Is your law firm having difficulty competing with LegalZoom and other online legal providers? I’ve been running a law firm for the last 12 years that directly competes with one of LegalZoom’s core services and we’ve been winning. It is very possible to compete with these larger companies, even as a very small law firm. In this episode, I’m going to share with you the blueprint on how to do it.
A lot of attorneys worry that LegalZoom and similar online legal websites are not only taking clients away, but that they’re hurting the practice of law.
I’m here to tell you is that the existence of LegalZoom and other online legal providers is not the end of law practice as we know it.
I started my trademark practice in 2008 and have acquired clients pretty much exclusively through digital marketing. We’ve been extremely successful building a firm from zero clients to literally thousands of clients and five attorneys.
How can you compete with LegalZoom as a small law firm?
To compete with LegalZoom, there are really five fundamental things to get right.
- Build a fantastic website.
- Understand SEO and PPC marketing.
- Provide clarity on legal fees.
- Be easily accessible.
- Be honest and blunt.
1. Build a fantastic website.
It is essential that you have a fantastic website. It has to be great.
LegalZoom’s biggest advantage over most attorneys is that they understand marketing and they understand websites. They know how to bring a new visitor to their website and convert them into to a lead. Most attorney websites just do not have a lot of science behind them. They just slap up some information, the attorney’s picture, and a contact form.
If somebody hits your website, there has to be very good information there. Take that visitor through a page or two and ensure that they contact your firm with a phone call or an email.
If you want to know if your website rises to the occasion and can actually compete with LegalZoom, all you have to do is drop me an email and I’ll give you the honest-to-goodness truth. My email is email@example.com. Send me your URL and I’ll give you free feedback on what I think of your website. I will be brutally honest with you because the vast majority of attorney websites I see would never compete with LegalZoom. And that’s why people sometimes choose a website like LegalZoom or others when they’re looking for a solution to a legal problem.
Again, for the last 12 years my website has gone toe to toe with LegalZoom- and we win out a lot.
2. Understand SEO and PPC marketing.
My second point is that you have to understand search marketing.
A website does not work in the same way a lot of things have worked in the past. In other words, if you build it, they will not necessarily come. You can have the best-looking website that can do fantastic things, but unless you get people to the website, nothing’s ever going to happen.
There are two ways to really get people to your website: Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click Advertising.
If you’re a local law firm looking to dominate within one geographic area, that is an amazing place to be. It’s very possible to do that in today’s world.
I recommend you start by hiring a very good local search engine optimization company. I have another video that talks about how to hire a very good search engine optimization company that won’t just take your money.
Then, you need to develop very good content around your website. Putting out content and doing search engine optimization to dominate a local market should be very doable. And you can supplement all those efforts with pay-per-click advertising because LegalZoom is almost always going to be in the pay-per-click ads, which are the ones that appear at the top of Google. You can compete with them, again on a local level, because the cost when you get pay-per-click locally is a lot less per click than if you have to go on a national scale.
3. Provide clarity on legal fees.
My third point layers on top of the first two. You have to have packages for services and offer clear flat rates.
Again, the biggest advantage that LegalZoom has over most private attorneys is they say, “For $99, we will do this. For $129, we will do that.” And it’s a very simple price point. It’s a very low price point and people just, “Okay, let me do that.”
Now, here’s the thing. You don’t have to compete on price with LegalZoom, but you have to compete on clarity of price.
Our firm offers a flat rate service of $950 for a trademark search and filing. At the last check, this is about double the advertised rate of LegalZoom, and even triple or quadruple their lower rates. Now, I’m not going to get people that are just looking for a $99 service. But when people come to our website and they see the quality of services that we can provide, many times they’re going to spend the extra few dollars to ensure that their legal matter is taken care of properly.
There is this awe about attorneys that we’re gonna be so expensive, they can’t afford you. However, most businesses can afford $950 for a trademark. So if they see that, all of a sudden they know if they call us, there might be something within their price range at our firm. When someone hits your website, they need to be presented with the fee of what it’s going to take to get certain things done. This has the added benefit of kicking people away and not having them waste your time if they’re only looking for the $99 service.
So, if somebody comes to your website and sees it’s going to cost $500 or $1,000 to retain you and that’s not in their budget, they’re just not going to call you. And that’s what you want. You don’t want people calling you all day long, wasting your time. You only want the serious inquiries and posting fees on your website will help get those more serious inquiries into the door.
4. Be easily accessible.
Now, the fourth point here is that you have to be accessible. The kryptonite to LegalZoom is that they don’t have lawyers that can just pick up the phone instantaneously and talk to someone. You have to go through a whole system and fill out all these forms.
If someone contacts your firm, do not make it difficult for them to get to you as the attorney. You need to be able to get on the phone with them right away, answer their questions, provide them good information, be very friendly and develop a relationship.
Ultimately, law is still about relationships. People hire lawyers because they want to trust somebody with their most important matters. If you could develop a relationship with someone in a quick phone call, even a quick meeting at your office, you’re going to make LegalZoom or other online legal providers just not even an option for that person anymore.
Being accessible is not something that a lot of lawyers do very well. We’re all really busy. And if you’re a successful lawyer already, you’re definitely very busy. But if you’re not going to carve out time in your day to get back to new inquiries and be accessible to them, then you’re just not going to grow your practice.
6. Be honest and blunt.
My final point is that you just have to be blunt with potential clients that call you.
If somebody calls and asks you, “What’s the difference between you and LegalZoom, or any other online service provider?” You need to have an answer ready for that question. You need to explain the benefit of hiring an attorney and what an attorney can do that a non-attorney and just a form can’t. And this is going to be very unique to your particular situation.
In the context of a trademark application, which is what I do, there’s a lot of legal decisions that go into the various different points of what you put into a trademark application. So,”Well, yes, you could just fill out a form and submit an application, that may not be your best application, there may be things in there you shouldn’t have put in there that just filling out a form and having someone review it that’s not an attorney and submit it is going to put you in a precarious legal position.” We can explain why an attorney can be really helpful to go through and not only get the application correct but even do the trademark search before the application is filed. We can provide really good, thoughtful advice as to whether this trademark is even something that should be pursued.
You need to think about that in your own industry. What are the advantages of an attorney? Write it out in bullet points and then explain it to clients when you get the question.
In today’s world, there’s so many options for people, but if you have a really good website and you get traffic to that website, you’re going to better compete with larger companies like LegalZoom.
If you have any questions on how your law firm’s doing, you could feel free to reach out to me. As I mentioned earlier in the video, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re also on social media. You can reach out to us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I’m happy to get a conversation started online or just person to person.