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A call to action (CTA) is an essential feature of any website that hopes to convert its visitors into clients. Calls to action have become increasingly important in a world of short attention spans where people decide in a matter of seconds whether to act or move on to the next website.

For attorneys, the ultimate goal of a CTA is to encourage a prospect to take the decisive step toward using their law firm’s services.

Some of the most common CTAs on lawyer sites are invitations to call, schedule a free consultation, fill in a contact form or download an ebook. While the content of a website showcases an attorney’s qualifications, experience and problem-solving abilities, it is the CTA that ultimately compels potential clients to pick up the phone or share their information.

However, simply having a “submit” form button or a “contact us” section does not guarantee that prospects will take action instead of leaving the website. An effective CTA is one that is concise, clear and compelling. There are many factors that go into creating a CTA that entices potential clients to complete the conversion process.

What makes an effective CTA?

While CTAs may take various forms such as a button, link, graphic or banner, those that adhere to established best practices are more likely to be successful. In general, CTAs should be visually attractive and worded in a way that organically flows with the content on the rest of the webpage.

Even if a CTA meets all the criteria above, it may still fail to achieve the desired results if website visitors do not know what they should do or how they will benefit from responding.

For example, the Lyft homepage has two buttons with the text “Sign Up to Drive” and “Become a Driver” that effectively direct the visitor to the step they should be taking. Clicking on one or the other brings up different forms for the individual to fill out.

Focus on the value your CTA provides by communicating what the prospect should expect after calling your firm or submitting a form. Will you reply with a call or an email? If so, when are they likely to hear from you? If a potential client requests a consultation, tell them exactly what the initial meeting will entail.

Timing is another key factor in the conversion process. Ask website visitors to respond to a CTA at the wrong time during their online journey, and they might turn away. Some legal websites go too far by using techniques that may actually alienate prospective clients instead of converting them. If a visitor is greeted with a popup live chat box that says “Can we help you?” upon landing on the website’s homepage, they are more likely to click away rather than choose the “yes” button in response to the intrusive question being asked.

In cases like this, the popup may have come at a point when the prospect was simply not ready to take action. They were not given the chance to read the website content and see how that particular law firm would be able to solve their legal problems. The last thing you want to do is spam a potential client with a CTA they are not ready for nor interested in.

Lawyer websites should also offer visitors more than one way to connect with them as not everyone will want to reach a law firm in the same way. Some people may want to call, while others may prefer to get in touch via email. By providing multiple types of CTAs, you are likely to have higher conversion rates as everyone will find a method of communication that is easy and comfortable for them.

Additionally, remember that many people enter attorney websites through their practice area pages rather than the homepage. Make sure to display an easily accessible CTA on every page so that visitors have options to act no matter where they are. Otherwise, they may simply leave without taking any action to contact you.

Why Does language matter?

The words or phrases chosen to craft a CTA must strike a chord with visitors and convince them to act. For that reason, the language on the website should be engaging to the prospect.

Consider experimenting with different words to determine which yield the best results for your target audience. For example, for law firms that handle criminal defense, overly lighthearted language may be a turn off for potential clients. It may give rise to the perception that you do not take their problems seriously.

On the other hand, using a word like “consultation” in the CTA may be intimidating to the average person. They may be deterred from responding out of uncertainty as to what the consultation involves. Instead, a direct phrase like “talk to a lawyer” may yield better conversions.

Calls to action should also strive to use informative text in order to attract attention from leads. The words “download” or “click here” are much less detailed than the impactful alternatives “get my free ebook” or “register here for a case evaluation.”

In addition to using action-oriented words, attorneys should connect the CTA with website content that discusses how their law firm solves clients’ cases and addresses their legal concerns. No one is going to submit a contact form or book a free consultation if they have not been convinced you will meet their needs.

Role of design elements

There are multiple design elements that can have an impact on a CTA’s performance. In order to compel website visitors to contact your law firm, the CTA must be presented prominently on your site. Some visual aspects to keep in mind and play around with include color, size and placement within the webpage.

Not only does the position of your CTA in relation to other screen elements matter, but so does the negative space around it. Using such space to create contrast with surrounding content can help your CTA stand out. The Google homepage is a prime example of how white space gives the message an eye-catching quality.

While vibrant colors are effective for drawing attention, be careful of overdoing it with garish or jarring hues that clash with your website’s overall aesthetics. One way to decide which color to use for the CTA button or text is to pick a hue that contrasts from the website’s color palette. For instance, if a law firm website uses pale greens and beige tones, the CTA may be a bright blue. The different color sets it apart from the rest of the website.

The size of the CTA also matters. Visually, it needs to be noticeable on the webpage while still being proportionate to the site’s overall design. While a larger button or banner is sure to stand out more and be easy to read for users, it may detract attention from the main content on the page. The key is to find a happy medium that ensures the CTA is bold and obvious, yet not overpowering.

An effective CTA is one that is visually appealing and utilizes powerful language to encourage website visitors to use your law firm’s services. However, it should never come across as manipulative to prospective clients. Rather than simply focusing on conversion, also think about perception. How does the CTA reflect on your law firm’s brand? Only testing and careful planning will determine whether it will produce desirable results, even if you have followed every best practice.

About Author

Dipal Parmar is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine and legal content developer for mid-sized to large law firms.

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