Pros and Cons of Lawyer Advertising via Pay per Lead

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 20, 2013

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One lawyer advertising model that has gained momentum recently is pay-per-lead advertising. If you have a reasonable marketing budget, but don’t have time to wade through the morass of lawyer marketing services, pay per lead marketing might be a good choice. With Pay per Lead marketing, lawyers pay a flat fee for each lead (phone call or email) that is directed to their firm. Here are some major pros and cons of pay per lead marketing.

Pros of Lawyer Advertising via Pay per Lead

  1. Only Pay for the Leads you get
    With pay per lead models, you only have to pay for the leads that are actually routed to you. Unlike some other online lawyer marketing services, you don’t risk money for a service that yields zero responses. You can be sure you will get leads.
  2. You have some control over the quality of leads you receive
    While pay per lead companies expect that some of the leads you get will be irrelevant to your areas of practice, lawyer lead generation companies often let you dispute what constitutes a billable lead. For example, if you’ve contracted for personal injury leads, and somebody calls you for a divorce case, you should have no problem disputing that lead come billing time. Other companies even do additional screening (intake) to be sure a lead is relevant in order to minimize the number of irrelevant leads they deliver.
  3. No micro-management needed
    Some online lawyer marketing services require you to make specific choices about advertising placements and messaging. Pay per lead marketing is more hands off. You don’t have to think about how leads are being generated or how you can increase productivity because it is in the pay per lead service’s interest to deliver as many quality leads as possible.

Cons of Law Firm Pay Per Lead Services

  1. Pay per Lead Marketing can be Expensive relative to other Lawyer Marketing
    Some pay per lead services charge as much as $100 per lead, or more. While this is not as expensive as pay-per-click advertising, it might take 10 or more leads before you actually acquire a client. You can protect against high pay per lead costs if you contract with companies to deliver a specific number of leads. Even contracting with a pay per lead company for only one month could cost you thousands, if you agree to pay for all they can deliver within that period.
  2. Pay per Lead Marketing might produce a lower volume of leads than you could achieve elsewhere
    Even though it’s in a pay per lead company’s best interest to deliver as many leads as possible, lead flows are unpredictable, so it doesn’t always work that way. In fact, many pay per lead companies have sprouted up in recent years. Since newer companies are often unable to gain high organic rankings in search engines immediately, they often have to pay for traffic in order to generate leads. Depending on the financial health of the lead generation company, this may limit the number of leads they can generate at any given time. High lead costs coupled with low lead volume doesn’t make sense for all firms. If your budget is less than $5,000 per year, you might be better off by purchasing directory listings from several companies.
  3. Pay per lead models may require more law firm resources to maximize ROI
    Whether you are paying $100 per lead, or even half that much, you should be prepared to work that lead to the fullest. That means being organized, returning calls promptly, and, following up on those calls regularly, just as any other sales cycle requires. Converting just one lead to a client could mean the difference between success and failure for your pay per lead campaign.

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