My partner doesn't want to invest in upgrading our website, because he says most of our referrals come via word of mouth. How can I convince him to change his mind?

In one respect, your partner is absolutely right. The fact is that when people want to hire a lawyer, the first thing they do is ask their friends, family or coworkers for a recommendation—if, that is, they don't happen to have a lawyer already, who can refer a colleague with the suitable specialty.

In another respect, though, your partner is dead wrong. Look at it this way: If nine out of your ten existing clients have found you via referrals, does that mean the tenth client is completely unimportant? That person represents (roughly) 10 percent of your business, and 10 percent often means the difference between a a profitable and an unprofitable practice. Also, the client who found you via your website or Yellow Pages ad also has a network of friends, family and coworkers, and if he drops out of the books you'll be losing all those potential references.

Your partner seems to be operating under a false premise, which is that upgrading your website requires a significant investment. The fact is that turning your website into a “winner”—by upgrading its graphics and improving the headlines and copy you post there—may require as little as a few thousand dollars, an investment that's well worth the potential return.

While you're at it, you should also convince your partner to place an ad in the Yellow Pages or upgrade the one that's already there. Yellow Pages referrals will still be a small part of your business, but can you afford to turn down a potentially lucrative client who comes to you from that source?

Marketing your law practice in the current competitive environment takes a lot of skill, tact and patience. Questions? Call the lawyer advertising experts at Great Legal Marketing today (888-791-2150) to learn more!

Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.