Virtual Paralegal Training Center

        VIRTUAL PARALEGAL TRAINING CENTER

Training, Networking & Resources    

 

Virtual Paralegal Training


  • 04 Jun 2020 10:27 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    The following questions should be included in your competitive analysis

    • A list of your main competitors?
    • Why do you consider them to be your main competitors?
    • What services do they offer that you also offer?
    • What services do you offer that they do not offer?
    • What is their reputation in the market place?
    • What are their fees?
    • What technology & software do they use?
    • What seems to be their business strategy?
    • How can you attract their clients?
  • 04 Jun 2020 10:25 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Once you have completed your market research that includes your practice areas, competitors and target clients; you must develop a unique business proposition that will give you a competitive advantage.

    • If the results from your research shows that there is a demand for your services; the first thing you need to do, is to create a list of paralegal duties for which you have substantial experience and are comfortable performing with little or no supervision.
    • Narrow your list to functions that can be delivered remotely. Duties and functions, you can perform from anywhere without the assistant and resources of a law office. This is called your virtual paralegal “primary service” list.
    • The remainder of duties on your list is called your “secondary service” list. These are the services that you may not be able to deliver remotely but should still be a part of your marketing plan to demonstrate your level of expertise to your clients. If you have local clients, you may be able to provide some of your services on site at their office on a flex schedule.
    • Now that your service list is completed; create mock assignments for each service that you plan to offer remotely to help determine how long it will take you to complete each assignment.
    • This way you can accurately set your deadlines and determine your fees.
    • After setting your virtual paralegal fees; create a checklist of software and equipment you will need to complete each of your services.
    • Next, create your business plan. The Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ offer a sample business plan created specifically for virtual paralegals. It is available in Microsoft Word Format where it can be edited and customized to fit any virtual paralegal business.
  • 04 Jun 2020 10:24 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    In general, why do most business owners neglect their loyal clients? After chasing the deal and finally closing, some business owners believe that their job is done, and they have a client for life. 

    Research has shown that acquiring a new client is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. You don’t have to spend time and resources going out and finding a new client - you just should keep the one you have happy. 

    • Market to your competitors’ clients
    • Upgrade your equipment and software regularly.
    • Offer new opportunities to your clients to make them want to stay with you.
  • 04 Jun 2020 10:21 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Staying ahead of other virtual paralegals in the market is one of the challenges of this business. It means thinking outside the box and using the right tactics together in the right way to create something unique that covers all your bases. You must constantly out shine other virtual paralegals in the way you market your services and the level of work that you provide to your clients?

    Here are 9 ways to stay ahead of other virtual paralegals in the market:

    Practice Areas – if your services are from a specialized practice area; let your clients know you are aware that very few paralegals are available who offer your services and you are the best among the few.

    Experience – highlight your years of experience working as a paralegal. Offer samples of your work when requested.

    Confidentiality –every virtual paralegal business must have privacy and confidentiality policies and procedures as a standard part of business operation. Check the Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ - Forms’ Library for samples.

    Reliability – saying you are reliable is not enough; you must go further and showcase an incident where you had to meet more than one deadlines and how you accomplished it.

    Time – If time is an issue for your client, demonstrate to your client that you can get the job done on time; or even better, get it done before the expected deadline.

    Money – If your clients challenge your fees do not immediately lower your fees, instead find other ways to work with the client such as offering discounts for a volume of work.

    Technology – if you use updated technology and software, let your clients know. Always invest in the most updated technology for your practice areas.

    Confidence – Be confident in your abilities; speak clearly and firmly but always be respectful.

    Professionalism – Whether you accept the assignment or if the client does not hire you; in every negotiation, always maintain a high level of professionalism.

  • 04 Jun 2020 10:17 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    When you have your business up and running; meaning you have at least one client, generating new business by growing your client base can be challenging. Here are some practical tips to help you grow your client base.

