2021 Legal Lead Capture Benchmark Report
Should my firm be getting more leads?
That’s the question we help answer for you here. We analyzed every captured lead for 322 firms from the first 4 months of 2021. Our unique service + software offering gives us access to data that very few have – we’re able to see every phone lead, form lead, SMS lead, and chat lead for many different law firms throughout the country. We hope firms will use our benchmarking data to see how successful they are at generating leads compared to their peers (and competition). This report is full of insights from our analysis but to skip ahead to benchmarking data that applies most to your firm please feel free to click the appropriate link below.
If your firm doesn’t track how many calls, form submits, chat leads, and sms leads in one place or if that data is not readily available then stop reading this and call your marketing agency to get this data right now. If you can’t easily track your leads then you can’t mange and grow them. There are many tools on the market to help you track your leads – Juvo Leads is the only one on the market that combines a best-in-class chat answering service with complete lead tracking, giving you ability to easily track every chat lead, phone lead, SMS lead, and form submit in one location. If your firm does not have access to you lead data and you want help tracking your leads, sign up for a free trial HERE.
Is Lead Volume Important For Law Firms?
Yes – of course. It’s a great future indicator for cases and revenue for your firm. In fact our “2021 Legal Lead Capture Benchmark Report” is focused on leads. When we first built Juvo Leads we included a way for firms to mark (via a dropdown selector) leads that convert into cases. When firms mark what leads become cases it helps their marketing agency know what keywords/pages convert into actual cases so the marketers can focus their efforts on driving new cases and not just leads. But, with less than 8% of our user base marking what leads convert into cases, we chose not to focus on case generation, but instead focus on total leads. Part of that overall data include what percentage of total leads come from what lead method (Form, Phone, Chat) seen below.
One note on this limited “marked-as-a-new-case” data is of leads marked as cases Chat Leads was the largest contact method by percentage, meaning chat leads convert into cases at the highest rate. It makes sense if you think about it, as a chat lead is a fully vetted and qualified lead, whereas any first time phone call is a phone lead, and form leads (like phone leads) are not usually qualified nor vetted. With chat leads converting into cases at the highest rate compared to the 2 other primary lead capture methods (call/form submission) – this means a chat lead has a much better chance of becoming a case and is therefore the most valuable lead a firm earns. Here’s what our data shows – of a firms who marked cases 42.7% of the cases came from chat leads, 26.7 % of the cases came from form submissions and 30.5% of cases came from phone calls.
A Few Notes On Some Data Decisions We Made
55% of our chat service clients use our call and form tracking, while 45% of our firms do not use our call and form tracking (or at least not both), these “chat only” clients tend to be our larger chat volume clients. This means our data tends to skew to small and medium sized law firms.
We wanted to compare firms that use chat to those that don’t but we do not have a statistically significant data set of firms just using call and form tracking to compare – but if you’re still not convinced chat enhances a firm’s total lead capture please check out these:
One other big item to address is what we included in each practice area category – if the firm practices in PI and Bankruptcy (for example) then we decided to list it as both a PI site and Bankruptcy site for our purposes. This can skew the data a little bit from a conversion rate perspective because (as you’ll see) bankruptcy paid search campaigns convert at a significantly higher rate than say a PI search ads. So many of the top performing paid search PI campaigns are also running some bankruptcy search ads which pulls their firm’s total conversion rate up. Ideally we would have been able to parse this out but not every firm takes advantage of UTM parameters so we couldn’t always distinguish the campaign focus.
For all the data scientists and marketers that really want to scour the data set please read about some of the smaller choices we made when analyzing the data HERE.
How To Use This The 2021 Legal Lead Capture Benchmarking
Get your firm’s traffic and conversion data, then check out your practice area specific data from below. Every firm should know or at least have easy access to reports that show this data. We break all the data down into 3 groups – Top ⅓, Middle ⅓, and Bottom ⅓ the numbers listed in each table are the average for the firms in the top 1/3, middle 1/3 and bottom 1/3. Next count your lead totals and calculate your conversion rate by source (leads divided by visitors) and see where your firm stacks up.
