Overcome the Challenges of Marketing Your Law Firm Online

It’s never been easy to find new clients, but it shouldn’t have to be as hard as it is today. Most potential clients are searching online for an attorney, and it takes a great deal of experience and expertise to stand out among search results.

Overcoming the challenges of online marketing is the absolute key for law firm growth, but if you’ve made attempts on your own, you’ve likely experienced some of the following frustrations:

  • Burning through your budget: Without the proper strategy, online marketing platforms will gladly burn through your marketing budget with abandon.
  • Wasting time: Whether it’s the time you spend trying to master online marketing or the sheer amount of time it requires of your staff, few things hurt more than investing that time without seeing results.
  • Making the wrong connections: Worse yet is when you begin to see a response to your campaigns only to realize there’s a great deal of noise in the results. The leads you’re generating may be invalid or too low in intent to be effective.

Given the risks and liabilities of online marketing, we’re constantly surprised by how few attorneys know about the strategy of finding clients through a legal lead provider.

Legal leads give a law firm the ability to outsource the mammoth, expert task of finding clients online to an outside firm but in a way that’s remarkably affordable and scalable. In the case of 4LegalLeads, attorneys gain the advantages of twenty years of online marketing experience and a nationwide advertising presence. Meanwhile, they only pay for the leads they receive.

Even for the law firms who feel they have mastered the online marketing game, the relationship with a legal lead provider is indispensable. The bottom line is, no matter how good you are, lead providers are still out there finding leads that you didn’t. It’s better to partner with them and capture a greater share of your market.

In order to be successful with this strategy, there are a few things that are critical to understand:

  1. What are legal leads, and how do they work?
  2. What are the benefits of legal leads?
  3. What does your firm need to do to be successful with leads?
  4. How can you find a trustworthy lead provider?

We’ll walk you through these concerns so you can embrace a strategy that relieves the stress of online marketing while freeing up time the time you need to focus on your clients.

1. What are legal leads and how do they work?

A lead is simply someone who is requesting legal help.

While searching for an attorney online, they see an advertisement run by your provider that helps them reach out to an attorney by website or by phone.

When these people reach out for help, the complex systems managed by your lead provider connect them to your area of practice and the geographic targeting you establish.

Then, they are connected to you either online or live on the phone as a legal lead.

With a quality lead provider, there are three features that truly give legal leads their power:

Exclusivity: This means you are the only attorney receiving that lead from a provider, which improves your chances of making a meaningful connection with them.

(It’s important to be clear on this point with your provider as some of them place lawyers into a multi-share model where several attorneys receive a lead at the same time. This forces you into an unfair race to see who reaches the lead first.)

Real-time delivery: As soon as the request comes in, the lawyer is notified by email and text or connected live on the phone. A fast response to a lead is the absolute key to success.

Targeting: Leads get connected to your area of law and your geographic targeting before delivery. With most providers, you can geo-target nationwide or by state, county, or zip code radius. Then, you can make advanced adjustments like:

  1. Customizing targeting for individual offices
  2. Cutting across or staying within state lines
  3. Selecting specific categories of law for each office

A recent marketing study showed that 72% of potential clients hire the first attorney they speak with. In a very crowded market of law firms online, exclusivity, real-time delivery, and a well-chosen targeting strategy will make it easier to connect with leads and win them as new clients.

In the best of situations, you only pay your provider for the leads you receive, which leads us to our next consideration

2. What are the benefits of legal leads?

Beyond the features above which provide a strong connection with a potential client, the benefits of legal leads serve largely to relieve a firm of the burdens of online marketing. In many ways, they fulfill the promise and potential of online marketing by providing a superior model to traditional marketing techniques.

Low overhead: This can’t be stressed enough. The difference between staffing and maintaining your own online advertising campaigns versus having someone with the existing infrastructure do it is immense. You stand to save a tremendous amount of money:

  • You save all of the trial and error and sunk costs of developing your own online ad campaigns
  • You’re free of the burden of hiring the right talent and setting up a team to do the work on your behalf
  • You’re spared the work of staying up to date on technology and investing in upgrades
  • You simply pay per lead while gaining access to deep expertise, highly-trained staff, and established campaigns

Scalability of campaigns: Because you are partnered with a company that has existing infrastructure, you can start as carefully as you want and then scale your campaigns aggressively when the time is right.

Flexibility: Most providers will offer a wide selection of legal categories like Auto Accident, Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, DUI, Family Law, Workers Comp, Bankruptcy, and Immigration. At 4LegalLeads, we have more than 40 categories.

Between these legal categories and your ability to set up geo-targeting, you gain strategic flexibility for your firm.

You can expand your geographic reach right away: The infrastructure is already in place for you to simply say you want to add a new zip code, county, or state. You don’t have to build out your own campaigns. You simply change a setting in your account to access a whole new market.

