Whether you’re an attorney with a new practice or are a partner in a multi-attorney firm, there are literally hundreds of ways attorneys find and retrain new clients.

There’s a rule I live by in life and it’s applicable to you earning the right to new clients…and that is the 80/20 rule.

80/20 Rule

It is said that 20% of your efforts will yield 80% of the results…and while there are dozens of strategies that have worked to acquire new clients, 20% of those activities have yielded 80% of new clients.  Today, we are focusing the 20% of activities.

Before considering strategies to acquire new clients we need to consider some elements first.

A Marketing Channel in the case for attorneys can be considered unique campaigns but often work together.  For example, a referral is a channel for new leads, so is a billboard.

Each channel essentially can be measured for performance, and this is extremely important in managing your firm’s growth.  Knowing where your money is going and what it’s doing is paramount in your success.

Knowing your channel’s return and its costs can give you your Return on Investment, or ROI.  In business school, they taught that is your ROI is at least a break even, it is usually a good business decision.  In other words, if your outgoing variable and fixed costs equal your revenue after taxes, you should continue with that channel.

Marketing Channels for Attorneys

“I have a referral-based practice.  It’s important my website be modern, clean and work on both desktop and mobile”

Danielle Huntley, Principal at Huntly Inc.

“We do a lot of cross referrals and have a very strong referral network. We also blog, speak at symposiums, teach, and are regular guests on talk radio.” 

 Leslie Lelii, Office Manager at Virtus Law, PLLC

Referrals are hand-down your absolute best source of new leads…period.  Referrals can come in many forms, whether it’s from existing clients, friends, colleagues or those in your business network.

Word of Mouth Marketing

Far too often do businesses forgo implementing a solid, positive referral system.  Sure, you can’t likely compensate the referee, however you surely can make the experience enjoyable for all parties involved.

There are different type of systems you can implement, and you absolutely should be implementing a system – and this includes becoming a thought-leader with solid content, effective tracking and communication to leads and a unique welcome, which is different than a new cold lead.

Good Quality Service & Encourage Reviews

Reviews are essentially a form of word of mouth marketing.  They are critical and necessary, for many reasons.

Testimonials are equally valuable.  We consider a review a written statement and a testimonial is a video statement.

With our clients we implement RAP – Review Acquisition Program.  You’d be surprise how excited people are to leave a review but tend to put low priority to the task.  You might ask 10 clients to leave you a review with 10 agreeing, but only 2 push through.

Maximize this number. If you get 10 clients who said they’ll leave you a review, you should end up with 10 reviews.  They are extremely valuable.  

Reviews influence two things online…first they vastly influence your CTR, Click Through Rate. If you have 37 reviews with 4.9-stars, you’ll get many more clicks than a competitor with 6 reviews and 3.7-star rating.

Reviews also have impact on your search rankings in Google.  More on this later.

Educational Content & Effective Promotion

Positioning yourself as a thought leader and expert in your respective field in your community is paramount for the long-term growth of your firm.

Perception is Reality to most of us.  Consider this.  A BMW and KIA are both a tool to move us from point A to point B…both include the basics of a vehicle.  However, one gives us a different ‘feeling’ when we’re driving it.  

Therefore, it is said “People don’t buy a product or service, they buy a state, and a state is an anticipated feeling we’ll received from that product or service”

By positioning yourself as an expert will give your prospects the feeling, they are going to have their problem solved.  

Pricing your service inevitably influences people’s perception of the service provided, and this is a conversation in itself, however simply by being the expert, your closing rate is going to skyrocket.

Whether you’re blogging weekly or write a book for prospects, consider content that overcome their objections and concerns.

For example, if you’re a DUI attorney in Illinois, what are the major concerns of people calling you for DUI?  Perhaps it’s the cost of insurance, or length of a particular penalty.  Create content that answers the most common questions.

When you have six months of bi-monthly blog posts, you’ll have enough content for a book!  Easily become a published author and provide your book for free to prospects.  These books will cost a couple of bucks and can easily be used in offline direct mail campaigns, or an added opt-in on your website

Quality Website

Having a quality website can go hand-in-hand with the above advice of quality content.  While it’s hard to believe we’re entering 30 years of the Internet, it amazes me how many firms these days do not have a quality website.

Sure, your website might look good, but it is performing?

