people’s priorities are and what they care about right now. And what they care about hearing is that you are trustworthy and safe.
They don’t care about the same success metrics that they did before. If you look at these kinds of surveys from a year ago, or even six months ago, the results are almost flipped upside down. Things like how can I make more money? How can I expand my business? How can I support, you know, my long term financial growth and whatever, those are all, have all moved to the bottom, whereas now people care about their community, being safe and finding working with people who are trustworthy and local. And everyone’s focus has gone very hyper-local.
And so they’re not watching national news as much. They’re all focused in on their very, you know, narrow local community. So finding ways to represent that to your clientele is going to be critical. And we all know depending on whatever your practice area is, there’s a good chance that lawyers are going to be so critical in this moment when we reopen. I’ve talked to a lot of attorneys who are getting ready for whatever is going to happen when we come out of this with, you know, whatever kind of issues we’re all facing as a society.
And if you are positioned and have the wrong message, it’s gonna resonate poorly and it’s going to be memorable. I think we all can remember where we were after 9/11, where we were in the last recession and what kind of businesses did things right and which really just were tone-deaf. And your clients will remember that about you for a long time. So, you know, just making sure that you think very carefully and strategically about where you are. And it doesn’t even need to be necessarily specific. Your message doesn’t have to be specific to COVID. It needs to be specific to your clientele and the moment.
Davina: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Absolutely. All right, well, thanks Karin so much for being here today. I really appreciate it. I enjoyed talking with you about marketing and websites. So one of my favorite things to talk about is marketing strategy. I appreciate it. Tell us how we can find out more information about Conroy Creative Council and you.
Karin: So my website is conroycreativecounsel.com and you can find me there. I’m on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and all of those but the easiest place is just to go straight to my website.
Davina: Okay, wonderful. Thanks so much for being here and talking to me today
Karin: Thank you for having me. Absolutely, I appreciate it.