Where are your leads generated?
A lot of the law firms and attorneys that call us looking for personal injury leads ask the wrong questions – or at least not the right ones. They usually ask how much per lead, how many leads/cases per month, what happens if I don’t sign a case, what’s your return policy, and what’s your conversion rate.
It’s not all that often, surprisingly, that they’ll ask… “where are these leads generated?” And the majority of the people who do, will typically accept a one word answer (that word is usually “online” or “digitally”), without digging any deeper. Unfortunately too many people will just accept an overly vague and simplistic answer – when this is a question worth digging into.
reason why more law firms should ask this, is that it really does separate who is full of shit from who’s doing an actual good job of generating real opportunities for your law firm to sign more PI cases. That’s a conversation we like having.
So, if/when you do ask about how the leads are generated, and you do get a simple one word answer, like they’re generated online or they’re generated digitally; dig into that question.
Any lead gen company worth their salt should be able to show you some organic search terms that their website ranks for at a minimum, and preferably some sort of showing where their traffic comes from, ads they are running, etc.
Chances are, if they can’t show you that, they’re probably not going to be sending you very good leads. That’s not to say they’re scamming you or they’re not providing what they say they’re going to provide, but not all leads, particularly when you’re talking about something as refined and esoteric as personal injury leads, are created equal.
Understanding that it would probably be hypocritical to call out other lead gen companies for lack of transparency, then not be transparent ourselves… here’s a link to our main auto accident lead gen website, https://lawsuitinfocenter.com. Here is a link to a screenshot of our analytics, showing that roughly 60% of our traffic is organic search, over 20% is paid search, and the final 15%-20% all other traffic combined. And here are a few searches where we are currently ranking organically in positions 1-5:
- T-Bone car accident settlement
- Average semi truck accident settlement
- How much is a rear end accident worth
- What to expect after being rear ended
- Average whiplash settlement
- Passenger in car accident settlement
- Average settlement for head on collision
- Compensation for death in car accident
- Average motorcycle accident settlement
Essentially, there’s only one reason lead generation companies will not show you where their traffic comes from… Put simply, they don’t want you to see. Here’s what they more than likely don’t want you to see…
Display and/or Social Media advertising:
The most common (and probably least risky) answer, is that they’re generating their leads from a combination of either Facebook advertising or just general display advertising online.
Since it’s easier to show a banner ad to a huge number of people than to advertise a targeted ad to people searching for something specific, banner ads on either social media sites or apps, or on content networks & blog partners, tend to be a lot cheaper to advertise and as such, they’re very attractive to a lead generation business that really wants to either maximize profits or maximize lead volume. But while this may be a profitable strategy in the short run, it’s not a good long-term solution, because in most cases, lower conversion rates lead to lower renewal rates, which means the only way the lead gen company continues with making high margins on the leads, is to continue selling to new law firms… Our method tends to rely more on happy, long term, renewing clients – which requires both good expectations and quality leads.
That said, if they’re up front about where they advertise, and they can show you some of the ads, set proper expectations for conversions (where search based personal injury leads should probably convert between 10%-20% in most cases, expect display & social to be closer to the 5%-10% range), and the price isn’t too ridiculous, that might be okay and you might be you might have some success with it.
We do a little bit of display advertising and Facebook advertising. We do it in the context of remarketing, which involves showing a banner ad to people who found our site via either paid or organic search first. So, there was intent to start. And then if they’re scrolling their Facebook feed the next day, the next week, then they might see one of our ads to come and visit our site to get that free consultation because maybe they had changed their mind and you know, wanted to actually speak to somebody, whereas they might not have when they were on our side previously.
Affiliate traffic sounds fantastic to the lead gen business owner – at first…. you’re only selling when somebody comes in and fills out a form and meets criteria – there’s no risk, no conversion data or click through rates to stress out over – it’s simple. And this isn’t to say that affiliate marketing doesn’t work for certain products or leads, or that there aren’t reputable affiliates and affiliate networks out there… certainly there are.
