You have a few different options when considering what type of company will run your PPC marketing. While most options are some sort of an agency, not all agencies are created equal or provide the same service.
If you need a wide range of services for your law firm, a full-service agency might be the place to start. These types of agencies offer everything from website design, to SEO, to PPC, and everything in between.
One challenge with growing a full-service agency is the need for many skill sets amongst a single group of people. For example, if the agency offers eight different services (web design, development, content, SEO, PPC, PR, etc.), that means the company has to employ a minimum of eight people to fill those needs. If the agency doesn’t have eight people, some will be responsible for two different services.
As you know, covering two completely different service areas makes it incredibly difficult to be an expert at either one. This becomes even more complicated when one of those key individuals leaves the company and no one else in the company has experience in the services they covered.
This type of situation is very common with pay per click.
Pros of Hiring a Full-Service Agency:
- You have a single point of contact for all your marketing projects
- It can be easier to maintain brand consistency
- Your team can handle a variety of different marketing needs
Cons of Hiring a Full-Service Agency:
- The experience level and quality of PPC advertising might be very low
- There’s risk of a key employee quitting which might leave your campaign untouched for months at a time
- The agency may have limited resources to devote to PPC campaigns
- The performance of your PPC campaign may be low due to resources being spread thin amongst numerous service offerings
- Reporting might be weak due to the amount of time, energy, and expertise required
Since we’re covering PPC in this guide, we’re going to talk about specialist PPC agencies for legal marketing. There are certainly other specialists in content writing, SEO, websites, and other service areas. The same concepts apply to those types of agencies as well.
Specialist agencies have decided to focus on a very specific service and not branch into the full-service category. Sometimes, these agencies will offer just one service, and they might offer it to just one industry as well.
Prevail is a specialist agency for PPC marketing. While the company is not exclusively branded for attorneys, we do specialize in legal marketing since it’s an industry that’s conducive to lead generation.
Agencies that focus on one service are generally very experienced and skilled at that one service. If you ask a PPC agency to build a website or offer SEO, they will likely say “no” and would have a very difficult time doing quality work even if they said yes.
With specialist agencies, you typically have redundancy amongst roles and less risk than a full-service agency due to the deep skill set in that one area.
Pros of Hiring a Specialist Agency:
- Deeper experience and skill in PPC management
- Your campaign will likely have a lower cost per lead and save money
- Greater overlap in skills which reduces risk if someone leaves the company
Cons of Hiring a Specialist Agency:
- Lack of ability to offer other services like SEO, website design, etc.
- Another point of contact for you or whoever is managing your firm’s marketing
Learn more about performance marketing for your law firm with Prevail.
The distinction between a freelancer and a small agency can be blurry at times. The most standard definition of a freelancer is an individual that provides a service, but doesn’t work for any one particular company.
Freelancers are business owners. In most cases, they know what they’re doing. They’ve often learned a skill at an agency or company before leaving to start their own business and become a freelancer. With that said, there are instances where freelancers are “learning on the job” and don’t have the experience or track record of generating results yet.
It’s important that you find good freelancers by asking qualifying questions to know where they fall when it comes to track record and experience. Since most freelancers don’t have an office or staff, they’re sometimes more affordable than working with agencies. However, they often don’t have all of the resources that agencies have, including developers, designers, and strategists on staff.
It’s not uncommon for freelancers to get tired of the stress associated with finding new clients, selling new projects, and then maintaining those projects day-to-day.
When this happens, freelancers often take full-time jobs with companies or agencies and only retain a very small group of clients. If you don’t fall in that group, you’ll need to find another service provider, which can be a headache.
Pros of Hiring a Freelancer:
- Often very skilled at their craft, but make sure to qualify their experience
- Generally more affordable than full-service or specialist agencies
Cons of Hiring a Freelancer:
- Don’t have the resources that agencies have to cover all needs of a campaign
- Don’t have coverage for services when they’re on vacation
- If something happens to your freelancer or they take a job, you’ll need to find a new service provider
Lead vendors fall into a category of their own. They perform the same type of work as agencies, but the relationship with your firm is more transactional.
Companies that generate leads do so using digital marketing with Facebook, Google, YouTube, and a variety of other marketing platforms. However, when they generate leads, they drive the traffic to a website they own with a separate brand they use for lead generation. The brand is vague even though it relates to the practice area they’re marketing.
When a visitor sees the page, they might fill out a survey or complete a form, and then submit their information to be contacted. That lead is then routed to one or more attorneys to follow up and try to win the business. Attorneys will often complain about the quality of lead vendor leads. There are three reasons for quality issues.
The first is that visitors see the lead vendor’s brand after clicking an ad, and then submit a form on that page. Then, the lead is sent to an attorney who calls the lead. Unfortunately, the lead has never heard of your firm and may say “I don’t know who you are and I didn’t fill out a form for you to contact me” even though they just filled out a form.
One reason this occurs is because the person isn’t connecting the page they saw with your firm. They’re also being contacted by two or three firms who bought the lead. They’re confused by all the firms calling them and thinking they were just filling out a survey for some legal help.
Second, if the visitor is submitting a form that misrepresents the services you offer, their expectations won’t align with your services. For example, if the lead vendor is using messaging that says “Get free help with your DUI case” and you offer a free consultation, but obviously not free help, the quality of the lead will be low. They are looking for free help and you offer a free consultation. Unfortunately, you don’t have any control over what messaging a lead vendor uses.
Finally, if the lead vendor is generating traffic from lower quality sources, the lead quality will suffer. Different traffic sources have different levels of quality.
Pros of Hiring a Lead Vendor:
- Fixed lead cost with limited risk of wasting ad spend
- Ability to scale with higher volume
- You can run your own ads and buy leads at the same time
Cons of Hiring a Lead Vendor:
- Quality of the leads is generally weaker than an in-house PPC campaign
- Leads may not expect your firm’s call and are less likely to talk