In any service business, the gold standard for a lead is someone who needs your services and can afford you. A family law example would be someone who finds out their partner filed for divorce and has a lawyer. After hearing this news, they immediately begin looking for a lawyer in their area to protect themselves, often using Google. If you capture attention during these important moments in a prospect’s life, you stand a good chance at acquiring their business. Sure, you can get leads by throwing up a billboard or blasting radio ads, but the leads aren’t as good or consistent. Billboards or radio don’t allow you the ability to only show ads when people need you. This represents a lot of waste in your advertising from unwanted eyes. But, search has the ability to only show ads when people actually need and want to hire you.
Why is Google Search so valuable?
Is paid search advertising really worth it?
In short, YES. Google advertising provides a virtually endless supply of quality leads and cases in your local market.
For every $1 spent on Google Ads (Adwords), businesses earn an average revenue of $2 (Google).
82 percent of smartphone users are actively searching for businesses near them (Google).
Google reports that search ads can boost brand awareness by as much as 80 percent, making consumers more likely to remember your brand and interact.
More than 40 percent of clicks go to the top three paid ads in search results (Wordstream).
90% of consumers trust online reviews (Google).
Almost one-third of mobile phone searches are location-based (Google).
76 percent of people who search for something nearby on a smartphone visit a business within one day (Google).
These are just some stats that make a strong case for using paid search traffic to create a lead generation system for your firm. Google Ads is not a short-term strategy as many law firm owners mistake it for. It’s a long-term plan that complements SEO and Google Maps Optimization to create a full SEO campaign. If there’s 40% of all clicks taking place on ads instead of organic searches, wouldn’t you like a piece of that traffic too? 40 percent is a lot of lead opportunities.
What exactly is a law firm lead generation system?
Law firm lead generation, in its simplest form, is the process of attracting new cases to a law firm. For law firms, this involves attracting prospects who are in need of an attorney for the specific case types that you offer. (Notice I said, “specific case types.” Have you ever tried to run your own Google Ad campaign and generated leads for case types that you don’t service?) There are obviously many ways to conduct lead generation, but not all of them are efficient or could necessarily be called a ‘system.’ Oxford defines lead generation as; “The action or process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’s products or services,” and defines system as, “A set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network; a complex whole.” A properly functioning legal lead generation system must be predictable, scalable, and measurable. Billboards, radio, and TV are largely ‘spray-and-pray’ tactics, and not a lead generation system. You can’t easily organize these advertising mediums for better performance across different case types. Does the billboard at Exit 16 or Exit 22 send you more phone calls and cases? There’s just not enough data available to do this, nor is it efficient to do so for many lawyers and practice areas. On the other hand, Google Ads lead generation system has the unique ability to track and measure the exact client acquisition costs for specific case types (ex. divorce, child custody, etc.) You can then use the tracked data at any time to make deliberate performance adjustments and meet desired business outcomes. (See a Case Study from a Family Law Client.)
Core Elements of Lead Generation
As you’ll learn throughout this guide, there are 3 core elements (steps) to any Google Ads lead generation system:
Step 1) a Traffic Source
Step 2) a Lead Magnet (landing page) to convert traffic from your ads
Step 3) Lead Reception and Management.
Each piece is vital to the success of your lead generation success. (I will go over Step 1) Traffic Sources in the next part of this guide, which will be ready in the next week or 2.) If your traffic source is perfect, but your landing page is off, your ROI will suffer. If your lead intake process doesn’t handle leads properly, you could be missing appointments and lowering your return. Any number of things could be slowing you down. I’ve seen it all before and every step in your system’s process needs to work consistently for maximum ROI long term.
Why is Proactive Lead Generation for Law Firms important in 2020?
It’s critical for any law firm in today’s competitive climate (AKA: the Digital Age) to have an active, targetable, internet-based lead generation system to attract new clients. The added benefit of a internet-based lead generation system allows you to predict, and/or manipulate, your firm’s flow of client acquisition and business growth. Not to mention a surprisingly small amount of lawyers use it to get cases, representing a massive opportunity in some practice areas & local markets. Do you rely on word-of-mouth and referral partners? What would you do if your largest lead source somehow dried up this quarter? Would you be in trouble next quarter? Do you have the ability to double your word-of-mouth and/or referral leads next month? The answers to these questions are why you should always have multiple sources of proactive lead generation going on at all times. Even if it’s not a huge part of your client-generation, having alternative systems in place will make your firm stronger. In the event a lead source slows down, you have options to maintain growth. You can make adjustments to compensate for a lack of leads from other sources.
Keeping Competition In Check
If your competitors begin to encroach on your market, you don’t want to sit there and let it happen. You need to be proactive and fight for your market. An ad campaign that is pumping out leads & clients on a daily basis is a good hedge against your competitors. Often the best defensive strategy is to go on the offensive in legal marketing.
Overhead costs aside (I can’t control that.), a law firm’s overall growth is dependent on the number of cases it receives and services. A firm loses money when it can’t get more cases, but it could handle more clients. A firm also loses money when it has more cases available, but can’t handle the additional caseload. If either of these situations has occurred at your firm, it is because you could not actively regulate or predict the flow of leads and cases to your firm. Lead generation systems can be controlled and turned down or up based on your firm’s current capacity.
Do you know when you will get your next lead or case? If you don’t have a lead generation system, the answer is likely “No.” There’s really no worse feeling than uncertainty about what would happen if you stopped getting cases. The thought of having to get a job again is usually enough to scare any small law firm owner. You’ve got 2 options really. You can either be content and continue to passively grow your firm, or you can take action and create a predictable lead generation system so you never have to worry about getting cases again.
New Clients (Who Don’t Know Who To Hire Yet)
In any type of advertising, you want to reach people who are not aware of your competitors or top players in your market. With a Google Ads Lead Generation system, you can create campaigns that only show up for non-branded searches, ex. “Divorce lawyer new york city.” People making these searches likely do not know of other attorneys in the area. They are researching for pretty much any attorney that they think can help them. Reread the last 3 sentences, because this is a HUGE opportunity. This guide will teach you how to be the firm that people gravitate to. As people research
Expanding Google Organic Lead Opportunities
As you gather leads and new clients from paid advertising, you want to take advantage of their good experiences with your company. Remember, many of the clients you get from Google Ads are clients who would not have found you without Google Ads. They’re icing on the cake! (And so are their positive reviews.) Each satisfied client should receive an email or text message prompting them to submit a review to your Google, Yelp!, and/or Avvo listing within a week of final services. Reviews are weighted heavily by Google’s Search algorithm and should be a priority on all listings. The more reviews your business listings gathers in a given period of time will help you to appear above other law firm’s with less reviews during that time period. In addition to helping you rank, numerous reviews signals to potential clients that you are an authority in your market. Otherwise called ‘social proof.’ If you have 50 Google reviews, and your competitor has 105 Google reviews, which law firm do you think the prospect will call first?
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a better understanding of how lead generation and paid ads can help your firm bring in new clients. Next week in Part 2, I’m covering the first step, or element, in a lead generation system, the Traffic Source.