The Art of the Follow-Up: The Law Firm’s Guide to Lead Nurturing
12–14 minutes to read
Want to know why your competitors have more clients than you do? How are they able to attract so many people to their law firm? What are you doing wrong?
Your competitors are getting leads and following up with them.
So why aren’t you?
The most important part of landing any new client is the follow-up. It’s not enough to receive phone calls, emails, and direct messages. Those aren’t results; they’re just leads — and all the leads in the world don’t equal business for your law firm.
Unless you know what to do with them.
The answer: nurturing and follow-up.
Nurturing is the art and science of developing and maintaining relationships with your clients at every stage of their journey, usually through marketing and communications messaging.
Think of it this way: before you decide to purchase a product, you typically go through different levels of interest and commitment before ultimately deciding to take the plunge. A person deciding to hire a lawyer has a similar decision-making process.
The new buyer’s journey is anything but linear, so expecting every user to convert into a new client upon their first encounter with your ads or first visit to your website is not reasonable.
If you aren’t doing everything you can to follow up with every new contact and nurture them into a client, you are missing countless opportunities. But don’t worry; we’ve got the answers.
This article will teach you all about the art of the follow-up — and more importantly, the logic behind it. We’ll help you:
1. Understand the New Buyer’s Journey
Just like any good quest, there are many steps to getting what you want. What does your buyer want? While you would appreciate one easy answer, there isn’t one. Your ideal clients want (and need) different things and at different times.
You’ve got to be willing to pivot. Understand your ideal clients, what they’re interested in, and what they struggle with. Be ready to provide value at every step and make your law firm part of the conversations they’re already having.
Leverage powerful content techniques such as blogging, producing a podcast, or hosting webinars. Show your potential clients that your law firm is the most knowledgeable, helpful, and trustworthy by a landslide — and do it throughout their decision-making process.
This process occurs through the new buyer’s journey.
The five stages of the journey your ideal clients take are as follows:
- Step 1: Awareness
- Step 2: Interest
- Step 3: Evaluation
- Step 4: Decision
- Step 5: Loyalty
Gone are the days of a person seeing your ad, clicking your ad, and becoming a client immediately. The newer, more sophisticated buyer’s journey reflects the higher sophistication levels of consumers these days — and your law firm’s marketing must become more sophisticated as a result.
Awareness is the first step in the new buyer’s journey, and its main goal is to capture and keep your ideal client’s attention. At this stage, your ideal clients know nothing about your law firm and likely don’t have a need for your services, so getting your name out there is one of the most important things you can do.
How to do this:
- Create high-quality content that appeals to the appropriate audience. Don’t give them something they won’t care about.
- Utilize engaging and informative captions and calls-to-action. Ask questions and give them a place to go once they have this information.
- Avoid clickbaity content. No one wants to feel like they’re clicking on a fake site, so deliver real value and be genuine.
Interest is the second step in the new buyer’s journey. At this point, you’ve gotten your potential client’s attention at first glance, but now you need to prove to them that you know your stuff. This is the stage to share the story of who you are and how you’re different. We call this your unique value proposition (UVP).
If you don’t know what your law firm’s UVP is, it’s time to fix that right away. In order to find it, your story should answer:
- Why potential clients should trust you
- What makes your law firm different from others
- Why working with your law firm is the best decision for the potential client
Leave a mark on your potential clients so they won’t forget you.
The third stage of the new buyer’s journey is Evaluation, and it aims to provide logical support that justifies the emotional response potential clients’ have to your messages in Awareness and Interest.
If your potential clients have made it to this point, congratulations — they are seriously considering hiring you. All they still need is supporting evidence that this is the right decision for them.
Establish credibility. Do this by leveraging content that leverages social proof and data to give them logical evidence that your law firm is the ideal choice.
Social proof is a powerful phenomenon that happens when consumers look to the past actions of others to influence their decisions. Share reviews from past clients to show potential clients that you can be trusted and that others before them got the results they wanted.
