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Having trouble with client acquisition? You’re not alone—over the past ten years quality leads for lawyers have become harder and harder to generate. The saturation of the legal field alongside drastic shifts in consumer behavior over the past decade have contributed to an extremely competitive landscape, one in which reliable leads are hard to come by. If you’re one of the many attorneys having trouble getting a steady influx of qualified leads, I have good news and bad news:
- The Good News: You can get a huge amount of inexpensive, qualified leads from inbound digital marketing.
- The Bad News: You’re going to need my help to do it.
- More Good News: That’s exactly what’s in this guide—expert advice, proven strategies backed up by case studies, and insider tips on getting more law firm leads from the web.
I’m here to bail you out of the predicament you’re in (pun intended). Below is an easy-to-understand, easier-to-follow guide that will help you substantially increase online legal leads at an affordable cost, boosting your bottom line and helping you grow your business. Stay with me and I’ll break down the best strategies for lawyer lead generation in 2019, including Blue Corona’s verdict on pay per lead services and our top six proven strategies to get a steady stream of sustainable, reliable leads for lawyers:
Top 6 Sustainable Lawyer Lead Generation Sources, Backed Up By Case Studies:
- Your website
- Online referrals and reviews
- Pay per click search ads
- Content marketing like blogs, email newsletters, and video
Looking for law firm marketing services? Go here »
To Pay or Not to Pay Per Lead?
First things first, since I KNOW this is on your mind. Because executing a comprehensive online marketing strategy it isn’t easy to DIY, client acquisition is frequently kicked to attorney pay per lead services.
Look, I get it. You’re a lawyer—you’re not a salesperson. You probably cringe at the word “sales.” But, guess what? Sales and marketing aren’t what they were ten years ago. The modern consumer is online and in control of the sales process, and the best marketing strategies are ones that focus on enabling them to solve whatever problems they have. You’re a problem-solver by trade, so that should be pretty easy for you. Here—I’ll give you an example of how many opportunities you have to preemptively solve problems online and sway consumers to become clients: There are over two million searches for lawyer-related keywords per month.
Think about how many leads exist in that pool of search queries. All you have to do is get their attention and prove you can solve their problem. How? With digital lead-generation strategies.
Our Verdict on Lawyer Lead Generation Websites: Are Pay Per Lead Services Worth It?
We lean towards telling our clients no, pay per lead services aren’t really worth it because other lawyer lead generation strategies are less expensive and more reliable.
Here’s the thing with legal lead generation services: When you stop paying them, your leads dry up. This might be preferable to some smaller law firms that have a cap on how many clients they can take, but if you’re interested in steadily growing your practice beyond what it is, you’re going to want a more self-sustaining legal lead generation strategy, like the six I listed above and will dive into later.
Do lead generation services work to create a steady source of legal leads? I hate to hit you with a gray area, but it depends. While some services that offer leads for lawyers are legit and can genuinely grow your business, for each legitimate service there are 10 unreliable ones that could actually hurt your brand. Even the legitimate services come with some caveats:
- You have no control over the quality of leads you get
- Number of leads is unreliable
- You don’t know how the advertising is actually done, meaning you could attach your name to some unsavory practices
- Ethics issues: You know better than I the Model Rule 7.2 and its Comment 5, which specifically prohibits (1) paying anyone to recommend a lawyer’s services, (2) fee splitting with non-lawyers, and (3) misleading the public. The New Jersey Committee on Attorney Advertising recently (2018) issued an opinion stating pay per lead ads for lawyers are not inherently unethical but need to conform to professional standards. The million dollar question: Are you going to trust a random lead generation company with your practice’s reputation and credibility?
The Most Reputable Pay Per Lead Websites for Lawyers
If you’re married to the idea of pay per lead services, the following nine websites are the most reliable sources (buyer beware: if you choose to pay platforms like UnbundledAttorney or Martindale-Nolo for leads, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you’re unhappy with the results):
- Martindale – Nolo
The Top 6 Most Reliable (and Sustainable) Sources of Leads for Lawyers
If you want a steady and snowballing influx of leads, your best bet is targeted online marketing strategies. Below I’ll break down the six best lawyer lead generation strategies.
1. A Professional Website Is the Best Source of Leads for Lawyers
Your website is arguably your number one marketing asset. It’s your 24/7 sales representative, and it has the potential to make or break your lead generation strategy. Above all, your website needs to be professionally designed. Three out of four legal consumers visit law firms’ websites to take action (read: become legal leads). When people come to you for your services, they are most likely in a vulnerable place and need reassurance that you’re the best at what you do.
