Weave your web by Frank Saxby, Burgess Mee

This article was originally featured as a column in the July issue of LPM. To read the issue in full, download LPM.

Is it just me or are headlines so often taken up with the ‘one thing’ approach to life? I constantly see articles entitled: “The one superfood you must have,” or “The one product to keep you young.” In our busy lives it’s very seductive to be assured that this one big thing is the panacea we’ve been seeking – no matter what the problem is – which is perhaps why this approach can also be seen in businesses such as law firms.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping things simple – just not simplistic. Focusing on one thing threatens a form of reductionism, a myopia, taking us away from broader integrated strategies – those patterns in a succession of decisions that are the key to innovation and growth in an everchanging environment.

This is not to say that sometimes doing one thing can’t make a difference – but as part of a wider whole. Contradiction? For sustained success, single actions must be reinforced, meaning integrating different aspects that support and strengthen one another. For example, many small and medium-sized law firms struggle with marketing. Attention to it often fluctuates with workload and loosely comprises some networking, often-expensive advertising, possibly an underused CRM and, of course, the required website.

Take that website – even with the advances in social media, it’s still often thought that just having one is good enough. Not so. This would be like attending fitness classes and watching rather than participating, but still expecting the beneficial results. It just doesn’t happen.

So, if the one big thing was to review your website, how might this be woven into a broader picture that can deliver tangible returns on your investment? Engaging in a thorough review of your website should prompt some critical selfexamination in some fundamental areas requiring you to ‘helicopter’ between strategic vision and ground level, hands-on implementation.

Take one aspect. Your website is your virtual shop window on the world – it is you on the web – but who are you, exactly? What is your firm’s brand or personality? Time spent questioning and determining this is time well-spent. It is an opportunity to create a specific perception in clients’ minds concerning the qualities and attributes of your legal services.

This is what you want your site visitors to think of when they see and hear about you, both factually and emotionally. It is instrumental in further stages of the website’s development, from its purpose and preferred communication through to actions from SEO to social media activity.

It doesn’t stop at that. Strategically and operationally there are implications for how client instructions are met, managed and undertaken. The external personality has to be complemented by that of the internal personality, cementing a culture of ‘what we say is what we do’ and so going round the loop, affirming client expectations and promoting the brand.

These are integrated actions that together have tangible beneficial returns on your investment. Perhaps the old saying “excellence is a thousand things done better, rather than one thing done well,” has it. 

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