• Top 10 Best Lead Generation Services for Lawyers in 2020: Pros & Cons

    Successful Lead Generation for Lawyers

    Today’s post is by Zeynep Goral, an expert in lead generation for lawyers with over 20 years of online marketing experience. Zeynep is an attorney who focuses on helping lawyers find their ideal clients and grow their businesses.

    Some lawyers invest heavily in lead generation services. Others think that paying for leads is a waste of time and money.

    Lead generation services can be a useful marketing tool for lawyers – whether you’re venturing out with your own legal practice for the first time, or you’re ready to ramp up the client base you already have. Like any other tool, it comes with pros and cons.

    Buying leads is a fast and easy way to reach potential new clients. It’s a great way to get your practice up and running while you build your SEO and content strategy. You just have to make sure you’re in a position to take advantage of the investment you put in.

    When buying leads, you should consider:

    – Are you ready to handle an influx of new business?
    – What’s your long-term lead generation strategy?
    – What’s the best lead generation service to use?

    It’s important to have the right expectations when buying leads. Not all leads are good leads, and buying leads may not be the most cost-effective method in the long-term. That’s why it’s crucial to be prepared and track your results to make sure you’re not losing money.

    Prepare Before Paying for Leads

    Before using a pay-per-lead service for lawyers, make sure you prepare to follow through and make the most of the leads you get.

    Your law firm must have enough bandwidth to manage and track your leads and reach out consistently to sign them on as clients.

    That might mean hiring support staff for your firm or using a client management system (CMS) to keep track of your leads and conversions. (Use a spreadsheet at least!)

    When buying leads, you should keep track of:

    – How much you’re paying for your leads
    – How many of your leads actually convert to clients
    How much each lead is worth once they become a client

    You need data to make informed marketing choices. Without tracking, there’s no way to know how you’re performing. This way, you can tell if the leads are paying off or not.

    Make Sure You Have a Long-Term Lead Generation Strategy

    SEO and content marketing build your visibility and reputation over time. But lead-generation services dry up the moment you stop paying for them.

    This is the major drawback of pay-per-lead services. The other drawback is you have no control over how these services advertise or get their leads.

    That means you could be paying hundreds of dollars a month for low-quality leads when you could put your marketing efforts into more cost-effective strategies. Some of these strategies allow you to target higher-quality leads that are more likely to convert to clients.

    Different Tools for Short-Term and Long-Term Growth

    For years, SEO and content marketing have proven themselves to be the most effective, high-quality lead generation strategy. 2020 is no different.

    SEO-driven content helps you generate leads by:

    – Targeting your ideal clients with high-intent keywords
    – Ranking for long-tail keywords with lower competition
    Growing your online reputation and visibility over time

    The drawback of SEO is that it can take some time to see results – anywhere from 6 months to a year. But once those results start rolling in, they can grow exponentially.

    In contrast, a pay-per-lead service can get you started quickly, but your returns will probably stay static over time. You may even struggle to get consistent results if you get a bad batch of leads. Meanwhile, the right SEO strategy will only make you more visible than ever every month.

    Even if you use a pay-per-lead service to get off the ground, you should still have a solid SEO strategy that will get you higher-quality leads in the long run.

    Review: The 10 Best Lead Generation Services for Lawyers in 2020

    Now that you know how to use a lead generation service, which one should you use?

    Most of the services below cover all major practice areas.

    1. Avvo – Part of the Martindale Network

    Pros:  High search-engine visibility, customers like reviews
    Cons:  Quality of leads might not be consistent

    Avvo is an attorney directory, lawyer rating website, and legal referral company with over 8 million monthly visitors. They have a free Q&A service as well as legal articles and guides. Avvo is now a part of the Martindale network, which also includes Nolo and Lawyers.com.

    Avvo has a controversial practice of automatically creating attorney profiles. The website claims that it has profiles for 97% of the practicing lawyers in the U.S. That means if you’re registered with a state bar, you probably have a profile on Avvo – whether you control it or not.

