No time for marketing?

The most common reason that marketing at small law firms gets short-changed is lack of time.

Plans get made, but then client demands interfere and marketing projects get postponed … sometimes indefinitely. The resulting slowdown does not occur immediately, but it does arrive. Even with immediate remedial action, leads take weeks to months before flowing again.

Start-and-stop marketing is not a path to growth.

Smart delegation

The better approach … one that will result in steady revenue growth … is to supplement your at-times-uneven in-house efforts with marketing work performed regularly by outside experts. It is the rare law firm that has the time or the expertise to intelligently execute a winning combination of today’s highly-effective online marketing techniques:

  • Pay-per-click ads on Google and Facebook
  • Local and organic optimization, both on-page and off-page
  • Content-based, lead-nurturing drip series
  • Regular solicitation of online reviews
  • Addition of proven conversion devices to website pages

If you want to ensure that regular and effective marketing efforts are being made, monitored, and steadily improved, consider employing James Attorney Marketing’s attorney-marketing team.

Our area of expertise

Generating more leads and clients for small law firms is what our 15 online legal marketers do every day. We have teams focused 100% on creating and fine-tuning varied campaigns that generate quality leads and good clients for small firms in every major specialty in most legal markets.

If you would like to supplement or expand your marketing efforts, or simply want to learn more about techniques that will increase your lead and client flow, schedule a 15 or 30-minute appointment with one of our Digital Success Managers. They will walk you through the possibilities.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

3 Key Elements of a Budget for Digital Marketing for Lawyers

In 2017, digital ad spend is set to outstrip TV ad spend for the first time ever, according to a March 2016 projection by eMarketer. The company predicts that digital will comprise nearly 40% of total ad spend in the US, while television will land at 35.8%.

If you’re reading this changing marketing landscape and want to join other law firms in dedicating more resources to digital legal marketing, the first step is to use the information below to craft a reasonable budget for your online marketing needs.

  1. The age of your law firm

Law firms that are 20, 10, or even five years old typically don’t have to spend as much money on marketing as younger firms. That’s because newer practices must work to strum up business, since they don’t yet have a solid client base and consistent stream of referrals coming their way.

Take this into account when creating your online marketing budget. If your firm is just a few years old, you will need to allocate more time and money to legal marketing strategies like:

  • Online reputation and review management—gathering positive reviews, responding to negative ones, and ensuring that you achieve high rankings on your Google My Business listing as well as your Yelp page
  • Google+ Local Optimization to improve your search marketing (see #3 below)
  • Lead magnets to gather new contacts
  • Email drip campaigns to nurture leads
  • Sales funnel tracking and follow-up tools for cold, warm, and hot leads

For younger firms, these branding and lead gathering strategies are particularly important—and they go hand-in-hand. Branding ensures that your law firm is represented consistently across all mediums, and that all online marketing embodies the attitudes and values that you’re trying to portray.

Strong branding enables greater lead gathering, which continuously pumps potential clients into your sales funnel so you always have new cases coming down the pipeline. Devote a good chunk of your law firm’s marketing budget to these elements to build a solid marketing foundation in the younger days of your practice.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

  1. The right channels for your legal marketing

When creating a legal marketing budget, you’ll need to take into account the channels and strategies that you’d like to pursue most heavily. For instance, do you think Facebook advertisements would be most profitable for your firm, or would you rather focus on blog content that can be adapted into email newsletters?

Nailing down your marketing strategies—both long- and short-term—can determine the kind of budget to set each week, month, and quarter, and outline exactly where that spend should be going. For example, if one of your biggest online marketing strategies is drip email campaigns, you can consider the costs of:

  • Writing copy/content included in each email (are you hiring legal marketing professionals like James Attorney Marketing to produce great content, or are you paying an employee?)
  • Creating any landing pages necessary to link emails
  • Tailoring each email campaign to specific groups of recipients
  • Designing emails and ensuring that they are optimized for mobile and desktop
  • Setting up every campaign
  • Tracking campaign data through a legal CRM
  • Producing any resources or prizes associated with campaigns, such as free e-books or gift cards

Itemizing costs can take a significant amount of time, but knowing where every penny is going in the future can help to create an online legal marketing budget that is reasonable and achievable for your law firm.

  1. The importance of local marketing

The nuts and bolts of local marketing may change as search engine algorithms do, but the ultimate purpose remains the same: to appeal to the right audience and drive more local traffic to your law firm’s website or through your doors. Marketers are seeing huge benefits through this strategy since internet users are completing more local searches than non-local ones.

The bottom line: when creating a budget for your online marketing plan, skipping out on local marketing is a mistake. Direct resources toward local online marketing strategies like Google+ Local optimization to increase the visibility of your Google+ listing in local search rankings, and connect with local internet users who need your legal services.

