A good law firm lead capture process includes attracting the attention of visitors, collecting data to assess a case, filtering out junk leads, efficiently routing to the right team members and optimising ad campaigns to balance cost and results.
But lets be honest — almost no firm does all of these things well. We need a revolution!
At Humanise.AI we've been talking to clients and working out what that revolution looks like — here's what we've discovered so far...
🗿 We're in the stone age
Based on our research, law firms overwhelmingly rely on three solutions for website lead capture — displaying a phone number, displaying an email address and simple web enquiry forms. But these all have serious drawbacks — this really is the stone age.
There's been a shift in recent years away from making phone calls and towards messaging in various forms. Our investications bear this out, with law firms reporting that something in the order of 80% of leads are sourced via email or web contact forms and only about 20% via phone calls.
There may be a good reason for that - telephone phobia is a real thing!
We found phone numbers prominently displayed on most websites we reviewed. However, email addresses and enquiry forms were not always so easy to find — sometimes being hidden away on a “contact us” page and not at all well sign-posted.
The status quo makes no sense and digital methods for making an enquiry need to be prominently displayed and really eye catching. The easier it is to make an enquiry, the more likely it is that someone will do so.
📢 Online ads have become the major source of business growth
It's clear that Google Ad Words has become a major, even dominant, driver of law firm business. One firm we're working with sees 85% of website enquiries originate from a Google Ad Words campaign. And an increase or decrease in ad spend has a direct impact on the number of website visitors and leads generated — Google has become an essential part of such businesses.
However, whilst some large national law firms may employ digital marketing professionals, it's clear that smaller firms are struggling and lack skills in online ads, analytics and SEO.
Tools like Google Analytics ought to help inform ad decisions, but the lawyers we spoke to found it frighteningly complex to use. Because of this complexity, many are avoiding analytics tools and so lack the data to make informed ad spend decisions.
"We just throw more money at google if we need more leads" — anon lawyer.
Which ad campaigns are working and which are not? Which search terms result not just in website visitors, but in qualified leads? It seems that few lawyers can answer such questions.
We frequently found solicitors and paralegals stepping in as amateur digital marketers and setting up online ad campaigns themselves. One comment we heard hit home: "I shouldn't be doing this, I've no idea what I'm doing — I'm a lawyer, not a google ad expert".
🧮 Conversion ratios
Spending money on Google Ad Words will get people to your website, but if those people don't find it easy to make an enquiry there's a risk they go elsewhere. Worse, you've paid money with CPC charges for that traffic, so if you don't maximise the potantial to capture a lead then that money is being thrown away.
In effect, money invested in Google Ad Words is only as good as the efficiency with which a firm can convert website visitors into qualified leads. This factor, the conversion ratio, is a key metric that drives ad spend efficiency.
Rather than spend money on more ads, it might be better to spend some of that money on improving the ease with which prospective clients can make an enquiry — and therefore increase the conversion ratio and the efficiency of all future ad spend.
⏱ Response times need to be swift
We've learnt from law firms that the speed with which they respond to an enquiry is critical. We've often been told that if a lawyer is a bit slow in responding, the client will often say "oh don't worry, I found someone else" when they finally place a call.
There's a phrase in sales "time kills deals" that rings true. If you want to convert an enquiry into a client, it pays to respond immediately and before the competition has a chance to get involved.
Optimising the response time for leads needs a good workflow. Web forms almost always route to a single central mailbox — likely something like firstname.lastname@example.org. That means an office manager needs to first review it and decide what to do, before passing it on to the right specialist. The more handoffs, the more chance for delay. Instead, the desired state is that leads are immediately sent to the right person, along with some form of notification so they know there's something to work on. We didn't find any law firms that had achieved this desired state.
🗑 Junk leads
Every law firm we talked to raised the issue of "junk leads" — the "my mate owes me £50, can you help" or "I'm xyz nationality and would like to understand how I can find a job to move to the UK". Such leads aren't leads at all, but distractions.
However, simple lead capture solutions — like web forms and emails — aren't able to discern a good from a bad lead. Worse, they often don't collect the information needed for a lawyer to make that assessment. As a result, the poor lawyer ends up having to speak to the client before realising there's little chance of them ever paying for legal advice.
What's needed is a more intelligent lead capture process — one that's able to ask different questions for different areas of law and incorporate logic into the question flow — for example, if an immigration prospect indicates they are resident in the UK and looking for help with applying for British citizenship, the system might conditionally ask if they already have settled status.
✊ Starting our revolution!
Enough of the problems — we want to use our tech, Humanise.AI PlatformOne, to start a revolution and do things very differently!
PlatformOne uses AI and chat technology to address customer facing challenges. For law firms we set out to use it to:
- Attract attention to your lead capture solution and make it easier to use and even a bit fun — so more website visitors turn into qualified leads.
- Automatically filter junk leads, so your team spend less time chasing opportunities that turn to sand.
- Improve workflow efficiency, so leads get sent to the right team members quickly and reduce the risk that clients go elsewhere before your team have a chance to respond.
- Make it easier to understand ad metrics and make informed ad spend decisions.
🏛 Our Solution
Our solution provides an interactive and automated chat experience to capture leads. It pops up, grabs attention and ensures nobody needs to hunt around for a way to make contact.
Using AI, we take customers through a series of questions to gather the data needed to assess a case. For example, if a person is looking for help with debt recovery, it'll ask about the approximate value of the debt.
We integrate with Google Ad Words, so we know the search terms used and use that to customise our greeting. For example, if we know someone found a law website by searching for "work visa uk", we'll start by asking "Would you like help to find a UK work visa?". Who wouldn't say "yes" in response to a question that's perfectly tuned to what you're looking for?
We route leads to the right law firm teams, without needing an intermediary to review cases. The moment a lead is captured, members of the assigned team are sent both an email and a push notification, ensuring they get onto it before the competition gets a look in.
We present easy to use analytics ("website analytics for dummies"?) that make it obvious not just how many people click on an ad campaign, but what proportion of them went on to submit their details and become a qualified lead.
Here's our analytics for Ad Words, showing how easy it is to see search terms, how many visitors you have and how many of those go on to convert into leads — information that no platform like Google Analytics has access to.
Finally, as a bonus, our solution automatically translates between English and over 100 languages — so whether your website visitors speak English, Welsh, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati or Arabic (or one over over 100 other languages), it doesn't matter — they can communicate with you.
Our initial testing with clients is very exciting. Here's what we've found so far:
- Over 63% of website visitors chose our chat solution over other solutions like web forms.
- Law firm productivity is improved becuase they have the data needed to assess cases without calling clients.
- The average time taken to contact clients has reduced, avoiding "don't worry, I found someone else" situations.
- Greeting messages are tailored to the search terms used, increasing engagement levels by 20-60%.
One law firm we're working with had been using search terms that were receiving significant volumes of click-throughs, but no qualified leads resulted. Our ad analytics highlighted this discrepancy and on investigation those terms were removed because they cost money but were delivering no business value. We helped to clarify that "number of website visitors" is not the objective, but "number of qualified leads" is — and our analytics provided the data to optimise search terms used, maximising leads and minimising ad costs.
We'll report back further details and metrics here as we get them. We're hugely excited by what we've found and how our PlatformOne product can make a big difference to lead generation/capture for law firms.
ℹ️ Can we help?
If you’d like to know more about our legal work or are interested in adopting our technology, please get in touch