About 75 percent of consumers admit to judging a company’s credibility based on their website design, so if yours doesn’t WOW visitors, 75 percent of them won’t trust you with their legal issues.
If you want more leads for lawyers, your website needs to be six things:
1. Your Website Needs to Be Fast
47 percent of the population expects a website to load in 3 seconds or under. If it doesn’t, the user will click the “back” button.
2. Your Website Needs to Be Mobile-friendly
Take a closer look at the image below—you should recognize it from earlier in this guide. There are over two million average monthly online searches for lawyer keywords, and over 50 percent of them happen on a mobile device. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you have zero chance of converting them.
3. Your Website Needs to Be Easily Found
97 percent of consumers go online to find local services, and 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. Your law firm needs to be on page one of search engines, or it may as well not be listed at all—55 percent of all clicks go to one of the first three organic search results (more on search engine optimization further down).
4. Your Website Needs to Be Appealing
Your website needs to be professionally designed and it needs to appeal to your target audience. Make sure to use images that they can connect with, language that they use and understand, and an easy-to-use interface.
5. Your Website Needs to Be Authoritative
Nobody wants a “meh” lawyer. Everybody wants the shark that’s going to fight for them, take care of them, and get them the results they want. You can’t prove your authority by bringing potential clients to your courtroom, but you CAN do it by bringing your courtroom to your potential clients.
Make sure your associations, affiliations, awards, and news mentions are front and center on your website. Write blogs. Create case studies. Produce amazing, designed legal guides that show off how well you know your stuff. Publish infographics that break down complicated topics. Shoot videos that show off your personality and industry prowess. Ask current clients for testimonials, and be sure they’re visible on your home page.
6. Your Website Needs to Be Optimized for Conversions
People are generally lazy and won’t take an action without being prompted. That behavior is the same when they’re browsing a website. To encourage them to contact you, there are specific nudges you can incorporate in your website design:
- Have contact forms. Make sure they’re above the fold (visible without scrolling) and be sure they’re set to auto-populate information
- Make sure your contact information is in the upper right-hand corner of your website and in various places elsewhere
- Incorporate live chat options. Include plenty of calls-to-action (CTAs) like “contact us now,” or “schedule a consultation”
- Install a pop-up box that asks them to subscribe to your email newsletter when they exit your website
Insider Tip on Creating a Lead-Generating Lawyer Website
Take a look at these examples of lead-generating attorney websites we’ve created for our clients:
Incorporate plenty of “nudges” to get potential attorney leads to contact you or give you their contact info. Do this with plenty of calls-to-action and options to leave information to get access to premium content.
Incorporate proof of your authority on your web pages, including media mentions, community partners, and who you’ve worked with. Add a chat box to nudge browsers to ask questions and take action.
2. Using SEO to Get More Lawyer Leads
Search engine optimization is the process of making your website show up higher in the search results for your target keywords and phrases and is one of the most reliable ways to get lawyer leads. To give you an example of how powerful SEO for lawyers can be, take a look at one of our legal client case studies. Below is a screenshot of this law firm’s organic website visits (website visits that came in through search engines).
SEO helped this lawyer increase organic website visits by 439 percent in 12 months. Not only that, but we also increased the law firm’s leads by 220 percent in the same time frame. Throughout the lifespan of this client, organic search has accounted for nearly 80 percent of all web form submissions from prospective clients.
To get the same results, you need to be on the first page of search engines for your top key phrases. There are more than 200 actual ranking signals, but here’s what you should focus on if you want to get your business on page one of Google’s search results in 2019:
- Secured sites (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
- Websites that are mobile-friendly
- Schema markup
- Webpage content quality
- Webpage content length
- Page speed
- Social signals
- Quality backlinks
- Optimized images
- Domain age
- Search intent
Learn more about why law firms need SEO »
Insider Tip on Increasing Legal Leads with SEO
The secret to getting more leads with SEO is choosing the right key terms and phrases that indicate commercial search intent. Get more leads for your law firm by making content on your website that’s optimized for these types of search terms:
- Purchase-related keywords, e.g., “buy,” “RFP,” “packages” or “quote”
- Branded and competitor terms
- Contact keywords like “contact,” “call,” or “request”
- Comparison, cost, and pricing terms like “reviews” “how much,” or “cost of”
- Location-specific keyword modifiers like city, state, or ZIP code
3. Using Referrals and (Online) Recommendations to Increase Leads
Referrals and recommendations have always been and will continue to be the best source of qualified leads. However, where it used to be these recommendations and referrals happened face-to-face, they’re now happening online via online testimonials and reviews and social media sites. If you want more legal leads, you’re going to have to have an incredible online review portfolio. Consider these statistics:
- 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 72 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 90 percent of consumers say that their purchases are influenced by online reviews
For example, take the local social media site Nextdoor. According to Steve Wymer, Nextdoor’s vice president of policy, approximately 30 percent of all posts on the up-and-coming platform are recommendation requests for local services.
