Outsourcing Legal Marketing: Understanding the Issues

Outsourcing Legal Marketing: Understanding the Issues

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 Outsourcing Legal Marketing: Understanding the Issues

If your law firm doesn't consider marketing to be one of its strong suits—and studies show that nearly half of small firm partners consider marketing to be the most difficult part of their business—you may be considering asking an outside firm to handle some or all of your legal marketing work.  In today's marketing climate, though, not all elements of your marketing campaigns can be handled equally well by someone from outside your firm.  In this guide, we'll look at four distinct aspects of your marketing that you might be considering outsourcing: social media, reputation management, blogging, and advertising.  

Facebook/Social Media Marketing

Why You Might Want to Outsource It:


Let's face it, not every law office has someone who thinks that Facebook is the best and highest use of your firm's people and time.  Outsourcing your social media has an appeal, especially for attorneys who think they're above marketing to some extent—if you're afraid that your marketing efforts could come off as fake or desperate, it may be time to hire an outside firm.

You'll definitely want to outsource your social media marketing if you've found that you're unable to keep up with it.  If you're not posting regular updates and keeping up your web presence on social networks, you're going to lose followers and connections fast.  If you really need help and the alternatie is not having any social media presence, by all means, find a great professional company with experience helping law firms like yours.

Use Caution If:

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to social media marketing—and most other outsourcing solutions.  If your firm uses a marketing firm that is inexpensive but hires people who don't understand the legal field, you're not going to be happy with your results.  In some cases, hiring a bad social media marketing firm could actually be disastrous.  Unethical conduct or just seeming impersonal, or having a bad command of the English language, could lead to your marketing company sinking your firm's reputation.  Think long and hard before hiring a bargain basement firm to do your social media.

Reputation Management

Why You Might Want to Outsource It:


It's stressful to worry about your firm's online reputation on a day to day basis, but it's also something that needs to be done.  Your online reputation can change in a heartbeat, and not always for reasons that are even your fault.  In some cases, a rival firm or disgruntled client could spread misinformation about your firm.  In other situations, you might find that you're getting criticism because of a specific policy or an interview you did with the media.

Knowing what people are saying about you is great—but finding out can be hard.  Outsourcing gives you the psychological distance to be able to deal constructively with critiques, instead of finding them and taking them personally.  Having a neutral third party looking at the criticisms of your firm can also help you to determine how to work on those criticisms and how best to respond.  In many situations, an online reputation management firm can help you have negative search results removed or pushed so low into the search results that it's unlikely anyone will ever find them again.

Use Caution If:

Online reputation management firms are really only something that your firm needs if you're relatively large.  Solo practitioners and very small firms don't generally need a team of people managing their online reputation, unless they handle very high profile cases that get a lot of media attention.  If you're working for a small firm, you may want to put your outsourcing dollars into an area where they'll get you more immediate benefits for marketing purposes.

Blogging

Why You Might Want to Outsource It:


You're busy!  Blogging—especially good blogging—takes a huge amount of time and energy.  There's not just the writing, there's also the research, and keeping up with the comments, and maybe even commenting on the blogs of others to help you network.  With all these responsibilities, it's no wonder that many attorneys just want to foist off the job.

Use Caution If:

Unfortunately, this is one where the answer is that you should ALWAYS proceed with extreme caution.  There's almost never a good reason to outsource your blogging.  Think about it: clients and other attorneys come to your blog looking for your original thoughts.  If they're getting the thoughts of a flunky at a marketing firm, and not a well-educated, articulate attorney who's been trained in argumentation and legal writing, they're going to feel cheated—and rightfully so.

Blogs simply can't be outsourced well.  A blog that is generic enough to be outsourced is a blog that is unlikely to bring your website a great deal of traffic anyhow.  Many of the SEO tricks that used to make low-quality blogs shine in search engine results no longer work, so even if you're willing to use tricks and gimmicks it's now very hard to succeed with an outsourced blog.

Online Advertising

Why You Might Want to Outsource It:


Pay per click and targeting and ROI, oh my!  Not all people at law offices want to spend a lot of time figuring out exactly how many pennies to spend on every click of the mouse that leads a person to your website.  For many attorneys, this kind of work feels nitpicky and trivial, and it's hard for them to really feel excited about starting new online advertising campaigns.

Use Caution If:

This is one area where many law firms would do well to bring in outside people, at least for some time.  Getting a handle on advertising online—which search terms you should advertise with, demographics research, and so on—is much easier when you've hired someone who already knows what they're doing to help you out.  Online advertising can be fairly confusing, so hiring some outside consultants to help you get a handle on things can ensure that you don't flush money down the drain on a campaign that had little or no chance of succeeding.

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