I talk to lawyers every day. No, I’m not involved in hundreds of lawsuits or divorces or anything like that. The reason I talk to lawyers every day is because each and every day new lawyers are calling me to help them advertise their law firms and get more leads.
I run AdWords campaigns for many types of industries, but a major speciality of mine is working for lawyers. Early on in my AdWords management career I worked for a couple big law firms, I started getting word of mouth referrals, and next thing you know a few years later I’ve managed hundreds of law firm campaigns, millions of dollars in advertising budgets, and I’ve made a niche as “the law firm AdWords guy,” and I love it.
Many lawyers have told me how difficult the legal business is these days, as some say the supply of lawyers out there is somewhat large compared to the demand for legal services. And this has led to a very competitive operating environment for many law firms.
This competitive operating environment has made it very difficult to profitably run a law firm. Leads are drying up, and overhead is continuing to grow.
I’m a student of business, and I look at businesses as living, breathing organisms. And in the legal business, the main driver of stress is overhead. Overhead is like a gun at the head of the law firm’s business that could go off anytime and bring down the organization.
I know what it’s like. You’re sitting their looking the pencil on your desk (overhead!), your secretary (overhead!), your nice office (overhead!), the copy machine (overhead!), and that stupid piece of software your new office manager said you just have to have (overhead! Overhead! Overhead! Damn overhead!!!!). It’s stressful to be a lawyer these days.
But there is a way to overcome your overhead problems and actually make a profit and potentially build real wealth as a lawyer. The answer is not to cut and save $500 a month or something arbitrary on your overhead. The answer is to grow. The answer is to grow your law firm and case volume by living in a business world where every day you drown in a never-ending source of new leads. You wake up in the morning – new leads. You check your email after lunch – new leads. You talk with your office manager in the afternoon – new leads. The answer to profitably growing your law firm is to drown in a never-ending source of new leads. And in this article I set out to tell you how to do that.
Success in the legal business is based on having a consistent supply of new leads.
The thought process works like this (as Charlie Munger always advises, invert always invert):
- What is success for a law firm? Making a profit.
- How do you make a profit? You make more revenue than your expenses.
- How do you make revenue as a law firm? You provide legal services.
- How do you provide legal services? You find people who need legal services.
- How do you find people who need legal services? You set yourself up with a consistent flow of legal leads coming in day after day.
A steady source of legal leads is the key to surviving, thriving, and making profits as a law firm.
Here are 15 ways to consistently have legal leads coming into your law firm day after day.
1. Google AdWords
Google AdWords is hands down the absolute best form of marketing that lawyers can spend their money on. There’s no question about it. The beautiful thing about Google AdWords is that you get to put your ads in front of people looking for the exact legal services that you offer, at the exact time that those people are searching for those services. And you only pay Google when someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website or when they click on a call extension in your ad and call you directly, hence the form of advertising it is, pay per click… you only pay when people click on your ads. And when run correctly, the only people who will see and click on your ads are people who need a legal service you provide.
Another great benefit of advertising on Google’s search engine ads is that it is completely transparent and everything is trackable. You can know for sure how many people clicked on your ads, went to your website, filled out a lead form, or called you. And with some third party tracking systems, you can even track how many signed clients you get from your AdWords campaign and the exact cost per new client acquisition.
AdWords is a truly magical form of marketing, and it is the best use of a lawyer’s marketing dollars. I see AdWords changing law firms’ trajectories every day in my job, and running a successful AdWords campaign can materially boost the revenues and profits of a legal business. AdWords is the place to be for lawyers.
Bing is Microsoft’s version of a search engine. It’s their answer to Google. And you can advertise on Bing’s search results similar to how you advertise on Google’s search results with AdWords.
There are reports online saying that Bing has around a 20% market share of search on desktop. And I’ve also read online that their market share is under 10% on mobile search. So Google is much bigger than Bing and most of the action on legal marketing is on AdWords and not Bing.
Besides the lower market share, Bing also lacks some of the advanced features that are available in AdWords. So my advice to most law firms I work with is to spend as much of the search marketing budget as possible on Google AdWords, and if any budget is left over after maximizing AdWords, then they can invest that excess budget on Bing.
