Tuesday, April 13, 2021 (NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif.) — More than a third of U.S. law firms respond to online lead forms within 30 minutes, while an alarming 41% don’t respond at all, new research from SEO & digital marketing agency Hennessey Digital reveals, shedding light into the value of online lead forms and the highly-competitive landscape of legal marketing in its lawyer response time study.
In its first in-depth report on law firm practices, Hennessey Digital, which specializes in legal marketing, contacted 701 top law firms across the U.S. through the lead form on firms’ websites. The study provides an analysis of median response times and response rates for various case types, response data by city, and top methods used when responding to online inquiries. In the publication of the law firm responsiveness study, the agency makes key recommendations on intake processes and website best practices based on their findings.
The idea to conduct a study around law firm response times originated from Hennessey Digital founder and CEO Jason Hennessey, who wanted to see how long it would take for law firms to respond to potential clients who submit a lead form through their website.
In one scenario, a Hennessey Digital client was spending a lot on search engine optimization, but the boost in traffic wasn’t translating into leads. When the lead form on the client’s website was tested, the firm took more than a day to reply to the message—a clear indication that a breakdown existed with the client’s intake process.
“As a digital marketing agency, we’re responsible for driving traffic and increasing leads, but we can’t control how efficient our clients are at running their firms,” Hennessey shares. “We had a hunch around law firm response times and how it affects our clients’ businesses, and as true partners, we took it upon ourselves to actually do the work and create a baseline.”
Hennessey Digital President and COO Scott Shrum adds, “It was striking how much variability there was in response times from one firm to the next. Now we have the data to show that speed matters, because shortening response time by even an hour can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars for a law firm.”
Other key findings:
- Of law firms that responded to our lead form inquiry, 58% responded in 30 minutes or less, 44% responded in 15 minutes or less, and the median response time for car accident cases was just 19 minutes.
- The top five cities with the fastest response times include:
- Los Angeles, CA with a median response time of 5 minutes (7 out of 8 contacted firms responded)
- Tampa / St. Petersburg / Sarasota, FL with a median response time of 5.5 minutes (8 out of 8 contacted firms responded)
- Atlanta, GA with a median response time of 6 minutes (6 out of 9 contacted firms responded)
- Hartford / New Haven, CT with a median response time of 7 minutes (6 out of 9 contacted firms responded)
- Chicago, IL with a median response time of 8 minutes (9 out of 11 contacted firms responded)
- Hennessey Digital does not reveal the names of the slowest-responding firms of the study, but makes special mention of the 145 law firms that responded in 10 minutes or less.
Cindy Kerber Spellman, Hennessey Digital’s Senior Director of Marketing, notes the connection between the study and the company’s resources in analytics. “The insights we gained through this study are examples of the ways our CRO and Analytics team leverages data-driven insights to help clients solve business problems and increase revenue,” she says. “As we grow and expand our suite of services, our in-house data science expertise will deliver valuable marketing insights to the industry and continue to help clients reach their business goals.”
Shrum is confident about the impact that the law firm response time study will have on legal marketing, reiterating how important it is to respond quickly to leads. “The legal industry—particularly personal injury law—is super competitive. If you’re waiting until the next day to respond to a lead, chances are, that lead has already signed with another firm. You’ve got to be fast if you want to win.”
Hennessey Digital thanks legal intake services provider Alert Communications for sponsoring this study. Alert Communications provides law firms with call, intake, retainer, and mass tort/class action services to improve ROI and increase new client acquisition.
About Hennessey Digital
Founded in 2015 by internationally-recognized SEO leader Jason Hennessey, Hennessey Digital has grown from a staff of two to more than 100 global employees. Specializing in technical SEO, content marketing, pay-per-click advertising (PPC), conversion rate optimization (CRO), and creative services, Hennessey Digital helps clients get more qualified leads and grow their businesses through a holistic marketing strategy. Hennessey Digital was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America in 2019 and 2020 and was recently recognized as a 2021 Vet100 honoree for the fastest-growing veteran-owned companies in the U.S.