What does a law firm’s client intake process have to do with its advertising campaign? Everything.
Law firm digital marketing expert Jason Marsh won’t even work with firms that don’t have their intake process nailed down. That’s because you can’t have a successful campaign without being able to sign a client successfully.
Marsh tells host Adriana Linares that the intake process’s job is to stop a potential new client from searching for another lawyer. So before small firms begin ad campaigns, it’s critical to understand the entire customer journey from web click to being qualified as a lead and being signed as a paying client. Marsh and Linares discuss the client acquisition funnel and what lawyers need to know to create successful ad campaigns.
Linares pins Marsh down on the average cost of a typical solo or small firm ad campaign.
Jason Marsh is the founder of digital marketing agency MARSH8
From Clilcks to Clients: The Law Firm Marketing Funnel Explained
Intro: So you’re an attorney and you’ve decided to go out on your own. Now what? You need a plan and you’re not alone. Join expert host Adriana Linares and her distinguished guests on New Solo. Tune in to the lively conversation as they share insights and information about how to successfully run your law firm here on Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I’m Adriana Linares. I’m a legal technology trainer and consultant. I hope lawyers and law firms use technology better. Before we get started and I introduce my esteemed guest, I want to make sure and thank our sponsors.
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All right. Hi, Jason!
Jason Marsh: Hi! How are you doing, Adriana?
Adriana Linares: I’m doing great. Thanks for taking some time out of your busy day to talk to us. I asked you to come on because my last two episodes were on marketing with Conrad Saam, a colleague, a friend, a cohort of yours of sorts as you all both sort of float around in the legal marketing world. So, I thought it would be cool to have a third episode with you because I know you have a special focus and particular thing that you like to work and talk about and teach lawyers about, which is creating funnels and Google AdWords. So I thought it’d be great if I could have you come on and sort of keep educating us about some ways to use those tools. But before I start asking you a bunch of questions, tell us a little bit about yourself, where you are, where you can be found, just your basics.
Jason Marsh: Sure. My name’s Jason. I’m the founder of MARSH8. MARSH8 is a digital marketing agency for law firms and so within that digital market umbrella, I would say that includes doing online advertising, SEO, website development and also analysis of the performance of those campaigns. Essentially, the goal is to acquire new clients and generate more revenue for the practice. But yeah, you can find me at marsh8.com. That’s the firm’s website and if anyone would like to talk or has questions, you could always reach me at my email [email protected]
Adriana Linares: Awesome, very good! I’m going to ask you to repeat that at the end too. Okay, before we get in deep in the conversation, I’m going to ask you to define some important terms for me. It’s kind of like flashcards. So I’m going to say a word and then you give me a one or two sentence definition. Ready?
Jason Marsh: Okay, sure.
Adriana Linares: Funnel.
Jason Marsh: So the funnel is essentially the picture that you want the stages from where the money gets invested and then what happens step by step by step until you get through essentially your bottom line, the profit that comes out of the bottom of that funnel.
Adriana Linares: So I’m visualizing a funnel and up at the top is investment and at the bottom.
Jason Marsh: Is profit.
Adriana Linares: Squeaking out is profit. Okay, next term. So what I want all my listeners to do is envision that funnel, just looks like your everyday funnel. I don’t know when last time is anybody put oil in their own car, but imagine a funnel.
Jason Marsh: And we should talk going and we’ll I think go more in detail on that. Yeah, I can we talk about each layer or stage within the funnel.
Adriana Linares: Okay. So that’s what we’re going to do next. Inside that funnel, there are one, two, three, four, five, about six layers or levels. At the top of that funnel — so what I want to do is just define everything first so that we can then have a flowing conversation without you having to define what it is or people having to stop to go look it up. And these are pretty easy, but I still want to explain. So at the top of that funnel after we invest the money in advertising is the word “clicks”. What does that mean in terms of this discussion about marketing and the funnel?
Jason Marsh: That’s really going to be one of the first steps. So someone goes to Google, they type in a particular search, an ad shows, when someone clicks on that ad and that will take them to their website. That’s essentially a click. It’s going to generate a visitor to their website.
Adriana Linares: Great! Moving down the funnel, getting closer to profit is a term that you put in here. You gave me some documentation to look at which is “raw leads”. What is a raw lead versus what comes after it which is a qualified lead? So if you want to give us both of those in one swoop, that would be great.
