There are a range of methods that you can use to generate interest in your legal services and for lead generation to do its work. The end goal of course is to turn that lead, the potential client, into a paying client. In this article, we share seven methods that are universally powerful in generating quality leads for law firms.
There are a number of lead generation methods, but rather than be overwhelmed, I recommend that you start with one and progressively add more to your ‘toolkit’ as you go.
1. An Organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Strategy
One of the most straightforward and proven methods of lead generation for law firms to maximise quality leads to your business is to rank well online for the services you offer. As mentioned in my last article about law firm SEO, broadly speaking there are two ways to rank well on search engines like Google. By applying organic SEO or paid SEO strategies (or both combined). That is, applying strategies so that your firm can rank highly organically, or pay for ad placements. In another article about SEO, I explain exactly how SEO works in very straightforward terms, so if you are interested in really getting your head around it, be sure to read that article here.
As you would know from your own use of search engines, when someone is looking for a solution to their problem they often go online to research their options, even if they’ve been referred by someone else. Based on whatever they type into the search engine, the businesses or products that can assist with that issue are listed on the many pages of results that come up. Those that appear on the first page and at the top of the list usually get the attention of the bulk of the audience.
There are the ads (otherwise known as paid placement) that are labelled clearly as Ads and then there are the organic listings of products and services.
There is a great deal of strategy and implementation involved to rank well organically. That is, to rank well without having to continually pay for ad space to do it.
Related: Why SEO is a necessity for law firms
There is a search engine optimisation process called on-page SEO. The goal is to optimise existing pages and blog posts on a website. When we do this for our law firm clients, we engage a range of methods to adjust those pages to make them more discoverable online. We do what is known as keyword analysis to determine what it is that people are typing into Google that need our client’s services and then adjust the content and the backend of the website to endeavour to drive more traffic to our client’s firm over another. It does take time to achieve, but it is entirely measurable.
Sometimes, people are not necessarily looking for a lawyer to solve their problems when they search online but they are making enquiries, which are typically called queries in search engine optimisation-speak. If a potential client is looking to buy a business they may type in queries, such as ‘what to look for when buying a business’ before they type in ‘small business lawyer’ or other keywords that indicate their intent to engage a lawyer.
There are a range of queries that people type into Google that guide them to do business with one business over another. Every day we help our clients publish content that is specific to the queries that matter the most to their target markets.
What is important is to determine if there is a substantially sufficient volume of queries for each question in the Australian market (or whichever geographic regions your audiences are in). You can rank for a range of queries but whether they will do much for quality traffic to your website is what we determine.
When firms create content that is made with search engine optimisation in mind (and of course executed correctly), then they will be higher performing than any blog that is written without SEO as at its core. When you know what queries people type into Google and the volume that people are searching for, then that can be helpful in determining whether it is worth writing an article about.
2. A Paid Ads Strategy
Paid ads are otherwise known as paid search or PPC, which stands for pay-per-click advertising. It can involve paid search platforms like Google or Microsoft Ads and social media paid advertising like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn Ads.
Advertising in Search Engines
Essentially, paid search involves the process of determining potential keywords or phrases that people type into search engines for Microsoft (formerly known as Bing ads) or Google and paying for visibility and prominence when those terms are typed in.
Generally speaking, the highest-performing paid ads are very specific. To use family law as an example, rather than having broad search terms such as ‘family lawyer,’ narrowing down to ‘divorce lawyer’ and ‘your suburb’ may prove more helpful. When we do this kind of work, we take into account a lot more than just the title of the lawyer. For instance, ‘family lawyer’ is a professionally used term and if someone were to type that in, they may be looking to understand what a family lawyer does as opposed to having an intention to engage a family lawyer. Terms like ‘divorce lawyer’ may be more widely used by your target market who have never engaged a family lawyer before. So, while this is one example, you can see how the intent and language of your target market can impact the outcome of any ad campaign you have set up.
What is helpful to know is that Search Engine advertising can be wasteful if the campaign is poorly devised or there is no effective sales funnel. There is a lot involved in creating high-performing Google Ads so ensure you get some advice before you jump in and hope for the best.
Social Media Advertising
For social media ad platforms like Facebook, the goal is to find audiences that are similar to your ideal clients and target them. These are called ‘like audiences’. Then you can put your ad or content in front of them. Paid ads can drive traffic to specific pages of your website but often work best when incorporated with landing pages (I explain more in the landing page section below).
Anyone can create an online ad but whether it will speak to the target audience and convert well is an entirely different matter. You should take into account geographic region, age, interests and gender can be important too. And all of these different audience segments should ideally influence the look and feel of your ads to get the best results.
Paid ads are completely trackable if set up correctly. The goal for law firms is to always have potential clients track through to your website and to book an appointment time, or click through to a phone number. It all depends on what you determine your goal to be. If you sell digital products, then the pathway to sale can be tracked as well. You can set a daily ad spend and work with an expert who will tweak your keywords until you get a good return on your investment.
