Lawyer Leads: How to Generate and Retain Clients
By Morgan Martinez
If you want to maintain or grow your firm, then generating lawyer leads (prospects) and retaining clients are two equally essential and ongoing processes. Unfortunately, most attorneys haven’t been taught how to build a system for developing a business.
MyCase is here to remedy that situation. Below, we’ll highlight why the most successful law firms have efficient attorney lead generation and client intake processes. We’ll also explain how to get more leads and share strategies that can help you retain the right clients for your firm.
Why Are Lawyer Leads Important?
When your team is busy, it’s tempting only to serve existing clients. However, this can lead to a feast-or-famine mode. Your firm will hustle for a while and then screech to a sudden halt. If you don’t have any leads in the pipeline at that point, it may take a while to build new prospects and convert some into clients. This downtime is stressful and unprofitable.
That’s why lawyer lead generation is important. When you create processes that consistently bring in prospects while you’re serving clients, new business will always be on the horizon. The key is to develop effective lead generation systems that work for your firm’s goals, budget, and target audience(s). Then, pair them with lead management and client intake tools that nurture prospects into clients.
How Can Lawyers Generate Leads?
There are several free and paid ways to generate leads for law firms. Let’s dive into how to get leads for lawyers.
Traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Did you know that the top three Google search results receive more than 50% of all clicks (according to the SEO training website Backlinko)? That’s why attorney lead generation starts with SEO—the practice of generating website traffic by improving a site’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs). Simply put, the closer your firm is to the top of the list, the more leads you’ll likely receive.
Content is one of the main pillars of strong SEO and is typically the most approachable for lawyers. It can lead to several benefits, such as:
- Establishing your law firm as a thought leader
- Promoting brand recognition
- Generating website traffic
- Building trust with prospects and clients
- Prompting potential clients to reach out to your firm
Read more about developing a content marketing strategy that improves SEO in our content marketing guide for lawyers.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
With PPC advertising, a law firm pays a fee every time someone clicks on their ads. Typically, the ad routes to the firm’s website, boosting client conversions. PPC advertising may drive more qualified traffic to the site than traditional SEO alone. (Firms can then use automated client intake forms to capture lead information.)
One of the most popular forms of PPC advertising is search engine ads. Advertisers bid to place ads in the sponsored links section of a SERP. Because these ads are at the top of the SERP before the organic results, they can generate significant viewership. See the example below.
How Much Do PPC Ads Cost for Lawyer Lead Generation?
PPC fees depend on various factors such as bid price, quality score, competition, and industry. (Learn more in this article from WordStream, a digital advertising company that provides education and tools.)
The average cost-per-click (CPC) for attorneys is $8.67, according to LOCALiQ, a marketing platform for small businesses. This means for every click you receive on your firm’s advertisement, you should expect to pay roughly $9. The legal industry consistently sees some of the highest CPC costs due to highly competitive keywords.
How Many Leads Should You Expect Per PPC Ad?
One of the most critical metrics for measuring PPC ad success is click-through rate or CTR. CTR measures the percentage of ad impressions (instances when your ad appeared on a SERP) that generated a click. For example, if your ad received 1,000 impressions and generated 20 clicks, that’s a 2% CTR.
LOCALiQ reports that lawyers and those within legal services achieve a 4.24% CTR on average.
Are PPC Ads Worth It?
PPC ads can generate leads for law firms but at a cost. Determine whether an ad campaign is worth it for your firm by calculating the return on investment. Here’s how:
- Let’s say your average case value is $3,000.
- Your firm runs a PPC ad campaign where the average CPC is $8.
- The ad receives 500 impressions and 20 clicks for a CTR of 4%.
- Of those 20 lawyer leads, one converts into a client.
- At the end of the day, the ad delivers $3,000 of estimated revenue against a total cost of $160 (20 clicks multiplied by $8 per click). Many attorneys would consider that a positive return on investment.
You can also employ this formula before running an ad to determine how much you’re willing to spend on each lead and campaign.
Tip: Are you a personal injury lawyer? Check out our guide about developing personal injury Google ads.
Google users search an estimated 63,000 search queries every second, according to HubSpot—a software development company specializing in marketing and sales. Showing up on Google Maps in a fraction of those queries can significantly boost your lawyer lead generation efforts.
How does Google Maps increase lawyer leads? It’s simple. If a prospect Googles “best criminal defense lawyer in Austin,” for example, they’ll see a list of business results that match their query. The results will also appear on a map. Users can filter the results by review rating and hours of operation (see the screenshot below).
Additionally, searchers can start from Google Maps and search for “near me” terms, such as “criminal defense lawyer near me.” The results page will feature a list of criminal defense firms in and around their area. The accompanying map will highlight where these firms are located. Users can drag the map to update the search results geographically.
Google Maps is a powerful tool that can help your firm get in front of qualified potential clients. It can also help build credibility by showcasing positive client reviews and generating website traffic. But these benefits only occur when your firm appears in search results. That starts by filling out your free Google Business Profile.
This guide from Google explains how to complete your Google Business Profile and increase visibility in local searches.
Third-Party Lead Generation Companies
If you don’t want to tackle attorney lead generation yourself, you can use a company that specializes in connecting firms to prospects. These third-party companies provide a variety of solutions. Avvo, for instance, offers a lawyer directory. Each attorney profile within the directory features information about services, reviews, ratings, and contact options.
Pricing varies by company. Some offer a fixed cost per lead generated, while others charge a monthly fee to manage Google PPC ads.
Do your due diligence if you’re considering a lawyer lead generation company. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What type(s) of firms do you usually work with? Do you specialize in any practice areas or geographic locations?
- How much do your services cost? Do we have to sign any long-term contracts?
- How do you qualify lawyer leads? What kind of information do you gather from prospects before sending them over?
- What technology do you work with? Will our team be required to implement any new tools? (Ideally, their lead generation processes should be able to integrate with your legal client relationship management software.)
- Do you provide any guarantees of service?
How Can Lawyers Choose the Right Leads?
Not all leads make great clients. The most successful firms know how to get leads for lawyers and choose the right prospects from the lot.
Their secret: a great client interview process that gathers key information to determine whether the matter is a good fit. In addition, this consultation provides an ideal opportunity for client communications and setting expectations.
Read our attorney-client interview guide to get tips on holding a successful meeting, an interview transcript, and a list of questions to prepare for.
How Can Lawyers Keep Their Clients?
One of the most common client complaints is a lack of communication from lawyers. Client management tools and processes keep clients engaged with your firm for a better experience. This can also lead to more referrals—the ultimate lead generation strategy.
For example, the MyCase Client Portal allows you to send case updates at your convenience. Clients can stay up-to-date by logging into their portal anytime, anywhere. The Client Portal also provides a secure environment to exchange documents and reminders, send invoices, and receive payments.
And for more insights into successful firms’ tools and processes, subscribe to our free email newsletter, “For The Record.” Simply enter your email address in the right-hand sidebar near the top of the page.