Digital Marketing

Marketing for Lawyers – 8 Mistakes Most Law Firms Make

In this post, we’re talking about a crucial topic for lawyers – the eight common marketing mistakes that can hinder the growth of your law firm. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore these pitfalls, providing expert insights and practical solutions to ensure your law firm’s marketing efforts are not just effective but also optimized for success.

We’ll not only pinpoint the mistakes but also provide in-depth insights into why they matter in the context of legal marketing. Each segment will be a journey into understanding the client’s perspective, recognizing the impact of these mistakes, and, most importantly, unveiling actionable steps to rectify them.

Now, let’s embark on this journey together as we unravel the intricacies of legal marketing, learn from common mistakes, and pave the way for a more successful and client-focused approach.

Mistake #1: Not Treating Leads as Urgent

Mistake number one, not treating leads as urgent, is a crucial misstep that many law firms make. It’s a mistake that can cost them valuable clients and revenue. In this segment, we emphasize the importance of immediate lead response and why delayed responses can cost your firm potential clients and revenue.

Why Treating Leads as Urgent Matters

Lawyers often rely on leads to keep their practices thriving. These leads come from various sources, including referrals, but a significant portion is generated through marketing efforts.

When someone reaches out to your law firm, it’s usually because they have a pressing legal issue. They might have been involved in a car accident, facing a lawsuit, arrested, or served with divorce papers. The common denominator is that they’re in trouble, and they’re in dire need of legal assistance.

The Problem with Delayed Responses

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client who’s just charged with a serious felony or dealing with a tragic car accident involving a loved one. In such situations, the last thing they want to encounter is a voicemail or an unresponsive receptionist.

If they call your office and no one answers, they are highly likely to hang up and call the next law firm on their list. The urgency of their situation doesn’t allow for delays or unanswered calls.

The Critical First Impression

The initial phone call from a potential client is your one golden opportunity to convert that lead into a paying client. If you mishandle this first contact, you won’t get a second chance. That lead will vanish, and they’ll end up hiring your competitor. Your competition, in most cases, has an effective conversion strategy in place, which means that they’ll capture the lead, secure the client, and reap the associated revenue.

The Importance of 24/7 Availability

If you’re serious about your law firm’s marketing, you must ensure that there’s a system in place to have a live person answering your calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The legal needs of potential clients don’t adhere to a strict 9-to-5 schedule. They might require assistance at any time, and you need to be there to meet their immediate needs.

Ensuring Prompt Contact

In situations where you or another attorney isn’t available to speak with the lead, the receptionist’s role becomes pivotal. They should understand the urgency of the situation, assure the lead that an attorney will contact them right away, and capture the lead’s name and phone number before conveying your unavailability.

This creates a sense of commitment and gives the lead a timeframe for a return call, which is more reassuring than an open-ended promise.

In summary, treating leads as urgent is the cornerstone of a successful legal practice. Failing to do so can lead to missed opportunities, clients slipping through your grasp, and potential revenue going to competitors. If you’re determined to grow your law firm, make sure you address this mistake and implement a robust system for immediate lead response. 

Mistake #2: Failing to Train Receptionists

Mistake number two is failing to train the person answering your phone calls during regular business hours. Your receptionist or administrative assistant is often the first point of contact for potential leads.

It’s crucial that they know how to effectively deal with warm leads and assure them that an attorney will be in touch promptly.

In the context of law firms’ marketing efforts, the person who answers your phone calls during regular business hours, often a receptionist or administrative assistant, plays a pivotal role in the client acquisition process.

Failing to train this front-line staff member can have a significant negative impact on your firm’s ability to convert leads into clients.

Here are some key aspects to consider when addressing this mistake:

First Impressions Matter

Your receptionist or administrative assistant is often the first human contact a potential client has with your law firm. The way they handle that initial interaction sets the tone for the entire client experience.

