A Conversation with Avvo CEO Mark Britton, Part 1 of 6: How Lawyers Can Remove “Friction Points” and Get Hired

One of the questions that we commonly hear from lawyers is “what do I need to know about Avvo?”

We recommend that lawyers use the platform as part of their marketing mix. It’s a unique, widely-trafficked online marketplace in which lawyers can engage directly with their target audience. In an effort to gain more insight, tips, and best practices, we recently spoke with Avvo CEO Mark Britton. In addition to founding Avvo, Mark was a senior executive at Expedia and currently sits on the board at Orbitz. He provided insight that went far beyond the nuts and bolts of using Avvo, and we wanted to pass this insight onto our readers. We’ll try to do that in this blog series. 

At its simplest, Avvo is an online marketplace that brings lawyers and consumers in need of a lawyer together. It connects consumers who have legal questions with lawyers who can answer them – and it makes it easy for the consumer to actually hire the lawyer in many cases. While most lawyers were initially skeptical, the site has grown dramatically and now has nearly a quarter of a million lawyers using it – along with 10 million consumers per month.

Mark describes the initial skepticism that gave way to dramatic growth:

Lawyers are the consummate issue spotters. They get paid to spot risk and I think, when Avvo first launched, the immediate reaction was one of fear by most lawyers. You had some very early adopters that got it just immediately, but you had a lot of lawyers that were reacting fearfully.

That’s changed. We have over 220,000 lawyers that use Avvo as a marketing platform. That’s somewhere like a quarter or a third of lawyers in the country who have said ‘wow, Avvo’s a place that I want to have a Web presence I can use to generate business for my firm.’

Why should lawyers who have held out consider taking the plunge?

For starters, just look at all the lawyers that are on Avvo succeeding.

No other platform has, I think you’d be lucky to find another platform that has even 10,000 lawyers participating. We have ten million consumers that come through the Avvo website every month and those consumers generate coming up on 700,000 contacts a month for lawyers. These are actual contacts, when they pick up the phone and call a lawyer and say ‘hey, I need to hire you.’

The sheer mass of people that come to Avvo as a trusted brand and trust us to put quality lawyers in front of them, or at least lawyers whose background can be easily researched, is at an order of magnitude that the legal profession has never seen before.

What’s the reason for this growth? Mark believes, and we agree, that most consumers are lost and intimidated when it comes to hiring a lawyer. They’re scared, they’ve heard bad things about lawyers from friends or family members who had a negative experience, they’re afraid of being taken advantage of. So the idea of cold calling a lawyer is intimidating to many of them. Mark explains how Avvo can break down these barriers:

Consumers are afraid of lawyers. They think that lawyers just cost too much, screw things up, and have big egos while they screw things up. That is the perception of half of medium to high-income consumers in the United States. We are really, really good at helping take down those friction points and get those people chatting with lawyers and understanding how they can utilize the services of a lawyer.

This is a critical point. The process of hiring a lawyer is intimidating to most consumers. That’s why we recommend that lawyers create engaging websites, loaded with photos, video, and written content designed to break down these barriers, establish trust and let a potential client get to know you and how you think. And that’s why Avvo has proven so popular with consumers. As the legal industry becomes more competitive, lawyers and law firms who can use the internet to break down barriers and establish trust with potential clients will have a significant advantage over their competition.

Stay tuned for much more with Mark Britton!

(Click here for Part Two of this series.)

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Daniel Decker

Daniel Decker is a co-founder and Partner at Spotlight Branding. In addition to helping lawyers stand out from the crowd, he spends his time writing, dreaming up new marketing strategies, and coming up with catchy subject lines. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys playing sports, guitar, politics, and Minnesota sports.