Drive-by Shooting Special: Denver Motorcycle Lawyer

“I could never live here.” James squinted into the bright sun as he strapped on his helmet, sitting deep on the black rental motorbike between his legs. He’d be glad to get out of the airport parking lot. Denver International was a far cry from the woods of back home.

“Ready. And hey, thanks for arranging this,” he grinned over at Kelly, perched on her own red motorbike and looking a little wobbly. “I thought you would’ve come with the mini-van.”

“After that week of sub-zero temperatures at your place, it’s still recovering. Give it a break,” she rolled her eyes, thinking of how she could’ve rented a brand-new SUV for this hit instead of a pair of bikes to make James happy.

Ah well. At least she got to lead him around the city like a queen.
By the time they steered into the business district and found a place to park the bikes, Kelly was feeling ready to take down this lawyer on their hit list. She dropped one slim leather boot to the ground, lifted her helmet off her head, and scanned the scene.

It was quiet. Too quiet.

Today’s hit is for Denver Motorcycle Lawyer, the site of Denver attorney Scott O’Sullivan. Here’s what the site looked like when we drove by:

“This is the place… I think this is the place, anyway.” Kelly’s voice trailed off as she looked at the tall steel building. It was narrow – too narrow for today’s modern buildings that took up more real estate.

“This is it. It’s full of signs.” James pointed them out, sounding more confident than Kelly felt. “It has to be the right address.” He pulled out a blue post-it note from his pocket and checked again. “I think this is right…” Now he wasn’t sure either, but then his jaw set. “C’mon, we’re going in anyway.”

That minute of uncertainty is the first question mark for a new visitor to the site. The domain name is nicely SEOd as denver-motorcycle-lawyer, but that doesn’t quite match the title on the site’s home page, which seems to be O’Sullivan Law Firm. We went from lawyer to firm in the blink of an eye. Consistency would be good to eliminate that “am I in the right place?” question people might have.

Also, if we glance at the browser tab’s identity, it reads, “Colorado Motorcycle Accident Lawyer | Denver Motorcycle Accident Attorneys | Denver Motorcycle Injury Lawyers.” That’s a heck of a mouthful, and it swings from one lawyer to more than one quickly, adding a touch more confusion. Is this site for one guy or a bunch of guys?

Having good SEO in place so that Google and its searchers can find you is critically important. We’d still like to see more consistency and have firmer branding for your name. Try to make sure you’re keeping a new visitor oriented while still using those key SEO phrases, which will help to make the site seem more legit. To a web-savvy visitor, those keyword-laden phrases can look like this is a junk website, so get your name in front of the keywords.

The domain name, denver-motorcycle-lawyer.com, is tricky. Ordinarily we wouldn’t want to see a site name that’s not the same as the company name, but in this particular case, search engine optimization has to rule. With page titles doing a good job of assuring visitors they’re at the right place to solve their problem, you’ll be fine.

The minute they walked into the lobby, they knew they were in the right place. There were clear signs on doors and everything told them that this motorcycle guy kept his office here. The big blue logo hung from the ceiling, large enough that no one – absolutely no one at all – could miss it. There was no mistaking this hit – there were crystal-clear markers everywhere to tell him they’d found their man.

Let’s begin with site meta and get that out of the way. Meta may not carry much weight anymore, but it still helps a bit and it’s good to put every chance on your side. You’ve done a great job here.

Meta keywords help people find your site. When people type what they’re looking for into Google or another search engine, keywords may help your site show up in the returns for their search term. Your keywords are so well chosen that there’s no mistaking what you do or offer at this site. Well done on that! You’re nearly a role model of what everyone should do in regards to choosing keywords. They’re relevant, targeted and well defined.

The meta description for your site is the text that visitors see below your link when they do a search in Google and possible matches are returned. This is your first contact with potential visitors, and it helps you to earn that very first click through to your site. To encourage them to visit, this mini-pitch for your site has to be interesting, unique, and empathic—thinking about what the reader wants to know, delivering a sound bite in language that speaks to their immediate needs.