Bing is a good place for a law firm to invest marketing budget in, as it enjoys the same inherit search engine advertising features as AdWords in terms of only showing your ads when someone is searching for what you offer and only having to pay when someone clicks on your ads.
But my preference always lies with Google AdWords, and I strongly recommend spending as much of your search marketing budget with Google AdWords before you consider Bing.
Yelp seems to be one of the best places for lawyers to be listed. Believe it or not, a ton of people look for lawyers and their reviews on Yelp. I would have never expected this, but recently I had a client who had a strong Yelp presence and it was actually the main driver of his new business. In fact, I just Googled criminal lawyers in San Francisco and Yelp is the number one organic listing. So this means tons of people every month in San Francisco who are searching for a criminal lawyer go to Yelp to try and find one.
Any lawyer out there can benefit from having a strong Yelp presence. Your first move is to go to Yelp For Business Owners and create a listing for your law firm or claim an existing listing if one already exists for your office. Then add some great photos to your page, add descriptions about your law firm, and tell Yelp what categories of law you practice. Then of course it helps to have lots of honest reviews on there from former clients.
Continually getting honest reviews on your Yelp page from real clients, as well as making sure you have accurate detailed descriptions and offices hours, will help your page succeed. And also try to include tons of pictures of your offices, lawyers, and staff. Show the public you’re a real law firm with real offices and real people.
And you can also try advertising on Yelp and see if it works well. Overall, having a completed, optimized Yelp page is a no-brainer and something that every law firm should have. It can only help you get found and get more leads.
4. Television Ads
If you’re a lawyer reading this article, you’ve probably already tried television advertising or are still actively running TV ads. Television ads are the traditional home of law firm marketing. When people think of lawyer advertising they probably think of a guy in a fancy suit staring at them from the TV telling them We’ll fight for you! I can’t even begin to imagine how many billions of dollars law firms have spent on television ads since cable television took off in the 1970s.
Does television advertising work for lawyers? Of course it does. If it didn’t work then the largest television advertisers would have stopped long ago, and there wouldn’t be law firms across the country that built their entire business models and successes on a foundational strategy of basically spending boatloads of money on television ads for many decades in a row.
So yes, television advertising can work. But you have to approach it in the right way.
I recently met with a group of injury lawyers from California who had spent $50,000 on a television ad buy and didn’t get one case from it. They were expecting to advertise on television, hear the phone start ringing, and then get rich. But TV ads just don’t work that way, or that quickly.
TV is a long-term game. The goal of television advertising is to grow a brand. If I was a divorce lawyer and my firm’s name was Jason & Jason, and I was running a TV campaign, I wouldn’t expect to run my ads and then get results the next day. My goal with TV ads would be to build a memorable brand that I hammer into my local city’s subconscious over many years, so that when someone gets to a point in their life when they’re getting a divorce they don’t think I need a divorce lawyer, instead, I want my TV ads (again, over many years) to cause them to think I need to call Jason & Jason.
TV is all about the long-term, building a brand, and becoming memorable. You basically want to cause people thinking about the type of lawyer they need to find, like divorce lawyer or injury lawyer, to replace those terms with your brand name. You want to go from being a firm that provides a legal service to the actual legal service itself, in terms of how people think about it. Again, if I was a divorce lawyer and running TV ads for years, I would want to be so ingrained in the mind’s of my local population that instead of them thinking the term divorce lawyer, they actually replace that little part of the brain with the term Jason & Jason.
Accomplishing that “term in the brain” replacement is a very tough thing to do. But with a lot of time, money, and effective ads, it can be accomplished.
TV can make the phone ring off the hook and bring in a seemingly never-ending supply of leads, but it takes a long time and a lot of commitment to get to that level.
YouTube is a great place to grow your brand, gain visibility, and get leads. Every day I have people emailing and calling me, saying things like, “Hey Jason, I’ve been watching your YouTube channel for a while now and I want to talk to you about how you can help my company.” I get leads all the time from YouTube, and they are some of the warmest leads and easiest leads to close.
YouTube leads are so warm because people see you on there and they get to know you. They know you’re the real deal and they build a significant level of trust in you. So then when they choose to call you, all the selling is already done, they trust you, and they just want to get down to business and work with you.
Every lawyer should have a YouTube channel that they grow and invest in on a continuous basis.