    • Follow up with your prospective clients.  To be successful in this business, you must follow up on emails, text messages and social media. 
    • All referrals should be contacted and be considered by you to be potential clients. Remember, if you do not respond, another virtual paralegal will; and this will not help in the growth of your business.
    • Meeting your clients’ deadlines must always be your priority. It is very important to complete all assignments in a timely manner. 
    • If you think you will not be able to meet your clients’ deadline, notify them within a reasonably time so they can approve an extension or make other arrangements.
    • If a client gives you an assignment that is out of your practice areas; you should respectively decline and refer the client to a virtual paralegal who has the experience needed and can provide a satisfactory out-come.
    • Referral is one of the benefits of networking with other virtual paralegals.
    • Be clear with your clients in the initial consultation about the services you do not offer. If you do not provide receptionist or messenger services let your clients know upfront.
    • Be clear with your client on your business operating hours. Unless it is an emergency you should ask your clients to send you emails after your normal business hours.
    • Ask your prospective clients what you need to do to earn their business. If they could change anything about their current paralegal what would it be?
    • Ask your current clients for their feedback on your services.  Improve on the negative feedback. If your clients are happy it will increase your profitability.
    • Learn from your mistakes.
    • Educate yourself on a continuous basis.
    • Be as courteous to other virtual paralegals as you are to your clients. Doing otherwise will undermine your credibility, as well as the credibility of your profession.
    • Before every client interview; conduct mock interviews with a business associate, friend or family member. Have someone ask you challenging questions to see how you handle them.
    • At the beginning of each week create a list of 3-5 attorneys you would like to work with, and market to them.
    • Research their law practice thoroughly. Clients like when you know who they are and what they do.
    • List the services your target client’s need and improve on the services they are getting from their current paralegal.
    • Show clients how your services compare to other virtual paralegals offering similar services. Most clients don’t like change unless they see a significant difference.
    • Create your company’s resume and post it on online job and professional websites such as: Craigslist, Upwork.com and LinkedIn.
    • Write articles summarizing the business services you offer and a hot topic about your practice areas. Make sure your byline includes your contact and social media information.
    • Include your articles in your marketing campaign.
    • Publish your articles online and on your website.
    • Subscribe to Solosez.com and Solo Practice University, online networking communities for solo practitioners and small law firms.
    • Buy banner ads on paralegal, attorney and business websites.
    • Send out press releases.
    • Create “Google Alerts’ to track your company and the legal industry online.
    • Stay on top of the news in your practice areas. Subscribe to online newsletters and forums for organizations, journals, magazines and newspapers in the legal industry.
  • 04 Jun 2020 10:14 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Usually it is recommended that if you are going to start your virtual paralegal business on a full-time basis you should have at least 6 months to a year income saved; but in this economy, I would recommend that you have 1 year or more savings to cover your personal and business expenses.

    Here are some cash flow options to keep you afloat while you start your business:

    1)    Launch your virtual paralegal business while you still have a full-time job.

    2)    Take on part-time jobs or contract assignments to help with your cash flow.

    3)    Work for established virtual paralegals.

    4)    If you have administrative skills; start out as a virtual assistant.

    5)    Write and sell eBooks about your practice areas. Write guest blog and articles and submit to blogs that are willing to pay for them.

    6)    Create your own blog and add affiliate marketing.

    7)    If you are a notary; work as a notary signing agent for banks and title companies.

    8)    Share your paralegal knowledge as a speaker at legal conferences and webinars online and off-line.

    9)    Volunteer with legal organizations within your practice areas (you may not get paid but you will gain experience and create a network).

  • 04 Jun 2020 10:14 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Advertising is a form of marketing that should always be credible, unique and memorable. It should remind clients and inform prospective clients about the benefits of your services. Advertising establishes and maintains your distinct identity and can enhance your reputation.

    Advertising cannot create instant client base, cause an immediate increase in work, or solve your cash and profit flow. More importantly, it cannot be a substitute for poor client service or incompetence. If you are going to advertise that you are the best you must be the best!

    Clearly state your objective for your ad.  If you want your prospects to call, you should state it in the ad and provide the telephone number. The same applies if you want them to visit your website or blog.

