Lawyernomics 2017 day 1 recap: The demand driven economy, data, and mindfulness

The first day of Lawyernomics 2017 has wrapped after a full day of sessions with Mark Britton, Sachin Bhatia, Jason Moss, Josh King, Seth Price, Christopher Anderson, Patrick Palace, Ozan Varol, and Michael Mogill. If you weren’t able to make it to Las Vegas this year, we’ve got an overview of each session and a few key takeaways right here.

Doubling down on the demand-driven legal economy

Even though the past year has been turbulent in many ways, from the worlds of entertainment and politics to the legal industry, Mark Britton, CEO at Avvo, shared why the demand-driven economy has been a stabilizing force. Big brands like Amazon, AirBnB, and Facebook have provided marketplaces that today’s consumers rely on every day. Mark explained why this matters to lawyers, and how they can think about marketing their own practice in today’s online world.

  1. The customer knows best. Understand your customer at a deep level so that you can build better customer relationships, drive word of mouth, and better target your audience in your marketing efforts.
  2. Test and learn from your marketing efforts. In today’s online world, launching with a beta version of a website or product is common practice, as is testing different versions of ads. Implement the concept of iterating based on test and learn to improve your marketing efforts.
  3. Use data – really, it just means counting things. Data can be intimidating but know that at the root of it, data just means counting things. Lawyers can use data to understand how they are or aren’t measuring up when it comes to meeting their business and marketing objectives.

Trust Test your gut: How we use science at Avvo and how you can too

How does being a scientist apply to the test and learn process, let alone being a lawyer? Sachin Bhatia, Chief Product Officer at Avvo, explained how the five-step scientific method allows lawyers to switch from a “we think” mentality about their marketing to a “we know” that this is the right thing to do. He shared how Avvo applies this process every day, including for the new attorney profile design, and how lawyers can apply test and learn at their firm.

  1. Take time to observe. Observation is key to understanding your audience and what they actually want. Take the time to gather information and data.
  2. Ask questions. Once you have information, ask questions. What if we do x instead of y? Form a hypothesis about that questions. If we do (this), it will have this (effect).
  3. See where you’re failing. Failure can be humbling, but it’s also incredibly informative. Use what didn’t work to better understand what else you can test.

Placing winning bets with data

In today’s marketing landscape, digital is the clear winner – and that’s great news for lawyers. With online or digital marketing, data is much easier to collect and aggregate. Jason Moss, Chief Marketing Officer at Avvo, explained how lawyers can use data in their practices.

  1. Think in terms of small data. While Big Data is today’s catchphrase, lawyers can think in terms of small data to improve their marketing. Collect simple metrics and create scorecards: how are you getting prospective clients today, what am I spending on marketing and how effective is it, how well is online marketing working for me?
  2. Use tools that you have at your disposal. Excel is a powerful tool. Create a spreadsheet to aggregate and organize data from Google Analytics, from your Google Search Console, and from your scorecard.

CLE session – Embrace standardization: Ethics and opportunity in limited-scope services

There’s a lot to talk about standardization these days, and how to do it well. Josh King, Chief Legal Officer of Avvo, discussed how standardization differs from commoditization, and how it can benefit a law practice. Here are a few key points to consider:

  1. Offer a paid consultation or a coaching session. Any type of lawyer can offer both of these as discrete products. Many clients simply need advice or help navigating paperwork that they are filing by themselves.
  2. How you do intake is important. Build a system that allows you to handle the volume of prospective client calls. Calls that go to voicemail are almost certainly people who will not end up working with you.
  3. Think about using document signing services: Using document signing services like HelloSign can remove friction points by giving clients the ability to sign engagement contracts online.

Law firm SEO from Seth Price

As consumers increasingly search for lawyers and legal help online, search engine optimization is an important function to consider in any law firm’s marketing strategy. Seth Price, founding Partner of Price Benowitz LLP, discussed key trends affecting SEO today in mobile, content, and link building, and the following are a handful of his key takeaways for lawyers:

  1. Think like Google in prioritizing mobile first indexing. Ensure that you’re checking page speed of your website, and improving the experience for your consumers. Know where you’re listed and manage details relating to firm location, contact details, etc. on all listings.
  2. Recognize the importance of strategic content development. If you want to rank locally, build localized Quality content wins – avoid formulaic content, and edit for brevity and clarity.
  3. Catalog your reviews, and know when you win and you lose. As clients research lawyers and use reviews as a third-party validation, understand that reviews are essential to your business. Cultivate asking for and receiving reviews as part of the life cycle of your clients.

