Just as then-candidate Obama’s campaign offered solo and small firm lawyer valuable marketing lessons on using social media to speak to and genuinely engage clients, likewise, his presidency continues to serve as a valuable source of ideas. As you probably know, today, President Obama conducted an online town hall, eliciting questions from the public through an online chat-type forum. So I got to thinking, how would online chats work for law firms?
Very well, according to the results of a study by Bravestorm.com, makers of Boldchat.com. The study shows a direct correlation between live chat and growth in sales for online retailers. But more significant for lawyers, the study also found that live chat has an even greater importance for service organizations such as law firms, accountants and others.
Of course, lawyers would have to implement live chat judiciously to ensure compliance with ethics rules and avoid malpractice liability. Among other things, lawyers would need to avoid giving specific advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. Still, live-chat offers plenty of possibilities. Why not an “online open house” where a lawyer spends an hour fielding questions on estate planning or divorce? You could even save the results and make the live chat transcript available as an FAQ on your website. Alternatively, a lawyer might host a professional in a related field – for example, a divorce lawyer could ask a marriage counselor to answer questions from the public. Just making a resource like live chat available can generate good will, not to mention, make site visitors remember your firm if they’re ever asked for a referral.
Used to be that live chat software was an expensive or complex proposition. But these days, prices are manageable. Bold Chat, for example, charges $29 a month. Even if you don’t wind up getting clients, at least you can look presidential. How many solo and small firm lawyers could say that before?