Lead Generation for Law Firms - Boosting Your ROI

May 25, 2023

Can marketing help you grow your law practice or law firm in a slowdown? That’s a bit of a rhetorical question. Everybody knows it can. Many legal services did so at the height of the pandemic, a couple of years ago.

The problem then isn’t smaller marketing budgets, it’s where and how you spend it. For 53% of marketers, lead generation accounts for more than half of the overall spend.  

Lead Generation Statistics

So, the real problem is this: your legal lead generation process probably isn’t set up to deliver a steady deal flow. 

Lead generation for law firms is getting more competitive by the day. Multiple other law firms may be competing for the same leads online. To be fair, businesses are stepping up. 69% of attorneys today spend time qualifying leads in addition to casework, trying to close the last mile. 

However, without a clear understanding of the latest lead generation strategies and how to use them, your marketing ROI is likely to be low- and the opportunity cost too high!

In this article, we break down the elements of successful lead generation strategies for lawyers to achieve their revenue goals by generating high quality leads.

What is Lead Generation?

Anybody interested in using your services or products is a potential lead for your business. And there may be hundreds of them at any given time. Think of the referrals you sometimes get from existing legal clients, they are leads too. 

Lead generation is the process of acquiring these leads and in 2023, lead generation is going digital. Lead generation online is all about attracting and then selling to prospective clients that fit your business best. 

However, you need to be able to narrow down the best among them based on specific criteria (say, location, income) to build a solid pipeline of paying legal clients. This is done through a combination of strategies. 

Let’s first take a look at how it all works in the real world.

How does lead generation for law firms really work?

Marketing and Sales Funnel

Take a look at the image above. You’ll notice that the further a prospect moves down your marketing and sales funnel (engages with you), the more likely they are to convert. 

Let’s say Bob has received a summons in a civil lawsuit and is looking for legal advice. He signs up for a free consultation via a lead form on your home page. This action makes him a lead for you.

You know he’s interested in your service. However, he’s probably keeping his options option. On the consultation call, your sales rep finds out that he is due for a hearing in 2 weeks. 

You also confirm that Bob lives in the same city as you and can easily afford your services. Congratulations, you have a qualified lead on your hands! However, it isn’t time to celebrate just yet. 

Once you have qualified Bob, you need to ‘nurture’ him enough until he hires you. This could be through one or more personalised offers with a discount thrown in.   

For lawyer lead generation to be effective, your marketing and sales teams will need to work seamlessly to acquire and convert high quality leads - the latter at the bottom of the sales funnel and the former at the top.

The lead gen funnel: Know Your MQLs, SQLs & AQLs

Let's look at the corresponding roles Marketing, Sales & Attorneys play at each stage of the lead generation funnel:

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL):

All of your inbound marketing efforts bring prospects to the top of the marketing funnel. Bob signing up for a call from you means he’s clearly interested. At this point, he goes from being just another prospect to an MQL. Though he probably isn’t ready to buy just yet. 

To help him decide faster, your marketing team can engage him via an email sequence based on the pages he’s visited before and the CTA’s he may have clicked. 

💡 Quick tip: Assessing buyer intent based on website heat maps and demographic analytics can enable a ‘warm’ handoff to Sales.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL):

Next, the sales team takes over. They talk to Bob to understand his priorities and decision-making criteria. 

They run through a complete lead generation checklist with Bob to see If he’s a good fit. If yes, the sales rep tags him as an opportunity.  

Bob goes from the middle to the bottom of the sales funnel. In other words, he’s almost a customer!

💡 Quick tip: Response time is critical for sales reps when following up with MQLs. Any delays could result in a win for the competition. A flexible CRM workflow helps. 

Attorney-Qualified Leads (AQLs): 

Who better than a lawyer to cross-examine SQLs? No, they aren’t witnesses but an expert can ask the questions that matter and make an offer Bob couldn’t resist. The attorney can share the information gained with Customer Success to make the onboarding process smoother for Bob. 

AQLs can also be a great source for referrals. All you have to do is ask!

💡 Quick tip: If an MQL fits your ICP, you can skip the screening call (sales rep) and directly assign a lawyer. 

Strategies for optimising lead generation for lawyers:

In the digital marketing age, people seeking legal services are more discerning about who they work with. The key is to speak the ‘right language’ across multiple channels to engage with your ideal and potential clients:

Consider updating your Branding:

Since the pandemic, many law firms are in two minds about whether to focus on long-term brand building or short-term performance marketing. 

The latter can potentially devalue a brand (think aggressive ad retargeting). On the other hand, branding does not directly contribute to sales. 

In most cases, growth lies at the intersection of the two.

A rebrand can be useful if you have a low lead-to-conversion rate. However, you need a strategic framework to evolve a relevant brand identity. Some good questions to consider are:

  • Do existing customers perceive your brand as approachable? (Think call response times or survey scores)
  • Do you have uniform messaging across all channels like the website and social media? (Think about how you currently describe your services and relative strengths) 
  • Is your website easy to navigate, loads quickly, and has a clean design?
  • Is your website mobile-friendly? 
  • A clear understanding of your market positioning can help you develop effective brand guidelines for each piece of content you create across all formats (language, visual) and channels. 

