There is certainly no shortage of lawyer directories on the internet. While some of these directories offer free listings, many others charge fees for inclusion. So how can you tell which ones are worth it?

Factors for Directory Performance

Just like other advertising media, the key is measuring the directory’s performance for your firm. While many paid directories will claim hundreds or thousands of visitors, this should not be used as an indication of how well the directory will perform for your firm.

Here are a few factors that will help determine a directory’s likelihood of performance:

  1. Use Google to check the directory’s rankings for various high volume legal keywords—the ones you think your clients may use. This will provide a very rough estimate of how much traffic the directory receives.
  2. View the current directory listings for law firms in your fields of practice and geographic location. How many listings are there? Keep in mind that the more listings that appear, the more “buried” your listing may become.
  3. What information do the listings contain? Do they provide contact information including a phone number, email, and website link? Is the contact information unique to the listing for easy tracking?
  4. Contact an existing directory subscriber that is “similarly situated” to your firm. Ask them how many visitors, leads, and new clients the directory has produced for their firm in a given time period. Determine the per visitor, per lead, and per client acquisition costs.

While all of the above factors play a role in a directory’s performance, the only way to be sure that your investment is “worth it” is to measure its performance for your firm.

Measuring Performance for Your Firm

Just like other forms of advertising, directories will perform differently from firm to firm. While one firm may enjoy a large return on their investment in a particular directory, another may experience losses. There is simply no substitute for measuring the specific performance for your firm.

Be sure to use a dedicated tracking phone number and a web analytics program to measure visits and leads generated from the listing. After a month or so, calculate the costs per visitor, per phone call, etc. If these costs exceed the average revenue generated by a new client for your firm, stop paying for the listing.

(photo: quinn.anya)