I have conversations with lawyers on a daily basis about their online marketing efforts and lead generation. When the discussion comes around to what law firms are doing to have success with their online marketing, I talk about 3 main components. Keep in mind, these 3 components are not the specific strategies being implemented. Rather they are an overall philosophy that when in balance, will produce results.
The first component is lead volume. Lead volume is the holy grail. For many firms, this is the most difficult and elusive component. Generating lead volume requires time, money, resources, and the right strategic approach. However without an acceptable lead volume, the practice simply can not grow.
Lead quality is an important component, but it is often misunderstood. In my opinion, lead quality is not simply a function of the number of new clients that sign up. Obviously at the end of the day this is the most important metric. However, there are many other components that can effect if a client is actually retained. For instance the amount of time it takes you to contact the potential client, your follow up process after speaking with them, your rapport with the client, your ability to sell the client on retaining the firm, etc.
The quality of the leads should be judged more along the lines of the overall intent and problems the leads face. By and large, are the individuals contacting you people that have legal issues? Do their legal issues coincide with the types of services your firm offers? Are they looking for an attorney to help with their problem? If the incoming leads are hitting on all these points than over time you will see a certain percentage convert into clients.
Systems To Work Incoming Leads
This is an area where a lot of firms have issues. Creating a process to work, track, follow up with, and touch all incoming leads, in an efficient way, is essential. Think about creating a standard email template to respond to inquiries that are not a fit (a real time saver), using an auto-responder to follow up on leads right away, setting up a virtual receptionist service to handle calls when you are in court or after hours when the secretary is gone, using a live chat service, or using online practice management software.
If you have a large volume of quality leads coming through but you don’t work them properly you are going to lose out on business you otherwise should have retained.
The key is understanding the proper balance of these three components for your firm. Additionally, it’s important that you understand the root of the issue if there is a problem. In other words, what component needs work?
For instance, sometimes lead quality is blamed for what is actually inefficiencies in the firm’s ability to handle incoming leads. The firm blames a lead source, marketing company, or advertising method for sending over “bad leads”. They demand a shift in strategy and lead volume is sacrificed at the cost of trying to generate only the “highest quality leads”.
Shifting an entire web strategy because you got a string of leads that did not turn into clients can cause more harm than good. Often, it’s easier to point the finger somewhere else than to look at modifying the firm’s own internal systems. However, if the problem exists with the firm’s ability to work incoming leads, then changing up the marketing strategy isn’t going to solve the issue.
This isn’t to suggest that every firm should cast the biggest net possible in an attempt to generate high lead volume. In fact, I have read convincing arguments for keeping lead volume at a manageable level.
It’s better to approach the problem as a balance of all 3 of these components. Be honest with yourself about where problems may reside and devise a plan to work on the component(s) that need attention.