While there are more than 3 things you need to learn about digital marketing for your law firm, if I had to break it down to 3 vital steps for success, these are them…digital marketing

  1. Develop the message you need to engage with your target buyer personas.
  2. Know what cost per customer acquisition tolerance is.
  3. SEO Requires a Significant Amount of Patience

Develop the message you need to engage with your target buyer personas.

You can read the details on this topic in a separate blog post here: Messaging

(You should read that before you go any further in this post.)

The Cost Per Acquisition That Works for Your Law Firm.

This seems basic, but you need to know this so you can begin to assess which marketing strategies will be the most profitable.

This will also help you set expectations for all marketing efforts, including television, radio, billboards, PPC/Google Adwords, SEO and social media.

For example, a good PPC/Google Adwords management company can help you determine if PPC can be profitable for you in the short run, while you wait for other marketing efforts like SEO to kick in.

It is important that you differentiate lead sources as much as possible, track which leads become clients, and grade your marketing efforts month over month. It is easy to differentiate PPC/Adwords leads from organic leads, so if you do any search marketing, make sure your marketing partner knows how to do this. You can even track what specific keyword searches drive which calls in PPC.

Keep in mind that you may not always be able to acquire each new client profitably. For example, you may have a cost per acquisition of $2,000, and some of your cases make less than that, but others make much more. In this scenario, while you may lose money in the short run, over the long run you will be profitable. This is important to understand because these factors drive the competitiveness of your market, which is a large determining factor in your cost per acquisition.

Understand the Upside and Downside to SEO

I brought on a new personal injury lawyer client recently who had convinced himself before he called that SEO was going to be very profitable for his firm, AND he realized it could be 6-9 months before he received a single lead. I suggested he invest in PPC simultaneously so that he could acquire immediate clients and immediate leads in the short term, and then turn that off once he started to get organic leads.

He refused to invest in PPC, because he wanted to invest all of his effort in SEO and had no problem paying for it for 6-9, even 12 months before it worked.

This level of commitment and patience is rare, but it may be the best choice for a lawyer in his situation.

It is true that SEO can take 6, 9 even 12 months to begin firing on all cylinders, which is why it is vital that you plan for SEO financially, and you choose a vendor you can trust to deliver on SEO results. If you choose the wrong vendor you may be 6-12 months farther from gaining clients from SEO efforts, because you will have to start over when you realize it is not working. This can be a huge opportunity cost in addition to the wasted money. Of course no SEO can guarantee legitimate results, and sometimes a perfectly good SEO agency does everything they can but gets sub-par results. That is why you need to select an agency with a track record who is dedicated to your success to reduce your risk of failure.

There are tricks some SEOs can do to make things happen faster, but when your site gets penalized a few months later you may be starting all over again. In the mean time if you need clients you should consider PPC/Google Adwords or one of the other client development tactics that are disposal-and don’t forget about networking. Many of your most valuable clients may still come from referrals even after your website is ranked.

Even for our digital marketing agency 60% of our clients come from referrals, with about 40% coming from our own SEO efforts on sites like this one.

If you need some help, don’t hesitate to check out our consulting options on our consulting page here:

Lawyer Marketing Consulting