Most lawyers have compelling information potential clients want — which is why law firm marketing efforts today usually include blog content. And a law firm marketing blog seems like a satisfying and effective lead-generation tool that costs only time to produce.
But is it?
The online marketing landscape changed a lot in the past year, especially for law firms. We’ll explain why we think legal blogging’s in decline, and what impacted law firms can do.
What’s Killing Off the Law Firm Marketing Blog Trend?
Many lawyers are discovering their law firm marketing blog efforts aren’t working as well as they did in 2015. And until recently, legal marketing experts suggested blogging to attract new clientele. For those whose blogs once brought in solid leads, law firm marketing blog content is now a game of diminishing returns. After years of hearing “your practice needs a law firm marketing blog to bring in business,” what’s behind the downturn?
Here are just a few factors driving last year’s decline:
- An increasingly crowded content landscape. The 2016 Clutch Small Business Survey found 54% of small businesses had branded websites; in 2017, it rose to 71%. And 92% of businesses surveyed said they expected to have a website by 2018’s end.
- Constantly evolving search engine and newsfeed display algorithms. As Google charges more for industry search terms and Facebook removes business posts from users’ newsfeeds, client acquisition costs rise. Social media accounts once offered a reliable workaround for small practices without staff or budget to maintain a branded website. But as Facebook throttles branded content, law firm marketing efforts must pivot to paid promotions — or generate leads elsewhere.
- Demand for longer, more detailed content steals time that’s often better spent on billable hours. In 2018, ranking high in Google search results means posting quality law firm marketing content regularly on your website. Today, that means long-form authoritative posts, plus rigorous sharing and back-linking from other trusted sites.
Solo practitioners in particular may not have resources to update a law firm marketing blog regularly on their site. Hiring a lead generation company to handle new client acquisitions may offer those firms a better return on their investment.
Recent Law Firm Marketing Blog Stats Tell a Bigger Story
Next, let’s look at why many solo practitioners are pulling back from blogging and outsourcing their client acquisitions.
According to the American Bar Association’s 2016 Legal Technology Survey report, the law firm marketing blog trend peaked around 2015. This means that for the first time since 2013, fewer law firms blogged within the past year. Unbounce’s 2017 Conversion Benchmark Report shows that law firm marketing website pages have, on average, a 3.3% conversion rate. Because this number’s fairly low, attorneys may be hesitant to pour precious hours into writing law firm marketing blog posts.
As LawPracticeToday explains it, “Online marketing has to produce new files and new revenue or ultimately it’s just a hobby.” When lawyers look at their actual law firm marketing blog ROI numbers, they’re not loving the results. Let’s do the math: Assume writing blogs and answering comments takes, conservatively, three hours each week for 50 workweeks annually. If you charge $150 hourly for your time, that’s $22,500 in billing hours you’re spending on blog updates every year!
The Online Landscape Changed Drastically Within the Last Decade
In 2011, law firm marketing blogs drove decent traffic and attracted new clients from posting 350-500 words 1-2x per week. But as Google pivots to voice-command searches, AMP-optimized sites and rich video snippets, solo practitioners struggle with technical SEO issues. In other words, what worked when a seasoned attorney started her law firm marketing blog in 2011 doesn’t work today.
Many lawyers simply don’t have time to write two 1,500-word blog entries per week and retain clients. And going forward, 1,500 words may not be enough to retain your law firm marketing blog’s visibility in search results. According to recent reporting on legal marketing trends, only long-form posts garner first-page search results for websites — think 2,000+ words. (In other words, you’d need to write about twice as many words as we posted in this blog entry.) This is simply too much unpaid work for most attorneys to shoulder on their own.
Legal Search Terms are Too Expensive for Solo Practitioners
Legal search terms purchased through Google AdWords are often cost-prohibitive. So even if you’re supplementing blogs with online display or keyword-based advertising, your marketing budget may not produce good results. Smaller practices can easily over-spend on ads without generating enough leads to show a good return on their marketing investment.
Google earned an estimated $73 billion in 2017. That’s largely because PPC and CPC advertisers pay a fee every time somebody clicks on one of their ad links. Some commonly used legal keywords and search terms are incredibly expensive when it comes to bidding on cost-per-click ads. In fact, among the top 100 most expensive U.S. Google Adwords you can bid on today, 78 are law-related phrases.
Lead Generation Outsourcing May Perform Better Than A Law Firm Marketing Blog
Ready for a better way to bring in new clientele every month? Outsourcing lead generation works well for today’s most competitive law firms. When you partner with LeadingResponse, we bring the clients to you.
We deliver over one million pre-qualified leads to law firms annually through our well-established digital marketing channels, including:
- Branded websites serving well-researched, timely and unique content
In addition to delivering pre-qualified leads in real-time, we offer opt-in services to help firms convert more prospects into retainers. Once you partner with LeadingResponse, you’ll have access to our completely free, 100% secure Lead Management System (LMS) software portal. Our partners who use the LMS get a dedicated LMS account manager, personalized customer service and report higher conversion rates.
For a nominal add-on fee, our U.S.-based call center is available to handle your lead intake. Our agents make outbound calls 24/7 every day of the year and currently boast at least a 70% contact rate. If you’re looking to grow your business quickly or explore new practice areas, put our call center agents to work! From getting initial paperwork and retainers signed to live call transfers, our agents can help streamline your lead intake process.
Want to know more about what LeadingResponse can do for you? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.