Law firms are paying more attention to their marketing practices. They’re using their marketing budgets more strategically, finding better channels to reach new clients and creating more sophisticated campaigns.

But the best marketing in the world is worthless if you don’t take advantage of the leads it generates.

Law firms as a whole have been slow to adopt the lead tracking practices used in other industries. Many people who contact a lawyer have to wait days for a response. Some never hear back at all.

Fortunately, a few tools and techniques can help you provide better attention to potential clients, and dramatically boost your marketing ROI. Here are 7 best practices for lead tracking in law firms:

1. Capture Every Lead

To get the full benefits of legal lead tracking, you need a systematic approach. This begins when any potential client first comes on your radar.

There are many ways someone can become a lead. Maybe they email your firm, call, fill out a form on your website, come from another lawyer’s referral, send you a message on Facebook—or maybe they just start asking about legal help while you’re picking your child up from school. However a potential client finds you, make sure their information is kept in one central location.

The simplest option for this is to use lead tracking software like Lead Docket, which is cloud-based, tailored to law firms, and comes complete with the tools that will help you do all of the steps below.

Since it integrates seamlessly with Filevine, your lead tracking can be incorporated into your full system, which already includes your case files and task flows. This cuts down on redundant data entry and makes for an easier onboarding process.

2. Be The First to Reach Out

Business analysts have a name for the wave of changes reforming how we buy and sell: The Instant Gratification Economy. Increasingly, consumers expect immediate fulfillment of their requests, and apps that can figure out what they want before they even know themselves.

The desire for instant gratification is obviously complicated in the legal industry, where courts can move slowly, waiting periods can drag out, and many aspects of your work are out of your control. But that’s why it’s even more important to provide rapid results wherever you can. Especially when it comes to their first interactions with you.

If a potential client calls and no one answers, they’ll move on to a firm who will. Even if you’re their first choice because of a recommendation or high reviews, they won’t wait for long.

Make sure your firm is the first to follow up. Use automation to send immediate emails or text messages to leads. Contract with virtual reception services to make sure your phone can be covered even during the off hours. Make sure you have staff members dedicated to following up with new leads, rather than letting them pile up in the hope that someone will get to them in their spare time.

It doesn’t matter how well you do your work—if you can’t wow leads at the very beginning, they won’t stick around long enough to find out.

3. Scale Up Automation

To seriously attend to all new incoming leads, you need to scale up your intake process. The most useful tools for this are often automation software. Rather than needing to personally attend to each lead at each stage, you can set up custom templates and let the software take over.

Templates can automatically send text messages or emails to leads throughout the qualifying and intake process. They can pull information directly from the file to personalize each message.

Tools like Lead Docket use phases to break the process down into distinct parts. For instance, if you haven’t heard back from new leads, you’re in the ‘chase’ phase, the system will send follow-up messages and remind staff to call at key times. As leads progress or are rejected, different phases will automatically trigger new taskflows to encourage qualified leads to become your clients.

Automation tools also rely on roles to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. With a clear person responsible for each task, each stage of the work is simpler and more transparent.

Leaddocket has released a new feature within LeadDocket called, LeadsAI. You Let AI evaluate cases faster with concise AI summarization of the key facts. Analyze the sentiment in client communication to catch potential problem areas. Which then helps you stay up to speed on all new developments with AI-generated intake timelines. LeadsAI helps take the guesswork out of case qualification with revolutionary tools predicting the likelihood of case success.

4. Send Text Messages

Most of us ignore phone calls from unknown numbers. We all skim through our emails. But everybody reads their texts.

Texting leads can give you greater success in connecting with potential clients. Many people prefer texting to other forms of communication—it’s easy and feels personable. Texting is useful throughout the intake process and beyond. We’re all accustomed to receiving little text message ‘nudges’ before appointments or as reminders to carry out an action. Sending these messages can help keep your process on track.

It can also be easier for you. Rather than using your cell phone, your team can send and receive texts from systems like Lead Docket. This allows you to send automated texts, so you can effortlessly send out personalized communication at key moments.

5. Track Lead Sources

Lawyers are using increasingly diverse marketing strategies. As they benefit from new opportunities opening up in digital marketing, it’s important that they keep track of their lead sources. This is a key data point for making smarter marketing decisions moving forward.

To figure out lead sources, you can ask leads how they found you, use dedicated phone numbers for specific campaigns, and utilize specialized software. Lead Docket integrates with tracking tools like CallRail and Call Tracking Metrics to provide even deeper insights into your marketing efforts.

6. Analyze Lead Data for Resources

With a centralized system keeping track of lead sources and outcomes, you can clearly see which marketing efforts are working and which should be spruced up or abandoned. Here are a few to keep track of:

  • Conversion rate - How many qualified leads actually become your clients? How does this change across time, or according to which staff members and lawyers are involved in the intake process?
  • Cost per client - Measure your marketing expenses compared to the number of clients that source has brought in. This shows you how efficient different campaigns are.
  • Revenue by source - See which kinds of marketing efforts are leading to the best final outcomes.
  • ROI by marketing source - Finally, you can see what kind of return on investment you’re getting for your marketing budget. This is one of the best metrics for helping you understand which sources deserve more attention and which can be deprioritized.

You can compute this data manually, but it’s much more effective to use a system like Lead Docket, which will generate the numbers automatically. Since Lead Docket integrates with Filevine, it can pull data from the entire case cycle, from first interaction to final case outcome.

7. Follow-Up with Referrals

One unique aspect of lead tracking for lawyers is the need to carefully track inbound and outbound referrals. This is particularly important in situations where referral fee agreements are allowed.

An automated system can help you keep track of these referrals, so you don’t have to remember to follow up with other lawyers about it. You can automate emails requesting status updates for outbound referrals, to ensure that you get paid in accordance to the referral fee agreements. And the workflow tools can help you stay on top of your own fees to other referrers, to make sure you stay in their good graces.

As always, check with the rules and regulations of your jurisdiction to understand which forms of referral free agreements are allowed.

The leads you receive today represent your firm’s future financial stability and growth. Make sure you treat them right by following these 7 best practices for lead tracking in law firms.