When Should You Pay for Listings?

What are Legal Directories?

Legal directories have always had a place in the industry; clients need to know the person they’re hiring is actually accredited by at least one State Bar. Before the internet, they came in the form of large volumes of leather-bound books that adorned offices, which they still do, but the online directories are much more accessible.


So why do you need to pay to be listed in a directory? You passed the bar, you have a law firm, why should you have to pay? Well, you don’t.


Free Listings

Most of the main legal directories won’t require you to pay to be listed. This includes Avvo, LawDeeDa, Lawyers.com, and various others. This also includes Yelp and Google My Business. Claiming your listing is free, but doing anything more might cost you with varying returns.


These directories’ business models run off advertising revenue, meaning they have to provide advertising somewhere, and where better than on competitor’s listings? This gives the directories the chance to profit in two areas: advertising, and getting people to pay not to be advertised on. 


Paid Listings

When you pay for a listing, you sign up to not have your competitors advertise on your page (read the fine print if you decide to sign up, details change from site to site). You can also sign up to advertise on your competitor’s pages. If you are in a competitive market, this might be a good way to get a leg-up. That being said, if you are in a competitive market, chances are your competitors have the same idea.


There are benefits to directories whether you pay or not. For one they give you the opportunity to get your brand out there. If you don’t show up when people search, do you even exist?


Link Building

Another benefit of directories is their link building potential. By getting your website onto your profile you are creating a strong backlink. This can have a tremendous impact. Basic link building is a great way to begin growing your business.


So when should you invest in a paid listing? This depends on your financial and geographical situation. Just like all marketing decisions, there are pros and cons. I can’t tell you in a blog post what to do, except to at least claim your firm. Getting your details out there is important, and a free listing and link will certainly help.

Should You be Advertising on DuckDuckGo?

Neglecting all search engines that aren’t Google might not be your downfall, but it definitely won’t help you. It’s also possible to run whole advertising campaigns just on Google and Bing’s main sites. Here’s the thing: you shouldn’t.


The Underdog Engines

Google owns a majority of the global search engine market. This makes it a highly competitive market for advertisers, since that’s where a lot of the consumers are. This is why Microsoft Ads (or Bing Ads, depending on who you’re talking to) are a good alternative. The competition is lower, the prices are cheaper, and return on investment is often comparable if not higher than with Google Ads. 


Where DuckDuckGo Fits In

Going further down the funnel from Bing is DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo doesn’t own half a percent of the global search engine market, but it is growing. 


The business model of the platform rests on ensuring user privacy. Unlike Google and Bing, DuckDuckGo advertises based solely on keywords, not user history. This makes it particularly appealing to users who are concerned about their personal safety and privacy.


Who Could Benefit from Advertising on DuckDuckGo

Due to the secure nature of the search engine, DuckDuckGo should be particularly appealing to businesses dealing with sensitive matters. As a law firm, it’s likely that you are dealing with sensitive matters.


A quick glance at a few of our clients has shown some pretty significant numbers of pageviews over the past six weeks from DuckDuckGo users. As in, over 100 users for some firms. This may not be a lot percentage-wise (less than 1% of total traffic),  but some of them have been leading to conversions. For a platform that isn’t getting much focus, it has a lot of potential.

How to Advertise on DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is an affiliate with Microsoft, meaning advertising is distributed through the Bing Ads interface and network. This means that you can set up your Bing Ads to be distributed on DuckDuckGo searches. 


You can make sure DuckDuckGo is included in your Bings Ads by going to Settings → Ad Distribution → Network → select All Search Networks.

If you would like help managing your law firm’s digital advertising, contact Mockingbird today.

How Google’s Ever-Changing Search Experience will Impact the Legal Industry

Google is constantly updating, improving features, removing bugs, and changing user experiences. This is quite noticeable for those of us in marketing, who make it our job to keep our finger on the pulse of changes in the search engine world. 


How Ads are Changing for Services

Google provides opportunities to advertise just about anything under a variety of categories from restaurants to stores to legal services. You have probably noticed this on Google Maps and might have noticed this when you search for flights. Different categories are being provided with different user experiences. 


