Of Lawyers, Leads, and Legal Marketing

law firm marketing, lead generation, solo, lawyer

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That’s what marketing a law firm is all about, right?

Calls and clicks that turn into cases ─ that’s all marketing is, right?

So signing up for a lead generation service is the smartest and most cost-effective way to get some marketing in the air and some business in the door, especially for a small or solo law firm, right?

Investing $10k with a large digital marketing agency is seen as a gamble. Whereas, a handful of annual injections, $1k here or there, to get some quick leads seems safer. Right?

Working for a law firm marketing agency myself, I may have some bias here. But after interviewing and speaking with marketers and lawyers alike, I’m discovering a more complicated and costly picture around lawyers, lead generation services, and marketing.

First, let’s explore the differences and definitions of marketing and lead generation. Then we’ll finish with advice for lawyers looking to increase leads, save money, and take their marketing beyond the campaign.

Leads: Not the Only Part of Marketing

“We sell, or else.”

This fantastic quote from famed advertising legend David Ogilvy has consistently helped center the marketing methodologies here at Consultwebs.

Our success as a law firm marketing partner is dependent on the success of our clients. That’s why we take a comprehensive look at marketing that’s not just exclusive to lead generation.

Leads are a massively important part of marketing, but they are only one end of the spectrum. Without a balanced marketing strategy, just “drumming up leads” can actually have a negative impact on your business and your online rankings.

Until recently, I had no opinion on lead generation services working with lawyers.

When I managed an intake call center at my old personal injury law firm, we had to go through leads generated by these services, knowing that the volume of leads always outweighed the quality.

For those prepared to sift through the noise to find the gold, lead gen services have their place in the marketing mix.

However, after a recent engagement with a solo on Twitter, my opinion has become more strongly flavored, tinged with bitterness and scorn.

NOLO and the solo

This lawyer first reached out to inquire if any other lawyers on Twitter were having trouble accessing their Martindale Hubbell/NOLO lead gen sites?

After she got in touch with an account rep, she messaged this –

I followed up with her to inquire whatever happened with the site, told her I was going to write a piece on it, and was shocked, but not surprised, at her awesome and frank response.

At this point, I started getting enraged in my head and then doing some math. Meanwhile, I got another message, which made my calculator burn even hotter.


Say this lawyer charges around $350 an hour for her time. And she spends 7 to 8 hours setting up profiles and payment plans, choosing filters, filtering leads.

She’s lost the ability to make $2,800, right there!

Now, add on the $700 (or $35 a lead) she pays for NOLO = $3,500!

After the work and missed billables, the actual cost of these $35 leads, was $175.

I messaged this lawyer back and showed her my math and got an amazing response.

Tweet lead gen vs marketing solo2Tweet lead gen vs marketing solo2

And so it got me thinking, if this solo is having to lose all her billable time to crap fixes for one piece of the marketing pie, which is lead generation, then there stands a chance to put a marketing partnership on the bargaining table that addresses this issue and also delivers higher quality leads, over time, at better value.

Marketing: More Than Leads

As covered in our Legal Marketing Nutrition Guide, an effective marketing strategy balances lead generation activities with brand-building activities: Sales Activation vs. Brand Growth.

Binet & Field Graphic - Short-term vs Long-TermBinet & Field Graphic - Short-term vs Long-Term

Besides the indisputable fact of diminishing returns from short-term investments, without a portion of your marketing budget focused on growth, you’ll never have the financial stamina to reach any goals.

As covered in our Marketing Marathon Mindset, an effective law firm marketing strategy understands the balanced and comprehensive nature of proper marketing in order to win the race.

By establishing strong foundations at the intake and return on investment (ROI) levels and building up toward activities solely designed to convert, the Legal Marketing Nutrition Guide is a good starting point for lawyers looking to go beyond the next campaign.

legal marketing nutrition guidelegal marketing nutrition guide

Another way to think about marketing is to break the activities down by objectives, like Attraction, Conversion, Branding, and Delight/Loyalty.

If you aren’t managing and maintaining client expectations at each point of this process, you are not properly engaged in marketing and should expect heavier workloads with patchy results.

So, marketing is not just about getting leads, it’s about improving the quality of leads you get, and that is the secret of effective marketing.

Law Firm Business Development Solutions from Consultwebs

You can do your own law firm website design, pay a couple thousand dollars for a lead gen service, do some marketing and social media when you get to it, and perhaps, for a while, things may work out.

But what about next year? Or the year after?

Who is in your corner?

Law Firm Marketing Beyond The Campaign isn’t just our tagline. It has been our vision for the last 20 years, and our clients’ success in marketing their practices online and generating leads, as well as cases, is what we hope to see with every law firm of every size.

I wanted to use this space to just lightly, but directly, pitch the services Consultwebs brings to lawyers and law firms, and outline and compare some of the differences and value we offer.

  • Law Firm Website Design – $10k Total (Actual Client Results: 90 leads a month from site within 18 months – $33 to $90 lead potential)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – $5k+ Monthly (Actual Client Results: Site traffic increased by 900%, 4 to 6 page rank jumps within 18 months)
  • Digital Advertising (PPC) – $3k+ Monthly (Actual Client Results: 50 to 100 quality leads within 90 days – $20 to $50 leads)
  • Social Media – $500+ Monthly (Actual Client Results: Family law firm enjoys $23 leads) – View this Case Study

Along with these services, as well as dedicated marketing managers who work with you, Consultwebs offers law firm marketing strategy and original content written for your practice area, focused on driving qualified leads through your site.

In Conclusion

Lead generation services can work to generate calls and leads for your law firm. However, the benefit of these services must be balanced with proper expectations and scope.

Whether you choose to grow your law firm’s book of business with Consultwebs through marketing, or a lead generation service, or smoke signals, the most important concept to takeaway from this is balance.

A goal of marketing is to draw people to your business, but success in marketing is when you’ve given them a reason to stay.

With your law firm’s marketing activities balanced between the two pillars of Legal Marketing Nutrition ─ Brand Growth and Sales Activation ─ you can generate more qualified leads that turn into cases, over a longer and more reliable timeframe, at a greater value.

Interested in giving your clients a reason to choose your law firm online? Get in touch.

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