New Legal Marketing Trends Proven to Increase Attorney Lead Generation and New Hires
Keeping up with hot, new legal marketing trends for law firms is a great way to stay ahead of the competition. But, what are these trends? And how can you use them to increase your attorney lead generation?
Increase Your Hyperlocal Marketing
Google remains a significant player in the search engine game. It has become such a recognized force in our daily lives that the verb form of Google is now an official word in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Over the last few years, Google has noticed an increase in the amount of “near me” searches made on a daily basis. With the abundance of smartphones in society today, users can tap a button and instantly search the web for local information and services. One major trend that comes as a result of these “near me” searches is “hyperlocal marketing.” If used correctly, this type of marketing allows your business to appear in the top searches within a specified local radius.
Focusing every piece of your marketing activity on a specific location will increase your hyperlocal presence. Consider even narrowing your focus down to individual neighborhoods. One tip is to have multiple search engine optimized (SEO) web pages targeted at fixed locations in your city.
While firms in rural areas, or firms specializing in long-standing corporate clients, may not benefit much from hyperlocal marketing, it is still vital to understand how crucial local-oriented marketing is in modern society.
Improve Your Knowledge of Data Analytics
While once a tool only utilized by major corporations, advances in technology have made data collection and analysis a much faster and easier process. Affordable cloud software even allows small businesses to evaluate critical insights in their data to improve their marketing strategies. Understanding your data will open your door to a strategy you didn’t realize you could leverage.
Without data analytics, you may miss out on otherwise great opportunities. For example, knowing the exact number of your clients driven to your website from social media could lead to you increasing your presence on Facebook and Twitter. Or, data analytics can also tell you which referral partner sends you the most traffic.
Data analytics is key to building a successful business. Invest in a simple to use software that will allow you to collect data into a database for easy analytical purposes. Stay ahead of your competition by utilizing the data you collect for the benefit of your firm.
Segment Your Marketing Messages
The most effective form of marketing is promoting messages aimed at a targeted audience. But, if you have a broad target audience, what should you do then?
The answer is segmentation. Segmented marketing is when you divide your marketing approach to tailor towards a specific subgroup within your target audience. For instance, if your audience is made up of people that speak a different language, develop multiple websites each in one of those languages. Or, if your firm handles both personal injury claims and bankruptcy, tailor your email marketing to send different newsletters to both sets of clients.
To effectively segment your marketing strategies, determine the main groups of your clientele and divide your marketing strategy aimed at each group’s persona.
Market Through Livestream Video
Nearly every major social media platform now offers some form of Livestream video. From Facebook Live to Youtube Live, this hot new marketing trend is catching on for many business owners and marketers. While the prospect of streaming yourself online may sound uncomfortable, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
One benefit to Live streaming video is that it connects you face to face with your audience. By engaging in live video with your followers, you give any prospective clients a chance to associate your firm with a human face. Relating potential clients to your firm is a great way to build their trust and gain their business. It also keeps you directly in touch with current clients, which will ensure their repeated business.
Many major social media platforms will also automatically promote your live stream video to any of your followers, free exposure that could lead to marketing beyond your current followers. For example, if one of your followers knows a friend that could use your services, they could refer their friend to your live video.
Whether you’re interested in using live stream video to answer people’s legal questions or giving free consultations, marketing through live video is a great way to differentiate your firm from the competition.
Marketing Through Customer Experience
The age-old rule in any business is that excellent customer service leads to loyal customers. You may not associate customer experience with marketing. However, there is a tremendous marketing opportunity to be had with providing outstanding customer service.
By providing your clients and customers with a great experience, you are not only ensuring their repeated business, but you’re also opening the door to customer referrals. If your client is happy with the service you provide them, they are more likely to spread the name of your firm to their friends and family members. Through this referral process, you are establishing yourself as a welcoming presence, which will, in turn, build brand loyalty.
Today’s leading companies still focus their attention on customer service. Keep your customers happy, and they’ll keep coming back for more, as well as do your marketing for you.
