This week I had the pleasure of meeting with a collections attorney, a business law paralegal, two divorce attorneys, and a consumer rights attorney.

Aside from me thinking about all of us walking into a bar with some clever punchline in mind, I learned a lot from everyone.Lightbulb

My sole purpose for the meetings was to better understand each firm’s approach to business development. What I walked away with though was a consistent message on four specific pain points that seem to be common, no matter which practice area an attorney specializes in.

Here’s the message I got from some of your peers along with a few practical solutions:

Not Getting the right Referrals

Referrals are great! Webology gets a lot of referrals, so I know the power of a positive word from someone your prospective client trusts.

For attorneys, it’s very much the same. However, not all referrals are good for some obvious reasons.

the importance of business referrals for law firms.

Think about a divorce attorney that gets a lot of referrals from a bankruptcy lawyer. Sometimes it might be an easy home run but more often than not, these prospects will get sticker-shock and either attempt to DIY their case (never a good idea), or they might seek out a lower price quote from a competing firm with an on-site Coinstar machine.

A better referral source might be a CPA whose helping a business client split up assets for an uncontested divorce.

Getting the most from Referrals

No matter who your referral partners are though, make sure you take the time to get to know them better. Learn about each other’s business goals and discuss which prospects are the most qualified for their firm.

Two people shaking hands.

If you understand their business it makes you a better referral partner. This is all just human nature, but don’t you think that someone you send only the best leads to will also be inclined to do the same? I do. That’s why we try to screen and qualify leads as much as possible before sending them on to one of our partners in a different industry.

Past Marketing Failures & Fear of the Unknown

Being in digital marketing, I get to hear a lot of feedback about past experiences with my industry. It’s a mix of good and bad, but the horror stories do seem to get shared the most.

Horror stories or your own past experiences might be limiting your firm’s growth though. One of the attorneys I met with recently shared a story about spending over $12,000 for a Google Ad campaign that didn’t deliver a single lead!

Success or Failure

Let me backup first though and just say that the agency they were working with probably did deliver some leads. Where they most likely failed was in their inability to quantify any sort of ROI on the $12,000 ad budget…

And by ROI I don’t mean impressions, clicks, or any of those other vanity metrics some marketers like to go on and on about. I’m referring to call tracking and form submissions. Tangible proof that leads were being delivered from a particular lead channel. Without that, it’s all conjecture.

How do you Get Over the Fear of Past Marketing Mistakes?

If you’re in a similar situation, don’t just immediately fire the agency you’re working with. Set a meeting and ask them to provide an update on your campaign. If they aren’t using CallRail or some other tool to track inbound calls, ask them to but expect to pay an additional fee if that’s outside the scope of your original agreement.

If they are delivering leads, but the problem is that they are low-quality, just brainstorm a few qualifying questions to add to your website lead form so you can weed out the bad prospects.

Whatever you do though, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that whatever marketing channel you’ve been using ‘doesn’t work’. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be countless attorneys all over the US spending thousands each month on SEO, Google Ads, and Social Media.

Are Free Consult Offers Worth It Anymore?ROI

Adding a very compelling offer to the top banner of every page on your site is something we encourage all of our attorney clients to do. Often, that comes in the form of a free consult.

Free consults are great for starting conversations, but they do come with their own set of problems. One practice I met with completely dropped free consults last year. They were giving away a lot of free advice…

How to Improve Closing Rates on Free Legal Consult Meetings

If you can relate to this story, there are a few steps you can take to continue offering free consultations without as many tire-kickers walking off with your valuable time. I’ll refer you back to the last section where I suggested improving your website contact form. This is a good start because you can filter out a lot of bad prospects simply by having them answer some qualifying questions within the form.

You might also want to consider listing your hourly rates prominently on your landing page.

Get Targeted and Convert More Free Consults

One of the main reasons people will walk after a free consult is that they are price-conscious. If you know your local area, you can improve your results by simply targeting your marketing towards more affluent areas. Google Ads is the perfect platform for this. It allows you to be so specific that you only target people in certain zip codes.

Free Consultations written on glass with a marker.

PRO TIP: Be sure to change the default setting from ‘People in or who show interest in your target locations’ to ‘People in your target locations’.

I may have shown some interest in Beverly Hills in a past Google search, but it doesn’t mean I can afford a home there! Correcting this default setting will make certain your ads are more closely targeted to the right location.

Understanding (and beating) the Competition

Competition is fierce in the legal world. The most successful firms understand their competition and do what it takes to beat them.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel in marketing most of the time. Sure, it’s great to be a trailblazer and stand out but in the world of digital marketing, there’s so much information about your competition that’s just a keystroke away.

Look over their site page-by-page. Who are they marketing to? How often do they blog, and what topics are they writing about.

You can even take it a step further by analyzing their backlinks using a popular tool like SEMrush or AHREFS. This will allow you to go for those same linking opportunities and propel your site to the top of Google.


Are they running Google Ads? No problem! Just plug their website URL into the keyword planning tool. You’ll be able to see the keywords that Google thinks are most relevant to their site, along with average search volume and a range of bid costs so you can plan and budget for your own campaign.


Talking to several legal professionals gave me a lot of insight into the struggles many law firms are feeling this year.

I’m sure if we met, you’d probably have your own unique challenges and a list of what’s worked and what didn’t work so far.

Let us know all about it in the comments, and feel free to reach out if new client acquisition is one of your struggles right now.


We’re a digital marketing agency that offers law firm marketing services. We can help generate leads and track them from the first click to their signature on the client intake form.