Are you happy with the current Return on Investment (“ROI”) for your online legal services marketing dollars? Are you spending too much of your time qualifying leads? Do you know anything about the visitors to your law firm’s website besides their IP Address and the date and time of their visit? More specifically, are you being provided with case specific facts that will help you evaluate their legal needs?
If you have answered yes to some or all of these questions then perhaps you will appreciate why lawyers love Legal Bistro.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL
You decide what cases you see based on the Practice Groups, Case Types and Tag or Key Words used when defining your Areas of Practice.
You decide which cases to Review, Save to Your Favorites and/or Submit a Bid. These actions will indicate to the consumer that you are interested in potentially handling their case. Alternatively, you may also that you are Not Interested in a case with one simple click of your mouse. By doing so, neither you nor the consumer waste any more time through further communication.
You may enhance your online credibility by obtaining Personal and Professional Recommendations. Studies have shown that more than 80% of consumers rely on online recommendations when making their purchasing decisions.
You may establish yourself as a Subject Matter Expert by writing a Blog Article and/or including a list of your published works in you Detailed Biography. We acknowledge and reward this contribution to our website by presenting your Blog Posting to consumers who are searching for a lawyer to handle a case that matches the article content and location.
YOU ARE NOTIFIED ABOUT CLIENT ACTIVITY FOR YOUR PROFILE
We use many of the techniques found on dating and social network sites to encourage communication between the parties. Our objective is to provide you with all indications of expression of interest by a potential client in using your services. You will be notified when potential clients:
- View Your Profile
- Invite You To Register on the site if you are not already registered
- Save to Their Favorites Your Profile
- Invite You to Bid on their case
PAY FOR SUCCESS
Perhaps the biggest difference between Legal Bistro and other online marketing alternatives is that you only pay when the client requests that you contact them to discuss their case. While we can not guarantee that any potential client will retain you to represent them, it is up to you to close the deal once receiving the client contact information.
Our Pay for Contact process begins with your decision to submit a bid for a posted case in our system that interests you. The amount of your bid determines where in the list of interested lawyers your profile will be shown to the consumer. Legal Bistro presents five (5) lawyer profiles on each page. If there are fifty (50) lawyers who have submitted bids expressing their interest in handling the consumer’s case and your bid is the lowest among the fifty lawyers, your profile will be on the 10th page.
This approach is formally known as Bid-for-Placement and it is very similar to the way that Google advertising works. The advertisers who are willing to pay Google the most amount of money to have their ad shown for a specific key word are shown at the top of the list of interested advertisers. In very much the same way that an advertiser is only charged the amount of their bid when a consumer clicks on their advertisement, a lawyer’s account is charged the amount of their bid only after the client requests to have the lawyer contact them to discuss their case.
According to a June 2013 Report issued by Chitika Insights, sites listed on the first Google search results page generate 92% of all traffic from an average search. When moving from page one to two, the traffic dropped by 95%, and by 78% and 58% for the subsequent pages.
The above results clearly indicate that only a small percentage of consumers click through and view search results that are not presented on Google’s first page. Assuming similar consumer behavior on Legal Bistro, it’s important to have your profile presented on the first 2 or 3 pages of interested lawyer profiles.
HIGHEST RETURN ON YOUR ONLINE MARKETING DOLLARS
If part of your law firm’s marketing budget is allocated to online advertising, you know how many visitors click through your ad and come to your website. You also know how much money you are spending every month but do you know your actual conversion rate of leads to subscribers?
So what is a conversion rate? This is the percentage of site visitors who visit your site and become a paying client. A typical conversion rate for all products and services sold on the Internet ranges between one percent (1%) and three percent (3%). Our experience for law firm conversion rates is that they range between 0.25% and 1%. Why so low compared to other products and services? There are several reasons why legal service conversion rates fall below the averages for other online products.