All the above marketing trends will help you grow your firm. However, don’t just focus your attention on one specific direction. Determine which trends can best help your business multiply and give each one your full attention. If you employ these hot new marketing trends for your law firm, you are ensuring sustainable growth for your business.
SEO and Attorney Lead Generation Strategies
Lead development strategies for law firms are a dime a dozen. Organic traffic remains the primary source of leads for law firms. This, however, is despite the fact that paid advertisements, today, are nearly indistinguishable from organic hits. Google wanted to boost its revenue from paid clicks, so they changed the layout of their search engine results pages. It worked. Google does indeed make more money now from pay per click (PPC) advertising than they did before. Nonetheless, most users still use the top three organic hits on Google.
The second important point that needs to be brought up are the many changes to how Google ranks web pages. In today’s digital marketplace, content is king. How engaging your website is to readers can have a significant impact on your organic ranking. Google records how long users spent on your page browsing, the number of clicks. If you’re a small business, then Google records whether they bought anything or not.
In addition, Google’s map rankings now are a significant factor as well. They appear right in between the paid ads and the organic listings. Ranking here can have a profound impact on the number of leads your website generates.
Here we’ll talk about the necessity of employing various lead development strategies for law firms to drive traffic to your firm’s website in 2019 and beyond. If you would like to discuss any of the strategies mentioned below with Michael, you can use this link to schedule an appointment today.
Page Authority: Ranking as Much as Possible
It isn’t exactly a mind-blowing concept, but ranking for your blogs, localization pages, and practice area pages increases your chances of improving your overall rank. It also increases your chances of drawing in niche clients with long tail keywords.
On the other hand, some websites, and even SEO specialists will create multiple pages attempting to rank for the same keyword. This is not an advisable strategy. You end up with two pages on your website competing for the same keyword.
A Tool That Works.
Moz has developed a method of predicting how well a page will rank for a given keyword. This system is more or less accurate. What Moz cannot predict are factors like:
- How engaging is your content?
- How long will a visitor stay on your page?
- Will they be interested enough to click to more pages?
These are factors that will not help you rank in the short term, but once you do rank, it will help improve your ranking, push you to the top, and solidify your place at the top of the organic rankings.
One factor that plays a significant role is how engaging, entertaining, and lastly, readable your pages are. When someone is going to your website to learn about the legal procedures that relate to their lawsuit, the last thing that they want is to have to translate a bunch of legalese. They need the writing on your page to be accessible and answer their questions. In fact, if they go to your page, but don’t spend a lot of time there, that can hurt your organic ranking. Google records that too.
Developing a Strategy for PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
PPC advertising is mostly met with some suspicion by SEO specialists. It has a time and a place. Logistically, that time and place are for newer businesses to get their foot in the door. It is also most useful for e-commerce businesses that are fighting over the high-stakes digital real estate.
It’s true that some keywords are very expensive. For instance, keywords like:
- Personal injury attorney,
- Criminal defense attorney,
- Bankruptcy attorney,
Generally, have a number of firms trying to rank for those keywords. The costs per click on search strings such as these can be quite expensive and not garner the right kind of clients.
In other words, you’re casting too wide a net. Worse still, the high value of cases will drive the bidding on specific search terms through the roof.
It’s hard to argue with that logic.
Nonetheless, a tactical approach to employing PPC can improve your organic ranking as well. By tactical, we mean precision. We do not recommend targeting generic keywords or peripheral keywords in an unstructured manner. It’s not about casting a wide net, we want you to narrow your focus to an ideal client.
It’s also cheaper to target these keywords because there isn’t as much competition for them. Now that that’s clear, what effective strategies can we employ?
Developing a Landing Page for Your PPC Keyword
You see more and more firms develop custom landing pages for their PPC advertising and this makes a lot of sense when you look at what is being targeted. It’s lazy SEO to send a PPC ad to your firm’s main page. You want a page that specifically relates to whatever keyword you’re trying to rank for. More often than not, this is very specific.
