Google is a multi-billion dollar company, and they want your money. Yellow books are reinventing themselves; they want your money. Website design and SEO firms are teeming; guess what? They want your money, too. The TV, radio and billboard salesmen are all vying for their share. And they all tell you that you have to be in their space.

So where should you really put your marketing dollars? What’s worth it? More importantly, what works?


Regardless of the marketing avenue, the end result needs to be business — enough business to justify the advertising spend. For the most part legal marketing is about lead generation. To take control or truly understand what you are getting for your marketing dollar you need to answer some fundamental questions:

  • What is an average case worth?
  • What am I willing to pay for that case?
  • How many leads do I need to sign up one case?

While this is no easy task, it is essential that you place an average value on a particular case type and what you are willing to pay to get that lead. Once you do this you can start to take control of your marketing spend.

It’s best if you can “reverse engineer” your return on investment (ROI). For instance, say you determine you are prepared to pay $1,000 for a converting DUI lead. You know that your website produces 5 emails and 10 calls a month for DUI and about 1 out of every 15 of those contacts converts. Since you pay $1,000 a month for your website, then you are probably doing okay on your ROI.

Coming to the above conclusion sounds easier than it is. You need to slice and dice your data in order to understand where your leads are coming from, which practice areas convert best and where to put your money to maximize your return on investment. You need to start by tracking everything. I would suggest a “silo” approach. First, separate your efforts by marketing stream. If you are putting up billboards, those billboards should have a dedicated phone number. Your website should have a different phone number than your paid search accounts and each should have their own email. Then you can start to track how many leads come in; what type of cases were secured; how many leads converted to actual cases and their value.

Internet marketing is all about tracking your leads and tracking what those leads cost. As you plan your firm’s marketing budget, be sure you have access to your reports. If you’re employing a company to take care of that for you, are they supplying you with adequate information? How do they track a lead, conversion rates, return on investment? The days of worrying only about “clicks,” “impressions” and “traffic” are over. Especially in regards to online marketing, the ability to track your dollar has become a reality. If that data is not being provided to you, you may want to start shopping for new marketing partners. Once you figure out your numbers, you know where you need to allocate your marketing dollars.

It’s your money and they want it. Make them earn it!

Troy Lightfield, of Attorney PPC, provides pay-per-click solutions for law firms.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arghmonkey/2323053026/)