Jason Marsh: Sure. A raw lead is just any inquiry. It’s a phone call. It’s a web form submission. If you have live chat, it’s an inquiry via live chat. It’s just a raw lead. It hasn’t yet been qualified and a qualified lead is one that now after you’ve had some sort of interaction with that lead, you can determine whether they’re actually a potential new client or not. So not every lead is going to be a potential new client. Some of them will maybe be looking for something you don’t provide or you know, it could be for a variety of reasons depending on the practice area, but it is important to distinguish between just any raw lead that comes through the campaign and then the ones that are actually qualified that you can put into your sales process and try to sign on as a new client.
Adriana Linares: Okay, and I have to say I know this sounds stupid from my own but I’m never afraid to admit the truth about my level of stupidity or incompetence every once in a while, but I’ve been hearing a lot the term PNC lately which is potential new client, everybody. So as legal moves into this world of more marketing, more advertising, and now more than ever, I’ve been hearing PNC a lot and I have to admit, it took me like a minute hear — I like to figure out, I remember if I asked or if I just put it together contextually, PNC, potential new clients.
Jason Marsh: And I think that would be the equivalent of a qualified lead.
Adriana Linares: Yes. Okay, good. Now moving down the funnel, after you’ve gotten some clicks and/or some raw leads and qualified those leads, we move into the next layer which is consultations, which sounds pretty self-explanatory. Anything to add on to that?
Jason Marsh: I mean essentially, you now take your qualified leads and you try to convert them into consultations. That may happen right there on the phone, in other cases, you may require scheduling a separate consultation with the lawyer. But yeah, that would be the next step.
Adriana Linares: Then the next step getting so close to that profit output or the profit end is clients. Just new clients are signed, right? That’s pretty easy.
Jason Marsh: That’s right, yeah.
Adriana Linares: And then after you’ve got the new client, you’ve done all that work on the consultation, qualifying the lead, getting that advertising campaign going, then finally we get to the almost bottom of the funnel, which is revenue which happens of course, after you have closed the matter or if you’re just going to build throughout the matter where you are collecting revenue. Anything extra to add there?
Jason Marsh: Well, essentially, yeah. You go from your qualified lead, you set the consultation, you begin your sales process, you sign them on as a client, that client then pays you money and that becomes top-line revenue into the firm whenever you ultimately collect that.
Adriana Linares: And then we made it. The big green, well, it’s actually the smallest part of the funnel but probably the most important which is profit and I think this is an area that this is like your favorite part about what you do is finally getting a client of yours through this funnel and finding profit at the bottom. Is that correct?
Jason Marsh: YEAH. I mean, this is the ultimate goal, right? Any business, the goal is to make an investment and to generate profit that goes straight to the bottom line. So, you’ve generated your revenue, you’ve serviced the client and now you subtract the cost of acquiring that client and then servicing them and then that’s your profit. But that’s the ultimate goal is to invest money to generate a profit for your business or your law firm.
Adriana Linares: Okay, great. So before we get into the meat of the conversation, I’m just going to ask you to define a couple of terms specifically related to Google Ads and a campaign and putting one together and the different elements of that campaign like ad metrics, sales metrics, business metrics, what CPC means? If you don’t mind, I’m just going to throw out a couple more that I think will be helpful so that as we get deeper in the conversation again, everyone knows what we’re talking about. So first of all, let’s just start with tell me what a campaign is and is a campaign one specific exercise or is it the two years’ worth of trying to get clients into the funnel and down to the bottom where I’m making money off of spending this investment in Google Ads.
Jason Marsh: Well, I mean, I think to put it most simply, a campaign is just an effort that you make to achieve a specific result, just generally speaking in the case of Google Ads, it’s to say, “Hey, how do we use Google Ads to generate new clients and ultimately profit for the practice?” And so, this can take place over a short period of time. Ideally, you launch the campaign and it’s successful and you run it for many years and that campaign becomes a source of repeatable and predictable revenue and ultimately profit for the firm.
Adriana Linares: What does it mean when I’m talking to someone like you and you say, “Okay, well we’re going to use this calculator and there’s going to be some metrics and I’m going to have some investments.” Break down what this table looks like that of course our audience can’t see but it’s important. This must be the type of report that you provide to clients. So just want to sort of pick up on some of these keywords in here. When it comes to metrics, when you’re working with a client and you’re providing numbers with results of how successful or how you might want to change the way a campaign is going, you’re probably going to give them a report like this and I guess it comes down to how many leads, sales and profits are possibly going to be generated from this effort. So what are the types of things I need to know or look for in a table like this or a report or a conversation with you over the phone?