For legal services, the ads have remained relatively unchanged upfront. Plug-in options have increased, targeting options have changed, and contact options have improved, but these might not be as immediately visible to consumers. This is how legal ads currently look:




This isn’t anything we haven’t seen before; nothing to write home about. However, a recent Search Engine Land article showed how different services’  advertisements differ:



One of the potential reasons for Google’s delay on local service ad upgrades could be the category’s susceptibility to spam. It’s not unheard of for multiple fake businesses to appear in searches, oftentimes almost indistinguishable from legitimate businesses. 


The future of local ads could see more protections going up to fight spam, more carouselling ads, and more individual add-ons based on the business type. It’s hard to know what’s coming for legal advertising, but we know we’ll be ready.

What Is Your Firm Prioritizing in 2020?

With online marketing constantly evolving and a never ending stream of vendors fighting for your limited ad budget, we want to know what your firm is prioritizing in the coming year.

We’ve designed a short survey to get a sense for what’s actually driving revenue growth and what’s more hype than substance. Fill out this 10 question, end of year survey about your perceptions and priorities heading into 2020. All submissions will be completely anonymous, with the exception of an optional short answer question at the end of the survey.

Why Take 5 Minutes to Complete the Survey?

Two reasons:

1) All submissions will be entered for the chance to win a free pass to BEDLAM – the best damn legal marketing conference of the year!
2) Anyone that provides a short answer about their “biggest frustration with legal marketing” will have the chance to get a link to their firm’s website if/when we publish their response in the survey results.

Click Here to Participate in the 2020 Legal Marketing Survey

We’re anxious to hear about your challenges, what directories you feel are a waste of money, and how many scummy salespeople hit you up on a weekly basis.

Best of luck in 2020!

How Remarketing Benefits Law Firms

You might have heard the term “remarketing” before, it’s pretty common in the digital marketing world. Just in case you weren’t fully sure what it entails, here’s a quick backgrounder on the basics of remarketing.


What Even is Remarketing?

Well, it’s marketing, again. You market to audiences that have already interacted with your ads. Since consumers often take multiple visits to a website before converting, it makes sense that they probably didn’t become a client the first time they clicked on your ad. Does this mean you paid for a click that didn’t end up having a conversion? Yes. Does that mean it was a wasted click? No.


The good thing about interactions, even if they don’t result in conversions, is that they show you who is interested in your firm. By targeting people who interacted with your ad, you are cutting out a large portion of the uninterested population, and saving money in the process. Remarketing campaigns often have higher return on ad spend (ROAS) and lower cost per click (CPC). 


So, in summary, remarketing is marketing to people who you know are interested but might need a reminder in order to become a client.


Where Does Remarketing Work Best for Lawyers?

Remarketing is an option on most ad platforms, from Google to Facebook to Microsoft. Each platform has its own unique abilities and allowances regarding how many times you can show an ad to one person in a day. Facebook is at the higher end of that spectrum, Google is on the lower end. 


As far as law firms go, the platform does matter. The impact of a Facebook ad and Google or Bing Search ad are very different and serve different purposes. Where Facebook may be able to relentlessly promote your brand through rigorous remarketing, Search will catch people when they are actively looking for a lawyer.  It’s all a balancing game. Luckily, we’re really good at balancing.


How to Take Advantage of Remarketing

Your law firm can start remarketing as soon as you have data from marketing. You will have to figure out which of your audiences are best to target, and then narrow it down from there. 

If you feel like your law firm could benefit from remarketing, and think that you might need some help in running your ad campaigns, contact Mockingbird.

3 Things to Remember When Leaving Your Digital Marketing Agency

Splitting with your marketing agency is rarely a mutual decision with warm feelings all around. More often it involves pulling teeth and giving up access to your analytics and domain name. Many digital marketing firms take pride in making it difficult for you to move on, and the best way to fight back is by making sure you know what to fight for after your break up.


1. Protect Your Customer Information

If your marketing agency had control over your call tracking programs and/or access to your direct messaging ads they have access to your clients. They can use those client lists against you by leading potential customers away from your firm and maybe even towards your competitors. To avoid this, you need to ensure that you either maintain control over all your customer information or see that any programs that collect information are terminated.


2. Check Your Website Access

A lot of digital marketing companies that provide website building services will make sure that they own every domain they build. That means that if they build your website and you fire them later, they will keep your website. You will be left to build another or buy it from them. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you own your domain prior to signing a contract, or by working with an organization that ensures that you own your website.


