Finding the right legal marketing agency for your law firm can be daunting and time-consuming. Not only do you want a company with a proven track record of success, but you need one that works with law firms and knows how to help you elevate your presence online.
Continue reading for a comprehensive guide to selecting the best digital marketing agency for your law firm.
Table of Contents
What Does a Legal Marketing Agency Do?
A legal marketing agency helps your law firm build its brand and generate client leads — increasing your caseload.
The digital marketing strategy you implement will depend on your goals, area of law, target audience, and geographic location. Accordingly, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Below, we discuss some of the services legal marketing agencies offer to give you a better idea of the strategies and effort that go into effective law firm marketing – and why these tools are pivotal to the success of your business.
Would you like your law firm to appear on the first page of Google? Who wouldn’t? Most people look for attorneys online, and only 9% reach the bottom of the first search engine result page (SERP). A mere 0.44% click on the second page of search engines.
Moreover, studies have shown that a page that ranks first on Google is 10x more likely to get clicks than the 10th highest-ranking page.
Nowadays, more people are going straight for the top results without bothering to scroll further down the SERP.
You’re probably wondering how to be more attractive in Google’s eyes. Google has to sift through billions of web pages to present the most relevant results when a user searches for information.
It does this with algorithms that rank content based on many factors, including expertise, reliability, location, and usability of web pages.
If you want your law firm’s website to rank highly in Google’s organic search results, you’ll need to implement search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
Some SEO strategies you may use in your legal marketing campaign include:
- Linkbuilding to increase authoritative links to your website and boost your online reputation
- Keyword research to optimize your content and appeal to your target audience
- A user-friendly website design
- Competitor research to determine how other law firms in your area are attracting client leads
- Local SEO techniques to ensure that your website is appealing to prospective clients in your target market
These SEO techniques enhance your website’s quality so that Google deems it more authoritative and useful. The more appealing your site is to Google, the higher it will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The higher it ranks on Google, the more website traffic and leads you’re likely to receive for your firm.
We just mentioned that Google deems website usability a vital ranking factor. That’s why web design is critical to legal marketing.
You need a dynamic, engaging website that attracts your target audience and contains high-quality legal content.
You must also convey why your law firm is the right fit for potential clients by highlighting your experience, accomplishments, past case results, and compassion for what they may be going through.
Your website needs to be visually appealing and user-friendly; if users get frustrated navigating your web pages, they may abandon your site before learning anything about your firm. Part of this involves the compatibility of your website with handheld devices like smartphones and tablets.
Over 60% of users search for information on their mobile devices, so ensure that your site is responsive and enhanced for mobile users.
Remember: your website is a valuable tool that can advertise your legal services 24/7. Taking the time to design a top-notch law firm website could yield perpetual results that continue working for you while you focus on your clients and while you’re off the clock.
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising method that lawyers can use to effectuate quick results. With PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on your law firm’s ad.
PPC allows you to direct your advertisement to potential clients in your area during peak hours. Depending on your target audience’s online habits, you can place ads on various platforms, such as Google, YouTube, and Facebook.
PPC advertising is beneficial for newly established law firms because it can yield results quickly. It is also valuable for lawyers who litigate in time-sensitive practice areas, such as criminal law, because PPC will target people who need those services immediately.
However, it’s best to use PPC advertising along with SEO and other marketing techniques. PPC is a quick fix, but SEO strategies will yield more long-lasting results.
Why is Marketing for Lawyers Difficult?
Finding the best legal marketing agency is difficult. Why? Because marketing for lawyers is difficult. More difficult, in fact, than most other marketing. That’s why finding the right partner — not the cheapest or most convenient — is critical to your marketing success.
Let’s look at why legal marketing is so challenging.
Prospective Clients Have a Short Decision Cycle
When consumers are looking for legal representation, they’re in a time crunch. An individual injured in an accident or charged with a crime needs help quickly.
Individuals searching for legal services often make up their minds based on first impressions. While many may hire an attorney based on a referral from family or friends, a substantial portion of them will search for an attorney online.
If they don’t come across your website in those few hours they are searching for a lawyer, they may never come to know about your firm.
Consumers in need of legal services have a short decision cycle, and legal marketing must account for that.
Search Engines Hold Legal Websites to a Higher Standard
Google has identified the criteria that help it differentiate between high-quality and low-quality content. For law firm websites, these are YMYL (“Your Money or Your Life”) and E-A-T (“Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).”
When a person is searching for a lawyer online – or even just the answer to a legal question – the stakes are high. If they come across false information, the impact on their life could be severe. In fact, the results of their search could impact their “future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”
Therefore, Google has a special designation for legal websites: Your Money or Your Life.