A poorly handled call can lead to a lost lead and a negative perception of your firm.

Handling Warm Leads

When a potential client calls your firm and asks to speak with an attorney, it’s essential that your staff member knows how to deal with warm leads effectively.

If they simply transfer the call to voicemail or claim the attorney is unavailable without taking down the lead’s information, it’s equivalent to hanging up on the lead.

Understanding Urgency

The staff member answering calls should grasp the urgency of the situation.

If a potential client is seeking legal help, it likely means they are facing a pressing issue. Your staff member must convey this understanding and assure the lead that an attorney will contact them promptly.

Capturing Information

Before indicating that an attorney is unavailable, it’s crucial that the receptionist captures the lead’s name and phone number. This ensures that even if the attorney can’t immediately take the call, they can still get in touch and prevent the lead from turning to a competitor.

Setting Expectations

If no attorneys are available to speak with the lead, the staff member should specify a time for a return call by an attorney.

This creates confidence in the lead that their call will be addressed in a timely manner, preventing them from moving on to another firm.

Avoiding Voicemail Transfer

Under no circumstances should a potential client be transferred to voicemail.

Voicemail can be a significant deterrent, as people seeking immediate assistance want to speak with a live person, not leave a message that may or may not receive a timely response.

Training and Feedback

Providing proper training to your receptionist or administrative assistant is essential. They should understand the importance of their role in client acquisition and be continuously trained on effective communication and lead capture techniques.

Consider providing feedback and conducting mystery shopping to ensure the quality of their interactions.

Failing to train the person answering your phone calls can be a costly mistake for law firms. Your front-line staff plays a crucial role in turning leads into clients. Properly training them, emphasizing the urgency of potential clients’ needs, and ensuring that they effectively capture lead information can significantly improve your firm’s conversion rate and, ultimately, its revenue.

Mistake #3: Using a Call Menu or Phone Tree

Mistake number three involves using a call menu or phone tree. Nobody likes those endless phone tree options, and your clients are no different. Get rid of it and have a real person answer the phone around the clock. People want instant gratification, and complicated phone menus only deter them.

It’s essential to understand why this practice is detrimental to your law firm’s marketing efforts and how you can remedy it.

First, let’s break down the issues with using a call menu or phone tree:

Frustration and Impatience 

Picture yourself as a potential client in a legal crisis. You’re already stressed and anxious. When you call a law firm, you want quick and direct assistance. However, when you encounter a series of menu options, it adds frustration to an already stressful situation.

Confusion and Abandonment

Call menus are often not user-friendly. They may have too many options or unclear descriptions, causing potential clients to get confused and eventually abandon the call. This means you lose valuable leads before you even have a chance to engage with them.

Instant Gratification

In today’s fast-paced world, people expect immediate responses. They want to talk to a real person, not navigate through an automated system. By using a phone tree, you risk losing potential clients who are looking for instant gratification.

So, how can you fix this mistake?

Implement Live Answering

The most straightforward solution is to have a live person answer your phones 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This human touch can make a significant difference in client satisfaction.

Remove the Phone Tree

Get rid of the complicated phone menu. Keep it simple, with a direct line to a real person. The fewer obstacles potential clients face, the more likely they are to stay on the line.

Embrace Instant Gratification

Understand that potential clients have short attention spans and high expectations. They want immediate help. By having a real person answer the call, you cater to their desire for quick solutions.

In the digital age, where online reviews and quick responses matter, removing the phone tree is a simple but effective step toward improving your law firm’s marketing strategy. Make it easy for potential clients to reach you, and you’ll increase your chances of converting leads into loyal clients.”

Mistake #4: Not Using An Answering Service

Mistake number four is not using an answering service, especially after hours. This common error in the legal profession can significantly impact your law firm’s success. Let’s dive deeper into why utilizing an answering service is critical and how it can benefit your practice.”

