Exposing Bad Practices in the Legal Digital Marketing Industry

Uncovering Unethical Tactics in Legal Marketing

What does your firm want from a digital marketing agency partnership in 2023? Learn how to recognize and avoid legal marketing scams here. 

One of the most astonishing findings under ABA’s latest report is the number of lawyers in the dark about how their firm uses technology to attract clients. Around 47% of firms do not know whether they have policies regarding publishing on social networks, blogs, etc.

The report goes on to show that firms are hiring an external consultant to take on the following: 

  • Site design (50%)
  • SEO (28%)
  • Social media (25%)
  • Print marketing (14%)
  • Phone leads (9%)
  • Online leads (5%)
  • AdWords/PPC and directory listings (5%)
  • Direct mail (4%)

These tasks take time, effort, and skills, which is why many firms rely on the help of a legal marketing agency. But how can you find the best fit for your firm? What kind of ‘red flags’ should you be on the lookout for? 

We’ll start by saying no two legal marketing agencies are alike, but you’ll want to steer clear from snake oil salesperson tactics that promise a ‘quick fix for all.’ To help you better identify this, let’s look into 2 major bad practices in the legal marketing industry. 

Bad Practice 1: Backlink Strategy Focused on Quantity

A backlink refers to the link connecting one page to another. Here’s a basic overview

A backlink may not mean much to the everyday Internet user, but backlinks are powerful for those investing in digital marketing. With a solid backlink strategy, you can:

  • Increase rankings 
  • Improve your visibility in search engines like Google 
  • Get more referral traffic
  • Boost your domain and page authority 
  • Drive more traffic, and thus more leads 

Although links are a significant factor in where your firm’s page and the site will show up, recent findings state Google finds backlinks have less impact on your rankings than before. In other words, more links do not mean better results, rankings, etc. In this case, quality will always beat quantity. 

According to the Director of ROI Strategy at Consultwebs, Grant Brott, a good legal backlink should include the following:

  1. Broader industry relevance: Links related to your topic or have some standing in the legal field you’re in.
  2. Practice area relevance: Links are highly relevant by topic/ practice area. For example, a motorcycle firm getting a link from a motorcycle club about accidents is relevant to the practice area.
  3. Location relevance: Links that are specific to your legal jurisdiction.

Some agencies might want to shift their focus to quantity, but this is a slippery slope with Google’s helpful content update; its best that firms focus on creating content for people first. Again, this reinforces the previous concept that a good legal backlink focuses on providing relevance above all.

Bad Practice 2: Buying Engagement for Law Firms

Please note: Buying engagement refers to buying likes, clicks, and followers, which is entirely different than advertising. 

Behind every successful digital advertising campaign, there’s a high probability there’s money involved. You have to spend money on social media to get it in front of people, which is possible through legal digital advertising.

Sadly, one of the most common social media mistakes is buying followers. Technically, purchasing followers, likes and shares is legal, but at best, this is just a quick way to make your firm appear more popular than it is, and ultimately it won’t impact your bottom line.

Firms starting on socials may be tempted to fall for such shortcuts, but purchasing engagement means:

  • Increasing spams 
  • Reaching bots (inauthentic, inactive audiences) 
  • Engagement is still not guaranteed 

Buying engagement is different from advertising. With advertising, you can promote your content and put it in front of audiences that need you. Clients using a mix of organic and paid advertising (SEM) see a higher ROI. Take a look at this case:

See How Firms Get 4X Leads with SEM

Takeaway: Get the Most of Your Marketing Investment 

Don’t let your marketing dollars go to waste in 2023. 

To help you protect your firm’s investment, we have created a resource to facilitate your decision-making process as you search for the ideal legal marketing agency. It includes a list of 15+ printable questions related to: 

  1. Your budget 
  2. Your decision-making process 
  3. Your ideal results-based mindset

Download My Decision-Making Handbook

In addition to that resource, if you’re looking for the best ways to improve your firm’s overall health, then let’s take this conversation to the next level – feel free to schedule your 1-1 here.