UPDATE (11/14/18): In a new article, I discuss the critical component of every lead conversion process: follow-up. After you read this article on Lead Generation, check out: "Law Firm Follow-Up: Why Your Law Firm Needs To Be Better Than a Car Salesman".

UPDATE (2/20/19): In a new article, I help you understand the difference between the good and the bad of law firm lead generation companies - and whether you should use one. See "Law Firm Lead Generation Companies: Vital or Vultures?"


A few weeks ago, I wrote about the need for a law firm owner to “think like a salesman” if they really wanted to grow their caseload. As a personal injury law firm owner, you need to generate leads and convert some of them into clients. If you were unsure what lead generation looks like for a law practice, this blog post will explain it all to you.

You can’t just hope somebody calls your law firm and says, “I want to hire you.” 98% of visitors to your website will leave it without taking any action. So you need to capture information from those website visitors which makes them into leads.

Once you have a lead, you can follow-up with that lead, whether by email, text, phone, snail mail or retargeting. By following up, you can convert fence-sitters into clients.

It’s how every other industry works; law firms are no different.

You have to think traffic, leads, follow-up and conversions.

But if you’re not capturing visitor information, then you have no leads.

This week I’m going to explain how to turn your website into a lead-generation machine.

Your Website – A Lead Generation Machine

Unless your website is stuck in a time-warp, it should be using the latest best practices. (Tune up your online presence with our 19-Point Internet Marketing Checklist For Law Firms).

Which means you’ll already have helpful information on your website. Have you written a blog post about “what to do if you’re involved in an accident” for example?

You’ll also have an FAQ section on your website, answering frequently asked questions about practice areas, cases and how your law firm operates.

You’re already in the business of providing helpful information. You already get that it’s 2018 and your website needs content. So you’re providing something helpful and educational to your potential clients, whether it’s an FAQ, a blog post or a video.

So it isn’t such a huge leap to offer something a little more helpful, a little more valuable, in exchange for an email address.

It’s a concept that was first named “Permission Marketing” in 1999 by marketing expert, Seth Godin.

By giving you their contact details, the user is giving you permission to market to them. So they exchange their contact information for what you’re offering and the conversation can begin.

It’s much more common today than it was in 1999. How many websites do you have accounts with now, where your relationship started with “Just enter your email address to continue”?

The Problem Today

The problem that business owners have today with email marketing is clutter. People used to report spam. Now we get so much of it, we just tune it out. It’s more difficult to break through that noise with your message.

Email may no longer be the preferred electronic communication medium of Millennials. Some experts suggest that with a variety of Social Media networks to choose from like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, with the ability to set up accounts with cellphone numbers instead of email addresses, and with the popularity of messaging apps like Whatsapp – some Millennials don’t even use email at all.

I’ll get onto 2018 solutions in a little bit.

What that clutter means is that it’s more important than ever that you have a strong message. You need something that your potential clients want enough to go find it in their cluttered mailboxes.

You’re not just pinning your hopes on your future marketing, which is enabled with their contact details and permission. You can’t just rely on the follow-up. You have to make an impact immediately – starting with your lead magnet.

The big point is that permission marketing is now commonplace. You, the reader, have almost certainly, before today, provided your name and email address to a business in exchange for something.

So it’s not outrageous for a law firm to do the same thing. It’s perfectly normal, legal and ethical for a law firm to offer something in exchange for contact information. And plenty of law firms are doing it.

As I explained in my earlier post about thinking like a salesman, you need to be in the lead generation business if you really want your law practice to grow.

Start With The Basics

Let’s start with the basics first.

To capture website visitor information, you have to offer something to them, in exchange for them providing their info.

You’ll find at the bottom of every blog post on this website, that I offer a free download. Right now, it’s for my e-book, 7 Secrets To Getting More Clients For Your Law Firm.

When you submit your name and email address, you’ll receive a copy of my e-book. It’s all taken care of automatically using technology called an “autoresponder”. (There are a whole bunch of autoresponders on the market. We use Infusionsoft. Just a few other options are: Mailchimp, Aweber, Active Campaign, GetResponse. There are many others.)

When you submit your information into the online form, the system automatically emails out whatever we’ve programmed it to – in this case it’s my e-book.

And then you get added to an email list, so that we can follow-up with you by offering you more information on how to grow your law practice.