Your meta description reads: “Scott O’Sullivan is a Denver lawyer who specializes in personal injury from motorcycle accidents. He used to work for the big insurance companies, now he works for you. Call for a free consultation.”

This is one of the best uses of meta data that we’ve ever reviewed here at Men With Pens. You’ve got the ideal—targeted, specific words and phrases, using terms a visitor might search with and a pitch that encourages them to click through. Awesome.

They rode up to the 13th floor, helmets in hand and feeling comfortable. But that comfort level dropped a few notches when the elevator doors opened up.

The reception area was cold and grey. The blues smacked of business – not bikers. James noticed one guy sitting on a long blue sofa next to a smiling portrait of the owner and he couldn’t help but feel like he shouldn’t make any noise.

“It doesn’t add up,” James whispered, leaning closer to Kelly, looking at the corporate office furniture and layout, then down at his worn black leathers. “I thought we’d blend right in, but I’m feeling out of place.”

Kelly hadn’t gotten much into the gear beyond a jacket and a new pair of boots, and now she was glad of it because she could shrug off the jacket and feel more at home. The place seemed non-traditional for a motorcyclist because it was so… well, traditional.

“I guess one of us has to be the black sheep that’s out of place. Today it’s you, darlin’,” she told James. “You like to roar in and there is no roar here. Deal.”

James furrowed his brows and shuffled on his feet. “It feels like we don’t belong.”

And that’s a major problem with the site. The design is too timid and too corporate looking for a target market of people who want to feel a little bit badass and who ride motorbikes. The quiet grey and blue scheme, the calming, traditional layout…  Everything’s just as expected.

For these potential clients, though, that’s a no-no. A site for motorcyclists who’ve been injured still remains a site targeting motorcyclists, and the key is to capture their attention and make them feel some bond of identity, like this is the right place for them. The design really needs to appeal to their senses with some boldness.

While your target market group isn’t the ZZ Top style of bikers or the revving crotch rocket speed demons, it does need to have a biker theme to it. Go with a color scheme that’s more dynamic and alive, and opt for a design that has a little bit of grit and grunge to it. Not much – just a touch. Reaching people who have white- and blue-collar jobs and who like to kick back on weekends means appealing to that tougher weekend persona – which isn’t a theme that reminds them of the boardroom or the office.

“Huh.” James had wandered over to the portrait and he was examining it absently. “Nice looking guy. Who do you think he is?”

Kelly peered and pointed to the name at the bottom. “That’s him. That’s our hit.”

James blinked. “You’re kidding me. But he looks so… well, so nice. Are you sure he’s a lawyer for bikers?”

One element that really struck us is your portrait. We like that it’s prominent, letting visitors feel connected to you instead of feeling handled by some huge anonymous firm, but… it’s just too sweet and welcoming.

You see, your potential client is a motorcyclist who has been injured in an accident and needs your legal expertise. It’s not his (or her) best day when he (or she) realizes this, for a lot of reasons. That potential client may feel quite a bit like fighting, and they need to see that fight in their lawyer.

Ditch the smile. It’s a great smile, it really is, but on the day a potential client comes to you, he (or she) is more likely to appreciate a (slightly) fierce, serious-winner’s look from you. Confidence. Maybe even a touch of arrogance. Something that tells them you are right there with them in style and in emotions, and that you’ll fight for them in their upcoming battles.

Make having a very compelling, professional portrait taken a high priority. And if you ride a motorcycle yourself, get a picture of you sitting on it or holding your helmet. Show people you’re just like them, cool and a little fierce.

And that’s what the site needs in general. Some fierceness. Some roar. Move past the traditional elements that play well to corporate clients.

