Startup lawyer directory: Acquisition strategy

This is a Case Study of successful implementation of amendments to client’s customer acquisition plan for Start-up lawyer directory and review app.

A company bio

The client: a start-up lawyer directory and review service. The client positioned the site as a ‘place where Aussies go when they need legal advice’.

Customer acquisition strategy: gain customers through organic search (SEO).

Ideal customer type: small businesses / individuals who want to find lawyers judging by others reviews or through asking them a question for free.

Initial Goals:

  1. get on Top 5 Google results against ‘lawyer’s name’ search term

  2. get on Top 10 against ‘practice of law’ + ‘location’ search term

Acquisition funnel: from Organic search:

  1. Sign up,

  2. Ask a question

  3. Write a review a lawyer

  4. Share the review in social and

  5. Along the way generate more and more positive feelings toward the brand.

What went wrong?

The client’s strategy relied on two cornerstones: 1) a large & accurate database of lawyers on the website; 2) customers would give their reviews and feedback on lawyers as customers engage with them on the website.

The bottleneck: Apparently, the "bottleneck" was Reviews and Feedback on the stage when no engagement with lawyers has occurred. Right from the start it has questioned the ‘ideal customer type’ concept – a person who wants to judge by others reviews. And, importantly, the absence of reviews undermined the quality of pages, which in turn prejudiced Goal 1 – lawyer pages ranking.

So, goals needed to be updated: we now need Reviews.

We needed a direction how to get to this Goal from customer experience

Obviously, the customer type has to be refined. Ideal user persona needed to be further dissected but user-level data were very obscure. Bounce rate was high and it was hard to extract any meaningful users’ experience.

User segmentation hypothesis

I suggested a hypothesis that there might be 3 user segments down within the ideal buyer’s persona:

  1. Upstream user

  2. Low hanging fruits

  3. Problem solvers

Upstream users are millenials with a strong grasp of social. Create lots of content and need instant gratification. Appreciate smooth user experience.

Low hanging fruits were those already interested in finding a lawyer in a specific location.

Problem solvers are people who search a web to find an answer to law-related question. By the contrast to ‘low hanging fruits’ who have an ‘intent’ buying stage, problem solvers are only embracing the problem – arguably, the ‘awareness stage’.

Who helps the most?

Obviously, upstream users will be responsible for creating the biggest share (if not all) of the site’s content user-wise. This means that as compared to all other user segments, upstream users will mostly likely be asking questions. Predictably, low hanging fruits will mostly search lawyer biographies and possibly browse lawyer reviews. Problem solvers most likely will explore the existing answers / advices.

So, upstream users will create the momentum that will keep all other user segments engaged with the client’s website. That’s why I suggested to pick optimizing the conversion funnel for upstream users as a first milestone.

Tactics – How to target them?

I suggested approaching upstream users in Facebook through Community / Interest targeted advertising. The ad pitch may say: Small business owner? Ask legal questions for free. Connect and review lawyers. Share your experience with others with your industry.

The conversion Funnel

A primary goal is to Review a lawyer. Obviously, goal conversion will augment the Lawyer’s profile and result in attracting more customers: both through organic traffic and social networks. The easiest way to reviews is enable instant Review option after the first interaction with a lawyer.

So, the conversion funnel was:

  1. Sign-up

  2. See a guide

  3. Ask a question

  4. Post a review

  5. Share your experience via Social

How it’s going to be?

The Ad landing page is going to be Main page. It has to feature video explaining benefits of Sign up and Profile. It has to be both emotional and instructive. The page may also have featured profiles of other clients to give them a look and feel. This will secure step # 1 ‘Sign up’ conversion of ‘Upstream’ users.

It has to be as simple as ‘type your email’. After that they need to tell a customer ‘What to expect from you’ – a) how ask questions, b) how to search lawyers, c) how to set the account up. It shall produce a high conversion rate onto step #2 ‘Ask a question’. Subsequently, they would want to empower a user to review a lawyer by his / her answer only. Along the way, the client would want to enable social sharing of blog entries / articles on your website so that a user may tell others about the service.

Key metrics

Suppose there is customer who is a small business owner. She gets signed up and has a profile page. There she puts some info on his business, links to his web resources and social accounts. In addition to that, on the profile page she can put lawyers’ wish-list (the one’s she follows or want to get into the contact). And, importantly, her profile shows reviews from lawyers who she worked with (if any).

Would be that profile beneficial to lawyers (sellers)? Yes, because they can get more of a background on the clients and have more accurate angle when communicating with her? Would be that profile beneficial to herself also? Yes, because she can have more targeted content on her areas of interest. And, above all other, it will bring greater buyer’s experience as sellers would know the client. If combined with Social Accounts networking possibilities it creates even more fun.

So, the key metrics to target were:

  1. Sign-ups

  2. Profile completeness

  3. Wish-list usage

  4. Ask a question stats

  5. Reviews stats

  6. Social shares

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