One note – we work with a lot of REALLY good marketing agencies who perform amazing feats of marketing for their clients so our data tends to skew higher than what you’ll see if you took a random sampling of law firms in the market as whole.
Now let’s look at the “All Websites” Data. This is not a representation for a firm that practices in every practice area but a rolled up view of all the firms that we analyzed.
We combined the data from Direct Traffic, Organic Traffic, Referral Traffic, and Social for this data and sorted it by total leads – with the firms getting the most leads in the top ⅓ (1-33th).
Key Takeaways: Firms across all practice areas for non-paid traffic on average convert at around 5% – 6.5%, but the firm’s lead totals jump around significantly with the top ⅓ of firms averaging 100ish leads per month compared to middle ⅓ (36 leads) and bottom ⅓ (22 leads).
All Website: Paid Search Traffic
For all paid traffic we combined and ranked firms by conversion rate instead of total leads. It’s easy to get a lot of leads for most firms but it’s harder to do that efficiently. By sorting the data by conversion rate you’re able to see the firms that are getting the most efficiency out of their paid search traffic..
Key Takeaways: The top ⅓ average conversion rate of 28% – that seems very high, and it is, if you are PI firm. We work with some AMAZING agencies that have really high conversion data that skews our total conversion data higher than what you expect when viewing our all websites data. A few other interesting notes – the difference in conversion rate and visitors in top third vs middle third isn’t that drastic but the bottom third in search ads is quite different. To us this means there are a lot of firms driving a lot of clicks (that aren’t necessarily cheap) and those clicks aren’t converting at a great rate.
Lastly – notice the difference in lead method (Chat/Phone/Form) compared to non-paid traffic. In paid traffic chat leads are usually around equal to phone leads whereas in non-paid traffic chat leads (and form leads) tend to be lower.
Key Takeaways: The bottom third converted at 8% – which seems high but when you take into account the low visitor total and that “Non-Paid Traffic” includes “Direct” (which converts at a very high percentage) then you understand why the lower lead total firms convert so well. The other takeaway is no real change in conversion rate average for firms that generate 86 leads per month vs those that generate 30. PI firms should be converting a little under 5% from no-paid traffic.
Personal Injury: Paid Search Traffic
Here our data is somewhat limited as 70% of our total PI sites are Chat only (data we didn’t include because we really only care about total leads). Of those 76 PI sites 43 do paid traffic so less data here than the all website data – but the conversion rates are still indicative of what success looks like.
Key Takeaways: Strong correlation between conversion rate and traffic. The firms that get the most clicks have the lowest conversion rates. Also some pretty distinct groupings here. ⅓ of the firms convert 3%, ⅓ convert 6.5% and a ⅓ convert at 19%. That 19% is higher than expected from a conversion perspective but also lower than expected from a total lead perspective. One factor not taken into consideration is law firm density by market. If there are less firms in a market a visitor may be less inclined to view other firms before contacting one they like.
Key Takeaways: Here the bottom and middle third are similar in traffic and percentage – while the firms that spend time/money on non-paid traffic (most likely SEO) have a lower conversion rate but generate 3x more leads than the middle third. So SEO can be a good way to increase total leads but not necessarily increase your conversion rate.
Bankruptcy: Paid Search Traffic
Key Takeaways: Yes – this is correct. There are a lot of bankruptcy firms converting well over 20% of their visitors into leads. Even those in the bottom ⅓ convert around 7%. A caveat to this data – we work with some REALLY good PPC marketing agencies that brings our bankruptcy averages up higher than a firm might expect. That said – it is common to see paid traffic conversion rates over 20% in the bankruptcy space.
Key Takeaways: Criminal law firm conversion rates are higher than might be expected. The total leads per month neatly doubles from each grouping from the bottom up. That can be helpful because even if your firm doesn’t know your lead number so you can look at your traffic and ball park how many leads you should be getting based on the traffic data alone, this cannot always be said for other practice areas.
Criminal Law: Paid Search Traffic
Key Takeaways: Clear buckets for conversion rate percentages but not much changes in leads. Some firms need 72 clicks to get 12 leads and some need 188. Overall not a lot of volume in paid search leads but of those that do you paid search the conversion rates vary a significant degree.
