Marketing competition among law firms is stiff. On top of legal content creation and SEO for lawyers, one focus area we are seeing is a growing spotlight on obtaining quality leads. The goal of lead generation for attorneys is a pipeline of interested prospective clients. Because not all leads are clients that a lawyer can represent or wants to represent (for various reasons), having a selection of quality leads is generally preferred.
Leads are potential clients who contact you or enquire about your legal services. They may find your law practice in several ways, including:
- When their Google search leads them to your website
- When they click on a paid ad on another website
- When they find your website through your social media channel
- When they provide their contact information on another legal website, which provides their contact information to you
While this article focuses primarily on online lead generation strategies, generating attorney leads offline is still possible. For example, if you participate in traditional marketing, such as bus bench advertising or magazine ads, you may generate lawyer leads from people who have never visited your law firm's website.
However, many lawyers find traditional marketing tactics less cost-effective once they invest in effective digital marketing and lead generation strategies.
What Is Lead Generation for Lawyers?
Lead generation for lawyers refers to the process of attracting potential clients, also known as "prospects," who may be interested in utilizing legal services. A lead is someone who could become a paying client. While larger law firms tend to take marketing and lead generation more seriously, even solo attorneys can generate a steady flow of quality leads with a strategic marketing approach.
The goal of law firm marketing strategies is to generate leads. A prospective client becomes a lead when they reach out to a law practice in several ways, including:
- Calling the law firm to schedule a consultation
- Filling out a contact form
- Leaving a comment on a blog post
- Responding to a live chat box on a website
- Sending an email / replying to an email newsletter
For many law firms, a free consultation is a standard value offering to generate leads and have conversations with potential clients. A consultation may be provided over the phone, via a Zoom/video call, or in person. Depending on the scope of the initial meeting, this initial conversation with a lead is called a “case review” or a “case evaluation.”
The goal of legal lead generation is not to be pushy but to get prospects to develop an interest in the firm and convince them to act, such as visiting the website or contacting the firm. This happens before the sales process kicks in and can involve various lead-generation strategies such as targeted online advertising, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and more.
In short, lead generation is the process of attracting potential clients and driving them into the sales funnel.
Why Is Lead Generation Important for Law Firms?
Lead generation is crucial for the success of any law firm. Without active and well-executed lead-generation efforts and strategies, a firm may have to rely solely on referrals and word-of-mouth, which is unreliable. A referral dry spell can lead to a slump in business, making it difficult to plan for growth and protect the firm's financial health.
By implementing a lead generation strategy, law firms can constantly attract new potential clients and keep their sales funnel filled with quality leads, ensuring a steady stream of new business and a brighter future.
There are also several other benefits of lead generation services for law firms, including:
Benefit 1: Potential Clients Contact You (Not the Other Way Around)
By implementing powerful inbound digital marketing strategies such as content marketing and PPC ads for lawyers, potential leads will come to you – eager to discover more about your law firm and its services. You no longer need to send bulk mailers or hire salespersons to make unsolicited calls to promote your services.
Benefit 2: Grow Your Law Firm Brand Awareness
If your leads come from your website, your leads have the opportunity to learn about your law firm before they reach out to you. They can read your practice area content, look at your case results or client testimonials, and watch videos on your website. When they sit down to discuss their legal matter with you, they will feel like they know you.
Benefit 3: You Can Gather Information before You Speak to the Lead
Your intake process can allow you to obtain information about your potential clients before the initial consultation. Your case evaluation form can provide a section for comments, or if a prospective client calls your firm, your receptionist can ask a few specific questions. You can use this info to personalize your response and determine the best lawyer at your law practice to meet with them.
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Lead Generation Process
Lead generation is the process of finding and collecting contact info (e.g., name, telephone, email, company size, job title) from potential customers to form a targeted list for marketing campaigns. This is essential for sales success.
It takes potential clients on a journey of several steps, from:
- Being in a target audience pool to
- Being a potential client on your website or looking at your social media channel to
- Contacting your law practice and becoming a lead
After they have reached out to you, you can pursue a second conversion: signing your legal leads up for your services.
