As part of our law firm internet marketing service offerings, we advise law firms where to allocate online marketing dollars. One question that we are frequently asked is, "Which lawyer directories are worth the investment?" The answer is that it depends.
The only true way to ascertain whether a lawyer directory (or any marketing investment for that matter) is worth the cost, is to determine whether it produces a return. Let's take a look at an example from one of the larger lawyer directories:
Nolo's Lawyer Directory
Nolo's lawyer directory pricing is based upon geographic region, practice area, and time commitment. For example, personal injury in Cook County IL is priced as follows:
As you can see, if you're a personal injury lawyer in Chicago, your monthly Nolo lawyer directory investment may range from $574.95 to $699.97. On the other hand, if you're willing to make a 2 year commitment, your monthly investment drops by 50% (however, you have to commit to 2 years).
For our example, let's use the $575 per month listing fee.
Now let's break down the cost per visitor, cost per lead, and cost per client. For the purposes of this example, we have used 10% conversion rates. These rates may be higher or lower depending on how targeted your traffic is and how well your site is optimized for conversion. These are just hypothetical examples and are not based on an actual Nolo listing.
Cost Per Visitor
1 Monthly Visitors = $575 per visitor
10 Monthly Visitors = $57.50 per visitor
50 Monthly Visitors = $11.50 per visitor
100 Monthly Visitors = $5.75 per visitor
500 Monthly Visitors = $1.15 per visitor
1,000 Monthly Visitors = $0.58 per visitor
Cost Per Lead (assuming 10% conversion rate)
$575 per visitor = $5,750 per lead
$57.50 per visitor = $575 per lead
$11.50 per visitor = $115 per lead
$5.75 per visitor = $57.50 per lead
$1.15 per visitor = $11.50 per lead
$0.58 per visitor = $5.80 per lead
Cost Per Client (assuming 10% lead to client conversion)
$5,750 per lead = $57,500 per client
$575 per lead = $5,750 per client
$115 per lead = $1,150 per client
$57.50 per lead = $575 per client
$11.50 per lead = $115 per client
$5.80 per lead = $58 per client
Again, these are only hypothetical numbers based on 10% conversion rates from visitor to lead and lead to client. Your actual rates may be higher or lower. Using SEO Book's Rank Checker tool, we can get a quick check of Nolo.com's rankings for some Chicago personal injury terms:
Here are some of Nolo's positions for some "chicago personal injury" relevant terms:
Admittedly, the above represents only a very small sample of the entire keyword universe related to Chicago personal injury. However, seeing how well a directory ranks for a particular segment, will give a quick snapshot as to how well it will perform.
The point is that whether or not this listing will provide a positive return on investment greatly depends on how many visitors the listing receives. So how do you determine how many visitors you can expect? To a large extent, this depends on the search engine visibility of the directory. If you're not seeing the directory in the top results for your targeted keywords, it's unlikely to generate a great deal of traffic.
Depending on the practice area and geographic location, we have seen lawyer directories generate as many as a couple thousand visitors per month to as little as one to no monthly visitors.
The only true way to measure whether or not a lawyer directory will produce a positive return on investment, is to measure it. That is why we typically advise clients not to commit to more than three months when testing any lawyer directory. That way, you can get a significant data set without breaking the bank.