Jason Marsh: Yeah, it goes back to the funnel that we were talking about earlier and essentially that starts with the investment that gets made into the campaign. Once you make that investment, a series of things start to happen and at the top of the funnel, so you have the money that you put into it, which will then generate, the first thing it will do is it will actually generate ads that will appear in Google Search results for specific terms that you’re targeting when we should talk about how all of that works and how that’s structured but once the ad runs, the user is going to see it and then the next metric or the next thing that you want to happen is someone will click that ad and then in most cases after they click the ad, they’re going to end up on your website. They’re going to read your website, learn about your services, learn about the attorney and then what you want to happen there is the conversion, right? And that’s what is the raw lead, essentially someone reads the content on your website and they’re going to contact the firm for more information.
At that point, you’re now just saying, that’s a raw number of inquiries, raw leads, but let’s say we got 10 raw leads over whatever period of time, not all of them are going to be qualified. So after having conversations with each of those leads, some of them will be qualified, some will not but the ones that are qualified, you log that number, then you move down to trying to convert them into a consultation in which case you will then try to sign them as a new client. At that point that client will generate revenue for the firm and then ultimately profit. But you work through each of those metrics and so you have the data not just in terms of total numbers, but you can start to see the drop-off from the number of clicks to the number of conversions to the number of raw leads to qualified leads and you could start to identify potentially underperforming areas in the funnel and say, “Hey, how do we generate more qualified leads? Is there something that we could do further up in the funnel in terms of how we target our keywords and craft our ads and so forth?”
And then you know another big area is conversions, which is how well does your website do and I often find that this is maybe one of the most critical places in turning a campaign, making a campaign successful is the more people — so you’re going to end up with people, you’re going to pay for a click to go to your site, but the more of those people that ultimately become inquiries even just raw inquiries, those become more opportunities for the firm. Again, like not all of them will be qualified, but the higher that number is, the more chances the firm is going to have to acquire more clients.
Adriana Linares: I feel like I’m ready. But before we dive in and I ask you a bunch of more pointed questions so you can help us figure out how Google AdWords work, we’re going to take a quick break and listen to some messages from our sponsors.
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All right, we’re back. Jason Marsh of MARSH8 has started to break down some terms and some terminology for us to understand how Google AdWords work. So Jason, my next question for you is just can you explain, give us a quick primer on Google Ads and how they work and just break down the basics for us.
Jason Marsh: Yeah. This is important. Especially, there’s a lot of lawyers that advertise in Google Ads. So, of course, they’re familiar with what it is and how it works, but for those that don’t know, so Google Ads are essentially — they are really unique and I feel like a special type of ad unit in that they appear when people type a very specific search query.
So everyone’s familiar with Google, you can go in and type whatever you’re looking for and then you get a set of search results based on what you’ve put in that search box. And so, unlike most other forms of advertising, Google allows you to say, well when someone types a certain thing along the lines of the services that you provide, well you can show an ad for that. So when you think about Google and legal services, typically the structure of the search query looks something like this: Someone will type in a practice area plus the word attorney or lawyer plus a location. So it’ll look like estate planning lawyer San Diego or estate planning attorney upper west side if it’s a larger metro area and they’re looking for a particular neighborhood. But essentially, that’s the structure of it. It’s the practice area, press the word lawyer attorney and then a location which could also be near me.
So then what happens at that point is you get Google Search results, which we’re all pretty familiar with, but I know this is not a visual medium, but as we just try to break down what people will see and how those search results are structured as that page will show the search bar with the search query that you had typed.
Adriana Linares: Sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt you but are those my “keywords” that I, as a lawyer who’s working with a specialist one that want to say, “Okay, well this are the keywords. I’m always looking, I do estate planning. I target young couples and I will work anywhere in Florida.” So are those essentially my keywords?
Jason Marsh: Yeah, that’s the best way to look at it. Google Ads, it’s keyword-based advertising so you get to identify the keywords you want to show ads to and then you do exactly that. So, if you’re an estate-planning lawyer, you can say anytime someone types the word estate planning and the word lawyer and whatever geographical area you serve, you can show an ad to that person in Google Search results. And what makes it so powerful is that it’s intent-based. The person is indicating in their search query the very thing that they’re looking for which of course is very different than other forms of advertising like advertising in a magazine or in a billboard or something like that.
Adriana Linares: And so, another key word, is what we’re talking about here Jason targeted advertisement?
Jason Marsh: Yeah. It’s extremely targeted, super targeted, locally targeted advertising.
Adriana Linares: I don’t want anyone to think I’m super smart. I’m just — you were kind enough to share with me the chapter that you wrote for the California Lawyers Association on solo and small firms, right?