For most attorneys running small and mid-sized firms, obtaining quality leads is necessary for running a law firm. Leads are a hot commodity - procured via pay-per-click advertising offered by search engines, local SEO searches, social media content, and mass online directories.
How to Generate More Leads for Your Law Firm
There is a saying, “There are many paths to the top of the mountain”. And there are many ways for a law firm to get leads. In our opinion, the best lead generation services for lawyers are systems that will bring not just one lead, but lead after lead, after lead - indefinitely. Below are some effective strategies law firms use to generate leads.
— Invest in a High-Performance Law Firm Website
A professional website with useful, authoritative content allows prospective clients in all stages of the sales funnel to find you through Google when searching for keyword phrases related to your legal services. Page speed is a primary starting point for your SEO. You can check your website's page speed on Google's PageSpeed Insights tool or at webpagetest.org.
Page load speed is part of Google's algorithm; the first few seconds your potential clients spend on your website will directly affect conversion rates. Once your page loads (hopefully quickly), the real first impression begins.
As such, your law firm's website should:
- Look professional
- Navigate easily
- Have a security certificate (HTTPS)
- Optimize media (compress images down without altering quality)
A professional law firm website design agency can create a website that will be mobile-friendly on any device - and incorporate modern website design elements.
— Create Powerful Landing Pages to Capture Leads
Google's goal is to provide their customers with the most valuable, relevant website for whatever they are searching for - and that should be your goal with your website's visitors. Landing pages can be used for traffic from PPC ads, paid social promotions, from articles on other websites.
Your landing pages should be:
- Professional in appearance
- Easy to navigate to other areas of your website
- Relevant and useful to your website visitors
- Persuasive with prominent value propositions and calls to action
Content on landing pages should be written for the website visitor (of course), but with SEO best practices such as meta tags, descriptions, and headers.
— Leverage Search Engine Optimization for Attorneys' Lead Generation
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves using multiple techniques to improve a website's position on a search engine results page (a SERP).
Unlike paid search advertising, you don't pay for your placement. Law practice websites earn a high position in Google by having content that Google deems relevant and valuable to people who visit your website.
Law Firm SEO best practices that can lead to organically-sourced, quality leads for law firms include:
- Having website pages that Google bots (the generic name for Google's web crawler) can index for desktop and mobile browsers.
- Using relevant keywords, phrases, and description text that relates to the content.
- Utilizing off-site SEO to signal the website's relevance to Google.
- Incorporating schema markup to instruct search engines on how to use content.
Following the best practices previously mentioned for a high-functioning website, optimizing pages to load quickly and securing the website with an SSL security certificate (which must be renewed yearly).
Local search optimization is similar to organic search results but tailored to potential clients in nearby areas, including neighborhoods, zip codes, cities, and counties. According to Hubspot, nearly half of all Google searches are from people looking to find local information.
— Use Paid Advertising for Lead Generation
Google ads for attorneys are not anything new. For many lawyers, paid search is a trusted and dependable source of traffic to a website and one of the most reliable paid lead generation sources for lawyers.
Although it is possible to set up and run your PPC campaign by yourself (Google makes it simple), hiring a qualified PPC agency for lawyers to manage your campaign can be one of the best marketing decisions you make. For a 12-month campaign, the monthly investment to an agency to manage your campaign can save you money.
Leveraging a team of legal marketing professionals who know how to target ads and write effective ad copy is key to effective conversion. For example, vague or curious ad text may generate clicks, but curious clicks just to see what an ad is about can waste a law firm's advertising budget.
Google Local Service Ads
Local Service Ads are a pay-per-lead model (as opposed to a pay-per-click model). Lawyers that advertise on Local Service Ads have a badge indicating they are “Google Screened,” meaning Google performs a background and license check to verify they are in good standing. Lawyers can set a budget based on the number of leads they'd like to get, and ads can be paused at any time.
— Nurture Leads with Email Marketing
Email marketing is an effective tool to generate interest and encourage leads to become clients of your law firm, as it expands your reach and ensures that all those interested in your services are aware of your offerings.
There are three ways to get your website visitors' emails:
- Blog subscription: A form on your blog can prompt your website visitors to subscribe to your blog to be notified when new posts are published.
