7 FREE Lead Gen Ideas for Law Firms

Marketing Ideas that Won't Break the Bank

When it comes to marketing, attorneys get a bad rap.

From ambulance chasers to piggybacking the firm next door, there's a reputation of resorting to all kinds of lows to get leads.

That stuff just won't fly anymore.

Today's clients are smarter than ever. And thankfully, there are more ways of reaching them than ever. Legal marketing pundits recommend everything from AI-powered chatbots to becoming a YouTube influencer.

But will those things really give you the ROI you want?

We consulted with some of the legal industry's biggest experts to help you cut through the hype and find out what tactics really work for generating free or low-cost leads for your business.

(And if you need one central place to keep tabs on everything that's happening with your leads, check this out.)

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#1. Give stuff away

"One of the most creative ways to get free or low-cost leads is to provide complimentary or low-cost continuing education courses for your target demographic."

— Stacey Burke, Attorney & Owner, Stacey E. Burke, P.C.

When it comes to getting free or low-cost leads, like recognizes like.

If you ask experts like personal injury trial lawyer turned legal marketing superstar Stacey Burke, she'll tell you:

In today's #LegalTech age, the ability to provide in-person value is everything.

If you're ready to boost the ROI on your law firm marketing efforts, it's time to get creative. And it's time to get generous. "One of the most creative ways to get free or low-cost leads is to provide complimentary or low-cost continuing education courses for your target demographic," says Stacey.

And if you're going to put in the effort to create a stellar free course or seminar, why not go the extra mile and get it accredited? (Bonus points if you throw in some donuts, too.)

"Be sure to get your course accredited by the appropriate authority for each target industry. If a potential client or existing client with the potential to send you more business can get both the value of your content/advice and continuing education hours (and even throw in a free breakfast or lunch), they are more likely to attend and engage with you," Stacey suggests.

#2. Claim your online niche

"To get leads you must be the best in your niche and you must get that message out through online media."

— Kenneth A. Grady, Adjunct Professor & Research Fellow, Michigan State University College of Law

Let's face it. These days, Google is everyone's first stop for counsel.

In fact, according to a 2017 poll from iLawyerMarketing, 57% of respondents indicated they would use a smartphone if searching online for a lawyer.

You might be surprised to learn that people would make important decisions (like who they should hire to handle their legal affairs) while waiting in the doctor's office or drive-thru line, but that's the reality. And experts like Kenneth Grady have been on to this for years.

The retired lawyer is known for redefining legal department-law firm relationships and for his prolific insights in tech innovation in the changing legal services market.

According to Kenneth, "To get leads you must be the best in your niche and you must get that message out through online media. Clients want lawyers who can get them from problem to solution efficiently, quickly, and at a reasonable cost. Those lawyers who are most successful at delivering that message online will draw the most client contacts."

#3. Create a buzz

"Earned media is the gift that keeps on giving."

— Erin Levine, Founder & CEO, Hello Divorce

Okay, we get it—making waves on Google is important.

Thing is, it's really noisy out there.

That's why experts like Erin Levine, Founder & CEO of Bay Area law firm Hello Divorce suggest that once you've nailed your standout message—it's time to hit the headlines.

"I think one of the best ways to get free leads is earned media," says Erin. "It’s the gift that keeps on giving."

Today 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations. Only 24% trust online ads.

Earned media is your digital word-of-mouth.

Erin's been featured in Entrepreneur, Brit+Co, Forbes, mindbodygreen, Above the Law, Hey Mama and many other publications. And the more interviews she gives, the more leads she gets.

"The more you position yourself as a 'thought leader,' the more press opportunities you will have," Erin explains.

Just make sure you're ready for the influx in traffic. "Once the post, article or blog is on the internet, anyone can access it. If the site has good SEO, it’s a huge bonus," she suggests.

After that, it's all about testing and tracking to optimize your best lead sources. "If you are going to spend money on marketing and/or lead generation, it’s best to diversify — at least until you have enough data to determine where your most qualified leads are coming from," she suggests.

#4. Go bold with social media

"Social media is probably the best way to find your audience and speak to them in creative and low-cost ways."