Jason Marsh: Yeah. That’s right.
Adriana Linares: Which, congratulations, that’s cool. That means you’re an author on top, but I know you’ve written a lot of articles and magazines for the ABA.
Jason Marsh: I was wondering, does that make me an author technically?
Adriana Linares: I think it does.
Jason Marsh: Because I didn’t write the whole book. I just wrote a section in a book.
Adriana Linares: But you authored the chapter.
Jason Marsh: So that’s author. I mean, I always wondered at what point do you get to go from writer to author.
Adriana Linares: And I think you can totally put this in your bio now, author.
Jason Marsh: So you’re saying right here on Legal Talk Network that I can start referring to myself as an author.
Adriana Linares: I think so.
Jason Marsh: That’s good to know. Okay.
Adriana Linares: Throw that out there. Add it to your Zoom.
Jason Marsh: Exciting.
Adriana Linares: Side note, it is very cool that you wrote a chapter in that book for them and I happen to have it. So I’m just picking out important things that we all hear all the time as small business owners and when we think about advertising. I just want to make sure everyone is educated and they get it, so targeted marketing through Google AdWords. The question is though, this sounds expensive for me. If I’m estate planning lawyer targeting young couples, affluent couples in Fort Lauderdale. I cannot be the only attorney that is doing this. So talk to me about costs.
Jason Marsh: So you mentioned the term CPC or PPC earlier and those acronyms stand for cost-per-click or pay-per-click and that’s how —
Adriana Linares: Are they the same?
Jason Marsh: They are the same, yeah. They’re essentially the same and what that means is in terms of how Google charges for their ad platform, you can run the ad, but if no one clicks it, it doesn’t cost you anything. They only charge you on a cost-per-click basis or a pay-per-click basis.
So if you’re in South Florida or wherever you are and your chart — I don’t know that you’ll be able to target specifically young couple, affluent, but what you’re able to do is you could target maybe more affluent ZIP codes in the area that you live and say that when anyone types some combination of the words estate planning and lawyer or attorney or law firm, that I want to show an ad because we know that based on the search query, there is intent to find just that and that’s where the value is in Google Ad.
So in terms of costs, well, the individual cost-per-click can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars based on both the competitive nature of the practice area as well as the you know, the geographical or the metro area. So estate planning clicks are going to be far less expensive than someone looking for a car accident lawyer, personal injury lawyer, some other type of mass tort type of search query. But at the end of the day, I work with lawyers that’s spending a couple dollars per click all the way up to probably in excess of $200 per click which can sound —
Adriana Linares: Insane?
Jason Marsh: Yeah. It is insane. It actually is very insane that a single click can cost $150.
Adriana Linares: It’s a risk too. I mean, that’s what’s so crazy about that kind of money is it’s an absolute risk. It’s not like an investment in bonds where you never know that your chances are better and I think that’s what’s hard sometimes for lawyers because as you know, everyone likes to say, lawyers are very risk averse, so having a conversation like this with the PNC for you must be really hard.
Jason Marsh: It is. So you bring up a good parallel when you talk about alternative investments, right? You talked about the notion of risk. Of course, there is risk there, but let’s talk about investment and the notion of risk. Sure, you could start with treasury bonds that are sort of very low in terms of the sort of the yield curve, the return is going to be commensurate with the level of risk. So the level of risk is low, but the level of return is very low. So a lot of times when I talk to attorneys just about this, it’s just to say, when you think about many of us invest in different things, right? We may invest in bonds or securities or real estate, all with the objective of generating some type of yield, some type of return on that investment. And you ask yourself, “Okay, let’s look at our investment portfolio.” And say, “What would we consider a really solid return on an annualized basis?” Maybe 10%, 15% somewhere in there. Who doesn’t say no to that? A 15% annualized return year over year over year. That would be fantastic.
But as a business owner, which any solo or small attorney is even before they’re a lawyer, they’re actually a business owner and you talk about, “Well, what type of returns can you generate from investing in an ad campaign or any type of marketing campaign?” Because what you ultimately find is that the most powerful investment vehicle with the least amount of risk or a much lower level of risk for any business owner is their own business, right? Because their own business is a vehicle for investment, but they actually control a lot of the risk factors in terms of how much they’re willing to invest, how hard are they willing to work on acquiring the clients once they call. So there’s a variety of things that you can do.
