I got a question yesterday from a lawyer who did not have a website for his firm, and was thinking about doing it on his own. But he was intimidated about getting started, and how much work it is do develop quality content.

Specifically, he got the impression from one of the big legal marketing companies he’d spoken with that if he didn’t have a fully-formed, large, content rich site when he launched, he would be “penalized”, and it would be somehow worse than doing nothing.

But that is just not true. Yes, developing a great site can be a daunting task. But starting small is completely fine, and if you are doing it all on your own, it makes complete sense. read more

Posted by dave on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 at 10:56 am and is filed under leads. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

I saw a question on a forum about how to price leads to customers, which got me thinking about all the factors and misconception that goes into pricing.

Misconception 1: Leads for lawyers are expensive! They will pay $80 just to click on Mesothelioma ads and $25/click for DUI ads! Certainly the price for an actual customer lead must be a significant multiple of that.

Well, no, it’s not quite that simple. Those extreme cases at the high end of the market are not representative of most lawyer leads.

All lawyer leads are not created equal. While some leads are incredibly valuable, since they can lead to 5 and 6 figure cases, like mesothelioma, serious personal injury, and medical malpractice, the majority of leads are for more mundane, lower level cases. Hiring a lawyer for bankruptcies and traffic ticket cases may only lead to legal fees from a couple thousand down to a few hundred dollars.

I am also skeptical that most firms can actually turn a profit on $25/click DUI ads. Converting 20% of clicks to leads would be extremely good, which would make it $125/lead. Then converting 10% of leads into clients is probably average, making the cost per client acquisition $1250.

A DUI case can run for anywhere from $1000-$5000. Maybe more for a multiple offense felony trial, but most DUI cases are pleas, and are on the low end of that fee range. So unless a law firm has very high close rates at high fees, I don’t believe they can make a profit paying $25 a click or more.

Misconception 2: Lawyer leads are like lead in other industries and verticles.

Not true.  In most retail or service industries, the  customer lifetime value metric is an important part of the value of the lead. But most legal services are for a one time need, so this does not apply. While getting a customer to your store, or a client for your landscaping company many yield future purchases or years of payments, attorney leads have little value beyond the immediate legal need of the client.

Pricing Leads

Determining a fair price for leads is a complicated matter. It depends on so many factors, the quality of the leads, the exact type of inquiry, and the average fee of the case closed. There may be significant regional differences, too. The same lead in San Francisco is probably a lot more valuable than one in St. Louis.

One thing that is always true however, is that the clients who are the best at sales will value your leads the most. So working with great partners who work the leads effectively and know how to sell to customers is extremely important.

Finally, maximizing lead prices is not always the best strategy. To keep happy clients, I believe you don’t want to charge a rate too high and too close to their point of pain where they are barely making it work. There will always be occasional bad run of lead closing, and you don’t want the person to doubt whether it is worth it.

There is a lot to be said for working with a client who will be happy to pay for years to come with a minimum of hassle.

If you are a lead vendor, you also want to consider the cost of finding a buyer. Churning clients can be a major problem, depending on how good your sales process is.

For myself, I’d rather make a little less per lead and focus my efforts on generating more leads with a clients who are happy to pay, then to squeeze every last cent out of every lead.

More on what lawyer leads cost.

Posted by dave on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 10:51 pm and is filed under leads. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

I get at least 3-5 legal marketing email offers a week, just for directory listings or website memberships.

Join our site! Exclusive regions available! We will refer cases directly to you!

Some are free to sign up for a listing, and have “premium” memberships for prominent placement. And the big names in the legal business can charge you hundreds or thousands of dollars a month just to be listed.

But no one ever tells you what these listings will specifically do for your law firm. How many referrals or contacts would you estimate I might get from your site per month/year?

Silence.

Or maybe, the answer is “well, all you need to do is get one client from our site, and it more than pays for your listing!” Ok, sure, how likely is that?

Or maybe the answer is “we are expanding rapidly, so we can’t give you an estimate, but we expect to be a dominant force in the search engine rankings.” Well, get back to me when you are actually generating measurable value for my membership.

Frankly, the whole business is disappointing. I want one of these offers to give a real and measurable benefit. It doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult. I would sign up clients in a heartbeat if they could answer these questions, and demonstrate some value.

I really want them to succeed. Sometimes, I even consider taking a flyer on a $195/year listing at some legal directory that at least superficially appears to not be terrible. But there are just too many of them, and it is both highly speculative, and a hassle to sort out if it was actually worth it.

The Direct Leads Alternative

That’s what I love about the direct leads business. It’s simple and easy to measure. You either get leads, or you don’t. The leads either convert to clients, or they don’t. You either make a profit on the leads you paid for, or (wait for it…) you don’t.

