Be wary of signing up for a new website that is going to be built on a custom Content Management System. (CMS) This could create a situation in which the agency designing your website is the only organization capable of updating or managing the site. A better solution is an open source CMS, like WordPress.
Not Owning Work
Make sure that you fully understand what you will and will not own. Believe it or not, some agencies will retain ownership over the design of the website and the content they place on that website. They may also own some of the off-site linkbuilding efforts as well. In some scenarios, agencies own third-party websites they use to help you get links. Those links they place on the website they own will sometimes get deleted if you no longer retain their services.
Not Owning Accounts
Some agencies will perform the marketing work on Agency accounts. Meaning your law firm won’t have access and will not be able to utilize that account if you leave that vendor. The two most important accounts are:
- Google Analytics – Ensure the agency installs this onto your website and makes you an administrator.
- Google AdWords – Some agencies will perform all work on an agency account. It is in your best interest to find an agency that will perform all work on an AdWords account owned by the firm. This ensures you do not have to start from scratch if you change vendors.
It is normal for the agency to use some agency accounts that will not pass to your law firm. This is most often the case when that account is used to manage several law firms. SEO tools such as Ahrefs or Moz, or reporting tools are often done with agency accounts. You should have an understanding that the agency will create a unique account, owned by the firm, whenever possible and practical.
Buying Services That Aren’t Right For You
The best defense against this is to understand how a marketing campaign or service works. Then evaluate if the way it works lines up with your ideal clients.
The most common type of marketing that we see get purchased needlessly are brand awareness campaigns that are being sold as a good deal. A radio station is significantly discounting ad space, a newspaper is running a special on ads, or a billboard company has too many open. Just because something is a good deal, doesn’t mean it will work.
Not Knowing What You Are Paying For
The first question we always ask a new inquiry is… what is your existing marketing agency doing? Fairly frequently the law firm doesn’t know. This is usually because the agency did not itemize the agreement or the law firm doesn’t understand the agreement.
Spending Way Too Much
Marketing can get very expensive very quickly. It is possible to spend more than the campaign’s potential return.
This is most often seen with sub $1,000 online campaigns. Marketing is very labor intensive, which means good marketing is going to be expensive. If you go the cheap route, that manual labor is going to be cut out and you are going to be paying for automation. Some of the more common ways we see things get automated:
- Citation Building – There are platforms like Yext which will get your name, address, and phone number listed on over 100 websites.
- Social Media – There are plugins available to automatically post to your social channels when your website gets updated.
Reporting and Analytics
Most metrics that can be reported on can also be manipulated. There are ways to setup Google Analytics to appear better than reality. An SEO agency may promise to get your website on the first page for X number of keywords, but not tell you which keywords. (There are some really easy keywords out there, most won’t produce cases.) With a little bit of money some metrics can be highly inflated such as reach, frequency, or impressions. (And not be directed toward the audience you need.)
There are really two metrics that are important at the end of the day:
- Number of Inquiries – Most marketing campaigns have a way to track this. (Though some campaigns are harder than others to be accurate.)
- Signed Cases – A marketing agency cannot do this for you. Your law firm must be setup and trained to ask the lead where they found you. Then your staff needs to document it in your case management software.