And so then, what you see with these type of campaigns is all of a sudden you could be generating in excess of 100, 200 plus percent return on investment and you’re never going to see that investing in bonds or very rarely, investing in more of your large cap type of securities. I mean, you have to take an enormous amount of risk, but you can realize this type of returns investing in your own business in these types of campaigns.
Now, we’re talking before about the individual cost-per-click, right? So, it can range, like I said, from a few dollars, it could be $200. Now, it’s intimidating to say, “Hey, we’re going to spend a couple hundred dollars a click.” You don’t know what’s going to happen but we talked early on about the funnel and if you’re tracking all the way through that funnel, again, it starts with the dollars at the top and make your investment and it goes down to your percentage of profit or the dollar amount of profit and the percentage of return.
And if you’re tracking that all the way through, the cost per click is just one number in that funnel and there’s many other numbers that ultimately determine how much money goes to the bottom line and whether or not the campaign is successful. And the one thing I will say is it’s pretty rare that someone will go and spend a bunch of money in Google Ads and literally end up with zero, absolutely nothing in return. I mean, worst-case scenario is typically you lose a little bit of money or you break even and ultimately determine if the channel in your practice area and your market isn’t necessarily performing well, compared to some alternatives you may have and so you shut it off but it’s rare where someone’s going to spend a bunch of money and just keep dumping dollar after dollar in there and getting nothing in return for it.
Adriana Linares: Well, assuming they know how to run a campaign and/or have hired someone who can successfully run a campaign, but I think too, the worst risk, which is sort of my problem is doing no advertising at all because then, you get nowhere. I want to talk to you real quick in the same lines of investing. When you invest in stocks and bonds and even in real estate, there are forecasts that you can look at and consider and you have a very cool campaign forecast chart that I know it’s hard because we can’t hold it in front of us, but I’m assuming that we can sort of walk through this really quick because it runs parallel with the funnel that you described. So let’s say I had $2,500 to invest. The other thing I want to note that I found was interesting. I read in your chapter that this is an investment that you can write off as a tax write-off?
Jason Marsh: Yeah, that’s just a nice benefit. But all the money you spend on advertising, it’s tax deductible.
Adriana Linares: And we should say that out loud because I’m sure I knew that but I don’t think I ever processed that. So, let’s say I have a $2,500 investment then according to your forecast and obviously this is a successful forecast, which any of us would want to see, let’s say there was an average of 33 clicks, visits that came through from that $2,500 spend. Your example shows that out of the 33 clicks, let’s say 7 came through as raw leads.
Jason Marsh: Well, let me just stop you.
Adriana Linares: Help me.
Jason Marsh: So what you’re talking about is we have basically it’s a calculator that we put together when we’re looking at the potential to run a new campaign, we start like with any investment, you have to make some forecast and that forecast is going to be based on certain assumptions and so we put these numbers into the forecast, we’ll say, “Okay, well roughly what amount of money do we want to invest?” And let’s just say it’s on a per month basis as that’s typically the time frame in which you’re evaluating the campaigns, is on a month-to-month basis. And then we go and the next big number that we have to determine is what is the average cost per click going to be for your practice area and your geographical area and that number is critical.
There’re some tools to do some research and get a sense of what that’s going to be, but that number is critical because that essentially is your cost of advertising. So when people say, “How much is this going to cost me?” Well, we have to look at the market and the practice area and say what is the average cost for these clicks and just to add one note in there, the cost per clicks are determined, this works really beautifully for Google, is an auction. So essentially, the terms that have the most value and that’s how you end up with $200 per click for car accident and Dallas or something like that where you have multiple attorneys that are saying they’re willing to pay more and more and more money on a per click basis, but what that also indicates is that there’s a return there that’s a really valuable search term in terms of attracting the very type of client that you want.
So anyway, back to saying before is we start with the investment amount, we figure out what the cost per click is going to be in that market and again, these are the assumptions and then we have to again forecast, “Okay, what is the conversion rate going to be from the number of clicks that you generate in those ads to the number of calls, raw leads that you will receive?” Then we say, “Okay, of the raw leads, how many of those do we anticipate will be qualified leads? Of those qualified leads, how many will we get in for a consultation or how many will we have a real conversation with opportunity to sell them on the services. Then how many of those will sign on and then ultimately what is the average value of those clients?”
And so, we go through all of those numbers and I’m very much on the side of using conservative estimates and all of these and for some of these numbers, we use data that we know from running these campaigns.
But essentially, we try to put together a conservative financial forecast to say, “Okay, now if you invest this amount of money based on these assumptions, here’s what you can anticipate in terms of an ROI or return on investment, the amount of money that’s going to flow to the bottom line.
