Questions you will be able to answer at the end of this chapter:
- How are leads generated?
- What is the difference between SEO and PPC?
- Should I use a third-party lead generation service?
With the foundation laid and the setup process presumably complete, we can now focus our energy on actual lead generation. As mentioned in Chapter 1, leads come in many shapes and sizes and derive from various media outlets (e.g., print, television, radio, web, etc.). While the focus of this chapter rests in exploring the feasibility of augmenting your practice with internet leads, other forms of lead generation still merit discussion, given their immense popularity among the attorney demographic.
Attorneys love print. Why? We haven’t the slightest clue. Perhaps after years of studying case law and amassing volumes of texts, lawyers trust the tactile nature of a print ad over more abstract advertising media. However, we should not be too disparaging, as print does possess some alluring qualities. First, it allows for the designation of a specific target audience. You can choose periodicals that fit your client demographic and create an enticing ad to generate inbound leads. Further, despite earlier jest, there is a certain degree of perceived legitimacy conveyed by print. A sleek ad in a prestigious periodical can impart credibility on your firm, whether deserved or not. Also, print ads are often produced for a fixed cost, allowing for easy budget management.
But before pre-ordering a full-page ad in the New York Times, you should recall some of the disadvantages of print. Though offering a “fixed cost,” the price is often quite high for a very short shelf life in most cases, since many periodicals are often discarded after a single read. In terms of ad targeting, while you may be able to choose periodicals strategically, it is near impossible to find one with your exact demographic without sacrificing thousands of views. Even if you opt for the colossal interstate billboard, you should ask: “How many people are actually going to write down my contact information while cruising by at 60 mph?” While we do not dispute that print can generate qualified leads, it may not be the most cost-effective way of growing your Social Security practice. A print ad can assist the branding effort of your firm and make claimants more enthusiastic about working with you, but it will likely need to be supplemented by a web presence or other marketing campaign.
Others praise the efficacy of radio, as it provides a medium where creativity can assist the building of a profitable brand. Countless people still listen to the radio, whether at home, on the job, commuting, or in some other venue, allowing for sizeable outreach. After all, we can all recite some familiar ad jingle that has been ingrained in memory from repeated radio plays.
Apart from its brand-building qualities, the drawbacks of radio advertising are manifest. Remember, radio ads interrupt the entertainment of listeners, so many begrudgingly tolerate the commercials or simply mute them. Also, people often listen to radio passively, that is, while driving, working, or performing another task. It may therefore be unlikely that a listener will cease all tasks to jot down your number. So if you have a limited marketing budget, it may be prudent to spend your advertising dollars elsewhere.
Perhaps the most popular, but by no means most robust, competitor to web lead generation is television. Whether out of vanity or distorted perception, countless lawyers believe TV advertising to be the gold standard of lead generation. Many pour thousands of dollars into fruitless advertising in the belief that their next TV spot will be the “game changer.”
Unfortunately, the game changer never arrives for most, just more bills. Still, TV’s scope combined with its ability to convey more vivid advertising messages than those of radio or print continues to draw millions of dollars from attorneys across the nation every year. As you will learn later in this chapter, we believe the most important metric in assessing a lead generator is the cost-per-signed case, that is, the total number of signed cases divided by the cost of the leads. While the quality of TV leads may entice you, the leads themselves and the production costs are often quite expensive, factors which question the medium’s efficacy. The main problem with TV is that most attorneys will struggle to compete with the marketing budgets of a McDonald’s or a Pepsi. Sandwiching your ad between Coke and Subway spots is ridiculous because you are paying top dollar for ad space that may not even be relevant to your target demographic.
And then there is web lead generation. Proper utilization of the web can result in exponential growth for your law firm without emptying your bank account. Clearly, we are partial to web lead generation over any other of form of generating cases, but will still present it in the most the objective manner possible. After all, you want to learn something substantive, not simply to read a glorified advertisement!
Most web lead generation permits you to set and modify your advertising budget and to select specific geographic markets and appropriate keywords for your campaigns. Further, by properly targeting search terms (e.g., social security disability lawyer), you can ensure that your audience is actively seeking assistance for a specific legal issue, thereby increasing the quality of your inbound leads.
Unlike television, radio or print, there are rarely intermediary forces at play with web lead generation. Whereas television or radio often requires the use of an ad agency, with web leads you are the master of your own fate. Keywords, budget, and geographic markets can be modified in a matter of seconds and without any real need for a third-party agency.
As is true with any advertising program, web lead generation does possess a few drawbacks. First, to say that there is a learning curve would be an understatement. Whether pursuing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising or an increase in organic traffic, much time and capital can be lost before any substantive results are gained. However, once a competitive organic position is obtained and a cost-effective PPC campaign built, immeasurable is the feeling of satisfaction.
Another disadvantage rests in the fact that a quality website is a prerequisite for a successful web campaign. Therefore, unless you sideline as a web designer in your spare time, it will be necessary to contract a third party. While prices may vary depending upon the company you choose, you can expect to spend at least a few thousand dollars for quality work. One more expense you can anticipate is that of hiring a third-party lead generator to send leads to your firm. Though not a prerequisite for success on the web, a third-party service can prevent many of the headaches experienced in building a web campaign.