They should be making YouTube videos to answer common legal questions people have about the type of law they practice, feature client testimonials on their channel, and even have videos introducing their staff and offices.
You want to help people in your town feel like they know and trust you, so that when they call in, they are warm leads, ready to become new clients.
Besides growing a brand and growing trust with people in your city, YouTube can also be a great way to gain visibility. Let’s say you’re a DUI lawyer in Seattle. And for three years you’ve been pumping out monthly videos about DUI law, what to do if you get a DUI, DUI consequences, etc. And through these YouTube videos a large amount of people in the Seattle area have come to know you as the DUI lawyer in Seattle.
So then one night Greg and Mike go out to the bars. They drink and have fun, and when the night comes to an end they go their own separate ways. Greg gets a call from Mike the next morning and Mike lets Greg know that he got a DUI on his way home the previous night, he’s in jail, and he doesn’t know what to do. Greg starts thinking fast and your YouTube videos pop into his mind because his parents made him watch your “The 5 Horrible Consequences of Getting a DUI” video over and over when he went to college to try and teach him how bad getting a DUI is and how he needed to be very careful about not driving under the influence. So Greg remembers your videos and YouTube channel and he tells Mike, “Hang on buddy, I know just who we need to call.” Then Greg looks up your YouTube videos, finds your website, and then gives Greg your phone number. Congratulations, you now have a new client.
This is how branding and visibility works! If you were just another run of the mill lawyer out there who hadn’t invested in your marketing and visibility by building a YouTube channel over years and years, then Greg would have no idea who you were, and him and Mike would have used another DUI lawyer.
YouTube is great for brand building and visibility. If you invest in your channel year after year, it will definitely bring in lots of warm, high-quality leads on a continual basis. Get on YouTube!
Google AdWords encompasses not only Google search ads but also the YouTube network and the display network, which reaches over 2 million websites and over 90% of the internet’s users. On that display network you can run display ads and you can get very granular with your audience targeting. You can target people viewing pages about certain legal topics, you can target individual websites with placement ads, and you can also run remarketing ads and target people who have recently been to your website.
Remarketing is a great way to affordably grow your brand and stay on the top of people’s minds. When someone lands on your website, they are added to your remarketing list. Then you can target those people over and over with display ads and stay on the top of their minds. Remarketing is a great way to grow awareness and build a brand, and it is very affordable and flexible compared to billboards and television ads. Another great feature about remarketing is that you can run remarketing video ads on YouTube.
Remarketing will bring in less immediate direct leads than a search campaign, as it is very hard to beat search ads for immediate results, but it will help you grow your brand (which brings in leads over the long term) and it will also bring in direct leads as well. Every law firm with a serious marketing strategy should be running remarketing display ads and videos.
7. Organic Search Engine Traffic
There is a ton of opportunity for lawyers to get a massive amount of leads from organic Google searches. Every day in medium and large American cities, people Google phrases like divorce lawyers near me, Los Angeles injury lawyers, and accident attorneys in Houston. Imagine if your law firm showed up number one in the organic Google search results for relevant search terms like those. If you did (and someone has to), then you would get relevant traffic to your website every day, and tons of quality leads every single month. There’s no better form of lead generation than ranking high for relevant searches and getting free search traffic to your website everyday.
However, Google was not created to be your personal ATM. Ranking number one for your search terms is not a right, and far from guaranteed. Growing your organic search traffic is a never-ending process that takes lots of time, resources, and commitment. And you can’t just buy your way to the top. You have to deserve to be at the top of the organic Google search results.
How do you deserve to be there? I believe that Google gets smarter and delivers better search results each and every day. Tomorrow Google will be smarter and deliver better search results than they did today. And so on and so on until the end of time. So to rank at the top of Google and get all that quality, free traffic day after day, I truly believe you have to deserve to be there. When someone goes to Google and types in DUI lawyer Chicago, it’s Google’s job to deliver the best, most relevant, and most accurate search results for that user. It’s Google’s job to provide them with all the best DUI law firm options in the Chicago area. So if you are truly one of the best DUI lawyers in Chicago, and you invest time in learning how SEO works, then you should not have any problem getting lots of quality traffic from Google in the long run. But if you’re a horrible or even mediocre DUI law firm option, then I believe you’ll struggle to consistently get lots of organic traffic over the long run. Again, you have to deserve to be there.
