A Conversation with Avvo CEO Mark Britton, Part 4 of 6: It’s Time for Lawyers to Overcome the Fear of Marketing

This is Part 4 of our interview series with Avvo CEO Mark Britton. You can view previous entries in the series here: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

One of the most interesting parts of our conversation with Mark Britton came when we asked for his perspective on some of the most significant obstacles and challenges that lawyers face when it comes to marketing and business development. He believes that in many cases the problem starts with mindset:

Just fear – getting over the fear of advertising. It has been 35 years since Bates vs. Arizona, but still the idea of marketing is a real struggle for many lawyers.

Yet, if you were to ask any lawyer if there was a business – any business, a fish-mongering business, a car driving business, a vegetable-selling business, and that business didn’t understand how to market to their customers, a lawyer would quickly say ‘oh, well that business is going to fail.’

But then you ask them about their own firms and they can’t speak very fluently about whom their target audience is, how they speak to that target audience, through which channels they speak to that target audience, what their objective is, or how much they’re willing to spend in time and money in meeting those objectives. They just have no construct for it whatsoever.

Mark notes that it’s not just about investing money into marketing. The most successful marketers invest time as well:

Many lawyers have the mindset ‘I practice law and I pay money to advertise.’ Those are kind of my two principal roles.

There is the time world and the money world. But what we’re seeing, in general, and absolutely seeing in the Avvo marketplace is that those who are smart about combining their advertising are winning. Combining the money they put into the equation, but also the time that they put in… they are really beating everyone.

For example, within Avvo, you’re six times as likely to generate a contact in Avvo if you both advertise and answer questions because it’s that billboard effect of ‘I’ve seen your face multiple times during my search process and each time I’ve seen your face and interacted with you I get more comfortable.’

We couldn’t agree more. Whether it’s time spent on Avvo specifically, time spent elsewhere engaging on social media, or time spent getting out and networking strategically, we’ve seen that lawyers who are investing time into business development get far more out of their internet marketing efforts.

We see it with our own clients – lawyers who are out networking with trade groups in their industry, or working referral sources, or appearing on the radio, or whatever it may be… these lawyers get a much higher return on the money they’re spending for their internet “foundation” because they are out there building awareness. It’s a beautiful 1-2 combination because when a lawyer impresses a potential client in person, and that individual then looks the lawyer up online and finds an impressive and engaging website… it’s generally not long before they are doing business together.

(Click here for Part Five 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.