There are many ways law firms generate leads, but methods that inundate phones and web forms with unqualified leads are a waste of precious time. Unqualified leads often create a legal intake gridlock that increases the likelihood that qualified leads will slip away.
Law firm time is money and that makes reducing wasted time an imperative for lawyers. The best way to reduce wasted time is to only deal with qualified leads. And, even better, to deal exclusively with qualified leads that have signed client contracts.
The following describes various methods used to generate and obtain these types of leads.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing refers to capturing more web traffic and higher commercial visibility through paid advertisements on search engines.
Using SEM to get a qualified lead means using keywords to drive traffic to your site. For example, a law firm might assign the keywords "product liability lawyers" to its website. That search will potentially find the law firm in the search engine's results as part of a list of lawyers focused on injuries from defective products. The more general the keywords, the greater the tendency to generate unqualified leads that may not be interested in actually becoming a client without repeated exposure to marketing efforts.
Technically, the cost of a keyword is determined through bidding. However, as a rule of thumb, the cost of a keyword increases depending on how likely the keyword is to result in a qualified lead. For example, using SEM to get qualified leads for mass tort cases would necessitate very expensive keywords, such as "lawyer for Zantac mass tort.” A keyword phrase such as “Zantac problems” will cost less but is also less likely to be used by someone who is ready to become a qualified lead. These users will require more convincing to become a client than users who type in “lawyer for Zantac mass tort.”
Search Engine Optimization
The basic rules of SEO are relatively straight-forward:
- First, identify the service for which your qualified leads will most likely conduct a search. An example would be using "product liability lawyers" to attract potential litigants for Zantac injuries.
- Second, modify the firm's website so its web pages reflect search terms considered valuable by search engines. Valuable in this sense means the most searched for terms.
- Third, make sure the firm's website is reachable by search bots (computer programs that automate search terms).
- Fourth, add links on your website to other high-quality, relevant websites.
- Fifth, measure SEO results.
Without content marketing or intake specialists, SEO, like SEM, requires focusing on extremely competitive keywords. Keywords form your search query; these legal keywords are so competitive that winning the bid on them in order to rank high enough in the search engine's results usually means hiring an expensive SEO agency.
Buy Exclusive Leads
Buying exclusive leads may seem like the rational solution and there are some websites that offer to sell exclusive leads in exchange for hundreds of dollars for each lead. The downsides of this method are that it is hard to know:
- How many leads you need to buy before one converts; and
- If the leads are exclusive or if the website sells the same leads to multiple companies.
Due to trust issues, buying exclusive leads is usually not the preferred method of gaining clients.
Email marketing often begins by targeting potential prospects as they visit your website. The goal is to obtain email addresses for future email marketing. Site visitors might exchange their email address for something of value to them, like an eBook.
After obtaining the email addresses, email marketers send a series of emails to each target. Each of the emails focuses on a topic of interest to a person who may become a qualified lead, and also includes a link to a specific landing page where leads may request a consultation.
Landing pages must be organized and optimized specifically for mass tort cases. An optimized landing page provides "an offer they cannot refuse" and focuses on the potential client's interest points. A successful landing page will also reflect the different stages of the buyer's journey in which leads may find themselves. In addition, adding video to a landing page substantially increases conversion (sometimes as high as 80%).
Downsides to this method are that it:
- Requires spending money to draw attention to the eBook offering through advertisements; and
- Can fail because most leads will not make it to the landing page.
Legal Call Center + Any Lead Generation Method
A legal intake call center qualifies leads before you see them. In practical terms, this means you can:
- Bid on less expensive keywords for SEM,
- Go after less competitive terms in SEO, and
- Spend less time dealing with email marketing.
As an added benefit, a legal intake call center turns prospective leads into qualified leads and then into signed clients, sometimes in a single, uninterrupted phone call. Legal call centers save staff time and allow attorneys to avoid the process of convincing a qualified lead to work with them. Legal intake specialists at legal call centers receive special training specifically designed to turn qualified leads into clients. Therefore, the firm wastes less money on individuals who may be qualified leads but that lawyers or support staff are unable to sign on as clients.
If you would like to learn more about how to turn qualified leads into clients, we invite you to download our eBook, "How to Convert Mass Tort Leads into Clients".