In 2014, Stangl Law, S.C., a local criminal defense law firm, approached us with two big problems: a deprecated website and a large digital advertising budget with little to show for it.
Good leads were few and far between and the entire marketing budget was achieving next to no return.
To turn a trickle of lackluster leads into a steady stream of valuable clients, we made radical improvements to the firm’s website and implemented a local content marketing strategy—all while pairing back ad spending to a small, hyper-focused campaign.
In just the first year, we achieved a 55% increase in lead volume. By the end of the sixth year in 2021, we achieved a 294% increase in lead volume compared to the first year.
Given the firm’s relatively small local client base, its high lead volume often outpaces its ability to take on new clients, giving the firm the ability to pick and choose preferred cases over others.
Read on to learn more about the firm’s challenges, how we overcame
them, and what’s next for Stangl Law.
Download the case study.
Poor marketing ROI and a website in need
The firm’s marketing problems had two root causes: a website in desperate need of improvement and poorly-managed ad spend that provided almost no return.
The website was deprecated in virtually every way. It suffered from poor structure, stale design, little client-focused information, and no opportunities for converting traffic into leads beyond a phone number listing.
Marketing automation tools—like those that enable firms to send instant emails to new leads and receive text message notifications when new leads are created—were non-existent. Nothing was being tracked, so no data was available to identify problems and make improvements.
Without marketing tools or a strategy to deploy them, the firm’s business development program was suffering. Prior to partnering with us, it had been spending thousands each month in Google ads that simply didn’t work.
Instead of appearing in front of prospects searching for local attorneys and relevant legal questions, they were being injected on sites all over the web.
Combined, these problems amounted to a nearly empty pipeline of new prospective clients. The reliance on incoming phone calls alone ignored the massive opportunity for generating clients who were actively looking for legal advice and qualified attorneys online.
Putting a strategy in place
The strategy for improvement boiled down to a few key elements:
- Re-investing the ad budget in creating high-quality, informative articles to attract and convert prospective clients searching for answers to relevant legal questions.
- Paring down digital advertising to target just a handful of search queries: those whose searchers were most likely to be actively looking to hire an attorney.
- Re-designing and re-developing the firm’s website to present a more professional “front-door” for prospects while also having the functionality to easily convert traffic into leads and report on successes.
Executing the strategy: the website
Over the course of our partnership, we’ve rolled out two new websites, both combining the latest marketing automation tools with a modern look and feel exuding credibility and authority.
Source: Stangl Law
Today, the site gives prospects everything they want from a law firm’s website when looking for answers and legal help:
- Dedicated site pages for each practice area
- Success stories and testimonials
- Compelling, informative videos
- In-depth blog articles that answer critical questions
- An easy way to contact the firm and request a consultation
Executing the strategy: lead generation
To improve the ROI of the firm’s ad budget, we immediately re-adjusted digital advertising to display to people who actually found them useful: on search result pages for queries that indicate real buying intent around the firm’s key service areas, such as “top OWI lawyer Madison,” or “penalties for first time OWI Wisconsin.”
Over time, we reduced the firm’s reliance on expensive advertising by publishing hundreds of high-quality, keyword-focused blog posts that appeared in search results organically.
Google rewarded this helpful content with higher search ranking, eventually capturing the top free real estate for some of the most valuable keywords—those attorneys often pay thousands for each month in advertising.
These high organic search rankings drove (and continues to drive) tons of qualified traffic to the website—a virtual red carpet for them to get help.
Today, the firm ranks on the first page of search results for over 700 legal keywords and keyword phrases, totaling an estimated 64,290 searches each month.
All of this was achieved by publishing high-quality content written for people and optimized for search engines.
The two charts below demonstrate how we continue to do more with less—weaning the firm off expensive Google ads while achieving better clickthrough rates (CTR) with the few ads we keep.
Today, the firm does more with $450 than they ever did with $5,000, all while boosting organic website traffic to levels the site has never even come close to in the past.
Google ads costs vs. clickthrough rate (CTR)
Organic keywords (ranking in the top 10 results)
Website traffic (by source)
Our lead generation program worked so well, it’s prompted us to solve a new problem: what to do with excess leads. Our idea? Establish a referral network so other firms can buy the leads our client is too busy to take on. Not the worst problem to have.
Executing the strategy: lead notifications
Attorneys want to follow up with leads as soon as they come in. To make that process lighting fast, we implemented a simple SMS text notification system that fires off a text the moment a new lead comes in.
At that point, an attorney can reach out directly or pass it off to the secretary for later follow-up.
Simply by enabling quick follow-up with leads, the firm can get in front of qualified prospects during their research process, before competitors are even aware of the opportunity.
Executing the strategy: maintenance
Today, Stangl Law's content attracts and converts so many leads across such a wide variety of relevant search queries that the strategy has shifted from content production to content maintenance.
Rather than producing more and more new content, we closely monitor the top-spot positions we've achieved over the years and react when we notice a downward trend. Preventing those downward trends means proactively reviewing and refreshing content as necessary.
In the near future, another website refresh will serve to maintain the site's performance.
Results at a glance
- 3,958 new leads generated between February 2015 and
- 55.5% increase in lead volume after the first year
- 69.4% increase in lead volume after the second year
- 74.9% increase in lead volume after the third year
- $3,900 monthly traffic value (the equivalent advertising cost of monthly traffic from all keywords)