Marketing is the single most costly task for a law office. For small firms with high competition it is not always possible to invest lots of money to bring in new customers.
Each firm has their own needs and what works for a large firm may not work for a smaller firm. This easy guide to marketing and branding will outline the different ways that law firms of all sizes can execute their marketing plan and reach out to potential customers.
Do it Yourself Approach to Marketing
There is a saying that your can’t be good at everything. This is very true for lawyers who often find their attention spread too thin. You are busy as it is, practicing law and running your law firm.
Managing a marketing campaign is a full time job. To be done effectively you need to already be familiar with SEO, content marketing, social media, web design, and graphic design. You will have to the time to create and implement a marketing plan in additional to running your law business.
I work with a lawyer who creates his own blogs and then sends them to his marketing company to publish on his website and social media accounts. This is a great way to stay involved with your marketing campaign and the creation of your brand identity. You don’t have to do everything but being a part of it is important. After all it’s the reputation and the future of your law firm that is at stake.
Hire an In-house person to do the marketing
There are a lot of things to consider when hiring a person to come work for your Law Firm as either a part time or a full time employee. Insurance, workers compensation, and payroll are some of the things that come to my mind right away.
For solo attorneys or small firms this adds an extra and possibly unnecessary cost. A large law firm that has multiple offices and personnel under their payroll may find the personal attention provided by in-house marketing staff to be worth absorbing those costs. However, hiring the person to handle all your in-house marketing and entrust him/her to promote your services may be a difficult task and should consult with a staffing agency for selecting the right candidate.
Depending on how serious your are about taking your marketing strategy to the next level this may be a good solution if you can find and afford someone who has specific knowledge of the marketing needs of lawyers.
Write down a list of the new employee’s desired capabilities so that you take it into account when you go through the interviews process. Some of the new roles of this person will be content writing, search engine optimization, website design and technical changes. They will manage your social media and reach out to other influences that help drive your message and grow your brand.
What is the cost of an in-house marketing employee?
If you are in California, the average rate for an in-house employee at a law firm is $15 to $25 an hour. Assuming a 40 hour work week that adds up to $600 to $1000 per week before expenses.
The advantage is that you have more control over which tasks your employee is doing and the ability to peak at his/her work on a daily basis.
Be aware that the lack of dedicated resources like SEO tools, copywriters, relationships with other webmasters and a support staff may limit the in-house marketers ability to perform at their best as well as cost you extra money. Regardless of how much you pay your staff it may not be as productive as paying an agency.
One of my clients, an immigration lawyer, was set on hiring an in-house staff. After looking at the cost I suggested he hire one in-house marketing person to work together with a larger marketing agency. This was the best course for getting the help of a larger agency with the dedication and focus of his own employee.
The marketing company was able to coordinate the publications, events, graphics, website management and reports while the in-house marketing person kept the brand and message on track.
Outsourcing to a marketing consultant
How much should I pay a marketing consultant?
The price for marketing consultants varies but they usually cost more per project than having an in house person do the job. It is important to consider the quality of your marketing campaign as this is your first impression for potential clients. We all know that you get what you pay for and that is true in this case as well. If you choose a marketing firm that has a lot of experience working with lawyers they will know how best to help you immediately without the learning curve of a new employee.
A consultant will charge you either per hour or per project. When they charge you per project they should provide an estimate of how long the project will take and then bill you a flat rate based on that estimate.
You can expect the hourly rate to be between $100 to $150 or maybe even $200 per hour. The variable here being the experience of the consultant.
So let’s assume you need to work on some new graphics for your website and your Facebook account. Your in house marketer can do it in ten hours for a rough cost of $150 to $250. A marketing agency will often charge $1000 to $1500. They may choose to give you a smaller flat rate but it’s safe to assume that it will be more expensive than your in house guy.
Why should you consider a marketing agency and what should you expect from a marketing consultant?
The big difference in price kicks in when you consider that a marketing person is not a full time employee and is not expecting to make a living the entire year by putting 40 hours in working for you every week.
Benefits to working with a marketing agency:
- You can get a marketing agency to handle your projects without expecting a full 40 hour/week job.
- You get a team that doesn’t require training and already has the experience necessary to perform the job.
- Many marketing firms wear multiple hats, which means they may be able to handle many diverse tasks like website development, coding, SEO, copywriting, graphic design, socia media management and other branding material.
- A marketing agency will already have the best tools for creative work such as designs, reports, tracking and analytics.
Whether you choose to do the marketing yourself, hire an in-house person, an outside agency, or a combination of the above it is vital for modern businesses to create a solid marketing strategy. Potential clients today are overwhelmed with choices and information overload. A brilliant marketing campaign is just what you need to stand out, attract customers, scale up your business and grow revenue.