How to avoid failure by asking the right questions, both of yourself and the of marketing agencies you’re considering
So you’re considering hiring a law firm marketing agency?
The good news for you is that there are a lot of good options to choose from. The legal space is highly competitive and that competition has helped create a dynamic and innovate pool of marketing agencies that specialize in generating new business for law firms.
That said, just because a particular law firm marketing agency might be a good fit for many law firms, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s the right fit for your law firm.
Similarly, even if you do find an agency that seems a good fit for your law firm, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your firm is positioned to benefit from the services of a law firm marketing agency, regardless of how good they are.
In this post I’ve drawn from my 10+ years of experience to provide you with questions that you need to ask yourself – and discuss with the agencies you are considering – prior to pulling the trigger on hiring a law firm marketing agency.
By asking these strategic questions your can set yourself up for success and avoid the common pitfalls that result in a poor return on your marketing investment.
What are my specific marketing goals?
The key word here is specific. If you don’t know what precisely you are trying to achieve by hiring a law firm marketing agency, then you probably shouldn’t hire one.
For example “get more clients” is not a specific goal. Specific goals look like this:
- Increase new personal injury clients by at least 50% over the next 12 months
- Increase in-market organic search traffic by 100% over the next 12 months
- Achieve top 5 Google rankings for keywords X, Y, and Z over the next 6 months
- Begin generating relevant leads from new geo-markets X, Y, and Z within 12 months
- Improve the rate at which we convert leads from our website by 100%
- Reduce our average website page load time by 75%
- Gain 50 new online reviews across Google, Facebook, and Yelp
By defining your goals in this way, you’ll be able to discuss them with the marketing agencies you interview to understand whether they are feasible, to get the agency’s feedback on whether your goals ought to be adjusted or supplemented with others, and to align on what it will take to achieve them.
What is my budget for marketing?
One thing I have heard a lot from prospective clients when discussing their marketing budget is: Well, if you produce great results, I am willing to spend more.
Uhhh, yea. Duh.
For any reputable legal marketing agency it’s a given that you expect to see a positive return on your investment, and this is a conversation that you should have with the marketing agencies that you interview.
However, you need to have a budget in mind to get started. And that budget needs to be based on realistic considerations, such as:
- Marketing (especially organic marketing like local SEO) takes time to bear fruit. You need to set your monthly budget with the understanding that the returns will not be generated immediately.
- How much money do you feel comfortable spending? The bottom line is that marketing is a risk. Now, we believe that it’s an incredibly small risk, especially if you work with an agency that knows what they are doing, but it’s still a risk. Your budget should be based on an amount that you could feasibly live with losing. Don’t over-extend yourself. That will make both your life and the lives of the folks doing your marketing miserable.
- Is your budget is reasonable based on your goals and your competition? If you are one of two estate planning attorneys in your city, you may be able to see a great ROI at a relatively low budget. On the flip side, if you want to get big-dollar personal injury cases in Texas, $500 per month won’t do a damn thing for you. This is something that a qualified marketing professional can help you understand when you speak.
What are my expectations in terms customer service and collaboration?
We have some clients who are almost entirely hands off. They want periodic updates on the work we’re producing and the progress that we are making towards their goals, but other than that, they are content to let us do our thing while they do theirs.
On the flip-side, we have clients who require weekly and in some cases even daily communication. These clients want to thoroughly review content. They want to understand precisely what we are doing and why. They want to brainstorm new ideas and areas of opportunity. They want to have in-person meetings to review our monthly reports down to the letter.
And in most cases, our clients are somewhere in-between these two extremes.
It’s important that you ask yourself what level of customer service and collaboration you want from your law firm marketing agency. Is it important to you that your law firm marketing agency be local so that you can have frequent in-person meetings? Or, is it important to you to trust your marketing agency to act autonomously towards your marketing goals with little feedback and collaboration?
This is a critical expectation to discuss and define with your law firm marketing agency.
Do I have adequate time and resources to support marketing efforts?
It’s important that you discuss with prospective marketing agencies what will be required from you in order to execute a successful marketing campaign.
At Juris Digital our philosophy on this front is fairly simple: You stick to what you know, and we’ll stick to what we know. What you know is:
- Your customers – their frustrations, their common questions, etc.
- Your area of law
- Your firm’s value propositions
- Your firm’s story
- Your firm’s successes
- The cases you are currently working on
In general, this is the information that we need from our clients in order to be successful. We need the information that only they know.
If you are unwilling or unable to spend the time and energy required to provide an adequate amount of this type of information to your law firm marketing agency, you may not be ready to invest in marketing.
Is my law firm ready to be marketed?
The best marketing in the world will not overcome fundamental problems with your business or your service offering.
This may come off as an insulting question, but it’s not meant to be, and it’s the most critical question posed here. You must consider whether your firm’s services are of sufficient quality to justify investing in marketing initiatives that are aimed at convincing people to hire you.
Can you articulate specific and truthful reasons why your firm is the best choice for clients who are in need of legal representation? If the answer is no, you should invest in solving those problems before you invest in marketing.
You made it to the bottom. Thanks for reading!
Want to talk more about hiring a law firm marketing agency? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply shortly. Or better yet, shoot me an email and we can pick up the discussion there.