Attorneys who are responsible for generating their own clients are typically seeking more referral sources. Many websites that provide attorney listings also provide email-lead generation services. Some of these websites include elocal.com, lawyer.com, thumbtack.com, and lawdingo.com. Generally, the lead-generation company will send the attorney emails about potential clients who have indicated that they need legal help. Attorneys then have an opportunity to respond to the inquiry either by phone or email depending on the preference of the potential client.
These types of leads are considered cold leads and are not as good as warm leads. (Cold leads are potential clients who find you on the Internet or other business listing service. Warm leads are those potential clients who were referred to you by a recommendation from someone else.) The benefit of warm leads is the potential client is seeking the specific attorney. In contrast, the cold lead is just looking to speak to any attorney who happens to respond or pick up the phone. Warm leads, then, are much more likely to return phone calls or emails and retain an attorneys’ services than cold leads.
The challenge of email-lead generation is the attorneys are competing against other attorneys for the client’s business. The onus is on the attorneys to call or email the potential clients in an effort to be retained. In my experience, there are times when the phone numbers do not work. Other times, the potential client is unavailable and you have to leave a voice mail message — that is, if the mailbox is set up or not full. Seldom will you hear back once you have left a message.
Many times, these potential clients are not looking to hire an attorney but are information shopping. While it may not seem like a big deal to you for one potential client, if you start receiving these email leads in bulk, you could spend a substantial part of your day chasing after them. Moreover, these companies are charging you for each of these leads, so you are not only paying with your time but also with your wallet.
Because of my experiences, I no longer accept or entertain email-generation leads, even though they still get emailed to me. I recommend not wasting your time and money chasing them down.
I prefer lead generation that results in phone calls. Next time, I will discuss some of the benefits and challenges of phone-lead generation services.