Why an Answering Service is Essential After Hours

“When potential clients call your law firm, they expect immediate assistance, and this doesn’t only apply during regular business hours. After-hours calls, such as emergencies or urgent legal matters, can be equally important. Here’s why an answering service is essential after hours:

Client Satisfaction

Clients appreciate responsiveness. When they reach out to your firm after business hours and receive a live person on the other end, it reassures them that you take their needs seriously.

Capture Leads

An answering service captures leads in real time. This means potential clients’ inquiries are addressed promptly, preventing them from turning to your competitors while they wait for a response.

Pause the Search

When a lead contacts your firm after hours, a well-managed answering service can pause their search for other attorneys. By assuring them that an attorney will contact them soon, you buy valuable time to follow up.

Maintain Professionalism

Clients expect professionalism from their lawyers. An answering service can maintain that professionalism, even during non-business hours, ensuring that your firm’s image remains positive.”

Choosing the Right Answering Service

While the benefits of an answering service are clear, it’s crucial to choose the right one. Not all answering services are created equal, and you want one that aligns with your firm’s needs and client expectations. Here are some tips on selecting the right answering service:

Ask for Recommendations

Seek recommendations from colleagues and peers in the legal industry. They can provide insights into which answering services they trust and why.

Test Their Responsiveness

Secret shopping is a valuable method. Call your firm after hours to experience the service from a client’s perspective. Pay attention to how quickly they answer and their professionalism.

Transfer Capabilities

Ensure the answering service can transfer calls directly to your office. This seamless transfer is crucial for retaining potential clients.

Vetting the Operators

Make sure the operators who handle your calls are professional, attentive, and understand the importance of immediate client satisfaction.”

The Cost vs. Benefit of an Answering Service

Now, you might be wondering about the cost of an answering service. It’s important to understand that the investment in an answering service is relatively small compared to what you’re likely spending on marketing.

Losing leads due to improper handling of calls can be much costlier in the long run. The answering service is there to capture potential revenue that might otherwise be lost.

To sum it up, using an answering service, especially after hours, is a strategic decision that can significantly enhance your law firm’s performance. It’s all about ensuring client satisfaction, capturing leads, and maintaining professionalism even outside regular business hours. To grow your practice, it’s essential to provide the level of service that clients expect and deserve.

Mistake #5: Using a Weak Voicemail Message

Mistake number five is using a weak voicemail message. While we highly recommend minimizing the use of voicemail in your practice, there may be instances where a voicemail is unavoidable due to unforeseen circumstances, such as high call volumes or simultaneous calls. In these cases, having a strong and effective voicemail message is crucial to capture potential leads even when you can’t answer the phone in person.

The Impact of Voicemail on Potential Clients

When a potential client calls your law firm, they’re often in a stressful and urgent situation. It could be a legal emergency, a personal crisis, or a significant life event. Their decision to reach out to you might be the result of a quick Google search or a referral.

In either case, the voicemail experience they have can shape their perception of your law firm.

The Importance of a Compelling Voicemail Message

Your voicemail message is your only opportunity to capture a lead when you can’t answer the call directly. A generic or unprofessional voicemail can deter potential clients and lead them to look for alternative legal services. To make the most of this opportunity, it’s crucial to craft a voicemail message that reassures callers and encourages them to leave their information.

Creating an Effective Voicemail Message

Begin by stating your name and your role, such as “This is Attorney John Smith.”

Acknowledge the fact that you are unable to answer the call personally at the moment.

Express your willingness to speak with them and offer a specific time frame for a callback. For example, “Please leave a message, and I will return your call personally within 15 minutes.”

It’s important to set realistic expectations. While it may not be possible to return every call within 15 minutes, this statement conveys your commitment to prompt responses.

Make sure that your message communicates that you understand the urgency of their situation and that you’re dedicated to helping them.

Voicemail as a Lead-Capturing Tool

Your voicemail message is not just a recording; it’s a lead-capturing tool. By creating a voicemail message that conveys a sense of professionalism, urgency, and a commitment to client needs, you increase the likelihood that potential clients will leave a message.

