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SEO Secrets

Avoid These Spending Traps When Investing in Law Firm Marketing

By Annette Choti

Developing an effective law firm marketing strategy takes time and money. Ensure you get results by avoiding these spending traps.

If your law firm wants to grow, you need a solid marketing plan. With so many marketing options, how do you know the best way to spend your marketing dollars? How do you know if you are paying a reasonable price for marketing services and ads, or measure if the investment is worth it? As you develop your marketing strategy, beware of falling victim to these common spending traps.

1. Creating a Plan You Don’t Follow

Building an effective marketing strategy takes a lot of time and focused energy, so you want to make sure to follow it. Sticking with the marketing plan can be more challenging than some might think, making it easy to lose sight of goals. Too often, the time and money spent developing the plan is wasted.  For example, the boss wants to review every post but doesn’t approve them all, making it impossible to follow the plan. Or, after pouring time and resources into one plan, it is discarded in favor of something better, but the second plan is never executed. In scenarios like these, the firm may follow a plan for a while but stop when something or someone disrupts the routine, throwing the plan out and resorting to random, ineffective posting.

To avoid this trap, create an effective plan and then automate it. After putting it into practice, revisit it, improve it — and keep going.

2. Accepting a “Good Enough” Website

A website that is “good enough” is not going to cut it. If your law firm website was created years ago and has not been revamped, the content will be stale and the design outdated. Your firm’s website may be the first introduction you have to your potential clients, so you want it to be fresh, informative and professional. It needs to be mobile-friendly, user-friendly, and load as fast as lightning.

If your site was initially designed with a free website-creating package, it might be time to step up your game and hire a professional website designer. Even if you don’t rebuild your entire website, you can boost its functionality by updating its appearance, improving search engine optimization, and following the customer journey through analytics. Outdated, low-quality websites have high bounce rates and will not attract new clients.

3. Relying on Word-of-Mouth Alone

Word-of-mouth, or personal referrals, is a powerful tool for generating new business but must be supported with an online marketing strategy. Even when potential clients are referred to you, they will first check out your website and online presence before hiring you, and maybe before even calling or emailing you. They will view your online reviews and your social media presence.

Because your digital presence is critical to obtaining new clients, make sure prospective clients see a strong, positive online presence for your law firm.

4. Expecting All Paid Ads Will Lead to New Business

Success with online paid marketing is part science and part art. It will take trial and error to get it right. This means not all paid ads will generate business. At least not initially. As you develop your paid marketing strategy, target your ideal client repeatedly and consistently with great content that includes:

  • Links to your quality website
  • Information about your excellent service
  • A clear, recognizable brand
  • Valuable content relevant to your audience

5. Lacking Authenticity

Consumers are smart. They recognize spam, automated email funnels and retargeting ads from a mile away. Each of these familiar strategies lacks authenticity and may fall on deaf ears with prospective clients. But, because so many others lack authenticity in their cyber-world interactions, your law firm can really stand out with genuine marketing content. You want your firm and its brand to resonate with your potential clients on a deeper level so they are more likely to hire you.

Ensure clients share your brand values and identify with your brand by:

  • Being conversational in your marketing voice
  • Personalizing your marketing connections whenever possible
  • Telling your audience who you are and what you stand for
  • Avoiding jargon or condescending to your audience
  • Showing your audience what causes and charities you support

6. Chasing Trends

It is good marketing practice to become familiar with what your competitors are doing, and perhaps seek inspiration from their actions. But be careful you aren’t chasing every new trend that comes along. What works for another law firm might not work for you, your niche audience or your brand. Just because one firm is killing it on TikTok and another is finding success with a weekly podcast does not mean either of those are good for you. Rather, explore new platforms and test them first to see if your target audience is there. Invest in the platforms that work best for your law firm and ignore the trends that do not fit your brand, marketing strategy or budget.

7. Considering Price Alone

One of the most common traps for law firm marketing is to choose tools or tactics based only on price. Of course, you must stay within your budget, but to see results, your law firm must make a proper initial investment. The proper amount may vary with each firm. Marketing tactics sometimes take time to prove their returns, so you may need to spend money over a period of time to gain traction where you want it.

While a marketing expert may cost more than a low-priced option, you know the old saying: You get what you pay for. A customized plan will certainly cost more than an off-the-shelf solution but is more likely to lead to results. Choose a qualified marketing firm that understands the legal profession for the best results.

8. Hiring the Wrong Person

How do you know who to hire to lead or assist with your marketing efforts? Experience and expertise are necessary, but the right person also understands your brand and is able to create a long-term plan. Start by working with a consultant who gives you marketing and content advice and direction. If hiring freelancers, review samples of their work before hiring them. Remember that even the perfect hire will not produce immediate results. Consistency and repetition are crucial components of a marketing plan, so allow time for the strategy to work. Also be open to testing, changing and tweaking your approach.

Digital Marketing Next Steps

To avoid marketing spending traps, start by developing a marketing strategy that will lead to growth. While that may sound obvious, it can make a big difference to ask, “How will this investment (in time, cash or brain space) help us reach our goal?” Budget your plan carefully, considering quality and value as well as price. Once it’s in place, stick to the plan, be patient, keep measuring your success, and tweak as necessary.

And no matter what’s in your plan, always be authentic, because your potential clients will be scouring your online presence looking to see who you really are. Avoid the temptation to follow every trend that comes along, and stay true to your firm’s brand.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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Annette Choti Annette Choti

Annette Choti graduated from law school 20 years ago, and is the CEO and owner of Law Quill, a legal digital marketing agency focused on small and solo law firms. Annette used to do theater and professional comedy, which is not so different from the legal field if we are all being honest. She can be found on LinkedIn or at annette@lawquill.com.

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