How Much Should Law Firm Internet Marketing Cost? We get this question a lot. And the answer may shock you, “it depends”.
The reality is that marketing your firm online can be completely free in terms of monetary investment. For example, you can set up a free blog on blogger or wordpress. You can set up a facebook page, a linkedin profile, and twitter account. You can claim various local profiles like Google Places and those found at GetListed.org. You can claim profiles in legal directories like Avvo and Justia. You can build local citations for your law firm on sites like Localeze and BOTW. You can syndicate your content on article platforms like Ezine and JD Supra. Each of these are completely free for you to use.
On the other hand, perhaps you want a more customized or professionally developed website or blog. In that case, you will need to start deciding on what kind of budget you want to invest in development. Legal websites and blog solutions range from, well free, to thousands of dollars. You should make sure that your website and/or blog is built on a content management system. This will make updating your site much easier.
You may also want to opt for an open source content management system over one that is proprietary. Some examples of open-source content management systems include, wordpress, joomla, and drupal just to name a few. You will also want to consider whether or not you want to participate in an established legal blog network. Participating in these networks can help you increase the visibility of your blog in a shorter amount of time. On the other hand, be sure to know the consequences of leaving the network (i.e. will you keep your content management system, will you lose all the links to your site/blog). In my humble opinion, reasonable custom websites and blogs should cost less than $5,000, as a very general rule.
In addition to investing in a law firm website or legal blog, you may want to consider participating in various premium legal directories and content submission platforms. Deciding between premium directories in which to participate can be a challenge. As a general rule, you should opt for more localized and specific directories over more general business directories. The major questions to ask are whether the directory has visibility in your space, whether the directory will have a positive impact on your site’s visibility in search engines, and what your visibility within the directory will be. Premium legal directories can be very expensive, and if you don’t choose the right ones for your firm, they can be a big waste of money.
Paid search advertising is another option that you may want to consider. Paid search platforms, like Google Adwords, can provide your firm high visibility for a very targeted audience. On the other hand, paying for clicks on these platforms can be prohibitively expensive for many legal professionals. Furthermore, managing these campaigns successfully can be a full-time commitment in and of istelf. Like other web advertising opportunities, inexperienced management of paid search campaigns can be a vast money pit.
Finally, you may wish to consider an outside consultant for assistance. If you decide to go this route, be careful. There are a lot of unscrupulous consultants out there that prey on the knowledge gap between legal professionals and the web. Before hiring a professional, I strongly encourage you to learn some of the basics about web and search marketing. Be sure to identify goals and the metrics by which you will measure your consultant’s efforts. Don’t commit to long-term contracts. Also, look for consultants with specific experience working with law firms that can show you examples of results that they have achieved for other lawyers. You may even want to pay for some basic training for yourself before you hire a full-time outside consultant. It is imperative to understand the specifics of what your consultant intends to do on your behalf. Always remember that your professional reputation is far more valuable than search engine rankings.
Are you looking to increase your visibility online but are feeling overwhelmed by the number of service professionals promising the world to you?
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