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Lateral Prospecting For Leads

Lateral Prospecting For Leads

What Is Lateral Prospecting?

Lateral prospecting allows us to generate new enquiries at a low cost per acquisition, and minimise the chance that a new enquiry is “shopping around”.  We are able to connect with new potential clients, often before they ever know that they need your services.

The Traditional Buying Cycle

Most new clients follow a similar route, here is the route in a very basic form:

  • Awareness – They have become aware they need a solicitor
  • Consideration – They look around trying to decide on who to enquire with
  • Enquire – They make an enquiry and become a client

How most digital marketing companies operate is target only the awareness stage by advertising for phrases such as “solicitor in Birmingham”, or “Divorce Lawyer”.  But what lateral prospecting allows us to do, is target people before they know they need legal representation.

The Traditional Approach

Let’s take Divorce as an example.  The typical strategy almost every agency would take is to bid on the following keywords:

Divorce Lawyer Search Volumes

Pay special attention to the suggested bids.  The average you would be paying is £7 per click, that’s £7 for every click on an ad that leads them to your website.  Let’s presume you have an average conversion rate of 10%, this means you will be paying £70 per phone call you receive.

The Lateral Prospecting Approach

Now let’s take a step back.  What are the main causes of divorce?  If we can figure out what’s happening to people before they decide they need a divorce lawyer, perhaps we can help them with this stage. It’s likely the CPC (Cost Per Click) will be lower, the conversion rate may also drop, however the CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) should see an overall drop.  The other benefit will be that you have almost zero competition in attracting these enquiries.  So you won’t suffer from the “shopping around” type enquires who try to reduce your margins.

After a simple Google search I found the following statement “In a recent survey 55% of those surveyed cited infidelity as the main cause”. With this in mind, let’s think about the stages up to finding out a spouse is having an affair and the immediate concerns afterwards.
Following are the likely stages of online searching every divorce due to infidelity goes through.  Some may skip a couple, or some may have more, this is a typical example.

Stage 1 – Suspicious their spouse is having an affair

  • Is my spouse cheating
  • Is my husband / wife having an affair
  • Signs of infidelity

Stage 2 – Discovery

  • Caught my husband / wife cheating
  • Caught wife cheating
  • Caught husband with another woman

Stage 3 – Try to recover

  • How to get over an affair
  • Marriage counseling after an affair
  • How to survive an affair

Stage 4 – Realisation

  • How much does a divorce cost
  • How to keep children after divorce
  • Average divorce settlement
  • How much child support after divorce

Stage 5 – Awareness

  • Divorce solicitor
  • Family lawyer

Now we have identified how someone seeking a divorce where infidelity was a factor behaves, how do we turn these into enquiries?

You help them.

Divorce is an incredibly dark and stressful time.  Your firm would need to show support, understanding, and give much needed help and advice.  Throughout each stage we would create dedicated pages or sections on your website helping and advising on their best course of action.

What would your advice be to a client who suspects their spouse is having an affair?  Whatever it is, we are not lawyers so take the lead from you, we’d create content around this advice.  This content isn’t designed to be salesy, it’s just to help provide support and advice.  By helping and offering advice, often these visitors will call you to discuss their options and book a preliminary meeting.

We follow this practice again with stage 2, 3 and 4. We follow a different strategy for the short tail awareness searches, because these are so expensive we need to use every conversion trick we have to turn them into enquires.

Every search from stage 1 through to stage 4, costs less than £1 per click.  Many of them were less than 50p per click.  Let’s work on the average conversion rate from visitor to enquiry for these searches is 2%, this is 80% lower than the 10% conversion rate we were suggesting for the awareness keywords.
This would mean the average cost per acquisition for these lateral prospecting enquiries is between £25 and £50.

That’s a 33% to 66% saving over the short tail awareness search terms. 

This isn’t the whole story though.  There are zero other law firms following this strategy.  This means every enquiry you get to your law firm is unique to you.  You don’t have to fight or haggle to close the contract.

How It Helps With SEO

All we have talked about so far is how this affects PPC.  But this also helps us with our SEO strategy.  A high CPC roughly equate to high SEO competition in the organic search results.  Most of the other people targeting the search terms mentioned above are dodgy ebook sellers.  By writing about these topics on your authoritative law firm website, we would have a fairly easy time getting these pages to rank.  By ranking, you’re receiving effectively free traffic.

Building A Retargeting Audience

The biggest and best side effect.  We are able to build a large cost effective retargeting list.  This means for every visitor to these pages, we can tag them as “interested in divorce”.  Now we need to be careful here, but in theory we can then promote relevant content to these people on social networks and the rest of the internet.  Perhaps it would be a bit too risky to promote divorce this way, but there are many other areas of law we could promote this way.

Now you have a list of people who are target as “interested in divorce” we can use Facebook’s algorithms to find other people like these people.  This could even help us identify people who may want a divorce before they even know about it.

Can Lateral Prospecting Work In My Areas Of Practice?

Lateral Prospecting is a very deep strategy, however it’s worth it in the medium to long term.  It helps build your law firm as an expert in its areas of practice, and helps reduce marketing spend.  You can follow this process in almost any area of law.  One of our best examples is in White Collar Fraud, where we are able to generate enquires from people who don’t even know they’re being investigated yet.

How We Can Help You

Let’s discuss how we can help build a lateral prospecting strategy for your law firm.  Visit our contact us page to send us a message.

We will help you:

  • Identify lateral areas to target
  • Develop a strategy to target these areas
  • Implement the full strategy, either all in one or over the course of a few months
  • Fully measure it’s success and report with full transparency

Hi, I'm one of the main consultants here at Uppi. My expertise is mainly in creating effective digital marketing strategies for service businesses. If you have any questions about the topics I write about, please either leave a comment below or send me an email.

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