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Law Practice Today

December 2022

How to Get More Clients with a Pay-Per-Lead Service

Garratt Boyden

Summary

  • If you are new to marketing your law firm, you may not be familiar with the term “lead.”
How to Get More Clients with a Pay-Per-Lead Service
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If you are new to marketing your law firm, you may not be familiar with the term “lead.” Simply put, a marketing lead is a person who has shown interest in working with you or your firm. This person may have called your firm directly, emailed you, filled out a form on your website, or walked into your office. In any event, these are all examples of marketing leads. 

Your law firm probably already has at least one channel for generating leads. Below are a few examples of lead generation channels:

  • Phone calls and form fills from a firm's website 
  • Phone calls and emails from referrals of past clients 
  • Inquiries from review sites such as Google Business and Yelp 
  • Getting listed in the phone book or on an online legal directory 

When it comes to generating marketing leads for your firm, there is one obvious fact: not every lead will become a paying customer, but all customers will have started out as a lead at some point. 

Being able to increase leads is an important step for all firms who are trying to grow their client base and increase their revenue. 

More leads = more clients = more revenue

Using a Pay-Per-Lead service 

Generating new leads for a law firm can be challenging, especially in counties and markets with high competition among firms.

While some firms have very large marketing budgets and can invest large sums into various forms of marketing (SEO, advertising, billboards, etc.), this isn’t true for every lawyer and their practice. Trying to compete with some of these larger firms can be very costly, and still may not yield positive results. 

Luckily, there is another solution that firms use to get leads: pay-per-lead service. This does all the hard work of generating leads for you, and the leads are delivered to your firm at a fixed cost per lead. Most pay-per-lead services are on a month-to-month contract, giving you flexibility to start or stop the program at any time. 

One of the largest and well known suppliers of marketing leads in the U.S. is Martindale-Nolo. Nolo generates thousands of marketing leads every day through their collection of legal informational websites, such as Nolo.com. Nolo.com gets millions of page views a month from individuals looking to hire an attorney; as soon as one of these individuals takes action to hire an attorney, they are immediately matched up with a law firm in the form of a lead. 

Lead options and pricing

When it comes to purchasing leads from a Pay-Per-Lead service, firms have a few options, such as which practice areas and counties they would like to receive leads in. Companies such as Martindale-Nolo offer leads in 55+ practice areas throughout the U.S in nearly every county. 

Most pay-per-lead companies charge a fixed cost per lead, with leads usually starting out around $50-$100 per lead. The actual price-per-lead will vary depending on the practice area, county, whether or not the lead is exclusive and other factors. 

Leads in practice areas such as personal injury, motor vehicle accident and divorce tend to cost more, whereas leads in practice areas such as estate planning and probate are usually less expensive.

The Magic Formula: Turning leads into clients

Having a solid process in place for following up with new leads is paramount to converting leads in new clients. 

When working with a Pay-Per-Lead company, you can receive leads in many different formats including text message, email, directly to your CRM system, or other means. You should choose a delivery method that works best for you and will allow you to follow up with the lead quickly. 

The sooner you can follow up with a new lead, the better. During normal business hours, your firm should aim to follow up with all new leads in the first 5 min to one hour after receiving them. This is a good timeframe to strive for. 

Each firm will have a different process for following up with new leads, and your firm should develop a process that works for you. Generally, it may take several attempts to contact a lead and get a conversation started. Below is an example of a new lead follow-up process that includes seven touches (Phone and email): 

1. Day 1 (5 min - 1 hour after receiving a new lead):

a. Send an email to the lead addressing their issue and offer to schedule a consultation meeting

b. Call the lead. If they don’t pick up, leave a voicemail. 

2. Day 2:

a. Call the lead. If they don’t pick up, leave a voicemail. 

3. Day 3:

a. Send a follow up email.

4. Day 5:

a. Call the lead. If they don’t pick up, leave a voicemail. 

5. Day 7:

a. Send a follow up email. 

6. Day 10:

a. Send a final follow up email

Sometimes, the lead may pick up the phone or reply to an email right away. Other leads may take upwards of seven tries until a conversation is started. Response time and repeated attempts are key to converting leads into clients. Below are a few tips to help with your firm's follow-up process: 

  • Document all of the steps of your lead follow-up process. 
  • Delegate a person or team who is responsible for follow up, whether that is an attorney, a sales/marketing employee, a paralegal or someone else at your firm.  
  • Develop email templates that you can use over and over again. Then, adjust each email template slightly to align with the new case lead. 
  • Develop a basic call script that you can reference when calling leads. A script may include certain key qualifying questions that are important for your firm to know before taking on new clients.  
  • You may want to invest in an email tool such as Outreach, Salesloft, or other automated email tool. These allow you to automatically send out a series of emails over multiple days. 

How to start getting leads

If your firm is ready to start buying leads and already has a follow-up plan in place, getting started with a pay-per-lead service is easy. The next step is to contact a lead generation company to get started. Firms can usually start receiving leads within a few days after signing up. Most pay-per-lead services are on a month-to-month basis, which allow firms to ramp up or down anytime. 

Expectations and ROI

Having the right expectations when using a pay-per-lead is key. It’s important to know that not every lead is going to turn into a client. The more your firm invests in building a strong lead follow-up system and proactively following up with all leads, the more success you’ll have. 

A pay-per-lead service can produce the highest ROI compared to other forms of marketing if done correctly. For example, if the average case revenue from a personal injury firm is $50k, and that firm is able to convert one out of every 10 leads into a paying client, the ROI would look like: 

  • 10 leads at $100/lead = $1,000 in cost 
  • 1 new client case = $50,000 in revenue
  • ROI = (50,000 - 1,000) / $1,000 = 4,900%

As you can see in the ROI example above, the return can be huge. There are a large number of firms that use pay-per-lead services to continually take on new clients, year after year. 

Another major benefit of purchasing leads is that it gives both new attorneys, up to the largest firms in the industry, the opportunity to start receiving leads in any county or GEO in the U.S., immediately. There are no start-up costs, initial investments, or marketing experience to get started. 

Putting it all together

Purchasing leads from a pay-per-lead service is another form of marketing available to law firms, and can produce an extremely high ROI if done correctly. Firms have the option to select leads that match their firm's practice areas and geographic regions. Getting started is easy, and firms can increase or stop services at any time. Firms should ensure that they have a solid follow-up process in place for working new leads as they come in.