How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

There are a lot of law firms in this country, and there are plenty of agencies pitching these firms different digital marketing plans. But do you know how to pick the right agency from hundreds of portfolios, media kits, and applications?

We’ve come up five things to consider when hiring a digital marketing agency. Plus, we’ll explain why they matter and how to find an agency that delivers exactly what you need.

1. Get to Know People on the Team

A marketing agency made up entirely of outsourced talent is like a law firm where 100 percent of the lawyers are “of counsel.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that but every business needs some full-time glue to hold it all together. Marketing agencies are no different.

While we contract with freelancers, we never outsource all work. We have in-house digital marketing experts that ensure consistency with our overall strategy.

When you know the people on your marketing team, you know there’s someone you can call (or email) to meet your needs when you need them.

2. Ask About Their Research and Analytical Tools

Digital marketing is always evolving. This is especially true of search engine optimization. It has to keep up to date with changes in search engine algorithms and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.

We think this makes a real, measurable difference in our ability to keep clients ahead of the pack. Your agency should be doing that too.

Ultimately, your digital marketing agency needs to know:

  • Which marketing strategies are working and which ones aren’t.
  • How effective are your lead conversion techniques? (Many agencies focus on getting people to contact you. What matters is whether those leads hire you.)
  • What’s in the future for legal digital marketing? What changes can you make to stay ahead of the competition?
  • Is your social media strategy helping your business?

There are remarkable tools available to digital marketers, but many of them are complex or expensive and therefore beyond the reach of some agencies.

Be sure your agency can have a conversation with you about how much they invest in research and analytics.

3. Find Out Who They Work For

Your business is too important to be someone’s guinea pig. Some marketing agencies have little to no experience marketing law firms. Choose an agency that has been around the block and has a record of success to show for it.

Consider looking for a digital marketing agency that specializes in attorney marketing. But be sure that whichever agency you pick has the resources to make your account a priority. Some agencies play the field and work for multiple law firms within a single market.

4. Rule Out One-Trick Ponies

Some marketing agencies are very good at traditional advertising but not at digital marketing or content creation.

Some are good at web design but not search engine optimization.

Online success requires expertise in all digital areas. That’s why internet marketing is an industry, not just a talent.

5. Results Speak For Themselves

We suggest asking to see results before hiring an agency.

An agency should have hard proof on hand: Stats, maps, charts, and data. Case studies that demonstrate a clear relationship between the agency’s efforts and clients’ success. A compelling before and after, if you will.

Don’t be shy about asking for proof. If the agency is shy about supplying it, that’s a red flag.

How Will Your Business Use the Network?

Network Affiliates is a team of legal marketing professionals with decades of experience and a real sense of strategy for success. Whether you’ve used our TV advertising services or this is your first encounter with our team, drop us a line and learn more about what we can do for you digitally.

Dig into more digital discussions by following Network Affiliates on Twitter, or ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Yesterday’s Kids Are Today’s New Clients

In life, things are always changing; always moving forward. The young grow old, employees become bosses, attorneys become judges, and so on.

In the latter half of this decade, we’ve seen the legal market become increasingly dependent on a demographic that no one ever bothered to take very seriously: millennials.

If your law firm isn’t taking millennials seriously, it’s time for that to change. They’re older, wiser and wealthier than you may think. They’re living life on their own and, just like anyone else, they’re vulnerable to accidents, injuries, and violations of their rights.

According to some estimates, there are more than 80 million millennials in this country, and every single one of them (at least within your market) is a potential client.

Did you know the youngest millennial in the United States, even when using the widest definition of that term, is currently age 20 as of 2017? And the oldest is approaching 40!

In other words, these are the new adults. The future success of almost any business depends on recognizing that fact.

What do we mean by “taking millennials seriously”? You need to be strategically and aggressively marketing your law firm to them.

Why? Like any generation, millennials think and act differently than the generations before them. As decision makers for their own burgeoning households, they are influenced by factors different than those of their parents or grandparents.

Moreover, millennials have a heightened awareness of themselves as a demographic. Having been the subject of countless headlines, studies, jokes, and op/eds (for instance, a recent opinion piece in a national paper unfairly decried millennials’ love for avocado toast as a character flaw and sparked a social media firestorm), they are the most branded generation in history.