- Email newsletter signup: A form on your blog can prompt website visitors to sign up for a monthly newsletter.
- Gated content: You can offer a downloadable e-book or resource guide in exchange for potential clients providing their email addresses.
— Utilize the Power of Social Media Marketing
Your law practice can engage with your community, prospective clients, and existing clients through social media. However, converting leads from social media may be difficult, especially initially.
If your social media channel looks like one long infomercial, you will likely face difficulty with channel growth and leads generated.
To ensure success, you should post content that increases engagement, such as:
- Attention-grabbing law videos
- Content discussing actual legal issues (not just ads for your brand)
- Interactive surveys and polls
- Fun contests and giveaways
- Sharing other people's content
Law firms that employ digital marketing agencies create more effective content plans. By doing so, they can increase engagement with their content and understand which days and times of the week are the most advantageous for posting content on various social media platforms.
This can be achieved by focusing on even the smallest details, such as types of images, tone of voice, and balancing frequency throughout the week. Through this strategy, services and products can be promoted to gain more leads and a higher conversion rate.
— Use Content Marketing
Creating compelling legal content that resonates with your target audience is essential to digital marketing. People searching for legal services want useful answers that they can find easily - and your practice area pages can serve that purpose.
Well-written long-form content (1,000 - 7,500 words) that goes in-depth into practice areas or topics can propel a law firm's practice area page to the top of a search engine.
Content primarily includes articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, and legal podcasts (as well as social media posts mentioned above). Remember, your website is only as current as your latest content, and consistently posting is key.
By sharing information through blogs, law firms can effectively generate site traffic, making it one of the most effective forms of internal lead generation. According to a Hubspot statistic, businesses with a blog receive 55% more traffic to their website due to increased organic search traffic and promotion of blogs.
Blogs can cover any topic related to your legal practice, but we find niche blogs targeting a specific area of law excellent. Having many posts about a specific type of case, or a particular area, positions the lawyer as a subject matter expert.
Gated content requires users to provide their contact information before accessing it, usually via a form. Businesses often use this type of content to encourage prospects to share their personal information and establish relationships with them, thereby increasing sales. Gated content can take many forms - but legal resource guides and e-books are popular.
Offering legal guides or PDFs without contact information can be a strategic competitive advantage. Without the need to gate content, such resources can be indexed on your website to give greater visibility and drive more leads through search engine optimization (SEO). Ultimately, it comes down to your custom digital marketing strategy
An FAQ page can provide an invaluable source of information to potential clients and organic search rankings. If you want to design an FAQ page that will rank well in search engine results, research competing FAQ pages to craft content that stands apart from the rest.
Ensure your page is comprehensive enough to answer all pertinent questions and is relevant to the page's topic. If you have already posted FAQs on your website, you can use Google Analytics Content Drilldown to identify content that doesn't have many views or is performing poorly and can be optimized.
— Get Reviews and Referrals
Your law firm's reputation online is more important than ever. One bad review from a former client can be enough for dozens of potential new clients to choose your competition. The famous quote from Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” is true.
Any law firm with a presence online should be concerned with reviews reputation management. It is not enough to sit back and wait and see who leaves a review, when your competition is asking clients to write reviews.
It is advisable to inform your client upon signing up that you will be requesting a review upon completion of their case. By letting your clients know that they will be asked for a review, they will be more likely to allow you to address any issues with their case before submitting a review on Google or another website.
— Take Part in Conferences and Seminars
Conferences, trade shows, and continuing education events are all potential sources for referrals. In-person networking events are great opportunities for lawyers to make meaningful connections. You can maximize the value of these events by:
- Researching attendees ahead of time
- Preparing your “elevator speech” - mention your many positive reviews!
- Focusing on purposeful conversations with a few individuals vs. getting your business card out to as many people as possible
- Following up via email or on LinkedIn after the event
Common referral sources are other lawyers in neighboring jurisdictions or attorneys in your area that handle different practice areas. Or they may be your direct competitors with more leads than they can take on. For example, personal injury attorneys that handle catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases may refer out any car accident case that is not a major injury.
