Ask a typical law firm what they struggle with the most and you’ll likely hear a common answer – finding new leads and growing their business. To combat the problem, many firms elect to pour thousands of dollars into advertising (via both local media and online ads), but the results are often less than anticipated.
However, there is an easier and more economical way to achieve better outcomes that many firms fail to utilize. Oddly enough, it’s also one of the simplest solutions to implement.
So what is this magic elixir that affords such game-changing potential? Lead Magnets.
To begin with, let’s consider traditional advertising models. In this case, lawyers targeting prospects in the final stage of the decision making process. In other words, marketing geared towards victims who know they need an attorney, feel they have a strong case, and are ready to take action. Sounds logical, right? Well, yes and no.
While these prospects are searching for lawyers, local attorneys are left to compete with every other firm in the area to try and secure them as new clients. More competition makes it tougher to differentiate your offering and stand out from the crowd, and that’s never a position you want to be in.
Estimates vary, but statistics show that on average, only around 1% of your website visitors are in the “decision” stage and are ready to hire an attorney. That means that out of every 100 sets of eyes on your site, there is only one single person that is ready to take action regarding their case.
The rest? The other 99% are still in “research” mode. Meaning they’re not ready to commit just yet, but they are interested enough to explore their options and see what you have to offer. Clearly, these numbers represent a huge segment of your overall site traffic and neglecting to focus on them simply doesn’t make sense.
Bottom line: addressing this demographic represents a huge opportunity for your firm to market to a hungry audience.
So how do we resolve this situation and leverage it to grow our firms? By creating marketing materials that answer prospects questions during each stage of the buyer’s journey and help guide them through the overall process. For law firms, once of the best ways to do this is to offer high-value lead magnets.
If you’re unfamiliar with a lead magnet, simply put, it is an enticing piece of free content that you offer to visitors in exchange for their contact info (usually names and email address). Best of all, offering lead magnets is a win-win proposition for both sides. Visitors walk away with valuable information they can use and law firms increase their leads with minimal effort and cost.
Lead magnets themselves can come in many forms. While short PDF files are the most common, there are many other ways you can provide value to your audience. For example:
To give you a picture of what’s possible, here are a few quick ideas to think about:
The focus of your offering is to serve the majority of visitors that aren’t ready to email, call, or request a consultation just yet, but do want to know what options are available. Keep in mind that lead magnets aren’t meant to immediately land new clients, but instead allow you to get your foot in the door and facilitate expanding the conversation later on.
For those uninitiated, creating a lead magnet can seem like a daunting task. However, that’s simply not the case. Most attorneys don’t realize that you can provide a ton of value in a very small footprint. Most of the time, a few pages of well-designed PDF material is all that’s needed to make an impact. Remember, the average client doesn’t want to read an entire book regarding their case – they simply want to find the answers they need quickly and reliably.
That being said, great lead magnets normally have these key elements in common:
Keep in mind that good lead magnets can be used in multiple ways – like promoting your brand on social media outlets. In these instances, headlines will be the first thing a visitor notices. If your headline isn’t compelling, it will be ignored, and thus becomes nothing more than wasted time and effort.
Above all, the lead magnet should be irresistible to the client. Be sure to put some thought and effort into whatever it is that you offer. If you’re not providing honest, actionable advice then don’t bother.
The underlying concept here is to make each visitor feel special and valuable. Show them you understand their problem and are invested in their success. Help them make the best decision possible for their individual case.
The actual process of creating a lead magnet isn’t really that difficult, but it does take some time and effort. To make an effective lead magnet, your content needs to be researched, well-written, edited, properly formatted (with graphics added) and uploaded to your site.
While most lawyers are capable of performing all of these steps on their own, you have to consider if it’s really the best use of your time. All of this work can be done relatively inexpensively by outsourcing these tasks to others. You can (and should) maintain some oversight on the process, but don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others so you can focus on more important items, like expanding your reach and growing your business.
It bears mentioning that lead magnets are not intended to replace your existing marketing efforts – but instead are another way to supplement them. As previously mentioned, lead magnets allow you to get a foot in the door with prospective clients, but they’re only the first stage in the process. You need to continue to invest in the relationship in order to nurture trust and build rapport with clients. Doing so makes for a no-brainer when it comes decision time for choosing an attorney.
As the next step in the journey, the natural complement to a strong lead magnet is a well-designed email marketing sequence. Some of the most popular names in the email marketing space include: MailChimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft and GetResponse. These programs are sometimes referred to as “autoresponders” because of their ability to automate email delivery. While lead magnets help to get the conversation started, good email marketing is often what turns out to be the decision maker for the potential client.
Email marketing sequences are important because they allow law firms to control the message narrative based on specific customer actions (initial registrations, lead magnet downloads, individual requests, etc.). Autoresponders are also implemented on time-specific schedules (i.e. sending messages on certain days) to slowly build trust over days or weeks.
Email marketing will be discussed in future articles, but for now just know that the point of it all is to help prospects become educated leads before making their final decision. You do this by crafting messages that gradually introduce visitors to your firm, describe your team, and share your organization’s philosophy, all of which help to make the attorney selection process a more logical and enjoyable experience.
In the end, it’s not important that you create the perfect lead magnet right out of the gate, but it is imperative that you begin engaging visitors long before the phone rings or the first email arrives. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to market to a grossly underserved audience.
By crafting helpful, articulate, well-designed lead magnets that serve your audience and address their needs, you’ll be head-and-shoulders above the competition. Couple that with an effective email sequencing strategy, and you have an unstoppable one-two punch that not only provides real value to your audience, but serves to grow the number of leads available to your law firm.
Lower costs, higher results and better overall client satisfaction – that’s what effective law firm marketing is all about.
Matt Byers is a co-founder of Smart Growth Labs and has been working in the digital marketing industry for 8+ years. Matt has developed strategies leveraging a combination of SEO, content, pay-per-click, email, mobile, and display advertising to execute effective lead generation campaigns in the fields of legal, insurance, and non-profit event marketing.