Speaking their language and responding to their unique concerns is the key to making sure they ultimately hire your law firm instead of your competitors’. And make no mistake… millennials have plenty of great cases to bring your way. They have insurance policies, they’re in auto accidents, they’re starting businesses, they fall victim to medical malpractice. Many are even parents!

Earlier this month, in Part 1 of this article, we explained why millennials make good hires for law firms and how you can recruit the best young people to yours. Today, in Part 2, we look at millennials as clients and explain why they matter so much… and how you can market your law firm to this generation.

The Unique Challenges of Marketing to Millennials

In a sense, everything you know about advertising changes when millennials become your target. That’s true whether you’re looking at television commercials, inbound marketing on your website, or traditional outbound print ads.

Among those challenges are these fascinating traits of the Millennial:

  • They are deeply skeptical of traditional advertising messages or anything that seems like it’s trying to sell them something. They grew up in the world of big media. They know all the tricks.
  • They are even more deeply skeptical of self-serving professionals. Decades of terrible law firm TV commercials did the industry zero favors among millennials.
  • They drive less. millennials tend to live in urban areas and utilize pedestrian options, ridesharing (e.g. Uber), or public transit more than private cars. They also tend to make more “green living” decisions than previous generations.
  • Many of them work from home or in non-traditional career settings.
  • They are more diverse than previous generations. Advertising in Spanish, for example, is more important than ever.
  • They care about community responsibility, and they expect businesses to do their part.
  • They know the internet better than you do and will do their research via web, review and social sites before contacting you.

Millennials Love Media

The picture we just painted is a generation weary of traditional media. To some extent, that’s true. But make no mistake: millennials love media.

In fact, according to Nielsen’s Q1 2016 Total Audience Report, “U.S. adults spent 10 hours, 39 minutes a day consuming media in the first quarter of 2016. That’s up a full hour from the first quarter of 2015, and it’s thanks to a substantial increase in smartphone and tablet usage.”

10 HOURS AND 39 MINUTES PER DAY! That is a staggering statistic and it’s crucial to understand what that means.

Millennials are more reachable than any other segment of the population, but they must be reached differently than their predecessors.

How to Market Your Law Firm to Millennials

We could write a whole book on this topic. In fact, we’ve already published a white paper on marketing law firms to millennials and another that looks specifically at marketing to Hispanic millennials.

In general, good pointers include:

  • Create digital content. Infographics, for instance, are “millennial-friendly” because they’re easy to understand, quick to read and turn up in Google Image searches.
  • Craft your attorney TV campaigns so that they play well on YouTube too.
  • Embrace the internet whole-heartedly. You must have a digital strategy, and it must complement your broadcast strategy.
  • Understand that, for millennials, everything ends on the internet. That means (A) they’ll probably find you through a Google search… but only if your SEO and PPC are on point, and (B) even if they find you through a TV ad, they’ll probably visit your website first… and then decide whether to hire you.
  • Consider advertising in unconventional places, like blogs popular with millennials in your community. Advertising on popular podcasts can be a good idea too.
  • Quality content is king. Focus on useable, easily digestible information that is valuable to your target audience.
  • Be active and “super present” on social media. To millennials, your social media activity is your pulse. Can they tell you’re alive?
  • Give back to your community in visible and authentic ways.
  • Avoid “salesy” messaging.

Ask Our Experts About Marketing Your Legal Services to Millennials

Network Affiliates is a team of legal marketing experts with more than 35 years of expertise in the field. We work hard to keep our clients ahead of the competition and the curve, and so we focus only on marketing efforts that can directly boost a law firm’s bottom line.

Increasingly, we find that marketing to millennials is a major key to getting new clients and bigger, better cases. This is a topic for which we’ve invested a lot of time and research toward developing an expertise — and our clients’ results are speaking for themselves.

To learn more about how your firm can target its advertising and messaging to Generation Y, give us a call at 888-461-1016 or simply contact us online.

Change Your Thoughts About Hiring Millennials – Part 1

Millennials have been the butt of jokes for at least ten years now. A funny thing happened in that same period though. The millennials grew up!

That presents a problem for people in the business world, including attorneys. Those “lazy young millennials” we’ve all been joking about? They’re your new customers. Your new clients. Your new colleagues. Your new hiring pool.