Law firm marketing – A failure to plan is a plan to fail

Most lawyers, according to Christopher Anderson, CEO of How to Manage a Small Law Firm, have never written down what they hope to achieve in the next two years from a business perspective – not even on a napkin. Without a proper plan, building a successful practice and carving out the time to enjoy personal time can be a real challenge. Here are a few items to consider:

  1. Put it writing. Unless you have a written plan, your law firm will own you instead of the other way around. A law firm should deliver three things to its owner: the finances and to live life the way you want to live, and the personal and professional satisfaction you desire.
  2. What happens when the revenues of your firm double? Many lawyers think the quality of their life will suffer – they will have less free time. The reality is that a $500,000 law firm versus a $250,000 firm allows you to hire help.
  3. Marketing is meant to bring in the right people – and keep everyone else the hell away. If you’re marketing right, you’ll bring in the right prospects to the right place at the right time. And perhaps most importantly, in the right quantity.

 Mind full or mindful? 10 tips to find greater success from within with Patrick Palace

When was the last time you stopped; stopped to listen to your breathing and reflected on your life? Most lawyers, like other busy professionals, don’t take the time to pause. Patrick Palace, J.D., owner of Palace Law, shared his personal experiences and tips for taking the time to pause and embracing mindfulness. In achieving happiness and success, he offered the following insights into tools that improve your work life, your trial game, your relationship with those around you, and most importantly, your relationship with yourself:

  1. Mindfulness is exercising the muscle of attention: wasted attention is wasted time. Take time to reflect on your life. Make sure you are heading in the right direction.
  2. Don’t Facebook when you can face look. Take time to connect with others and the world around you. Turn off devices, stop multitasking and be present.
  3. Embrace optimism. Rest on the positive by adopting Dr. Rick Hanson’s H.E.A.L. ideology – have a positive experience, enrich it, absorb it, link it to something positive and affirm that with yourself. Lying to yourself is a powerful tool and motivator.

Get your life back: A playbook for a happier, healthier and more effective you

Ozan Varol, law professor and founder of Effective Lawyer, discussed how lawyers can become more effective by working smarter. Here are a few quick tips that you can implement today:

  1. Track your time. And don’t just track your billable hours. Keep track of how much time you spend on emails, social media, writing briefs, or whatever it is. Apps like RescueTime are helpful here. Once you have a clear view of how you’ve really been spending your time, you can find ways to batch similar tasks together to focus on one activity at a time.
  2. Be sure you’re saying “yes” to the right things. If your response to whatever it is isn’t “heck yes,” then you should think twice about doing it. Let the first impulse pass, wait for a second, and don’t feel bad about saying you need to check your calendar.
  3. Conserve your decision making power. Limit your choices in certain areas, like what to wear each day, so that you don’t need to think about it. Barack Obama infamously wore gray or blue suits. This leaves more space in your brain to focus on higher priorities.

The future of client acquisition for law firms

Social media helped President Trump win the election, according to research presented by Michael Mogill, founder and CEO of Crisp Video. With a clear value proposition, emotional engagement, and effective content distribution, Trump’s message reached and resonated with his target audience. Here’s how lawyers can use the same strategy:

  1. Have a unique value proposition. What is one reason someone should hire your firm that has nothing to do with price, services, or years of experience? This reason will hone your message and differentiate you.
  2. Engage with your audience. Understand who your ideal client is – from demographics, pain points, and their cost concerns – so that you can connect with them. Then create high-quality content that connects emotionally with your audience and uses your unique value proposition.
  3. Leverage social media. Social media is powerful. Seventy-two percent of all US online adults are on Facebook at least one time per month. To get in front of an audience, boost your Facebook ads with just five dollars. It will make a difference.

Don’t forget to check in on the Lawyernomics 2017 conversation on Twitter by following @AvvoLawyers and #Lawyernomics.