For instance, if a firm is bringing a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer of a specific product, that firm will be interested in ranking for that keyword. In addition, if you’ve determined what your niche is, then you’ll want to rank for that as well. You do not want to direct visitors who click on that ad simply to your main page. Visitors will have to figure out what to do and where to go.
Your landing page, therefore, needs to contain some necessary information about the lawsuit, contact information about your firm, and offer something to the visitor. This can be free consultations or the potential for a large payout. If your firm is attempting to rank for a kind of case you specialize in, you’ll want to introduce yourself as an expert. Beware, however, of fluff. You can include all the information you desire on ancillary pages. But you want to scale down the info on the landing page.
Things to include are:
- A brief introduction to the kind of case you’re interested in taking,
- Contact information for your law firm,
- Why you’re an expert on this particular kind of case,
- And links to various information about litigating such a case.
Other Ways to Utilize PPC
PPC can also be used for branded terms. In other words, your law firm’s name. The cost per click will be meager on something like that. Here, you’ll be developing a landing page for those who are interested in your law firm specifically. You can introduce yourself as an expert in your niche, link a page that talks about your law firm’s results, and anything else about your firm specifically.
PPC can also be utilized to target potential clients for specific areas of practice. Depending on your area of practice, however, this can get expensive. For instance, if you want to rank for traffic accident lawsuits in your area, you will likely find others competing for the same digital real estate.
It’s important to remember that PPC advertising should work around your strategy for drawing customers. Organic rankings are still the best. You certainly don’t want your PPC and your organic ranking strategies to overlap. There are a few instances in which this advisable.
Google Maps and Advertising
Localizing or geolocalization of your law firm is very important. It’s a simple process to register your business with Google so that it knows that you’re a law firm in a particular area at a specific address. The question then becomes, how do you become one of the three law firms that rank well enough to be included underneath Google Maps?
The layout is simple. There are four PPC ads, a map of the area, and then a list of three local firms. This can be shown by doing a quick search of something like “personal injury lawyers near me”. This is a very common search for those who are looking for a personal injury lawyer. This is especially true when they are still in the research phase of determining who would be the best firm to take their case.
On the other hand, ranking in Google Maps requires a completely different strategy than organic ranking.
Why It’s Worth Ranking on Maps
The Google Maps listing displays your firm’s name, contact information, and hours of operation for a given keyword. In addition, it allows customers to assign your firm a specific number of stars and write a review. In other words, this is all information that helps your prospective clients decide what the best law firm for their case is.
Google My Business
Ranking on Google Maps requires that you set up a GMB (Google My Business) page. You can enter your business’s name, address, phone number, and business hours. Also, it allows your clients to rate and review your law firm. It gives potential clients easy access to your web page.
After you’ve set up your GMB, Google will snail mail you a verification code to ensure that you are authorized to set up a page on behalf of your law firm.
This, in turn, builds trust between your potential clients and law firm. Clients can rate your management of their lawsuit, and you can respond to their concerns or praise. It helps to have at least five reviews, and it helps to take a proactive approach to address both positive and negative reviews.
We offer a free Google My Business overview report for law firms. It only takes a few minutes. If you are interested in how your business looks to Google, click here, scroll to the middle of the page until you see “Free Website Audit”, enter your firms’ info and hope for the best. Just kidding, I am sure your firm has everything under control.
How to Obtain Higher-Quality Leads
At minimum, low-quality leads waste screening time. Worse, if they circumvent your screening, they can become difficult clients. That is where the major costs and headaches arise.
Instead of relying solely on costly and occasionally ineffective screening, your marketing should target high-quality leads – prospects who have solid cases, who cooperate with your requests, and who value your expertise and time.
A proven way to draw quality leads is with (1) education-based marketing. Lead flow can be further cleansed with (2) qualifying statements and a (3) sales funnel.
Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)
1. Education-based marketing
Prospects who are willing to educate themselves about their legal issues make better clients.
We hear repeatedly from lawyers for whom we supply educational materials that prospects who have read the lawyers’ resource materials are better educated, easier to deal with, and more grateful for the lawyers’ efforts.
