Web marketing isn't magic. In fact, you can get 80% of the results of the biggest companies by doing the basics. This post covers what the basics are and how to learn to do them.
Legal services always seem overpriced to people. One thing the public doesn’t appreciate about lawyers is that the services lawyers use are often crazy overpriced. Companies that offer services to lawyers often increase the price just because they assume lawyers make a lot of money. But just like any industry, there are lawyers at all levels of the income scale. If you are doing it all on your own or you just want a better idea of what you should pay for services, read on.
You’ve passed the bar, you can now take clients. But your schedule isn’t automatically full. Maybe you are loaded up with court appointed work when you would rather have higher paying clients. What can you do?
Set aside time each and every working day for new business. It could be as little as 20 minutes or it could be 3 hours. At the end of the day, it’s the consistency of your web marketing that will make the biggest impact. What we see most often is people that either do things sporadically or just give up way too soon.
Here’s a big secret, the companies charging you thousands of dollars aren’t performing magic. Yes, they have learned some tricks along the way but 80% of results come from the entry level, basic stuff of web marketing. As long as that work is done consistently.
There are loads and loads of free or almost free resources to teach you everything you need to know. Please don’t waste any money on courses. You would be much better off hiring a freelancer or marketing agency to perform the tasks for you then dropping 100s on courses that will tell you things you already know. And most of the places that offer courses give out 90% of the info through their content marketing. It’s not as organized or easy to find but it’s free through their blogs, youtube videos, email lists, etc.
Unless you are willing to drop 10k on a Google PPC campaign, your website won’t blow up overnight. And please don’t drop that kind of money on PPC right away. Even the most entry level PPC person can do initial testing for less than 2k. And you need that initial testing period to make sure your ads are actually doing something.
As far as SEO, it takes roughly 6 months for any real traction to be made. But then the difference between month 6 and month 12 will be massive. Again, only if you are consistent.
Blogging each week is the first hurdle. And if you can get that done for 12 months without any overarching planning you will have an increase in traffic. Consider that your baseline. A weekly blog post that has no strategy behind it.
Now, if you spend an hour each month building and then tweaking your SEO strategy your blogging will have a bigger impact.
Add to that daily management of 2 social media profiles and that growth starts to grow exponentially.
The pièce de rèsistance comes when you can devote the time necessary to track your efforts, usually through a software like Moz or SEMrush and pay attention to what your competition is doing. At a minimum this should be 10 hours a month.
That’s it. That’s without spending a dollar on PPC ads. That’s without throwing money on programs or courses. It’s sweat equity. If you have the time and the discipline to do your own web marketing, go for it. If you lack either (or both) of those things, hire someone to do that for you.
Note that I didn’t discuss your website design above. You passed the bar so I can only imagine you can figure out the oodles of free or close to free website template options. They are very user friendly.
Plenty of lawyers have used these free or close to free websites and garnered loads of clients. Other lawyers have paid thousands upon thousands for website designs. Here’s the thing, and remember this is coming from someone who sells website design, without consistent web marketing your super expensive site won’t do anything that a cheap site can’t.
Google doesn’t instantly rank expensive sites. It takes work. Consistent work. Having a better site will help convert the traffic once it finds your site, but people have to find the site first.
So the very expensive option is to pay for a fancy website and then purchase PPC. Which is doubly awful for the legal industry because search terms like “divorce attorney near me” is easily $35 CPC for brand new ad campaigns. Without testing and prep you could be paying for hundreds of clicks (at $35 a pop) without no results. That’s before the maintenance fee you are paying for the person running your campaign. And sadly, there really is no limit to the amount you can be charged.
Just to point out, I am not begrudging agencies that charge top dollar. The vast majority of them have a great track record of working with major name brand companies. They have worked hard to squeeze out every possible increase in rankings so they are truly giving you 100% possible market share. However, there are some agencies that charge a lot just because they know they can get away with it. And that’s frustrating.
Or you could stick with the freebie site builder and then once you have traffic use a software like Hotjar to help you optimize the site for conversions. The problem is you might not be able to do much with the site design because you are on a template.
Or you could spend the time to learn a platform and build your own (or modify a template) for a website. Depending on the platform this could still be pretty cheap. There’s no rules against lawyers using Wix or Shopify or whatever. If you have 50 hours you could probably get away with building your own Webflow website from a template. Then you will just be paying the monthly hosting fee.
