Your Call Intake Is Losing Your Law Firm Money

Add to Your Bottom Line by Focusing on Call Intake

Intake and conversion are two words regularly tied together in the legal marketing world. But how about owned media? These days, the marketing messages you own and control deserve to be a much bigger part of intake anatomy and the conversion conversation.

Let’s start with a quick recap of a point that can’t be clarified enough: Owned media is all the branding and marketing messages your law firm creates and delivers through channels you own. The most obvious of these are your website, social media properties, blog, mobile applications, etc. The goal is to have all owned messaging be consistent and complementary. For example, you might take an advertising campaign and deliver key elements of that ad in the right context for the right platform.

But what if we extend that owned media mindset to assets specifically designed to handle intake and conversion? We won’t go as far as to suggest that an intake employee or call center is just another “platform,” but if you give these human extensions of your brand the same kind of value you place on your carefully controlled media, you might just buy your law firm some new cases.

So we have people and we have platforms. And ultimately your law firm is in charge of how your brand, message, and image is conveyed at all points. If you want to compete, you must make all of these “touch points” finely tuned intake and conversion machines.

Intake initiatives for owned media

Quiz yourself about your own firm’s tactics while considering a few common scenarios:

  1. You’ve spent much of your marketing budget on a classy TV advertisement. It appears to be working—it’s making the phone ring.
  2. You’ve built in several easy ways for potential clients to reach you through live chat on your website or with clear calls to action on your direct mail campaigns.
    • What happens after the initial connection?
    • Do you follow up quickly and regularly to get that case?
  3. By old-fashioned word of mouth, you’ve been referred to a person with what on the surface sounds like a solid case.
    • How thoroughly do you qualify that potential client to rule out (or in) any possible ways you can legally assist this person?
    • How quickly do you follow that lead over the phone or via email?

All three of these intake-related scenarios touch on what’s in your control. You alone have jurisdiction over how your brand message is positioned and delivered through your owned media. Are you sending out the right messages but not consistently following up with those who have actually received the message? Are you appropriately meeting expectations when your ad campaigns work and people pick up the phone for legal advice?

Controlling each intake platform and person is a matter of strategy. It requires sitting down and looking at each piece and determining if it is fulfilling its role. Some other questions to consider are:

  • Do you have a policy for how quickly calls are returned?
  • Does the tone of your owned-media content match that of your call specialists?
  • Do people report a disconnect between online and offline experiences?
  • Do you track where each lead comes from and how many actually convert to cases?

Conversion considerations for owned media

When it comes to converting a call to a case, it always comes down to numbers. What did your last advertising campaign cost? What did you spend to make your website a leads task-master? What kind of time and resources do you spend on keeping up a cutting-edge social media mix?

Weigh those costs—the ones you pay to get your message out there—against what you put into truly converting leads into legitimate paying cases. Usually, and unfortunately, the latter loses out. In fact, most lawyers only convert around 20% of leads to paying cases.

Consider what your law firm could see in profit potential if you converted a minuscule 5% more of those calls to cases. Here’s a scenario: Your firm generates 100 leads per month and each costs an average of $200. That’s $20,000 out of pocket. You win 20% of those cases (with an average of $10,000 per case, for example). That’s 20 cases and $200,000 in gross annual fees back on the docket.

Now imagine if you converted 25 cases the next month. That’s an extra $50,000 and a cool $3 million gross annual fees for the year. Makes your leads and advertising investment a little easier to swallow, right? The mathematical equation is simply a way to quantify the importance of conversion for business success.

How you convert on owned media is no less logical, but a lot more tactical. The best conversion strategies hone in on what happens after a lead comes in the door, the website or over the phone. You can—and should—own that process, too. Here are a few conversion tactics for helping your people maximize hot and cold leads each month:

Scripts: Do your intake specialists or call center folks need them or want them? If so, how do you ensure they’re using scripts conversationally and in such a way that supports your entire brand message?

Staffing: Do you have the right intake staff in place already or do you need to consider hiring, firing or re-training? Are you tracking calls and which specialists are converting the most calls to cases? How about which tones of voice and speeds of delivery have worked best in the past?

Empowerment: Have you given your intake specialists all the tools they need to help achieve the best first impression possible—and to be a human hand of your brand and consistent with all the owned media you’ve worked so hard to control? Do they feel valued for the important work they do? Do you recognize and incentivize them? Are they empowered to make suggestions and improvements?

When it comes to looking at intake and conversion from an owned media standpoint, don’t stop at a website or a social media campaign. Consider how both your platforms—and your people—can be equally powerful at reinforcing your marketing messages and securing lucrative new business.