Law firm clients don’t materialize out of thin air. They start as leads, and those leads take a particular path that brings them to your firm. Understanding where leads come from, what they’re looking for, and how they found your firm is a critical first step in attracting—and retaining—the clients your law firm wants.
- Marketing strategies should aim not just to bring in more leads, but to generate leads that are considered quotable, qualified, and quality.
- Tracking where leads come from is only the beginning; you need to use that data to adjust your marketing efforts.
- Lead-tracking software allows you to easily gather a variety of data that can guide your marketing team toward targeted better leads for your firm.
- Sometimes it is a law office’s intake or other internal processes, rather than their marketing campaign, that prevents leads from becoming retained clients.
What is a Lead?
A lead is a prospective client who has reached out to your firm. Leads from your website can vary depending on which call-to-action areas you are tracking and the goals of your campaign. Generally, a lead is counted when an individual has contacted your firm, such as a phone call, web form submission, or an email directly from your site.
Tracking Leads from Your Marketing Efforts
To track where leads are coming from, law firms commonly ask on their client intake forms “how did you hear about us?” and store the answers in their customer relationship management (CRM) system. This is a great start, but many times these answers are not measurable, they are often never truly evaluated, and they do not make their way back to marketing teams to develop better lead generation strategies for the firm.
The best way to track leads is to utilize an easy-to use tracking software through which you can almost instantaneously report quotable leads, and notes about the leads, directly back to your marketing team. WhatConverts is The Modern Firm’s preferred software solution. It’s a comprehensive lead tracking and reporting platform that integrates with our website forms and live chat features.
For those less comfortable with using a third-party software or service, it’s possible to take a less intuitive, yet still measurable, route using Google Analytics. Since lead tracking requires tracking phone numbers (numbers that are different from your primary office number) some clients select this analytics tracking approach for insightful lead information.
Whichever platform you choose, you’ll want to use what you learn with the lead data to modify your marketing efforts, so that more of your leads are quotable, qualified, and quality.
The 3 Q’s When Reviewing Website Leads: Quotable, Qualified and Quality
A “quotable lead” is any potential client inquiring about services you can help with. That doesn’t always mean they hire you (maybe they can’t afford your services, maybe they hire another attorney, maybe their legal problem resolves itself). But if they were to hire you, their legal issue is in your wheelhouse, and you’d be prepared to represent them zealously and effectively.
By contrast, “non-quotable leads” are people who are seeking help for an area of practice you do not serve. One example would be a lead looking for a child custody lawyer when your practice is solely estate law. Another example is those pesky spam or scam form submissions that make their way to your inbox.
A “qualified lead” is one you can act on: you offer what they need and you have enough information to move forward with a consultation or retainer agreement.
Let’s face it, some cases are worth more than others, and some types of matters are more fulfilling to work on than others. Determining the quality of each lead is specific to the attorney, their practice, and their goals. However, a few simple questions you can ask yourself are:
“Was this a good case for me and my firm?”
“Do I want more of these types of cases?”
“Does this person fit my ideal client persona?”
It’s likely that a primary goal of your marketing efforts is to increase the number of leads your firm is getting. But if you really want to transform your business, it is important to make sure you are evaluating your leads, and reporting back to your marketing team on how many leads turned into quotable, qualified, and quality cases.
How To Evaluate Leads Throughout the Client Journey
In deciding to do business with an attorney, your client travels an entire journey that almost always includes the following steps:
- They are faced with a legal problem.
- They search online for education and support regarding the issue, and some may ask their network for a referral.
- They landed on your website and read about you and your services; they may expand their search about you to read reviews and ensure you are a good fit for them.
- They decide to contact you, and likely a few other firms.
- Your receptionist speaks with them to understand the nature of their legal needs and determine if you can help them.
- At that point, they may schedule a consultation with an attorney at your firm and/or your team may offer them guidance on the next steps for their case.
- After the initial consultation, a lead turns into a client when they sign your engagement letter and pay your retainer.
- Your client is now working with you on their case and eventually there will be a resolution to their legal problem.
This multi-step process can vary, but generally step 5 is when you can determine if the prospective client is a “quotable lead.” At steps 6 and 7 you would decide whether they are a “qualified” lead. And, when you finalize the case at step 8, you should evaluate and ask yourself if the matter is a “quality” case for your firm.
Making the Most of Your Lead Tracking
Once you have started recording (at the very least) quotable leads, you can begin having conversations with your marketing team about how to generate more leads that are most likely to become new business.
If you are getting a lot of website traffic and inquiries, but the potential clients calling in are less than ideal, it will be important to alert your team as soon as you see this happening. The issue might be that your landing page or website copy is sending the wrong message, or your paid advertising is inadvertently bringing in the wrong people. These can very easily be updated and tailored for your audience, and that could be the simple solution to a potentially major problem.
If you are using a lead tracking software, like WhatConverts, your marketing team will be able to see your quotable leads, and they will be able to review other important lead data that is automatically collected by the software:
- Lead type - How they contacted you (phone call, web form, email, live chat)
- Traffic channel and source - How the person discovered you, and where they came from
- Landing page - What page they landed on when they first came to your site
- Lead page - What page they were on when they decided to contact you
- Keywords - If you are running paid advertisements, you can also see which keyword(s) brought that potential client to you
Improving Your Internal Processes to Convert Leads to Clients
At the end of the day, sometimes “issues” with getting more clients to retain you are not issues with your marketing campaigns at all. It is possible that internally there could be a better process for website inquiries, phone answering services, or consultations to convert more leads to clients.
Erin Ricchiazzi, the Modern Firm’s Director of Online Marketing, notes, "If there's a big discrepancy between quotable leads and retained clients, that's when it's good to review your internal processes. Look at your intake process, who's answering the phone, what questions they're asking, what questions the callers are asking frequently. All of these could be limiting the results of your marketing efforts.”
Ready to Take Your Firm to the Next Level?
Systematically planning your digital marketing, lead qualification, and intake processes helps you to both grow your business and reduce your stress. If you can see what’s working in real time, you can maximize your return on investment.
Branding and marketing are two of the most important tools you have—not just to grow your business, but to make sure that the people who need your help can find you, and those for whom you aren't a good fit can see that before even picking up the phone to waste their time—and yours.
Ready to increase your law firm’s business? Or maybe just interested in having the option of being more selective about the clients you take on? Please contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation with our team.