So my e-book is what we call a “lead magnet”. It’s what we’re offering on the PILMMA website to attract new leads. It generates a new lead every time somebody request my e-book.

You need a lead magnet on your law firm’s website to turn it into a lead generation machine.

How Do You Create A Lead Magnet?

Lead generation isn't complicated when you understand it. Creating a lead magnet can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.

How long would it take you to write a 5-page guide for car owners on what to do if they’ve been in a car accident? You might already have that information on your website across different pages, but you can consolidate it into a short PDF file that potential clients could download and print out. And keep in their gloveboxes.

What you want to do is create something that your potential clients will find helpful and valuable. Enough so that they’re happy to exchange their contact information for what you’re offering.

Once you have the traffic, the first step in lead generation is catching the visitor's attention. That's why your headline is so important.

When you’re thinking about what to create, you should follow the same principles as you would when crafting the perfect headline.

  • You want to get into the mind of your potential client – you want to match the internal conversation they’re already having with themselves.
  • You want to answer the questions they’re already asking.
  • You want to tickle their curiosity, so that they have to find out what you’re teasing.
  • You want to appeal to their greed by speaking of benefits you offer, or warning of potential loss if they don’t know what you’re offering.
  • And of course, you want to grab their attention

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • 11 Questions You Must Ask Your Insurance Adjuster
  • Guide To Winning Your Claim
  • 9 Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know
  • 7 Fatal Mistakes Of ….

When you’re brainstorming your titles, using numbers like I have above is a good start. Try to keep to odd numbers, and 95% of the time you don’t want your numbered list to be bigger than 13. People like lists, they attract curiosity, but if the list is too long, they’ll switch off.

Who Are You Creating A Lead Magnet For?

To be successful at lead generation, you need a message that resonates with your ideal clients.

Don’t forget that you can separate potential leads from your website into two different categories at this stage: those people who already need a lawyer and those who don’t yet need a lawyer. When it comes to lead generation, not all leads are the same.

For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer, you have two groups of leads: those people who’ve already been in an accident, and those people who haven’t yet been in a car accident.

To create a lead magnet targeted at somebody who doesn’t need your services, you have to think a little differently. You have to focus on what they’ll find useful before they have a car accident. That could be a guide to essential winter car maintenance, or it could be a kit or booklet to keep in their glove-box, just in case they do have a car accident.

To start off, you should focus on the people who are visiting your website because they need a lawyer.

Now you can break down that group into sub-groups:

  • People who don’t know for certain they’ll need to hire a lawyer, but they’re looking online for information
  • People who know they need a lawyer and have just started looking online
  • People who know they need to hire a lawyer but can’t decide which one

With all potential clients, you want to try and educate them on the law and how it affects them, as well as how your law firm will handle their case and why your firm is different.

You want to offer helpful and educational material, but you want to also sell your law firm to them at the same time.

One of the fundamentals of lead generation is having a message that gets potential clients to raise their hands, so that you can identify them and start marketing to them. With the first group, who don’t know they need to hire a lawyer, you can target them with subjects like:

  • “Why waiting to hire a lawyer will cost you time, stress and money” or
  • “Why handling your case yourself could be the worst mistake you’ll ever make”.

Demonstrate Your USP and Expertise

With the second and third groups, you still want to educate your potential clients. Where possible you want to focus more on what makes your law firm different from your competitors, as well as demonstrating your expertise.

So you might put together:

  • “9 Questions To Ask Your Lawyer Before You Hire Them”.

With this example you put together 9 questions AND answers – that show your law firm in the best possible light, and emphasize your unique selling proposition while diminishing your competitors.

So if you’re board certified, you include “Are you board certified?” – and then explain why that’s so valuable to the potential client.

Or perhaps the question, “Do you employ former insurance investigators with inside knowledge?” – if that’s what your law firm does.

Try to spell out any unique advantages to working with your law practice. Do you offer a Satisfaction Guarantee? Do you offer a Client Bill of Rights like my Raleigh, NC firm does?

But even if you’re not making your law firm unique with the title of your lead magnet, you can still do it with the content.

So you might not be the only law firm in your market that offers “A Step-By-Step Guide to Winning Your Auto Accident Claim”; you might find a competitor is offering something similar.

But your competitor is not YOU. Your law firm will handle the case differently. Hopefully you know how you’ll be a better choice for your potential client than your competitor. You should know what makes you different and the logical choice.

So incorporate that message in your lead magnet.

