It’s no secret that law firms are regularly bombarded by cold callers and others claiming to have the “magic bullet” that will crack the code when it comes to marketing a legal practice. It’s understandable that many attorneys aren’t sure of who to listen to and whether the claims of such salespeople are legitimate. When deciding how to market your firm, and where to put your dollars, I strongly suggest that you focus on one key concept – ownership. In short, by putting your dollars into assets which you will own and control, you can greatly increase your firm’s revenue, you can keep your overhead down, you can help protect your firm from sudden shocks (such as the one currently being caused by Covid-19), and you can help to ensure your future. In this article I’m going to explain the concept of owning your assets, how such ownership will help, and why I believe LawLytics is a good platform for employing this approach. Let’s get to it.
Attorneys benefit from owning their marketing assets, as opposed to renting them
The concept of owning your law firm’s marketing assets, as opposed to renting them, is pretty straightforward. You own the asset when you pay for it once and it cannot be taken away from you thereafter. Examples of this include blog posts, videos, etc. After you put the time into creating such items, or after you have paid someone to produce them for you, they are yours and cannot be taken away. By contrast, renting assets consists of paying regularly to receive some type of ad space from someone else. This can include pay-per-click advertising (in which you rent ad space from search engines), renting a spot from legal directories, etc. Such assets come with a monthly rent/bill attached to them and as soon as you stop paying the bill you lose the ad space. The fact of the matter is that way, way, way (way) too many lawyers rely on the rental model and that few focus on ownership. The legal profession’s over-reliance on renting assets creates an enormous opportunity for those who wish to put the time and resources into owning something instead. This opportunity comes from the fact that an ownership based approach helps to keep your firm from being locked into large recurring expenses. Opportunity also comes from the “compound effect” which is yielded by owning your marketing assets. Let’s look at both the recurring expense aspect and the compounding aspect.
Investing in your own marketing assets can free your firm from recurring expenses, without reducing your revenue
It’s no secret that renting one’s marketing assets comes with large monthly price tags. It is not uncommon for law firms to spend many thousands of dollars each month for pay-per-click advertising or on renting directory listings. Such firms can see a profit from this. Say, for example, that Joe Lawyer spends $1,000 on such advertising this month and sees $7,500 in revenue as a result. While Joe may look at this and say “woo hoo,” he’s missing a very large problem. That problem is the fact that the $1,000 Joe spent is now gone and it will never bring in anything other than the $7,500 in revenue he saw this month. If Joe declines to spend an additional $1,000 next month, to keep up his advertising, then his revenue goes to zero. In other words, Joe has locked himself into a large recurring expense every month.
Now let’s suppose Joe had chosen to invest his money into content for his blog instead. Such content would appear in organic search engine results and Joe would receive phone calls from potential clients as a result. He would then not have any ongoing expenses, as he owns the content outright. To explain this concept, I’ll use a real world example. In 2013 a family law attorney whom I’ve assisted paid $125 for a blog post discussing how parental drug use will impact child custody determinations. The attorney owns the post and will never pay anything for it beyond the initial $125. To date, the article has been clicked on in organic search results 1,487 times and it continues to receive clicks to this day. In other words, the attorney is receiving traffic each month without paying out any additional money each month. Now multiply this effect by many blog posts and you have a large body of marketing assets which will continue to bring a firm business even if the firm is not paying for additional content this month or in future months. This approach allows you to keep your overhead low.
Owning your law firm’s marketing assets creates a compounding effect which can greatly increase revenue
One of the biggest problems with renting ad space in any form is that it fails to provide any type of compounding effect. Under the first example above, Joe Lawyer will spend $1,000 each month and get a certain return each month, but that return will stay relatively static. For the purposes of example, let’s say that each $1,000 Joe spends on renting ad space will yield $7,500 in revenue. This means Joe’s year will look like this:
Remember the attorney I mentioned above who had invested in a blog post that was still getting traffic to this day? Well that approach leads to a compounding effect in which each month can be better than the last. Let’s use small round numbers to prove the point. Say each blog post you put on your site is going to get an average of ten clicks per month (saying that a post will get ten clicks per month for years). Now suppose you pay $100 to a writer for each post and you produce one post per month. In the first month you pay $100 and receive ten clicks, because you have one post. In the second month, you invest another $100. In month two, however, you have the second month’s post and the post from month one is still on your site. This means you get a total of twenty clicks in month two. An attorney who takes this approach will have a year that looks like this:
So Joe got his firm going quick through buying ads. The problem is that, in addition to having locked in overhead, Joe is now stuck in second gear and each month is no better than the last. The result could be far different if Joe had chosen to invest instead.
A law firm which owns its marketing assets is better insulated against unforeseen events
If we kept this chart going through year two the compounding effect would be even more extreme. In year two this lawyer would have invested another $1,200 and would have received 2,220 clicks for the year. So while the first attorney is relying on ads, and their practice never grows over time, the lawyer who invests in assets they own will see a compounding effect and their revenue will continue to grow while their monthly marketing investment stays stable. This, in my humble opinion, is one of the strongest arguments for investing in assets you own and saying “no” to renting from others.
At the time of this writing most law firms are seeing a massive drop in business due to Covid-19. This event is an example of how a sudden shock can greatly disrupt a law firm’s business. At times like this it is important that law firms be able to reduce their overhead to the extent possible. It is also important that a firm be able to continue bringing in business. The above discussion shows how investing in marketing assets, which you own, allow you to meet both of these goals. While stopping paid ads means an immediate cessation of revenue, one can simply stop investing in new content during difficult times and continue to receive revenue from the content they have already created. The extent to which this is important to a firm’s surviving huge shocks cannot be overstated.
LawLytics provides a platform for lawyers who wish to own and control their marketing assets
LawLytics provides a platform for lawyers who wish to take the “ownership” approach described above. For a reasonable monthly fee, an attorney can have a website to which they can easily add content that they create themselves or which they have someone else create. In short, LawLytics is set up around the idea of helping lawyers get their content to market and the company’s focus is on helping you to do so.
I cannot stress enough the point that LawLytics is a platform whose focus is a law firm’s website. As a matter of personal opinion, I find this different from some of the other companies who hold themselves out as providing web-marketing services to law firms. Many companies will provide your firm with a website, and will stress that you should let them manage a pay-per-click campaign on your behalf. Other companies will also provide you with a website, but will stress the need to rent listings in directories they own as well. In my opinion, these companies are using a law firm’s website as a “trojan horse” to get the firm to purchase other services, such as pay-per-click management and directory listings, that the firm does not own. An argument can be made that, for such companies, the focus is not on creating assets which you will own. The focus may be, instead, on getting you to rent space from third-parties while the company managing your website collects fees for your doing so.
In short, when choosing a company to manage your firm’s website, it is my personal opinion that one should select a company whose focus is on your website and is not on getting you to rent assets which you do not own. It is for these reasons that I feel LawLytics is the best option for most law firms.
If you are looking to grow your practice then I suggest taking an approach in which you own your assets. I also believe that LawLytics is the best platform for allowing you to do so.
About the author:
Luke Ciciliano is a web designer and business consultant who has been writing on law firm marketing since 2013. He is the co-founder of Modern Website Design and was a “top contributor” to freeCodeCamp in 2018.