5 Signs It’s Time To Control Your Law Firm’s Marketing
If you have invested time or money (or both) in your law firm’s online marketing, you want to know that you’re going to get a good return on that investment over time.
Attorneys often waste time and money when they’re not in control of their law firm’s online marketing and message. If you’re not in control of your law firm’s marketing, you’re not in control of your practice or of your law firm’s future.
Here are five signs it’s time to regain control of your law firm’s marketing.
1. Your SEO company promises a lot but delivers very little
Many search engine optimization (SEO) companies make big promises to law firms.
They may claim that they can improve a law firm website’s search results rankings practically overnight. They may suggest that they can “trick” (or even conspire with) Google to artificially inflate a website’s rankings in search results. The implication is that they are either smarter than Google or that they have a special relationship with Google.
SEO companies may even provide impressive-looking charts and reports that purport to measure things like “clicks” or “hits” to your website. But if you dig deeper, those reports may not actually show a measurable contribution toward the growth of the law firm’s revenue or profits.
All law firm marketing strategies that produce meaningful ROI over time will not produce results overnight. This is true for SEO. The best content-based SEO strategies take months to generate a return on investment of time or money spent, but pay healthy dividends thereafter.
So if your SEO company has promised the moon, and is not delivering, ask yourself if you know why. If you don’t, it’s a sure sign that you’re out of control and will benefit from taking some simple steps to understand and exercise dominion over your firm’s website.
Our guide on SEO for lawyers is a great place to start your journey toward understanding how to succeed with SEO without having the wool pulled over your eyes.
2. You don’t own and control your law firm’s website and blog
Your website is your virtual office. Potential clients will make judgments about you based on your online presence before they ever contact you or set foot in your physical office. That’s why you want to be in control of the messaging that appears there.
No matter who is creating content for your law firm’s website, you are the one who is ultimately responsible for what gets published there. Make sure you actually own and control your website and blog (this includes both the intellectual property on the site and the website’s domain name). Otherwise, you’re entirely at the mercy of a company or an individual that may not fully understand your practice area or the messages you want to convey.
You don’t have to be the one who actually updates your law firm website and blog. However, it is very important that you have the ability to exert control over what gets published, and that you can update your blog and website if and when you need to.
For example, what happens if you discover that your marketing company said that you’re the “best” attorney in your practice area, in violation of your state’s ethics rules? If it’s 2 am and you don’t have access to easily make the correction, you may experience a night of needless worrying.
On the other hand, if you own and control your website, you are empowered to make changes to it at any time, day or night.
3. You’re dependent on PPC to carry your law firm’s business
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are the paid ads that appear in search engine results and elsewhere online. Many lawyers spend far too much of their advertising on these expensive and disposable ads.
78% of the most expensive Google Adwords keywords are law-related. You could be paying hundreds of dollars per click in an attempt to compete for some keywords. And a click is no guarantee of new business. Someone might click on your ad accidentally. A competitor might click on your ad intentionally. Marketers might click on your ad to get your information to try to sell you more ads. In all three cases, they waste your money, and in the case of solicitors, they also waste your time.
PPC ads are disposable. Once you’ve paid for a click, that money is gone, regardless of whether that click generated business.
Publishing relevant, useful content on your law firm’s website is more cost-effective in the long term than PPC ads, even if you are paying someone else to develop your blog and website content.
If you pay $200 for a single click on a PPC ad, that money has been spent, regardless of who clicks the ad. In contrast, if you spend a few hundred dollars for a few blog posts (and you own and control your website), that blog post can continue to drive traffic to your law firm’s website for months or even years after you publish it. When that content addresses the specific needs of your potential clients, it’s likely to attract them again and again, and much more likely to convert them than a nonspecific disposable ad.
PPC advertising can be a good bridge if you’re just starting to develop your law firm’s content-based marketing strategy. And it can be a supplement to other forms of online marketing.
But if you’re reliant on PPC advertising, you will be in a bidding war with your competitors. If your competitors outspend you, you may out in the PPC competition for new clients. And, if you outbid your competitors you may experience temporary victory but ultimately you are participating in an arms race that will eventually drive either you or your competitor out of business because the cost of acquiring a client will equal or exceed the amount of revenue you can command from that client.
Being dependent on PPC ads puts you and your firm at the mercy of vendors, and can ultimately prevent you from growing. It can also lead to financial distress. For more, see our post “Is Your Law Firm Hooked on PPC?”
4. You’re relying on vanity metrics to measure your success
How do you know if your law firm’s online marketing strategy is working?
All too often, attorneys measure the success of their marketing efforts the wrong way. They look at numbers like clicks, visits, Twitter shares, and Facebook likes. And if those numbers are growing, their online marketing strategy must be working, right?
Unfortunately, numbers like these don’t tell you much about whether your online marketing is contributing to growing your business.
Clicks, visits, shares, and likes can tell you how much people are engaging with your law firm’s content. But those numbers don’t tell you if the right people (potential clients and referral sources) are engaging with your content.
Further muddying the waters, SEO companies and marketing companies will often use “vanity metrics” like clicks and visits to show how “successful” their work has been. This often times is more about justifying their continued paycheck than it is about giving you useful information that results in incremental and lasting progress. If you’re working with one of these companies, be sure they can provide the raw data behind the pretty charts and graphs. They should also be able to clearly demonstrate how the data translates into revenue and return on your marketing investment.
To learn more about measuring what matters, check out our blog post, Are Vanity Metrics Hurting Your Law Firm Marketing?
5. You’ve invested significant time and/or money into your law firm’s online marketing with little success
If you’ve invested a lot of time and money into your online marketing and it hasn’t translated into growth for your law firm, do you know why? If you don’t, you’re not in control. And until you gain control, you may continue to burn money on fruitless pursuits.
Our mission is to give every attorney the information and tools necessary to be in control of their own online marketing. To learn more about ways that you can gain control without becoming an expert in SEO, technology or marketing, we recommend that you watch our on-demand webinar “Five easy ways you can take control of your web presence.”