If you give them the evidence they’re looking for, they’ll move onto the next step. Which is…
The one you really want.
The Decision stage is where the real congratulations are in order, because you’re just one tiny step away from landing a new client. This is the stage to positively reinforce the feelings they felt all the way back in stage one.
It’s imperative that there are no speed bumps in the Decision stage that could cause them to back out or question their decision.
Ways to reduce friction are as follows:
- Ensure your intake staff has proper phone training
- Reduce inbound response time (under 5 minutes is ideal)
- Ensure your in-office and virtual office experiences live up to the experience you’ve promised with your marketing
At the Loyalty stage, the client is yours — but your job still isn’t over. Provide excellent service, get positive results, and then…you’ve got to maintain a long term relationship with them even after their case is closed.
If this seems pointless, think again. This is how you land even more clients: referrals. Show your clients you care by providing them with a world-class experience from your law firm, send them something special on meaningful occasions or just because, or host client events and give back to your community.
When you give more than is expected to your clients, they’ll bring others into your world. Keep building your pipeline with the pipeline you’ve already created for yourself.
2. Fill Your Pipeline
Now that you know the entire journey your clients take, it’s important to understand how you get those good clients to move from one stage from the next. Before they become your clients, they are just new contacts.
New contacts come in many different forms. Check out a few ways to find them:
- Submission forms from a potential client inquiring about your services (also referred to as a “Contact Us” form on most websites)
- Direct messages on social media asking about your services
- Emails, phone calls, and any other direct form of communication from potential clients
- Referrals from your existing client base
These new contacts make up your pipeline — and in order to nurture them down that pipeline into new clients, you first need to make that initial touchpoint. Here are a few ideas for how to do it:
Directly engage with potential clients. Let them know who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. You can do this by reaching out via email, phone, and even social media. If people don’t know your law firm exists, how will they know that they want to work with you?
Advertise to potential clients. The more you get your name out there, the more success you’ll have. If a potential client finds your ads interesting and engages with them, retarget that person and continue to nurture them through the stages of the new buyer’s journey.
Offer a helpful tool or service. While your business as a whole is a helpful service, you need to convince potential clients of that before they’ll believe it. If you offer them a free sample of your expertise, it’ll further instill confidence in their decision to work with you. You can do this via email marketing, social media, blogging, podcasting, or any other content marketing channel. Be sure to make your helpful content user-friendly so your ideal clients will download and engage with it.
Ask your current clients for referrals. Referrals are one of the most powerful ways to land new clients. If you provide your clients with excellent service, they’ll tell their friends and family about it — essentially doing your marketing for you. Think of referrals as walking, talking reviews for your law firm. You don’t make large purchasing decisions without reading the reviews first, so why would you expect anyone else to?
Set yourself apart from the competition. Become the thought leader in your area of expertise. Provide as much valuable content as you can, whether it comes in the form of webinars, articles, podcast episodes, books, or any other medium. Prove to the people that you are the BEST decision for their needs.
Use social media to build your network. Check out hashtags relevant to your business and connect with others in the legal community. Even if you don’t get a brand new client, you will build your network, which in turn will inevitably lead to future clients.
These are just a few of the endless ways to attract new contacts to your pipeline, but they’re some of the most useful to start with.
Once you’ve successfully filled the top of your funnel with new contacts and potential clients…your challenge isn’t over yet. In fact — it’s just begun.
Instead of leaving new contacts and leads hanging, you’ve got to be relentless in your follow-up efforts. Don’t let them go until you have them as an official client.
3. Master the Art of Follow-Up
The number one mistake you can make is not following up with a lead. If your goal as a law firm owner is to bring in more higher quality cases, increase revenue, and grow your client base, then you can’t ignore the new contacts at the top of your pipeline.
Let’s say a potential client downloads a lead magnet from your law firm. You now have their contact information, and an indication of the type of challenge they are interested in solving. Of course, the first thing you should do is deliver the lead magnet they signed up for.