Do you ensure that all client phone messages receive a return phone-call the same day? Make a big deal about it when you’re explaining how you handle cases.

And you can always out-info your competitor. Provide more information. Be more helpful.

Go further in demonstrating the expertise available to the potential client, both from you and from your law firm as a whole.

Focus on benefits, not features. For example, board certification is a feature. Explain how each feature benefits your client.

(By the way, authoring a book – or several books – is a great way of establishing yourself as “the expert” and marketing your law practice. Offering a real, hard-copy book with a retail value is a great lead generation strategy).

What Format Should Your Lead Magnet Take?

A lead magnet can take many forms.

I’ve already mentioned PDF downloads of e-books and guides. But you could also offer info-graphics, whether as an image file or as a PDF download.

In my Social Security practice, we created an info-graphic that explained the many steps involved in handling an SSD claim. It was included in our follow-up sequence.

You could create a PDF explaining how a case is handled, or the different paperwork required at each step of a case. You could also create a PDF booklet of case studies and testimonials. Check with your state bar, but my understanding is that if the potential client (the lead) has raised their hand and asked you for information, you’re not breaking any rules by sending them client testimonials.

You could also offer a video or series of videos that offer valuable information. It could even be the exact same information that you would put in an e-book or guide.

You could offer to mail a real book using paper, envelope and stamp.

You could offer an audio CD.

You could offer a coupon for a partner company. For example a free tire and fluids check at a local garage.

You could even offer to mail something that has a decent retail value, whether that’s a dashboard camera, a first aid kit, a window hammer or a tire depth gauge.

When you're offering something valuable, it's easy to generate new leads for your law practice.

But you don’t have to immediately send something to a lead, whether electronically or physically, to capture a lead.

There are other kinds of lead magnets:

  • Webinars
  • Sweepstakes
  • Event registration
  • Newsletter list
  • Free consultation

Yes, a free consultation can be a lead magnet. “Enter your name, email address, phone number and a good time to call you”.

2018 Solutions

Earlier I mentioned the challenges posed by the uptake of Social Media, chat messengers and cellphones and the possible decline in email usage.

The smart law firms have already adapted to these new technologies and are using them for lead generation on their websites.

You can offer a live chat messenger window on your website – offering immediate access to either a bot or a real person, whether they’re a scripted chat operator or a member of your intake team.

You can invite people to text your law firm via a text short code, via Whatsapp, or via a whole bunch of different providers that will give you a corporate team interface for texting with the public.

Social Media chat bots can be easily programmed to offer basic information and capture leads’ contact information. For example, this could be used overnight to generate leads for follow-up first thing next morning.

Retargeting can be used to remind website visitors or Social Media users about your law firm and what you’re offering.

But it all starts with capturing information so that you can identify some of those website visitors.

You can’t follow up until you know who they are.

If 98% of visitors to your website are leaving without taking any action, then whatever you’re spending online, you’re paying a lot for traffic without results.

To get a return on your investment into your online marketing, you have to start capturing leads. You need some of those anonymous website visitors to raise their hands so that you can start marketing to them – with their permission. It’s that marketing follow-up that transforms the law firm’s results. Every. Single. Time.

Don't be in the business of just generating traffic. Apart from practicing law, you should be in the business of lead generation.

In a future blog post, I’ll talk about what makes a successful follow-up that converts fence-sitters into clients.

If you want to know more about turning your website into lead generation machine for your law practice, I recommend you download my e-book, 7 Secrets To Getting More Clients For Your Law Practice, by clicking on the button below.

See the previous blog post in this series on the importance of "thinking like a salesman" and the need to focus on web traffic, leads and conversions.

UPDATE (11/14/18): In a new article in this series, I discuss the critical component of every lead conversion process: follow-up.
Check out: "Law Firm Follow-Up: Why Your Law Firm Needs To Be Better Than a Car Salesman".

UPDATE (2/20/19): In a new article, I help you understand the difference between the good and the bad of law firm lead generation companies - and whether you should use one. See "Law Firm Lead Generation Companies: Vital or Vultures?"

Also see our 3-part series on website marketing for law firms:
Part 1 - Mobile Marketing For Your Law Firm

Part 2 - Optimizing Your Law Firm’s Web Content for Mobile in 2018
Part 3 - The 2018 Guide to Your Personal Injury Law Firm’s Social Media Marketing


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