Coronavirus and Your Small Law Firm: How to Make Announcements on Your LawLytics Website
In light of recent developments related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), several attorneys have asked how to make changes to their law firm’s website to reflect court closures, office hours, remote work status, and more.
Below, we cover some ways to clearly communicate with clients and potential clients about your availability during this time, as well as recommendations for how to use your LawLytics website to communicate these messages.
How to communicate with clients and potential clients about COVID-19-related physical office closures
During this time of physical distancing, clear communication with your clients and potential clients is more important than ever. Here are some things that you can communicate to your potential clients and clients to ensure that they know you are available and ready to assist them:
1. OUR FIRM IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS: We recommend using the word "firm" and not "office". The word "office" can have an unclear meaning to a client or potential client. For example, if you indicate that "Our office is closed," it may lead potential clients and clients to believe that your firm is closed temporarily (and that you are not to be contacted during this time) or that your firm is closed permanently. People often equate the term “our office” to mean “our business.” (Example: "We are closed for business right now.")
2. WE ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP YOU: This needs to be made clear as the second thing that the reader sees. You’re open and you are ready to help.
3. TO OUR CURRENT CLIENTS: Address current clients first. Consider saying something like “We are actively working for you, and we are here to answer questions and help you as needed, so don’t hesitate to reach out.”
4. WE ARE ACCEPTING NEW CLIENTS: After you have addressed your current clients, address potential clients: “We are available to talk with you, to help you understand whether we are the right firm for you, right now. And if we are, we can get started now or as soon as you are ready.”
5. WE ARE AVAILABLE FOR ZOOM MEETINGS AND PHONE CALLS: This tells potential clients and clients exactly how they will be able to interact with you. In talking about how they will meet with you first, before you talk about your physical office being closed, you are answering the question that’s on their mind rather than focusing on something that’s out of your control.
6. WE ARE TEMPORARILY WORKING FROM HOME: It's important to say this -- but say it last. It’s the same thing as saying that your physical office is closed, but it is said in a positive and empowering way. We recommend saying something to the effect of “We made the decision to temporarily work from home instead of at the office. That decision was made to protect you and our staff, and to do our part to help flatten the curve and prevent community spread. Even though we’re working from home, we are operating at full capacity and we’re here to help you.”
7. HERE’S HOW YOU CAN EASILY CONTACT US: Describe the ways that your clients can contact you, and make it simple.
Note: It is important to craft a concise, clearly written message with the above points that everybody in your firm agrees to -- both in terms of the wording and message, and also in terms of a commitment to action and availability. It’s best to use the same message in all of your communications about your availability because even subtle wording changes can create the perception of inconsistency and cause confusion and hesitation in your clients.
The more you can be a voice of clarity for your clients and potential clients during this time, the more creditability and respect you’ll earn. And the converse is also true. So put yourself in your clients’ shoes as you craft your message.
Below, we discuss several ways to use your LawLytics website to announce changes at your law firm to your potential and current clients.
Add an announcement to your website’s sliders
If your LawLytics website has sliders in its layout, you may want to use them to announce changes at your firm.
To make changes to your sliders, navigate to your website's homepage from the LawLytics Control Panel. You can navigate to your homepage by clicking "Sites" from the blue "Publish" menu.
From there, select your site and select your homepage from the menu on the left. (An example is shown below.)
Once you've selected your homepage from the menu on the left, scroll to the bottom of the page in the content editor. Here, you'll see a section marked "Slider Options." Click on the blue link marked "Custom Slides."
You'll be taken to a menu that details the available slides in your slide carousel. In this section, you'll be given the option to title the slide, add body text, link to an internal page, select the slider image, and more. (Note: To see other slides in your slide carousel, simply scroll down.)
To change the image, select "Change Image" in the Selected Image box.
When you've selected the image from your media library that you'd like to use as a slider image, click the word "Done" in the lower right-hand corner.
When you're done updating or changing your slider images, scroll to the bottom of the window and select the green "Save" button. (Note: If you'd like to add more slides to your slider carousel, select "Add Slide" to add a new slide to the carousel.)
To see the updated slides reflected on your LawLytics site, select "Publish Changes" from the main homepage content editor.
Add information to your contact page
Another way that you can educate your potential clients and clients about how your availability during this time is to add information to your contact page.
To add information to your contact page, navigate to the navigate to your website's contact from the LawLytics Control Panel. You can navigate to your contact page by clicking "Sites" from the blue "Publish" menu.