That outcome makes sense. Prospects who have invested time and study before their case even begins have shown their willingness to participate. Prospects who have read about the elements of a good case will self-screen weak cases. Prospects who come in knowing the basics can converse on a higher level about their cases. And prospects who have self-educated about the challenges ahead will be more appreciative of a positive result.
Implementation of an education-based marketing program is not hard. You can begin by offering detailed FAQs in a pop-up. Next add a downloadable multi-page description of the legal process and your approach to case handling that is promoted on a bottom-of-the-page slide-in.
Examples of strong educational materials can be found here:
Bankruptcy | Criminal | Family | Personal Injury
2. Qualifying statements
This is an effective tactic that is easily implemented.
Simply explain on your website, in your lead magnets, and along the route of your sales funnel (sales funnels are described below) what types of cases and clients you cannot accept, what you expect from a client if a case is accepted, and what type of lawyer-client partnerships lead to the best outcomes.
What, you say, that language will drive away good prospects? On the contrary, the approach will make clients even more desirous of your services. They will grasp that you don’t accept just any client or case, that you require client cooperation, and that obtaining a positive outcome is a team effort.
3. Sales funnel
Most lawyer websites are billboards. They describe the types of cases that the law firm handles and then ask the site visitor to complete a contact form or call.
However, most visitors are not ready to talk to your firm. They have questions, they are comparing lawyers, and they are gathering information. Professional marketers and salespeople would say those site visitors are at the top of your sales funnel.
When you first start thinking about buying a car, do you telephone or send a form to a dealer as soon as you start looking at car sites? No, you spend some time gathering information, considering cost, and deciding what you want and when you want to move forward.
Lawyer shopping works similarly, with degrees of urgency that vary with the situation.
To deepen your relationship with your site’s visitors who are at the top of the sales funnel, you should offer free educational information. After all, most prospects have visited your site because they have questions (provide them FAQs), want to learn more about their legal issue (offer instructional booklets), and are wondering about cost (at least explain the range).
Our president Michael Knutz can explain these techniques in more detail, evaluate your current efforts, and provide personalized marketing recommendations. To schedule a 15 or 30-minute appointment with him, click below.
Step-by-Step Guide: Qualifying Leads to Pursue the Right Clients
You wouldn’t try to sell a car to someone without a license. So why do so many attorneys pitch prospects that will never become good clients for their law firm? The answer is simple: they probably aren’t qualifying leads (prospects who have provided their contact information).
Lead qualifying is the process of vetting contacts to determine their interest, intent, fit for the law firm, and odds of becoming a client. It enables legal practices to hone in on the most promising contacts and not waste time on looky-loos or leads that will turn into troublesome clients. Use this step-by-step guide to learn exactly how to qualify leads, so your law firm can build the right relationships.
Step 1: Define a Qualified Lead
You won’t be able to identify the most promising leads unless you know what you’re looking for. Define a qualified lead using your ideal client persona—the profile of your perfect client. This could include:
- Demographics—gender, age, location, income, etc.
- Psychographics—their preferences, personality type
- Greatest challenges and fears
- Job title (if applicable)
If you haven’t already developed an ideal client profile like the one above, analyze your best customers (interview them if possible) and create one for your law firm. It will help you identify common traits of qualified leads who could later transform into great clients.
Step 2: Connect With Leads Where They Are
Find the ideal way to connect with your leads and gather more information. For instance, if your audience consists mostly of busy C-suite executives or in-house counsel lawyers, you may realize that they prefer to be contacted by email rather than telephone. If that is the case, then you can develop a few great email templates for your legal CRM (client relationship management system) to automatically send out once a lead makes contact.
Step 3: Reach Out Within 5 Minutes
According to research conducted by James Oldroyd and InsideSales.com, waiting 10 minutes to reach out to a contact decreases the odds of qualifying by 400%, compared to making contact within 5 minutes. Whether you make contact via email or telephone, be sure to do so quickly.
As mentioned above, you can set up your legal CRM to automatically send out email responses. If your leads tend to respond better to phone calls, use your CRM to send notifications to case managers or administrative staff when new leads come in, so they can jump on the phone to qualify them within five minutes.
