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LEGAL CENTS: Try virtual coupons for a thrifty means of marketing

Jane Pribek is a former family law attorney and editor-at-large of the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at [email protected]

Because I’m over the age of 40 and, like many Midwesterners, generally thrifty, coupons intrigue me.

I always peruse the coupon sections of the Sunday paper and I never go to Macy’s without my Rewards certificates. Stores that offer coupons are more likely to land me as a customer.

Does the same hold true for law firms?

I spoke with three lawyers who offer coupons for their services, and though not one of them has had a client take them up on the coupon offer, all three said they’d continue posting them as a means of marketing.

Baraboo-based Krueger & Hernandez SC has posted coupons for a free initial consult, plus free admission to a wealth-planning seminar, on its listing at MerchantCircle.com. Michelle Hernandez said coupons are a good fit for her practice area, estate planning, because baby boomers generally seem to like them.

Offering the coupon, even if people don’t make use of it, helps the firm’s listing stand out, she said.

Milwaukee lawyer Mike Brennan, also known as The Virtual Lawyer, has a coupon on superpages.com for 20 percent off the final invoice. The offer also is available on MeetUp.com, as well as the business directory for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

With both the Milwaukee association’s directory and Superpages, users can search for attorneys by practice area within a geographic area and they can then narrow the search to those offering coupons. On Superpages, when you search “Lawyers Milwaukee WI,” for example, you get about 1,400 results. When you narrow it to those with coupons, just three show up in the results – The Virtual Lawyer being one of them.

Attorney Tim Baland of Anoka, Minn., uses Superpages and Google Places to offer a coupon for $50 off a consultation. He also offers $25 off for potential clients that “like” his firm on Facebook.

Baland said his practice is geared toward middle-income individuals of any age, and they often are looking to save money wherever they can. The coupons convey the message, he said, that he understands his potential clients and their situation.

Brennan said his coupon offerings play into his marketing strategy, as well.

“My firm is structured in a way where I’m marketing myself as something different, and this plays into that,” he said.

Offering coupons on sites such as Merchant Circle make the most of free business listings, Hernandez said, and she encourages all firms to claim their profiles on such sites.

“An Internet presence is a must,” she said, “and anyone who’s holding back, for whatever reason, is going to miss the train.”

With Merchant Circle, for example, you can post a description of your firm that’s heavy on the keywords prospective clients might seek, using verbiage that’s consistent with your website and other marketing materials. You can also post photos and video.

These measures, paired with a coupon, make the listing stand out and can bump the listing up in the site’s search results, as well as Google search results in general.


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