Your professional website can help your networking around the clock, year-round.
Clients come and go. They finish their cases and move on. Sometimes they even die. And there you are with a hole in your schedule and the same recurring bills.
It takes a constant stream of new clients to replace the old ones and to build your practice for the future.
Face-to-face networking is great. Whether you do volunteer work or participate in networking events, the contacts you make and the referrals you generate represent a powerful personal connection.
The problem is that those contacts often don’t last. People forget. They get busy. They move on to other things. Even if someone gets your card, it might end up in a drawer with all the other cards until it’s time to clean the drawer out to make more space for more cards.
On the web, though, Google fields 2 billion questions a day, including questions that lead, sooner or later, to hiring you as the searcher’s attorney.
You can use your professional website to attract those visitors, select the ones that are the best fit for what you do and the way you do it, and make lasting connections with them and, through them, their friends and associates.
Attract Web Searchers
Google and the other search engines’ indexing programs are becoming smart enough to “read” and evaluate content. In order to keep searchers coming back and viewing their advertisements, the search engines have to deliver up good results. That means that your way to attract search engines is to provide valuable content that people want to use and, optimally, share.
By creating content that answers the questions people are asking, you invite people to check out your site, to get to know you — the first steps toward becoming clients — in an easy, no-pressure environment.
Ensuring that the search engines find and index your content takes web-savvy writing (always for people first, search engines second) and a few tweaks to the way it’s coded to display on the web.
Select the Right Prospects
When people come to your site, they want to know, “Is this person talking to me?” Both you and your clients gain when you answer that question clearly and specifically for the right person for your practice.
Within that population of your ideal clients, you want to direct different types of content to different types of visitors:
- For first-time visitors you offer an introduction to you and your practice area.
- Prospective clients learn your philosophy and approach and whether you’re a good fit for them. They also learn what to do next and how to gain the most from a professional relationship with you.
- Your current clients stay in touch for a long-term relationship. Your tips for continued success even make it easier for you to help them.
- Colleagues and influencers learn reasons to refer cases to you.
Your content stays on your site through the years, continuing to offer its invitation to web visitors, prospects, and clients to build a deeper and more productive relationship with you.
Extend the Network through Social Media
Whether you yourself have any interest in Facebook, Twitter, or the other social media platforms, both search engines and human beings use “likes” and other social markers as testimony to the value of your content.
People share content because they believe it will help friends with their problems. Or they share it to build their own standing among followers, peers, and influencers. In either case, word travels like waves spreading out from a pebble dropped in a pond. The benefit is widespread, and you get credit, through your professional website, as the original source.
Here are some common traits of “shareable” content:
- “Interesting” — however the user defines it
- Persuasive about something the sharer already believes
- Timely, such as being tied to a breaking news item
The Holy Grail of sharable content is going viral — widely and impulsively shared beyond all expectation. That’s outside of most people’s ability to predict or control. That doesn’t discount the value of useful, inspiring advice or stories that help people make their lives better.
Your Professional Website: Networking on Autopilot
Making a face-to-face personal connection is a valuable way of attracting new clients to your practice. But there are only so many hours in a day and only so much bandwidth in anyone’s attention.
Your professional website widens your reach, automates aspects of your introduction, and makes it easy for your clients and online fans to make referrals. If someone is ready to deepen the relationship, your website tells more about you and makes it easy to contact you.
And it goes on working long after the networking event is forgotten.
Your professional website gives strength and power to your networking efforts.
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