And they aren’t going anywhere. On the contrary, they outnumber their elder generations, and they’ve gone from punchline to major economic force in the blink of an eye.

So perhaps the time has to come to reconsider our perceptions of millennials and our willingness to take them seriously.

Today, we present the first in a two-part series that considers the role millennials play in the legal market — both as new hires (in this, Part 1) and as high-value clients (later this month, in part 2).

As it turns out, they might be the single best opportunity your competitors aren’t exploring or targeting.

Who Are the Millennials in 2017-2018?

Conjure up an image of a millennial in your mind. Who do you see? A college student posing for a selfie while driving 90 miles per hour to the nearest Starbucks for an all-day latte binge?

That’s the stereotype, but the real millennials — the ones who can help make you money— look more like this:

  • Ages 20 to 36 (born between 1981 and 1997 (give or take) depending on the definition you use)
  • Homeowners
  • Parents with possibly more children on the way
  • Recipients of advance degrees
  • Project leaders, managers, etc.
  • Community activists
  • Travelers
  • Caretakers for their aging parents
  • The primary decision makers for their households

In other words, just like every generation of young people before them, millennials have matured into full-fledged adults. Many of them are smart, vibrant, hip to the latest trends, and have a lot to offer as members of your firm.

“But why should I invest in a Millennial if they’re inexperienced, or if they’re going to leave us in two years?”

We hear you, but look, there’s nothing unique to millennials about that concern.

You’ll find unmotivated or unqualified people in every generation, and with any new hire, there’s always the risk that they’ll move on to a new opportunity in a short period of time regardless of age.

So don’t miss out on a promising field of applicants — not to mention the largest field of applicants! Instead, trust your hiring instincts and choose the best person for the job, even if they belong to the millennial generation.

How Do You Hire a “Good” Millennial?

We’re going to let you in on a little secret… hiring a good millennial really isn’t any different than hiring any other good employee. You’re still looking for the same skill set, the same personality, and the same strengths of character. And you can absolutely find all those things among millennials.

Of course, you might want to figure out what you mean by “good.” We recommend making a list of the attributes you’d like to find in your next hire. For example:

  • Hard worker
  • Spends time in the office vs. working remotely
  • A great researcher
  • Writing experience
  • Previous law firm experience
  • An established book of business (less common among millennials, but not unheard of)
  • Detail-oriented focus
  • A “Yes man / woman” vs. someone who challenges your firm to do things differently and contributes to its success!

Next, we suggest ranking your list of attributes in order of what matters to you the most. Voila, you have a hiring rubric. And it really doesn’t have to look much different for millennials than for anyone else.

The Benefits of Hiring Millennials for Your Law Firm

Whether you’re looking for a new paralegal, support staff member, or an associate attorney, there are several compelling reasons for considering a millennial’s application.

For starters, as we’ll touch on in Part 2, millennials are going to comprise a larger and larger portion of your client base in the years ahead. Having millennials on staff can help your firm seem diverse, approachable, and “with the times.”

Millennials bring different perspectives and new ideas to the table too. They grew up in the internet era. They are digital natives. They’re tech savvy. The lessons of law school are still fresh on their minds.

The right millennial hire could ultimately become the person who suggests the next game-changing idea for your firm. Never resist innovation or new schools of thought!

Talk to Our Experts for Tips on Becoming a Millennial-Friendly Law Firm

The bottom line is that millennials are here, and they’re old enough and populous enough now that your business can’t afford to ignore them.

The majority of the work force is not going to adapt to you. So you should start thinking of ways to adapt to them. That might mean a modest evolution for your law firm, a change in the way you think about this once-maligned generation, and maybe even new employment incentives to ensure you recruit the best of the best from their age group. After all, plenty of other organizations (including law firms) are already embracing them.

Later this month, we’ll look at why millennials are an imperative but oft-overlooked client demographic for attorneys (especially in the personal injury market). This is something we talk to our clients about all the time.

Network Affiliates is a leading legal marketing agency with more than 35 years of expertise in our field. Part of our job is to identify trends and help our clients respond to them creatively and proactively.

