The 3 Pillars of Your Business Pipeline

Every firm experiences lulls in business.

Perhaps that’s the nature of the beast. It can be seasonal (Mom and Dad don’t want to tell Junior they’re getting divorced right before Santa Claus drops in, for example), or it could be attorney referrals drop off and there’s no plan to balance the gap.

We’re going to explore a mini-playbook to minimize the impact of a client scarcity, and position you for continued growth.

The Business Pipeline Triangle

Point 1: Legal Directory Powerhouse

Just like tax advisors and tennis shoes, there are great legal directories, and then there are the rest. Qualities of great legal directories:

  • Topical relevance and influence. You want a directory that is germane to your business. As a securities litigation attorney, you don’t necessarily want your website listed on a directory dealing with home appliances or auto parts, for example.FindLaw.com for example has 25+ million pages of legal content, and receives 11+ million visits. Every. Single. Month.
  • High domain value. There are millions of worthless directories that accept free  submissions. If you learn nothing else here: quantity never beats quality in directory building. Any SEO consultant worth his chops should be able to tell you the good, bad, and ugly.
  • Traffic. You want to be associated with a directory that is well-trafficked. Don’t spend time showing up where nobody is looking.
  • Most importantly, effective. A good directory will deliver quality leads to you, consistently. FindLaw.com, for example, sends 600,000+ leads to attorneys every month. Wherever you choose, you’ll want to make sure you get a solid return on investment (as discussed in last week’s newsletter)

Here are some examples of directories that will help sustain lead flow:

  • FindLaw.com
  • Avvo.com (hit-or-miss lately, but can be effective)
  • LawInfo.com
  • Yelp.com
  • Abogado.com (HUGE opportunity for Spanish-speaking firms)
  • Takeaway: Be Seen Where Your Clients Are Looking. Here’s a downloadable playbook to detail this a bit more, or if you’re so inclined, a Webcast that reviews the process.

Point 2: Google Paid Ads (PPC)

There are two types of people in this world: Those that click the first thing that seems relevant, and those that skip past the ads to find the purer, more wholesome organic listing. Here’s why you should focus on both:

  • Incremental. Study after study shows that PPC clicks are incremental to, not a substitute for organic clicks. Why? Because of the two types of people. Those who click the ad were never going to scroll down to the organic listings, and those who scroll down are never going to click the ad. 
  • CTR.  There is only so much space on Page 1. Consider these two scenarios:
    • Imagine you are happy because your organic listing shows up at the bottom of Page 1 in a competitive field. Yippee! you exclaim. Good work.
    • Now imagine Joe User sees your firm at the very top of the page in a paid ad.
    • Then imagine he sees you listed in the Maps section (you can also have paid ads here).
    • Then let’s imagine he sees your website in the organic listings. Which one of those sounds more powerful?
    • BONUS: Let’s say Joe User also clicks on a FindLaw or SuperLawyers listing and sees your firm name AGAIN!
  • Takeaway: Dominate what you can control. By increasing the number of times you’re seen on a page, you increase the likelihood of somebody contacting you, not the 15 others occupying the same space.  

Point 3: Paid Social Promotion

So far we’ve discussed being seen where your clients are looking and putting yourself ahead of the competition (visually). Now, the final point is to introduce your firm to your ideal client…before they even start looking for you.
This is known as top-of-the-funnel marketing – building a presence for your firm so when somebody needs your services, they call you and not your competitors. Let’s look at an example of how this could work:

  • You’re a criminal defense attorney
  • You prefer to work more serious cases, but need to handle DUIs to keep the lights on
  • Let’s say you find DUIs to be more profitable with college students, as their parents, likely not in the same city, are willing to pay more for expertise
  • A savvy firm (like FindLaw) would build your target client persona – create compelling content around that particular issue (either targeted blog content or short catchy videos) and utilize the power of Social Media performance marketing to put your firm in front of thousands of people each month who fit the mold of a likely client.
  • Oh, you’re not of Facebook, you say?  Doesn’t matter! Chances are, your clients are. Even many of you reading this are. Even though you tell me you’re not. I know because I use this same strategy to build my book of business.
  • Takeaway: Be the name that comes to mind when your ideal client needs your services. Check out the free whitepaper on performance social marketing.

By following the three points of the Business Pipeline Triangle, you’re setting yourself up to continue growth, minimize lulls in business, and position yourself for long-term success through a diversified marketing portfolio.