Should you outsource your website to a law firm digital marketing agency or handle it in-house? This is a common question that many attorneys and small law firms find themselves asking.
On the one hand, you can save money by not hiring someone to handle your marketing for you, but at what cost? Is your time better spent elsewhere, like billable client work?
Whether you have a generous budget or need to take a scrappier approach, outsourcing your law firm’s marketing can be a viable option. It just depends on your situation and your marketing goals.
In this post, we’ll share the pros and cons of hiring a law firm digital marketing agency vs. keeping your marketing and website in-house.
1. When to DIY your marketing as a solo or small law firm
Solo law firms are often used to wearing multiple hats. You’re expected to take on all the roles of an entrepreneur on top of your responsibilities as a lawyer. This means you’ve probably already considered rolling up your sleeves and jumping in on a DIY marketing approach.
Pros of handling your law firm marketing in-house
1. Seems Less Expensive
In the short run, handling your marketing yourself in-house can seem to be more cost-effective. You may not have a large budget, and outsourcing is feel too expensive.
If you have the time on your hands, then working on your marketing in-house is probably the best option as you get started.
Keep in mind that you can also hire and delegate smaller, more repeatable marketing tasks, like scheduling social media and blog posts, to an intern.
2. Subject matter expertise
You know your practice and ideal clients better than anyone, which means you know what information is most relevant and valuable to share.
For example, if your law firm practices employment law, then you’ll be the first to know when legal changes are made that impact workers in your state. You can immediately communicate with your clients and prospects through your marketing channels about the changes. An outsourced marketing team might not be paying as much attention to something like that.
In addition, you can also avoid the mistake of marketing to the wrong audience. For instance, if you are a foreclosure defense attorney, you know that people are likely searching on Google for things like “how to save my house from foreclosure” and not “foreclosure defense attorney.” Hiring a generalist marketing freelancer or agency won’t know that, and you could wind up with a bunch of new traffic to your site that will never convert.
Cons of handling your law firm marketing in-house
Working on your marketing in-house takes time away from crucial billable work for your law firm. This might be manageable early on if you’re not busy with client work, but as your firm grows, you’ll need to prioritize your time.
Most lawyers are legal experts, not marketing experts. This means the marketing work you’re doing could be done faster (and cheaper than your hourly rate) by someone who specializes in marketing.
2. No prior marketing experience
There is something to be said for rolling up your sleeves and getting things done, especially early on. However, most attorneys don’t have prior marketing experience.
This can lead to everything from shiny object syndrome (bouncing from one trend to the next) and spending time learning new skills, like building a website or running Google Ads, to wasting time on activities that will never turn into new leads/clients.
3. Too task-focused
In addition, if you don’t have prior marketing experience, most will bounce from tactic to tactic instead of having a coherent strategy.
Marketing your law firm may encompass building your website, social ads, SEO, email marketing, branding, PR, swag, and more. When you’re handling your marketing on your own, it’s difficult to work on the overall strategy of these efforts and you can easily get bogged down with just getting through the immediate tactics.
For example, you want to experiment with local PR initiatives, but you don’t have the time or expertise to work out how they tie into your overall marketing strategy.
2. When to outsource
As your law firm grows, there will come the point that you need to evaluate where your time is best spent. Is it better spent on billable work for your firm or marketing your business?
Here are some suggestions on when to outsource your marketing to a law firm’s digital marketing to an agency.
Pros of outsourcing marketing for your law firm
1. Marketing expertise
Marketing professionals understand marketing. It’s as simple as that. They’re experts in their field, just as you are in yours. You may not have the time to keep up with the latest trends for lawyers using Facebook ads, but they do. Their expertise gives you a competitive advantage with your marketing. This is especially true if you work with a company like TitleTap that specializes in working with attorneys.
2. Time savings
Outsourcing your marketing efforts means you can focus on your area of expertise. Not only can you take marketing off your plate, but the expert that handles it in your place can do it more efficiently because it’s something they specialize in.
Not to mention, many companies like TitleTap can do more than just marketing. They can also build you a new website and handle any site updates.
3. Fresh perspective
You know everything there is to know about your business. After all, you’re the one working in your firm day in and day out. However, there is a benefit to having an outsider’s perspective to take on your marketing. An outside marketer can objectively determine your strengths and opportunities in the marketplace.
Cons of outsourcing
Here are the cons of outsourcing your marketing for your law firm to a digital agency.
1. Perceived higher cost
Hiring a company to handle your marketing can be a wise investment. However, if you are going from doing it all yourself to hiring it out for the first time, you need to budget for it. Depending on your marketing needs and whether you hire a freelancer, a general agency, or a niche service that only works with lawyers, your costs will vary.
2. Risk of hiring the wrong company
There’s no shortage of marketing agencies or even freelancers out there that are ready to tackle your marketing efforts. However, they’re not all created equal. Hiring the wrong agency or freelancer can waste your budget or, even worse, hurt your reputation.
Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- They can’t speak to results: Ask them about their past experience. If they can’t cite actual results and what they did in the process, that’s a huge red flag.
- No established processes: They should be able to articulate their process for how they work with clients, especially as it relates to onboarding. If they don’t have a process, this usually signals an inexperienced provider.
- They work with anyone: Look for a niche company that specializes in working with attorneys and law firms. While you’ll still need to onboard the marketers to share what’s unique about your firm, you won’t have to teach them about the legal industry from scratch.
- No case studies or testimonials: Social proof is important, and you want to make sure they have a good reputation in the industry.
3. Poor company fit
You need to have a solid rapport with whoever you decide to hire since you are going to be working with them a lot. If you don’t communicate well with each other, then you are asking for trouble.
You also need to set proper expectations upfront. For instance, if you are used to doing everything on the fly yourself (within the hour), you may need to adjust to longer communication turnaround times with your marketing company.
There are pros and cons to both sides. Whether it’s best to outsource and hire a law firm agency or marketing provider or handle it in-house is up to your law firm’s unique circumstances. And remember, just because one option is the best fit for your practice today doesn’t mean your needs won’t change in the future.
Looking for a law firm digital marketing team who knows the legal industry? TitleTap has a hybrid approach to give you the best of both worlds. We’ll feel like a full service marketing agency to work with, but we know your business so we remove much of the heavy lifting your team would have to do with a DIY approach. Request a free demo today to see for yourself!