In recent months I’ve been writing about how law firm owners can grow their caseload.
A big part of that is having the right mindset to drive traffic, generate leads and follow-up like a superstar, in order to play the numbers game and convert some potential clients into actual signed clients.
So it was inevitable that eventually I would have to talk about lead generation companies for law practices.
There is a very good argument for using the services of a lead generation company for your law firm. I’ve used them myself.
But lead generation companies are not all the same – and leads are not all the same.
So this week I’ll help you understand them a little better, and how to choose the right lead-gen company to help you grow your law practice.
My Own Recent Experience
When I opened a new Social Security & Disability practice in Myrtle Beach, SC, a few years ago, I couldn’t have got started without using a lead generation company.
SSD cases take time to work and time to pay off. And I was starting from scratch in a new market. So while I was building up and perfecting our marketing, we needed some cases – quickly – to get the practice started.
I was paying for case managers and paralegals, so I needed to keep them busy and start putting future earnings in the bank. Only a lead generation company could give me that kick-start of potential clients who were ripe for signing.
So I purchased leads from IMS, now called Leading Response. I paid $35 for each lead.
As lead companies go, they were good for generating the quality SSD leads that my new firm needed.
Replacing the Lead Generation Company
After a few months, I was able to replace the services of the lead generation company with my own marketing.
I’d worked out a great campaign that was generating new SSD cases for $150 each. That’s a really good deal. I did that by running a 30-minute infomercial that promoted my free book, my Ultimate Guide to Winning Your SSD Claim.
That campaign generated a bunch of leads and cases, and for less than I paid the lead generation company.
Because my marketing was totally on-point, we had less bad leads. I knew exactly what they were responding to, and it was a great qualifier. Who wants a free book about how to win an SSD claim, except people who need to claim SSD, right?
How Lead Generation Companies Work
Have you ever wondered how lead generation companies work?
The first thing to remember is that whatever they are doing, they’re not doing it on your website or your Social Media accounts.
They might be running ads on Social Media that offer free information, or maybe offering to put the user in touch with a law firm.
Or maybe they’ve perfected the art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and have a website dedicated to offering the public that information or phone-call.
They make it their goal to be in the right place at the right time so that potential law firm clients identify themselves to the lead-gen company.
But what they’re doing is really just what the law firm should be doing – giving potential clients the opportunity to raise their hands and identify themselves – and provide some contact information. That’s when they become a lead.
Lead-Gen Company Advantages
The lead generation companies have an advantage over any single law firm: sheer numbers.
They might be advertising to find leads for 50 or 100 law firms at one time. That volume enables them to optimize their marketing and advertising. Through a large spend and thousands upon thousands of ad impressions, they can improve and refine their campaigns to increase visitor-to-lead conversions and at a lower cost per lead.
Lead generation companies do just one thing, and the good ones become experts at it: generating better leads for less money.
It’s the sort of marketing playground that, once-upon-a-time, I would have loved to be able to play in.
Like I said, buying leads is going to be more expensive than generating them yourself. But if you need clients and cases, don’t think about the cost so much as the return on investment.
Of course you want to pay a fair price for each lead. Cost is important. But it isn’t everything. You’re going to pay a premium for another company to generate your leads. That’s just business.
Why All Leads Are Not The Same
Some lead generation companies do a fantastic job for their clients, the law firms.
Some are great at generating leads in one practice area, but not so great in a different practice area.
And some lead-gen companies are not so good at all.
You have to know what you’re buying.
So what makes a good lead?
Well, here’s an example.
I could run two different ads on Facebook.
The first ad says, “Find out if you qualify for SSD with our free online 3-minute test”.
The second ad says, “Find out how to increase your chances of winning your SSD case”.
With the first ad promoting the 3-minute test, even those people who pass the test – and may be qualified to claim SSD – it doesn’t mean that they actually will make a claim. They’re not hot leads, just lukewarm at best.
With the second ad, anybody responding wants to win their SSD case. Big difference. Anyone who responds to that ad is a hot lead.
When you’re buying leads, you might want to find out how they’re being generated. Are the right people being targeted? Are the right questions being asked?
Are you buying hot leads or just lukewarm leads?
The Vultures of Lead Generation?
You may have noticed that we use our #FAQFriday to generate interest in our content by presenting it differently. It’s an eye-catching and humorous take on the subject; a little irreverent to take our followers into the weekend.
Here’s what we ran last week on PILMMA’s Social Media:
Now of course, as Gyi Tsakalakis pointed out to me on Twitter, “More likely, they (client) find you (lawyer).”
More likely, they (client) find you (lawyer). https://t.co/CeubojNq9b
— Gyi Tsakalakis (@gyitsakalakis) February 15, 2019
But I had a point with what I was sharing. There really are places where you are more likely to find a potential personal injury client if you go looking for them. On Social Media, maybe 1% of the audience needs a lawyer right now. But if you go to a bodyshop, the percentage is going to be much higher.
On LinkedIn, I got comments on the post. From people who work for lead generation companies.
Let me explain what these lead generation “professionals” are doing.
They’re seeing my post, which is all about how a law firm can “find” more personal injury clients, and how to attract, nurture and convert their leads.
I’m teaching law firm owners how to fish for themselves.
And what do these “professionals” do? They come along, see my post, and reply with “We can sell you leads!” I had that on Facebook too.
They’re trying to hijack my helpful post to get leads for their own business. They want lawyers who need new leads, so they mark their territory under my post.
They’re not creating their own helpful content. Just hijacking mine.
That’s how they generate leads for their own business?
And they want you to pay them for that methodology, to generate leads for your business?
Do you see the irony?
If you want to call that “vulture-like”, that’s your prerogative. I won’t comment. I posed the question in the title of this article. You can answer it for yourself.
Like I said, lead generation companies are not all the same, so do your research to work with a good one.
Or better still, if like Jack Lemmon’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross, you want the “good leads”, focus on generating them in-house instead of paying a lead-gen company to do that for you.