Running a great law firm and providing great legal services and deserving to be at the top of the Google search results is on you. You have to accomplish that offline in the real world. But what about learning how SEO works? What about doing smart SEO things like structuring your site the right way, coming up with great content, and getting effective and ethical referral links pointing to your website? How do you learn all of that stuff? There is only one resource I recommend for all of that. His name is Eric Ward and he can be found at ericward.com. He is the only resource that I recommend for all things SEO and link building. He has links on his website to over 300 articles he’s written, so I recommend you read those articles and also read his book. Learning about SEO, search engines, Google, and link building from Mr. Ward changed the trajectory of my career and my life. I can’t recommend him strongly enough if you want to learn about how SEO and link building works and get organic traffic coming to your website month after month, year after year.
Avvo is an online directory of lawyers that helps people who need legal services find a lawyer in their area. Avvo was founded in 2006. I have heard about Avvo from many of the lawyers I work with and they seem to be a big player in this space. I recommend that all lawyers get listed on Avvo, update their profile, and try to get strong reviews on there.
Avvo matters because it gets a ton of search engine traffic. When I Google “injury lawyers dallas tx” the first organic listing I see is from Avvo with the headline “Find the best Personal Injury lawyer in Dallas, TX – Avvo.” And the link goes to a page on Avvo’s website that lists a bunch of injury lawyers in Dallas.
Getting ranked number one for the search “injury lawyers dallas tx” is extremely difficult to do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on that search engine traffic. Avvo is ranked number one and probably thousands or tens of thousands of people a month are going to their “Injury Lawyers Dallas” page. You probably won’t be able to get the traffic that goes to the number one SEO spot on that “injury lawyers dallas tx” keyword search to go to your website, as you probably won’t be able to rank number one for that search term. But you can still benefit from the SEO traffic that Avvo gets. You can get listed on their site, and build up your profile with real, honest reviews. Then when the tens of thousands of people per month visit Avvo’s page looking for a Dallas injury lawyer, your listing will be on of the first ones they see and you can get a bunch of quality leads. Additionally, you can pay for a sponsored listing and guarantee your place at the top of the list.
I’ve done many searches for different types of lawyers in many different markets across the country, and I consistently see Avvo’s relevant lawyer listing page for that type of law near or at the top of the organic search results. Millions of people are going to Avvo every month from organic searches, looking for a local lawyer to hire. That makes Avvo a real player and a real lead generation source for all lawyers.
If I was a lawyer who needed to get leads, I would be listed on Avvo, I would be paying for their sponsored listings so I could show up at the top of the list, and I’d be trying to get as many real and honest reviews on my profile as possible. Avvo is a great way to get leads, and you should be making the most of it.
The same “benefit from the other guy’s SEO dominance” strategy applies to Thumbtack. Thumbtack is an online marketplace that matches people who need a local service done with local service providers. Thumbtack is in all sorts of fields now, including law. Similarly to Avvo, if you do a Google search for things like “injury lawyer New Orleans” or “divorce lawyer Salt Lake City” you will see Thumbtack’s listing there on the first page of the organic search results. Across the country, every month Thumbtack is probably getting hundreds of thousands of people who need a lawyer posting their “lawyer wanted” needs on Thumbtack’s website.
Because Thumbtack is so dominant at SEO and getting organic search engine traffic to its website, it is probably sending lawyers hundreds of thousands of cases a month across the country. Getting on Thumbtack is free, and when you have an active profile with them, you will receive emails letting you know when a new case gets posted for your service area and type of law. Then you can go review the case details on Thumbtack. At this point you decide if you want to send the user an introduction/quote describing your services, what you charge, your experience, etc. Submitting this quote to the user costs “credits”, and you buy those credits from Thumbtack in bulk. As of this writing, I believe Thumbtack allows 5 service providers to bid on each job.
The nice thing about Thumbtack is that you only incur a cost when you bid on a job, and you only bid on jobs you want to win. So you’re only spending marketing dollars on cases that you like. And the other thing that Thumbtack has going for it is that they dominate the SEO game and are getting tons and tons of organic search traffic, which means they potentially have a lot of legal leads for you. In my experience Thumbtack is a numbers game and you’ll need to bid on lots of leads that are attractive to you in order to win some of them. And from my experience with Thumbtack, it also seems that responsiveness is huge. You need to quickly bid on leads you want and respond to potential clients quickly when they send you a message or try calling you.
