Timmins legal firm Ellery, Ellery & Prabucki looks beyond growth to engagement
Growth has always been the easiest metric for Timmins law firm Ellery, Ellery & Prabucki to define success. But recently, it’s found a new metric: engagement.
“Prior to me joining the firm in 2018, (firm owner Justin Ellery) would tell you that he is a Yellow Pages lawyer,” says Dominika Prabucki, associate lawyer and the firm’s de facto marketing director. Ellery, she explains, has been a lawyer for 35 years and is well known in the community for his work and also sponsorship of different initiatives in Timmins. “In our line of business, we monitor progress by growth, whether it’s growing our billings, our clients, our presence. ”
When Prabucki came on, she started ramping up their digital presence, setting up a Facebook page and website for the firm. “We concentrate heavily on family law, criminal law and real estate,” she says. But recently, they’ve started moving into immigration law, an area underrepresented in Timmins. “Our community is expanding with a lot of people that are coming to the college,” says Prabucki. And those students, particularly international students, that are looking for lawyers, start by searching online and through social media.
In late 2019, Prabucki heard about Digital Main Street, a program combining grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners like Google to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future. She took the seminars and applied for the $2,500 digital transformation grant. “I loved the experience,” she says. “It was 12 videos which was a bit intense but I learned a lot from it and I set some goals and they were easily crushed.”
Up to that point, growth was still the metric – she wanted to hit a certain level of followers. But through the process of monitoring that success, she realized there was more to it. The access to analytics from Google and Facebook gave her a more sophisticated understanding of how they were finding clients. “We were seeing that people were looking us up on Google and then going to our website and getting our contact information and contacting us,” she says. “Whereas before, if you have something in the telephone book advertising your law firm, you don’t necessarily know if that’s where your business is coming from.”
It’s allowed her to fine-tune the marketing plan and make sure the firm is using social media to its full capacity. Now that she’s built a digital presence for the law firm, Prabucki says she’s emphasizing quality engagement – an often overlooked aspect for main street businesses testing digital marketing. “I think we have close to double the followers of any of our competitors,” she says. “Now, we need to really engage the people that we have.”
The firm has applied for a second Digital Main Street grant and Prabucki says she’s also received some additional funding in order to hire a consultant to help run the social while she focuses on the business. She hopes to grow the business to 2,000 likes on Facebook and engage them online. But not at the expense of the personal touch that has helped the business become an important part of the community.
She says she’s been toying with the idea of having a calendar on the website that allows clients to book free consults. “But I don’t think I want to do that because you can’t replace that person on the other side of the phone… it’s all in that initial engagement,” she says. “It’s a fine line between being engaged with the public and using those technological services that are available to you and losing that personal connection.”
Written by Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
A $7.45 million from the Province of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Northern Ontario.