Local search will soon outnumber non-local ones. Are you ready?

Set up your Google+ Local account today for a better local ranking!

How to Stick to Your Attorney Internet Marketing Budget

Setting a marketing budget can be challenging… but sticking to it can be even harder. Fortunately, there’s a way to abide by your attorney internet marketing budget without letting it consume your valuable time. Simply follow this five-step plan for success.

  1. Explore free or inexpensive marketing resources

If you’re working with a shoestring budget or just want to add more power to your attorney internet marketing arsenal without a large additional cost, look into free or cheap marketing resources such as:

  • Setting up business pages on social media platforms
  • Accessing online guides or training for everything from creating infographics to crafting engaging content
  • Undergoing a free legal website evaluation from the experts at James Attorney Marketing
  1. Determine how much to spend and where

After taking advantage of free or inexpensive attorney internet marketing resources, determine how much you have available to spend on paid or more expensive marketing tools.

Then, break this total budget down into smaller sections such as research, specific campaigns, pay-per-click marketing, and costs of hiring any freelancers or independent contractors for content, web design, social media, etc. Establishing these buckets will make tracking expenses simpler and more efficient.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

  1. Track all spending

Establish a system for tracking your attorney internet marketing spend from all buckets. Here are a few ideas that might work for your practice:

  • Designate one person to approve all spending—this could deter unnecessary spending and also ensure that multiple people aren’t covering the same bases
  • Have a dedicated marketing email address to link to all marketing accounts in order to receive receipts, invoices, membership notices, and forgotten passwords in one place
  • Track spending on a Google spreadsheet that everyone from your legal marketing team can edit and view in real time
  1. Analyze campaigns during and afterward

Tracking expenses during and after the life of a campaign ensures that costs don’t get away from you. For instance, to track the cost of an email and social media campaign asking readers to take a brief marketing survey, consider the costs of:

  • Developing the online survey (either paying a freelancer/independent contractor or doing it in-house)
  • Designing the email containing each recipient’s personalized survey link
  • Loading the email into your email management system or sending it off manually to all recipients
  • Sponsoring posts on social media (paying per post or per click) and/or time spent developing social media posts and posting them on your own
  • Dedicating time to responding to comments on social media posts and promoting on social media throughout campaign life
  • Addressing all respondents—for example, sending the free white paper promised to them in exchange for their survey response (developing this additional content could constitute another cost) or a thank you email
  • Analyzing survey responses
  1. Adjust along the way

By constantly tracking spending, it’s easy to see when and where adjustments are necessary, and then tailor spending to your specific attorney internet marketing needs and performance.

How To Stretch Your Law Firm’s SEO Budget

Let’s face it—most law firms don’t have a marketing budget comparable to the Apples or Walmart’s of the world.
So how can law firms slash costs while maintaining a focus on SEO?

The key to stretching your law firm’s marketing budget while still promoting SEO is to be more efficient and master the SEO activities that result in the greatest return.

Transform the following action items into regular habits and give your firm’s bank account a break without letting SEO fall by the wayside.

1. Analyze available data to discover what your clients are searching for.

Your law firm’s website probably features a search bar where viewers can type in keywords for content that they’re looking for. Spend a few minutes analyzing your internal search data to discover what types of phrases and keywords webpage users are searching, and be on the lookout for trends. Are your website users searching terms like “chapter 11 bankruptcy” or “workers’ compensation in California”?

Gather a handful of these prominent keywords and keyword phrases, and then produce content centered on those topics. This strategy can result in several benefits such as:

  • Guaranteeing that webpage visitors are more satisfied with the content of your law firm’s webpage
  • Ensuring that your law firm is spending time only producing content that webpage visitors find relevant, saving time and boosting ROI (return on investment)
  • Increasing SEO; when Internet users utilize search engines to scour the Internet for these keyword terms, your webpage content will probably rank high on search results pages

Don’t have a webpage program that provides this internal search data automatically? Not to worry; free tools like Search Meter are available to assist you with data analysis that you can use to tailor your law firm’s marketing efforts.

2. Use content management systems to your advantage.

Platforms like WordPress can save your law firm time and money by taking the hassle out of blogging. With dozens of “themes” to choose from, your law firm can customize your blog to fit your needs and branding, all at relatively low or no cost.

Once established on WordPress or other content management systems, there are few maintenance costs and you’re only a few clicks away from posting blog articles that can maintain your law firm’s online presence. Producing even one well-written post every week can be enough to rank toward the top of search engines’ results pages.

3. Reach a wide audience via social media.

Much of the world is separated by only a few degrees thanks to social media venues like Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp!, and Pinterest. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach a chunk of this audience! Basic accounts to all of the major social media platforms are free, which means that you don’t have to spend a penny of your law firm’s marketing budget to post content that could result in higher website traffic and increased lead generation.

