If you've ever looked into online advertising for your law firm, more specifically at paid search advertising, there is no doubt you've been overwhelmed by the staggering number of companies looking to manage your ad spend for you.
Just so we are all on the same page, when I refer to paid search marketing I'm talking about spending money on programs such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Advertising, Bing Advertising, and others. More specifically, what I want to discuss are the host of companies that offer to manage these online advertising and search marketing campaigns for your firm.
In the last few days, I've spoken with 3 different attorneys asking for my opinion and thoughts on different paid search management companies. It occurred to me that many other attorneys probably have the same questions. I thought the best way to go about this was to present the most popular paid search management pricing models and explain the pros and cons of each.
What I lay out below is not an exhaustive list of every single paid search management pricing model out there. However it encompasses the majority of what you'll find.
How It Works: In this type of model, the company will charge you one flat fee each month. This fee will include your adspend as well as the management fee. However, the exact amounts of each will not be broken down for you.
My Thoughts: My biggest issues with this type of setup are transparency and misaligned incentives. The lack of transparency is a problem in that you don't know how much of your monthly fee is going towards buying ads for you and how much is going into the management company's pocket. Incentives between your firm and the management company are misaligned. Ideally, they want to spend the least amount they can on advertising for you while retaining your business. The less they have to spend to keep you paying each month, the more they can pocket.
How It Works: The management company will charge you a set amount to manage your paid search campaign each month on top of the money you are putting towards your ad spend.
My Thoughts: This setup is better than the previously mentioned arrangement. This provides transparency and encourages the management company to maximize their performance with your ad spend. This is a good option for larger ad spend budgets so your management fees stay under control.
How It Works: A certain percentage of your monthly ad spend budget goes to the management company. Typically this is somewhere around 10%-20%.
My Thoughts: The good thing about this arrangement is that there is transparency. This is a good setup if your monthly budget is smaller. The bad aspect to this is that the management company has incentive to get you to spend more money each month because the more you spend, the more they make. However, some management companies set a maximum management fee amount to negate that issue. As long as you do your budgeting ahead of time, this is an arrangement that can work fine.
How It Works: You pay a fee each time you receive a lead from the advertising efforts. Either via a phone call, an email, or both.
My Thoughts: This is a strong avenue since you are paying for real results. The incentive for the management company is to produce as many contacts as they can for you since they make the most money doing so. Obviously this is good for you, assuming the contacts are valid, because the whole goal of the advertising is to get your phone ringing.
There are other models that are either slight variations of the ones mentioned above or some combination of them together. I'd love to hear your experiences with paid search management companies? Have you had success with any of the above models in particular?
Photo by Danard Vincente
Over the years, law firm prospects have sent us reports from just about all of our competitors. Unfortunately, even today, some law firm marketing agencies still mislead their clients via "reporting." One particularly egregious example comes in the form of ranking reports. Which prompted this LinkedIn post. To my surprise, I received a lot of […]
John Wanamaker supposedly said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." In an an effort to figure out "what half is working," attribution was born. Coupled with a transition from traditional, offline ads to digital media, attribution became the holy grail for analyzing advertising spends. But […]
I recently asked ChatGPT, "What are some of the top personal injury law firms in Chicago?? Actually, first I ask "who are some of the top personal injury lawyers in Chicago?" ChatGPT couldn't handle that one, so I modified the prompt. ChatGPT listed five very well-known firms downtown. Can you guess the other four? That's […]
If you're like me, you have some degree of AI, ChatGBT, Bard, exhaustion. Now don't get me wrong, this is stuff is remarkable and is changing, well, a lot. But before you hook up the ChatGPT API to your WordPress API and crank out 10,000 pages, here are a few things to think about. Let's […]
If you know me, you know my opinions about links and SEO advice from Google. If you don't, here's the TL;DR: Meh, links! Meaning, all things being equal, links still remain a competitive difference maker for ranking. Take Google's SEO advice with several grains of salt. Google has no economic incentive to help your site […]
The best marketing advice I can give you is to be authentic. Of course, you don't find that very helpful in terms of meeting your growth goals. So, you might decide to game the system. As I'm writing this, one of the more popular ways to gain the system is to pay for engagement. This […]
The following post was written by ChatGPT. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a state-of-the-art language model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt or context. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way that businesses, including law firms, market themselves to potential clients. One way that a law firm could use […]
How long does SEO take? When can I expect to see results? What results should I expect to see? These are all reasonable questions that we field from lawyers every day. And, like many legal answers, the answer is: It depends. Yes, I know that's not the answer you wanted. But it's the most honest […]
And how much time should they spend doing it? I recently had the privilege of chatting with Tyson, Jim, and Conrad for an upcoming episode of The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. If you're not familiar with The Maximum Lawyer community, you should definitely check it out. Jim asked a really great question about who should do […]