And so that’s the starting point and saying, “Okay, do we like the way this has the potential to look going from investment all the way down to the bottom line?” And if we do, then we say, “Okay, well now, we won the campaign and we actually have to invest the money into that campaign.” And then again, like any other investment, you have your forecast and then over time, you’re able to actualize those numbers and say, “Well, we’ve run the campaign for a month or three months or six months, what are the actuals?” Okay, now we have real data to say, “Okay, this is what the actual cost per click is. This is the actual percentage of clicks that become leads and the percentage of leads that are ultimately qualified and how many we sign based on the qualified leads and so forth and you’re able to really work those numbers and reflect back and say how close were we to are forecast? Did we beat the forecast? Are we underperforming the forecast but at least you have real data to work on and by looking at your funnel, you can identify areas that say, “Well, maybe we can do a better job of converting more of our consultations and to sign clients,” because not every consultation is going to generate and sign clients. And so, there’s potentially things you can do on the intake side of things that can help improve the overall performance of the campaign.
Adriana Linares: And that’s an important point that I think a lot of times we fail to recognize, which is a successful marketing campaign might get the PNC to you, but converting them to an actual client, a lot of that falls apart internally and I think a good resource for listeners to look at if you haven’t yet discovered the Clio legal trends report, Clio has been putting out these fascinating reports based on the data that they are able to capture and anonymize and aggregate and then share with us about where some of those failure points are and they are in not returning phone calls, not returning emails, not giving a consultation with warm fuzzies where the client wants to immediately hire the attorney and I think that’s an episode of course for a whole separate episode. But you said that and that’s such an important point that as lawyers, especially new solos and young lawyers or lawyers who are leaving their firms, big law refugees, going out is something really important you have to make an effort in is once that marketing dollar brings the client to the door —
Jason Marsh: It’s the intake process. The intake process has to be super tight. And so, there’s a lot of resources out there that you can learn more about doing a better intake but I will say when I have a PNC, a potential new client that wants to run a Google Ads campaign, one of the first things I ask them about is their intake process because I wouldn’t want to work with and I will not work with clients that have weak intake processes simply because I know what’s going to happen is they’re going to spend the money further up in the funnel to drive the traffic, generate the calls and then drop the ball there. And then they turn around, and they’re like, —
Adriana Linares: They blame you.
Jason Marsh: Well not to say blame me, but just the campaign is not successful and then it’s a waste of their money and so I’m not looking to work with campaigns that are not going to be successful. So keep in mind what you’re dealing with especially when you’re dealing with Google, if someone’s typing a search query, they’re clicking an ad, they like what they see, they’re calling you. Now, what happens next? Who’s answering the calls? What type of call service are you using for after hours? What’s happening in that process? What if the call is missed? How quickly does that call get returned? Because the user on the other end is likely hitting the back button and boom clicking the add or the organic listing. They’re just going right down the page for Google.
So the job of the intake process is to stop their search for another lawyer. That’s the job.
Adriana Linares: Great, that’s your goal.
Jason Marsh: And the sooner you do that, the sooner you are in touch with them and because a lot of firms, the staff is taking the call, the lawyers not — there’s some sort of process there with they’re trying to do the qualification, which is normal but then how quickly does the consultation get set. What is the follow-up process if the consultation is set for two days from now, so there’s a lot that can happen in there that’s going to ultimately determine how many of those, what’s called qualified leads, and that’s why we break it down from qualified lead to consultation to actually sign client. We need to know what those percentages are because there’s always room for improvement and the attorneys that are most successful are going to be the ones that have that process really tightly done internally because they know it’s the difference between a client or that could be the profit margin in the campaign.
If you’re going to do Google Ads, particularly and usually the attorneys that are dealing like personal injury attorneys where you’re talking about high dollar cost-per-click. They typically have this process really tightly done because they know how important it is and a lot of larger personal injury attorney or firms will get a phone call and they send somebody out to their house with a tablet trying to get them signed up. That’s just the name of the game. There is a sales process that has to take place to get these people on board.
Now, potentially in less competitive practice areas, we’re talking about estate planning, that may not be necessary. But there are other things you can do to build someone’s confidence that you’re the right attorney from the time of the initial phone call to whenever that consultation is going to take place.
Adriana Linares: That’s good. Let’s take a quick break. Listen to a couple more messages from some sponsors and we’ll be right back.
