If you're still relying on old tactics to generate leads, you may be falling behind your competitors. Online lead generation is now the best way for lawyers to land new clients.
As more attorneys jump on social media and build out their websites, online lead generation for lawyers is getting more competitive. Lawyers in any given geographic location are competing for the attention of every local client. Online, they are publishing content in droves to rank for relevant keywords, designing their websites to convert visitors into leads, and posting digital search ads that appear for the most viable search queries.
The good news is that you can still break into online lead generation, even if you haven’t touched your website in years. In fact, now is the best time to start. Although many people still ask a friend or family member for advice when searching for a lawyer, a large percentage of people are searching for lawyers online. There a few different tracks you can take, but here are the fundamental systems of online lead generation for lawyers.
Redesign Your Website
Your website is the hub of all your online marketing activity, so it needs to attractive, professional, and geared toward lead generation. It’s where you want those doing online research to wind up so they can learn about and contact you. You probably already have a website, but if it isn’t generating leads, you need to make some changes.
First, consider redesigning it. This is especially important if you haven’t updated your website in a long time. You may be running outdated themes or plug-ins. Visitors to your website will be unimpressed if it looks dated or like it was produced by an amateur. You also need Google to index your website and view it as accurate. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, as more people are viewing websites on mobile devices than ever before. Google offers a free tool for grading your website’s mobile friendliness.
There are plenty of services that offer legal website production, but most of them take a cookie-cutter approach to their clients. Design a unique website that speaks to your brand.
Turn Your Website into a Lead Generating Machine
Enlist the help of a web developer to get your website up to date. Depending on your website’s content management system (think WordPress), your developer may be able to install new functionalities. They’ll also ensure that your site looks good on a mobile device. A sleek and contemporary theme will encourage visitors to explore, learn, and contact you.
To turn your website into a lead generating machine, you’ll need conversion opportunities such as contact forms, landing pages, and call-to-action buttons, like this one:
Placing your phone number in the top navigation is a good start, but not every visitor will want to make a phone call. Some people prefer email, live chat, and call-backs. Once you’ve redesigned your website and designed it to generate leads, you’ll have a better chance of turning visitors into clients.
Online content has two primary purposes when it comes to online lead generation for lawyers. First, it serves as a way to educate readers, provide helpful information, and build trust. Second, it needs to rank in the search results of people who are looking for your services. When people need legal assistance, they don’t always get on Google and type in, “lawyer near me.” Often, they look for answers to a specific problem.
For example, a quick search in a keyword ranking tool reveals that the query “I was injured at work can I sue” gets at least 50 searches per month on Google. Although the number could be different based on geographic search results, this may be a viable topic for a personal injury lawyer or an employment lawyer to cover in a blog post.
If it is well-written, accurate, and optimized for search engines, that blog post may rank for this query. Useful and well-ranking blog posts may become compounding, which means they generate much more traffic than your other posts. According to research by HubSpot, only 1 out of 10 blog posts are compounding, but compounding blog posts can account for 38% of the traffic on your blog. At the very least, it may answer a reader’s question. In a best-case scenario, readers will contact you and ask for a consultation.
Content and SEO go Hand-in-Hand
This is how content and search engine optimization (SEO) work in tandem. There are plenty of companies available that offer SEO. Most of them will not create useful content for you, however. SEO is relatively useless if it isn’t implemented alongside a dedicated content strategy. Your content strategy can vary. Blogging is the easiest and most popular way to produce content, but you can also create micro websites or a series of landing pages to rank for search results.
To start a dedicated content/SEO strategy, you need time to write and perform SEO. You can write blog posts on your own, but identifying keywords and optimizing posts for them take a particular set of skills and tools. If you don’t have time to write much content, you should seek a team of marketers who keep copywriters on staff. Ask if they have experience writing legal marketing copy. Establish a timeline for content production and approve each post or web page before they upload it.
Use Digital Ads
Recent studies have shown that paid search ads generate more web traffic and lead to a significant spike in exposure. Social media ads have also proven to be effective for businesses who marketing to both consumers and other businesses, depending on the platform. Social media ads take advantage of the algorithms embedded within social media platforms to place them in front of the right people. As with any ad campaign, your strategy and your amount of ad spend will determine the effectiveness of digital ads.
When considering digital ads, make sure they don’t replace your other “organic” tactics, such as content marketing and SEO. Digital ad campaigns get you leads for a time, but they’ll end as soon as your ad budget is depleted. It’s best to think of digital ads as supplementary in regards to your other marketing activities. They are still an effective tool of lead generation for lawyers. Use digital ads when you need leads in a pinch.
Paid Search Ads Take Strategy
Search ads like those produced through Google AdWords place your website on the top of search results for relevant queries. You or your marketing team need to determine which keywords you want to rank for before you start the campaign. Google offers a free tool for keyword planning. Each keyword comes with a price tag, and some keywords cost much more than others. Whenever someone clicks on your ad, the cost will be deducted from your budget, hence the name “pay-per-click.”
Although AdWords is marketed as a DIY advertising tool, it’s easy to spend through an ad budget by choosing the wrong search terms. For example, the term “divorce lawyer” costs $23.06 per click at the moment of this writing. Even if you are a divorce lawyer, you may be better served by an ad that ranks for a more specific query, like one based on your location.
Repeat On a Monthly Basis
Sustain your online marketing efforts in the long term. Once you’ve decided on a strategy, repeat your strategy on a monthly basis so your lead generation doesn’t plateau or drop off. Whether you do marketing in-house or you rely on an outsourced team, identify your key performance indicators for marketing and keep track of their metrics. Here are some good examples of marketing KPIs to measure each month:
- # of Unique Website Visitors
- # of Leads Generated
- Cost per Lead Generated
- Client Retention Rate
- Client Closing Rate
Put a schedule in place for each marketing effort. Create a certain number of blog posts each month then enhance them with digital ads. Send emails to follow up with the leads you’ve generated each month to push them further towards a consultation.
Other Tips About Lead Generation for Lawyers:
These are the basics of online lead generation for lawyers, but there are plenty of other strategies to choose from. You could start a social media campaign, for example. If you are a corporate lawyer, LinkedIn could be a powerful tool for networking and getting referrals.
You can also use email marketing to reach out to people in your contact list, drum up referrals, or send out a regular newsletter. Email marketing automation makes the process much easier. Here are some of the services that provide email automation:
Whichever strategies you choose, lead generation for lawyers takes time and skill to implement. Reach out to a marketing team if your staff is overwhelmed. They’ll write and push out your content, redesign your website, and implement your digital ad campaigns. With expert muscle behind your strategy, you’ll have plenty of leads contacting you month after month.