Price Comparisons For Digital Marketing For Lawyers

Affordable Attorney Marketing Solutions

We periodically investigate the prices charged by our attorney-website competitors. These prices are not easy to obtain, for they are not posted on websites. And usually more than one phone call is required, for a proposal needs to be prepared.
Our attorney marketing prices are about a third what the big guy charges, and about half to two-thirds what the others cost.
As a result, quite a few attorneys have shifted their digital marketing accounts to us. These attorneys figure we only need to equal the performance of their existing vendors for the change to be worthwhile. Attorneys who switched to save several hundred dollars a month are the ones we most enjoy surprising with stronger results, better customer service, and higher-quality content.
If you want to (1) save money on your digital marketing and (2) give us a shot at delivering more than you are now receiving, we would like to speak with you.

James Attorney Marketing

Here is what we charge. And you don’t need to call or request a proposal to learn our prices, for they are posted on JamesAttorneyMarketing.com and listed in our brochures.

  • 100-page disability website with 8 videos, PDF download and ebooklet, case submission form, and free 800 number: $295/month
  • Social Security disability articles for your website: $65 each. Blog posts: $45 each
  • Website redesign and rewrite: $1,000 – $1,500, depending upon the number of pages in your website
  • Optimize your website for better Google page position: $200 – $1,000/month, depending upon the number of search phrases you want to pursue and the competitiveness of your geographic region
  • 4-page monthly client newsletter: $200/month plus any printing and shipping
  • Custom Skype Q&A videos of you: $100 each

The Competition

Here is what we learned in the most recent round of phone calls to 5 well-known and reputable competitors who specialize in providing digital marketing to lawyers:
1. BIG AGENCY: $1,652/month for 20 web pages or $1,004/month for 14 pages. Includes annual refresh of some of the pages. Flash is an extra $100-350/month, and inbound linking is another $200/month. Discounts are available for multi-year contracts (15-20%) or prepaying (5%).
2. MID-SIZE AGENCY X: $1,500 for 15 web pages and $500/month thereafter for search engine optimization and inclusion in one national directory.
3. MID-SIZE AGENCY Y: $11,200 to create a website and $2,800 for each additional year. Video is extra and costs $3,000-6,000. The enhanced video module costs $497/month. Web marketing costs $500-$5,000/month. $200 hourly rate for other work.
4. SMALL AGENCY X: $7,500 to create a website and $50/month thereafter for hosting.
5. SMALL AGENCY Y: $8,000-15,000 to create a website. Hosting is $15-99/month. Optimization is $70-795/month. Videos cost $750-$7,000.
To learn more, reply to this email or call me at (714) 434-5927.

To Spend or Not to Spend: What to Include in Your Law Firm’s Marketing Budget

Advertisements, social media campaigns, press releases, SEO, promotional items, and brochures are just a few of the many elements that a law firm’s marketing team can spend money on. The list goes on and on, and before you know it… poof! Your marketing budget has disappeared.

Understanding how to spend your allocated marketing dollars most efficiently is no simple task; yet, targeting only the avenues that result in a high ROI for your marketing dollars is a must for any legal practice, particularly small ones. It’s time to cut through the clutter and determine what to include (and what to avoid) in your law firm’s marketing budget.

Do splurge on: advertisements; don’t spend on: new content and images for other pieces

Advertisements can result in major payoffs for your firm, assuming that the content appeals to the intended audience and the ads are strategically placed. However, they can also be expensive and quickly wipe out a limited law firm marketing budget. The solution is to make advertisements last as long as possible by avoiding unnecessary redesigns and reworking them into different formats to fit various purposes.

For instance, pretend your bankruptcy firm wins a slew of local awards for excellent client service. This presents a perfect opportunity to place an advertisement in your local periodical or business journal to achieve two purposes: thank the community for their vote and announce the win to other prospects within the market. After running the ad, you can also utilize the content and/or images used in the advertisement to create a prospect email, direct mail pieces such as a brief postcard, online blog article, and press release. “Recycle” your material to save money!

Do splurge on: press releases; don’t spend on: a PR professional or agency

Press releases remain one of the best ways to spread news about your law firm and brand yourselves online and via word of mouth. Fortunately, distributing press releases is relatively straightforward and can be done by any knowledgeable marketing professional. Therefore, don’t waste any of your precious law firm marketing budget by hiring a PR professional or agency to do your administrative work.

Do splurge on: valuable consultants; don’t spend on: overpriced help

Sometimes you can’t do it all, and it’s alright to admit that your law firm’s marketing plan needs a bit of outside help. Turn to outside consultants who are experts at assisting you with branding, for instance, and you’re making a valuable investment. However, steer clear of overpriced freelancers or consultants whose services do not justify the cost. For example, a freelance marketing writer crafting the copy for one flyer shouldn’t expect the same payment as someone writing the content for your law firm’s entire website.

