Law Firm Marketing Services: What to Look for (And What to Avoid)

Growing your law firm can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to run that firm at the same time.

Your background is in law, not Facebook Ads, SEO, or video production.

Luckily, there are great outsourced marketing teams out there that can help.

Of course, there are also bad marketing teams that cost too much and deliver too little.

This article will give you a guide to the key elements you should be looking for as you make this choice.

We’ll cover the five most important elements to look for in a law firm marketing service, as well as the three major pitfalls to avoid.

What to Look for in a Law Firm Marketing Service:

What to Avoid in a Law Firm Marketing Service:

What to Look for in a Law Firm Marketing Service

The days when your firm could succeed with little more than a solid handshake and a word-of-mouth referral are in the past.

Today, your firm needs to have a strong social media presence, run ads, create great educational and video content, and have an email strategy that turns prospects into clients.

Doing it all in-house, without expertise, is a tall order. And (given how much your time is worth) likely unprofitable.

Instead, use the experts — outsource the growth of your firm to a team of marketing professionals who know exactly what they’re doing.

But who to choose?

Here are the five most important things to look for.

A Team That Specializes in Law Firm Marketing

Marketing a law firm is different from marketing any other business.

So you need a marketing team that works specifically within the legal industry and knows the challenges and how to overcome them.

There are a few reasons it’s a challenge:

1. We need to overcome the “lawyer” reputation.

Unfounded or not, the stereotype exists.

Before any marketing team can get someone to sign on the dotted line, they have to convince them that you’re not just another sleazy lawyer out to get a quick buck.

Choose a marketing service that knows how to combat that reputation.

2. Your clients don’t understand how the law works. 

There’s a reason the bar has a 31.9% pass rate. This stuff is complicated.

Before any marketing team can get a prospective client in a room with you, they have to teach them about whether they need a lawyer in the first place (and why).

Choose a marketing service that knows how to educate your prospective clients in terms they can understand.

3. You all look the same.

Suit and tie. Shiny shoes and a nice haircut. A comforting voice and “25 years of experience.”

You’re all dedicated to helping your clients. You all fight for them, can sympathize (or even empathize) with their experience. You’re all proud to represent the people of “X, USA.”

It might sound harsh, but it’s the reality.

What makes you different? Why should your clients select your firm?

Choose a law firm marketing service that knows exactly how to differentiate your law firm from the rest.

“What to Look For” Takeaway:

Any marketing service provider can give you ads, redesign your website, and set up email campaigns.

But you don’t need that. You need a marketing team that understands the specific challenges of marketing for the legal industry, and has a concrete strategy to overcome them.

It may well be ads, a website redesign, and email. But it’s about setting up the angle so these strategies work.

A Team With a Concrete Strategy for Your Firm’s Growth

Every law firm is different, and it’s not just about your legal specialization.

You practice law for a different reason from your competitors. You have different goals you want to meet in a different timeframe and with a different marketing budget.

So you should have a different marketing strategy one specifically tailored to your business.

Here’s an example — a quick snapshot of some of what Crisp offers to personalize the marketing strategy of our clients:

    • Legal Brand Videos — A custom-made differentiation tool that makes your firm stand out from competitors. Usually, this video will focus on communicating the story of your firm, including all the things that make you unique.
    • Crisp Social Stack — A strategic awareness campaign that includes social video cuts optimized for the social channels right for your firm, alongside managed ad campaigns on each.
    • Attorney Profiles — If you have a large firm, it can be extremely helpful for prospective clients to learn more about each individual attorney (put faces to names, and go into more detail on each attorney’s story, why they practice, their specialty, etc). But, again, this isn’t necessary for every firm.
    • Client Testimonials — Especially helpful in the veteran’s benefits legal specialty, these videos feature the testimonials of your previous clients. If appropriate to your firm, these can be a powerful persuasion tool.
    • Custom, Specialty Videos — These videos could cover be anything from your law firm’s community involvement and videos about charity work to case-specific videos (showing how the case impacted the client’s life).
    • FAQs — For legal professions where more education is required, Crisp offers SEO strategy and thought leadership to help you educate your prospective clients.

For example, here’s an FAQ video addressing the question “Can I sue for an electrical injury?” created for the law firm Blachly, Tabor, Bozik & Hartman in Valparaiso, Indiana:

“What to Look For” Takeaway:

Choose a team that offers a tailored approach. A team that meets with you in person and learns about what makes you and your firm tick, and then executes on the best ways (not every way) to help your unique firm grow.

