In 2018, Answering Legal released an eBook entitled, “How Attorneys Are Marketing Their Firms in the Digital Age: A Survey Article”. The survey findings from the book helped enlighten us on some of the areas in which attorneys are thriving and struggling with their advertising efforts. For the book, we also connected with 13 industry experts, and got them to share insights on what it takes to become a well-rounded legal marketer in the digital age. Needless to say we learned a lot.
We’re happy to report that later this winter we’re releasing a follow-up legal marketing survey eBook. We’re already collecting new survey results, and reaching out to lawyers and marketing professionals for expert advice. One expert figure we are thrilled to include in our eBook again is Tate Lounsbery.
Tate is an experienced attorney and marketer, who will be heard from quite often in our upcoming eBook. He unsurprisingly provided us with a ton of great information for our books, and unfortunately not all of it will fit in the final publication. However, his law firm marketing tips were just too valuable to waste, so we’ve included some of his more in-depth thoughts in this blog post.
Tate On PPC Ads
In our new marketing eBook, we discuss whether law firms should be engaging in pay per click advertising. Tate revealed that while PPC advertising has been quite profitable for his practice, it may not be a great fit for all firms. Here are his complete thoughts on lawyers utilizing PPC campaigns.
Consumer-facing legal services often benefit from PPC advertising, but one can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars on ads without seeing a return. Before putting a lot of money into PPC ads, a law firm should conduct an analysis of its own local marketplace.
Questions you, the lawyer, should ask and answer first are:
- How many law firms will I be competing with for PPC ads?
- How long have those law firms been running PPC ads?
- Have those law firms’ PPC ads changed over the last 6 months?
- How many law firms have stopped running PPC ads over the last 6 months?
- How many available “spots” are there for more PPC ads?
- What is the size of the market the ads are targeting? Are they approaching market saturation? Think of the large number of law firms that blitzed the home foreclosure market in 2008 and pounced on the DACA immigration market when that got started.
- Do your competitors have a way to capture leads from PPC ads?
- What are your competitors doing with their leads?
- Can you do a better job at capturing and converting leads than your competitors? One frequent complaint I hear from new prospects is that they will call lawyers and never get return phone calls back. A law firm should not spend money on ads to drive new phone calls if it will not spend the money or time to return the phone calls. That’s just throwing away advertising dollars. If this is going to be a problem for the firm, then it should set up a solution beforehand, like Answering Legal.
- Will you be able to bring in enough revenue to make the ads highly profitable? When forecasting revenue, consider the lifetime value of the average client, including future fees the client may bring you, not just the amount of the initial retainer.
- Do you have the cash reserves to sustain a prolonged or permanent PPC ad campaign? Take into account the length of your sales cycle (how long it takes a prospect to become a client and then to get paid) and also how long it takes your average client to pay in full. PPC ad campaigns require cash flow first. A law firm that predominantly takes plaintiff-side § 1983 civil rights cases, for instance, may choose against running PPC ads if it takes on very few cases and each case takes on average 2.5 years to get paid.
There’s plenty more to consider when it comes to whether a law firm should engage in PPC advertising, but that’s enough (to start).
For more information on pay per click advertising, check out our interview with PPC expert Jan Roos.
Tate On New Client Intake
Another subject we discuss in our upcoming eBook is the importance of the new client intake process for law firms. Many attorneys will be quick to forget that generating new leads is just a part of the equation when it comes to acquiring new clients. How firms handle prospects upon engaging with them for the first time is perhaps just as important as the impression they make online. According to Tate, new clients want and deserve to see something happen in their cases right away. Here are the steps Tate believes lawyers should take immediately after being hired by a new client.
A new client intake process (post-retention) should include:
- a “thank you” for the new business,
- an acknowledgement and showing of respect for the trust the new client has put in you,
- a promise of some action, some important step forward, that the attorney will take (preferably in the first 2 or 3 days of being hired),
- confirmation after the action has taken place,
- an explanation of the process and actions the lawyer will take going forward,
- an explanation of the process and actions the client is expected to take going forward (with a timeline, if possible),
- the name and information of the person/team (lawyer and paralegal) at the firm who will be the client’s first contact, and
- a gift of appreciation delivered to the new client (not required, but recommended).
For more information on the new client intake process, check out this blog post.
Tate On Automating Your Practice
Technology continues to become more prominent in the legal world, and we knew we had to discuss the topic of automation in our upcoming eBook. When beginning his journey as a solo attorney, Tate relied heavily on automated technology to assist with the building of his new practice. Today, Tate is considered an expert on marketing automation, and even coaches lawyers on how to market their own practices through his Law Practice Mastermind service. Here are some of Tate’s thoughts on how attorneys should be using automated technology to improve their firms.
- When implementing automated technology, you want to start with the activities that are difficult for you or a member of your team to carry out personally. Next, you automate the tasks that you or a member of your team carry out frequently.
- Before automating a task, you’ll want to consider whether doing so 1) saves you enough time, 2) saves you enough money, and is 3) responsible for enough revenue to make the cost of automation worth doing.
For instance, if you typically only bring in 3 new clients each month, and it takes your secretary a grand total of 30 minutes each month to process the retainer signing and process payment, is it worth automating the retaining process? You’ll want to look at the cost of the automation software. You’ll also want to look at how much of your secretary’s time will be saved with automation, and also whether the time saved could be spent billing other customers.
- The last thing to consider (or perhaps it should be first) is the impact the automation has on your clients and prospects. Even if automating your retention doesn’t make sense from a time-saving or profit-increasing perspective, it may be valuable if it saves your new clients time and trouble.
- I run a program called Law Practice Accelerator for lawyers who want to grow their practice without adding to their work hours. We do this through automated processes. There are 7 phases in the Perfect Client Lifecycle, each of which can be automated:
- Attract Traffic
- Capture Leads
- Nurture Prospects
- Convert Sales
- Deliver & Satisfy
- Upsell Clients
- Get Referrals