  • 04 Jun 2020 10:10 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Answering your Phone Put on a smile before placing or answering a phone call. When a person smiles, it affects the sound of his or her voice, giving it a more pleasant and friendly tone.

    Always return phone calls if a return call has been promised. If a time frame was given you must make every attempt to return the phone call as quickly as possible within that frame.

    Business & Legal Professional Groups – Joining business & legal associations can help with referrals for your business. Membership provides a sense of belonging which can create client loyalty. For example, ABA for Paralegals not only service paralegals but also attorneys. Pay for a membership and join the Board of Directors. This can give you direct access to your target clients and build credibility.

    Business Spotlight – Highlight your business and services to your target clients on the Virtual Paralegal Training Center™. This is a free and easy way to showcase your business to attorneys, law firms and legal recruiters.

    Blog – Start a practice area specific blog. A blog is one of the best ways to connect with clients directly. In the case of a virtual paralegal; your clients can tell if you know your services well because they likely offer the same services. Share new regulations, laws and rulings about your areas of practice. Answer frequently asked questions from attorneys and law firms. Add new content at least twice per week.

    Charity - Build charitable donations into your pricing (percentage of your profit goes to charity). Let your clients know about the charity that your business support and that a portion of your fees will be donated. Everyone likes to support a good cause.

    Comparison Chart – Create a comparison chart which lists your services and the services of your competitors to track how you measure up to other virtual paralegals and staff paralegals in service, price, and client services among other things.

    Demonstration – Offer your services with a guarantee.  If clients are not satisfied with your service, they do not have to pay.

    eBook – Write an eBook specific to your practice areas and sell it on Amazon or give it to your clients.

    Educate Yourself – To stay ahead of other virtual paralegals, you must know your business very well.  Look for opportunities to learn more about your business and practice areas, new technologies and marketing methods. Sign up for (CLE) Continuing Legal Education through your paralegal associations.

    Email –You can advertise by announcing new blog posts, practice areas, or anything else with the clients you’re already in direct communication with. Add your signature at the end of the email which should include all your contact information as well as a link to your blog and social media pages. 

    Facebook ads - Facebook ads, while not free, offer a great opportunity for reaching the right demographics for your business. If you know your clients well, you can use metrics like interests, geographic location, marital status, age and many others, to locate attorneys and law firms to send to strategically-targeted landing pages, also known as squeeze pages. 

    Google Analytics - Google Analytics is the most popular and most robust statistical website interface in the world. It allows you to determine the demographics of your audience, where they are from, how many pages they visit if they subscribe to your newsletter and if they follow any of your calls-to-action.

    Additionally, it is believed that Google’s search algorithm utilizes information, such as bounce rate and time on site, in their rankings.

    Guest Post – Writing your own blog is great, but chances are that you can reach a broader audience by publishing your posts on blogs that already have a large readership. The Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ - Blog is accepting guest posts and articles.

    HARO - Have you heard of Help a Reporter Out – or HARO? It’s a great PR tool to add to your marketing toolbox.

    HARO is a resource for connecting reporters who need sources for stories with people who are knowledgeable about the subject matter. Free publicity is a great way to increase your audience and gain access to potential clients for your virtual paralegal business. It is easy to use: just go to HelpaReporter.com, and sign up for your free account

    Internet – You can advertise your services using your own website as well as social networking websites such as Twitter, Face book, YouTube and LinkedIn. You can also advertise on business websites such as Merchant Circle, Guru.com, and Upwork.com.

    In addition to your personal accounts; create a company page on Twitter, Face book, YouTube and LinkedIn for your virtual paralegal business.

    Interview – Get interviewed by influencers' such as the Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ and professional legal organizations. Add links to your interviews on your website and blog; include copies with your marketing materials so that your clients can get to know you better.

    LinkedIn groups - LinkedIn groups are a great way to quickly connect with others in your industry or niche to help spread your message. You can promote your content through LinkedIn groups such as, the Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ if you don't come across as spammy. It's best to add value to a conversation or discussion before trying to drop your links. 