— Offer Free Consultations to Generate Leads for Your Law Firm
Free consultations are standard in certain areas of law, like personal injury. If you offer a free consultation, you can promote this heavily throughout your website, blog posts, and social media posts. These “ free consultations” may be called:
- Case reviews
- Case assessments
- Case evaluations
- Case planning sessions
However, free consultations are not always the norm in other areas of law, like family law. It is common for an attorney to charge a flat one-hour rate of time for a free consultation. The choice to offer free consultations or not is personal and depends on numerous factors.
Some lawyers offer a “reduced fee” case review - such as $100 or charge a full-hour fee, but credit it back on the client's first invoice if they hire the lawyer.
Regardless of whether you offer a free consultation or a full rate billing for an initial meeting, you can create a value proposition with your initial meeting with a potential client. If you charge a full rate for your first meeting, you can assure them that their attorney will be prepared, focused, and mission-oriented.
Basics of Lead Generation for Attorneys
Lead generation for attorneys has a straightforward agenda: get more clients. Targeted online advertising can help these efforts by narrowing focus and ensuring leads will likely turn into new clients.
— Understand the Sales Funnel
The AIDA-model, developed by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898, describes customers' theoretical journey from potential customers to loyal patrons. Although it was developed nearly a century before the internet and has been modified for the modern customer, the basic themes of this long-standing model still hold today.
Consider the AIDA model in terms of potential clients finding a law firm on the Internet.
— Main Stages of a Sales Funnel
- A - Awareness: Many people that hire a lawyer do not initially start looking for a lawyer - they seek information about the current legal issue they are dealing with. This can range from mildly concerning (such as healthy adults researching estate planning well before retirement years) to highly problematic or urgent (criminal defense matters such as felony charges or looming indictments). Your potential client researches their situation - most likely through Google - to determine their options and the best course of action.
- I - Interest: After realizing they need a lawyer's services, the prospect starts looking at websites for several law firms to get an idea of what's available. They may find a law firm through a pay-per-click ad, a local service ad, or organic search results directing them to a blog or website.
- D - Desire: The potential client is ready to speak with a lawyer - possibly several. They fill out contact request forms or initiate phone calls to request a consultation.
- A - Action: The potential client, now a lead, meets with a lawyer and hires a law firm.
Types of Content for Lawyers' Sales Funnel
Your client leads can find you at any point in the sales funnel journey.
There are three types of content your website visitors may read depending on their point in the journey:
- TOFU (Top of the Funnel): Content for initial legal research, such as practice area pages, informational videos, and social media accounts.
- MOFU (Middle of the Funnel): Content for people looking for in the future, such as resource guides, blog posts, and client testimonials.
- BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel): Content for people ready to hire a lawyer, such as law firm landing pages, case results, and FAQs with calls to action.
These are general guidelines; there is no hard and fast position for potential clients. Anyone really interested in legal services may thoroughly go through all types of law firm websites.
— Understand Your Buyer's Personas
Buyer personas are detailed representations of a particular group of customers that share common behaviors, needs, and motivations.
They are developed through researching clients, products, and competitors (other law firms). Buyer personas play a role in all aspects of marketing, from messaging and segmentation to content creation and targeting.
Buyer personas help law firms define their client base better and develop marketing campaigns that appeal to client needs.
To start, create a semi-fictional client (or two) and detail their legal predicament. What is their legal problem? What services do they need from you, both short-term and long-term?
When you think about your law firm website content, consider if it meets the needs of your buyer personas. Going a step further and putting yourself in your website visitor's shoes, would you contact your firm?
Try Paid Lead Generation Services for Lawyers
Generating leads through your website, blog posts, and social media can be done for free - the cost per acquisition is just the time of the individual who created it and the time for it to work. As you publish organic content, you gradually improve your ranking on Google's search engine results.
For law firms that want to “turn on the fire hose” on the sales funnel, there are a number of lead generation services for law firms. One way to do this is through barnacle SEO - where you get leads from another website that is very successful at search engine optimization and sells leads.
The pay-per-lead model generally means you pay for the contact information of people looking for your services. This is different from pay-per-impression and pay-per-click models. Costs for leads vary widely - the American Bar Association estimated pay-per-lead prices go from around $20 to “north of $700”.
