3 Questions Solo Attorneys Should Ask Before Hiring a Marketing Vendor
The average day for a solo attorney is far from average. At this point, you may be an expert at the balancing act of time management – juggling work for clients with every other task of running your own business. On top of that, you have to market your firm, find new clients and answer the phone.
Sometimes you need a little help clearing your plate. One option is to explore marketing vendors who can worry about your marketing so you don’t have to. Today, consumers are searching for attorneys online more than they ever have, and that’s only going to increase as younger generations raised on the internet come into peak buying power.
The problem is that the internet has a (practically) infinite number of opportunities for making a connection. That sounds nice on an individual, human scale but for a business trying to make connections on a limited budget, it creates a brutal environment. A place that quickly separates the bold and savvy from the timid and naive. This crucible effect becomes abundantly clear when you compare law firms who take a simplistic approach with an underdeveloped website and those firms able to successfully coordinate their efforts in social media, blogging and PPC advertising. Being able to navigate the twists and turns of the internet is essential to bringing additional clients to your law firm.
If it doesn’t sound easy, that’s because it isn’t. Thankfully, a competent marketing vendor can help. Almost all established marketing providers will come with experience to one degree or another. And almost all of them will claim to save you the trouble of learning the ins and outs of digital marketing. What is essential for a solo attorney is knowing how to differentiate reputable marketing vendors from those that cannot deliver the results your firm needs.
Here are a few questions you have to ask before trusting someone else with your solo law firm’s brand and your own livelihood:
01 – Do they know the legal landscape?
Plenty of companies tout themselves as internet experts. But very few can honestly say they know the legal industry as well. That matters because legal consumers aren’t like other audiences. Their behaviors are drastically different from a typical Amazon shopper. A good marketing vendor needs to understand the means by which clients find, contact and hire an attorney.
- Ask the vendor you’re meeting with what kind of legal specific research they have at their fingertips.
- Do they survey consumers? Do they survey attorneys?
- How much information do they have on practice area-specific decision making?
- Do they understand the law or the legal process? If they don’t know the difference between a plaintiff and a defendant, they may not be the right fit for your firm.
02 – Do they offer customized solutions?
Legal marketing is not one-size-fits-all. What works for a solo DUI attorney in Dallas probably won’t deliver the same results for a mid-size PI firm in San Francisco. Piggybacking on the earlier point of legal marketing’s specific needs, a marketing vendor should know your target audience, but it should also know how much exposure you need to reach them.
Some established firms are built on referrals from past clients. For these attorneys, aggressive visibility campaigns aren’t always the perfect fit. In contrast, many solo practitioners simply don’t have the luxury of relying on any one strategy to deliver them prospects. Putting all their eggs in one basket opens these firms up to potentially devastating risks in the volatile world of online marketing. A flexible marketing vendor should have a realistic perspective on which levers they should pull in order to deliver your form a steady stream of leads. Sometimes that means a complex, integrated strategy where all of your marketing elements (website, social, blogs, ads, etc.) work in harmony. Sometimes it means understanding where your business is and crafting a business development solution that’s the right size for you, like starting with a manageable presence on a legal directory.
03 – Are they promising the world?
Too many lawyer marketing providers say they can place their customers at the top of Google’s search results, when they should know it’s an empty promise. Internet marketing is more nuanced, consumers are savvier than ever and Google doesn’t look kindly upon yesterday’s approaches to “gaming” the system. A vendor that still relies on outdated pitches like “page one Google rank placement” is one that’s behind the times.
Instead, a legal marketing vendor should know about long-tail searches. They should be willing to work with you to discover the most efficient and cost-effective phrases on PPC rather than chasing the most expensive options. They should have a pragmatic attitude toward paid social media – and they should approach all of these things with an understanding that your number one goal is running a law firm that delivers results for your clients.
There is no shortage of noise in the digital marketing arena, and it’s often up to you, the solo attorney, to separate marketing fact from fiction. Asking the right questions and being more informed will help you cut through the clutter and make sense of the options.
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