Undoubtedly, the emerging millennial market is one of the most pressing trends in the legal sector right now, and there’s so much you can do — from your hiring to your messaging to your client intake procedures — to make sure you capitalize on this ripe opportunity.

To learn more potential tactics and tips for becoming a millennial-friendly law firm, give us a call at 877.709.0633 or simply fill out our easy online contact form today.

Is a Law Firm a Brand? – A Roundtable Discussion

How is your law firm the same as a company like McDonald’s?

One word – Brand.

Your law firm IS a brand – whether you know it or not.

You probably have never thought of your law firm as a brand, and that used to be OK. With relatively few places for lawyers to advertise, the concept of ‘brand’ could be overlooked to some degree.

However, in today’s fragmented media market (with a nearly endless supply of platforms and advertising placements) it’s no longer acceptable to overlook the fact that your firm is a brand. Your brand is how consumers will connect your marketing and advertising messages to your specific law firm, and is how they will remember your firm’s name when they are in need of legal services.

In the two minute video below, Tammy Kehe (Vice President of Network Affiliates) discusses this question of “Is a Law Firm a Brand?” Tammy will tell you why the answer is “yes” and how that is actually a good thing for your business:

Audio Transcription

Is a Law Firm a Brand?

“They’re a brand, whether they know it or not – they are most definitely a brand.

And, advertising regardless of all these mediums, and all of these opportunities, and all of these channels, and all of the areas you can go to – it’s still about the fundamentals. Advertising is still about the fundamentals. And the fundamentals are, and always have been in my opinion, is that while we can’t stimulate demand for their service, we can make their service desirable when they are in need of it.

And then you have to serve them relevant information and relevant help, in terms of what they need you for. And at the same time, delivering all of that to them so you’re constantly weaving that brand that they’re spending all this money, investing all of this money to establish in these marketplaces – you have to weave that into the thought process and the minds of these people [prospective clients].

And I think, sometimes in what we do – in professional service advertising – it’s not a new food product, or a new pair of shoes, or a product, or a car, where you can drive volume into the business.

I think they often say, and we’ve heard them say before – “I’m not McDonald’s.” And my response is, “Yes you are”, because the advertising principles don’t change anymore for McDonald’s than they do for XYZ law firm – they simply don’t.

You have to create a desire, and you have to provide them with relevant information, and you have to be embedded in their minds – so when they’re making that purchasing decision, or they’re making that service decision, they think “I need to call this law firm.”

But I think that kind of goes along with all of these choices that they have, and them [law firms] trying to make it more transactional how it was 5, 10, 15 years ago. And you can’t do that. You can’t just say, “I’m only going to do this because this has generated great results.”

And the good news is, it has – a lot of [law firms] have made a ton of money from doing just television. But, that landscape is changing so quickly (and it’s going to pass by) and I think it’s incumbent upon us to expose our clients to that whole branding situation, so they understand – while the website is so subjective, here’s why we think it should look like this, feel like this, sound like this. So when people come there, here’s the whole piece of this.

And there can’t be this big disconnect between broadcast, social, PPC, SEO, direct mail, referral based, grassroots – you know, from the stands that they put up at some of the biker rallies and the fairs, where they hand out stuff.

You know, it’s ALL branding.” – Tammy Kehe

Digital Success and Conversion Points – A Roundtable Discussion

What does success in digital mean to you?

Is it an increase in your monthly number of leads? Is it lowering your cost per acquisition for a new case?

What about something that cannot be measured, such as creating the impression that your law firm is knowledgeable, trust worthy, and the right team for the job.

Is that important to the success of your legal practice?

If you ask us, the answer is an emphatic YES!

In fact, we believe that that is one of the most important functions your website has. It’s your digital storefront and your first impression maker. That’s pretty darn important.

Shouldn’t you care whether or not your online marketing is successful or not?

We think you should, which is why we sat down and discussed the question “What does digital success look like” in our second Network Affiliates Roundtable Discussion.

In the 5 minute audio below, Norty Frickey, Tammy Kehe, Todd Kuhlmann, and Emily Frickey tackle this complex question. Some of the key points discussed include:

  • Why Your Website is Still Critically Important
  • The Second Screen and it’s Impact on Consumer Behavior
  • The Value of a TV Impression vs. a Website Impression
  • How to Measure the Value of Your Legal Website


Audio Transcription

A Network Affiliates Roundtable discussion

Digital Success and Conversion Points

Todd: A lot of our clients, quite frankly, still have websites that are not representative of their firm – and that’s a big hole in the bucket right there. Before they may even call, it’s a matter of the people who aren’t calling that see it and aren’t impressed.

