It is nearing the end of summer and you may have spent some of it playing the great game of golf. As you know, a golf bag contains many different clubs, each designed for a specific purpose. A driver is for long shots off the tee, the middle irons are for the fairways, and the wedges and putter are for the short game. It’s close to impossible to have one club make all the shots needed to complete 18 holes. Each club is a tool for a specific task.

It’s the same with law firm websites. One type of site is not going to be suitable for each of the marketing tasks in the law-firm-marketing world. There are many types of law firm websites, and it’s wise to choose the type that suits your firm’s marketing needs when redesigning your internet presence.

Three types of sites among the many we’ve developed in our 20 years of internet marketing for law firms include the validation site, the lead-generation site, and the single-topic (or micro) site. In a three-part series, I’ll describe each of these. As you read, think about which best suits your firm.

The validation site is designed more for setting a marketing tone than drawing in leads from the internet. It’s referred to as a ‘validation’ site because it is intended to confirm, reinforce, and promote an image to a potential client that has heard of your firm before.

The validation site is designed more for setting a marketing tone than drawing in leads from the internet. It’s referred to as a ‘validation’ site because it is intended to confirm, reinforce, and promote an image to a potential client that has heard of your firm before.

A great example is the site we built for Margolis Edelstein, a Philadelphia-based insurance-defense practice of 115 lawyers. The firm’s primary prospects are at the 400-or-so insurance companies, self-insured businesses, and claims adjusters. Rarely do these prospects choose their law firms solely by doing a search engine query and selecting a firm they’ve previously not known. Most of the time, the prospect has been referred to Margolis Edelstein by a colleague or by some personal interaction with one or more of the lawyers and is doing follow-up due diligence to consider engaging the firm.

The site, therefore, has to validate the image the prospect has from learning about the firm from other sources. A validation site is very likely to have a marketing ‘theme’ throughout it (sometimes referred to as a ‘branding message’) that expresses what the firm wants the world to know about working with the firm. In the case of Margolis Edelstein, the firm knew that, in an era of insurance companies’ interest in efficient delivery of legal services, it would be a valuable selling point to show that the firm meticulously tracked, measured, and efficiently used its hours in doing legal work for its clients. This resulted in developing the marketing phrase, “Measurably Better.” LISI and the firm then used this marketing theme throughout the site. It drove the decisions behind imagery choices and how we wrote text on many pages.

Validation sites are well-suited for firms that represent companies, institutions, and other larger entities. Examples are insurance-defense, corporate-litigation, business-side employment law, maritime, and securities law firms. These are firms trying to develop business from a generally more-sophisticated purchaser of legal representation than an average individual. These clients many times have general counsels or seasoned legal-services buyers that are looking to differentiate firms that have similar practices.

Other validation sites we have developed recently include those for New York-based Gallo Vitucci & Klar and the national firm of Rubin Fortunato.

Next month: Lead-generating websites