Get down and talk personally to the people you hope to attract. Bring in a powerful signature color. Create more visual hierarchy: accent some elements, play down others. Right now there’s a sameness to all the elements (something lawyer sites are notoriously known for) that led Kelly to completely miss both the telephone number at the top of the page and the contact form on the side on her first sweep.

James’ reaction wasn’t much better – his thoughts were, “Just another lawyer site.”

By the way, the home page isn’t calling a visitor to action. Well, it is, but those calls to action are too subtle and quiet to get immediate attention from a visitor with a short attention span (as we all have when we visit new sites). Help direct visitors where you want them to go.

For example, instead of that “Contingency Fee” box, why not have a “Recent Accident Victim? Click here,” box. The “Free Consultation” is good, but that text needs to pack more punch. Just a simple “you have nothing to lose. Call today,” is really all you need there.

Another place to create more impact is on the photo taglines. The blurred out photo next to your portrait isn’t the best, so switch it out for something clearer, and change that header to carry more firm authority. “Get your life back together,” for example or maybe something like, “I help you get back on the road where you belong.” (Caution, though – some people may not want to get back on the road at all after a bike accident.)

“Kelly, I… Kelly?” James had lost her. She’d gone off to find her way around, check the doors, investigate how they’d get into the big guy’s office. Everything was clearly marked and she found the path she wanted easily.

“One thing’s for sure, he doesn’t leave you with any questions,” she commented when she came back to James in the lobby. “Every door has a clear label on it. There’s no mistaking what each room will be. I didn’t even have to open any doors,” she noted. “But the place is pretty low-key. It feels almost like this guy doesn’t want any more business than he’s got.”

The layout, as well as the too-soothing design, is responsible for this feeling. When redesigning, get a bold new contact form above the fold (visible without scrolling) and ditch the small one down in the side. Make it very, very easy for people to get in touch with you – the client you’re looking for needs you almost to insist on him contacting you, right away. Don’t just mildly inquire how you can help them in the sidebar.

“I’m dying to dial that phone number,” James pointed to the sign above the receptionist’s desk. “I wonder how long it takes someone to answer me. You know, lawyers don’t really care. They pretty much forget about you, because you’re not their priority.”

“I know what you mean,” Kelly nodded. “But this place… I think this guy really cares. He seems to, anyways. He just needs to show more that he’s the person for you. You always do get excited when you find a professional that’s just as casual, laid back and cool as you are,” Kelly’s mouth twisted in a smile.

“Wanna bet?” James pulled out his cell and dialed – and he was surprised when the man in the portrait answered personally. No matter how many questions he asked, he got patient replies, too. It was great.

Kelly, meanwhile, had discovered the hall that led to Scott’s office. “Keep him talking,” she whispered back at James.

“No problem,” James whispered back, covering the phone with a hand. “Explaining, this guy can do.”

And you explain well. In the content area, you have plenty of information that potential clients might want to know – but not too much information, which is good. The typeface is black on white, easy to read, though we would like to see the size of the type increased to make that content more readable for your target market. People over 35 tend to squint at small fonts. The styling is somewhat plain, too. It could use more visual interest.

Don’t feel you’re being too salesy by getting right to the point, either. At many sites readers may browse around and look over their options or want to learn about the subject matter. Motorcycle accidents and the needs afterward being sudden, visitors who arrive at your site aren’t browsing or coming for education. They’ve come to you for a pressing need.

So go ahead and make contacting you super-obvious and easy. For instance, instead of “How may we help you,” the new (and bolder!) contact form might reassure your potential clients and let them know they won’t have long to wait. For example, “We’re ready to help. Contact us with a brief description of the issue you’re facing, and we’ll get back to you within one business day.”

The web copy itself is a bigger concern. It’s informative, and it does address concerns, but it’s just not selling. It’s (again) too soft and soothing trying not to ripple waves. It’s okay. You can make a few waves here, because these people need you now.

Be more concise, have a more confident tone, and use excitement and urgency in your web copy so that it catches attention quickly and pulls visitors toward the inevitable step of contacting you.