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All right, we’re back. I’m here with Jason Marsh of MARSH8, an Internet marketing agency that works coast to coast and Jason and I have been friends for a long time. I regularly send him clients or PNCs for him, referrals, and so I am going to ask you, Jason, a couple of the questions that I frequently get asked when somebody says who can help me with my — they never say Internet marketing or marketing campaign. They basically just say actually, let’s talk about the gentlemen I sent you a few months ago, which he was so nice. So, he was a big law refugee going out on his own and wasn’t able to take much of his book of business with him.
I think he may have actually been changing practice areas too, so he didn’t even have a book to take with him. So, he calls me up and he says, “I need to do some advertising on Google. Should I do it myself?” So my first response, which might be different than yours, my first response when somebody calls me and said should I do this myself is probably not Google Ads. You might be able to figure out LinkedIn ads or a Facebook ad but is Google Ads impossible for the average person like me or this attorney who’s obviously very smart to figure out how to do, Jason Marsh?
Jason Marsh: No, it’s not impossible at all. But what I would say is there certainly are a lot of pitfalls within setting up a campaign that could enable you to spending a lot more money and essentially wasting money on certain types of clicks. So, I think Google is happy to enable that because people spend more money, but yeah, we talked about — I wrote a section in California Lawyers Associations.
Adriana Linares: Don’t worry, they’re new. They don’t even know what to call themselves. California Lawyers Association.
Jason Marsh: Yes. But what I did in that section is rather than just saying what you’re supposed to do, which is often the information that you see out there, here’s what you want to do to set up a campaign. We’re strategic rather than tactical but I tried to actually walk through step by step not just what to do, but how to do it. And again, that’s just a section of book. There’re entire books written on this subject and obviously entire book written on it just for lawyers. But just to see what’s involved, it all goes back to what lawyers are probably better off spending their time on for a small amount of money. You can have someone manage the campaign for you that has a lot of expertise in setting up the campaign and managing it on an ongoing basis to make sure that the dollar — so it’s essentially what it’s doing is risk, it’s eliminating as much financial exposure to sort of you know, these bad wasteful clicks as you can get. You’re going to probably have a harder time doing that on your own without some experience.
Adriana Linares: What should a campaign cost me? So let’s say, again back to the gentleman that we were talking about a couple months ago, he said, “Will $500 do it?” And I said, “Again, I’m not the marketing expert but depends.” But what would you say if somebody called you and said I have $500 a month I can spend on advertising. Where’s my best investment?
Jason Marsh: I mean, the best investment, I typically tell people it’s going to be either Google Ads or SEO for Google organic search, but it all goes back to the nature of how Google works and what people, they type in a search query for looking for a lawyer on a particular practice in a particular area and you want to have a presence on the first page of Google somewhere. So, the ads are at the top of the page. Then you have the local organic, you have a local pack that includes organic as well as a paid ad and then all the organics below.
But yeah, the biggest question I get from people when it comes to Google Ads, the first question is how much? How much is it going to cost?
Adriana Linares: How much? We’re not loaded here. How much buddy?
Jason Marsh: Yeah, I mean you’re going to have to have some money that you’re willing to invest into the campaign for at least a few months to see if it’s if it’s viable and can generate clients and generate clients profitably for you. But you mentioned, let’s say you have 500 bucks a month to put into the campaign, is that enough? And of course, the answer is it depends, right? But what does it depend on? It depends on what is the practice area? And we know what is the location that you’re in? So, if you’re a car accident attorney in Dallas, Texas versus you’re an estate planning attorney Bithlo, Florida, the cost-per-click that we talked about, cost of advertising is going to be very different. Might be a few dollars for the estate planning, it could be $150, $200 for the car accident thing. So, there you go. You have $500, you could buy two clicks, maybe three. That’s going to be your monthly campaign. That might work but it might take a long time to work.
So what I would say is if someone, they have a budget, so typically the questions I will then say is, well, okay, once I know the practice areas, well your budget is let’s say $500. Let’s say you’re an estate planning attorney. I will then try to determine roughly what that cost per click is going to be in that area and then we plug it in to that financial forecast that we talked about earlier so we can determine, okay with that budget and that average cost-per-click, how many clicks will you generate over the course of a month and then we’ll break it down. Based on that number of clicks that’s likely to generate this number of leads, this number of consultations, this many signed clients. And we look at the average value of a new client and we just do the math. And based on that, we can determine whether that that campaign has some potential and is perhaps worth running a few month test for that attorney with that law firm.