Thumbtack gets a ton of traffic every month, it probably has a large amount of leads in your area each month, and every lawyer should be listed on Thumbtack to get cases from the leads it provides.
10. “Shop Local” Websites
Shop local websites are a very simple and very under-used way of generating legal leads. Shop local websites are directories that list out local companies for people in that city to do business with. They are great for generating local economic development and local networking. Some are free to be a part of and some charge a small monthly or annual fee. Here are a couple of examples: Salt Lake City and Charleston.
These shop local websites will bring in more leads in two ways. Firstly, people do use these shop local websites and you will get referral phone calls and traffic to your website from your shop local listing.
The other way these shop local website can help you get more leads is because they can help with your SEO efforts and help you get more organic search engine traffic. One of the most important aspects of SEO is getting high quality, honest, and relevant links pointing at your website. These are called backlinks. And having an established shop local website pointing at your website is a good backlink. Now, this one link will only play a minor role in your SEO results, but it does help. So getting listed on, and being a part of, quality shop local websites in your area can help you get more SEO traffic and leads, as well as the direct leads you’ll get from this source.
11. State Bars
Many people go to state bar websites to find lawyers. And many of these state bar websites (maybe all?) have an “attorney search” feature. I recommend making sure you’re listed on your state’s bar website and that your profile is up to date with pictures, descriptions, accurate links to your website, etc. State bar websites most certainly are among the most reputable lawyer-related sites on the internet, and getting a backlink from these sites via your profile page would be great for your SEO efforts and also for your referral traffic efforts. Getting listed and optimizing your profile on your state bar website can only help you get more leads.
12. Start A Local Podcast
I co-host a weekly podcast on Google AdWords marketing called The Paid Search Podcast. Running this podcast since April of 2016 has been quite the interesting experience. It’s made me better at marketing and communication – and even my core AdWords skills have improved. Adding a podcast to my marketing efforts has been very rewarding, and I think having a podcast is a great idea for any law firm out there that wants to drown in leads each month.
Podcast marketing results are difficult to measure, but they are definitely there. It’s a much softer and less direct form of marketing than something like pay per click ads. You’re not going to throw a podcast episode up and then get the phone to ring five minutes later. It’s not that kind of direct marketing. It’s more about brand awareness, staying on top of people’s mind, growing your authority in a field, and getting referrals. So running a podcast for your law firm (even if it’s just weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) can help you get your name out there, grow authority with your listeners, and make your brand and website bigger than it currently is.
Additionally, I think a podcast would help a law firm get lots of referral leads. Every week fans of my podcast contact me and say things like “I’ve been telling all my colleagues about your show.” And this week a listener who is going out on tons of interviews with advertising agencies told me that he has been telling those agencies about my podcast in every interview. Referrals and brand awareness like that is impossible to measure, but it’s real. More people in the world now know about Jason Rothman and my AdWords management services because of my podcast, and I think the same thing can be true with a law firm.
Podcast listeners share a deep connection with the hosts of a show, and growing a podcast audience can lead to thousands of listeners telling their friends, family, and coworkers about your podcast and your law firm, leading to a tremendous amount of referral leads. Say you’re a Dallas injury law firm and you host a weekly podcast about legal issues in the news in the Dallas Fort Worth area. A general legal news show focused on your local area could lead to thousands and thousands of listeners. People want to know about those local legal stories like how many years in jail will the accountant who was embezzling from the church get, or should a transgender female student athlete transitioning to male be allowed to play on the girls’ team, etc.
People love these local legal news stories. And in your local Dallas podcast you could talk about those local issues and answer listener questions. Not only that, but at the beginning and end of each show you could run an ad for your injury law firm. Your show could grow to thousands of Dallas-area listeners who now know about your Dallas injury law firm, and better yet, they know you and they trust you. So what will happen is that the next time their friend is in a car wreck, or their co-worker got attacked by a dog, etc., they’ll think of your law firm and they’ll refer you to their friend who needs an injury lawyer. This is brand awareness and top of mind marketing 101. If I was a lawyer, one of the first things I’d do to promote my law firm is to set up a local legal news podcast and have my law firm sponsor the show. I’d consistently put out weekly episodes. And I’d grow an audience of thousands of local area listeners who would come to know and trust me and ultimately refer my law firm to their friends and family when they needed the kind of lawyer I was. A podcast is a great way to separate your law firm from your competitors and get more leads.