Straddling a conservative profession and a more liberal clientele may seem like a tall order, but it’s really a simple choice. Attorneys aren’t your target market. There’s no straddle here to worry about. You obviously have a great command of the issues your clients face. (We peeked—the navigation leads to tons of good information.)

With a design and copy overhaul to speak more to your ideal client and to that person’s style and needs, the motorcyclists you work with every day, we believe you’ll be seeing a lot more leather in the lobby.

“What the…? Ah, NO!” The phone died in James’ hand – the battery. He looked frustrated for a moment but just then, the firm’s receptionist returned from lunch. She was talkative, he was friendly and easily distracted…

By the time Kelly returned from her mission, James was describing his fabulous ride on the bike to a rapt audience of one. Kelly shot him a glare and flew to the elevator as discreetly as she could, hoping the trickle of red on her right pant leg wasn’t obvious.

“Oops – gotta go,” James gave the receptionist one last flashy smile and chased after Kelly, the elevator doors closing on another drive-by adventure.

“You got some on your leg,” James pointed. So much for hoping it didn’t show. “And what are you wearing? Where’s your jacket?”

Kelly smiled as she looked down at Scott’s suit jacket, searching in his pocket for a tissue to wipe away the worst of the drips. “He needed that leather more than I did. And we had to make a point. Don’t worry, he feels better now. Reformed.” She tried to clean her pant leg. “See if you can jam the elevator for a second, will you?”

James stopped on the second floor and held the door open with his foot to prevent it from closing until Kelly was ready to go down. She was talking away about how great Scott was and how her jacket had fitted him like a glove and how she thought there was some great potential for his office.

To James, it just seemed she was in no hurry at all while he pictured security guards coating the ground floor lobby before they even tried to escape.

“You should have seen him, Jamie. He was more upset about me taking his jacket and forcing him to wear mine instead than having paint all over his chest.” Kelly pulled a small gun out of the top of her boot.  “Do you know how hard it is to spell BANG with a paint gun, by the way?”

The elevator blared its alarm for being held open too long. “Damn! Oh, man, I can’t stand that noise!” James cursed, clapping his hands over his ears and yanking his foot back just as Kelly threw her gun out before the elevator doors slammed shut.

Down they went to the lobby, and while Scott’s suit jacket draped over Kelly’s figure didn’t help the pair to blend as they walked to where they’d parked their motorcycles, it didn’t stop her obsessing about the stain on her leg. “You think it’ll come out?”

“I don’t care,” James hissed, now paranoid that any minute, the cops would surround them. “Just never mind and get on the bike.”

“Stupid guns,” she shot back as they got ready to race off. “They ought to be rated for more than a few shots before they start leaking all over you. I wonder if they have a website?”

“Heaven help ‘em if they do,” James muttered, pulling his helmet firmly down around his ears to end the conversation.

If you’re ready to learn why your website or web copy isn’t working as hard as it could be and get suggestions for improvements to help draw in new clients and customers, book your drive-by critique into our schedule.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. I like the way you weaved lessons in SEO and customer experience throughout an engaging drive by.

    I’m glad Kelly went with the pair of bikes … it’s always good to make James happy.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..How To Use a Coach Effectively =-.

  2. JD—

    She tries 😉
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..I’d Like to Buy a Cheat (and So Would You) =-.

  3. Scott O'Sullivan says:

    Dear James and Kelly:

    Thanks for the great drive-by. When I initially set up the site we were looking to keep it consistent with my main site http://www.osullivan-law-firm.com. I agree that I need to make it a more stand alone type site and change the overall feel of the site. I have been helping injured riders for 14 years with no advertising or marketing towards riders and decided last year to actually try and reach them through the internet.

    I’ll get to work on the photo issue asap. I never wear a suit to work unless I am in a deposition or in court. Most days I go to work in business casual or in jeans. Clearly, I need to reflect this in the motorcycle site.