Or of course you can hire an agency to do all these things for you. But even then, you have a huge spectrum of pricing. And website marketing agencies are notorious about nebulous pricing. And the amount of services vary wildly. Some agencies only offer SEO or only offer website design or only offer social media, you get the point. Our service is on the lower end of the spectrum, but even then I am convinced that what really helps our site convert is that we have up front all-inclusive packages. Our most expensive package is $975 a month and covers everything from the custom website and SEO to daily social media management.
Our agency price point is closer to what you would pay a freelancer than a traditional agency for the suite of services we provide. If you are really on a tight budget a good option might be to reach out to a freelancer or blossoming freelancer (read: family member) that has the time you don’t to learn the basics of all this stuff. Because honestly, the basics are what you need.
Here is a list of free resources for you to learn (or pass along) to do everything you need to know about blogging, SEO, social media marketing and web design.
SEMrush Courses - SEMrush is geared toward SEO agencies so you will find a lot of resources that are titled “Your Agency” or whatever. Don’t let that discourage you, if anything it’s a bit behind the curtain that not everyone who calls themselves an “agency” is necessarily any smarter than you. In my opinion I find the SEMrush free content to be more entry level than the Moz free content but I definitely prefer the SEMrush tool over Moz.
Moz: There’s a lot here so I am going to break it down a bit.
Moz has a Moz Academy with paid courses. During the pandemic they were giving this away for free. If you can find a way to get these courses free go for it. If not, here’s the free stuff:
Moz: Whiteboard Friday Series - this is a series within their blog that is very, very popular. And while it’s still going strong, be careful of dates of videos you watch. They’ve been posting since 2017 and you don’t want to learn outdated info. Moz is particularly good about pointing you to newer resources but it’s free so just make sure you are noted the date of upload of any video.
Moz Main Blog- this is the blog curated by people both inside and outside Moz. It can be a bit advanced at times. Sign up for the Moz Blog updates and you will get an email weekly that lists the blogs. It will help you avoid wasting time finding something at your current level.
Moz offers a free trial period where you can access the “better” blog and resources.
Ahrefs Blogging for Business Series - This series is great for businesses but I tend to disagree with the list building aspects. It’s geared for online marketers more than say traditional companies. So you might find a lot of things just don’t apply to your law firm. However the basics are all there and will help you understand the industry vernacular.
Google Skillshop - Google Skillshop is great. I like that they break it down by google products. Local SEO is very important to any brick and mortar business. So the first step should be to complete their course in Google my Business. Obviously one major goal of web marketing is to rank better in Google. Thankfully Google provides loads and loads of courses. In fact, most courses will ask you about yourself so they are geared toward your learning level. Don’t be intimidated, it’s free and it’s all great!
Hubspot Courses - Hubspot is another marketing giant that offers free courses. Personally I find their stuff too salesy but to each their own. They focus on inbound marketing and their content is mostly entry level.
Copyblogger's Internet Marketing for Smart People Course - Copyblogger is a great resource for those that want to improve their marketing copy. If you have spent your days writing briefs and aren’t sure how to write for the web, this is a fantastic tool. The email series also covers basics of content marketing like how to write for different stages of the sales funnel.
If you have a family member that is struggling due to the pandemic you might consider paying them a set hourly rate for 20 hours a week to both learn and help with your web marketing. As long as they are maintaining a consistent schedule with blogging, SEO and social media you will get 80% of the results you would get from the fancy places anyway. And you have the double bonus of helping out a family member, possibly launching their career as a full time SEO.
If someone (or an agency) already knows this stuff, they should not be spending more than 10 hours a week doing the actual work. So you can use that as a benchmark as you consider the cost. Take whatever their monthly rate is and divide by 40 or 50. Then decide if you are comfortable paying that rate for their expertise.
To recap, here are the mandatories:
- Weekly Blog
- SEO strategy and monitoring (for lawyers this includes local seo)
- 2 social media profiles with daily maintenance
- Using a software like SEMrush or Moz to monitor progress and competitors
- Building a modern website on a good platform
- Using software like Hotjar or another conversion optimization software to help convert traffic once you have it.
**If you have all of these things down, then (and in my opinion only then!) should you invest in email marketing. Paying for a newsletter service before you have decent traffic is silly. Web marketers love to talk about “building your list” but it’s a whole thing. The first focus is a weekly blog post.
You can do this, or you can definitely find someone else to do this. At every price point. And as for those lawyer specific services, my suggestion is to ignore them. I am not going to name names but paid directory submissions should be treated like PPC and even if you completely delegate everything with your website, you need to stay in complete control of your domain. Run from anyone or anything that limits your access to your own stuff!
We love design and everything web marketing. This newsletter is geared towards those that share our passion. It never includes salesy stuff because candidly, our clients hire us to care about this stuff for them.
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