3. Landing Page Development
A more sophisticated element of lead generation that is not widely used yet in the law space is landing pages. These are specific web pages that are not typically visible from your website navigation and are essentially targeted sales pages. They are for a specific purpose and designed for a specific audience.
An example of this that we have set up in our business, is a page specifically for legal businesses in their first 3 years of business. It is designed to drive awareness of our website design service and speaks exclusively to owners or people who are setting up their legal practice. The page talks about how important it is to have a site set up correctly from the get-go and how they can have the website they want now, even when cash flow is tight.
The landing page talks to the pain points of this specific audience, and not to our entire target audience. We use this specific landing page only when promoting this service. It is a unique page that we share across a range of platforms. Landing pages are commonly used when driving traffic from a paid ad to a web page. While we don’t use this specific landing page for paid ads at the moment, we could use it in that way to drive traffic back to that unique page with a unique, targeted offer. In this case, we educate that market that they can spread the cost of the website build and design over an 18 month period and instead of getting a sub par website, get a high-performing one from the get-go.
So just as we have done, you can have landing pages created for specific segments of your target market.
If I were to design landing pages for a Conveyancing Practice for instance, I might set up two landing pages, separate from the general service pages. One for the market who are young first-time homeowners and another for the market who are in their 40’s or 50’s. The language and imagery would be entirely different for these two markets and speak more directly to these specific target audiences. This is a highly targeted way to optimise your chances of converting leads into clients.
4. Automations: Nurturing Prospects
The next important piece of lead generation is to nurture potential leads. When you have paid for ads or used organic strategies to drive traffic to your website, the nurturing process is vital.
What is the nurturing process?
A nurturing process is about putting in place steps to motivate a potential client to commit to doing business with you over your competitors. While it may happen quickly for some leads, others will need time. So, a nurture process is about creating the ability to connect with people who are interested in your service and communicate with them over time to build trust and to eventually motivate them to become a client.
This process is done using email software. When it is set up correctly, it is personalised and elegant, not pushy at all. When people express some interest in our client’s services, they are not always ready to engage a lawyer at that moment in time. So a stepped out communication process that is automated and talks specifically to the problems they have matched back to the services you offer, is an elegant way to keep in contact with individuals and build rapport. These communications add up to what are called touch points. As touch points are accumulated, then you have more chance of a prospect calling your firm, having an initial meeting and getting a cost agreement signed.
So, the more quality touch points that individuals have with your firm’s brand, the more likely they are to do business with you, instead of your competitors. Setting up a nurturing process is really powerful especially in the law space where it is highly underutilised.
5. A Technically Sound Website
What most people don’t realise is that it is important to have a technically great website. While your website may look like it’s technically sound, it’s the things you cannot see that can be problematic in helping you rank better in online search. It is important to have a technically excellent website so that all of the initiatives you have in place to drive online traffic to your website, can reach their potential.
While most people want their site to be visually appealing, you need it to be structurally sound so that Google determines it as credible. When Google sees your site as credible (that is, technically sound as well as containing relevant content), it will put you in front of your competitors who have underperforming websites.
What is important to know is that most of the time, you can’t tell what an underperforming website looks like. In many instances it typically doesn’t appear to perform poorly. We have written a number of articles about technically sound and high performance websites, so I recommend reading these topics as well to learn more:
6. Consistent Content Creation In Play
The biggest success that people have with lead generation for law firms is consistent content marketing. Consistency can only be achieved with a solid marketing strategy and a dedicated team whose priority it is to ensure it is done, and done to a high standard. Oftentimes in law firms it is an additional, but secondary task for a team member, so it’s not a priority.
Content that educates your market and your referral network about what you do and what they need to know about the services you offer keeps you top of mind. We work with a number of firms on their content marketing because, although they are perfectly capable of creating social media posts, blog articles and video content, the reality is their core business is delivering services to their clients. Naturally, marketing drops to the bottom of the list when things get busy and momentum is lost.
By engaging a team who specialise in law firm marketing to devise a unique marketing strategy, you or your firm can be visible across the platforms that your target market is using and achieve that consistency you need.
Lead Generation for Law Firms
For your law firm to be creating good quality leads, you need to start with a bespoke marketing strategy. You can do your own paid ads, your own search engine optimisation, your own social media and landing pages, your own email nurturing and content marketing. But when you team up with specialists in law firm marketing like our team, then you are markedly improving your chances to A), get it up and running sooner and B), get more success in both the short- and long-term. I know this because we usually have people come to us after they’ve tried other options.
We also know that what often happens is businesses take on marketing initiatives that are exciting and new, do it for a short time and give up on it instead of refining it and optimising it layer by layer. I recommend that you look at the options mentioned in this article, start with one option, persist on it to refine it and then build on it. Alternatively, speak to a team like ours who can support you and get you impactful results sooner.