Ask lead generation companies about their experience in the legal industry in your geographic location and practice area and how they get their leads. Do they run a major lawyer directory or generate traffic by writing informative blog posts for a professional website? Some of the big players in lawyer lead generation are listed below.
— Avvo Lead Generation for Lawyers
Although it features 97% of lawyers in the US, it is more than a massive legal directory. An online legal services marketplace, Avvo claims to have more than 8 million visitors each month - with more than half of visitors having an urgent legal matter. Founded by Mark Britton in 2006, Avvo offers targeted marketing with sponsored listings and customized display ads throughout their network. For more information about Avvo, see our Avvo Lawyer Marketing Guide.
— Nolo Lead Generation for Lawyers
Nolo is a legal website that offers do-it-yourself legal products, legal forms and software, and a legal directory. Nolo lawyer profiles and articles generally rank well in search engines. According to Nolo - their website receives visits from over 15 million people searching for legal information monthly.
They offer a pay-per-lead lead subscription model “designed to filter out non-viable users.” Nolo prides itself on full transparency. Their Proposal Generator offers expected lead volumes based on their historical website traffic and what-if cost and pricing scenarios.
— FindLaw Lead Generation for Lawyers
Findlaw, a Thomson Reuters business, is a trusted legal marketing provider which claims to have more than 11 million monthly visitors. Findlaw has been on the internet since 1996 and is one of the oldest legal information websites on the internet.
Findlaw claims to have (or have had) more than 18,500 law firm clients. While this is impressive, it does raise concerns with your competition. If a good lead comes in through FindLaw, will you receive it, or will a competitor law firm be given the prospect's contact information?
— Lawyers.com Lead Generation for Lawyers
Lawyers.com is another major law directory in the Martindale-Avvo Network along with Nolo and TotalAttorneys. This directory website has been popular for many years, going back to the early days of SEO when keyword domains reigned supreme (think findcheapcarinsuranceonline.com).
— Unbundled Lead Generation for Lawyers
Unbundled attorney legal representation is hiring a lawyer for a limited, specific task, such as drafting a letter requesting information or preparing a contract. Services to clients are piecemeal or a la carte, and leads are available to attorneys with no commitment or long-term contract. This type of representation is also called “limited scope representation.”
Unbundled leads are available for bankruptcy, immigration, family law, or estate planning attorneys. Unbundled claims that because prospects are informed of cost ranges at the time of the inquiry, their conversion rates are higher than other law firm lead generation services.
— Thumbtack Lead Generation for Lawyers
Thumbtack is a service provider website where customers can hire for many projects like handyman services, house cleaning, personal chef, home organizing, and yes, lawyers (divorce lawyers, immigration lawyers, personal injury lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, and bankruptcy attorneys).
Lawyer profiles provide estimated costs, payment methods, lawyer specialties, FAQs, and more. Thumbtack profiles have verification checks for criminal background checks and bar licenses.
When researching strategies for the best lead generation for attorneys, remember that not all attorney lead generation services can get the same results - both in the quantity and quality of leads. In their 2021 Marketing Issue, the American Bar Association identified two problems with the pay-per-lead (PPL) model:
- The quality of PPL companies is extremely variable
- It is common for generation companies to cycle leads to multiple lawyers
If you are the fifth lawyer to call someone - who genuinely believed that one attorney would be contacting them - it is understandable that the lead will not be interested at that point.
Do not blindly trust that any agency will magically supply quality leads - and if a lead generation offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always ensure the process aligns with ethical standards for legal advertising and marketing in your state.
Check out our Thumbtack for lawyers review.
Consult Attorney Lead Generation Experts Today!
A major benefit of working with a full-service law digital marketing agency like Grow Law Firm is working with experienced legal marketing professionals. Our law firms can avoid expensive trial-and-error mistakes and generate leads efficiently and effectively. Many of our clients have worked with different lead generation services, and we are familiar with their results.
To learn more about how Grow Law Firm can help with attorney lead generation, website design, SEO, or a full range of other digital marketing services to bring your firm more leads than ever, contact us for a free consultation.