What a consumer finds in the search results could literally mean their money or their life. Therefore, Google holds law firm websites to a higher standard than other websites.
In fact, it will only rank lawyer websites that have demonstrated E-A-T on the subjects they cover. This means legal marketing agencies must put in an extra effort to achieve top results.
Legal SEO is Highly Competitive
SEO is a great way to drive traffic to your business. Most SEO is competitive. Lawyer SEO is on another level.
Studies have shown that eight of the top 10 priciest keywords on Google AdWords included the words “lawyer” or “attorney.” Moreover, over three-fifths of the top 100 most expensive words are related to the law somehow.
The competition for top-ranking keywords in major (and even smaller) geographic areas is bonkers. But that’s legal marketing. And if you want to rank for these keywords and elevate your presence online, you’ll have to embrace the challenge — or find an SEO agency that is up to the task.
How Much Does a Digital Marketing Agency Cost?
You’ve heard this one before: “It depends.” The cost of SEO for lawyers depends on what marketing services you want, the ROI you desire, and the skills and experience of your legal marketing partner. It will also depend heavily on your practice area and geographic region.
The Different Types of Contract and Fee Structures
Different SEO agencies will use slightly different contracts and fee structures for their services. The following are some of the most common:
- Fixed price — six-month to one-year contract. The typical SEO contract is between half a year to a year. The contract will set a fixed price (with variable costs) for marketing services. You will typically be billed monthly. After your contract ends, your contract will likely be month-to-month.
- Monthly contracts. These contracts are month-to-month and feature selected SEO services. This model is similar to a retainer.
- Project-based contracts. These contracts are for one-time or short-term projects such as website design. They end upon the completion of the project.
- Hourly rates. Under this structure, an SEO agency or professional will bill an hourly rate for all the time they work on your project. This model is common for consulting-based projects.
By learning the agency’s fees and structures, you can understand (1) how much you need to budget for marketing and (2) how to track your ROI.
The Drawbacks of Just Going With the Cheapest Option
We all like to get things at a bargain. But the old adage generally rings true: “You get what you pay for.” The same can be said for legal marketing.
Therefore, one question you should ask yourself before you start a legal marketing campaign is: “how much do I want to make from my campaign.”
Suppose you would like to gross $1 million in revenue in a year-long marketing campaign. This means you’d generate $1 million in revenue from leads connected to your legal marketing.
Suppose you only want to spend $500 a month on SEO (this hypothetical is based on real conversations, believe it or not).
In this example, you’d spend $6,000 a year on marketing and gross $1,000,000. That’s a 16,500% return on investment. Sounds too good to be true? It probably is.
If you hire a SEO company at $500 a month, you will likely get very little. You may get some content for your website – likely low-quality content without on-site optimization.
You will probably not obtain any valuable backlinks. And your website will probably not be built to convert leads into prospects or clients.
You may see this and think, “Well, at least I won’t have lost too much.” However, you may lose more than you realize.
You will lose time and value. You will lose time (i.e., a few months, six months, a year, or however long the length of your contract), which is a precious commodity in law. And if you’ve lost time, you’ll have lost value along with it.
Losing Time and Value with Bad Legal Marketing
As lawyers, we understand how time and value work in legal services. But we often fail to understand these concepts in marketing and business. For example, if you were to get a divorce from your spouse, you would (hopefully) not look for the cheapest family lawyer you can find.
You understand that poor representation can affect things that matter to you: your property, your children, your money. Therefore, you would find a competent, skilled attorney who can help look out for your interests and work for a reasonable and fair divorce agreement that satisfies your goals for post-marriage life.
You would understand that investing in a good divorce lawyer would pay off in the long run.
You wouldn’t skimp on a family lawyer. Neither should you skimp on your legal marketing.
Consider losing (wasting) a year’s worth of marketing time in which you could have grown your business and established yourself as a leader in your legal market.
If you are bound to ineffectual marketing, that’s exactly what will happen. You won’t achieve your goals or your ROI.
You may even go backward — as your competitors go forward.
Good legal marketing is an investment. If you invest sufficient resources in the right legal marketing company, it will pay dividends. If you invest scant resources in your legal marketing, you will likely grow frustrated at the lack of results.
Common Errors Lawyers Make When Searching for a Marketing Partner
We’ll share critical tips and considerations for your legal marketing agency search. But before that, it can be helpful to talk about what not to do when searching for a legal marketing company.
Here are a few “don’ts” to remember:
1. Searching for “best legal marketing agency” on Google and hiring the company that appears first
Just because a company ranks well for certain keyword terms doesn’t mean it’s equipped to handle your marketing needs.
