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When we started building bankruptcy calculators, we didn’t realize those taking the calculators were great bankruptcy leads that had high bankruptcy filing rates (Plug: We almost have bankruptcy attorneys in all states and counties, but if you’re interested in Ascend’s bankruptcy leads, please feel free to join the waitlist).

When we realized our leads had high bankruptcy filing rates, it was my job to find all of the different places to get more bankruptcy leads utilizing our bankruptcy calculators.

I like to share my learnings.

So, the purpose of this article is to explain all the different ways bankruptcy attorneys and get leads.

If you are like many of our bankruptcy attorney partners, you went to law school to practice law, not to figure out how to get bankruptcy leads. This is often the conversation I have with many bankruptcy attorneys looking for bankruptcy attorney leads.

These options vary from free to paid options. Unlike you, we did not go to law school but focused our energy on getting bankruptcy leads for bankruptcy attorneys. We have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work, so hopefully, I can share some of that information that will be helpful to you.

  1. Free: Search Engine Optimization
  2. Free: Google Local 3-Pack
  3. Free: Word of Mouth
  4. Paid: Google / Bing Ads
  5. Paid: Facebook Ads
  6. Paid: Bankruptcy Lead Services
  7. Paid: Billboards/Buses/Signs

Free: Using Search Engine Optimization to Get Bankruptcy Leads

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the skill of optimizing your website to be helpful to readers. The goal of SEO is to provide helpful, contextual content to the reader. In return, Google will award you with a higher ranking. Google may use things like page speed load, on-time reading, and how the user interacts with your page to help distinguish whether to give you a coveted top 5 search spot. Another important thing that Google uses to determine how to rank websites is whether that website got links referencing to the site from other sources.

Now, you must realize that Google separates paid ads from SEO. With paid ads, you are able to move up the rankings potentially with less quality content (even though quality matters).

Let’s illustrate that point. See the image below for the search term, “Chapter 13 calculator”. This search showed 3 ads and then 1 organic search. You will notice that the ads will always have “Ad” next to the title.

Most bankruptcy searches will have a combination of ads and organic listings.

To learn more about general SEO, I like AHREF’s beginner SEO guide on the subject. Moz and Hubspot also tend to have good guides for general SEO.

Free: Getting Bankruptcy Attorney Leads on Google Local Business 3-Pack

You can get many bankruptcy attorneys leads by getting on the Google Local 3-Pack for Google My Business. In short, the Google local business 3-pack is the first 3 businesses when doing a search for a specific business. Many consider this the holy grail of SEO, but it is quite challenging to obtain. In fact, we wrote an entire guide to help bankruptcy attorneys get free bankruptcy attorney leads from the Google 3-Pack.

Let’s look at an example. See the Google local business 3-pack for “bankruptcy attorney San Francisco”.

Many people get bankruptcy leads through the Google Local Business 3-Pack

At Ascend, we are researching whether it makes sense to help bankruptcy attorneys manage their Google maps ranking. Regardless, I’d like to explain how to rank on the Google Maps Local 3-Pack in case you’d like to do it on your own. To start, you would set up a Google My Business account, which I definitely recommend. You can have people provide reviews on this website.

So, how do you rank in the Google Local Business 3-Pack to get bankruptcy attorney leads? Our hypothesis is that it’s a combination of the following:

  1. The number of reviews and the ratings of those reviews
  2. Responding to reviews
  3. Your business hours
  4. Where you are located in relation to the searcher

Free: Word of Mouth

You may not get many bankruptcy leads from word of mouth referrals from customer to customer because many people don’t talk to friends and family about debt issues. That said, you may receive bankruptcy leads from other attorneys that do not practice bankruptcy law.

For example, a family attorney helping a couple through a divorce may need a bankruptcy attorney to refer people to. You could set up a relationship where you would send family-related legal matters in exchange for bankruptcy leads.

There’s a variety of ways that you can do this, and some may also opt for some sort of paid arrangement in accordance with 11 U.S. Code § 504 – Sharing of compensation.

Paid: Google / Bing Ads

Many attorneys and bankruptcy lead services use Google (and sometimes Bing) to get bankruptcy attorney leads. The reason is partial that you can get search intent. For example, someone searching for “file bankruptcy now” or “bankruptcy attorney near me” may have a high intent to file bankruptcy. We have had more success with Google than Bing over the years.

