Legal marketing is still a relatively new industry. Twenty-five years ago, most law firms didn’t market. Those that did had limited ways to boost visibility, such as printed advertising, traditional public relations, and face-to-face networking.
With the internet came digital marketing. The legal industry, like just about every other business type out there, must now have an online presence to compete effectively. Websites, social media, content generation, email marketing, directory profiles, and videos to market law firms are now not only the norm but are also required.
Luckily, many service providers help law firms with their legal marketing. Before hiring a legal marketing firm, though, there are three things law firms must know:
- You don’t need a formal legal marketing strategy before hiring a legal marketing firm.
Law firms that wait to be “prepared” and “organized” before hiring a legal marketing firm will very likely never feel ready. That’s one of the best benefits of hiring legal marketing experts: they not only help law firms get ready to market, but they also make sure marketing happens.
Legal marketing firms assist with creating legal marketing strategies, plans, and campaigns. Of course, law firms should have some idea of what they’re trying to accomplish before looking for a legal marketing firm to hire. For example, a family law firm wants to generate more divorce leads and is interested in using social media and videos. Or perhaps a bankruptcy law firm wants to do a better job of communicating to referral sources with a blog and a newsletter. Knowing that much is enough to start the search for the legal marketing firm that best matches the law firm’s needs. The legal marketing firm will take it from there.
- Outside legal marketing firms don’t replace your internal marketing team — they complement it.
When attorneys and in-house law firm marketing professionals were asked to identify their greatest marketing challenges, both groups overwhelmingly cited “lack of time” as the biggest roadblock to success, according to a 2018 Bloomberg Law and Legal Marketing Association research study. Those same marketing professionals also cited “lack of proper staffing.” The simple truth is in-house law firm marketing teams are talented, creative, and capable — but they are overwhelmed trying to do everything for everybody.
Law firms with both marketing professionals on staff and outside legal marketing consultants benefit from the in-house team’s institutional knowledge of the firm and the consultants’ experience and expertise. The in-house professionals apply what they know about the firm’s professionals, priorities, practices, and, importantly, politics to direct the outside legal marketing firm. This ensures the legal marketing firm’s deliverables meet the law firm’s expectations and frees up the in-house team to handle those tasks that can’t be outsourced.
For instance, a small personal injury firm may have one or two marketing people who oversee and implement the firm’s billboard, and bus ad buys, make edits to the website content, arrange sponsorship and speaking opportunities for the attorneys, and keep an eye on the firm’s online profiles. Firm leadership decides it’s time to focus on SEO and, as part of that, wants to redesign the website, start a blog, and use pay-per-click ads. Sure, the in-house marketing team can learn how to do all those things, but the results will take longer and will likely not look or work the best. Instead of adding more to the in-house team’s already overflowing plates and wasting their time and the law firm’s money, the better investment is to hire one or more legal marketing firms to focus on the new strategy, create the plan to launch it, and make the plan a reality.
- Some legal marketing firms offer a niche service, while some are an all-in-one partner.
Once a law firm has decided to invest in a legal marketing firm for assistance, it’s important to know that there are many types of legal marketing firms available. Which kind is right for the law firm depends on what it wants to accomplish.
In the personal injury law firm example used above, the firm can hire a larger legal marketing firm that is experienced and able to handle all those needs in a cohesive, integrated fashion. There are smaller firms that focus on specific tasks, such as SEO-focused legal marketing agencies, that can provide advice and direction on how to increase website traffic. That works great if the law firm has the internal capacity to write the content, update the law firm’s website, and create the social media posts needed to implement that SEO strategy. However, all-in-one partners go beyond the strategy to execute the plan — under the law firm’s supervision.
Working with an all-in-one legal marketing firm brings cost, operational, and scale efficiencies as well as consistency in how the law firm’s brand is handled. Costs associated with hiring an outside legal marketing firm can feel overwhelming, especially for a small firm. It’s common to take one step at a time, even with all-in-one legal marketing firms.
Ultimately, hiring an outside legal marketing firm is an effective, efficient, and cost-saving way for a law firm to accomplish its marketing goals. Bringing in professionals not only ensures that the marketing tactics will be implemented in the best way possible, but it also frees up attorneys and staff to focus on their important work.
Scorpion has been helping law firms for more than 20 years. If you’re looking for a marketing partner, we’d love to show you how we help law firms enhance its marketing efforts, leading to more potential clients, more matters, and ultimately, more revenue. Contact us today to learn more.