This post is from the first blog I started, called “How to Start a Law Firm.” Over the years I’ve moved to different sites a few times and wanted to catalog all of my content in one place. If an article refers to a link and there is no link, sorry, that’s consequence of the move. Enjoy!
One thing I can guarantee you will happen when you start your law firm is that people will start calling to try to sell you marketing services. It’s simply a part of doing business.
I have a confession to make about these salespeople – most people hate them, but I actually like to talk to them.
Why would I want to talk to these people? Two reasons really. First, they might have something good to sell me. Second, I can usually learn something from them that I can use in my marketing efforts going forward.
And a phone call from a guy from Yelp! on Wednesday provided the perfect backdrop for this post.
First, Some Background
Okay, even though I like talking to these guys when they actually get me on the phone, most of the time I don’t talk to them.
But every once in a while I’ll feel frisky and I’ll put them through. This is what happened with the Yelp! guy, who’d literally been trying to get through to me since FEBRUARY!
Yelp! Had a “Great Opportunity” to Market My Law Firm
I knew what he was calling me for. He wanted to sell me space at the top of their lawyer listings. And I was interested in talking to him.
In many ways this is virgin real estate, so getting in early can really be a huge benefit down the road. And it’s going to be important in the future as people move away from Google for their search engine needs (here’s an article on that if you’re curious – that’s fodder for another post another day).
Before I was going to sign up though, I had three questions for him. If he could answer them, I was ready to sign up. I’ll give you a spoiler – he couldn’t answer the questions.
Question 1: How Many People are Searching for DUI Lawyers on Your Site Per Month?
I think this question is a pretty obvious one. You want to know how many opportunities you’ve got to get in front of someone who is looking for your services.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a DUI attorney. Those are the people that I care about. People that are looking for help with a DUI specifically.
And this was my first hurdle with Yelp! The guy on the phone told me they didn’t keep that kind of information, or that he couldn’t get it.
But he could tell me they had 3 million searches on Yelp! in the Seattle area last month.
It’s important not to fall for the big numbers. We are lawyers. I’m a DUI lawyer. Someone on Yelp! looking for Thai restaurants or even bankruptcy lawyers is useless to me.
This was the first red flag for me. This is information they have. And if they don’t then they aren’t that concerned with helping you out (read: their priority is your advertising money).
Question 2: Can You Guarantee Me Exposure to My Potential Clients?
The number one rule in law firm marketing is whatever you do, it should get potential clients in front of your information. That’s why it’s important to make sure when you pay for advertising and particularly when you pay for advertising on the internet, it’s important to get some reassurance that they will put you in front of the people looking for your services.
One more short note on this, particularly as it pertains to marketing your law firm on the internet. With the technology in place today, advertisers have the ability to drill down to unbelievable specificity. They can know where the searcher is coming from, what they are searching for, and what pages that person likely wants to see. When you are advertising, you want to make sure your ads are optimized for your clients.
This was another difficult question for the Yelp! guy to answer. He kept saying “we can do that, but it takes time.” “We don’t have a DUI lawyer category specifically, but over time we can drill down.” “I can’t get that information from my engineers.” And on and on and on.
What made me nervous about those answer was what I was seeing on Yelp! in real time. I searched for DUI lawyer in Seattle and the featured spot was a bankruptcy lawyer! When I searched for criminal lawyer, a personal injury law firm popped up! That was not a good sign for me.
Question 3: What Happens When Other People Sign Up?
It’s important to remember that you are never the only person buying these ads. Before you sign up, find out how they divvy out the good ads when they get more than one attorney in your practice area. You don’t want to be a bankruptcy attorney paying for exposure when people are searching for DUI attorneys!
Again, the Yelp! guy couldn’t give me a straight answer.
Three strikes and you’re out.
What do You Think? Leave a Comment or Question Below!
I like to know what you think? Have you used Yelp! successfully? Do you think I’m being too careful? What other information would you want to know?
The more you start to think about these kinds of things, the better your business is going to get.
Thanks for reading. Talk to you soon.