You can expand to new areas of law: Just like the ability to reach new markets, a legal lead provider empowers you to find cases in categories of law that expand your practice.

Better tracking of ROI: With leads, you’ll be able to get a clear picture of your cost of acquisition for each client. This is invaluable and a great advantage over traditional models of advertising where you may invest $10K in a print, radio, or television campaign but end up unable to assess the results of your ad buy

3. What does your firm need to do to be successful with leads?

Legal Leads are an incredible strategic and financial advantage for your firm. However, just like any good strategy for growth, it takes some intentionality and planning on your end to get the greatest possible ROI.

Give it time: You need a decent sample set of your provider’s leads to be able to make a fair assessment of quality. There’s really no shortcut for this process as your local market is unique in how it will perform. We recommend attorneys try at least 8-10 leads before making an initial assessment, but that’s still very small and limiting in what it can indicate.

Establish a strong intake process for leads: If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this. Nothing matters more than speed in responding to a lead.

Leads are won and lost by matters of minutes. Part of that is behavioral, but the need for speed is also driven by a crowded market. People who need legal help get anxious when they’re left waiting, and they know they’re just one more search away from finding another attorney who might help them.

Beyond making sure your staff can respond quickly to leads or answer calls immediately, you’ll want to be sure your intake process is consistent. In the last few years, powerful software solutions like Clio have emerged to help automate and organize the many tasks involved in onboarding a client. When a potential client senses that extra effort and consistency, it builds trust.

Partner with your provider: It’s natural to want legal leads to function like an “off-the-shelf” product that either works or doesn’t, but the truth is, it’s not that binary or objective.

Leads are about communication, and you’ve just entered the world of the organic. There’s a massive, complicated network of ads, ever-changing search behavior, online bidding, and fallible humans behind your leads.

You see the greatest rewards when you view the relationship with your provider as a partnership. With a quality partner, you will work together to optimize your campaigns.

Your lead provider needs to know:

  • What isn’t working
  • And what is

When your provider gets consistent, constructive feedback, they use that data to track down problems or to turn up the heat on the things that are working.

4. How Can You Find a Trustworthy Lead Provider?

We know how critical trust is to the relationship between a law firm and lead provider. Our company, 4LegalLeads, is one of the oldest providers in the industry, and we’ve grown steadily for two decades by focusing on building trust.

You’ve already heard about the exclusivity of leads. That’s a huge benchmark and one of the first features you should ask about.

Beyond that, here are some other benchmarks to look for:

Does the provider want to earn your business? If a provider does quality work, they should have confidence in their service’s ability to earn a commitment from you. Look for a provider who doesn’t require contracts and who offers a guaranteed refund on your account balance that’s available whenever you want to step away from the relationship.

Does the provider take good care of leads? A good lead provider should be just as concerned about providing quality, ethical service to your leads as they are to you. Every lead is a person in a vulnerable state in need of help, and they deserve respect.

Here are a few helpful, industry-insider questions you can ask to get a sense of the quality of care a provider offers leads.

  • Are you bar compliant in your advertising practices?
  • How are you holding yourself accountable to regulations and ethical guidelines?
  • Do you have a way to screen for leads who are unable to pay for an attorney?

That last question is very revealing. Not only does that protect your time, but it also keeps a lead from having false hope that they’ve found the help they need. People with limited finances should be routed to accessible solutions.

Is your provider following the rules? We often get asked by attorneys whether leads are legal or allowed. They absolutely are, but they are fully accountable to state and federal regulations.

It’s important to remain aware of your state’s individual guidelines and recommendations. Our policy is to follow the best practice rules of every state, and to apply those rules on the national level regardless.

That means we self-enforce best practices such as:

  • No fee splitting
  • No rating of lawyers
  • No promises of monetary outcomes
  • Providing notifications of paid lawyer advertisements
  • Following TCPA compliance, and so much more.

Attorneys should always ask a lead provider if they’re following these practices. Their answers will immediately sort out quality providers from the rest.

You shouldn’t have to waste time and money on tactics that don’t work.

We understand how frustrating online marketing can be, but in a positive relationship with a legal lead provider, you can overcome those challenges by building a rewarding partnership that drives growth for years.

We’d be grateful for the opportunity to earn your business and your trust. There are no contracts, just an experienced provider with a team that’s dedicated to quality and excellent customer service.

It only takes a few moments to visit 4LegalLeads.com/lawyers and create your account, or you can speak to our team directly at (866) 473-0005. After you create your account, our support team (support@4legalleads.com) will customize and optimize it for you.

About Law Technology Today

Law Technology Today is the official legal technology blog from the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC). Law Technology Today provides lawyers and other legal professionals with current, practical and innovative content developed by some of the leading voices on legal technology.

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