    Logo – If you have a company logo make sure to use it on all your marketing materials and stationery. It will help to set you apart from your competitors.

    Mobile Friendly - Over 90% of all traffic is derived from a mobile device. It is as vital as ever to make sure that your mobile website is well-optimized, loads fast, and has mobile-oriented navigation.

    When having a design accomplished for your website, you need to look at it on multiple mobile devices. A slow loading mobile site can mean decreased rankings with Google.

    Newsletter – Create your own newsletter.  If you decide to offer a newsletter, be sure to do your research to make sure the information you provide is correct and current. Write about your practice areas and the services that you provide. Mail Chimp is one of the many email marketing service that offers a free account to help you increase subscriptions and distribute your newsletter.

    Subscribe to the Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ - News Magazine. It is the industry leading information resource for virtual paralegals and legal assistants to stay current on the latest news, regulations, technology and new development in the virtual law practice.

    Offer to be a Speaker. Paralegal conferences, volunteer organizations, and business networking groups often need speakers. You will benefit from the name recognition, contacts and publicity you gain from being a speaker at these events.

    Online Appointment Booking - Conversions and calls-to-action are the foundation of any business. Virtual paralegals are no different in such capacity. By adding an online appointment booking option, you accomplish both of those in one step.

    An online appointment booking option can be used as a direct call to action to capture a potential new client’s information and request. The booking software typically integrates with Google and Mac calendars, which are built into smartphones and utilizes reminders.

    Pay Attention to your Competitors– Research what other successful virtual paralegals are doing. Find out their fees. Create strategic partnerships with them. Ask if they will refer business to you. Ask if they will mentor you.

    Press Release – Anytime your business does something newsworthy, you should send out press releases. Distribute a press release at the launch of your business describing your services.

    Pricing –Pricing your services is very important; you do not want to price your services too low that you barely make a profit, nor do you want to price your services too high where volume is so low you cannot cover your operating expenses. 

    However, keep in mind that you are in business to make money and you must price your services to generate a profit. See eReport from the Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ on Setting Your Virtual Paralegal Fees.

    Professional Picture – Add a professional picture of yourself on your website and social media pages. Clients like to know who they are doing business with. Use the same photo for all business relating events such as marketing for consistency.

    Quora - If you're looking to get some early traffic, and you have a new domain, less than 2 years old with little authority built up, you should work on marketing your content on sites like Quora. Write an informative article and post it on Quora linking it back to your website or blog. Ensure that whatever you're talking about helps attorneys or their clients in some way, shape or form. 

    Resume – Draft your Virtual Paralegal Resume. You can find an example of a business resume at the Virtual Paralegal Training Center™. Up-load your resume to their database where it can be viewed by legal employers and recruiters.

    Strategic Partnerships – Partner with related, established but non-competitive virtual paralegals to promote your services.

    Slide Share – Summarize your services and blog posts into slide presentations and post them on Slide Share.

    YouTube – Create a YouTube account and convert your blog posts into videos and post them on your channel. Create how-to videos of your services for your prospective clients.

    Testimonials - The inclusion of testimonials on your website can help drive home the reason why your virtual paralegal practice is the best possible choice for a potential client.

    Testimonials on your website should serve two primary purposes. First, testimonials highlight happy clients of your services and portray your business in a good light. Second, testimonials can serve as an extension to your legal services, offering potential clients more expansive benefits for using your company.

    Traditionally, testimonials are written either on your website or on social media. The written word, as any paralegal will tell you, is powerful and influential. However, video testimonials can be even more engaging and beneficial.

    Twitter Ads - Studies show that “42% of Twitter users follow brands or companies”. You can get more followers and create awareness using promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends.

    Video Marketing - Video marketing is critical for virtual paralegals to connect with prospective clients. Video content offers a unique user experience which is innovative, exciting, and most importantly, personal. Even a 10-second video clip can provide several times the value that website text can.