The problem is, is affiliates are anonymous in most cases because it’s done through networks, so there’s no accountability, no relationship, and no buy in for the product their promoting. And number two, most don’t understand personal injury marketing (or bar association non-solicitation rules) at all. The combination of this usually leads to an affiliate trying the campaign, putting out some thrown together ads in an attempt to test if they can make some easy money, failing, and moving on… leaving the lead gen company (and their end client) holding the bag. Some the messaging and their ads is at best misleading and not going to lead to people who know what they’re getting when the attorney calls them back and at worst, potentially downright in violation of a bar association rules and you know, endanger and getting firm in trouble.
There’s going to be virtually no way to track every ad that every affiliate is running, and in most cases the lead gen company is going to hesitate to show you any data because if the law firm can see who the affiliate is, they may be able to advertise directly and cut the lead generator out.
An affiliate is in it for the short term, just like the lead gen guy who’s going to do display advertising to try and cut costs and get more volume at a better rate. But it’s short term thinking because the quality is not going to be there, they’re not going to have sustained relationships with the law firms and in the end, they’re only going to hurt themselves. Affiliates tend to think very much the same way. It’s very much a churn and burn business model where they’re just trying to make a quick buck, renewal business be damned. Think of a restaurant in the tourist town, for example. They have no incentive to get regular customer back in the place, so they’re probably not going to use the best ingredients, they’re probably not going to pay top dollar for their head chef, they’re not going to go the extra mile when it comes to customer service. Because they know no matter what, you’re leaving and you’re probably not coming back. And that’s unfortunately, the mindset of a lot of affiliates in the affiliate marketing space. And unfortunately, a lot of lead generation businesses do use affiliate marketing to get their leads.
Co-reg, short for co-registration, is about the worst form of digital marketing you can do to get personal injury leads. If you’ve ever bought leads and called one and they said oh yeah, I was just filling out a survey – that’s a co-reg lead. How it works is, people will sign up for these email lists to take surveys and get paid, or get gift cards in exchange for participating. These email list will get up into the millions and the owners of these lists will send out “surveys”.
For example, they’ll send an email saying “complete this survey and you’ll get $100 gift card to Starbucks”. And so the person fills out the survey, and on the survey they’ll ask 20 different questions. “Do you need auto insurance? Have you filed for bankruptcy in the last three years?” And as one of those questions a lot of times will say, “Have you been injured in the last 24 months as a result of a car accident, work, accident, etc?”
If you answer yes, then they take you down another set of questions that are used to further qualify you as a lead – Were you found at fault? Do you have an attorney? The problem with that is most of those people either aren’t looking for an attorney, don’t want to talk to an attorney, or have already spoken to an attorney and their case either wasn’t winnable, or wasn’t big enough to be worth them taking the case. So the quality ends up just not being there. And ultimately, most people just fill these things out mindlessly anyway. So, if they click yes, sometimes they’ll just keep clicking away and not even know they submitted anything. So, you can call and they’ll answer the phone and they’ll generally hang up on you, possibly with a “take me off your list” or something to that effect.
Similar to co-reg, people build these lists and then send spammy, shot in the dark email campaigns… because why not, it costs them nothing. And just if you have a list of a million people, you know, some affiliate offer will come out and say, you know, send out an offer that says if you’ve been injured in a car accident, click here for a free consultation and as you send it to a million people, chances are .001% of those might be actually interested speaking to a car accident lawyer, but you know, it’s again, there’s no intent, and as a result low conversion rates. You’re also being spammy and depending on your state bar association’s rules around solicitation, you may be violating bar rules without even knowing it.
This isn’t meant to scare you away from lead generation… just bad lead generation. The types of lead generation that give the rest of us a bad name. So if a legal lead gen company isn’t willing to say “here’s where my site shows up, and here’s what it looks like to somebody who might be looking to speak to an attorney” or “here are some actual traffic numbers from analytics”.
If they can’t do that, chances are they’re hiding something. And chances are, if you’re speaking to them, and you’re asking questions, and they’re stuttering through their answers to your questions, trying to come up with answers on the fly… chances are, they’re probably hiding something.
So ultimately, make sure to ask the right questions, demand transparency and be smart about who you’re doing business with, and lead generation can be an incredibly powerful tool for building your law firm.