Photo credit: The classical Gianmarco
Legal marketing is arguably the most competitive industry online and many firms make basic mistakes that hurt their ability to drive case volume and lower their overall return on ad spend. Having had the opportunity to scale successful lead generation campaigns for firms ranging from three person personal injury practices to 200+ employee firms I thought it would be a good idea to share the basic mistakes that almost every practice makes and how to remedy them.
Only Running Expensive Paid Search Campaigns
What’s the easiest way to get a case in the next 24 hours? Run a paid search campaign.
What’s the most expensive way to get a case in the next 24 hours? Run a paid search campaign.
If you’re reading this and you’ve ever done paid search, especially for ultra-competitive practice areas like personal injury, truck accidents or mesothelioma you know that clicks can cost $150 or more. You also know the uncomfortable truth that most of those clicks are your competitors or people who aren’t serious and while Google can filter out some of that behavior, for the most part the majority of your clicks are wasted.
For those clicks that are actually genuine, if visitors don’t have a user experience that immediately empathizes, educates and lets them take action they’ll leave and there’s nothing worse than seeing you’ve spent $1500 in a day and didn’t get a single call or form fill (for both the lawyer and the agency that will get a call from said lawyer the next day).
The way to improve visibility and reduce reliance on expensive terms is to think of the decision making process for your client. If someone is in a wreck for instance, a lawyer is actually what they search for well after the accident as their immediate needs center around insurance processes, liability, treatment, rentals etc …
Strategically having visibility on their journey is not only cost effective but gets your name into their minds well before they reach a point of seeking legal assistance.
Ignoring Organic SEO
What we generally hear from firms that rely heavily on paid search for lead volume is that they tried SEO and didn’t get traction or they were quoted a long timeline and heavy investment with no guarantee of page 1 ranking. The second part is true to a degree in that if you’re a brand new site, the odds you’ll rank on page 1 for your main practice term in a short span of time are low.
However SEO is often the best place to generate leads because as we began to discuss in the previous section, there is an entire ecosystem of online activity around even the simplest of cases.
For instance with the car wreck example above there could be issues around fault, insured/uninsured motorists, diminution of value, medical billing, short term financial woes as a result of injury. Every firm I’ve seen strategically invest in content tailored to specific questions and issues always get results vs those spinning their wheels on expensive paid search campaigns. Would you rather invest in 10 well-written and optimized pieces of evergreen content that will generate pageviews and leads for years or x10 $200 clicks for car accident attorney Dallas?
In fact when I previously worked on behalf of a firm that handled asbestos litigation, we spent thousands of hours mapping out every possible search area for mesothelioma including symptoms, diagnosis, actual factories/ships/places for exposure and reading through clinical trial data for potential therapies. The result is that we built an extensive content library that gave a full context around the cancer and every element of it and became a powerful lead generation engine that needed relatively little ongoing maintenance.
Falling Flat With Video
Your firm has probably at one point or another been told you need to be on YouTube and most firms do the exact same thing: build a channel, upload their latest TV ad or radio spot and then watch as they rack up 2-3 views per month.
Most law firms look at YouTube from the lens of reality … people go there to watch cat videos and people playing video games. However the opportunity for law firms is that video for many people is easier to absorb and understand and taking the above example of evergreen content and applying that to video you can start to see where the opportunity exists. There are countless 200k+ view videos from lawyers explaining (without giving legal advice) obstacles, questions and challenges someone might face after a car accident.
When done right (not shot an iPhone as you walk down a loud street downtown) video can be an evergreen medium for connection, links and ultimately get people onto your site and into your queue. Video is the medium of the future and firms are even beginning to look at platforms like Snapchat and TikTok (especially for criminal law).
Downplaying Spanish Search
The way that firms approach Spanish speakers is still relatively basic. I’ve consulted with many that hired Spanish speaking staff specifically to handle inbound calls and are shocked when they never seem to materialize.
The problem is most firms put it as a footnote for their advertising because they assume the Spanish speaking audience doesn’t need sophisticated messaging – just put Se Habla Espanol somewhere by the phone number and they’ll know what to do next.
But often the web experience for many of these consumers is 99% in English and that doesn’t do enough to build confidence and not only win the click but win the client. If your firm has invested resources in accommodating Spanish speakers, you need to understand the investment should go beyond people and into the marketing assets themselves.
Basics like a Spanish language landing page and dedicated Spanish language ads are easy additions to existing web assets. Spanish speaking consumers will encounter the same questions and obstacles as their English speaking counterparts so investing in content marketing, often as a first mover in many markets, can pay significant dividends.