A Team That Gives You What Will Get Results, and Nothing Else

Have you ever worked with a marketing agency or service that promises you the world and seems to spend all their time (and your money) on strategies that don’t seem to actually do anything?

Choose a team that understands what will get results for your business, and then delivers on that strategy.

Not “Let’s use Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads, alongside a website redesign, alongside 10 new lead magnets, alongside a new blogging strategy, alongside a documentary of your firm’s origin story, alongside, alongside, alongside…”

Instead, choose a team that gives you value for your money. Not a team that gives you everything, but instead the things that work.

For instance:

Berry Law Firm is a veteran’s benefits firm based in Nebraska. They were struggling to increase their caseload, not because the cases weren’t there, but because their prospective clients didn’t know they stood a chance.

As servicemen and women, these prospective clients were used to following instructions. So when the VA told them, “You’re not eligible,” they left it at that.

Even if the right law firm could help them get the benefits they deserved.

The strategy with Berry Law Firm, therefore, was to educate.

The Crisp marketing team chose (rather than throwing thousands of dollars at the problem in a broad sweep) a more targeted approach.

With the help of client surveys and research tools, they were able to define a set of characteristics for Berry Law Firm’s target client.

Then they created a high-quality video that helped prospective clients understand their rights, and promoted it on Facebook to this specific audience:

(Source)

The Results:

In the first seven days, Berry Law Firm’s first video ad reached 50,656 people, accumulated 37,000 Views, 514 Shares, 707 Likes, and 32 Comments.

But it went far beyond the initial video success. Here’s John Berry on the effect the marketing campaign had on their firm:

The great thing that I didn’t expect from all of this was how it would affect our referrals. Our clients are calling us, telling us how proud they are to be represented by us and that they really enjoy the video. And it’s one of those things where they’re passing on the video.” (Source)

This approach was a sniper shot — a heavily targeted campaign that was successful because of the measured approach.

“What to Look For” Takeaway:

Don’t hire a marketing service that promises the world.

Instead, hire a marketing service that knows what they’re doing with the legal profession and executes on a specific strategy designed around your firm.

Note: Since the launch of the original marketing campaign in 2016, Berry Law Firm’s original brand video has since been watched more than a million times, shared more than 3,000 times, and has more than 450 comments.

A Team That Gives You Value Above and Beyond Their Remit

A good marketing team helps your business with more than just growth. They help you to develop a brand identity that delivers value for years to come.

Crisp, for instance, focuses not on video production, but on distinguishing you from every other lawyer in the world. Video is just the best way to achieve that goal.

We’re not in the video production business. Plenty of people shoot videos. Our clients could ask their cousin’s nephew or put out an ad on Craigslist. We distinguish our clients by telling their story, demonstrating their value, and engaging their target audience.” —Michael Mogill in “The Game Changing Attorney

By hiring the right marketing service, your law firm becomes a brand in the most positive sense of the word. You become a recognizable identity with a compelling story and personal identity that resonates with your clients.

It might be easier to explain this with examples:

  • Adamson & Cleveland is a two-attorney plaintiff’s trial firm in Georgia. But they aren’t just personal injury lawyers. They’re the team that helped a young couple get through the tragic death of their unborn daughter in a car accident. They are “friends for life” to these people.
  • The Morizio Law Firm in Connecticut is headed by Lawrence Morizio. But Lawrence isn’t just a workers’ compensation specialist. He’s a youth baseball coach who helped a middle-aged auto mechanic receive the compensation he needed to support his family.
  • Travis J. McConnell isn’t just a personal injury lawyer. He’s “a normal guy with a law degree” who was “a really good, good friend” to a father and husband injured when two beams fell onto him.

“What to Look For” Takeaway:

Find a marketing service for your law firm that doesn’t just deliver Facebook ads or emails, but an identity.

Doing so will give you value above and beyond the initial cost. Establishing that brand identity will change the way you speak to your clients, because (after seeing the results) you’ll know how powerful it is.

A Team With a Proven Track Record of Success

Why work with a team that can’t show you the success they’ve had?

Why work with a team without clients willing to share their positive experiences?

Your first step when researching any prospective third-party service provider should be to check out their past clients, and the #1 red flag is an unwillingness to show the results of their work.

