How Lawyers can Generate Leads Online

5 Effective Ways Lawyers Can Generate Leads Online


Legal services is a very competitive space.  Just drive down a highway or search for a lawyer online and you will see how much money is being spent to acquire new clients.

The big question is, do you need to spend big bucks and run mass advertising campaigns in order to acquire clients?  Maybe 10-15 years ago that was the case, but with the advances in online marketing, you can target your ideal customers with laser precision as well as track metrics to prove ROI.

96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine. (Google Consumer Survey, Nov 2013)

It's easy to get lost in a sea of competitors.  When potential customers search for legal counsel they get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of lawyers available, mostly using the same marketing messages to attract them.  That's why directory listings and similar listing types are not effective as  all law firms are bunched together and everyone looks the same.

A much better method is to go out and target your ideal customer so you can create custom messages and reach them at a time where you are the only lawyer speaking to them.  While people have little attention span, it allows you a few moments to get your message to them without the distractions of a hundred other law firms drowning out your message.

Below are 5 specific things you can do online to target your ideal client.

Life Events via Facebook Ads

There are so many ways to target Facebook users for advertising purposes, it's scary.  I wrote a post outlining some of the most popular ways. You can read it here.  Depending on what type of law you practice, a great opportunity to target Facebook users is to run ads based on Life Events.  Life Events allows you to target Facebook users by various life events such as births, relationship changes, moving and retirements. These are just a few examples of ways you can use Life Events to target users at a particular moment in their life.  Scary that Facebook knows this and lets you advertise using this method?  Yes.

Facebooks Ads Life Events Image

Life Events allows you to target Facebook users by various life events such as changes in relationship status (divorce lawyers), new births and retirements(Estate planning lawyers), just to name a few possibilities.  When you also use other types of Facebook targeting such as demographic and location targeting to really fine tune your audience which will allow you to create laser targeted messaging.   There are several other ways that lawyers can create targeted ad campaigns in Facebook, but Life Events stands out as an easy win.

Google Adwords and Facebook Remarketing

Remarketing is when you continue to serve advertisements to people visited your website after they have left and are surfing the internet.  Google Adwords and Facebook have two of the best remarketing platforms available and allow you to cover a large part of the internet for remarketing purposes.

Facebook Remarketing Infographic

Why would you want to run a remarketing campaign?  If someone is shopping around for a lawyer, they may visit several websites, probably forgetting details about any single website.  Remarketing allows you to stay front in center in their minds as they continue shopping around and allows you the ability to establish your brand and draw them back to your website with targeted messaging.

Google Adwords Call Only Campaign

Google launched this product in 2015 and it has been very successful for my clients that use it, especially service based businesses.  While Google mobile ads always allowed you to include a clickable phone number in its ads, Call Only ads removes the website entirely and goes straight to a phone call.  The costs per click are higher than regular ads but every click is essentially a conversion.

Google Adwords Call Only Campaign Image

For example, if someone gets arrested for DUI, if they search on their phone for a lawyer, you can show them an ad to call you immediately for assistance.  No time wasted visiting a website, straight to a phone call.  The best part is that Google Adwords currently limits 2 ads per mobile results page and places them at the top so ads so they take up most of the phone's screen real estate.  They are also listed above organic search results, making them very valuable.

74% of prospects beginning a search online end up contacting the office via phone. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)


Banner Ads via Google Display Network

Lawyers love billboards. When we drive through Florida on our way to St.Petersburg, we like to count the number of billboards for lawyers along the way. There are a lot of them, many of them humorous, whether they meant to be or not. We also get a chuckle driving through Buffalo on our way to Toronto, I'm looking at you Cellino and Barnes : )

Google Display Network Infographic

Online banner ads are the equivalent of a roadside billboard, with the exception that billboards cost thousands of dollars every month and are relevant to about .0001% of the people who see it, while banner ads cost pennies and are highly targeted to a very specific audience.


Leverage Your Existing Database

Facebook has a neat feature called, “Looakalike Audiences”, where you can upload your existing database and they will cross match the information and identify Facebook users from this list.  Once they have that list in hand they will essentially create a clone list that will look very much like your existing list.  You now have an entirely new list of people you can market to that exhibit a very similar demographics, interests and behaviors as your current client list.

Facebook Lookalike Audience Infographic

The lists are all saved in Facebook and you do not have access to the actual people on the list, nor can you download it.  It is meant to be used only inside Facebook.  When they do their data match with your existing list, they do it “blind” so they cannot see any of the actual information.  When they are done they purge the list from their database for privacy reasons.  In case you had questions concerning privacy.

Google Adwords also has a similar feature to Facebook's Custom Audiences called, “Google Customer Match”, that also allows you to create cloned audience lists in Google Adwords.  



Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most law practices are local in nature, targeting mostly the residents in their city or region.  Local SEO lets you optimize your website and other 3rd party local properties for your area so you show up higher in the local search results.  A local search result in Google is when the map appears in the search results with pin drop icons showing local businesses on the map.

Facebook Lookalike Audience Infographic

So if someone searches for something like, “divorce lawyers in Charlotte”, the results will show a map along with Charlotte divorce lawyers peppering the map.  How high you show up in the listing depends on how strong your website and local online presence is.

62% of legal searches are non-branded (i.e., generic: “Phoenix divorce attorney,” etc.). (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

The main 4 areas to optimize are:

  • Your website
  • Google My Business Page
  • Bing Places Page
  • Important directories and 3rd party websites relevant to your city and/or industry

Want to improve locally?  Here are some easy steps to take:

1- Claim and optimize (fill out completely and accurately) your Google My Business and Bing Places pages

2- Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is prominently displayed on your website

3 – Get client reviews for your Google Page.

85% use online maps to find legal service locations. (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

Here are a few articles for further reading related to local seo:

Do you have an online marketing plan for your law firm?

Online is where it's at.  People research, play and shop online.  If you don't have a solid online marketing strategy then you are missing out on most of your potential client pool.  The above points should get you started, or at least give you an idea of what opportunities await for you in online marketing.

Have a question about anything here?  You can contact me here.