Every business is responsible for attracting new customers and clients while maintaining long-lasting relationships with their existing ones. Marketing isn’t a one-time advertisement, and it shouldn’t be seen as a remedy for lack of engagement. The essence of marketing is to sustain a business’ presence in its respective space. There’s no simple way to go about creating an effective long-term campaign. Marketing is an ongoing strategy that requires constant analysis, tweaks, and creative thinking.
If you’ve noticed that your business has reached a plateau and you’re having a hard time reaching new customers, it’s time to refocus your marketing efforts and consider hiring a marketing agency to help you reach the next level. Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about hiring a marketing agency, from what they are to how they can benefit your firm.
Marketing Agency vs. Marketing Person
To increase sales, every business needs to invest in marketing. Marketing helps a business attract new leads and customers while nurturing existing ones, differentiating your business, and making your profile more visible. However, you shouldn’t jump to hire an agency too soon – new businesses can expect a fair amount of growth to occur naturally and through basic marketing. But when you start to see sales and growth stagnating, feel like nothing is getting done, or that you have higher ambitions than your capabilities can handle, you’ll know it’s time to put more focus on marketing. Once you understand the importance of developing a marketing strategy, you need to determine whether it’s best to relegate marketing tasks to an already existing employee or a person you hire for marketing or to work with a marketing agency.
A Digital Marketing Agency is Multi-Disciplinary
Marketing comprises various disciplines, including SEO, web development, social media, graphic design, copywriting, and more. A marketing agency employs a team of knowledgeable staff members who are experts in each discipline. The key difference between hiring a marketing person and an agency is that a marketing employee will require some level of training. In contrast, an agency was born ready to handle your entire marketing campaign. From the second you hire them, they’re ready to improve your business. They know exactly how to do it, and they have the tools, resources, and mindpower required to deliver the highest quality results.
Consider Cost Control
Cost control is another reason to consider hiring an agency over an employee to run the marketing for your law office. When you consider the cost of benefits, training, payroll tax, pensions, and other expenses, it adds up fast. If you’re considering hiring an experienced marketing manager, the salary will be considerable, not including additional costs. If you’re considering hiring a junior employee to manage marketing, consider the experience and skills they’ll be lacking to deliver high-quality work. You should also consider who will train them or take over when they go on vacation or leave the job?
While the average retainer for a marketing agency might amount to approximately the same amount as paying an appropriately-sized marketing team, you won’t have any hidden costs to deal with and won’t have to spend onboarding training or development.
In most cases, the benefits of working with a marketing agency greatly outweigh those of hiring a marketing person to work with your practice in-house. One piece of advice if you’re considering working with an agency is to make sure they have experience in marketing law firms.
What is a Marketing Agency?
Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between a marketing agency and a marketing person, it’s time to learn exactly what a marketing agency is and what they do. Most marketing services provide various services and work with each of their clients to fulfill various needs depending on what would benefit their specific business best. These services include:
- Web development – building and managing an attractive and effective custom website for your practice
- SEO management – developing a comprehensive SEO strategy that will help improve your online presence through higher page rankings for your website and blog
- Copywriting – creating professional, high-quality copy for advertisements, emails, websites, social media, online reviews, and articles
- Creative design – creating design elements such as logos, website graphics, layouts for lead magnets, videos, and images for ads
- Digital advertising – managing an online advertising strategy through popular channels like Google and Facebook
- Social media management – managing your firm’s presence on prominent social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
- Data analysis and strategic planning – analyzing your company’s data and the results of the marketing efforts to help determine the next marketing moves
- Funnel building and management – managing the various marketing funnels your clients will go through as they interact with your brand in different ways
- Media planning and purchasing – managing and purchasing advertising space for print or media spaces, including TV, radio, billboards, Google Ads, and other types of advertising
- Email management – creating email campaigns for qualified leads and tracking the results
When you look at the various aspects of marketing that an agency is equipped to handle, it’s easy to see that one person can’t be an expert in every aspect. An agency is equipped to handle this range of services with one goal: to drive results.
When is it Time to Hire a Marketing Agency?
Not that you know what a marketing agency is and what they do, you might be wondering how to know when it’s time to hire one? The most beneficial times to start working with an online marketing agency are:
- You’re running out of time and manpower to focus on marketing with the employees you have, but you can’t afford to hire and train an in-house marketing person – whether you choose to work with a team or a specialist, working with an agency will cost less and be less of a headache than putting a new person on your payroll and training them.
