SOURCE: Martindale

Martindale

September 09, 2014 14:44 ET

Lead Generation Is the Most Effective Online Marketing Technique for Law Firms, Says Martindale Survey

First-Ever State of Online Marketing Survey Illustrates Importance of Lead Generation to Grow Practices, Inspires New Set of Recommended Best Practices

PLEASANTON, CA--(Marketwired - Sep 9, 2014) - Online lead generation services have permanently changed the legal industry and are the most effective online marketing technique for helping law firms grow their businesses, according to a new Martindale survey.

Martindale surveyed more than 300 clients regarding their firms' marketing initiatives. Survey respondents represented a wide range of practices, from solo practitioners to firms with more than 50 attorneys on staff. Virtually all areas of practice were represented.

"This survey provided us with a fascinating look inside the way the legal community approaches online marketing," said Chris Braun, General Manager at Martindale. "We're excited to share our findings with the industry so that firms of all sizes can optimize their techniques and grow their practices."

Online Marketing: All Grown Up
As the Internet has matured, online marketing initiatives have rapidly supplanted traditional marketing efforts (such as direct mail and phone book ads) in marketing budgets:

  • 65% of respondents spend more than half of their entire marketing budgets on online initiatives
  • 78.4% of respondents reported that online marketing techniques (including lead generation services, SEM, SEO, and social media) are their best performing advertising medium

"We are well into the digital age of marketing in the legal industry," said Braun. "Online marketing resources such as lead generation services have become essential tools in the industry. Bluntly speaking, if a firm isn't utilizing online marketing techniques, they are not getting the most from their budget."

Lead Generation Is Cost-Effective -- and Effective, Period
Online lead generation is the most cost-effective online marketing technique across a range of firm sizes and budgets, beating out other online marketing solutions:

  • 43.6% of survey respondents said online lead generation services account for more than 25% of new business -- and among that group, half report that lead generation services account for more than 50% of new business
  • On average, online lead generation services are three times more effective than search engine marketing initiatives, according to survey respondents

Leveling the Playing Field
Due to its cost-effective nature, online lead generation is helping to level the playing field when it comes to practice development, providing unprecedented new opportunities for firms of all sizes to grow.

"Historically, larger firms with bigger budgets could buy bigger ads or send more direct mail. But the comparatively low cost of online lead generation services puts smaller firms in a much more equal position to develop their practices," said Braun. "Even better, online lead generation works for all phases of firm development: it's ideal for quickly establishing a client base for new firms, and can also help rapidly grow established firms."

You've Got the Leads. Now What?
The way firms handle and track inbound leads can vary widely -- and there's room for improvement across the board:

  • 70.7% of survey respondents respond to leads within one hour, but less than half of those respond within 15 minutes
  • Just 14.8% of respondents attempt to contact leads more than three times
  • 25.9% of respondents do not track leads in any form

"Response times longer than one hour can be considered missed opportunities. It's crucial to respond to leads as soon as possible, or another firm will likely beat you to the punch," said Braun. "Likewise, nurturing leads that could easily be written off as 'dead' is equally important, as it can help firms engage new clients that would otherwise be left on the table."

Martindale analysts recommend the following best practices regarding handling and tracking leads:

  • Make every effort to respond to leads within 15 minutes
  • Make a minimum of three to five attempts to contact each prospect
  • If you don't receive a response after three to five attempts, check back with the leads in the future
  • Call every lead -- the information included in the submission may not contain information that would qualify them
  • Track your efforts, even if you only use a simple spreadsheet; this can help you identify and resurrect dormant leads

A detailed analysis of Martindale's State of Online Marketing survey results in downloadable whitepaper form can be found at http://www.martindalenolo.com/education/state-of-online-marketing-for-legal-professionals.

About Martindale
Martindale is a powerful platform for attorneys to market their practices online, combining the strengths of Martindale-Hubbell's attorney-facing resources and Nolo's consumer-focused network of sites. Martindale is uniquely qualified to offer online services for law firms: by understanding the needs of attorneys focused on growing their practices and the practical needs of consumers focused on finding the best attorneys.

Martindale is a division of Internet Brands (www.internetbrands.com).

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