Legal marketing: short-term satisfaction or long-term success?

The price law firms pay when cutting corners

No matter which position your firm might find itself in, the critical first step to making and getting the most of a marketing strategy is to realize that digital marketing today is a must-have to reach more clients. Why, you may ask? 

Over the last decade between 2011 and 2021, the number of lawyers has increased by 8.4%. Additionally, since the pandemic, many firms have realized the importance of having a digital presence. For many, the latter is now permanent. With that said, the question that arises is: what does this mean for law firms like yours? For starters, firms are now facing fiercer competition both offline and online, and one way to get and stay ahead is to invest in your firm’s long-term success.

There are two roads your firm can opt for when investing in your firm’s long-term success. 

  1. Hire a generalist: This is usually an individual that wears “several hats.” This person focuses more on the range rather than depth. 
  2. Hire specialists: This is usually a group of experts in specific fields. They focus on depth rather than range. 

 

The question that arises is ….with who should you be spending your marketing dollars with? What’s the wisest decision? We’ll start by saying that both generalists and specialists have their roles to play depending upon the context of working your firm needs. Now let’s dive into the differences between both.

The nature of your firm wants, signals your marketing needs

Does your firm need more depth or range? Determining the structure of your firm’s marketing affects more than you might think. Let’s dive a little deeper into the generalist versus specialist approach. 

There are two main objectives against hiring a team of specialists: the lack of budgetary means and the misconception that current digital marketing tasks seem “manageable” for one person to take on. However, it’s best not to fall victim to the latter. Hiring a generalist can be great for a one-time deal, and they can also hone on all different marketing projects your firm wants and needs. But, what happens once they’ve done the tasks, your firm assigns them to do? What happens to your firm’s overall branding and reputation once this person leaves? Let’s paint the picture. 

Let’s say your personal injury firm hires an external marketing consultant that takes over your firm’s SEO, rankings, PPC, content creator, writer, editor, social media manager, etc. This alone is the role of more than five marketing experts. Although it may seem your firm is saving money by hiring one person who does the job of 5+ people, it can quickly turn into a burden. Not only would you be running the risk of spreading the generalist too thin with an overload of tasks, but you also run the risk of chewing your budget far too quickly and will only scratch the surface level of SEO, PPC, etc. 

To avoid burning money away, specialists are best. They are there when things get complicated. Here’s another example to help you better understand. When you go to the general practitioner, you’ll get a thorough analysis of your physical health; however, when you already know there’s a problem with, e.g., your heart, you can’t depend on the GP to fix this for you. You’ll need to get the help of a cardiologist. The same concept applies to marketing. When and if your firm ever needs a boost with, e.g., ranking your firm’s website on search engines like Google – an SEO expert would be there 24/7 to help you and actively optimize your firm to rank in your area. 

Overall, experts in specific fields of marketing have the specialization without the isolation – they probably have taken other marketing roles. Furthermore, nothing can replace the training, skill, and experience professional marketers bring to your firm. Specialists have basic marketing knowledge and understand that depth can beat range – therefore, they focus on niche markets, e.g., our company; Consultwebs, which focuses on digital marketing solely for law firms. 

Top reasons why law firms need specialists

Remember when we previously mentioned the difference between a specialist and generalist is depth versus range? Let’s look into why depth is more critical than the range for digital marketing for law firms. 

Reason 1: Avoid burning your money away. 

  • To avoid spending money on ads with platforms like Google and Facebook, you will need PPC specialists past the learning curve in paid ads. For example, the following three legal professions face the fiercest competition: criminal law, personal injury law, and family law. These legal branches will probably have to pay more money per click than, e.g., estate planning. Without the proper care and expertise of a PPC expert, your firm could end up losing thousands. On the flip side, with appropriate care and having a professional select and bid the relevant keywords your firm needs, you’ll guarantee your money is not only well-spent but a higher ROI. 

Reason 2: Establish yourself as an authority. 

  • Consumers today aren’t necessarily interested in the cheapest – they want the best. More so when the stakes are high and they’re facing legal issues. With that said, your firm must present itself as a leader in the field. Presenting yourself this way gives the users security and trust in your ability to fix their legal problems. 
  • One way you can establish yourself is to give the users a personalized experience by providing relevant content, engaging, distributing information, and catching the attention of search engines to rank and thus enhance your firm’s visibility online.

Reason 3: Specialists already have “t-shaped” skills 

  • The best recruiters use the t-shaped skill to find the strongest candidates for a job. Why? Because a T-shaped skilled person focuses more on depth. They already do what the generalists do. However, they found their niche market and possess the best knowledge in this specific area.
  • The t-shaped skill-set model looks like this: 

Reason 4: Task-switching, like a generalist, kills productivity

  • This is based on research. A person constantly switching between multiple tasks and wearing various hats can waste up to 60% of their working hours. In the U.S. alone, it costs the U.S. economy almost $1 trillion. 

Reason 5: A jack of all trades is a master of none

  • Having broad knowledge is good, but having specialized knowledge is best. This is where depth beats range (think back to the previous T-shaped example). A generalist is considered a jack of all trades, which is excellent at the beginning because they may know what to do to improve your firm, but a specialist will know how to do the work for you.

Reason 6: Know who you are working with

  • Need a helping hand with your firm’s website ranking? Need to update your branding? Need a press release? Want to establish yourself as an expert with blogs and articles? While a generalist will scratch the surface in all these areas, a team of experts can do all of this and more. What’s more, you will 100% know who you are working with, and you can grow together. It’s a win-win situation. 

Want your firm to achieve more with less stress? 

Law firms today have many responsibilities outside the legal realm, and marketing is one of them. While marketing can be a great asset, it can be a burden if you opt for the DIY approach. It can have a long-term negative impact on your business, cause considerable stress, and draw your attention away from the legal tasks you can’t outsource. On the other hand, with a generalist, your marketing would be secured today but not tomorrow. 

With all that said, the secret to online success is not a secret at all – it comes down to the fundamentals: investing to secure your firm’s future today and tomorrow. Without a solid team working to improve your entire firm, your marketing and overall foundation can fall flat, and we wouldn’t want that. You need a team that has both digital marketing and legal business expertise. 

The nature of the legal profession today is competitive as more and more firms enter the digital marketing game to catch the most clients both online and offline. For all that, we’d like to extend a helping hand. Although we surely hope the previously-mentioned helps you understand the different roads you can opt for, the depths you want to reach clients who need you will help you determine which route to take. If you’d like to learn more about how experts in digital marketing for lawyers can help you – we’re here to talk things through.