When we manage a law firm’s marketing, often the engagement starts with our direct mail or online web services. Typically for lawyers, we end up managing all of the firm’s advertising campaigns, which include legal niche-site “preferred placements.”
These preferred placements are called many things, including:
These listing are paid for by lawyers — by default with an annual contract — which may be negotiable and are paid for on a monthly basis.
The top legal marketplace websites that offer these placements are: FindLaw, Avvo, Lawyers.com, & Justia. Two other marketplaces worth noting are Thumbtack and Yelp. While they are not legal specific, they do list lawyers by practice area, and most importantly as of this writing they are ranking highly for most attorney search terms.
I am often asked, should I sign up with these services? Or should I cancel my advertising with them and do something else? This is not a question that can be answered equally across the board and always requires campaign performance analysis.
There are many times that we recommend these services to our clients. Often times we are executing the advertising contracts on their behalf along with fully managing and measuring the results. This is the key – measuring each campaign separately so you can see what is working. And it’s not enough to let the marketplace do the tracking themselves. For example, when you sign-up for a preferred placement in the top five listings with FindLaw, they happily provide a tracking number on the ad for you. However, think about when someone clicks through to your website after see your preferred ad. The visitor will land on your firm’s site and may just see your local phone number and call you. This means you are not attributing calls appropriately back to the referring source. When it comes time to measure effectiveness, you may be missing up to 50% or more of your results without having end-to-end tracking.
We manage numerous preferred legal advertising placements for our clients and it is part of what we do for full-service marketing. We analyze effectiveness regularly and make recommendations based on the numbers, not on just on how much it costs or how we “think” it is performing. The results are transparent for lawyers and their staff. We plug these results into Google Analytics, so it is easy to see how well a legal advertising listing is working against everything else. By tracking it this way, you are seeing how many calls come from SEO, PPC, and your marketplace listings and other sources.
Preferred placements can cost firms $1,000-$10,000 monthly and makes for an easy target during periodic rounds of expense cutting, but that might be the wrong choice. It is always important to backup all traceable advertising expenses with hard data, and compare all the sources together to see which sources are providing the most value.
We regularly help lawyers with their legal advertising placements, but it is never a surprise that we will cancel what’s not performing well enough. On the flip-side, we also expand placements to more practice areas and geographic locations when they exceed our expectations.