Guide

A New Way for Clients to Find Your Solo / Small Firm: Branded Self-Help Tools

Consumer surveys suggest that most clients will find your solo/small firm through a referral from a trusted source (e.g. family, friend, another lawyer). This makes interpersonal ties a valuable asset and something worth investing in today. The "problem", however, is that interpersonal ties take time to build. What can you do today to increase the likelihood of clients finding you tomorrow? The answer is online marketing.

After trusted referrals, online marketing is the #2 most likely method by which clients will discover your firm. To be clear, "online marketing" does not simply mean ads; it includes everything that falls under the umbrella of a web presence (website, social media, blogs, association ties, etc). This guide will instruct you on how to add a new asset to your web presence: branded self-help tools.

Build trust early

When a client decides to hire an attorney they enter into a crowded marketplace; they're presented with many options that are difficult to distinguish (thus, the heavy reliance on trusted referrals). Standing out in this crowd is difficult and expensive. The smart approach is to capture the client's attention before they're inundated with ads and offers from other lawyers.

Being useful in the early stages of a client's issue will help you stand out when they're ready to hire.

The moment a client decides to hire a lawyer is not the beginning of the journey regarding their issue. The beginning happened much earlier when the client was considering and exploring tangentially related issues. Being useful in those early stages will help you stand out when the client is finally ready to hire. A self-help tool can provide the client with an introduction to your firm in the early stages of their legal issue. For example:

  • An elder care firm may create a self-help tool for creating a power of attorney. By marketing this tool in a certain way (e.g. "Give your family the power to look after you before you can't") is it not unreasonable to assume that a percentage of those who use the tool will require assistance with guardianships, healthcare directives, insurance disputes, etc.
  • A small business/corporate firm may create a self-help tool for a non-disclosure agreement. This tool could be marketed to startup founders. Associated startup legal issues include incorporation, equity agreements (or disagreements), fundraising, etc.

Boost SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the fuzzy science of improving your ranking in web browser search results (the only unambiguous SEO requirement is that your site be mobile-friendly, but almost all modern website builders include this feature as a default, including Community.lawyer). A self-help tool will boost your SEO by doing the following:

A) Increasing the likelihood that you're associated with your client's online question. This is especially true if your firm serves individuals, families, or small businesses as these clients are unlikely to recognize that their question is legal in nature. Meaning, these clients do not begin their online search by asking "which law firm should I hire?" Instead, a client's initial online search tends to look like this:

  • My partner is moving in with me. They have a child and I have a trust fund… What should I do now?
  • I want the government and my employer to recognize my gender… What should I do now?
  • My landlord hasn't responded to my request to turn the heat on… What should I do now?

A self-help tool is responsive to these questions and is more likely to appear at the top of a client's search results (especially if you associate the tool with your expertise and physical location, two qualities which are also rewarded by search engines).

B) Providing you with an opportunity to reasonably request that reputable domains (e.g. .gov or .org websites) link to your self-help tool, thereby significantly boosting your SEO.

Easy to make

With the Community.lawyer no-code app builder, making your self-help tool is the easy part (the hard part is the expertise, which you have!). You can either build it yourself or hire a developer to build it for you (see pricing estimates below).

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Thomas Officer

Thomas Officer is a cofounder and Design Lead @ Community.lawyer.

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