It’s one thing for the agency to appear prominently for search results related to its own target keywords. But it’s another for the agency to rank clients for competitive keywords in their legal markets. The latter is far more important for your law firm.
That’s why basing your hiring decision solely on what agency ranks first in one search on Google is a bad idea. You need to investigate whether they can help you get where you want to be on search engines.
2. Searching for your city and target keyword and seeing what law firm appears
Some lawyers might be tempted to scroll to the bottom of a website that ranks for their target keyword to see what agency the firm uses. This strategy hinges on the idea that an agency that ranked another law firm for your keyword must necessarily be the agency you hire to get the same results.
Similar to the last “don’t,” this strategy is a bit short-sighted.
Such an agency may be a good fit for you, but it is not automatic. You cannot be sure that the agency has done (or still is doing) all the work to get the firm to rank.
Your competitor firm may have used additional external resources or in-house marketing staff to help them rank.
Moreover, if you’re not in hyper-competitive practice areas or geographic regions, the content may be low-quality and still rank. If so, you should probably not hire the SEO agency responsible for the website.
3. Believing you shouldn’t hire an SEO agency
Many law firms are skeptical of legal marketing. To be sure, SEO agencies can produce mixed results. However, if you have searched for and found the answer to a question or issue on Google — legal or nonlegal — you have likely seen good SEO at work.
The companies that rank on the first pages of search engines for competitive keywords in competitive geographic areas devote substantial resources to SEO, especially in the legal industry. In fact, the majority of them are working with SEO agencies to help them rank.
You shouldn’t believe that you should never hire an SEO agency. If you want to get on the first pages of Google for the keyword terms that matter, you might have to. Therefore, you should look for the best legal marketing agency for your firm.
LawRank has a demonstrated history of helping law firms rank for highly competitive terms in the hottest markets.
We’ve helped attorneys increase traffic to their website by as much as 600% and got them the quality leads they deserve. Contact us today to see how we can help you.
Tips and Considerations For Finding the Right Digital Marketing Company
Now that you understand the importance of legal marketing agencies, their service offerings, and what not to do when searching for one, let’s review some tips for choosing the best digital marketing agency for your law practice.
1. Define Your Marketing Goals and Budget
You need to define your marketing goals to manage your expectations and measure the success of your efforts. It’s best to determine your primary objectives before meeting with a digital marketing company so that your initial meeting will be more productive.
For example, consider the following:
- Do you need a brand new law firm website, or do you already have one?
- Who is your target audience?
- What geographic market are you targeting?
- How competitive is your practice area in your geographic location?
- Do you want quick results or results that yield long-term benefits (or both)?
- Do you want more client conversions, or are you looking to boost your online presence and reputation (or both)?
You also need to consider your legal marketing budget so that the marketing agency has an idea of how they can best help you meet your goals.
Your budget depends on the size of your legal practice, your area, the competitiveness of your services, and the revenue you bring in each year.
Surprisingly, most small to medium-sized law firms don’t have an annual marketing budget, and many are unsatisfied with the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. A legal marketing agency can help you address these issues and get you on the path to satisfaction with your advertising and marketing strategies.
2. Make sure the marketing company has experience in the legal industry
Your marketing agency needs to have experience in the legal industry. Why? For one, they need to understand attorney ethics rules regarding marketing, including what you can say and what you can’t say online. Second, legal marketing is a highly competitive, niche market that requires particular skills and experience.
Legal Ethics Rules for Marketing
For example, the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct (adopted in some form by every state) prohibit lawyers from:
- Sharing confidential case information and communications on their website or social media
- Posting about clients without their permission
- Advertising that they are the “cheapest” or “best”
- Creating ads that mislead consumers about their services or accomplishments
- Stating they are an expert in the law unless they have earned a certification from an appropriate legal authority
If a marketing agency typically works with non-legal businesses, they are not bound to such rules. They may be more likely to (inadvertently) run afoul of attorney ethics rules for marketing. But they won’t be the ones who get in trouble with the state bar.
Legal Marketing is Highly Competitive
It should not be a secret to you how competitive the legal industry is. It should also not be surprising that legal marketing is equally as competitive. How many signs and billboards for lawyers do you see driving down the interstate or around town? A bunch, right?
As competitive as that type of marketing is, digital marketing is even more competitive.
Everyone is vying for the same keywords and the same top rankings on Google and other search engines. That means you need an SEO agency with experience in legal marketing.
One that has a demonstrated history of ranking law firms for top keywords. One that knows how to help increase traffic to your website and leads to your door.
3. Request Case Studies and Results of Current or Previous Clients
There is no better way to determine the quality of an agency’s services than its track record with former clients. Therefore, you should ask the agency for case studies that show its results on behalf of current or former clients.
