Avvo, the largest law firm directory, has a launched a new offering of fixed-fee legal services that is ripe for participation by DirectLaw Subscribers. This service can enhance Subscriber's marketing efforts with no up-front costs.. You can read more about how the Avvo service works here and here on the Avvo Site.
Participating in the Avvo Program can enhance marketing of your web site and on-line services to prospects and clients. You can use the Avvo Service to attract prospects, sell them a fixed price legal service, and build a new client relationship. Once you have sold one fixed-fee service to a client, that client is more likely to return to you for additional services.
Here is a strategy and work-flow that you can use to integrate Avvo with DirectLaw.
1. Avvo collects the fee from the client and pays it to you directly after the service is delivered. Therefore clients use the Avvo payment gateway, not the DirectLaw gateway. You also pay a marketing fee to Avvo for the client referral.
2 .Avvo requires that you call the client by telephone within 24 hours of the service being purchased.
3. During this initial phone call you should inform the client you can provide services on-line, on the telephone and in person.
4. Ask the client if he or she would like you to set up an on-line account.
5. If the client wants your help in setting up an on-line account, you can accomplish this with the Invite Client Function. An email is automatically sent out to the client with a temporary password that can be changed at their convenience.
6. If the client has purchased a document service, load the document template into the client's account, as a paid for document service. The client has already purchased the document service through Avvo, so there is no need for an additional payment. Once the document template is loaded, the client receives an email from the DirectLaw system notifying them that an on-line questionnaire is waiting within their client portal - ready for completion.
7. Once the questionnaire is completed, the document is instantly ready for your review and revision.
8. Using DirectLaw tools will enable you to increase your productivity to where your profit margin on Avvo referred services should be decent, even after paying the Avvo marketing fee. This is particular true when the client is purchasing a document service. Enabling the client to complete an on-line questionnaire which instantly creates the document instantly is much more efficient that taking notes over the telephone in order to cut and paste in a MS Word document.
9. You can use the DirectLaw platform to continue to communicate and collaborate with the client, as Avvo does not provide these functions. Using the DirectLaw communication and collaboration functions enhances both your efficiency and the client experience.
Fixed-fee pricing can be profitable and work for your practice, but only if you take steps to automate any activity that can be automated. Modern consumers want fixed-fee pricing, and meeting these expectations makes your business more attractive to potential clients.
Pricing: Avvo vs. Your Practice
You may find that some of the Avvo pricing is higher than what you may ordinarily charge because there are more services offered in the Avvo package or just because Avvo has determined their pricing is competitive .For example, Avvo charges $995.00 for a no-fault divorce, but requires the lawyer to participate in the divorce hearing. Avvo also charges a marketing fee of $200.00 for a no-fault divorce service package, meaning that your net revenue is $795.00. On my own DirectLaw Web Site at http://www.mdfamilylawyer.com I charge $299.00. This is much less than Avvo, but I don't attend the divorce hearing, as I have learned that litigants can easily represent themselves in a no-fault divorce hearing and by doing so save several hundred dollars.
I still have a high profit margin at $299.00 per transaction because our work processes are optimized for efficiency.
So how do I explain to the client the difference between the Avvo price of $995.00 and my own price of $299.00. I simply ignore it. The client is coming to my site through the Avvo platform and pays the fee through Avvo. Avvo is a re-seller of my on-line legal services at full retail. As a client, if you want the benefit of a "wholesale" price, then you have to come to my site directly. Once I make a connection with the client, the client can continue to purchase services directly from my site at the lower price.
You should think of Avvo as a separate marketing channel - distinct for example from advertising on Google using Google Ad Words. Searching for legal services on the Internet is not as efficient as it seems, and consumers will find their way to your site through many different routes.The advantage of marketing through Avvo is that there is no up-front cost and you only pay a marketing fee if you make a sale.
Try the Avvo Service and let us know how it works for your practice! You can report your results in the Marketing Forum on this dedicated DirectLaw Support site.