The Internet Marketing equation is 

“Qualified Traffic plus Conversion equals Sales”

Your website influences both qualified leads and conversion.

Conversion is the aspect of once a potential client lands on your website, how quickly can you have them take an action?  What is that action anyhow?

A good-looking website may not properly speak the benefits to your ideal target audience.  

Perhaps your website is loaded with unoptimized graphics and doesn’t load that quickly, losing quality leads with a bounce rate.

Perhaps your website is using dated code, or sloppy code, affecting your search rankings.

A good website will have great content with it, answering all the objections of the buyers and the have the ability to measure and improve each of these objectives.

Invest in SEO

Over 33% of all new potential clients that their attorney search online.  [source:lexicata]

Search Engine Optimization is the process of ranking high in the search engines for research related and buying related keywords.

For example, the search phrase ‘Personal Injury Attorney in Chicago’ will net many new leads for those placed in the top 3 spots.

There is no magic to SEO. I’ve been in the SEO industry since 2005 and I’ve seen a lot of changes…but in the end it’s always been the same…. it’s just quality marketing.

Everything we’re discussed thus far is essential for a quality SEO campaign.  And like most marketing efforts, it takes time.

A quality SEO campaign will include regular quality blog content, videos, press releases and on-going citations acquisition.  

Citations are those online profiles on general sites like Google, those industry sites like AVVO and local directories such as your local chamber of commerce.

A good SEO campaign will also have a website and social media component.

Online Paid Advertising

As I was typing this out I inadvertendly typed ‘Edvertising’ instead of advertising.  I thought, wow, this is brilliant…. combining advertising with education.

This is the business you’re in.  Information. Knowledge.  People pay you for your education.  As I’ve discussed, overcoming the objective is exactly that…. providing your knowledge to build confidence to proceed…for a fee.

I think of online paid advertising like going to the Las Vegas Strip.  There are a handful of the world’s largest hotel & casinos, taking money from 1000’s of people.  Online a small number leave the strip with a profit…most lose their money.

PPC advertising on the Internet is the same.  The hotels are the Google’s of the world and you’re the gambler.  Except you have control over your odds.

Know that most people lose money on PPC advertising for their law firm.  You need a big budget and need an expert that understand how to show you a positive ROI.

Some keyword in Google cost over $50 per click.  If you’re conversion rate is 1% from click to opt-in to close, you’ll be paying $5k per new client.  This might make sense.  It might not

If you increase your close rate by 1%, you’ll reduce your client acquisition costs by 50%. Measuring your CTR is critical in PPC advertising, and most forgo.

Measure Intake

I’m surprised at how many law firms fail at this.  The process to bring a lead to a new client typically involved many steps, and while the prospect is on the phone, this is your best chance to close the deal.

Getting the prospect on the phone is toughest piece of growing your firm.

“Everything that is measured improves”.

Bob Parson’s of GoDaddy

How many times is the phone going unanswered?  35% of the time according to Law Technology Today.  

Is your secretary doing their job and asking the right questions?  Taking the prospect through the ‘journey’ of buying attorney services?

Are you recording and listening to your calls?  What is the conversion closing rate?  It is too low?

You need to record your intake calls and have them periodically reviewed.  You’ll be amazed at what you discover.  

Be a Business Owner and Manager before an Attorney

When you went to school and became a lawyer, chances are you didn’t do much thinking about being a business owner.

Well you simply can’t just be a great lawyer and expect your practice to grow itself.  You can’t expect anyone else to be a better business manager than you, in your own firm.

Whether it’s the simple things like regular staff meetings or having that top-notch office manager, it is important to stay on top of your business daily.

According to the American Bar Association, 73% of all attorneys did not hire an outside SEO firm and simply employed their internal staff, but the remaining 27% of firms who did held 77% of the top SEO spots. [source:ABA]

Key Takeaways

Roughly 75% of American firms have some kind of online presence, a disproportionate number of practices are performing the work internally, yielding in that 80% group of results.

To compete in an more competitive environment, lawyers need to place emphasis on their business marketing operations.

By understanding the true, target audience, and supplying them with the key content to help make their decisions, always has been, and always will be, the forefront of marketing…. whether it’s online, digital, offline or what-ever.  Become a good marketer and hire the right people to execute your vision.  

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