Unfortunately, Google ads are difficult to navigate for a couple of reasons:

1. Google puts new users on the easier, simple version

The Google Ads system is very complex. I worked at Google from 2012 – 2015, so I have many years of experience with the system. That said, I cannot imagine working in Google ads for the first time.

Secondly, when you sign up for Google ads, you are placed on a simpler version. It’s probably to make sure you succeed (and don’t become too overwhelmed), but I have found that it’s so simple that it actually is hard to succeed. Take a look at this test I ran below on the simpler version

Picture of Google ads showing 38 clicks and $129 spent to obtain bankruptcy leads.
I got 38 clicks, but only 2 calls from $129 in spend

2. The High Intent Bankruptcy Search Terms Are Often Very Expensive

How does $50 PER CLICK sound? That’s not per bankruptcy lead or per client. That is per click.

Google prices the terms based on an auction system, so you are competing against other bankruptcy attorneys or lead services or debt settlement companies. Thus, your cost per click for “file bankruptcy now” could be very high, making those terms cost-prohibitive.

How much should you target to spend on marketing for bankruptcy leads?

How much you spend to obtain a customer is called your “cost of acquiring a customer” or CAC. In my opinion, your CAC should always be below 50%, so if you charge $1,500 in fees for a Chapter 7, you should not spend more than $750 to acquire the customer. That said, I believe a good target is 33-35% though.

Paid: Facebook Ads

We have not seen the success getting bankruptcy attorney leads in Facebook / Instagram ads that we have seen in Google and Bing Ads. Why? I believe it’s mainly based on users’ intent.

With Facebook, you have a better opportunity to segment your audience, but it’s difficult to know who is searching for bankruptcy and who is not.

With Google and Bing, you have the intent of the user’s search which is in relation to bankruptcy. Unfortunately, you are not able to specify your audience like Facebook.

Paid: Bankruptcy Attorney Lead Services

Bankruptcy lead services are another avenue that people use to get access to bankruptcy leads. These firms specialize in marketing to obtain folks who are interested in bankruptcy. There are numerous firms that provide bankruptcy leads, so if you go this route, you may want to run tests to see how these leads perform for you. The bigger bankruptcy lead services may be NOLO or Lawyer Marketing. Ascend is a smaller player in the bankruptcy lead space but has grown rapidly by focusing solely on quality over quantity.

There are 4 things to look out for when using a bankruptcy lead service:

1. Exclusivity

You may think that this is a given, but some bankruptcy lead services sell the same lead to multiple firms. The cost per lead is generally lower, but that means that you are in competition from the start to get a hold of the individual quickly. This should also reduce your conversion rate. I am not sure how the potential client feels getting calls, texts, and emails from multiple bankruptcy firms.

2. Pricing

Understanding pricing is important. How many tiers of pricing do they have? I have always been somewhat suspicious of the firms that only do price per lead. Generally, if you have great leads, you want to do price per qualified lead (only get paid when an individual becomes a client. If you have poor to great leads, you may want the price per lead because the conversion rate may be low This is not always the case, but I appreciate when bankruptcy lead services provided different tiers of pricing.

3. Disputes

In all bankruptcy lead services, you will have wrong numbers and bad numbers. Ascend runs an API verification of phone and email, but there are still bad ones sometimes. Often you will have to pay for leads you don’t get a hold of. That said, you should confirm that you can dispute bad leads.

4. How Firm Gets Their Bankruptcy Leads

You may think that the bankruptcy lead service gets leads through a bankruptcy site sharing information about bankruptcy. That’s not always the case. I have heard horror stories from bankruptcy attorneys who said they got “bankruptcy leads” from people that had no interest in filing bankruptcy.

Paid: Billboards/Buses/Signs

You will see personal injury attorneys advertise on billboards/buses/signs for personal injury leads, but I have not seen it as often for bankruptcy attorney leads.

One bankruptcy attorney partner mentioned that he saw them in Orlando, but personal injury leads may produce more revenue. Also, personal injury attorneys are targeting people who have gotten in a car accident, so it’s likely that those individuals may still be driving on the streets.


Even in 2021 with bankruptcy filings down nearly 60% from 2 years ago, people are still looking and filing bankruptcy. You understand bankruptcy law, and hopefully, now you have some insights on how to get bankruptcy leads effectively from free options to paid options. You can email me directly at if you have any questions about bankruptcy attorney leads marketing.

Post Author: Ascend

Group of guest writers and industry experts who have specific expertise in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debt relief, debt settlement, and debt payoff.

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