Tammy: That’s a good point.

Emily: I think for so long we treated it as a billboard or as a brochure. Your website was kind of like this brochure. And now it’s supposed to be your 24 hour sales person, so the technology needs to be there, the functionality, how people go through your site is hugely important. We want instantaneous results, and if someone goes to your website and they don’t find it within 30 seconds, they’re gone – and you’ve lost that opportunity. So, it really is important to get your website where it needs to be, to match the beautiful creative we have on the broadcast side.

Todd: I think one way that we can start to convey that, objectively, is to show them – on a monthly basis, just through Google Analytics – how many people are actually visiting that site.

Tammy: And it goes back to, I was reading this consumption report about dual screens. That, you know, people watch TV and they’re on their iPads, or tablets, or whatever it is. Or their phones, and they’re getting served up all kind of information about products and services. And then they’re immediately on the website checking these things out. I mean, for whatever reason, it’s so infrequently that people just consume from one screen. And I think that those who don’t address it, and make sure they have their digital properties fully functional, and as big and bold and beautiful and with the story telling elements, and the relevant information, and content, content, content – which we talk about all the time.

I mean, it’s just an extension of what the television is – it’s just content on steroids is what digital is. It’s content on steroids, and if you don’t have those two things playing together then I think they might be on the downhill side of the curve for legal advertising. But if they embrace it, and engage in it – and let us help them – I think because not all of their competitors are doing it because they’re all in the same boat about not knowing what to do.

Norty: I think another area that impresses me in many different ways is, I never really felt that the cell phone would be people’s main point of contact and outward communication. I never thought they’d be viewing videos on there, I even thought texting – who wants to sit there and do this, it takes too long.
I mean, all of these things, through this phone. To me, I always thought a phone was a phone. And boy, that is nothing, it is now a computer. It is now their personal computer, and they’ve kind of done away with a lot of those other things. So I think to me, that has been one advancement, or change, in the way consumers consume that I think has just been very dynamic.

Emily: You bring up a good point, because with that comes the fact that, when people are looking for you, they’re using their cell phones. Which means that your website needs to be responsive. It needs to have the capability to calibrate screen size, depending on where they’re consuming from. Because again, it’s all about being where that consumer wants to consume with you. And if that’s the cell phone, then you better have that website that is easy to navigate through on a cell phone.

[Audio Break]

Norty: Not all people fill out forms. They will contact the firm in any number of different ways. And sometimes that, although that is one measure of success, there are many measures of success with that. And I think we need to be careful to educate our clients about how consumers choose to communicate and how they choose to reach out to you.

I think they may say, “well geez, I only had one form filled out last month. This isn’t working.” Well as we all know, the traffic that goes there drives decisions. It’s really affirmation to the consumer that I’m making the right decision before I pick up that phone to call, or reach out in an email or a form.

Todd: It’s still a very valuable impression when you compare impressions on your website, versus let’s say like TV. TV there’s 30 seconds. Someone comes to your website; maybe they spend a couple of minutes. That’s four times what you get in TV. So there’s a lot of engagement in there that’s valuable.

Norty: And they also consume the content that they want to consume, not what I choose to push out to them. Because, maybe in my spot I choose to say certain things and that might not be of interest to them. So I think, that’s a good point, that they are consuming things that are important to them. And I think it’s incumbent on us to evolve and modify the sites based upon what is of interest and what consumers to truly look for when they go to a website.

[Audio Break]

Norty: You know I think, really, when you look at the unique users per month that go to the site. These are sites that are not recreationally based, I mean, people are going there because they have an existing need or a true interest in what’s going on. So, I think as you look at that number alone that is certainly a very important number. Ideally we’d love to put a track-line on the website. To where, if they call from the website into that, we can definitively say “hey look, these phone calls are coming from the website.”

Although, certain clients choose not to do that, but I think that is another method at which you can be very measurable and accountable and understanding exactly the value that the website brings in terms of lead generation.