Adriana Linares: Can you give us, I always try to squeeze dollar figures out of my guests, and I know we’re often reluctant to do that. But can you give me an average? You’ve been doing this for 15 years now maybe. You must have an idea. Give me an idea of what an average good monthly spend for not just the campaign, because we’ve talked about what it’s going to cost you for the per clicks. But if you’re going to hire someone to do this professionally, you’re also paying a fee to the agency or the marketing person. Give me an average. If I’m a small firm with three lawyers, right? I’m not 30, I’m not 15. I’m three lawyers or even a solo because I know you work a lot with solos. Give me an average number that I can consider. I’m sure you don’t want somebody calling you up saying, “I have two hundred dollars to spend,” because you’re not going to be able to probably deliver what their expectations are. So just average number.
Jason Marsh: Yeah, I would say in terms of the clients we’re dealing with, probably north of a thousand dollars a couple thousand dollars a month just as an average number.
Adriana Linares: I thought you were going to tell me 10 or 12. That’s not bad.
Jason Marsh: No, it doesn’t need to be. I mean certainly, there are those clients that will spend that kind of money and again, it just how much money they putting in the campaign and how much profit is dropping to the bottom line for that campaign to make it worthwhile. And that’s why they continue to do it. So at a minimum, I would say, consider what kind of test budget you might have to run for a few months.
Adriana Linares: And that’s important. You’ve always told me it’s got to be at least 6 months. You can’t expect to see results that are telling in two months, three months, right?
Jason Marsh: It depends. I mean, when it comes to SEO, you’re looking at probably — I mean it depends on the circumstances where (00:45:17) is currently, ranking and so forth. But that can take 6 months, it can take 18 months to show meaningful results. But by contrast, that is the nice thing about Google Ads is because it’s almost like a faucet, you turn the traffic on and you turn it off so you can start getting results in month one with a Google Ads campaign. There’s certain things that take time to optimize, improve the performance of the campaign, but generally speaking the second you turn that campaign on, theoretically you’re now showing ads for the practice area, the keywords that you’re targeting and the area you’re targeting, which can generate clicks and people on your website and phone calls from those people.
So the turnaround on that is not a six-month thing. I typically say, “Well, let’s run the campaign for at least three months because it is going to take some time to accumulate some data to do a fair evaluation of the campaign’s performance.” But that’s really what it’s about. It’s just really coming up because even when you look at a campaign over 12 months or several years, some months are up, some are down and that’s just the natural cycle of things.
Adriana Linares: Sometimes there’s a pandemic, sometimes there’s not.
Jason Marsh: Sure. If you the campaign and it just happens to be a down month and you kill it, well, maybe the next month would have been a really good month. Then it starts to balance out. So that’s why I would say at minimum, run the campaign for a minimum of three months and of course, you evaluate the performance there. If it’s just underperforming and bleeding cash, then sure, you shut it off. It just depends what resources you have available, what your risk tolerance is, but ultimately, these campaigns should start performing reasonably well out of the box. I love that.
Adriana Linares: Well, Jason, this has been great, very much appreciate your time and your expertise. It’s been very informative, really appreciate it. So tell everyone how they can find and follow you or even better, become a PNC for you.
Jason Marsh: Sure. I love PNCs just as much as the next attorney. So you could just visit me and find my website at marsh8.com.
Adriana Linares: That’s the number eight. M-A-R-S-H-8.com.
Jason Marsh: Yeah, the number 8. Yep. And that’s the website and my direct email is [email protected] if you want to just email directly with some questions or thoughts that you have, I’m happy to talk to people about it. And if you are thinking about running a campaign, we’ll do exactly what we’ve talked about here. We’ll take your budget, we’ll plug it into our calculator and I will be able to say, “Here is a forecast and what your expected return will look like. If you like the way that looks, well, then we run the campaign and we actualize it and make it happen and if it works, then everybody’s happy.
Adriana Linares: Confetti falls out of the sky when it works. That’s great, Jason. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
Jason Marsh: My pleasure.
Adriana Linares: Well guys and gals, we’ve reached the end of our show today. Want to make sure and thank you all for listening. If you like what you’ve heard today, it’d be great if you could give us a five-star rating on iTunes. Make sure you share a new solo with your friends, especially it’s that time of the year, it depends I guess what time you’re listening to it, but bar exams are happening sort of. And they’ll be a lot of new solos coming out in the world. Tell them about new solo. I get so many nice compliments thankfully from people who listen and have found it helpful. So tell your friends. I hope you all have a wonderful day, afternoon or evening wherever you are. And remember you’re not alone, you’re New Solo.
Outro: Thanks for listening to New Solo with host Adriana Linares. Tune in again to learn more about how to successfully run your new practice solo here on Legal Talk Network.
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