When attorneys look at their own websites, they typically start at the “Home” page, read every word of content, move to the “Practice Areas” page, read every word of content, and so on. It’s a very sequential process.
Does seem to make sense, doesn't it? But here's the thing. Your prospects use your website differently.
Prospects might start on the “Home” page, but that’s where the similarities end. Prospects don’t read. They skim to find what’s relevant to them.
People Visit Your Website For One Of Two Reasons.
First, if they’re responding to paid advertising of some sort, or even a directory listing looking for a lawyer with a specific skill set, they’ll trying to find something specific.
Second, and more importantly, they want to validate that you’re real.
Let’s face it. Meeting an attorney is a scary thing. Before someone meets you in person, they’ll research you online. They’ll find out everything they can about you before they pick up the phone, send an email or fill out a form.
If they're not a client? What if they're a possible referral partner? Same thing. They're looking for information about you before they send business. Anticipating what the referral might see when that person looks you up.
You're being validated.
And that validation process begins when they read your bio on your “About” page. Quite possibly the most important page on the site.
What Kind Of Information Should Be In Your Bio?
Most attorneys provide a lot of data, but few provide information that’s actually relevant to their potential clients. Data isn't information. Data is facts and figures. Information is different.
Information is what they'll walk away with. And hoping your data - resume material - will convey the right message is leaving a lot to chance.
You’re trying to convey trust and authority, but you have to convey the right kind of trust and authority.
If you’re like 99.9% of attorneys we work with, your bio is a list of academic credentials and professional memberships. It might also include notable cases that you’ve won. Clients you've worked with.
What the bio typically does not include is... (drumroll please)... anything about the attorney as a human being.
Resume stuff is nice and all. But it doesn't make you human. It's cold. It doesn't let them know who you are. Your why.
And not some boring "fight for you" stuff that they've seen all over the place, or is so generic as to be forgettable.
To clients who haven't used an attorney before, lawyers are scary monsters. To referral partners, to strengthen bonds you need to relate to them as a person, not as a resume.
Humans want to bond with and do business with other humans, not monsters.
Instead of just listing your practice areas, explain why you practice in those practice areas.
Talk about your family and upbringing. Give people a reason to reach out to you on a human level. Make them believe you’re a real person who’s going to solve their problem.
Attorneys who humanize their bios get far better results than those who don’t.
In our training programs, I talk a lot about who I am. Why I do what I do. My family.
This helps me make more meaningful connections with our members. Human connections. They realize I’m an honest person, and I really do have their best interests in mind. If they don’t succeed, I don’t succeed. They get that.
And they’re much more likely to listen to and trust what I have to say.
For A Long Time, My Bio Sucked.
My bio used to sound just like every other attorney’s bio. Facts and figures. Client list.
It wasn’t until much later in my career that I realized my bio wasn’t resonating with prospects.
Instead of just listing academic credentials, I started explaining why I was different. What makes my practice different.
This has nothing to do with stale cliches like “big firm service at small firm prices” or “big enough to serve you but small enough to know you.” It has nothing to do with claiming to be responsive and willing to fight for your client.
Everyone can make those empty claims because nobody validates them. And so many make them, that they've become meaningless.
And guess what else? They're still left-brained, clinical statements. There's no real why.
Checklist for Rating Your Bio
Your bio should say something that no other attorney can say.
Here's a litmus test: If you can pretty much copy and paste your bio into another attorney’s bio and not notice the difference, it’s time for a change.
Follow this checklist to rate your bio:
1. Does it read like a resume?
Stories sell. Resumes snooze.
2. If you swapped out your name with another attorney, would it still be accurate?
If so, you’re too generic. And forgettable.
3. Will some people be turned off?
If not, if you're trying to appeal to everyone, you’re not being honest about who you are and who you represent. And who you do not represent. Polarizing is good here. I didn't say being a jerk. I said polarizing.
4. Will the reader know what to do next?
Don’t assume they know. Provide a call-to-action that explains what the next step should be.
Update Your Bio Everywhere It Lives
Your bio doesn’t just appear on your “About” page. Make sure you have a killer bio on LinkedIn, your Facebook page, Google profile, your Google+ page, Twitter, and any directories, like Avvo.
The best way to make sure you’re covered is to Google your name in quotes and make sure you've updated every place that comes up.
Make it relevant. Make it human. Make it specific. And make it unique.