Episode 134 – Urban Myths About Law Firm Phone Numbers

Episode 134 – Urban Myths About Law Firm Phone Numbers

Today’s episode will bust all the myths about law firm phone numbers. Do “vanity” phone numbers still work? Should you have local or toll free number?

Listen to the audio below where I’ve answered all these questions.


Hello, this is Richard Jacobs from Speakeasy Authority Marketing. Today, I’m going to talk to you about phone numbers on your website and several important things you should know, several urban myths I am going to clear up about Google and your phone numbers. So here we go. First of all, you want to have your phone number, your contact phone number, be a local number, local meaning the area code, local not necessarily meaning the exchange, which is the second set of three digits in the number. The reason why is that here’s how people find numbers: they’ll go to the web. They’ll use their Smartphone about 70% of the time now. That’s what stats are showing me across all clients. They’ll come to a site, they’ll Google someone’s name, and they’ll touch the number and call 800 numbers—888 numbers are more a relic from the past and the impression that they give is that you’re not a local firm, that you may be a national one or that it’s going to go to an answering service. And this is based on direct feedback from potential clients that we’ve talked to that have called law firms, about 50 of them. So we’ve done like a mini-survey or a mini-study you could say. So that’s the impression. When they see a local area code number, there is no, there is no cognitive dissonance, and they’ll tend to call the firm without any hesitation; but, having an 800 number and 888 number actually puts people off a little bit, unless you truly are a national firm; but even then, you should have local numbers for some of your locations.

Secondly, vanity numbers: this is a big topic. Vanity numbers used to be great—1-800-dial-DUI, that kind of stuff. They don’t really work anymore because no one really keeps numbers in their head. You don’t even know your own phone number half the time and your wife’s phone number. You just use your phone and that’s your brain—call John Smith and it calls them, or you just look them up or you type their name in or a fragment in their name and it calls them. So vanity numbers do not have the pull they used to at all. They actually hurt you and here is how they hurt you.

If your number is 516-call-DUI, and that’s on your website instead of the actual numbers, someone can’t touch that on a mobile phone and have the number loaded with the dial screen, so it’s causing you a problem. It’s putting an obstacle in the way from people to call you. You don’t want to do that. Even though it seems like a pathetic obstacle that easily is overcome, you’ll be amazed at how lazy people are online, and the slightest thing that makes people work, they’ll just leave and go to another website. So don’t put vanity numbers on your site. They are not going to help. You can give them to people if you want, maybe even by the phone, but that’s no good either. If you notice on payphones, they used to have the letters underneath each number, but on some Smartphones, they don’t have that. And so people are not going to sit there and say, “Hmm, what number is P, what number is L,” so I would avoid vanity numbers altogether.

Here is another thing: remembering your number. Maybe some clients will remember your number. Most of them won’t and here’s how I know this: we do phone tracking for well over 100 firms. A lot of the attorneys say, “yes, that call that you tracked, that was a current client. They called my number,” or, “court personnel are calling me on the tracking number in addition to leads.” Why are they doing that? Because they don’t remember the numbers. They use Google for that. Google is their brain, their extended brain. What’s that judge’s number? Just Google them. What’s that court officer’s number? Just Google them. What’s that attorney’s number? Just Google them. That’s how people do stuff nowadays. They don’t remember because they don’t have to. So thinking that “Oh man, if I change my phone number, I am going to miss out on all these clients and leads,” it’s really not going to happen. I mean you may have a few, so fine, keep your number if you want but get a new number and forward to that number so you can do call tracking or so you can change the number or whatever. Don’t be afraid of letting go of old numbers, or if you want to keep them, fine, but you may not want that number to be the main number in your site, and don’t let it stop you from changing your number.

So these are a lot of the urban legends surrounding numbers. Here’s another one: if I change my number, Google is not going to be able to find my site and it’s going to hurt my rankings. Well, there are two sides to this. Yes, if you just change your number on your website and nowhere else, sure, there’s going to be a difference in your name, address, phone number—a block called the NAP block—on your site versus everywhere else. But if you change the number on your site to do tracking and then your SEO company, or you or your web guy, make sure that number is changed everywhere else on the web, which takes a little bit of work but can be done, you’ll be fine. You’re not going to lose any rankings. Everything can migrate. It’s not a big deal. And again, we’ve done this for many clients, so I’m am not just speculating; this is the actual truth.

So these are all the urban myths I’ve seen around phone numbers. I hope this helps shine light on what’s going on. So just make sure, like I said, regards to your numbers: they are on the top right of every single page of your site, they’re not a vanity number, they’re touchable so that number can load up into your dial screen because mobile is now 70% of all traffic, and that should allay your fears. If you want more information on marketing, if you want a professional assessment of your website to find the areas where it can be improved, email me—Richard.Jacobs@speakeasymarketinginc.com—or call 888-225-8594. Thank you.


Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)