Knowing Your Customer – A Roundtable Discussion

In today’s fragmented media market, it’s more important than ever to understand who your customer is, and how they consume media. Each demographic you are trying to reach consumes media in radically different ways.

This is especially important to understand when marketing your law firm. If you’re trying to build brand recognition with Millennials, you better not be advertising on TV – your money is better spent on Facebook or a platform like Pandora.

Understanding your consumer doesn’t stop at just how they consume media – it goes as granular as knowing what television shows they watch, where they like to shop, and the websites they use to make decisions.

In the Network Affiliates Roundtable Discussion below, Norty Frickey, Emily Frickey, and Todd Kuhlmann discuss this idea of “Knowing Your Customer.”

After listening to the 5 minute audio file below, you will learn:

  • Why Marketing to Millenials is Different than Marketing to Boomers
  • Why Social Engagement is Critically Important for your Firm’s Brand
  • Why Review Sites are Both a Gift and a Curse for your Law Firm

Audio Transcription

A Network Affiliates Roundtable discussion

Knowing your customer

Norty: I think, more over to, given the fragmentation of media, it is even more important in today’s terms to understand who your client is. Because, they consume differently – Gen Y’s consume differently than Millennials, and Baby Boomers obviously are far different than the others. And so, we need to be more aware, and our clients need to be more aware about who their clients are, because it is getting very fragmented and we need to be very targeted in what we do and how we do it.

Emily: Well I think it kind of goes back to what you [Norty] were talking about – knowing your demographics. With Millennials now consuming, we’re kind of figuring out how they consume. We have known for a long time we’ve had this trend with baby boomers, we kind of have a pulse with baby boomers and how they consume media. But with Millennials, they’re new consumers. So we’re learning about them as this goes along, with that unknown plus the unknown of this demographic I think that ads to it a lot.

[Audio Break]

Norty: I’ll be curious to see how our clients start to value the engagement portion of what goes on through social and what goes on through a lot of things. I think at some point in time, if you had the ability to reach out and engage and create a relationship with your fan base, or with your constituents, I think that has true value. I’ll be curious to see if they [our clients] embrace that. Because, historically they’ve been so transactionally oriented that they don’t, I think, put a value on what is really very important which is when people invest in the brand, they identify with the brand, and they somehow engage with it. To me, that is a very powerful component that I don’t think any of us have really put our arms around to understand the true value of that.

[Audio Break]

Norty: I think you’re finding now that these reviews are playing a much heavier role in decision making, rather than a personal referral, because I think we’re getting so disconnected as a society in some respects that people are looking at these third party reviews as being [authoritative], and for all they know these people could be crack pots – you just don’t know. But, they [reviews] have a tremendous amount of weight in decision making and that’s why sites like Yelp and others are very popular with consumers. It, once again, I think helps validate or affirm a decision they’re about to make.

Emily: And I think it terrifies the attorneys that there is the potential of this, open form platform where people can tell them that their service wasn’t good. But, I think they need to understand that that gives them a great opportunity to fix the problem. And, that extra step, of trying to fix a problem that went wrong with – for whatever reason – it could be from intake or they just didn’t have a case that was worth taking. They have that chance to interact with them again to show that they want to fix the problem, and that shows great customer service. And, that little step goes a long way with consumers nowadays.

Todd: Ya, It’s hard to hide today. I mean you have to, really take care of your customers because there are so many channels and forums available to them that, if they consistently don’t have a good experience, you’re going to be exposed. So, it’s something not to take lightly.

Norty: Although the flip of that, it’s a great opportunity because if they have consistently great experiences, imagine the dynamic of that as you put that within there. And to Emily’s point, you’re always going to have people who are unhappy and I think it’s how you deal with that in the aftermath and making sure you give them their voice, and you treat them with respect, and make sure they’re heard. So, as scary as it is on one hand, it really creates a great opportunity on the other.

I think it’s understanding the way people consume and how they consume, it’s very different today. But the idea of, people turning to some forum to help them make a guess on what is a blind purchase to them – because many of them don’t know whether they’re a good lawyer or a bad lawyer – it’s not visible or apparent. So, I think these kinds of tools make it easier for people to make decisions regarding lawyers.