First, legal services is a complicated product for the average client to understand. Unlike typical retail products where comparison shopping on the Internet is fairly simple, purchasing legal services is a lot more complex. Most lawyers and law firms do not publish their hourly rates on their website. Even when they do, it’s not always possible for a lawyer to accurately estimate the time and cost to provide a service (i.e.depending on the case type).
Second, the 1989 study commissioned by the American Bar Association concluded that most consumers are intimidated by lawyers. Consequently they often choose not to retain a lawyer to represent them because of this fear. Let’s be honest. most law firm websites are designed to look very professional to lawyers but come across as very scary to consumers. The use of dark colors, legal terms rather than plain language and legal images such as court rooms, law books, etc. all tend to intimidate consumers.
Third, not many law firms require visitors to their site to create an account and provide some basic information (i.e. their email address, phone number, etc.) when they visit the site. Consequently, a law firm may only know the IP address of their visitor; the number of page views and time spent on the site.
Google, Bing and other search engines may be doing a good job of driving potential clients to your website but are you doing a good job of converting these leads to paying customers? Sadly the answer is no for most law firms.
Let’s take a very simple illustration. You are advertising on Google and are currently paying $30.00 per click-through for the key words divorce lawyer. Assuming that you experiencing an average conversion rate of 0.5%, for every 200 visitors to your site you obtain one new client. Your average cost per customer acquisition in this example is 200 X’s $30 or $6,000. Even if your conversion rate is at the high end of the bell curve (i.e. 1%), your customer acquisition cost is $3,000.
Another consideration besides the cost of acquiring the new client is the quality of your leads. A significant problem with traditional online adverting is that most or all of your leads are unqualified as very few visitors to your site are taking the time to complete your law firm’s online email contact form. Consequently, you know nothing about their case before your law firm spends the money required to drive that legal services lead to your website.
So how is Legal Bistro different? More importantly, how do these differences translate into a much better return on your online marketing dollars?
- You Decide Which Cases Are Right For Your Business – Legal Bistro profile matches cases that are posted in our system to the criteria that you established when you registered on the site. These cases are listed in the My Matches Tab when you log into your account. You may change your criteria at any time and can also search for cases in our system that fall outside of your normal criteria.
- You Decide The Amount of Your Bid – Although the amount of your bid determines the page on which your profile will appear of lawyers who are interested in the case and the page placement will affect whether or not the consumer may actually review your profile, you ultimately decide the value of each case for which you post a bid.
- Pay for Contact – As previously indicated, your account is only charged when the potential client requests that you contact them to discuss their case and you have been provided with the client contact information. It is now up to you to close the deal by convincing the potential client that you are the right attorney to handle their case.
- Try Our Service for Free – We know that your time is valuable. We also know that as a brand new website with a new concept, we have a reputation to build. Consequently, all lawyers who register on our site and publish their profile will have Marketing Diversification
- their account credited with Law Dollars. These law dollars are used to pay for those cases where you submitted a bid and the client requested that you contact them to discuss their case. Essentially you are using the “House Money” to acquire marketing leads. Other than the time that you spend during the registration process and reviewing cases posted in our system, what have you got to lose in trying the service?
Legal Bistro EXAMPLE:
Determining the cost of customer acquisition on Legal Bistro is very simple. Assuming the average Legal Bistro client decides to speak with three different attorneys about their case and the law of averages applies (i.e. you have a 1 out of three chance to have the client retain you to represent them), you customer acquisition cost is as follows:
BID AMOUNT X’s Three (3) = CUSTOMER ACQUISITION COST
Diversification of your marketing budget is a very prudent strategy. If you have not (yet) invested any marketing dollars into online adverting (including social media marketing), perhaps it’s time that you got started. In the case of Legal Bistro, your only investment to get started is your time as we will credit your account with Law Dollars so that you may try our service before spending your own money. While “new” is not always better, every now and then a new idea comes along that revolutionizes how business is conducted. We hope that our online legal services community will, over time, provide efficiencies and new ways of conducting business for both lawyers and consumers.