Without a steady stream of new clients, your law firm cannot thrive. It’s as simple as that.
However, finding leads and then moving them through the funnel from awareness to discovery, evaluation, intent, purchase, and, finally, loyalty is easier said than done.
After all, your time is best spent serving clients within the practice rather than handling marketing and outreach. And chances are good that your team’s time is better spent supporting your efforts through legal research and discovery. How are you supposed to find and convert legal leads while still balancing billable hours and client representation?
Before we dive too deeply into how to find and convert leads, let’s define what we’re talking about. A legal lead is nothing more than a potential client – someone who may have legal needs that you can help with. Leads come in a range of types, including:
The lead generation process is a multi-step progression that takes leads and moves them from their entry point in the sales funnel (awareness, interest, or decision) toward the final stage: action. This is the point where they convert from being a lead to being a paying client. They say, “This is the attorney I want representing me,” and then call or email your office to schedule a consultation.
A wide net is required to create this process. What we’re talking about here is inbound marketing – creating a strong presence within various marketing channels (your website, social media, guest blogs, etc.) and then using effective calls-to-action to move potential new clients to a specific landing page where they can then enter their information and get a follow-up message from your firm.
The whole process begins with a strong website. Without one, you’re dead in the water. Understand that one-third of all your potential clients begin the process on the Internet. If you don’t have a website, you’re invisible to these people. You need a robust website that’s filled with original, high-quality content that answers questions and educates potential leads. We also recommend including a live chat feature so that leads can reach out at any time to communicate with your team.
Next, you need avenues leading to your website from other digital channels. Your firm’s Facebook page, LinkedIn account, and Twitter/X feed are important lead-generation tools that can help drive traffic where you want it while also increasing engagement with your audience.
However, you shouldn’t just drive online traffic to your website’s homepage. You need to create dedicated landing pages tied to your various marketing efforts. These act as organic destinations that tie in with specific messages, provide additional information to prospective clients, and help collect their information through opt-in forms and calls-to-action.
When a potential client hits one of your landing pages, your goal is to achieve several things. First, you want to provide them with more information about what brought them to the page in the first place. That information should not just educate them but position your firm as the answer to their need. You also want to collect their information so you can use it to turn them into a client. How do you get leads to part with their contact information?
You can go about this in a couple of ways. First, you can use strong calls to action. Come right out and tell leads what you want them to do. Do you want them to email your firm? Do you want them to call now? Do you want them to book a consultation?
Second, you can couple those calls to action with incentives. Offer them a free download of your latest eBook or report in exchange for signing up. Experiment with different types of incentives to see what works best for your audience.
Most law firms don’t suffer from a lack of leads. They struggle to act when they receive leads. A staggering 42% of law firms take three or more days to respond to messages from leads. In an age where people expect a return call within 24 hours, that’s a huge mistake. And that’s just the firms that track the leads they receive. Many have no tracking system in place at all. Even when they do respond, 86% of law firms fail to collect important contact information, like email addresses.
Obviously, if you don’t act on the leads your practice receives, you can’t convert them into clients. The most challenging aspect here for most legal practices is simply finding the time to communicate with potential leads and then handle the qualification process. After all, if the attorneys are busy helping current clients and the rest of the team is handling research and other vital tasks, it leaves no one to answer questions, field phone calls, or vet potential clients.
Virtual receptionists can fill this critical missing role. Smith.ai’s North American virtual receptionists have deep experience working with law firms across the nation and understand how to convert leads into paying clients.
For most law firms, the biggest hurdle in finding and converting leads is simply not having the right support network in place. Today, attorneys need the help of a 24/7 answering service to answer phone calls and emails, handle lead intake and qualification, enter client information into the CRM, and more.
At Smith.ai, our virtual receptionists are trained to handle legal intake so the leads you generate from your website, social channels, and digital marketing campaigns always have someone to speak with and help nudge them toward choosing your firm. We work as an integral part of your team, ensuring that you’re able to focus on serving current client needs without neglecting potential clients.