Choosing a digital marketing agency for your law firm is a major decision. This agency will have influence over how your firm is represented and found on the web, which has become today’s go-to resource for finding local businesses and services. Choose the right agency, and you can attract more lucrative cases, generate more revenue, and significantly grow your practice. Choose the wrong agency, and you could ruin your online reputation, miss out on opportunities for new clients, and even get ripped off.
But how do you know you’re hiring the wrong company? Our Scorpion lawyer marketing team has compiled a list of red flags to help you steer clear of the wrong hiring decision.
Red Flag #1
The agency guarantees a position on the first page of Google, or other results that can’t be predicted.
Many digital marketing companies like to lure in law firms by making big promises they can’t actually keep. One big promise we hear about all the time is the guarantee of placement on the first page of Google’s organic (free) search results for certain keywords. Here’s the problem: these organic rankings are based on a complex, constantly evolving algorithm that no one controls except—you guessed it—Google.
These guarantees are flat-out dishonest and should be considered a major red flag. This goes for all guaranteed results, including lead volume, revenue, return on investment (ROI), and more. Remember, while a digital marketer can use best practices and targeted strategies to significantly improve your organic ranking and lead generation, it’s impossible to know these results in advance.
Watch Out for Scammers: There are scammers who call businesses claiming to be Google representatives and asking for a fee in exchange for a higher organic ranking. Organic rankings cannot be bought. If you ever get a call like this, don’t fall for it!
Red Flag #2
The agency claims to have privileges that don’t exist, such as the exclusive right to advertise in a certain area.
We have heard of companies telling prospects that they “own” a specific geographic area, meaning they are the only ones allowed by Google to run AdWords campaigns for that city or region. This is not how Google does business. There are Partners and Premier Partners that Google has recognized for their expertise in AdWords management, but there’s no company that can claim exclusivity for advertising within a certain city or region. (In case you were wondering, Scorpion is a Google Premier Partner.) Don’t be afraid to fact-check the claims made by prospective digital marketing vendors. If they in fact do have such a status with Google, they should be able to prove it.
Red Flag #3
The agency has too many negative reviews. Before you make a hiring decision, do your research and see what other clients have said about the digital agency online. Does the agency have a low overall rating? Are there more negative reviews than positive ones? (The good should significantly outweigh the bad.) What were some of the biggest issues clients had with this company? While online reviews might not always be fair or accurate, they can be helpful for gaining an overall sense of the type of service a company provides.
Red Flag #4
The agency has a weak portfolio of legal websites and legal marketing.
Who would you rather work with, an agency that is an expert in lawyer marketing or one that is trying to learn about this marketing niche on your dollar? The expert, of course. Ask the agency representative how many legal clients they’ve worked with in the past and what practice areas they’re experienced in. Check out law firm websites the agency has designed and take a look at the law firm client’s general web presence. Is this the type of work you want for your law firm?
You may be impressed or horrified at what you find. What it all boils down to: Hire someone who understands the legal industry and has demonstrated its expertise in legal marketing. (For example, Scorpion has served more than 2,000 law firms over the past 15 years and has won numerous prestigious awards for its legal websites.)
Red Flag #5
The agency is already demonstrating signs of poor customer service.
Pay attention to early signs of poor customer service: slow responses to calls and emails, poor listening skills, or just flat-out rude behavior. Most marketing agencies are at least smart enough to put their best foot forward during the sales process, so if these signs start to surface this early in the game, you know there’s a problem. Don’t waste time giving the benefit of the doubt—if you’re not being given excellent service now when the ball is 100% in your court, you definitely won’t be receiving it as a client.
Want to know why Scorpion sets the standard for legal marketing? Learn more about our team.