- You’ve crafted your own marketing strategy, but the results are poor and you don’t know why – when you have a law practice to run, there are many important things for you and your team to focus on, and none of you are expected to be marketing experts. Marketing is an art and a science, and as your business grows, there will come a time when you need to take some help from people who are experts in the field.
- Your business is growing fast and you need to get ahead of the curve with your marketing game – a marketing agency can help scale your business by developing an effective marketing strategy to attract new clients and retain existing ones.
Marketing is a Key Component in Growing Your Brand
When you decide to open a law firm, it probably isn’t because you’re passionate about marketing. If you’ve started a successful law practice but seem to have hit a wall trying to bring new clients in, it’s time to find a marketing expert who can help craft your brand, tell its story, and work on different types of marketing to find new clients. Here are a couple of the most important focal points for expanding your business that an agency can take care of.
Building Your Brand Image
One of the first and most important aspects of a digital marketing strategy is to build your brand’s image. You can’t shape an effective marketing plan until you have a clear message to project based on the image and fundamentals you want your law firm to resonate with. Your brand’s image rests on factors such as what makes it unique, what differentiates it from its competitors, and what your value proposition is. An agency can help work these details out and express them in several ways that will appeal to prospects.
Passive and Active Marketing
A marketing agency will also keep track of passive and active marketing. While active marketing, such as advertisements and social media posts, obviously need to be done regularly, passive marketing should occur behind the scenes to create the most solid marketing strategy. Passive marketing is typically comprised of content like web copy and blogs, which help your firm build authority and credibility.
Active marketing campaigns are essentially used to drive an immediate influx of traffic. Think fast results instead of a long-term plan. This type of campaign is centered around networking with other businesses and potential law firm clients. It could involve pitching and cold calling potential clients, reaching out to your target audience through social media, and working with the community. Active marketing is time-consuming and requires strong networking skills, so a marketing agency can be essential.
No matter how great an active marketing campaign is, it won’t be sustainable without a passive marketing campaign as the foundation. Passive marketing involves the process of setting up various outlets that allow clients to find and come to your business. The process can include things like creating business accounts on various social media platforms, adding effective landing pages and informative pieces to your firm’s website, and writing and distributing other pieces of high-quality content. An effective passive marketing strategy requires the ability to analyze and anticipate marketing trends. The progress is slower than active marketing, which is why a patient and knowledgeable marketing expert is essential.
Managing Social Media Marketing for Law Firms
You might feel like social media is a simple thing to handle in-house – after all, it’s just making a few short posts on Facebook and Instagram, right? This is a common misconception. Many businesses who try to handle their social presence don’t see the results they’re hoping for, especially if they have “more important” business aspects to focus on.
Each social media platform has a unique algorithm it uses to project posts to followers. Someone well-versed in social media marketing will consider various aspects such as who your ideal client is, when and where to post, and what type of content to share to get the maximum level of interaction.
What it Takes to Craft an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
Building an effective social media presence is just as difficult and time-consuming as building your brand’s image. It goes far beyond just publishing posts on your social networks. All-inclusive law firm marketing websites can determine the best platforms for your firm based on its image and values. They employ social media marketing experts to develop a customized strategy, create content calendars, and crafting effective and engaging posts.
A marketing agency will also perform other important social media-related tasks such as analyzing your audience, coordinating with and co-marketing with other companies and agencies to develop plans regarding user-generated content, joining partner programs, pulling social data for case studies, and scaling content.
When developing a social media strategy, a marketing agency will work with you to choose your social media goals, outline key performance indicators based on those goals, and navigate competitive benchmarking. They will gain an in-depth understanding of your audience, content, and past marketing efforts to craft a new and effective social media strategy for your firm.
Look for SEO Services
An effective SEO strategy is a vital part of marketing, but understanding, creating, and employing one is far too much work for one person. Your law firm SEO strategy needs to be maintained constantly if you want anyone to find your practice online. With 93 percent of online experiences starting with a Google search, SEO can be an incredibly powerful tool when implemented properly. Most people don’t go past the first page of search results, so you’ve got a lot of competition out there, and you need an agency that will help you keep your rankings up.
A marketing agency will be able to craft an effective approach to SEO. They know how to follow all the SEO best practices like keyword research, logical web architecture, professionally written content, and image optimization. There are many other law firm SEO aspects that will need attention as well, including:
- Time spent on your site and landing pages
- Reducing bounce rate
- Link building with authority sites
- Creating an attractive, mobile-friendly layout
- Using schema markup to detail page content
- Focusing on long-term content marketing
- Review solicitation and citation building
The experts at a marketing agency will handle a comprehensive SEO strategy to ensure that your firm’s site gets higher rankings and more organic traffic through search engine marketing while you and your team focus on providing legal services and practicing law.
