Before you think I’ve gone all “kumbaya” on you by suggesting nurturing as a way to grow your law firm, let me clarify: what I am talking about is nurturing your leads. Law firms typically do an awful job when it comes to lead nurturing. Someone doesn’t return your call or respond to an email and you move on. But you are leaving lots of money on the table when you do!
In fact, according to Forrester research, companies that are good at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost. If you want to experience a much higher client acquisition rate next year, you need to implement a lead nurturing program. Here are 7 tactics you can use that will greatly increase your client base over time:
- Deliver targeted content.
Effective lead nurturing demands targeted content to segmented lists. For example, if someone downloads a free report on mediation for divorce, you want to continue the conversation with him or her by distributing highly targeted content on mediation and divorce.
Fulfilling this requirement means you must segment distribution channels by buyer persona, create highly targeted content for each persona that is based on their interests, and have a marketing automation program in place that helps you segment and distribute your targeted content.
- Use multiple channels.
One of the primary methods of delivering your targeted content will be through an email campaign, but it doesn’t stop there. Since the average email open rate for law firms is around 21%, you must seek other channels to nurture leads as well.
Some additional channel options include social media, dynamic retargeting (a paid option where your “ad” follows someone who took an action on your website on other websites they visit) and direct outreach by your intake team. All of this requires a coordinated approach so you ensure you are targeting the right people at the right time in the right place.
- Use multiple touches.
It is estimated that it takes a minimum of 10 touches to take someone from being a lead to a client. A touch is a marketing message from you that reaches your intended target and can be accomplished by various means — email, social media, website visit, etc.
Most law firms fall far short of the 10-touch requirement, giving up too soon in the mistaken belief that the lead is cold or that you are annoying them. But if you are providing content that helps potential clients along a path to becoming an actual client by addressing their concerns and answering their questions, this is not an annoyance. You can do this through a mix of blog posts, free reports, newsletters, social media posts, webinars, speeches or even old fashioned direct mail.
- Quick follow-up.
This is the one that trips up most law firms and the reason why is that they make the mistake of assigning follow-up to lawyers, who are typically too busy to respond immediately to inquiries and leads. Current research on response times reveal that leads contacted within five minutes are 21x more likely to convert than those that are contacted within 30 minutes. And I’ll bet you thought 30 minutes was pretty good!
Automating your lead nurturing process takes the pain of follow-up out of busy attorneys’ hands and will increase your conversion rate dramatically. So is having a dedicated intake team who can make calls promptly to convert those prospects into qualified leads.
- Personalize your emails.
Personalizing emails consistently delivers higher click-through rates. An Experian email marketing study showed that personalized emails can produce up to six times higher revenue than generic email blasts.
When it comes to lead nurturing, personalization is not just using a person’s name in an email. It is delivering relevant content that is triggered by a user’s action — downloading your free report, clicking on a link in your newsletter or email, visiting specific website pages, etc.
- Use lead scoring.
Lead scoring is the method of ranking prospects according to their value to your law firm. This helps you determine the leads that require direct follow-up by a member of your intake team and which leads need more nurturing to get them further along the buying path. Many marketing automation platforms allow you to score leads by assigning a numeric value to certain behaviors — social media interactions, email responses, downloads — and then funnel them into the correct follow-up sequence.
- Align sales and marketing.
To optimize your sales opportunities, both sales and marketing functions need to share responsibility for nurturing leads. You need a process for determining when in the sales cycle leads are transitioned between the two teams, using triggers like lead scoring to determine when leads should go from automation to personal outreach. You also need to create accountability standards for each team so responsibilities are clear.