Calendar showing May 3rdWelcome to day 3 of our 30 day challenge. Our last post discussed how attorneys can convert more phone calls into clients by developing better phone reception procedures. Since we’ve spent a few days on how to convert more of those phone calls into clients it’s now time to add a bump to your phone volume. The cost of getting more phone volume is going to be “free of charge.” We hope you’re not opposed to saving money.

When I started my firm in ’06 Craigslist was the most effective and least utilized place for attorneys to advertise their services. In 2014, Craigslist is the most effective and least utilized place for attorneys to advertise their services. When I started out I began taking advantage of this resource immediately and quickly started getting 2-3 paying clients a week from it. In 2010 when I had multiple associates and a sizeable support staff I was still utilizing Craigslist and getting 2-3 paying clients a week from it. For attorneys, in many practice areas, to not be taking advantage of this free resource is completely silly. That being said, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. While only a handful of lawyers take advantage of Craig’s wonderful invention, most that do are going about wrong. Let’s talk about how you can leverage the service to its fullest potential.

Craigslist is an effective and free marketing platform for attorneys

Craigslist is one the most heavily trafficked sites in the world and there are a surprising number of people who use it as their new phone book. If you visit the site you’ll find a “services” section which contains a “legal services” area. You can post ads for your firm in this section for free. Many attorneys, however, simply type a text ad for their firm with a phone number. When you generate an ad you can make it really stand out and people become much more likely to call. Not using the abilities to make your ad stand out is almost as silly as ignoring this free platform altogether.

Making your firm’s Craigslist ad stand out takes two steps. First, include a nice banner photo (which will appear at the top of your ad). Of the few lawyers listing their services, most don’t include any type of a banner at all and the difference you will see from adding one is huge. We often prepare these banners for clients and here’s a sample of what you should be looking for:

Sample Craigslist Advertisement

The second thing to know is that the text of your ad can also be formatted with HTML so that you get nice visual effects such as separate paragraphs, centering of text, etc. In other words, you are essentially creating a one page website with a nice header. Attorneys who lack HTML skills (which are most attorneys) can type up the text of their ad, send it to their web developer, and the developer can return a Word document containing the HTML formatted text that the attorney can quickly copy and paste when posting the ad. We perform this service for our clients as well and the results are outstanding.

Once you have your banner and text then setting up your ad is as easy as using your email or a word processor. You’ll want to make sure you post 2-3 times a week. I would vary the times and days until you figure out which combination results in the most phone calls. Again, posting is free of charge and I typically received 2-3 paying clients by leveraging this service. If you practice in quite a few areas, including family law, criminal defense, traffic tickets, bankruptcy, etc. then there’s no reason for you to be missing out on free phone calls. If you don’t like making money then keep ignoring Craigslist and/or putting ads on the service that are nothing more than typed text. If you like making some extra cash then start getting a nice ad up on a regular basis.

Day 3 action items for attorneys wanting to increase their profitability

Do the following to start getting more phone calls at no cost:

  1. Develop a banner and text ad to be regularly posted on Craigslist. This is inexpensive and shouldn’t cost you more than $100-$200 if you are outsourcing the graphic work and HTML formatting. You then own the ad forever and will receive phone calls indefinitely. This will be the best hundred bucks you’ve ever spent.
  2. Start posting your new ad in the “legal services” section of Craigslist 2-3 times each week. Play with the days and times you post until you find the combination that brings you the most phone calls.

Over the next week we’re going to look at making sure the changes you’ve made so far remain permanent, getting your expenses down while improving efficiency, and continuing to grow your business.