    As you might guess, it’s better to claim your profile than to let it sit unattended. Fortunately, claiming your profile is free. Avvo offers additional services starting at $100/month, including:

    – Removing ads and competitor listings from your profile
    – Positioning your profile at the top of Avvo’s search results
    Profile customization and more prominent contact information

    Avvo’s biggest selling point for customers is attorney ratings and reviews. You might not like the idea of getting reviewed, but reviews help establish client trust.

    One free way to increase your online visibility is to give all of your satisfied clients an exit survey that includes leaving reviews on Google and/or Avvo. It’s so easy to do and the payoff is huge. Start doing this today if you aren’t already!

    2. Nolo – Part of the Martindale Network

    Pros:  Great search engine coverage, range of pricing options
    Cons:  Quality of leads might not be consistent

    Nolo hosts an impressive collection of free legal information, which is one of its biggest draws. The website gets most of its traffic by targeting long-tail keywords for SEO.

    Millions of people visit Nolo every month while researching legal issues. Over 100,000 of those visitors click on the “speak with an attorney” call to action and become leads.

    Nolo sells these leads to attorneys by geographical and practice area for a flat fee. You can buy exclusive leads or shared leads at different price points.

    3. Findlaw – Part of Thomson Reuters since 2001

    Pros:  Exclusive leads that are more likely to convert, PPC advertising
    Cons:  Exclusive leads are more expensive, fewer pricing options

    Findlaw was one of the first lawyer directories on the web. Like Martindale, Findlaw operates a network of sites, including SuperLawyers.com and LawInfo.com. Visitors come to Findlaw for its resources – legal articles, legal Q&A forums, and free legal guides.

    Findlaw gets a big chunk of its traffic through targeted paid advertising and landing pages. Interested visitors can submit their contact information. Findlaw will then sell these leads exclusively to attorneys by geographic and practice area.

    You’re much more likely to convert exclusive leads to clients – but they’ll cost more.

    PPC Management

    Findlaw’s unique selling point is its pay-per-click advertising services. It costs more, but Findlaw will manage a PPC advertising campaign for you and direct traffic straight to your own website.

    That means you’re responsible for creating your landing pages. This is a good option if you already have high-conversion landing pages set up, which takes good copywriting and daily performance tracking to be effective.

    ALWAYS direct paid traffic to designated landing pages that are optimized to convert. NEVER direct paid traffic to your website’s main page or another informational page on your site. If you’re paying to get leads to your website, you want to maximize the chance that they will hire you. That’s what landing pages are for.

    If you don’t have a landing page structure in place, you’re better off letting Findlaw’s dedicated team do the work for you.

    4. Unbundled Attorney

    Pros:  High-quality leads that are more likely to convert
    Cons:  Caters to unbundled services that don’t work for all practice areas

    Unbundled Attorney is the new kid on the block. The website takes a lot of care to educate its visitors about the services offered, including estimated price ranges.

    This unique approach makes UA’s leads some of the highest-converting in the legal industry. By the time a visitor is ready to talk to you, they know what to expect and are ready to buy.

    Unbundled Attorney focuses on unbundled legal services – specific, limited-scope tasks that can be done for a flat fee. Not all legal services fit this model, so some practice areas aren’t covered. The most relevant areas are family law, immigration, estate planning, and bankruptcy.

    UA also limits the number of attorneys in its network by location/practice area. So you can expect a more steady volume of leads compared to other lead-generation websites.

    5. Lawyers.com – Part of the Martindale Network

    Pros:  Good branding, profiles include reviews, exposure across Martindale network
    Cons:  Quality of leads might not be consistent

    Lawyers.com works like the other directories above. It uses SEO and paid advertising to bring visitors to the website, where they can find articles, blogs, a Q&A center, and a search box.

    Visitors can search by legal issue, attorney name, or location. Based on their search, they’ll get a list of lawyers who match. You can pay for a premium listing to show up at the top of this list.

    The Lawyers.com name is easy for customers to remember and trust. Plus, lawyer profiles include 5-star reviews, which are a draw for potential clients.

    Because Lawyers.com is part of the Martindale network, you can get exposure on its other websites as well, including Nolo.

