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Lawyer Client Acquisition Costs Skyrocketing

Posted On: January 3, 2023

By: Jennifer Goddard

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Written by: Jennifer Goddard

Jennifer Goddard is CEO and co-founder of IMS. She has been at the helm of the agency since its start-up in 1995. Jennifer specializes in helping estate planning and elder lawyers grow 7-figure firms with digital marketing. Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's degree in business administration from Michigan State University.
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Goddard on Lawyer Acquisition Costs

From Jennifer Goddard, CEO

Client acquisition costs for lawyers have skyrocketed over the past few years.

Across-the-board, lawyers and law firms are paying more just to generate leads and acquire clients. On average, trusts and estates attorneys spend between $50 and $350 per lead generated, and $500 to $2,000 to acquire a new client. 

While these numbers may be eye-popping to some lawyers, most will recognize the trend. In fact, new research shows that escalating client acquisition costs are impacting profits for nearly all types of businesses. 

Overall, costs to acquire a new client are up more than 200 percent since 2013, and more than 60 percent in just the past five years, according to new research released by ecommerce optimization firm Simplicity DX.

Why has it become so much more expensive for lawyers to acquire new clients?

Three key factors compound to drive up costs, particularly in digital marketing:

●     The introduction of iOS 14.5.

●     The demise of third-party cookies.

●     Increased consumer privacy legislation 

Combined, these developments drive up costs due to reductions and changes to audience targeting precision.  Lawyers  have been hit hard, reducing the effectiveness of digital advertising in particular. 

Because IMS works with law firms all across the country, we have access to a treasure trove of data. We constantly monitor, aggregate and analyze what's really happening out there ... what's working, and what's not.

And the bottom line? What's really working?

It depends on your market and how competitive things are in your local market,  how much authority, trust, and momentum you have already built up online, and how well your sales process functions to close new leads at profitable rates.

Your marketing focus should shift away from targeting, to what happens after the click – on optimizing the click-through-rate and ultimately the  conversion, bringing down client acquisition costs and driving profitability.

In response to these market trends, we are dramatically expanding our lawyer marketing services in 2023. 

With our trademarked Essential Solution® system of attracting, nurturing, and converting legal leads at its foundation, you can now deploy the exact tools and strategies dictated by your unique market position, fee structure, and revenue goals.

I'm so proud to announce this expansion, which means our clients will have best-in-class marketing services … from advanced SEO campaigns to webinar and video marketing, sales training, email marketing, direct mail, and social media … to referral marketing systems and even online courses to grow referrals and educate clients while generating new revenue.

With the complexity of law firm marketing and the challenge of driving down client acquisition costs, lawyers need the convenience and efficiency of having one expert coach to guide their marketing, recommend next steps, and implement strategies with full integration across all systems. We recognize the importance of ROI for every single one of our clients, and have the systems, the team, and world-class expertise to deliver.


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Disclaimer: Growing a small law firm to six or seven figures (or more) is not easy. The journey is both challenging and exhilarating. At every step you may be tempted to quit. Those who succeed are committed, coach-able and resourceful. If that’s you, let’s talk.