From there, select your site and select your contact page from the menu on the left.
When you are done editing your contact page body text, select "Publish Changes" from the main contact page content editor to make your changes go live.
Add a new blog post
You may also want to add a new blog post to your LawLytics site that provides more detail to potential clients and clients about how your office is operating during this time.
To add a new blog post, click on the first blue icon labeled, "New Blog Post."
You can also hover over the “Publish” menu at the top in the blue bar, then click “Blogging” in the black bar underneath.
In the left sidebar, you’ll see a list of all your blog posts. Blog posts are added in reverse chronological order -- newest first -- in the left sidebar. At the top of this list, you’ll see a green “New” button. To access the blog post content editor, click "New."
After publishing your blog post, keep in mind that you can also announce your post to social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter). To learn how to announce your posts to social media, click here.
Add information to your office location(s) page
Another way that you can educate your potential clients and clients about how your office will be operating during this time is to add information to your office location(s) page.
To add information to your contact page, navigate to the Office Locations tab in the LawLytics Control Panel. Hover over the Publish link in the blue menu at the top of your screen, and select “Offices” from the black menu underneath.
When you open the Offices tab, you’ll open a list of all your locations in the left sidebar and a unique editor on the right side.
To make changes to your office location(s), select the office you’d like to make changes to and click the blue “Edit” button. From here, you can make changes to your office hours, let your clients and potential clients know if your contact information has changed, or add other relevant information in the text box marked “About this Office”. When you’re done, click the green “Publish Changes” button.
Other Places to Communicate Your Message to Your Clients
Here are some ideas about where to communicate your message to clients and potential clients. This is not an exhaustive list, so if you have other platforms or means of communication, make sure you think them through and address them accordingly.
1. A personalized email to your clients: We recommend you conclude the email with a personal invitation to chat. This will create a lot of goodwill.
3. In your email newsletters: If you do email newsletters, keep them coming during this time. If you’re doing them monthly or quarterly in normal times, consider temporarily upping the cadence to weekly and sending your list useful information that is relevant to them regarding the current crisis. Don’t make your availability message the focus of your newsletters, but do include it at the bottom of each newsletter as a reminder that you’re open and here to help.
4. In physical letters: If you normally communicate with your clients through the US mail, don’t stop now. Do a mail merge and let every client have a physical copy of your availability policy. And be sure to personally sign it. A signature from the attorney with whom the client has (or had) the relationship is better than a secretary or paralegal’s signature if possible. If an employee is preparing the letters for you from home, make sure that they have a digital copy of your signature that they can add to the letter before running the mail merge and printing.
5. In auto-attendant greetings and voicemail greetings: Make sure that, when a client or potential client calls your office and gets an automated system, that system, in a friendly voice from somebody in your firm, tells them about your availability. Normally shorter is better for voice greetings, but in this case, it’s better to err on the side of longer and include all relevant information. Your clients will understand.
6. In email footers: Add your message below the signature in your emails. While this might get lengthy along with any other disclaimers you typically include, again, during this time, your clients will understand.
7. Email autoresponders: Be super careful when it comes to autoresponders. Do not enable an auto-responder that says to be patient with you unless your time to read and respond to emails, is delayed more than usual. And if it is, be honest and include your general availability message along with setting clear expectations as to when they can respect a response to their email. If you are delayed, if possible, provide an alternative contact for urgent matters.
Do’s and Don’ts for Communicating New Developments on Your LawLytics Website
Here are a few more quick tips on how to use your “virtual office” to update visitors about new developments.
|Don't put a long message in the Navigation Title of a page.||Do keep your menu titles short to avoid crowding the menu.|
|Don't delete or completely rewrite existing pages because of current events.||Do add a message to the top or bottom of the page that reflects current circumstances.|
|Don't change practice area icons on your homepage without assistance from our Support team. Doing so may break elements of your site.||Please ask for assistance from our Support team if you need to change practice area icons and/or you are shifting your practice areas because of current events. (We're happy to help!)|
|Don't delete or unpublish your office location because your physical office is temporarily unavailable to potential clients and clients.||Do add information about your current availability using the steps described in the article above.|
We are here to assist and guide our attorney members during this challenging time. If you have any questions about making changes to your LawLytics website, please contact our support team by submitting a support ticket or calling us at 800-713-0161.