What do you do after that? Sit around and wait for them to respond? Don’t do this.
Following up on your first email can increase reply rates by more than 30% — a number that you don’t want to miss out on.
The best part? You don’t even have to send every single email yourself! You’re a busy law firm owner (and your intake team is hopefully handling many of these potential client inquiries). Leverage email automation to ensure you never miss an opportunity to follow up.
Start by building an automation that sends three followup emails total with very basic information:
- Thank you
- Any questions?
Don’t hesitate to continue the automation past these first three emails. Before they officially become a client, your contacts need to be reminded of their interest in your services, nurtured with more content, and given more evidence that they would be making a great decision by hiring you.
Sending multiple follow-up emails will generate more success because your name stays top-of-mind for the potential client. Don’t let them forget that they need you. Show them that you’re ready to help.
Phone follow-up is a huge strategy that many law firms aren’t taking enough advantage of. Because we’ve become so accustomed to sending an email or a text, we’ve long since forgotten the power a phone call can have on driving action.
Be honest with yourself: how many times is your intake team checking the office voicemail, returning calls, and returning them again even if you don’t connect the first, second, or third time? There are valuable opportunities left on the table without relentlessness. Call until you connect.
In fact, 80% of businesses require at least five follow-up calls after the initial inquiry.
Even if you get a contact via an online source (as opposed to a direct call you’re returning), you should 100% still follow up via phone call, preferably no more than 12-24 hours after receiving the lead — in addition to sending an email, of course. Do everything you can to keep the lead hot.
Unfortunately for 44% of sales representatives, however, they give up after just one follow-up email, and you can forget about their abilities to keep calling back. But that doesn’t change the fact that following up with a phone call is a pivotal part of nurturing leads.
You’ve got options. Don’t rely only on email and phone follow-up. The more you vary your touchpoints, the more likely your potential clients are to remember you for approaching them in a different way.
Check out some ideas for follow up inspiration:
Social media: There’s a reason it’s all the rage, and has been that way since the early 2000s. Communicate with contacts you’ve already made, and come to them in a more humanized, informal way. Reach them on the social media platforms where they are already spending their time and attention — and sharing their struggles and triumphs.
Direct mail: There’s nothing wrong with going old school! In fact, when people receive mail, it deeply resonates with them. Direct mail often has the greatest impact because it offers a tangible experience for the customer. Create more touchpoints by researching your area and seeing what people are searching for — then delivering value right to them (literally).
Invite them to events: Hosting an event is a surefire way for your law firm to leave a lasting mark on potential clients. We’re not saying that you need to host the party of the century; but we are saying to bring people together to make a personal impact as well as a communal impact. We often forget the power of being together in person, and that goes a long way when helping someone through a difficult period in their life.
Get creative: There’s no one way to effectively nurture your new contacts into clients. Get creative, think outside of the box, and collaborate with your team members and see what creative follow-up ideas they come up with. Continue to check out your competition and see what’s working for them. Don’t be afraid to network and reach out if you think it will help you. There’s always room for improvement, and you can always take on another client.
Whichever follow-up methods you decide to start with, continue testing all of them. Since there isn’t a right or wrong way to attract and nurture potential clients, see what works best for you and your law firm. Always try new ways of bringing new people into your law firm.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The most important currency when it comes to converting leads into clients is time. It cannot be stressed enough. Studies show that your chances of landing a potential client exponentially decrease after just five minutes. By improving the speed of your follow-up, you can increase conversions with little additional cost, instantly improving your ROI.
Nurturing and follow-up play a pivotal role in growing your law firm, making new connections, and changing more lives.
It’s important to remember that not every single new contact that comes in will become a client — and that’s okay. But in order to have a shot at converting most of them, make sure your law firm stays on top of nurturing and following up as effectively as possible.
In the time it took you to read this, another new contact came in. Don’t let it get away!