Written by: Marc Cerniglia, Co-Founder of Spotlight Branding
I’ve worked with lawyers for years, and one thing I’ve learned along the way is that many times choosing the right marketing company is a headache. There’s certainly no shortage of options, and it’s often hard to know what to believe!
Over the years, I’ve heard some amazing marketing horror stories. Money wasted and promises unfulfilled are a common narrative in the legal marketing world. That said, the right marketing is key to creating a thriving practice, especially one that helps you achieve your goals and creates predictable (and growing) revenue.
My hope is that this article helps you weed through the B.S. by providing you with three essential tips for choosing the right marketing company for your law firm:
1. Make Sure there is Strategic Alignment
The next time you speak to a marketing provider, ask them “why.” In other words, why do they do the things they do? Overall, you want to know what they believe about marketing. What’s their strategy and philosophy? You may find that many marketing providers won’t have a clear answer.
You would expect a marketing company to be very strategic. However, most rarely discuss their strategy and what they believe about marketing. Instead, they want to focus on showing you examples (e.g. how pretty everything looks) and pressuring you to sign up!
As for Spotlight Branding, we have a very specific approach to building websites, writing content, and getting results. We’re intentional about the things we do and speak a great deal about our strategy with prospective clients. What we believe has to be a good fit with their firm's vision so we know if there’s alignment.
Before you begin your search, make sure you have clarity and direction on what you want. At that point, it will become much easier to check for strategic alignment with potential marketing partners you’re considering. Keep in mind, some marketing companies focus more on volume of clients while others focus on getting you better quality clients. Some may focus on branding and referrals, while others on search engines.
2. Consider Different Forms of ROI
At the end of the day, marketing comes down to ROI (return on investment). It’s important that both you and your marketing provider are clear on what the expected ROI will be. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have that conversation.
However, it’s important to consider that ROI can take different forms. In some cases, it’s as simple as money spent on advertising that equated to new leads. But not every lawyer just wants more clients. Some lawyers want better quality clients. “Better” might mean higher paying, or it might mean more clients in a specific practice area. Another place ROI can come from is by raising your rates. Believe it or not, the right marketing will command higher rates from clients.
Spotlight Branding (my company) focuses strongly on branding and referrals. Our ROI is usually in the form of increased referrals, better quality clients, and an improved ROI from all other business development efforts.
Lastly, don’t just assume that ROI is as simple as “I need more clients.” Consider what you really want, and how the right marketing can help you get there.
3. Be Logical
It’s really easy to get caught up in the hoopla of a good sales presentation or in the promises of a great salesperson. With marketing, it’s easy to get shiny object syndrome. If you find yourself in this situation, simply take a step back and consider what you’re being offered. Does it sound right, or is it too good to be true? Is what you are being promised really what you need?
For example, logic tends to fall short when discussing search engine optimization (SEO). As you probably know, SEO is where your law firm shows up on places like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It’s hard to have a conversation these days about a website without SEO being part of the plan. I’m not talking about showing up when someone “Googles” your firm’s name. That should absolutely happen. However, when it comes to people searching a specific legal service, it’s a highly competitive landscape with limited real estate.
In the end, not every lawyer will have success at SEO. In fact, not every lawyer needs SEO or needs to be at the top of Google’s search ranking to be a successful law practice.
So when it comes to logic, think about this...how is it that nearly every marketing company out there can sell SEO with limited space? How can that really work in the long run? It’s the equivalent of 100 lawyers competing for the same roadside billboard and hiring the same company to do so. If you slow down and think about it, it doesn't add up!
I hope you found my advice helpful and you’re now thinking about the right strategy for your firm. Finding the right marketing company is as important as finding the right business partner. Your decision can be the difference between mediocrity and greatness.
Before you go, here’s a free resource to help you move forward. We call it the “Website Appraisal.” It’s a great worksheet to help you review the strategy behind your website and some of your online initiatives. To get it, we’re going to ask you for your email address. In return for it, we’ll also send you our weekly e-newsletter which is another great resource full of marketing tips and guidance.
Marc Cerniglia is a speaker at the 3rd Annual 2018 Law Firm 500 FAST & PROFITABLE GROWTH Conference for small and solo law firm owners - get your tickets here.