Even if you can’t return the call within the specified time frame, having their contact information is a valuable opportunity to reconnect.

Strive for Consistency

While striving to return calls promptly is important, it’s equally crucial to ensure consistency in your voicemail message. Make sure that all your staff members are trained to use a similar script. This consistency reassures potential clients that your law firm is organized and client-focused.

In summary, while minimizing the use of voicemail is ideal, having a well-crafted voicemail message can make a significant difference in capturing potential leads, particularly in high-call-volume scenarios.

Remember, it’s not just about the message; it’s about creating an experience that reassures and encourages potential clients to reach out.

Mistake #6: Not Obtaining Reviews

Mistake number six is a crucial one in the digital age of marketing for law firms: not obtaining reviews from clients. Online reviews have become a powerful factor in decision-making for potential clients.

They serve as a form of social proof, offering insight into the experiences of others who have sought your legal services. Let’s delve deeper into why obtaining reviews is so important and how to go about it effectively.

Importance of Online Reviews

Online reviews have transformed the way people make choices, and hiring a lawyer is no exception. Whether you’re a seasoned attorney or just starting your practice, your law firm is often one among many similar options.

Potential clients typically start their search on platforms like Google and Yelp, and their decision-making process heavily relies on the number and quality of reviews they find.

Just think about the last time you shopped for a product on Amazon. Did the number and quality of reviews play a significant role in your decision? Chances are, they did.

The same principle applies to potential clients seeking legal services. They are more likely to trust and choose a law firm that has a substantial number of positive reviews.

The Quantity and Quality of Reviews

It’s not just about having a few five-star reviews; it’s about having many of them. The quantity of reviews is as crucial as their overall ranking. When potential clients see that numerous people have had a positive experience with your law firm, they tend to believe that they will have a similar positive experience as well.

This sense of assurance can significantly influence their decision to hire you.

How to Obtain Reviews

Now, the big question is, how can you obtain reviews effectively? Here are a few strategies you can consider:

Ask Satisfied Clients

If you have clients who are happy with your services, don’t hesitate to ask them for a review. Many clients are willing to leave a review if they are pleased with your legal representation.

Provide a Seamless Review Process

Make it as easy as possible for clients to leave a review. Share direct links to your review profiles on Google and Yelp, and guide them through the process if needed.

Timing Matters

Ask for reviews at the right time. It’s often best to request a review when a case is successfully concluded and the client is satisfied with the outcome.

Offer Incentives

Some law firms choose to provide incentives for clients who leave reviews, such as a small discount on future services. However, ensure that this approach complies with ethical guidelines and regulations in your area.

Engage in Follow-Up

After you’ve requested a review, consider a follow-up reminder if the client hasn’t responded within a reasonable timeframe. Gentle reminders can help prompt clients to share their experiences.”

The Impact of Reviews on Your Practice

In summary, online reviews play a pivotal role in shaping your law firm’s online reputation and credibility. They are a primary source of information for potential clients who are seeking your services.

A strong collection of positive reviews can set you apart from your competition and help you secure more clients through online marketing channels.

Mistake #7: Ignoring Negative Reviews

Mistake number seven is ignoring negative reviews. In the world of digital marketing, online reputation is everything. No one, not even the best law firm, can escape the occasional negative review.

The key here is not to pretend that negative reviews don’t exist but to address them in a way that benefits your law firm’s image and potential clients’ perception.

The Significance of Online Reviews

Online reviews have become a powerful tool for consumers seeking legal services, just as they are for any other service or product. When potential clients browse through your firm’s reviews, they’re not just looking for perfect 5-star ratings; they are also interested in how you handle any less-than-glowing feedback.