You never have to guess what is going on, and whether you are getting anything for your money. It’s perfectly obvious very quickly.

It works for attorneys, and it works for me. And I don’t have to hustle and scam people on speculative offers and promises. I just have to do a good job generating the leads, and the rest works itself out.

Posted by dave on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 at 1:35 pm and is filed under leads. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

I occasionally talk to attorneys and law firms who want to improve their search engine rankings to get free traffic, in order to “stop having to pay for Pay Per Click ads”. This really makes no sense, for several reasons.

The most important metric for any advertising, is whether you are making a decent ROI & profit on your spending from each advertising source. Assuming you have the capacity to handle the business and there isn’t a opportunity cost limitation, why wouldn’t you continue to invest in something that is making you money?

As is smartly pointed out over at the Keyword Advisors Home Improvement Leads blog, it makes sense to own as much of the search results real estate as you can, for brand name searches as well as other keyword searches. Just a few of the benefits of your site appearing on both the organic and paid search parts of the screen are are:

  • Make your site seem like the inevitable & best choice. If someone sees your site or product in multiple places on the screen, it can have a “These must be the best guys” effect on the person searching, and can help you pre-sell and convert.
  • Block out competitors. If you don’t have an ad there, someone else will. Why cede the click if you don’t have to? (especially a profitable one!)
  • Better control over your sales pitch. With organic search engine results, it can be tough to tailor you message exactly how you want. The search engines ultimately decide what text to display in most cases. With an ad, you can precisely test and customize your message based on those specific keywords. Having both an “objective” search result listing as well as a targeted ad on the same page can be a powerful combination.

As with any online marketing or lead generation strategy, the proof is in the numbers. Test and measure whatever you can. There are countless online marketing companies that want to take your money with no real assurance that it is going to bring you business. But if you can advertise or list your law firm anywhere that brings you clients at a positive and measurable net profit, then it’s an easy decision to make.

Posted by dave on Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 2:53 pm and is filed under leads. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

A person facing a criminal charge is frequently in a critical situation where they need to act fast. That person could have a court date coming up immediately, even the next day. He or she wants answers and help right away.

Clients seeking criminal defense representation often don’t do a lot of comparison shopping for lawyers. They may call a few different defense attorneys, but generally the person who they hire is the attorney they directly speak with first, and who provides them with the answers and help that they need.

For that reason, the value of a criminal defense lead or potential client contact is largely based on it’s timeliness. Certainly, as an attorney you have to give the person the right answers, and provide them with the comfort and confidence that you are the right person to help them through a difficult matter. But if you don’t speak with them quickly, you will never get that chance.

How do I make sure I get client sales calls quickly?

  1. Make sure leads go through as few filters as possible. If you are buying leads, they need to get into your hands, or those of the person who does your client intakes as quickly as possible. For this reason, the value of criminal lawyer leads that are resold multiple times can be significantly diminished.
  2. Take action to close at every step of the sales process. Have your assistant or the person who answers your phone take steps to pre-sell and pre-qualify leads (see below). It is usually easy to tell the people who are most likely to hire you. And obviously, the quicker you can talk to and sign a client up, the better.

What are Some Helpful Pre-Sales Techniques to Streamline and Accelerate the Process?

Generally, non-lawyers can give factual answers to questions that aren’t considered legal advice These answers can be very helpful and build trust with a client. Some examples of information a non-lawyer can typically provide are:

  1. Common and most likely outcomes for certain charges
  2. What benefits a lawyer provides in court
  3. Advice on non-legal driver’s license & DMV issues

Your assistant can also provide  a “3rd party endorsement” which adds value to the sales process. Simply saying “We help people in situations like yours all the time” and “Attorney X really knows the law and has a strong record of successful outcomes in cases just like yours” can really make a difference.

How We Help You Get and Close Leads

  1. Leads go directly to your office. Our site leads go direct from the person to you. A person who calls our web site gets instantly forwarded to your office. Email leads go directly from the site to your mailbox. We get the information to you instantly. The rest is up to you.
  2. Our site is the first step in the “Pre-sell”. We strive to provide helpful information to those looking for criminal defense representation. Our site provides information about the criminal court process, likely outcomes, possible defenses, and more. And we put your name, photo, and bio information right on the site, so you get the credit and goodwill. We make every effort to create a positive impression of you before the person even contacts you.

If your law firm would benefit from more inquiries from people looking to hire criminal defense attorneys in your state, please contact us for more information on how you can buy qualified criminal defense leads directly from us.

Posted by dave on Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 4:26 pm and is filed under leads. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.