Step 4: Ask the Right Questions to Gather Information
While reaching out to qualify leads, utilize the BANT system as a guide. BANT, a lead qualifying system developed by IBM, stands for:
- Budget—can the prospect afford your services?
- Authority—does your prospect have decision-making power?
- Need—does the prospect have a problem that you can solve?
- Timeline—is your prospect planning to move forward in the near future?
These four elements can differentiate between promising and unfit prospects. While you might not be able to ask these questions outright without giving contacts the third degree, you can infer some answers while conversing with leads. Other strategies, such as employing a website opt-in form that asks about the visitor’s needs, can gather information necessary for lead qualification.
Step 5: Track Touchpoints
Salesforce reports that it takes 6-8 touches to generate a viable sales lead. A CRM like the James Legal CRM can enable and track touchpoints by:
- Automating prospect follow-up
- Monitoring marketing efforts and telephone follow-up
- Sending your prospects content to keep them engaged and lead them down the funnel
Your attorney team can view all touchpoints on one dashboard to determine whether a lead needs further nurturing, is ready to convert, or is unlikely to become a client. For instance, if a contact has opened the last three emails sent by your law firm, you know to keep sending similar content that can keep them engaged.
Step 5: Disqualify Unfit Contacts
By this point in the process, you should have a good idea of which leads are a waste of time. Perhaps they failed to engage with your law firm after you reached out 7 times, or maybe you discovered that they cannot afford your services.
Whatever the case, don’t hesitate to disqualify these disengaged or unfit leads—they will simply distract you from more promising contacts.
Step 6: Prioritize Promising Leads
Once you have removed unfit contacts, you will be left with only favorable leads. Prioritize this list based on your choice of factors, such as greatest potential revenue or ease of converting the lead into a client, and then dedicate your time and energy accordingly to land the most suitable clients for your law firm.
Free Personalized Lead-Boosting Plan for Your Law Firm
We will create a personalized marketing plan showing how you can generate more leads while staying within your budget
Your roadmap to more leads will be tailored to your law firm’s specialty, geographic region, current efforts and results, and marketing budget.
This custom-drafted plan will list specific to-do’s in the order they should be implemented, and will detail their expected cost and impact. It will also include analytical reports showing:
- Citation audit (the single biggest local ranking factor)
- Which of your directory profiles contain errors?
- What are those errors?
- Number of citations, where located, and their value
- Online reviews
- Overall star ranking
- Where your reviews appear
- Star ranking by review site
- Google position for local and organic searches
- For what keywords do you appear in Google’s 3-pack?
- How do you rank for dozens of keywords – organically, locally, and for mobile searches?
- How do your rankings compare to your competitors … keyword by keyword?
Your Participation is Required
Because this lead-boosting roadmap is tailored to your law firm, it requires a 15-minute discovery call before we draft it.
We need to learn about your current marketing efforts, the lead flow being generated, how much you are spending on marketing, the characteristics of your preferred clients, and any other background information you want to share.
If you are not spending at least $10,000/year on marketing, the impact we can have is not large enough to justify the extensive time required to create your plan.
The bigger your spend, the bigger impact we can have. Most every law firm we have worked with is making mistakes in their marketing and wasting dollars, so your plan will include the fixes we suggest.
Using Your Plan
You will receive a written plan for how we recommend your law firm increase its lead flow.
You can execute this plan yourself, give it to your current marketing agency, engage us for implementation, or divvy up the tasks as you determine best. You need not use us for the fixes, enhancements, and expansions that we recommend.
Organic search engine results are still the most important means by which potential clients will find your law firm. That being said, there are more listings available now than there have been in the past. A sound SEO strategy weights the importance of each for your particular law firm and comes up with a means of making effective use of all the various listings.
Content marketing remains important. In fact, it has become even more important now that Google is ranking pages in accord with the user’s experience. Information like how long the user spends reading your page can have a major impact on your ranking for specific keywords, both positive and negative.
The best search engine campaigns, however, will not disregard any approach that may improve your capacity to generate leads.