Use your website more effectively:

94% of law firms in the US have websites. However, the vast majority are not very user-friendly for website visitors. The reasons can range from outdated layouts, and clunky images, to old frameworks causing slow speeds on the law firm's website. 

Most law firm's website do a good job of describing the basics like corporate history and areas of practice. However, the key is to centre your website around client experience by:

  • Reviewing the hosting and functionality aspects and bringing them up to Web 2.0 standards.
  • Running speed tests and optimizing for mobile (<3 sec load time)
  • Auditing the content for relevance as well as aligning the visual interface
  • Focusing on ease of navigation and highlighting your value proposition
  • Reviewing the ‘Contact Us’ and 'About Us' pages for accuracy
  • Highlighting customer testimonials and social media reviews to build trust
  • Use high converting website lead generation forms to capture first party data

Play the long game on SEO:

If you haven’t already, review your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. Research shows that 86% of prospects search online for legal advice. SEO can help you rank for specific keywords and attract qualified leads from the search engine.

Here are some law firm SEO tips

  • Fix onsite issues like mobile responsiveness and load time
  • Check for broken links across your site and redirect them
  • Update internal links to improve site structure and authority
  • Identify and remove spam backlinks
  • Create valuable content (informative and educational blogs and videos)
  • Optimise your Google My Business (GMB) page

Treat GMB like your calling card: 

Did you know that most people prefer to hire an attorney in their own neighbourhood, town or city? When people search for “lawyers”, Google shows a ‘local pack of 3’ at the top of the page followed by the other top local listings in that category. 

Ensuring your Google My Business page is up-to-date can increase the odds of you featuring in the top three. The reason: Google My Business rankings do not depend on domain authority!

  • Ensure all fields are completed (business name, address, contact info)
  • Add all the business categories that you cater to (practice area)
  • Respond to the reviews left on your page to improve your SEO and address any concerns
  • Verify your business via Google My Business
  • Respond promptly to on-page reviews
  • Update professional images and tag them

Prioritise social media marketing:

Social media platforms today offer expanded lead-generation features that lawyers simply must take advantage of:

Leverage interactive social media posts to drive engagement and get valuable feedback

Native lead generation ads

Some of the most popular social media channels  such as Meta (Facebook and Instagram), LinkedIn, TikTok, etc have native lead generation features available on their platforms.

Use these native lead ads to capture leads without redirecting to a landing page. This makes the customer journey smoother, decreases cost per lead and increases conversion rate!

Automatically sync your leads in real-time

Sync your social media leads with your email marketing or CRM tool to start nurturing leads instantly.

Use targeted message ads to engage professionals and business owners or other relevant target audiences

Set up lead forms in your video content (proven to get more engagement).

Leverage paid search ads:

Who wouldn’t want their content or ads to rank at the very top of search engine results? However, organic search or SEO is highly competitive and can be slow. Paid ads on the search engine are a great alternative. They have evolved over time, becoming much more targeted and responsive. You can:

Adopt podcast marketing:

Podcasts are a great way for smaller businesses to build authority and brand awareness. Key factors to consider:

  • Focus on a niche topic. For example, work permits for H1B workers in California
  • Choose the right topics and show format to allow a good frequency.
  • Don’t forget to compare hosting and distribution options. When it comes to lawyer lead generation, paid tools always offer much greater flexibility and scale.

Optimise email marketing:

A well-thought email sequence sent to warm leads can help you close deals faster. Segment your contacts based on demographics, what channel or campaign they originated from or other relevant segmentation to your law firm business.

Make sure that you:

  • A/B test your subject line for relevance
  • Optimise for readability across web and mobile
  • Sync your email marketing tool to push social and search ads to your email lists
  • A/B test send time to improve open and click rates
  • Implement end-to-end tracking from the first click to conversion.
  • Measure, analyse, and iterate!

Leave the chatting to AI bots:

Response time too high for your sales team? An AI chatbot can help plug the gap instantly. With a no-code lead-gen platform, you could build one yourself in just a few clicks. These bots can be customized to capture contacts and qualifying data in a conversational manner. 

Average response time for law firms statistics
Source: Marketing Outlook for Law Firms (2023)

With minimal data input,  they will manage random queries and even objections. Integrating chatbots across landing pages, social media, and ad campaigns can deliver exciting results. Some of the best-known examples of AI chatbot builders include Landbot and WatNot.

Get Started Today!

More leads are not a good thing if you don’t yet have the processes and systems to manage them. Attributing leads accurately to various channels and tracking them to closure are equally important for a successful law firm marketing and lead generation strategy. 

As you add new channels, errors may creep in, causing blind spots in decision-making. 

To increase ROI from your lead generation campaigns, Driftrock is an all-in-one lead management tool. With Driftrock you can: