By Claudia King, CEO + Founder
In mid 2013 I was convinced I was a failure. I had launched NZ’s first online legal service, Legal Beagle, about 18 months before. We had a few clients come through the website after the launch from the media buzz. But then nothing. Crickets. For over a year.
I randomly went down to Motueka in the South Island of NZ to do some personal development work with Zoe Dryden. I had read an article in the paper she had written and it really resonated - I decided I needed her help to get out of my funk.
I told Zoe all about Legal Beagle and what a failure I was. Zoe asked how I was driving traffic to the Legal Beagle website. I didn’t even have to answer the question to realise that I was missing a crucial step in my business.
The truth is I was doing nothing to drive traffic to my website. My marketing plan was basically “have a pretty website with lots of cool orange buttons and hope the right people find my website”. But later that evening I did my first digital marketing webinar. It was a game-changer.
I got home and made a few key changes to my business. Within 1 month Legal Beagle was bringing in 5 or more new clients a day.
Here’s how we did it:
Instead of trying to sell legal services to everyone, I decided to narrow my target market. I focused on busy, tech-savvy mums and dads between 30 and 40 years old.
Over the years this target client was modified several times - I eventually narrowed our target client even more. And once I did this our business really started to grow.
When we first launched Legal Beagle, we were selling conveyancing services, and a range of personal and small business legal services. We were trying to sell ALL THE THINGS.
I decided that to get traction we’d focus on doing online conveyancing only. I didn’t take the other services off the website. I just focused solely on online conveyancing for our marketing. This was key as it meant my time and energy wasn’t split between selling different services.
I focused on my target client’s fears, frustrations, wants and aspirations. I spent time thinking about them. Why did they have those fears and frustrations - what was the root cause? How could I help them move away from those fears and help them achieve their wants and aspirations? Answering these questions was so powerful for my law firm.
I used this information to create a conveyancing solution that I knew my target client would love - they would know the exact price they would pay right at the start, and they could do everything online from work or home and at a time that suits them.
There were already a number of competitors at the time for online conveyancing so I checked them out. This research, combined with my new knowledge about my target client’s fears, frustrations, needs and wants, helped me to create our point of difference. Which was that our pricing for conveyancing services was upfront and included GST and usual disbursements. Since online legal services were such a new thing back then, we offered our clients two guarantees:
Now, I know you're wondering whether clients ever claimed on these guarantees - am I right??! Yes they did - over the years we only had 2 clients claim on the satisfaction guarantee - with 1 client we were able to rectify the situation to their satisfaction, and the other we gave a full refund. There was never a claim on the fixed price guarantee.
Our call to action was to request a conveyancing quote. I made it clear that we had a 2 hour turnaround time. The call to action was placed in several prominent places on each page of our website.
Website visitors would answer a basic online form with 5 questions about their property sale or purchase. Then I would email them their quote. There was no automation in those early days.
The first Legal Beagle website was pretty terrible. But it was effective as I was still able to grow Legal Beagle with it - this taught me that success in the online world it isn’t about having a beautiful website with amazing copy. It is all about getting the basics right, like having a valuable online legal solution that solves a major problem for your target client.
Putting together our first Google Ad was an experience - it was a bit complicated at first but I got the hang of it. When I wrote the ads, I used my new knowledge about my target client’s problems and how I could solve them. I also used our point of difference and highlighted our 100% client satisfaction and fixed price guarantees.
Within 5 minutes of our first Google Ad going live, we received our first phone call. That call resulted in our first client in over a year. Within half an hour of running the ad, we received our first conveyancing quote request. It was so exciting - it was working!!
In less than a month we were bringing on 5 clients or more a day. It was such an exhilarating time for my business.
Over the next few years I ran Legal Beagle, we made a number of changes and automated many parts of our processes. We outsourced many things too, like our Google Adwords campaigns. But we never strayed from doing these 6 things.
By the time I sold Legal Beagle in mid 2017 we had served over 4,000 clients in less than 4 years. Nearly all those clients came to us from our digital marketing strategy.
On reflection, the reason this started working so quickly (after a very slow start to the business initially!!) was that we pulled a number of the crucial levers (as outlined in 1 - 6 above) required for success in the online legal world. I was focused on these things. I wasn’t distracted by trying to sell online conveyancing to everyone, or selling other online legal services.