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The secret to success in converting leads to clients for your law firm lies in your ability to gauge which stage your prospects are in according to the sales funnel, and then meeting them at each stage with targeted communications. There are different versions of sales funnels; this is the one we’ll be working from:

Your lead conversion tactics will change as your prospect moves down the funnel; in fact, you need different tactics at each stage to keep that prospect moving toward your goal of signing him or her as a new client.

Here are some proven tactics your law firm can use to increase your lead conversion rate at each stage:

Awareness Stage

Obviously, prospects do not become clients without first knowing that you exist. Then they have to trust you. Your marketing goal at this stage is to create awareness for your firm and to engage prospects enough to keep them coming back. The most common tactics for this stage include:

  • Blogging — generating quality content on legal topics that your prospects care about — using the keywords they would use in an online search — helps get your firm found.
  • Social networking — today, many people turn to social networks for referrals. Make sure your social media pages have a messaging capability and that you respond quickly (5 minutes is the sweet spot) to inquiries.
  • PPC campaigns — use PPC advertising to drive prospects to your landing pages where you can capture their email addresses.

Consideration Stage

Once a prospect knows you exist, your next goal is to obtain their email address so you can keep the conversation going. The best way to accomplish this is through lead magnets:

  • Guides/eBooks — Guides (or eBooks) are multiple-page downloadable PDFs that provide tons of information on a particular legal topic to help prospects make the best possible buying decision. Prospects provide you with their email address in return for their free download. You now have a new lead to nurture.
  • Landing Pages — create landing pages that address one specific legal topic and include a single call to action. Pages that are more relevant to a visitor’s needs than the home page of your firm’s website are more likely to lead to conversions.
  • Calls to Action — For every page of your law firm website, you need to ask yourself what type of action you want your prospect to take. Sign up for a free consultation? Download a free report? Watch a video? Once you have your answers, add calls to action on that page.

Preference Stage

At this stage, you need to spend your time and marketing dollars educating prospects about your firm and your services utilizing these methods:

  • Email — sending informational emails is a great way to begin educating prospects about your firm and also helps to build trust.
  • Autoresponders — sending prospects a series of pre-written emails over time helps to move them through the sales funnel faster.
  • CRM/Sales integration — you need CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software that enables you to track all the interactions you have with current and future clients. You use CRM to identify which autoresponder series a prospect should receive next and to help you personalize your messaging and create special promotions.

Purchase Stage

Asking for the business is a process. The average consumer needs to see an offer 7 times before they are ready to buy. Use these lead conversion strategies to help you make the sale:

  • Live chat — we all love instant gratification, so having the ability to answer questions live on your site can really boost your conversion rate.
  • Retargeting ads — to ensure prospects will visit you again when they are closer to making a buying decision, use retargeting ads. It’s a cost-effective and effective way to increase your traffic and conversion rates.
  • Social monitoring — monitoring social media sites for keywords related to your practice area can help you find people who are ready to hire an attorney.

Loyalty Stage

It is always easier to get work from an existing client than to gain a new one. Use these tactics to increase your sales from existing clients:

  • Referrals — ask clients if they know anyone who could benefit from your services and send them a small appreciation gift (if allowed by your bar association) like a Starbucks gift card in return with a note of thanks.
  • Cross-sell — educate your clients about your other practice areas or services they have not used so you will be top-of-mind if they do need you for other legal matters.
  • Reminders — keep reminding clients that you exist by making sure they are on your monthly newsletter list. If you practice in an area like estate planning where clients need reminders to review their estate plans or to update beneficiary forms, send out a friendly reminder.
  • Gratitude — pick an unusual holiday to send clients small gifts and notes of appreciation. Everyone sends something at Christmas, so don’t get lost in that rush — instead, make Groundhog Day your annual holiday for reminding your clients how you helped dig them out of a hole!

Capitalizing on the opportunities that each stage of the sales funnel provides will help you increase both conversions and loyalty.