Marketing Agencies can Create the Most Compelling Content
Speaking of SEO services, creating an effective SEO strategy and compelling content go hand-in-hand for most marketing agencies. Powerful content can demonstrate your firm’s expertise and value while building brand awareness.
When written well and distributed through the appropriate marketing channels, compelling content regarding your firm will draw a higher number of prospective clients to your site. Marketing agencies employ content specialists who specialize in creating compelling, high-quality pieces that will resonate with your prospects. The types of content an agency can produce for your firm includes:
- Inbound marketing strategies – social media marketing, branding efforts, content marketing
- Gated content – Case studies, FAQs, educational blog articles providing legal assistance, which will be distributed to prospects interested enough to leave their contact information in exchange for such content
- Newsletter marketing – article snippets, community activity, introductions to lawyers and attorneys, details about awards, recent case studies, practice area legal updates, and news, which will be created on a regular schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly) and distributed to people interested enough to leave their contact information in exchange for the newsletter
While creating high-quality content is a challenging task by itself, once it’s created, it needs to be distributed. To achieve the best content marketing results, it’s essential to identify your target audience, your goals for each type and piece of content, and have access to the appropriate distribution channels. A marketing agency is well-versed in content distribution and will be able to help your content reach the right people at the right time.
Consider Your Goals and Budget
With so many marketing firms competing for clients these days, it’s up to you to find one that will help you reach your goals. The perfect agency for one business won’t always be the best for yours. Before you set out to find a marketing agency to run your law firm, there are a couple of important things you should consider to help streamline your search and find the best agency to work with you.
Have a Set of Marketing Goals
Finding the agency to run your firm’s online marketing efforts will be a much simpler task if you have a clear set of goals outlined before you begin your search. An effective acronym you can use to get brainstorming is SMART, and it stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. When you prepare your goals ahead of time, you can enter your search for an agency knowing what you want to achieve, which will help them discuss their ability to help you and their strategies.
Prepare a Realistic Budget
Depending on your goals and requirements, hiring a marketing agency can be a more economical option than hiring a marketing person to join your in-house team. As with any product or service, you’ll see the best results if you go with an agency that has a lot of experience and expertise under its belt, which of course, would cost more. When hashing out a budget for marketing, be realistic and remember that it will take some time for you to see an ROI even with the best strategy.
After you have a budget in mind and have narrowed down the agencies you want to work with, get a detailed quote from each of them. Be wary of agencies that guarantee immediate results. Look for agencies that focus more on organic results than paid advertisements, and make sure they have experience creating effective marketing strategies for law firms.
Ask These Questions Before Hiring a Marketing Agency
One of the best pieces of advice anyone can take before going to the doctor or a job interview is to jot down a set of questions to ask because the chances of forgetting everything you wanted to know at the moment of the meeting are always high. The same rule of thumb applies when you’re looking for a marketing agency to hire.
You’re essentially interviewing them the same way you’d interview an in-house hire for your company. You’ll be handing the future of your firm’s business to whichever agency you choose, so you’ll want to know you’re in good hands. While you’re speaking with prospective agencies, note the following questions down and keep them handy. Record each agency’s responses so that you can compare and make a well-informed decision.
- Do you have industry experience specific to marketing law firms?
- How big is your agency?
- Do you outsource any of your services? If so, which ones?
- Who exactly will be handling my account?
- What is your method of measuring and reporting results?
- How long has the agency been in business, and what’s your 5-year plan to stay in business?
- How transparent are you with analytics and reporting?
- How do you communicate with clients, and how often?
- Do you have references?
- Do you charge a retainer fee, per project, hourly, or a combination?
Do some research on your own regarding the questions above and craft your ideal answers so that you can compare them with the agency’s responses. The most important things to focus on are whether the agencies have experience in marketing for law firms, that they’ve been in business for more than a year, and their charges are clear to understand. The more transparent the agency is willing to be and the longer they’ve been in business, the more likely they will be to produce a successful marketing campaign.
If you’re considering hiring a marketing agency to run your law firm, don’t settle for less than the best. At Triple Digital, we handle everything from web design with advanced SEO to content marketing, paid searches, and even video production. Contact us for a free SEO audit or to analyze and plan a strategy for your firm.