3 Common Ways Attorneys Waste Their Marketing Dollars
As an attorney, you probably get calls every single day from telemarketers trying to sell you online marketing services.
The big ones are FindLaw, SuperLawyer, Yelp, and the thousands of SEO companies that call around with the same pitch. If you are like most attorneys, you’ve bit the bullet on one of them, tried the service and paid the monthly fees.
You may have even had a good experience and received results, but there are a lot of attorneys out there who have been burned by these companies repeatedly.
That is why I decided to write this article.
I feel that if more attorneys knew what goes on at companies like FindLaw.com and SuperLaywers.com, they could save thousands and avoid the headaches.
Let’s go over the 3 biggest mistakes I see attorneys making with their online marketing budget.
Mistake #1: Paying a “Directory”
A directory is a company or website that has many local businesses, including all types of attorneys along with plumbers, electricians, etc.
Some of the big ones you have likely heard of include Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, and Yelp.
I am not saying that directories don’t work or that you can’t get any leads from them. I have clients that have received leads from directories in the past.
There are two problems.
- The quality of these leads generally isn’t high – By the nature of a directory, they can’t control who is calling you and what they are calling you about. For example, an attorney that is listed under “evictions” ends up getting many calls from people who can’t pay their rent when they were actually looking for landlords who are trying to evict tenants.
- Directories rely on a volume business model – Directories can only stay in business if thousands (usually tens of thousands) of businesses and professional practices keep paying the monthly fee for premium listings.
Not only are there quality issues with the leads, the listings are usually quite expensive for what they produce, and they are generally accompanied with a long-term contract. And don’t forget about the famous “it will take 60-90 days to really start working”.
To a directory, your practice is just a number at the end of the month. All they’re concerned with is keeping you subscribed for another month paying $$$ for your premium listing.
They will assign you a “Client Development Consultant” or some similar title whose job it is to keep you sold on the package. That means your hard-earned marketing budget is usually going to them doing the absolute minimum to keep you from cancelling the listing contract.
To be clear, if a premium listing is working for you and generating quality leads, keep buying them. In fact, buy more. The #1 rule in marketing is to do more of what works.
Just remember that the other side to that rule is to do less of what isn’t working. I just want to make attorneys aware of the directory business model as well as why lead quality can’t be controlled by the directory.
I do recommend every attorney have a listing on all of the Top 50 Local Directories. The majority are completely free, so you really don’t have anything to lose by being listed on them. Just be aware of what you are buying when they try to sell you on the premium placements.
Mistake #2: Buying Leads
Paying for leads is a common practice, and there are many companies that will sell them to you, including well-known names like Total Attorneys and Nolo, to name a few of the big ones.
The first problem is that many of these leads are sold to 3-4 attorneys in your area. This means you have a 25% chance of being the first one to contact them, and that is only if you call within the first 5 minutes of receiving the lead.
There are ways to increase your success with these types of leads. This article from AttorneyAtLawMagazine.com outlines 7 ways to be more successful when buying leads.
Their tips include calling the prospect 7-10 times, emailing them 3-5 times, and hiring a dedicated intake specialist.
I don’t know about you, but hounding people or hiring staff to hound them doesn’t sound like a great way to position yourself as an attorney.
You don’t have to play that game.
Instead, invest your budget into your own lead generation.
The primary benefit to doing this is that you get exclusive leads that are reaching out to you directly.
Want to learn how to generate your own leads? Learn how to get 20% more leads from your current advertising budget by effectively directing the strategy for your Google AdWords campaign (free video training course).
Mistake #3: Hiring an SEO company
First things first… SEO is a powerful tool. Getting free website visitors from Google really is the Holy Grail.
However, much like the Holy Grail, you may never find it.
There are lots of companies and so called “SEO experts” out there who are in it just for the quick money and end up doing more harm than good.
SEO is generally a multi-month project before you even know if it is starting to work.
(Keep in mind that the faster way to see results from Google is to buy ads that show at the top of the first page. What does that cost? Check out our free report on what type of performance you can expect from these ads.)
Often, a national SEO company is the one that reaches out to you, with guarantees of being at “the top of Google”. In reality, they are working with hundreds of companies in 100+ industries and they have no idea what is really going to work for your practice.
If you are going to hire a company to do SEO for you, make sure they have clients who are ranking at the top of Google in other areas for your type of practice. This is the best way to ensure that they actually have a strategy that will work for your area of law.
To sum it all up….
Take everything into consideration before choosing to work with a company that promises better rankings, premium listings, or more leads.
They should have your best interests in mind.
Think twice if they’re a massive, national brand (they usually won’t have the time for you or your marketing campaigns).
The best way to generate more leads for your practice is to own the lead generating campaign. This gives you full control over quality and quantity, without the problems outlined above.
(NOTE: Want to truly drive growth for your practice? Check out Digital Edge Advertising’s Free Google AdWords for Attorneys training course. Get 20% more leads from your current advertising budget by learning how to effectively direct your strategy on Google AdWords.)