    Colors of the site. This is where it gets tricky. I try to stay away from the typical motorcycle site that uses Harley colors. But I do agree that I need darken it up more. Any suggestions?

    After reviewing all of my motorcycle cases from this past 2 years, all but one called me from the hospital. So I completely agree with the need for a call to action. I am considering removing the flash content from the home page because flash can cause problems with peoples mobile devises like smart phones. Which means I need to get brain around a tag line on the opening page and I’m not really a tag line kind of guy.

    Thanks again,

    Scott

  4. Wow u guys r so good! Picking out things I never even would have thought of! And i neither have a site or a business. Luv ur train of thought

  5. James, I don’t know where I’ve been but this is the first time I’ve read one of your critiques. It’s all in the storytelling isn’t it! Love the combo approach you are using with these. You’re such a bad-ass.

  6. Shane—You have been totally missing out, my friend. We rock these babies out. 🙂

    Scott,

    Two of the best-in-class sites I took a brief look at when we were prepping this hit (can’t help it, an experience designer’s got to do a little research even if it doesn’t get used in the hit) were http://www.russbrown.com/ and http://lawtigers.com/ .

    Not saying you’d want to go as far as either of them have gone with the theme. (And in my opinion both of them could be quite a bit better, best-in-class though they may be.) But they give you an idea of how to stay professional yet push the envelope.

    Also, keep in mind that Harley’s color scheme is one of those deeply embedded… memes, if you like, that there’s really no sense in fighting strongly. If you can get yourself a leg up and instantly create affinity with (subtle) additions of some accents that create community among bikers, why wouldn’t you? It’s like a shorthand for “I understand you.”

    A note that didn’t really fit within the scope of this hit is that I think niching this tightly in law is underused and has great potential. May you see fantastic results with it.

    Regards,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..I’d Like to Buy a Cheat (and So Would You) =-.

  7. Scott O'Sullivan says:

    Kelly:

    After reading your drive-by last night I dug out my old leathers from the closet. I’m still trying to figure out which will work best for me in a photo. And by the way I was more than happy to let you have my suit jacket. You must have caught me on a day I was in court. Thanks for leaving your jacket. 🙂

    Thanks for the suggestions on color and theme. We are working on the colors this week and we’ll see what we come up with. I agree that the Harley colors are so ingrained in the motorcycle world that I probably shouldn’t fight it.

    Since I have been helping riders for so long I decided to try this stand alone site just for them. I am not a high volume law firm. I like to work with each client individually so it seemed like specifically targeting clients who I like to work with and have had great results for was a no brainer. The hard part is making the site work so I can reach out to those injured riders.

    Thanks and I hope the stain came out.

    Scott

  8. Scott,

    LOL—No problem. The jacket belonged to an old boyfriend. Probably suits you better. 😉
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..I’d Like to Buy a Cheat (and So Would You) =-.

  9. Ian Walker says:

    Hey great way to create the awareness for the SEO, when someone studying your post who is unfamiliar with SEO can understand the importance of it.

  10. Scott O'Sullivan says:

    Dear James and Kelly:

    Well, I took a lot of what James and Kelly to heart and redesigned the site. To take a look visit it at http://www.denver-motorcycle-lawyer.com. We are waiting till the weather gets better to shoot some new photos of me and some of my motorcycle clients. Thanks again for all your input.

    Scott

  11. Scott…

    Holy freakin’ wow.

    I mean…

    Wow. Yeah. That’s… wow.

    I love this.

  12. Scott,

    This is what I love about my side job as a hit man. You really did take it to heart.

    Rock on. I wish you well!
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Inspiration Points: Ogilvy Hits the Sweet Spot =-.

  13. I think you are right on the content, but there are so many freaking factors to websites, that is hard to determine what will be successful. Lawyers sites seem generic and there are so many of them, but the law is pretty much the same and there is little distinction between law firms. There are also restrictions on content because there are laws that limit and restrict what lawyers can advertise.

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