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Digital Marketing for Law Firms…In-House or Outsource?


While many law firms understand that they need to be “on the Internet,” and create and publish content, they usually do little to present it in a way that engages their target audience, and that is the key.  It’s obvious from statistics that potential clients are now looking online for an attorney to solve a problem.  Today’s prospective clients are more sophisticated and informed than ever before.  Information is easily available, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  The Internet is flooded with webpages, blog articles, and social media pages, all vying for the same clients and that top spot on the search results page.  This has made the legal space one of the most competitive verticals on the web.  It’s important to ask yourself… What is my firm doing to drive relevant traffic to our web properties, generate leads and stand out from the competition?

A great digital marketing strategy is client-centric.  Law firms that identify their ideal clients, create quality content in many different formats, including blogs, videos, case studies, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, PowerPoint presentations, Q&As, checklists, and use an effective social media strategy to distribute it are building their brand and bringing new and better business in the door.  Your goal is to answer questions, provide insights, and share information that your prospective clients will find valuable, relevant, and engaging. 

Unless you’re a large firm with a marketing department, it’s safe to say that running your law firm and a digital marketing agency at the same time can be both daunting and expensive.  If you let either slide, you’ll hurt both your firm and your existing client base over time.  So how do you not only attract new clients, but also retain existing clients?  An effective solution for many law firms is to outsource marketing to an experienced digital marketing agency.  You run your firm and practice law…it’s what you do best.  Let an online marketing agency, with experience working with law firms, take care of your marketing. Let's look at 5 signs that may show you it’s time to outsource your firm’s digital marketing and let a seasoned professional create a strategy and run your campaigns.

You just don’t have the time

Connecting with current clients and potential clients and generating high quality leads is a full-time job, often a full time job for several people.  If you’re wearing more than one hat in your firm, you may not be able to put forth the effort needed to get the job done effectively and make an impact.  Creating interesting, relevant content in different formats that speak to your target audiences, and then adding a social media strategy to promote it, takes time and effort.  Hiring an agency with strong legal marketing experience and the “bandwidth” to get the job done ensures that your campaigns run smoothly and continually generate a flow of strong leads that increase revenues.  Without the marketing distraction, you’re able to focus on your law firm and your cases and better represent your clients.

Your marketing strategy is thrown together

Without adequate time and experience, you’re focusing on tasks and activities and not an overall client-centric strategy.  Great marketing is about the big picture.  It takes time, thought, creativity, brainstorming, lots of market and competitive research, testing, and measuring to create successful campaigns.  If you don’t start with an overall strategy and skip important steps, you're just slapping ideas and materials together, and flying by the seat of your pants to create a marketing solution with the hope that something sticks.  You’re also probably wasting time and budget and possibly harming your firm’s brand and reputation.  This is the time to hire a knowledgeable legal marketing agency who will have the vision to strategize and organize your campaigns effectively.

You’re not reaching your goals

If you’ve been marketing in-house and aren’t seeing results, it may be time to outsource to an agency with experience working with law firms.  What are the targets and goals of your marketing campaigns?  Are you trying to bring new business in the door?  Bring in better or different kinds of cases?  Increase revenues or retain existing clients?  Do you know why you’re writing those blogs or making that video?  Fresh eyes will help assess what you’re doing well, what needs to be reworked, and what pieces are missing from your campaigns.  A digital agency has the knowledge and expertise to identify problems, find solutions, and take the necessary steps to enhance your campaigns and make sure they’re working effectively.  Their mission is to meet your firm’s goals, turn visitors to your web properties into new clients, and do whatever it takes to get you there.

You’re still lagging behind your competitors

As with most industries, once your law firm falls behind the competition, it’s hard to catch up.  You become reactive instead of proactive.  An agency will stay ahead of the curve, assessing what your competitors are doing, creating compelling strategies and campaigns that speak to your ideal clients, and implementing the latest content marketing techniques.  Marketing is always changing and a digital agency, specializing in the legal arena, will make sure you keep your competitive edge and don’t lose out on major opportunities. 

It’s affordable…yes it really is!

What is the cost to your firm for a marketing manager or director?  It's safe to say that this is not an entry level position and it’s not the responsibility of a paralegal or office manager.  He or she needs to have marketing experience and understand how to create a strong digital marketing strategy, as well as engaging campaigns that include, web development and maintenance, graphic design, content creation, video, SEO, PPC and other online advertising, email marketing, social media management, compelling offers, landing and thank you pages, PR, measurement, analysis, reporting, and more.  It’s obvious that one person can’t do it all effectively, so they’ll need to hire staff and/or sub out some of this work to others.  Outsourcing provides your law firm with an entire team of professionals with knowledge and experience in the legal arena.  The cost is most often significantly lower than the salary of even one on-staff marketer, and as a bonus, the quality of work is higher.  Budgeting is easier and you’ll know exactly what you’ll be spending, monthly, on your marketing efforts.  An agency has the talent and expertise you need, is scalable, and keeps up with the latest and most effect marketing trends.

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What do I need to know before hiring a digital marketing agency?

So, now that we’ve discussed some of the reasons why your law firm should outsource their online marketing and the major benefits that come with hiring a digital marketing agency, here are 12 key questions you should ask a potential consultant or agency before signing that contract.

  1. What kind of legal marketing have you done in the past?
  2. What type of law firms have you worked with? 
  3. What specifically can you do to improve our law firm marketing now, and what can you do to help our law firm reach new goals?
  4. What can you tell me about our current digital marketing plan? What's working well, not working, or needs to be retooled?  What strategies are we missing?
  5. What do you plan to do differently?  Why?
  6. What is included each month in our contract?
  7. How long before my firm can expect to see results?
  8. How will you measure results and ROI and how do you share this information?
  9. Who will manage my account and who will do the work?
  10. How closely will you work with our internal marketing team or attorneys?
  11. Are you a full service agency for all our digital marketing and web design needs, or do you specialize or sub out work?
  12. What tools do you use and what software do you specialize in using (Hubspot, Hootsuite, Google analytics, etc.)?

A well-constructed digital marketing strategy will educate potential clients, build confidence and credibility in your firm, and generate qualified leads.  Remember, the majority of consumers, today, are doing their research online.  The decision making process is well underway before they ever pick up the phone and speak to a law firm or attorney.  Valuable, relevant content is the best opportunity you have to engage, introduce yourself, show your expertise and knowledge, and build trust.  If your current marketing strategy is falling behind or not working for your firm, this may be the time to outsource to a digital marketing agency that specializes in law firms.

About WSI

Located in McLean, Virginia, just minutes from Washington, DC, Bethesda, MD, and all of Northern Virginia (NoVA) we have been helping law firms locally, and across the U.S., leverage digital marketing since 2003.  Our mission is to help our clients grow their revenue and brand awareness with strategies that integrate outstanding websites, valuable content, a strong social media presence, and state of the art advertising and promotion.

With industry veterans possessing over 30 years of experience in translating technology into business tools, we have the background to guide your law firm through the process of building traffic, sites and sales through all your web properties.

Contact us today to discuss outsourcing your digital marketing needs. Get in touch with one of our experts now at 703.286.7101, or by visiting our website:  www.wsiwebmark.com.

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