Ask us for a free evaluation of your website as well as tips to increase traffic to your page!

Do You Feel Like You’re Wasting Money on Your Marketing Efforts?

Do you measure your cost per lead or cost per hire? Does your marketing company (or companies) encourage you to track this information and give you the tools to do so? If you answered no to any of these questions, you need to evaluate your relationship with your vendors.

Marketing companies are a dime a dozen, and there are a million ideas that all sound great on the surface — and may even be affordable. But how do you know if they’re working for you? If you’re working with more than one agency, how do you coordinate the data from each to create an ROI report on the combined services? Most firms I talk to simply don’t. And even worse, many go with their gut instinct, and some lose information they receive from prospects about where they found the firm.

If this is you, please call or schedule an appointment with me. I can help.

Why You Should Increase Your SEO Budget

In stealthlike fashion, Google has rolled out algorithm updates in recent years that have turned the SEO world on its ear. In particular, Google Panda and Google Penguin 2.0 have affected website rankings in a way that website operators weren’t prepared for—sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the (very) bad.

Despite Google’s changes—which really are for the best—many website operators are wondering if bothering to stay on top of SEO practices is a smart, and profitable, marketing ploy. The answer is a definite yes.

If your firm is questioning whether to invest more or less in your SEO budget, here are 3 reasons why investing more could yield higher ROI than other legal marketing strategies.

But First, Why Did Google Change Their SEO Policies?

Google’s new enforcement of how websites get indexed and ranked cleans up a lot of spam and other Internet junk that no one wants to see anyway. Keyword stuffing, article spinning, paid links, and other black hat techniques are no longer acceptable to Google in any form.

If your website partakes in these practices, Google will deem your site as low quality, and they can de-index you and remove your site from their search page—which is not a good thing.

So, Why (And How) Should You Increase Your SEO Budget?

1. Bad SEO Services Waste Money

It takes money to clean up a bad website. First, you either paid for SEO services from a marketing company that didn’t have your best interests at heart—or you did bad SEO marketing on your own, and now you have to comp the time and energy invested and start from the beginning. Both of these are a labor and money drain.

It’s best to find a reputable Internet marketing company that can help you with your SEO efforts from the start.

2. You Can’t Fool Google

Google has invested millions making sure that sites using shady practices to boost SEO don’t have the power they once had. Tactics like keyword stuffing, bad links, cloaking, and duplicate content is now carefully screened through Google’s algorithm updates. So, if you think you can get away with black hat practices and Google won’t notice, think again.

3. Good Content Marketing Is Critical

To keep yourself in good standing on any search engine, fresh, original content is key.

If you choose to spin your own content, make sure that you aren’t engaging in bad SEO practices, as mentioned. If you’re opting for an Internet marketing company to handle your content, ask to see current client reports before you sign up with them. Make sure that the SEO services they’re providing are the real deal, and won’t land your firm back into the low-quality content trap.

A Full Service Agency Can Save You Money and Increase Your ROI

There aren’t many full service agencies that can provide many or all of the services firms need. Most marketing agencies provide a few services like SEO, social media or reputation management, and you have to find another company to help fill the gaps.

Most people in my industry will not like what I’m saying, but the truth is, the client suffers when they have to work with multiple companies that provide overlapping services. Today, a full service agency is a more effective approach for law firms — and can save you money as well as increase your ROI.

When working with a full-service agency, you’ll also have better coordination of efforts. You won’t have to do the legwork to ensure your marketing strategies are working together. Your agency will coordinate your web design, branding, SEO, paid search, video, social media, and content marketing to generate new, high-value cases for your firm.

You Need a Partner Who Knows How to Make Marketing Strategies Work for You

I speak at and attend conferences, mastermind groups, and other events throughout the year, and I have noticed a troubling trend when it comes to legal marketing. Specifically, experts are touting their methods and selling their wares to law firms with little information as to what the firm actually needs. Even worse, attorneys are desperate for ideas and investing in the next big idea that is backed by an “expert”.

Each not-so-new idea or gamechanger strategy can be found in most marketing books on Amazon, but very few agencies can actually implement the concept and make it work for each client. Implementing these strategies takes patience, careful planning and a partner that has your best interests in mind.

Schedule a Free Evaluation Today

Let me evaluate your current marketing efforts. I will give you an unbiased report — with detailed recommendations designed specifically for your firm. I do this for free, and I do it because it works. Whether you choose to work with my agency or another one, you need to have a plan in place that will help you meet your growth goals.

Schedule a time today. What do you have to lose? The evaluation is free and only takes 20 minutes of your time.