There are a lot of great digital marketing agencies that help law firms get more clients. There are also a ton of solo lawyers who do very well without using them. So how do you know if you should use a law firm marketing agency or not?
This blog is provided for general information only. Always talk to a laywer or other appropriate professional before making decisions.
Why should a solo lawyer skip a legal marketing company?
If you have a solo law practice, there are several reasons you may not want to spend money on a legal marketing agency.
You don’t have any money.
Maybe you just graduated and are trying to bootstrap your law firm. Maybe you lost your firm job unexpectedly and don’t want to drain your savings starting a firm.
The simple fact is that many digital marketing services are expensive. If you don’t have any money, it doesn’t matter if they can get results.
There are also many marketing strategies that you can use on your own to get your firm started on a budget.
You’re turning away good potential clients.
If you already have more work than you can handle and aren’t interested in expanding your firm, it doesn’t make much sense to expand your marketing efforts. While you don’t want to become completely invisible, if you can articulate a reason why you’ll keep getting potential clients without needing to spend on legal marketing services, you might as well keep doing what you’re doing.
You’re already your own brand.
A lot of what marketing agencies do is building a brand. You know those firms you always see on TV or painted onto buses? Those firms need a brand.
As a solo lawyer, your personal reputation will be your brand. There are a lot of different ways you can try to stand out from other lawyers, but what you want people saying is, “Lionel Hutz is great at _____.” Trying to build some sort of corporate brand when everyone knows you’re a solo just won’t work.
You’re great at business development.
There are many practice areas where pounding pavement works far better than any type of advertising. Estate planning lawyers often go out and give talks. Business lawyers might spend their time networking. If you’re an of counsel instead of seeking clients directly, you’ll also want to focus on networking.
Legal marketing services will tell you what they think will convince you to spend your money, but think about it another way. If you’re in an area that relies on business development, why isn’t anyone else using advertising in their legal marketing strategy?
Avvo is bad, but it works.
Lawyers hate Avvo. Clients think Avvo is like Yelp. Clients find lawyers on Avvo. Avvo makes lawyers money.
You might want to build an online presence outside of services like Avvo, but don’t do it because you hate Avvo. Think with your wallet.
Why should a solo lawyer use a legal marketing company?
Before you decide not to use a legal marketing company, you need to consider why solo lawyers are using them.
You don’t know how to create a law firm marketing strategy.
If you don’t know anything about marketing, it might be more expensive to try to do it on your own than it is to hire someone. For example, if you try Goole Ads without knowing what you’re doing, you can easily light thousands of dollars on fire.
Professional marketers have extensive experience in what works and what doesn’t.
You will make more money than you spend.
If you choose the right service and the right options, you will make more money than you spend. There’s a reason that there are dozens of attorney marketing agencies that help hundreds of lawyers each. https://upcity.com/digital-marketing/attorney
Like any profession, there might be some scammers or people who are bad at what they do. You do need to check reviews and what you’re getting. But the bottom line is that when hundreds of smart lawyers who know how to sue people keep buying something, it’s probably working.
You don’t have time for marketing.
You might be too busy for marketing. Marketing is an important part of running a law firm as a business, but any time you spend not providing legal services is money you’re not making. In addition, if you get too busy practicing law to maintain your marketing, you might run out of prospective clients when you need them the most.
You can set your marketing budget.
Don’t look at the most expensive digital agencies and think you can’t afford marketing help at all. There are many different providers with different levels of service. Many work on a monthly billing model with a fixed fee.
Whether you don’t have the cash flow to choose a premium provider or spending more to get more clients than you can handle doesn’t make sense, there’s probably a service that’s right for you.
You’re in a competitive market.
There’s a huge difference between being the only lawyer in a small town and one of thousands of lawyers in the biggest cities. It’s much harder to market in the most competitive markets.
The methods that can let a small-town lawyer retire early might not even be enough to pay your rent in a big market. For example, it’s much easier to get search engine rankings when you’re the only firm versus trying to beat out a few dozen firms for the same things. This is where law firm SEO companies can add the most value.
How do you get the best of both worlds?
If you have a background in marketing or like to learn every aspect of running your business, there is an option in between doing it all yourself and signing up for a monthly retainer. Services like Fiverr operate on a fee-per-service model.
If there’s an area of search engine optimization that you just don’t get or you get too busy to focus on your content marketing, you can hire extra help only when you need it. There are no required ongoing fees. Just find a freelancer who specializes in SEO for lawyers, then hire them the same way a client would hire you to handle their truck accident case.
If you’re a solo lawyer, there may or may not be a right answer on whether you need to use a legal marketing company. Sometimes it’s a waste of money, and sometimes it’s necessary. The only way to figure out what’s best in your situation is to explore the available options and keep learning about legal marketing.