Law Firm Strategy: The Incredible Power of FREE.

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 @ 03:00 AM

Should lawyers give free advice to attract clients?
Should lawyers give free advice to attract clients?
Shireen Smith poses an interesting question in the latest edition of Internet Newsletter for Lawyers ; "Should lawyers give free advice to attract clients?"

Shireen an intellectual property lawyer( and a fellow Tweeter whom I have also had the privilege of meeting in person),cogently  argues that solicitors and law firms have become too keen to give away valuable knowledge.

The Power of Reciprocity

Both Shireen and Ed Rivis have read Robert Cialdini's book "Influence -the psychology of Persuasion" where the author argues that free advice can be a great sales technique.

The theory being that people are much more disposed to instruct you as a way of reciprocating the favour of the initial free gift or advice

Kissing Frogs

Amongst the many who contact you there may well a prince waiting in the wings who could become a very valued client of the law firm.

But, in Shireen's opinion the balance is shifting and lawyers are being taken advantage of in the hope and sometimes a forlorn hope that their law firm may be instructed at some later date.

Shireen uses her widely read blogs and articles in her content rich websites to attract potential clients.  But, there is a danger that as Shireen admits "when you are prominent in the search engines you get all sorts of people approaching you. There will be some excellent potential clients and there will also be a few people who have no intention of buying a legal  service. They are just looking for free advice"

Law Firm Websites: Invisible Visitors

For most law firms, not as savvy as Shireen, the challenge will be to draw potential clients to your law firm website in the first place. It is also important to discover who were those people visiting your law firm website.

But, do small law firms in particular know what percentage of people, who visit their law firm website,  actually buy, subscribe or enquire? Or to ask the reverse... how many potential clients visit your law firm website and leave in total anonymity?

 If your law firm website is like most, then probably a high percentage. Statistics vary, but a commonly quoted average is that most sites 'leak' more than 97% of their visitors - people who leave without taking any action whatsoever.

Web Marketing Basics for Law Firms

What if there was a way of getting more than 20%, or 30% or even 60% or more of your website visitors to at least tell you who they are, and actually give you permission to sell to them in future... even if they never visit your website again!

Now that may sound impossible, but it's actually easy, and quite simple and it involves giving away something for free

All you need to do is add a form to your website that offers something for free, in return for the visitor giving you their name and email address or maybe even their postal address and fax and telephone numbers too, if the delivery of the free product or legal service requires it.

Then you can use those details to phone, post or email over time further details of your law firm services and offers.

It's powerful, and it all revolves around the power of FREE... giving away something free in order to build a relationship with a potential client first, and sell legal services to them later.

Free Examples

In Ed Rivis's opinion, using the power of FREE is an incredibly effective way to build a business, and he uses it in all his online businesses.

I also use the power of free on my Clutton Cox law firm website from a free eBook "Everything you need to Know about buying and selling a house in 28 bite-sized chunks" to downloading our free Conveyancing Calculator. We win business by using these free tools

In addition to giving away a free eBook or free access to an online Conveyancing Calculator, law firms could try:

A short report, whitepaper or book? (Either real, or electronic)

An audio recording such as a private interview or consultation or a podcast of an important legal case in the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court? (offer could be as a download or on CD.)

A video introduction to an area of law or a simple "How To" guide ? (Either online video or a physical DVD.)

Why don't you take a few minutes to sit down and brainstorm different things you can offer your potential clients.

You will need to heed Shireen's advice and discipline yourself not to give away the equivalent of the crown jewels of legal advice for nothing.

But heed too, Ed's and my advice that by using the incredible power of the free you can attract  potential clients to your law firm: and convert them into clients.

Solicitors Marketing Success provides advice to sole practitioners and small law firms on how to use the internet to market their law firms effectively from consultancy, creation of websites, web products, email marketing, blogging and social media.

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Tags: high street law firms, internet marketing for law firms, law firm marketing, solicitors marketing, law firm websites, blog