The ideal case study should show you the client’s progress from the beginning. It should describe what the law firm looked like before hiring the marketing agency.
- Where it was appearing on Google search results,
- How much business it was doing,
- What its website and content looked like.
It should clearly illustrate what the legal marketing agency has done to improve each of those areas.
These case studies should reflect work done in a similar market and practice area as your law firm.
But an important caveat: this is an opportunity to make sure the legal marketing agency isn’t already helping a client in direct competition with you. If they are, you should avoid that agency and the conflict of interest.
Multiple positive case studies can demonstrate that the agency has a successful strategy and process for ranking projects. At the end of the day, what we care about here are practical results.
Case studies and results are the clearest way to evaluate how well a legal marketing agency is performing.
Questions You Need to Ask a Legal Marketing Agency
1. Will I have a dedicated project manager?
You should determine whether your project will have a dedicated project manager. Why? For three main reasons: communication, organization, and accountability.
By dedicating a project manager to your account, an SEO agency gives you your point of contact for all things related to your project.
The project manager will communicate what information and involvement they need from you to make your project successful.
They will keep you up-to-date on the progress of your
- rankings, and
- other legal marketing metrics.
And they will be your go-to staff member when you have questions or concerns about your project. If the company doesn’t provide you with a dedicated project manager, communication will likely suffer.
A project manager will also serve as the chief organizer of your account. They will oversee the development of your website and the ordering of your content.
They will coordinate with other staff members to manage your backlink portfolio and key platforms for marketing. They will also keep your project on schedule and monitor the growth of your website traffic, leads, and keyword rankings.
Have you heard the saying, “If everyone is responsible, no one is responsible?” It’s true in legal marketing, too.
If your SEO agency isn’t providing you with a dedicated project manager, who will you hold accountable for deficient legal marketing results? The CEO? The President? The salesperson who sold you on the service?
Better yet, who will they hold accountable for deficient results? Having a project manager creates accountability for your SEO agency.
2. Who writes the content and articles that will appear on my site?
Remember, Google holds legal content to a higher standard than other types of content. This means that the SEO agency creating content for your website should have the legal expertise to create accurate, quality content.
Not only does the agency need to get the law of your jurisdiction right, they have to comply with attorney ethics rules regarding what you can and cannot say on your website.
Some SEO agencies hire lawyers or JDs to write and edit content. However, many SEO agencies employ run-of-the-mill freelance content writers with no legal education or experience.
Make sure you understand who is writing your content and what the agency will do to ensure that it is legally accurate and compliant with your state’s ethics rules.
3. How long will it take for me to see results?
SEO is a process. Even if your agency creates the best legal content on the internet, it won’t rank overnight. Therefore, you should ask your agency how long it will take to see the results of your project. You should also understand that “results” can mean different things.
Your SEO agency ought to give you a firm estimate of the time it will take to develop and launch your website. However, they might not be able to pinpoint exactly how long it will take to reach SERPs for your target keywords.
Studies suggest that 95% of newly published pages don’t break into the top 10 organic listings on Google within a year. The ones that do typically take about two to six months to rank.
Setting realistic expectations for when you should see results can help facilitate a positive relationship between you and your agency.
4. How will you track the progress of my website and rankings?
Legal marketing agencies may use many different tools to track the results of your marketing campaigns. For instance, Google Search Console and Pro Rank Tracker will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your keyword rankings.
You can use these programs to see what keywords bring prospective clients to your website and how those keywords perform over time.
Google Analytics will help you measure your organic website traffic, including how much time people spend on your website and how many client conversions and referrals you’re getting from organic traffic.
Local SEO rankings, which are vitally important for law firms, can be tracked using Local Falcon and CallRail. These tools will help determine whether your local SEO strategies are increasing your call volume and caseload.
If a legal marketing agency doesn’t have tools to measure the progress of your website and rankings, you may want to keep looking.
It’s crucial to track your results so that you can shift your strategies if necessary. However, keep in mind that you need to be patient, as it can take time to see measurable results from an SEO campaign.
LawRank Can Help With All Your Legal Marketing Needs
Legal marketing is pivotal to the success of your law practice. However, it takes time, money, and continual monitoring and adjustments to be successful.
You need a legal marketing agency with:
- resources, and
- a track record of success managing your online presence and growing your brand.
We’ve successfully customized and managed dozens of law firms’ digital marketing campaigns, achieving first-page rankings for some of the most popular keywords. Our content is written by attorneys and JDs, so you can trust that it’s accurate.
Our SEO experts will create and implement a marketing plan tailored to your law firm’s needs to drive traffic to your website and generate more business. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how our law firm SEO services can help you meet your legal marketing goals.