I’m a lawyer spending hundreds of dollars each month and lots of time on Avvo.com through advertising and answering questions. I’m not sure if it’s worth it. What do you think?
That’s a pretty broad question. So let me start out with a broad answer first and then drill down a bit.
First of all, it doesn’t matter where you spend money to market and advertise your firm. All that really matters is your ROI.
As far as simply advertising – if you’re coming out ahead financially each month I don’t see a reason to stop. Although, from a pure advertising standpoint, it’s hard to beat the return on investment of Google Adwords.
However, I have an issue with your overall marketing strategy of answering questions that I want you to think about.
Build Your Brand – Not Avvo’s
Most lawyers understand how competitive the legal landscape is nowadays. So becoming a true Thought Leader and a “brand” in your niche is a great long term strategy to employ.
But answering questions on Avvo is the wrong way to go about it. Why? Because you end up building their brand – not yours.
What if they change their terms of service or are sold? What happens to all those questions you’ve answered and the time you spent doing it?
Before you consider this ‘a sky is falling type response’ I’ve seen this happen before with professionals who focus their efforts on secondary platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Quora to name recent ones).
Instead, go a different route.
You most likely have your own website. My advice is to answer those questions and post them there.
Build your brand and reputation on your own platform – something that cannot be taken from you or changed. Something that YOU control.
Rest assured – answering questions that your market is asking is a great strategy. But focus on your platform and your brand.
Meat Market Mentality
The other major issue I have with answering questions on Avvo is that it’s extremely difficult to stand out in a good way because you’re just one of 160,000 attorneys on the site trying to answer questions.
That’s the exact opposite of what you should be doing to build yourself into a Thought Leader and strengthen your brand. It’s a meat market mentality and frankly, bluntly sends the wrong message to potential clients.
Think about any guru in any niche out there. You will never see them answering questions on a site like this.
Lowest Common Denominator
I’m not up-to-date on how Avvo operates from the consumer side. But last I checked it cost nothing for someone to come on Avvo and ask a lawyer a question. So the site, and I realize I’m painting with a broad brush stroke here, attracts potential clients who are looking for free advice and the lowest cost option.
You are not viewed as an expert advisor or thought leader. You’re viewed as ‘just another attorney’ out there answering questions for free. These types of clients will most likely end up being a bigger headache than they are worth.
Great Deal for Avvo – Not You
Honestly, Avvo’s got a great thing going for themselves.
Hundreds of thousands of attorneys answering questions for free which builds up their search engine traffic and allows them to charge more as time goes along for their paid advertising.
But if your goal is to have high quality clients coming to you because of your positioning – with price as only a secondary consideration – Avvo is not the way to make that happen.