    The personal aspect of a well-done video can convey a message of trustworthiness to the attorneys and law firms who is already concerned about using virtual paralegals. An attorney who feels nervous about taking on your virtual paralegal services might quickly change their mind when they realize you are a real, likable, and an intelligent paralegal that will look out for their best interest.

    Another big benefit of using video is that the video can also be used later for Facebook ad campaigns. Video ads are one of the best ways a virtual paralegal can capture new leads on social media.

    Website – Without question, every virtual paralegal must have a website. Add a copy of your resume or link to your LinkedIn profile on the home page of your website. All contact information including social media must be visible on all your web pages.

    Word of Mouth – This is the cheapest and most effective type of advertising. It offers the authenticity and accelerates the decision process for prospective clients.

    Studies have shown that a satisfied client will tell an average of 3 people about a service they like and an average of 7 people about a service they find disappointing.

  • 04 Jun 2020 10:06 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    Legal marketing experts believe that good business development starts with a marketing plan focused on activities you do well, targeted at the right attorneys and law firms carried out consistently.

    With permission, we have republished a few legal marketing expert responses here in the form of tips you can use for your virtual paralegal business.

    • Asking other virtual paralegals what worked for them is a great place to start.
    • You should maximize your free marketing opportunities before spending a lot of money on marketing. For example, updating your LinkedIn pages and maximize all the ways it allows you to market your services.
    • Ask for a guest list before you attend legal events and identify individuals you’d like to meet.
    • At legal professional conferences and socials, ask organizers whether you can be a greeter. This gives you a great reason to introduce yourself to people.
    • If you have a practice-related blog, write posts with information that would be useful to the attorneys and law firms you would like to hire you.
    • Think hard about who your target market is, and where the decision-makers are in that market.
    • When you meet a potential client, focus on his or her immediate needs. It may have nothing to do with your current areas of practice. Maybe the attorney’s immediate need is to find an assistant who does not offer the services you provide. If you know someone and can connect them, there’s a better chance the attorney will think of you when services you offer are needed.
    • Organize an online monthly social with paralegals and legal assistants you use to work with, varying the practice areas so attendees have greater referral opportunities.
    • §  Develop a marketing plan around activities you enjoy. If you like to write, think about an online newsletter or blog. If you connect better with people one on one, consider volunteer/pro bono work with an activity that compliments your business.
    • Instead of handing out your business cards at social legal events, get attorneys’ cards, and email your contact information afterward. There’s a better chance they will remember you.
    • Install Google Analytics on your website. It details what search terms got people to your site and how long they stayed there. You can also use it to determine popular search terms and put the terms that relate to your practice on your website.
    • End a conversation with someone at a networking event after you finish a statement, rather than when they finish one, so they won’t think you’re cutting them off.
    • Never criticize an attorney or law firm by name. You never know when they might be able to hire you.
    • Market the work you’d like to be doing, not the work you have to do to pay the bills.
    • Apply for adjunct professor work. It adds to your expertise, and former students can be great referral sources.
    • Give people you meet a brief description of what you do, rather than stating your title.
  • 04 Jun 2020 10:03 AM | Cordina Charvis (Administrator)

    At some point, most businesses experience a slow period, you do not close shop; instead use the time to re-evaluate your goals.

    • Use the time to catch up on your record and bookkeeping.
    • Update your client list and continue to market your services. You should also use this opportunity to get some marketing training.
    • Spend time with your current clients to find out what their needs are during their slow and busy periods.
    • Educate yourself on different practice areas that may be complimentary to your current practice.
    • Review your practice areas.  If your main practice area is slow you should partner with a virtual paralegal in a different practice area to increase your revenue.
    • Avoid reducing your fees.  When business picks up it will be difficult to increase your fees and keep your clients.
    • Review your fees.  If you find that you are charging below market you must mark up your fees for your new clients and consider increasing your current clients’ fees when business picks up.

©Virtual Paralegal Training Center™

Training, Networking & Resources (TNR)

http://www.virtualparalegaltrainingcenter.com

inbox@virtualparalegaltraining.com

Subscribe to virtual paralegal newsletter

Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management