27 Oct How to grow your law firm by optimizing the client experience
Growing a law practice is simple, at least on a conceptual level. All you need to do is sign up more clients this month than you did last month. Easy enough, right? Well, it sounds easy, but actually making it happen is a huge challenge. Sure, you can just grow organically through word of mouth and referrals, but that takes a really long time. If you want to ramp up your growth quickly, online marketing is pretty much the only way. In this post, we’ll explain how you can grow your law firm quickly through online marketing by using live chat and a CRM to improve your conversion rate and create a more seamless client experience.
Why online marketing is like a leaky bucket
Online marketing is like a leaky water bucket. The bucket is your actual marketing strategy, and the water inside is all the time and money you spend on marketing.
In order to get new clients, you must keep the bucket completely full of water. But, unfortunately, the bucket has a leak in the bottom, as some money is inevitably lost when people click on your ads or visit your website but don’t convert into paying clients. So, you must continually pour more water into the bucket to keep it from emptying.
Using this analogy, you should see that there are only two ways to keep the bucket full and generate a steady stream of new business. You can either pour more water into the bucket to overcompensate for the leak, or you can work on fixing the leak so that less water escapes out the bottom.
Two approaches to growing your law firm
Putting this back into terms of online marketing for your law firm, we can see the two following approaches for growth:
- You can increase the amount of resources spent on marketing to generate more traffic and leads (i.e. pour more water into the bucket); OR
- You can work on optimizing your “funnel” to convert a larger percentage of the traffic you already have into leads and clients (i.e. fix the leak).
Both strategies can help your law firm grow, but option 1 doesn’t make much sense, at least not at first.
Why put even more resources into marketing before you have optimized your process to get the highest possible return from your existing marketing budget?
You don’t just pour more water into a leaky bucket to keep the bucket full. You have to fix the leak first.
How to optimize your marketing funnel with live chat + CRM
Now that you understand the importance of optimizing your marketing funnel before you ramp up your budget, let’s take a look at how to actually do it.
There are a thousand things you can test: different colored buttons, more prominent calls to action, revised ad copy, better imagery and so on. These minor design changes might marginally increase your conversion rate, but they probably won’t move the needle.
The biggest thing a law firm can do to convert more website traffic into paying clients is to rethink the entire journey that a potential client goes through from initial contact through retention, and optimize each step to improve the experience.
This is where live chat and CRM can help. Together, these two systems provide the structure and organization needed to help the law firm manage its sales process, while also creating a seamless and user-friendly experience for the client.
Start a conversation immediately with live chat
Facing legal issues can be daunting for potential clients. They are in a complicated situation which may threaten them financially, risk their personal freedom or both. Your role is to be their trusted advisor as they work through these challenges.
From the moment someone first lands on your website, you want to convey a sense of security and trust. Providing the option to live chat with a real person is a proven method that has been shown to increase conversion rates up to 40 percent, according to data collected by ApexChat.
The reason live chat is such an effective mechanism for converting web traffic into leads is that people feel more comfortable when they can start talking with a real person compared to just submitting a cold, lifeless contact form and hoping for a response.
By starting a conversation with website visitors and engaging with them in real time, you can jump-start the process of building their trust. Plus, you will capture more leads from your website without having to spend more money on ads.
Track and nurture prospects with a CRM
Too many law firms rely on manual, inconsistent processes for tracking their potential clients. Jotting down a name and phone number on a sticky note or leaving an unread email in your inbox are not reliable methods for managing your sales process.
Inevitably, some potential business will end up slipping through the cracks due to poor organization or failure to follow up. This is a major “leak” in the bucket, but luckily it’s an easy one to fix.
Implementing a CRM is one of the most important steps toward optimizing your funnel. A CRM serves as the backbone of the sales process and is used to help you continue guiding each newly captured lead along on their journey toward becoming a paying client.
Ideally, you can use a CRM that integrates directly with your live chat service, such as the integration between Lexicata and ApexChat. That way, you can completely bypass the sticky notes and spreadsheets because each new lead from your website will automatically be pulled into your CRM for tracking and follow up.
A good CRM will also include useful features to help you stay on top of prospects and follow up. For example, Lexicata has built-in tasks and reminders, plus the ability to send out automated drip emails which you can use to educate potential clients and encourage them to take the next step.
Streamline intake and retention with online solutions
Once a lead is ready to move forward, the final step in the conversion process is client intake and retention. It’s a key step in formalizing the legal representation, but it’s also a common point in the journey where potential clients tend to drop off.
The typical legal intake process requires clients to manually fill out intake forms and sign fee agreements and other paperwork. This can be an onerous process, and as any good salesperson knows, removing such barriers is the key to closing a deal.
By utilizing an online client intake solution, you can eliminate tedious steps from the process and drastically reduce the time it takes for someone to fill out these forms and sign a fee agreement.
For example, Lexicata offers online intake forms and an e-signature integration, enabling clients to complete the intake process online from a computer or smartphone, without having to print, scan or fill anything out by hand.
These tools will help eliminate friction in the intake process, making it easy and enjoyable for your clients, and maximizing your conversion rate at the same time.
Hopefully, you are starting to see how online marketing with a proper intake and conversion process can help your law firm grow. Below are some key takeaways from this post which you should always keep in mind when implementing your law firm growth strategy:
- Online marketing can be expensive, but it’s also one of the only ways to accelerate a law firm’s growth rate.
- Since paid marketing is a “leaky bucket,” you should always optimize your processes before increasing your budget, allowing you to maximize the ROI.
- For a law firm, the best way to optimize the conversion rate is to create a seamless experience that instills trust and encourages active communication from the start.
- With a combination of live chat and an integrated CRM system, you can provide an easy process for clients to engage with your firm, and ensure that no potential business slips through the cracks due to lack of follow up.
- By using online solutions for client intake and retention, you can reduce bottlenecks, speed up the retention time and improve client satisfaction, all of which will maximize your likelihood of success.
Aaron George is an entrepreneur with a background in law and technology, having started a successful mobile app development business during law school. He is an active blogger, a graphic designer, and a lover of music and all things sports related. Currently, he is co-founder of both LawKick.com and Lexicata, the number one CRM and client intake solution for law firms. Connect with him on LinkedIn.