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Bad Internet Leads for Attorneys.

[UPDATE 8/29/2013: if you’re interested in a comparison between different ways to market your law firm, you might enjoy THIS POST.]  If you’ve been practicing law for any amount of time you’ve probably heard of nolo.com and avvo.com and any number of websites promising hot internet leads. You may have even tried some of these out. I bet I can guess how that went.

I had an internship as an insurance agent back in my college days. One of the first things I did was sign up for leads. They work basically the same way – somebody finds a website, asks for a quote, and gets bombarded by well-meaning insurance agents trying to “save them money.”

In the legal world sometimes it can be a bit different. For example, nolo.com and avvo.com offer what they call “leads” which are simply questions from people online.

For example:  somebody out there in internetland wants to know “what good is a trust?” and they use one of these “free” Q&A sites to ask a real lawyer.

That person’s information is then forwarded to one or several attorneys and called a “lead.”

Tell me, did you get into law to do cold sales?

Did you go to law school so you could learn how to seem desperate for the next commission?

On top of this, these sites charge an awful lot of money for their so-called service. From what I’ve read online, it seems most people get a max of about 5 clicks – that’s visits, not customers – to their website on any given month from these sites. Combined.

The other consideration is the appearance of the thing. Can you participate in this sort of sleazy “I know you just had a question but I’d like to turn it into a sale” behavior and not get a little tarnish on your brand? I’m sure there’s a classy way to do it, but I don’t know what it is.

I suppose that if your law firm has the money and you want to be absolutely everywhere, hey, why not sign up? But for most firms there has to be a consideration of the return on investments. In my opinion, internet leads for attorneys are a bad, bad return on investment. A similar amount of money could buy good SEO or a pay-per-click campaign for your law firm and provide you with people who are actually calling you, instead of you calling them.

Tell me, what has been your experience with internet leads? Have you found success? If so, from which companies?