For instance, most of Crisp’s website focuses on testimonials and success stories. We get out of the way to let our clients speak.

Here’s one of our most recent: The McCraw Law Group.

The McCraw Law Group is a personal injury firm based in McKinney, Texas. Headed by owner Lin McCraw, the firm is “dedicated to helping those seriously injured or defrauded to make financial, physical, and emotional recoveries.”

McCraw was already well-known in his community, but needed a differentiating tool to help warm prospects make the final decision to choose his firm.

McCraw weighed up an investment into Crisp:

“I, fortunately, was already following my conversions/calls for my existing marketing efforts so I could rely on numbers and not just my gut. I wanted to see two additional cases a month for a year for the investment.”

Crisp teamed up with McCraw to produce a legal brand video that presented him as professional and empathetic. The video focused on communicating the “why” behind his reason to practice.

The brand video went live on McCraw’s website and social channels in December 2018. They had previously been converting about 10 injury cases each month.

In January of 2019, McCraw Law Group generated 24 accepted cases.

Lin estimates that the marketing strategies implemented by Crisp have driven at least 22 new case conversions compared to the firm’s historical average in just the past three months. These cases alone (even including the cost to process those cases), should return an estimated $158,400 — more than covering the cost of producing the video and return sizable profits to the firm.

But Lin doesn’t think it’ll end there:

“I suspect that when we periodically boost the video going forward, we will see added results for those months as well. That is the next test. Interestingly, while internet traffic volume has bounced around some, it has not been appreciably higher than before. We are getting more conversions with the same internet volume.”

You can see the McCraw Law Group’s video below:

“What to Look For” Takeaway:

Don’t mess around with law firm marketing services that get in the way of you doing your own research. And research is essential. After all, this is a major decision (both in financial terms and for the growth of your firm).

Your most reliable sources of information are the clients themselves. Look at their case studies, speak with any previous clients you can find, then book a call with a representative.

What To Avoid in a Law Firm Marketing Service

A Quick, Slapdash Approach Done on the Cheap

When choosing a law firm marketing service, your goal should be to find the right one, not the cheapest one.

John Berry (of the Berry Law Firm) says it better than we ever could:

“If you’re going to put a bunch of time into making a crappy, low-quality video? Fine. But your time is the value, so what is it going to cost? What is this piece worth to you?

I think you have to look at your average client value: How many clients is it going to take to make this video? What do I expect the return to be? And if you do it cheap, the problem is everybody is doing it cheap now. I don’t like that sheep mentality of, ‘Well, if everybody else is doing it then I’m going to do it too.’

This is something that sets you apart from everyone else.” 

Don’t skimp on something that sets you apart.

A Formulaic Approach to Marketing

Your business is unique, so avoid those marketing services with a formula they swear works for everyone.

It doesn’t.

They don’t know you. They don’t know your business or clients. They may not even know the legal industry.

Find a marketing team that will invest the time and resources to learn more about you, and then identify the best strategies to grow your business.

An Agency Where You’re a Small Fish in a Big Pond

First and foremost, this is the growth of your firm we’re talking about; it’s not what to have for lunch.

It’s a big decision.

So don’t just type “marketing service” into Google and select the top result. Invariably you’ll find the biggest name out there — an agency with 1,000 other clients in which your firm will just be another notch on their belt.

There are a few main reasons to avoid a major marketing agency:

  • They’re not specialized in the legal profession (we covered how important that is above).
  • They won’t be hands-on. They’re not going to come to your small town, meet you, and learn what motivates you and what your goals are face-to-face. They’ll do it all over the phone while impatiently trying to get you off the line so they can move onto their next account.
  • They won’t test, tweak, and optimize your marketing campaigns. They’ll just set it and forget it because getting you to sign the contract is where the money is.

Conclusion

Here’s a quick recap:

Look for a marketing team that specializes in law firm marketing, delivers a concrete strategy (with nothing you don’t need), gives value above and beyond their remit, and has a proven track record of success.

Avoid those marketing agencies that deliver a slapdash, cheap, or formulaic marketing strategy, or are simply too big to give you the attention your law firm deserves and needs to grow.

With a better understanding of what to look for (and what to avoid) in the law firm marketing space, you now have to make the decision.

Which law firm marketing service will you choose?

If you want any further advice about law firm marketing or want to speak with an advisor, connect with a Crisp Legal Marketing Strategist for a no-obligation, one-on-one conversation today.


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