The Impact of Negative Reviews

Negative reviews, when handled properly, can be turned into an opportunity for your firm. They can showcase your commitment to client satisfaction and your willingness to address issues head-on. However, ignoring these reviews or responding negatively can have a detrimental effect on your online reputation.

Responding to Negative Reviews

When you encounter a negative review, the first step is to respond professionally and promptly. Your response should reflect your firm’s values and your commitment to resolving issues. It’s crucial to stay calm, refrain from arguing, and avoid taking the conversation offline. Keep the conversation in the public eye to demonstrate your transparency.

The Public Perspective

Remember that your response to negative reviews isn’t just for the reviewer; it’s for everyone who sees it. Potential clients will take note of your professionalism and willingness to address concerns. It’s an opportunity to showcase your firm’s commitment to delivering quality service.

Turning Negatives into Positives

Ultimately, a negative review, when handled well, can become a positive influence on your reputation. It can demonstrate that your law firm is attentive, responsive, and eager to resolve issues. So, don’t shy away from negative reviews; embrace them as opportunities to build trust and credibility.

Mistake #8: Believing Prospects Have No Money

Mistake number eight involves believing prospects when they say they have no money. Your role as a lawyer goes beyond practicing law; you need to be a successful salesperson too. Understand that clients will find the money when they realize the value you provide. Don’t let potential clients slip away.

We often hear from lawyers that potential clients claim to have no money and are just seeking free advice. It’s essential to address this issue and not simply take their word for it. Here’s why:

Understanding the Client’s Perspective

Put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients. They’re reaching out to a lawyer because they’re facing a legal issue that’s causing them significant stress and uncertainty. This might be a car accident, a legal dispute, a criminal charge, or a family matter like divorce.

From their perspective, this is a critical situation, and they’re seeking a solution.

The Role of a Lawyer as a Problem Solver

As a lawyer, your role is not just to provide legal counsel; it’s to be a problem solver. When a client contacts you, they are essentially saying, ‘I have a problem, and I need your expertise to solve it.’ It’s important to understand that people are often hesitant and even fearful of legal processes and lawyers. They might have a natural aversion to seeking legal help, and they’re unsure of what to expect.

The Importance of Effective Communication

This is where your communication skills come into play. When a potential client tells you that they have no money or are just looking for free advice, it’s your opportunity to listen carefully and reassure them.

You need to help them understand the value you bring to their situation. Your role is to explain how you can address their problem, improve their situation, and guide them through the legal process.

Changing Their Perspective

Remember, people often find money for things they need and value. It’s your responsibility to convey the importance of your services. Instead of believing that they have no money, help them see that they can’t afford not to hire you.

Show them that your expertise will protect their rights, save them from potential legal pitfalls, and lead to a better outcome.

Empowering Potential Clients

Empower potential clients to make the right choice by highlighting the consequences of not seeking legal help promptly. Explain how their situation could worsen without proper legal assistance.

Make them understand that investing in your services is an investment in their future well-being and peace of mind.

Overcoming Objections

While you may encounter resistance initially, skilled salesmanship coupled with empathy can often change their perspective. It’s not about forcing someone to hire you; it’s about helping them make an informed decision.

People have financial resources available, and it’s your job to guide them in utilizing those resources wisely to resolve their legal issues.

Don’t let the misconception that potential clients have no money deter you. As a lawyer and a business owner, your role is to not only provide legal services but also effectively communicate the value you bring.

People want to believe that their lawyers work diligently to protect their interests. By demonstrating this commitment and helping potential clients understand the importance of your services, you can transform their perception and ultimately help them make the right choice.

Closing

There you have it, the eight common marketing mistakes most lawyers make and how to fix them. Remember, marketing is essential for growing your law firm, and avoiding these mistakes can make a significant difference. If you need any assistance in correcting these mistakes or implementing changes in your law firm, do not hesitate to reach out to Advertise Naked. We are here to help you and your law firm reach thrive in the digital landscape. Contact us today for a free discovery call! 

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