    6. LegalZoom

    Pros:  No referral fees or fee-splitting, monthly subscription income
    Cons:  Must discount services at 25% for LegalZoom customers

    LegalZoom is known for being an excellent resource for do-it-yourself legal filings and documents. LegalZoom also has a paid monthly subscription called the Legal Plan Network, where customers can connect with lawyers who can handle more complex services.

    As a lawyer, you can sign up to be in LegalZoom’s attorney directory for free.

    Legal plan subscribers get free 30-minute consultations with lawyers. Any lawyer who agrees to do these free consultations gets a cut of the legal plan subscription fees every month.

    LegalZoom limits the number of lawyers in their legal plan, plus you must meet certain requirements to participate.

    Whenever a customer has an issue that falls outside the scope of the subscription, they get referred to a lawyer in the network. LegalZoom takes no referral fee and there’s no fee-splitting. But you must discount your regular rates for LegalZoom customers by 25%.

    7. 4LegalLeads

    Pros:  Real-time leads for time-sensitive practice areas like personal injury
    Cons:  Someone has to be ready to answer the phone at all times

    4LegalLead is an independent service that covers some niche practice areas, such as nursing home abuse, social security disability, debt collection, and foreclosure defense.

    4LegalLead’s strength is in its exclusive, real-time leads for time-sensitive practice areas like personal injury. It offers web-based leads as well as live phone call transfers.

    The service gets most of its leads through advertising and partnerships with other lead generation and search engine marketing companies.

    4LegalLead’s service works on a rotating basis. The lawyer at the top of the list gets the lead – which is why it’s crucial that you always have someone available to answer the phone.

    8. Thumbtack

    Pros:  You only pay for leads when they contact you
    Cons:  Quality of leads might not be consistent

    Thumbtack matches consumers with not just lawyers but any kind of service professional – from wedding caterers to dog trainers and contractors. Thumbtack has millions of users who trust and come back to the website over and over again to find the service providers they need.

    You can create a Thumbtack account for your legal practice for free. The system works a little differently than traditional pay-per-lead services.

    When a visitor comes to Thumbtack looking for legal help, the website shows them a list of lawyers in their location and relevant practice area. You only pay when a visitor contacts you.

    9. Lawyer.com

    Pros:  International coverage
    Cons:  Quality of leads might not be consistent

    Lawyer.com is an independent company, not to be confused with Lawyers.com or the rest of the Martindale network. They cover all major practice areas and offer premium and promoted profiles, as well as PPC advertising campaigns.

    Much like other attorney directories, the more you pay, the higher your profile will appear.

    Lawyer.com is unique because it covers not just the United States but also international markets such as Canada, the UK, China, India, and others.

    10. LegalMatch

    Pros:  Survey process could lead to a higher quality of leads
    Cons:  Potentially expensive, requires long-term commitment

    LegalMatch is another independent lead service with a slightly different approach that resembles the Thumbtack marketplace.

    LegalMatch attracts visitors with SEO articles and paid advertising. If a visitor is interested in contacting a lawyer, they can click a link on LegalMatch to “Present Their Case.” This takes them to a survey that filters out their legal issue.

    If your location and practice area match the client, then you’ll get a chance to review the prospect’s case. You can choose to reach out to the client or “decline” the case and move on.

    LegalMatch pricing changes by location and practice area. LegalMatch also bills monthly – not per lead – and requires a long-term commitment. Depending on the market, membership could cost anywhere from $4,000 up to $75,000 per year in the most competitive cities.

    Finding the Best Lead Generation Strategy for Your Firm

    Every lead generation service is unique and comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Your mileage and results may vary – and it can be hard to predict how you’ll do until you try it.

    Make sure that you:

    – Prepare for the extra work of lead management
    – Track the cost and ROI for each lead
    Develop your website and long-term SEO/content strategy

    Remember, even if you get a lead from a service, that prospect is still likely to check out your website before they hire you. If your website is outdated or unprofessional, they may choose to go with another attorney – especially if the lead is not exclusive.

    Have you used any of these lead services for your law practice? How many clients did you get? Did you see a return on your investment? Comment your thoughts below!

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