3 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Law Firm Marketing Provider

The new world of Web 2.0 has made things a bit like the Wild Wild West in terms of law firm marketing. Everything’s new, there’s no guidelines and quite frankly, it can be a bit scary at times. I understand. I was once boggled by the myriad of opportunities too.
But, you must take the time to understand your options.
In today’s world, with more choices than ever, your law firm will never have a steady stream of prospects calling if you are not marketing. And let’s be honest, marketing can be extremely time consuming, has a steep learning curve and typically requires a lot of expensive trial and error.
Fortunately, once you figure it out, business (and life) becomes much easier. And when you have the one-two punch of attracting the right prospects and engaging over 80% of the ones that call your office, now you’ve got a real business. [ed note: if you aren’t engaging over 80% of the prospects who call your office, you are wasting a whole lot of your time & most of the money you spend on your marketing.]
I can definitely understand the desire to outsource a substantial part of your lead flow. Who wouldn’t want someone else to handle what is for many of you the most difficult part of your business – getting the phone to ring?
In response, companies have sprung up that claim they will get your phone to ring by leveraging the power of the internet. Not all companies are the same though. Here’s what you should look for when you are engaging any outside legal marketing company to help with your marketing:
1. Pay for results only.
Pay-for-results or (pay-per-performance) means you only pay if you get results. But, not all results are the same.
Beware of the companies promising to get your website to the top of the Google or other search engines. That’s not necessarily the results you want or care about. Sure, they can get you to the top of Google for certain keywords, but are those the keywords your prospects are searching for? What about all the other searches? And, what happens when people get to your website? Is your website primed to convert looky-loos into your clients? If your site is like most lawyer sites I’ve seen, no.
If you are not prepared to make the time and money investment in building a website that converts (we can cover that another day), you may want to look for a company that is going to deliver you qualified contacts.
2. No long-term contracts.
Look for a provider that doesn’t require you to sign a long-term contract. If it’s pay-for-results or pay-per-performance, why require a long-term contract? Either you are getting the contacts or you aren’t.
3. Screening that benefits you and not the provider.
I’ve heard a rumor that some pay-for-performance companies screen the inquiries and cherry pick the best cases for themselves or their buddies. I understand this is most common in the personal injury arena and can’t confirm it, but watch out for it if federal law lookup you are 1 of 5 or 6 attorneys getting contacts in a specific area. Look for a company that delivers you ALL of the contacts that come in for your specified area without room for discretion about which of the contacts you get and which you don’t get.
If you use these guidelines before you choose a company to outsource your marketing to, you’ll have very little, if any, risk.
And, while you know I’m a big fan of outsourcing so you can be the lawyer you’ve always wanted to be, don’t rely on outsourced marketing as your only source of leads. Make business law topics for presentation pay-per-performance online marketing part of your mix, but be sure you’ve got your own internal systems for becoming THE go to lawyer in your local community as well.

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