How Lawyers Use Digital Marketing to Generate Qualified Leads

How Lawyers Use Digital Marketing to Generate Qualified Leads
How Lawyers Use Digital Marketing to Generate Qualified Leads

As a lawyer, your livelihood is dependent upon having a steady influx of new clients.

Even if you’re an attorney who is fortunate enough to have clients on retainer, you still have to work hard to find those clients.

And if you aren’t actively generating leads, your law firm will dry up.

The key to growing your law firm and career is to have a solid lead generation strategy that consistently brings you qualified leads who are looking for help that you can provide.

In this article, I want to show you some of the top lead generation strategies that I see working for attorneys right now. But before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I need to make sure we have a solid foundational understanding of how basic sales funnels work in today’s digital landscape.

Creating Your Sales Funnel

Ignoring the funnel and just diving straight into prospecting will give you average results (at best). If you’re serious about lead generation, it starts with creating a sales funnel.

Sometimes, people just want basic information or answers to specific questions they have. Other times, they’re actually looking for a lawyer. A funnel helps you filter prospects based on their stage of interest so that you can meet them where they are and ultimately turn them into clients.

You can think of the funnel in terms of Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of Funnel (BOFU). As prospects slide down this funnel, your approach changes.

A TOFU lead needs to be educated and engaged. (There’s very little selling going on here. You just want to position yourself as a trustworthy source of information.) A MOFU lead is actively evaluating options, so you can do a little more positioning. You’re not making a hard sell, but you are making them aware that you are a good option. A BOFU lead is ready to take action. This is where you use direct calls-to-action to get them to schedule a free initial consultation (or whatever approach you use).

7 Lead Generation Strategies

Once you have an idea of the basic sales funnel, it’s time to start thinking about lead generation strategies. Here are some of the digital marketing tactics that are working right now: 

Identify a Niche

If you’re targeting everyone with your law firm marketing strategy, you’re essentially targeting nobody. The very first step is to identify a niche.

The more specific you get with your niche, the better. Here’s an example of how you niche down:

Professionals > Blue collar professionals > warehouse managers > warehouse managers in South Carolina

While it can be intimidating to niche down and potentially ostracize other potential clients, you have to understand the power of niching. When you target a specific niche, it allows you to get more specific with your messaging. You no longer have to guess or make broad generalizations with your content. You can drill down and talk to prospects in specifics. 

At the end of the day, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big blue ocean.

Niching creates a much smaller pond where you’re more likely to stand out.

Outline Your Ideal Lead

After identifying your niche, take some time to outline your ideal lead. Create a lead persona document where you answer questions like:

  • Where does my ideal client live?
  • What does my ideal client do for a living?
  • How much money does my ideal client make?
  • What kind of house does my ideal client live in?
  • What does my ideal client’s family makeup look like?
  • What does my ideal client do on the weekend?
  • What are my ideal client’s biggest pain points?
  • What are my ideal client’s biggest desires?

You want to really drill down and get specific. You’ll use these details to enhance your marketing strategy, content creation, etc.

Develop a USP

Any good marketing strategy should be built around a Unique Sales Proposition (USP). This is a simple statement that describes what sets you apart as an attorney. You can use the following fill-in-the-blank template to create your own:

“I help [niche] achieve [desire] without [pain].”

This might look like: “I help stressed-out dads win custody of their kids so they never have to miss another ballgame or dance recital.”

Notice how a USP like this is so much more powerful than just saying: “I’ll help you fight for custody.” When you have a USP that underscores your marketing efforts, it changes everything.

Build a Website

Armed with a niche, ideal lead persona, and a USP, you’re ready to build out a website (or redesign the one you currently have). All of these building blocks will help you create a more targeted site.

Don’t get too complicated with your website. Simplicity is the goal. Eliminate distractions and focus on having a fast website that speaks directly to your target prospects. The goal is to turn website visitors into leads by getting them to take a specific action.

In 2022, many attorneys use a simple lead magnet opt-in strategy that looks like this:

  • Get a visitor to your website.
  • Offer them a free lead magnet. (This is usually a PDF, checklist, guide, ebook, or video series.)
  • In exchange for the lead magnet, the prospect has to submit their name and email address.
  • Send an automated follow-up sequence with a series of emails or phone calls designed to turn the lead into a client.

This is a very simple approach, but it works. The idea is that you lead with value, rather than asking for something right away. Whether it’s a simple checklist or a comprehensive ebook, the prospect learns something and begins to trust you. 

Invest in SEO

While there are plenty of ways to drive paid traffic to your website (one of which I’ll discuss in a moment), you also want organic traffic. This is ultimately what will sustain your lead generation efforts for years to come. And in order to do this, you need to invest in search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO for law firms isn’t as difficult as some make it out to be. While you can definitely try to do it on your own, you’re better off just hiring a service. They’ll conduct a law firm marketing audit, develop a customized strategy, execute on that strategy, and then provide regular reporting to ensure you’re on track.  

Launch a PPC Campaign

While you’re gradually building up your organic traffic via SEO, you’ll also want to launch some pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns to drive targeted traffic to your site.

The best PPC strategies involve the basic lead magnet opt-in approach mentioned above. You can target Facebook users based on demographics and other data, while Google users can be targeted based on search intent. 

You can then use remarketing efforts to follow people around the web after they click on one of your ads. This helps you stay top-of-mind and increases your chances of converting a lead into a client.

Pay for Lead Generation Services

It’s difficult to build your entire lead generation funnel with paid leads (like a lot of law firms attempt to do), but it can be an effective supplement when you have other organic methods in place. There are a bunch of reputable ones out there, including:

  • Avvo
  • Nolo
  • FindLaw
  • Unbundled Attorney
  • Thumbtack
  • LegalMatch
  • LegalZoom

While each of these services is essentially selling the same thing, you’ll get some different features, pricing, and perks based on which one you choose. 

Ready, Set, Grow

You can’t take a shotgun approach to lead generation. It simply doesn’t work in today’s marketplace. There’s far too much saturation in this industry. If you don’t have a disciplined and strategic approach to generating leads, you’ll consistently miss out on new clients at the hands of your competitors.

While no two lead generation strategies are identical, you can use some of the different tips outlined above to create a targeted approach that works for your law firm and your niche. It won’t always be easy, but the hard work of building out a sales funnel will produce fruit over the long run.

Nate Nead

Nate Nead is the CEO & Managing Member of Nead, LLC, a consulting company that provides strategic advisory services across multiple disciplines including finance, marketing and software development. For over a decade Nate had provided strategic guidance on M&A, capital procurement, technology and marketing solutions for some of the most well-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 and SMB clients alike. The team is based in Seattle, Washington; El Paso, Texas and West Palm Beach, Florida.