Many businesses, including legal practices, are subject to the whim of marketplace seasonality. Regardless of practice area, law firms often see a decline in caseload in their field’s off-season.
When cases are pending or caseload is light, a savvy marketing strategy can turn a slump into a speedbump. Following these practices can help your firm run seamlessly despite a seasonal disadvantage.
While variability in inbound interest is unique to each practice area, your year-to-year data should reveal a useful trend. Social Security Disability attorneys, for example, may see a notable decline in clients each November. In fact, SSA data reveals as much as 16% fewer people apply for SSDI in November, December, January and February compared to the monthly average during the rest of the year.1 Similarly, Personal Injury attorneys litigate cases with an incredibly lengthy court process – Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death suits can average over 20 months.2 As a result, attorneys in the Personal Injury field may not see the return on their investment as quickly as planned.
Revamp Your Web Presence
First, ask yourself if you’ve neglected your web presence during the busy season. It’s easy to put website development on the backburner when the success of your firm seemingly comes from face-to-face interaction with your clients.
The reality, however, is that many of your potential clients, or leads, research your firm’s services online before ever reaching out. In fact, Google found that in 2013 96% of people seeking legal advice used a search engine to find it,3 and 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action.4 With a well-designed website and valuable web content, organic interest in your services will build, allowing your team to focus their energy on turning those case leads into signed cases.
Improve your online presence and attract more leads with the help of our guide to making a user-friendly law firm website.
Offer a Seasonal Incentive
The idea of 40% off clearance sales and time-sensitive “while supplies last” advertisements may seem gimmicky, but offering leads a unique incentive to choose your firm can make all the difference when advertising in a saturated marketing channel.
Not only could it make your firm stand out against your competitors, but offering a free service can trigger purchase reciprocity. Studies by social psychologists have found that recipients of a free item or service often feel subconsciously motivated to reciprocate in kind by patronizing the merchant.5 Offering a complimentary consultation could encourage leads to contact your firm over another, or to reach out to you when they might have avoided pursuing their case altogether.
Emphasize Conversion over Acquisition
Why allocate more funds to marketing channels when you’re not able to convert the leads you’re already bringing in? In a seasonal slump, it’s valuable to revisit your follow-up process to maximize lead conversion. A more persistent and standardized follow-up methodology can pay off by increasing the number of your leads that turn into signed cases – all without bleeding your marketing budget.
Keeping this in mind, never underestimate the audiences of prospective clients you may already have at your disposal. Blog and email subscribers, social media followers, legal forum readers – all of these audiences can be targeted to become the leads that boost your firm’s caseload in an off-season.
Streamline Organization and Invest in R&D
A priority during your firm’s down season should be to invest into the future of its inevitable upswing. From an internet marketing standpoint, you'll want to start by researching emerging legal marketing trends and by analyzing your year-to-date data. Are you tracking your firm’s true cost per case? Do you know how each of your marketing channels performed? These are questions for which you need the answers, and a seasonal slump is the perfect time to address any major gaps in your firm’s reporting procedure.
An easy way to trim the fat while organizing your system for the New Year is to use an in-house or third-party lead and case management system (CRM). Our client and case management software, eLuminate, provides a single location where you can track the details of your leads, cases, and contacts, all while you quickly send mass emails, auto-generate custom documents, and run comprehensive reports. To try it free for a one-month trial, contact a member of our team at 617.800.0089.
Expand Using a Legal Lead Generation Service
If your analyses reveal a marketing dead end, purchasing legal case leads from a third-party lead generation agency is an ideal channel to generate inbound interest. While certain law firms find success relying solely on third-party leads, outsourcing even a portion of your marketing efforts is a great way for any legal practice to make up for a drop in case volume. Lead packages will vary with each agency you consider, but the vast majority of lead generation services will considerably decrease the time and money you spend to acquire clients.
If you wish to diversify your caseload and you practice in the areas of Social Security Disability, Personal Injury, Employment Law, or Workers’ Compensation, you may be a fit for eGeneration Marketing’s lead generation services. We deliver exclusive, local leads in real-time – all without any long-term commitment. With custom screening and targeting, we can drive leads to your firm at a competitive cost. To discuss how eGenerationMarketing can help your firm receive more cases, reach out to us at 617.800.0089.
2 Data Collection: State Court Processing Statistics. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2009.
3 Google Consumer Survey, Nov 2013
4 Google Legal Services Study, Sept 2013
5 Darren W. Dahl, H. H. (2005). Three Rs of Interpersonal Consumer Guilt: Relationship, Reciprocity, Reparation. Journal of Consumer Psychology: Volume 15, Issue 4.