Key Takeaways: A practice area that as it gets more traffic their conversion data goes up! This means that a family law website should be able to approximate how many leads they should be getting based on their own visitor count. As the visitors go up the leads (and conversion rate) go up as well. Does your firm get 800 non-paid visitors per month? Your firm should be getting around 55 leads per month.
Family Law: Paid Search Traffic
Key Takeaways: Large differences in conversion rates – but it’s tightly correlated to total leads, but not to traffic. ⅓ of the family law firms convert at around 2% and then ⅔ are over 10%. Not a large difference between middle third and the top third (6%) but there are a lot of family law firms out there that have a low paid search conversion rate (2%).
Overall Conclusions: There is a lot of variance in conversion rates especially in paid traffic. This could be strictly campaign performance and optimization but there are a myriad of other factors involved that could explain why your lead total or conversion rate is lower than the average. Before you take rash actions with your marketing campaign ask your agency why something is that way. Maybe your firm practices in an area where the search volume is low – so when a firm seeks to “increase total leads” your marketer raises the ad spend budget increasing cheap clicks which drives more total leads (at a low price). While this tactic would help the overall marketing goal (increase total leads) it would lower the firm’s conversion rate.
There are a lot of other scenarios that could explain your unique situation. Please dig into your own data to understand the story behind your actual data. Data itself does not tell the story, it only helps shed light on your own data so you can better understand it. That said – if you’re not tracking this data already you need to be (that’s what we do here at Juvo Leads).
Legal Marketers – if your client sent you this as part of an angry email, we’re sorry in advance. Our goal here is only to add transparency to the legal market. If your client does not have an easy way to see all their leads in one place please set up some time to “Chat” with us by booking a demo here: https://juvoleads.com/contact/
Lastly here is a list of decisions that we faced when we put this all together. In full disclosure we are not Data Scientists – just former legal marketers now chat service and lead tracking providers, so we expect agencies (whose firms who don’t benchmark well, and others) to try to rip this data apart. Maybe you’re doing this for good reasons or maybe for bad ones – this is the first time we’ve put this together so I’m sure we’ll find areas for improvement for the 2022 report.
A Deeper Dive Into Some Decisions
- This was a large undertaking for a small team – with unlimited resources we could have sliced and diced this data a million ways. This is the 2021 Legal Lead Capture Benchmarking – if all goes well we’ll take feedback from this and improve upon our analysis for our 2022 report.
- As stated above a firm that does Personal Injury and Bankruptcy gets counted in both the personal injury practice area break down and the bankruptcy breakdown.
- Chat Leads and SMS leads are combined into “Chat leads”. Under 3% of chat leads are from SMS, largely in part because less than 40% of clients use us for SMS answering.
- We choose (after much internal debate) to include offsite calls, SMS, form submits into conversion data. 65% of the firms we work add one of our tracking numbers to their GMB account (we recommend you do). We include those calls in organic lead capture numbers. Those calls don’t necessarily have an associated visitor so in theory you could see 100 leads and 10 visitors which would make the conversion rate…odd but thankfully that’s not the case in any of our data.
- Same item as the above but for Google Ads Call Extensions and for some limited call lead data from using one of our call tracking numbers on legal referral directories – we included these calls in paid search and referral data (respectively).
- Of the sites that we looked at in 2021 some had under 4 months but none had less than 2 months of data.
- For all the data we broke it down into 2 groups – Paid Search Traffic (Google/Bing Search Ads Traffic) and “Non-Paid Traffic. Non-Paid traffic is all Direct, Organic, Referral, and Social traffic by source added together. Some may disagree with combining these Sources into one meta source but we chose to include all of this into once for the sake of including all the data instead leaving some out.
Why Tracking Matters
At the heart of this report is the assumption that tracking is vital to improving lead generation. Peter Drucker was famous for saying “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” and that is 100% true for law firms. There are numerous lead tracking solutions on the market but Juvo Leads is the only offering that combines done for you chat and SMS answering with call and form tracking so you can use one service provider to capture and track all your leads. If you need help tracking your leads or capturing more with your chat service sign up for a demo to get started: