Sales funnels have been a central component of online marketing for years and many innovative law firms have wisely integrated them into their marketing plans. But whether you are looking to maximize your firm’s existing sales funnel or add one to your current marketing strategy, this post is here to help. It will explore the three phases of the sales funnel (along with a potentially profitable bonus phase that should not be forgotten) and discuss steps your law firm can take to best leverage each of them.
What is a Sales Funnel
Sales funnels utilize marketing materials and strategies to move prospects from leads to paying law firm clients. It starts with attracting more prospects and nurturing them through to fruition. Gone are the days when lawyers solely relied on business cards and word of mouth. Even a firm website is not as effective as it could be without additional marketing strategies. In this age of innovation, law firms have many more options available to them, and sales funnels are one of them.
With a sales funnel in place, firms can effectively structure their marketing activities to focus on leads most likely to become clients, instead of wasting time, money, and resources on those that likely will not. You can pinpoint those aspects that potential clients find most important and customize your marketing strategy accordingly. By mastering this process, your law firm can effectively and efficiently improve its conversion rate which can lead to greater profitability.
Before moving into the three phases, envision what a funnel looks like. The top starts broad and the funnel narrows down to a much smaller opening. The general legal audience represents the top opening and, as marketing efforts become more focused, the funnel narrows. Leads that stay within the funnel as it narrows are most likely to convert into paying clients.
Stage One – Attract Leads
This is the widest part of the funnel, where a law firm’s general marketing efforts attract prospects searching for legal representation. The activities undertaken by a law firm at this stage should be broadly focused to attract a wide range of prospects. This may include:
- Television and radio commercials
- Pay-per-click ads
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Speaking engagements
Firms should think about attracting the largest audience possible with the goal of encouraging awareness of the firm and its practice areas. This starts with identifying a target audience and the demographics of an ideal client. Then, consider what they want to see and hear. For instance, if a firm’s ideal client is a restaurant owner in New York City, the top of its funnel could include content with keywords and phrases like “restaurateur” and “New York restaurant owner.” The goal at this stage is to catch the client’s attention so that they move into the funnel.
Stage #2 – Build Confidence
Once the attention is there, law firms need to instill confidence in their services and skills. This is also referred to as the “consideration phase” where prospects are considering whether or not to initiate contact with your law firm. Successful movement through this stage of the funnel is all about convincing them in the affirmative.
Prospects will not move forward without feeling assured that your firm is the right option for meeting their legal needs. The goal here is to recognize the concerns of your leads and show them the firm’s ability to address them.
This can be done in a number of ways, including:
- Targeted, specific content
- Client testimonials
- Case studies
- Valuable landing pages
The other important aspect of this law firm sales funnel phase is making contact as effortless as possible for leads. Provide numerous options for reaching your firm. While some people may prefer to pick up the phone and make a call, others may prefer to send a message or complete an online form.
Make sure that you have a clearly visible and simple contact form on your website. You should also ensure that your firm is equipped with the ability to continue communications in whatever way the lead wishes. That’s how you move a lead from the building confidence phase to conversion.
Phase #3 – Conversion
The narrowest part of the sales funnel is where leads become paying law firm clients. It is all about responding to that initial contact, answering questions, and (as they say in the sales world) closing the deal. But unfortunately, this is where a lot of law firms fall short, leaving clients to wonder what happened and ultimately move on to the next firm on their list.
Some steps that a firm can take during this phase of the funnel are as follows:
- Contact form follow-up
- Telephone consultation
- Face-to-face meeting in person or virtually
- Personalized email targeting to the leads specific legal need
This crucial part of the sales funnel can easily turn into a missed opportunity for firms that do not have comprehensive client relationship management systems (CRMs) and intake management systems in place. Even the most intricate sales funnel is useless without a clear path for the lead to become a paying law firm client. Automated systems can go a long way towards reaching the goal of concluding the funnel with a new law firm client.
Plus One More Phase
While many firms view conversion as the end of the sales funnel, there is another phase that firms should also take seriously. It is client services… keeping clients informed, skillfully represented, and highly satisfied with your firm’s services. Too many law firms forget that the service they provide their current clients is another part of their marketing plan. Particularly for solo and small firms, client retention is key to growth, so it’s important to keep this phase top of mind and there are numerous ways to do so, such as:
- Keeping clients informed
- Sending transparent invoices
- Billing regularly
- Providing excellent service
- Returning client inquiries and addressing concerns
- Sending out newsletters to keep clients informed about firm news
- Asking for feedback to identify and address firm weaknesses
When clients are happy, they bring repeat business. They also leave good reviews, talk positively about your firm and refer your services to friends, family, and colleagues.