— Billie Tarascio, Owner, Modern Law, Modern Law Practice and Access Legal

For attorneys, social media can feel like the ultimate can of worms.

Obviously, you want to keep it professional when you're chatting away on Facebook (after all, in a court of law, there is no such thing as 'delete').

Still, that doesn't mean your social media game has to be boring.

According to ace attorney, Billie Tarascio, the key is to keep it customer-centric. "Social media is probably the best way to find your audience and speak to them in creative and low-cost ways. Social media is micro media. You can say what you want to say and build your audience. The first step is to understand your consumer and talk about what they want to hear," says Billie.

The owner of Modern Law, Modern Law Practice and Access Legal (who also happens to be a self-proclaimed undying optimist) is known for her ability to break down the tech trends and help attorneys lead happier, more successful practices.

But Billie warns against getting too comfy with any specific tactic. "By challenging assumptions and running tests you can customize your messaging and get free and low-cost leads. Then, it's very important to have an intake system to process those leads and convert them into clients," she explains.

It's a point that bears repeating. Social media can be a tough nut to crack. The last thing you want to do after putting your blood, tears and sweat into generating free or low-cost social media leads is let them sit for weeks in your inbox or get lost in the shuffle between a million different tech platforms.

Aim for a single, central place where you can buckle down and focus on conversion.

#5. Be responsive

"When you're responsive and known for doing a good job, it's so much easier for other lawyers to refer you cases while alleviating their concerns that you might steal their client."

— Adam Camras, CEO, LAWgical

Adam Camras is the CEO of LAWgical, the company that owns and operates leading legal brands, including Legal Talk Network, ServeNow and ServeManage.

And he's not afraid to tell it like it is.

"There are lots of cost-effective ways to generate leads however, I'm a big believer in responsiveness, doing a good job and being known in a specific practice area expert. As opposed to being a Door Lawyer," says Adam.

What's a 'Door Lawyer', you ask?

In case you haven't heard the term before, a 'Door Lawyer' is a lawyer who takes any case that comes through the door. And according to Adam, it's a terrible way to run your firm.

"When you're responsive and known for doing a good job, it's so much easier for other lawyers to refer you cases while alleviating their concerns that you might steal their client. They want to look good by referring prospects to the best lawyer for their matter. This also makes it so much easier to effectively target your marketing which, depending on your practice area, should be a combination of digital, traditional and networking," Adam explains.

If you don't already use a system that lets you customize and automate your lead nurturing and management, get one now. The right tool will make it easy for you to connect with prospects faster.

#6. Focus on relationships

"Lawyers that have learned to leverage technology to achieve these objectives will continue to earn new business."

— Gyi Tsakalakis, President, AttorneySyn

Not all leads are created equal.

Part of refusing to be a 'Door Lawyer' is committing to your role as a relationship-builder.

Gyi Tsakalakis is a lawyer, SEO genius and former football coach who's helped law firms of all shapes and sizes get more leads by focusing on one thing above all else:

Meaningful connection.

According to Gyi, "The most efficient way to earn meaningful attention from potential clients remains much the same as it always has been: creating, nurturing, and solidifying professional relationships and demonstrating knowledge, skill, and experience (reputation)."

With all the hype about being replaced by robots, we think Gyi's onto something. Today, 66% of consumers say they’ll switch brands if they feel treated like a number, not an individual.

Your ability to build a personal, human connection is your competitive advantage in the new legal era. "Lawyers that have learned to leverage technology to achieve these objectives will continue to earn new business," predicts Gyi.

#7. Be original

"Do what works best and feels most natural for you and the clients will come."

— Jamie Lieberman, Partner, Hashtag Legal LLC

It's always great to lift your head above the water from time to time and take a look around at what's really working in the industry.

But beware. Copying another firm's marketing strategy will almost never get you the results you're after.

When she's not busy running multiple legal businesses (or dying her hair pink), you can usually find Jamie Lieberman advising digital content creators on how to keep their work and businesses protected. And yes, she's seen it all.

"The worst way to get leads is to copy someone else's marketing strategy. Do what works best and feels most natural for you and the clients will come," she advises.