Law Firms Should Look for These Red Flags When Hiring A Marketing Agency

Lawyers often are hesitant to work with another law firm marketing agency because their previous experiences were so awful. Here's what to avoid when hiring a marketing agency to make sure you end up with the right team! 

Law Firms Should Look for These Red Flags When Hiring A Marketing Agency

About an hour before we started writing this blog post, we received a pretty negative Facebook comment on one of our ads from someone who was incredibly skeptical of our offer, and basically about law firm marketing agencies in general. When we reached out to them, the user reported that they had been badly burned so many times by law firm marketing agencies that promised results and didn’t deliver that they just didn’t think that any agencies were really able to help them. Recently, they had even worked with one of the most popular legal marketing agencies - a huge company with a dramatic website that seems incredibly prestigious and elite on first look. But the user had a terrible experience with them that left an even worse taste in their mouth for agencies.

We get calls from people like that all. the. time.

That’s why Empirical360 was created, actually, because we were so tired of seeing marketing agencies take advantage of businesses. But here’s the thing - lawyers need marketing agencies. We’ve written several blog posts on this topic. It’s undeniable that lawyers must run search ads and must outsource that management if they want to have the best chances of being successful. Attorneys that are jaded need to realize that the real problem is not in the idea or function of a marketing agency itself, but in the kind of marketing agencies they’ve been hiring.

Law firms need marketing agencies; they just need to make sure that they’re good ones.

But obviously it can be difficult to tell what a law firm marketing agency is going to be like before you hire them. While we can’t give you an exact formula for predicting the future, we can give you (based on our own experience and based on clients’ complaints with other marketing agencies) a few warning signs that you should recognize so that you are able to make a good, safe decision when it comes to hiring a law firm marketing agency.

Red Flag #1

They make you sign a long-term contract.

Long-term contracts are a sign of insecurity. They give the marketing agency all of the leverage and leave you with none; it’s essentially a trap. Don’t fall for it. If you sign on for a six month contract, for example, and by the third month you realize you’re not getting any leads from their efforts, you have to pay them for another three months. This can be extremely expensive, especially if they were overcharging you in the first place and you’re paying a hefty retainer plus a minimum level ad spend. Sure, the minute your contract is over, you can cancel and leave them a bad review, but that hardly makes up for all of the money they wasted and the lost opportunity cost for the revenue you could have been making in the meantime.

Red Flag #2

They either don’t specify ownership or don’t give you ownership.

You should own everything that’s associated with your firm and your firm’s marketing for your own security, and that should be clearly agreed upon from the get-go. Big law firm marketing agencies love to build you flashy websites, create Ads accounts and social media pages, write blogs, and then never let you have access to any of it so that you have to stay with them if you want to keep it. That’s unbelievably unfair and deceitful - most attorney clients don’t realize this until they try to leave.

Red Flag #3

They can’t prove that they’ve gotten results in your industry before.

Legal marketing is very different from Ecommerce marketing. Actually, it’s fairly different from many different types of marketing; the cost per acquisition (and cost per lead, and cost per click) are the highest of any industry, and lawyers are offering a service that people need (not necessarily a service they want and are excited about getting). You need a marketing agency that can show you exactly what impressive results they’ve gotten for other lawyers. They don’t necessarily have to have worked in your specialty before, though it helps, but you need to ensure that they know how to effectively market a law firm. If they don’t have testimonials or can’t give you referrals from other attorneys, or if they don’t have any legal case studies, that’s not an encouraging sign.

Red Flag #4

They don’t tell you who will be managing your account.

The person actively managing your account - making data-driven changes, running tests, altering budgets and adjusting bids, etc. - needs to be an expert, not an intern. If a big marketing agency doesn’t tell you who will be managing your account or fends off the question when you ask it, odds are that your account management is going to be delegated to an intern, or a lower-level person at the company. But that person doesn’t have the experience to grow your account in the way you deserve, no matter how large your law firm is. You need to trust the person working on your account.

Empirical360 passes these tests (and others). We only have our highest level executives (our co-founders and co-owners, to be specific) work directly on your account, every day. We’ve helped multiple lawyers decrease their lead cost significantly and get qualified leads within the first weeks of working with us. You own everything we create for you, even if it never goes live. And we work with you on an entirely month-to-month basis (no contracts).

Looking for a better law firm marketing agency? Look no further. Set up a call with us to discuss the future of your law firm!

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