In December 2011, I adopted the Mobilezen.com platform for a mobile website and app for pro bono state support activities. Others around me were investing large sums in developing apps to support pro bono lawyers and to deliver information about pro bono. I was interested in learning more about mobile sites and apps before jumping off into app development by first using an affordable, easy-to-set-up site.
Lawyers can learn about pro bono in Georgia by texting “probono” to 99699 on their smartphone or by visiting http://mobilezen.com/probono. I set up the mobile site to offer the basics: a volunteer pledge form, links to resource training materials, and a statewide training calendar.
Lawyers don’t know that I have this texting tool for their use, so I have to tell them. I have used less than a handful of methods to spread the word about the texting site:
- I have inserted a one sentence instruction in my email signature;
- I have tweeted information about the text service 4 times;
- I have inserted the information into a new program website that launched last month.
Even with the minimal PR I have used to advertise the textsite, I have been averaging about 5 text requests each month and 75 textsite views each month. So I have served up to about 80 users per month.
I have not been extremely thoughtful about ways to increase awareness of the textsite, although Mobilezen.com does offer tips. I have not formulated a method to track what the users access through the mobile site links. I can report anecdotally that specific requests from lawyers for information about pro bono have increased to an alias email address I placed on the mobile site to about 3 inquiries each week. Given the monthly usage rate of the site, I believe the email link usage represents a good rate of “further inquiry” after use of the app.
I do think the service is valuable on at least two fronts: I am thinking more seriously about what potential volunteer lawyers may be looking for in terms of support because I see that lawyers are indeed using the tool; and I can say that I am very inclined to develop a more sophisticated mobile approach that helps me deliver and track resources because I am now curious about what links they are using on the mobile site.
I plan to do four things to increase awareness of, and traffic to, the pro bono mobile site I am currently using:
- I will include information on the texting service in the next State Bar of Georgia E-News mail;
- I will ask that local pro bono coordinators and staff attorneys consider adding it to their email signatures and to local voluntary bar presentations;
- I will submit an article on the project to the next State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division Newsletter;
- I will add it to the pro bono page on the State bar’s website.
While I work to increase traffic to the mobile site, I will set up a new “collector” for the online pledge form survey that is unique to the mobile site so I can track online pledge form returns back to the mobile site.
So, that’s my update on my mobile app for pro bono. I’ll keep learning and tweaking. Thanks to Mobilezen.com for a useful, affordable and helpful texting service.
Want to learn more about pro bono in Georgia? Text “probono” to 99699.