Avvo, the legal and medical directory and Q&A site, today launched two new services designed to help lawyers more effectively market their practices. The two services are both offered under the umbrella name Avvo Ignite. One, Avvo Ignite Starter, offers “hassle-free search and mobile optimized” websites for attorneys. The other, Avvo Ignite Suite, is a cloud-based marketing dashboard that lets firms manage and track their online marketing.
Yesterday, Sachin Bhatia, Avvo’s vice president
of product and the man in charge of Avvo Ignite, gave me a preview of
the new tools.
Avvo Ignite Starter, the website service, is
intended for lawyers who do not have a site or who want to upgrade to a
more professional site. The service is launching with five website
templates but will eventually include around two dozen. The different
templates will be designed to cover a range of practice types.
of the websites are built on a WordPress platform and are designed to
be optimized for search optimization and for optimal viewing on mobile
devices. Although the websites are built from templates, Avvo will
customize their graphics and other elements for each customer.
Ignite Suite is a tool for tracking a law firm’s online marketing
activity and effectiveness. Although large firms regularly use tools
such as these, I cannot think of anything similar designed for solo and
smaller firm lawyers. (Actually, this is designed for firms of any size,
but particularly for smaller and medium firms.)
function is to track contacts with a firm by potential clients and
provide intelligence on marketing effectiveness. The dashboard follows
how a contact comes to the firm (e.g., by website form, Facebook, Google
ad, etc.) and what happens with the contact thereafter. It also helps
manage the firm’s relationship with the contact, letting the firm, for
example, create automated thank you emails to be sent after an initial
phone call or set reminders for following-up with a contact.
services creates a database of all contacts, showing how they came to
the firm, the nature of their case, their status as a prospect or
client, and the attorney responsible for the contact, if any.
service has numerous tools for tracking contacts. It will track all the
firm’s email communications with the contact. (This is done securely —
no content is visible to anyone at Avvo.) It will also track all the
contact’s activity on the firm’s website. If a contact returns to the
firm’s site six months after the last contact, the firm will be
of this intelligence is compiled into simple reports that show the firm
its rates of client conversion, how it is spending its marketing
dollars, and what sort of ROI it is getting for those dollars. An
overall report will show how many contacts were made in total to the
firm, how many of those became prospects, and how many became clients.
You can then break down these numbers by various factors. Break it down
by source to see, for example, the number of contacts that come from
LinkedIn and how many of those become clients.
The source ROI
report lets you evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing
expenditures. It uses graphs to chart how much you are spending and what
return you are getting for that expense in new clients.
Ignite Suite is designed to work on mobile devices, so a lawyer can
track contacts whenever necessary and receive real-time alerts of client
contacts and reminders.
All of the information in Ignite Suite can be exported to be used in Outlook or a customer relationship management system.
purchase the website service, Avvo Ignite Starter, the cost is $199 a
month, plus a $499 one-time set-up fee. The set-up fee is waived for
anyone who pays for a full year in advance. The price includes the site
set-up and customization (including licensing of stock photos), hosting
and updates. Also, Avvo submits the site to local and national
To purchase the dashboard service, Avvo Ignite Suite,
the cost varies depending on the number of marketing “channels” to be
monitored. (A channel would be Facebook, a blog, YouTube, LinkedIn, or
the like.) For up to five channels, the cost is $199 a month. For up to
10 channels, it is $299 a month. For up to 14 channels, it is $399 a
month. There is also a $499 set-up fee, which includes set-up of the
system, training on the system, installation of tracking codes, and
Subscribers to either service also receive access to Avvo University, a collection of webinars, guides and training videos about online marketing and business development.
The Bottom Line
any law firm that is serious about online marketing, it should be using
some sort of analytics tool to track the success of its efforts.
Otherwise, the firm may well be throwing good money after bad. Many
lawyers use Google Analytics,
a free but highly sophisticated tool for tracking online marketing. The
problem with Google Analytics — if you want to call it a problem — is
that it provides too much information. Mastering it takes time — and few
attorneys have that kind of time.
By contrast, Avvo Ignite Suite
makes its analytics more easily digestible. In my interview with Sachin
Bhatia, he could not repeat often enough that the emphasis with these
services is on “hassle free.” Plus, Avvo says it will provide training
and coaching in use and set-up of the system.
As with so many
products and services, the final answer as to whether this is right for
your firm will depend on a cost-benefit analysis. If your firm is
presently spending a fair amount of money on online marketing, then this
service could well be a smart investment. For that matter, even if you
are just spending a lot of time on online marketing, it could be a good
investment, since time is money. Either way, the question you need to
answer is whether this service coul