13. Local News Relationship
I’m a big believer in service companies like law firms having a large presence on local news stations and newspapers. Local news is a great source for free publicity, and frankly I’m surprised that so few people take advantage of the opportunities that local news relationships provide.
Often times local newspapers quote the same local sources whenever they need a quote for a certain type of article subject. For example, my local paper often quotes a local wealth management advisor in articles about the economy and the stock market. Say there was an article about home prices going up in Oklahoma, they’ll write something like:
Local wealth management advisor Bill Smith of Oklahoma Wealth Management Company says “Home prices are going up in Oklahoma and that’s a good thing. But homeowners need to be protective of their equity and only tap into it for emergencies and much-needed home improvement projects.
I’ve see my local paper quote this guy (his real name isn’t Bill Smith) in lots of articles, and I’d bet he’s appeared in over one hundred articles. Now, when I think “wealth management advisors in Oklahoma City,” he is the first thing that comes to mind. And this guy achieved that brand awareness from free publicity by being quoted in the local newspaper.
And you can do the same thing with local television and radio. You can be their trusted go-to source on legal issues and appear for regular segments where you give legal advice and talk about current legal news stories. This kind of free publicity helps you stay on the top of people’s minds and that can lead to getting hundreds of phone calls a year that you would not have gotten otherwise.
Developing a relationship with local news sources on print, television, and radio can be a great way to promote your law firm and raise brand awareness in your local community.
14. Email Marketing
Another way to grow brand awareness and develop a tight relationship with an audience that can lead to hundreds of referral phone calls every year is to grow and nurture an email newsletter list.
I run an email newsletter for my company Rothman PPC, and I use and recommend MailChimp. Running an email newsletter has shown me firsthand how important this form of marketing can be to a company’s success.
Capturing email leads on your website for your company newsletter is a great way to make the most of the traffic that comes to your website. Not everyone who comes to your website will call you on their first website visit, but if they sign up for your newsletter it gives them a chance to get to know you more, and it gives you a chance to stay in front of them and keep marketing to them. So having a newsletter signup form on your website helps ensure that you’re getting the most possible value you can from your website traffic.
Additionally, getting in front of your newsletter list every time you send them an email helps you stay on the top of their minds. And this top of mind awareness can lead to hundreds of referrals a year.
For example, say an injury lawyer sends an email about all the things people need to do and be aware of when they get into a car accident. Some of that injury lawyer’s readers will probably know people who recently got into a car accident and they’ll forward them that email. And then a percentage of those people will probably read the email, call the injury lawyer, and become a new client. And the same type of scenario can be played out for any type of lawyer; divorce, bankruptcy, DUI, etc.
Growing your newsletter list to thousands of people in your area can turn your email list into a valuable asset for your law firm, and this newsletter list can turn into multiple referral clients every time you send out a new email. I recommend that all law firms create an email newsletter and have a way for people to sign up for it on their website.
15. The Best Source of New Work…
Finally, as one of my intellectual heroes, lawyer and investor Charlie Munger says, “The best source of new work is the work on your desk.”
Do a great job for your current clients, and they’ll be sure to recommend you to other people and your referral business will continuously grow.
If you need help getting that work on your desk in the first place, read on.
Get In Touch
Success in the legal business, and overcoming your overhead, comes down to getting a consistent flow of quality legal leads coming in each day and month, and I hope this articles helps you accomplish that.
I have worked for many lawyers over the last few years, and I’ve managed everything from small AdWords campaigns at $1,000 a month to the largest of the large AdWords campaigns at hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. I know what I’m doing with law firm advertising on Google, and I swear to you I’m changing people’s lives out here. I am helping small law firms accelerate growth by getting more leads than they could have ever imagined each month. And I’m helping large injury law firms get hundreds of cases a month, and I’m making the partners at those large law firms rich.
Whether you’re a one lawyer divorce law firm, or an injury law firm that can handle hundreds of cases of month, I can help you get leads, grow your practice, and make a lot of money.
Contact me right now and let me know how I can help you.