I learned the importance of long-term lead nurturing thanks to an attorney who attended one of our two-day legal marketing workshop, the Rainmaker Retreat, we put on 10 times every year. She came up to me after the first day to say that she had been receiving our monthly newsletter for almost 10 years and finally decided she was ready to attend our Rainmaker Retreat and learn how to double her revenues, and how glad she was that she did! Later on, she became a very good client of ours and built a very successful practice.
This reinforced to me, firsthand, the importance of long-term lead nurturing. I had no idea it would take someone 10 years to respond to our lead generation efforts, but I’m certainly glad we didn’t stop communicating with her. You never know when someone will decide they’re ready to buy, even a decade later!
Lead nurturing is simply the process of keeping connected with prospects over the long term versus trying to sell them something right now. Yes, I know all of us want tons of prospects who sign up immediately and buy the most expensive service we offer, but it usually doesn’t work like that. Only a small percentage of people who contact our office actually end up signing up. What happens to the rest of them? For most of you this is a mystery because as soon as they say, “I’m not ready to make a decision,” or “I want to go home and think about it,” we are off to the next lead looking to make the quick sale! Lead nurturing is the process of taking time to identify their needs and interests and sending them educational information so that when they are ready to make a decision, they will come to us versus one of our competitors. The way you provide the information and content can come in many different forms including, monthly e-newsletters, handy guides, short e-books, educational blog posts, webinars, informational videos and other forms of content marketing.
The Value of Lead Nurturing
According to inbound marketing firm HubSpot, 96 percent of first-time visitors to a website are not ready to buy. However, up to 70 percent of those visitors are likely to become clients sometime in the future. How you get them from visitor to buyer is through lead nurturing.
Research also indicates that companies with effective lead nurturing programs generate 50 percent more sales at a 33 percent lower cost. In addition, nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads and companies that use marketing automation software to nurture leads experience a 451 percent increase in qualified leads.
Marketing automation software automates, streamlines and measures many of your marketing tasks, such as sending a series of 10 educational emails that answer the prospect’s top 10 most frequently asked questions. It makes you smarter, faster and more efficient. Among many things, marketing automation allows you to:
• Identify, track and engage prospects online.
• Segment your prospects for targeted messaging.
• Nurture leads through drip email campaigns with no human intervention necessary.
• Create and manage lead-generating landing pages.
• Measure the revenue contribution of every email, e-newsletter or other marketing effort.
Email marsketing is one of the most effective uses of marketing automation and a key component of your lead nurturing program. Consider these statistics:
• Companies that send automated emails are 133% more likely to send messages that coincide with the purchase cycle of their customers.
• Relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails.
• Personalized emails that use the person’s name generate up to 6x higher revenues than non-personalized emails.
• The No. 1 reported benefit of email marketing automation is the creation of more and better leads.
• Automated emails get 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails.
• Companies can convert up to 40% more of their leads by using longterm follow up email campaigns.
Most attorneys have a finite amount of time to dedicate to legal marketing and follow up, so having a process in place that nurtures a lead along the path to becoming a client and having data that demonstrates the most effective lead nurturing tools for your law firm is a great benefit.
Developing a Lead Nurturing Program
There is no question that the client acquisition process for law firms has changed radically over the past few years, transforming the way firms must communicate with prospects. Potential clients are self-educating online, searching the Internet for legal services and consulting with others on social media.
This change means firms must pay more attention to nurturing leads along the buying path than ever before. Here is how you can develop your own lead nurturing program:
1 – Create a universal definition of a lead.
Your lead nurturing program begins with defining what a good lead looks like for your law firm. At the Rainmaker Institute, we define a lead as:
• Someone who has never done business with you before.
• Someone who expresses an interest in your legal services.
• Everyone who contacts your firm, whether it’s by referral, wordof- mouth, the Internet, TV, newspaper, radio or a walk-in.
2 – Define your prospect’s major needs.
One of the primary reasons that a company or person hires an attorney is to alleviate so me type of pain. They may use words like challenges, problems or obstacles, but all of the words amount to the same thing – they are experiencing discomfort; they are experiencing pain. Their pain is whatever they are asking your assistance with. Successful lead nurturing relies upon your ability to identify their pain and effectively communicate how you will help them resolve it. 3 – Segment your audience.
Marketing automation software enables you to create literally hundreds of different segments so you can target your messaging to potential clients. For example, a family law attorney may have segments for divorce with children, divorce without children, divorce with property, divorce high net worth, divorce for small-business owners, child support, child custody, paternity, modification, etc.
4 – Create content for every stage of the buying process.
To be effective at lead nurturing, you need to have content that engages prospects at every step along the buying path. These four simple steps can help you understand how to create a process that works for your firm:
• Discover. Before the Internet age, chances are that prospects discovered you by word-ofmouth or through a mass-marketing ad. Today, they are much more likely to find you via a Google search, on social media or even through an email forwarded to them from someone they know. It is critical that you have a content marketing program in place that helps prospects find you during an online search.
• Engage. Once you’ve been discovered online, your website and blog need to be packed with rich, relevant, engaging content that speaks directly to your prospect’s points of pain. Content is not only text, it is also video and images that draw people in. When Google serves up your website or blog, there’s only a headline and a short (156-word) description, so you need to pay special attention to how your search engine result page can entice readers to click on your link. On social media, images rule so use video and dynamic photos whenever possible to push your points across.
• Act. Now that you’ve got people engaged, it’s time to get them to take some action — download a free e-book or report, subscribe to your blog or e-newsletter or follow/ connect/share/retweet on social media. Great content is imperative to getting people to act — you have to keep it coming.
• Convert. Once you have gotten prospects to provide you with a way to reach out to them with your marketing efforts through your calls-to-action. You need to keep building your credibility and trust through more and relevant content on your blog, website, e-newsletter and social media, plus an automated drip email campaign to nurture your leads until they become clients.
5 – Measure, Test, Optimize, Repeat.
You need to track which marketing programs are bringing in the most leads so you can duplicate what works and get rid of what is not working. Testing different subject lines, different offers, different times for sending emails and measuring the results will enable you to fine-tune your efforts for maximum benefit.
If you would like to learn more about the lead nurturing techniques we are teaching to lawyers around the country, give us a call and we’ll set up a demo of our Rainmaker Lead Conversion System for you.