Law Firm Marketing Agency Decision Guide

How Do You Decide Which Marketing Company You Should Choose?

Finding a legal marketing company that you can trust with your advertising budget can be difficult. Whether this is for the first time or after a not so successful experience with another company. Let’s be honest, it can be scary to take that leap. You built this law firm up from the ground and you created a unique brand; now you need to find a marketing “partner” that is as unique as you are.

I have been a law firm marketing specialist for over 12 years. During this time, I have learned that most small firms are looking to find a business partner who shares their same vision to help them reach their goals.  Below you will find 3 different types of legal marketing companies. I will then give you advice about the pros and cons of picking your law firm marketing agency.

What are the Different Types of Legal Marketing Companies?

When evaluating a law firm marketing agency, you can break them into 3 different categories. This will help you make a decision on what type of agency you believe would be the best fit for your law firm.
Picture of Acquring New Client table
1.  Solo marketing company aka “one man/woman shop” 

This is usually a law firm marketing agency run by, as the name suggests, one person.Pros: 

  • The value proposition of working with a small business is that you can expect that you will have their dedicated attention on your account.
  • You usually have the ability to choose month to month agreements vs. annual contracts.
  • You also will save advertising dollars in most cases on the monthly service fees due to the low overhead. But you know who you are speaking with as they are the company.

Cons: 

  • You can expect that they outsource almost all their services. This is where communication problems and breakdowns occur.
  • Outsourced content & SEO usually means blackhat strategies or foreign backlinks. This is  a red flag for Google’s algorithms and can end up getting your site banned.
  • If 100% responsibility for the work lands on one individual, what happens during vacations, illnesses or technical difficulties? Everything stops and so does your campaign.
  • They usually only can handle clients in their local area, which many times means they also work with your competition. What priority do they have for your campaign?

Listen, I get that when you are first looking at investing in a marketing campaign that cheaper always sounds better. This is especially appealing if you choose month to month agreements. As we all know, you get what you pay for. So, if you are looking to hire a professional digital marketing agency that can help your unique law firm reach your unique goals then you may want to hire a team of professionals.

Search engine marketing takes time and experience to be successful. Keep this in mind when you are making your decision. If your agency is not willing to invest in your firm for a year, you should beware. What happens to your site if they cut ties with you for a firm with a bigger budget?

2.  MediaSmack: A boutique-sized legal marketing company 

Legal marketing agencies like MediaSmack provide a team approach to your marketing strategy. They utilize the expertise of professionals who have worked with hundreds of law firms across the country. Due to their breadth of experience, each member of the MediaSmack family provides expert knowledge.They have also gathered the best talent in each service offering. This includes everything from website design, SEO strategy, content creation and paid advertising to ensure their clients get the very best.

Pros: 

  • Digital marketing services performed by the MediaSmack team: Everyone working on your campaign knows your firm & your strategy. All of your services from your account management to content writing & even SEO is performed in-house. This means they are on the same page and helping you achieve your goals.
  • Google certifications for every employee: Yes, every employee at MediaSmack has their Google Analytics and Ads Search certification. This provides you assurance knowing your campaign doesn’t skip a beat if someone gets sick. In my experience in the industry, this is a competitive advantage.
  • Unique campaigns for each client: MediaSmack will design a marketing campaign around your specific goals. The team then implements your 12-month strategy to achieve your goals.
    • Why is this interesting? It means that they must understand exactly what your goal is, whether it is rankings, website traffic, phone calls or social media domination. The strategy is then custom-build to achieve that specific goal.
  • Exclusivity opportunities: It is important to know that your marketing partner is not creating the same campaign for your competitors.
    • MediaSmack limits the number of clients for each geographic area and area of practice. This then allows them to focus on each client’s ROI & success.
  • Competitive research: Due to the limited client base, MediaSmack has the ability to perform in-depth competitive analysis in your market.
    • This means that your SEO strategist will not only analyze your main competitor’s backlink strategy but more importantly, that they can build a campaign to take them down.
  • INC 500 award winner- 3 years in row: They are recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in America. This is not only a statement of the growth of your company, it is a compliment to their client retention.

Cons: 

  • Large Law Firms may not be a good fit. Due to the specification of the legal marketing campaigns designed by MediaSmack, most of their clients are small firms with less than 100 attorneys. Most of their clients are solo practitioners to 4 partners on average.
  • Intake process needed. When you implement a marketing campaign with MediaSmack, you need to be aware that there will be a major influx in call volume and intakes. Your law firm may not be ready for this increase and thus be unable to accommodate it.
  • One-Point of Contact approach. MediaSmack provides a dedicated account manager for your campaign. Not every law firm likes having all their communication via through one-point of contact. Some would prefer to speak with many individuals at a company.

3.  Big marketing company aka “box-store designed”

These are the well-known legal marketing companies you all have heard of over the years. That is because of their directories or the honorary credential and/or award that you needed to pay for to advertise. These are legal marketing companies such as: Findlaw, Martindale, Justia & AVVO.Pros: 

  • You know what you are getting. The strategy is exactly the same for every client. This, you know that you are working with a professional legal marketing company who will provide you with the services they are known for.
  • You are getting a professional website designed for lawyers that has an expected look and feel every time. So you know that the look of your website will be consistent and that the content will be written by experienced professionals.
  • Also, you are getting the SEO benefits of their authoritative directory for your backlink strategy. For example, Findlaw.com, Martindale.com, Justia.com & AVVO.com are all websites with a domain authority score of over 90.

Cons: 

  • With over 15,000 websites under management, it is not profitable to create a “uniquely-custom” legal marketing strategy for every client.
  • This means that, like your website, your SEO, PPC, social media & content strategy is exactly the same for every client in your area of practice.
  • 99% of your Search Engine Optimization strategy is tied to their legal directory, whether it is Findlaw, Justia or AVVO.
  • They will sign up all of your competitors in your target market, if possible.
    • With high sales rep quotas, there is literally no incentive for them to prioritize your campaign over your competitors.
  • The content and blogs for your law firm and your competitors are almost identical- so why choose you?
  • The law firm with the highest budget gets the highest placement.

Take your time when making a decision: Find your Marketing Partner

Your goal is to work with a company that can help set you apart from the competition; period. If your marketing strategy is exactly the same as your competitors, then why even spend the money on advertising? You need to ensure that whichever company you choose has the same goals as you- your law firm’s success.

So take the opportunity to consider the type of law firm marketing agency that would best suit your firm’s goals. Then consider which type of agency will help you grow your business and transform your online presence.

If you have more questions and would like to speak with a legal marketing professional today, contact us today at (888) 530-2935 or fill out our online contact form to get started. By using a combination of search engine optimization (SEO), website design, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, blog marketing and social media marketing, we help our clients increase their online footprint. We would be happy to provide you with a free SEO audit and let you know where you stand vs. your competition.

Sean Stonehouse Avatar
Author Sean Stonehouse
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