Insider Tip to Increase Leads from Online Referrals
Make sure you have claimed and are monitoring all of your free profiles on review sites and directories, including:
- Your Google My Business Page
- FindLaw websites
- Best Lawyers
- Law Guru
- Law Info
- Lawyers US Legal
Also—don’t forget to ask your existing clients to leave testimonials and online reviews. Most of them will happily do it, and a simple email prompt can be extremely effective.
4. Using PPC Search Advertising for Lead generation
Pay per click advertising for lawyers is a tried-and-true lead generation method. When someone goes to Google and searches for something, the top 3 – 4 listings are usually advertisements from Google’s Ads. Take a look—I’m in the Washington, DC area, and I searched for “personal injury lawyer.” Here’s what came up:
The entire top half of the search results page is dominated by PPC ads. Think people don’t click on paid ads? Think again. A recent study by Clutch.co found that 63 percent of searchers would click on a Google ad. Of those that would, 75 percent said the ads make it easier to find the information they’re looking for.
Insider Tip to Increase Leads with PPC
Just like we said with SEO, you should focus on keywords that have high commercial intent. This is especially true for branded keywords—but not just your own brand. Target your competitors’ firm names as well to be sure you show up for those searches.
Learn more about PPC services for lawyers »
5. Using Content Marketing to Increase High-Quality Legal Leads
Content marketing is a large bucket that contains things like:
- Email marketing
- Downloadable guides
- Everything on your website
All of the above work to increase your leads, and the more, better content you have, the more leads you’ll get. Here’s why: 82 percent of customers have a more positive outlook on a company after reading custom content, and 70 percent of customers feel closer to a company after reading or watching their content. In fact, 74 percent of companies found that their lead number and quality of leads went up as they implemented a content marketing strategy.
If I were you, I would build out dozens of pages on your website that answer absolutely every question a client might have before signing on with your law firm. I would create authority-building content like whitepapers and case studies that prove you’re the best at what you do, and I would regularly distribute that content via social media and email marketing. I would look into video marketing services because 400 percent as many consumers prefer to watch a video than to read about a product. And finally, I would read these guides:
- The Ultimate Video Marketing Guide
- The Ultimate Email Marketing Guide
- How to Create a Content Distribution Plan
- The Modern Digital Marketing Funnel (and Strategies for Each Stage)
Insider Tip to Get Leads from Content Marketing
The secret to getting leads from content marketing is to answer every single question a client may have before they sign the dotted line. Now, when I say “before they sign the dotted line” I mean RIGHT before. While content like “Do I Need a Lawyer” is helpful and you should most definitely have it, it probably won’t get you many leads because it targets the beginning stages of the buyer’s journey. You want to target the END of the buyer’s cycle. Here are some examples you can use for videos, email newsletters, blogs, and landing pages:
- How to Choose the Right [Divorce, Personal Injury, Family, etc.] Lawyer
- Are Lawyer Consultations Free?
- Which Type of Lawyer Do I Need?
- How Much Do Lawyers Cost?
- Are Lawyer Fees Tax Deductible?
Learn more about content marketing services for lawyers »
6. Using Remarketing/Retargeting Ads
On average, only two percent of your website visitors will convert. Remarketing goes after the other 98 percent. If you’ve ever visited a website and then suddenly been followed by ads for said website, you’ve experienced remarketing at work.
Remarketing is one of the best lead-generating tactics out there because it engages people who already know who you are. Customers who see retargeted ads are 70 percent more likely to convert on your website.
Get More Leads for Law Firms with Comprehensive Attorney Marketing Services
If the above makes your head hurt, you should probably look into hiring a lawyer marketing company, like Blue Corona. If you really want to grow your practice, you need a marketing company that understands the ins and outs of the legal industry, including regulations on advertising and marketing. We know:
- How to navigate through legal marketing compliance, disclosures, regulations, and guidelines
- How to develop long-lasting relationships with clients
- How to best position your firm’s brand in your marketplace
If you want more clients and cases while optimizing your marketing costs and increasing revenue, it’s time to see what Blue Corona can do for your law firm. Contact us here or fill out the form below!
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's Digital Content Manager. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod