Why Intake Needs to be a Priority in Your Firm

gap between advertising leads and clients

What’s the goal of a legal advertising campaign?

“To reach a lot of people,” you might answer… or maybe “to get more business!” But those goals aren’t the same, and it’s all too easy to confuse the two — especially where television and online marketing are concerned.

Advertising is playing an increasingly important role in the legal services market, with surveys showing that law firms across the country are buying larger shares of media (and spending more on marketing in general) than ever before – more than $1 Billion in 2016 alone.

In fact, in terms of dollars spent on television advertising each year, the legal services sector has grown faster than any other industry.

“Dollars spent” doesn’t always translate to “dollars returned,” though. Too many law firms are expending large amounts of money on attorney TV ads that don’t deliver sufficient ROI.

There are two key reasons for that. The first and biggest problem is that the messaging in these ads frequently fails to resonate with viewers. We’ve recently written about how to connect with personal injury clients, for example. The right approach can make a world of difference in terms of results.

The other major problem is more internal in nature: when individuals actually do respond to the ad, law firms don’t always take the right steps to convert them into clients.

This latter dilemma is a real challenge for busy people who are pros when it comes to complex legal questions but who might struggle to make their marketing work. Below, we look at practical ways to bridge the disconnect between running attorney TV ads and actually generating new cases.

The Difference Between Leads and Intake

The first step is to understand the distinction between leads and intake.

“Leads” refer to the people who take some action in response to your marketing efforts. They see your ad on television and then call your office, for instance. Or maybe they find your website on Google and then ask a question in the chat box.

Leads are great. They are an early goal of any marketing campaign. The more of them you attract, the better. But they aren’t clients — yet.

“Intake,” meanwhile, refers to the process of converting these inbound leads to clients.

We find that law firms are often very excited about their marketing efforts at first, and with the right strategy in place, they successfully attract new leads. But what’s lacking is the conversion from lead to client.

Too many law firms fail to convert leads to intake. And without skilled and dedicated intake, these leads ultimately don’t do you much good. ROI is measured in terms of successful intake procedures.

How to Track Your Intake

So how do you improve your intake? The first step is to track it.

To the fullest extent possible, your office should keep a clear record of every single lead.

On the telephone end of the spectrum, when the phone rings, ask your support staff to collect names and contact information, as well as the date and time of each call. This way, you can monitor who has (and just as importantly, who hasn’t) converted into a case.

Online, you and your web marketing team can use analytics tools to monitor how many people are taking action through your website and how many of those people return and/or become clients.

Learn more about using lead tracking to monitor your marketing effectiveness.

7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Intake Game

The more you put into lead conversion, the more you get out of it.

There’s a lot you and your office can to do to get serious about capitalizing on each and every person with a worthwhile case who cares enough to visit or contact your firm.

The following tips are practical, actionable ideas that you can begin implementing today to make a difference:

intake improvement tip 1

  • As we mentioned earlier, immediately get contact information for everyone who contacts your office. This should be the first thing you do because people calling on cell phones often lose service unexpectedly. If the call is disconnected, you can call them back.

intake improvement tip 2

  • Commit to never keeping a caller on hold for more than one minute without someone personally re-acknowledging the call. (The less, the better.)

intake improvement tip 3

  • Be sure that you’re identifying your law firm by name at each point of contact — every email form, every phone call, every ad. Your prospective clients almost always talk to more than one firm before making a decision. Make sure they remember who you are.

intake improvement tip 4

  • If the client comes to you by phone, make sure they also know about your website. Likewise, if they come to you online, make sure your phone number can be easily located. Surveys show that many clients use both forms of contact before making a decision.

intake improvement tip 5

  • Listen in on your support staff’s handling of calls. Monitoring your call intake is an important part of client conversion and retention.

intake improvement tip 6

  • Good old-fashioned politeness goes a long way. We have found that law firms often give off a “we’re too busy” vibe, and that’s enough to send people running to your competitor. Remember: clients don’t see their cases as cases; they see them as emotional needs. At every point of contact, send the right emotional message: you care.

intake improvement tip 7

  • Always follow up. So many leads are left unconverted because the firm never takes the time to reinitiate contact. Don’t leave leads cold. If you don’t go after them, your competitors will.

Click here to for the full version of this intake infographic.

Ask Our Experts About How to Generate More Cases for Your Law Firm

Network Affiliates is a team of legal marketing professionals who emphasize creative approaches to legal advertising, always with an eye toward measurable growth.

Attracting leads and converting them to clients can feel like an overwhelming, full-time job all its own. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s what we’re here for.

Reach out and learn more about how we can help. Call 877.709.0633 or simply use our easy online contact form today.

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