3. Review Cancellation Penalties

Always review your contracts before firing your agency. It’s not unusual for there to be penalties for canceling your plan, and those penalties can be costly. Unfortunately, long-term contracts can prove to be more costly. It can seem like there’s no easy escape, but making your grievances public can certainly help your case. 


Digital marketing agencies often aim to make their profit by trapping their clients in contracts and hiding their spendings. Mockingbird works to provide full transparency and ownership to our clients, and never traps them in unnecessary long-term contracts. We have helped law firms escape predatory firms for our entire career, and know how to best do our job. 


If you have been used by your marketing agency, contact Mockingbird. We will help you build your brand organically and protect your assets.


Are Google Ads Messaging Extensions Right for You

Google integrated extensions into Google Ads in 2016, providing a number of new options for businesses. One option that is currently available is messaging, which allows consumers to directly message businesses right from the ad. 


This featured felt almost overwhelming to some small businesses when it was first rolled out. The idea of having to be on call for countless consumers without knowing whether or not they even intended to use the feature wasn’t what business owners thought was the best use of their time.


But it’s been a couple of years now, and maybe we can help demystify the feature.


Do I Always Have to be Available?

No, you don’t. Google is smart and knows that most small businesses don’t have the capacity to have someone ready to respond to messages 24/7. That’s why you can customize your hours on your ads to ensure that the messaging feature doesn’t appear when your business is closed. Beyond that, you can craft automated responses and email forwarding to ensure that no message goes unanswered. 


Where do the Messages Go and How Do I Respond?

This is largely up to you. You can set up your account to have the messages sent to an email address or a mobile phone number of your choosing. When you respond to a message on either platform it sends it directly back to the client. 


What Counts as a Conversion?

You can determine what counts as a conversion, i.e. how many messages need to be sent by the client before Google adds it to your list of conversions. Not everyone who clicks on a messaging extension means to, and therefore shouldn’t be counted as a conversion.


How Do I Know That My Business is Eligible for Messaging Extensions?

You can find Google’s requirements for users implementing messaging extensions here. To briefly summarize, your phone number (if you’re using a phone number) must be active, domestic, and toll-free. You have to respond to messages promptly and relevantly, so no advertising products that weren’t in the ad. Finally, you need to make sure you’re not abusing the access messaging extensions are giving you to the clients.  You are not allowed to use their personal information or data, and you’re not allowed to upload unwanted software of malware onto their device.


So, Are Messaging Extensions Right for My Firm?

To answer this question you need to look at your firm. Is there enough staff available to answer messages during the day? Does your firm provide services that can be sold easier with an immediate personal connection? Are you not planning on spamming people who message you or uploading viruses to their devices? If your answers to these questions are all “yes” then you should consider messaging extensions for your next ad campaign. If the answer to any of them is “no,” you might want to either consult a PPC expert or wait until your next set of ad campaigns to add the extension.

Data is Useless without Insights: 4 Indicators You Should Know

Every decision you make when advertising is based on data and best practices that were formed by data. If you have a Google Ads account, chances are you have large amounts of data you might not know what to do with. Luckily, you don’t need to know the meaning or purpose of every number. Here are 4 insights you should be checking on in your analytics.


1. Page Views vs Leads

Pageviews go up and down and don’t always mean that more people are interested in your firm. Of course, more pageviews can lead to more leads just due to a higher volume of traffic, but fewer page views don’t always mean fewer leads. While page views seem like the obvious factor to look at, leads are a more productive insight to check to see where your business is and what ad strategies are working.


2. Channels

Knowing where your traffic is coming from will help you know where you should be spending your money. Sometimes you can spend thousands of dollars on an ad campaign just to get all of your clients from your newly set-up Google My Business Account. 


3. Landing Pages

Just as you need to know where your traffic is coming from, you need to know where it’s going. Knowing your website’s top landing pages will show you where you need to put your time and energy. Sometimes your top landing pages are not the pages with the highest conversion rates. Sometimes they’re the pages with the highest bounce rates. If this is the case, you need to spend some time making those pages more welcoming and leading for the rest of the website. 


4. Bounce Rates

The bounce rate for a page is the percentage of visitors who left the website after visiting only that page. Sometimes that’s fine, as with educational blog posts where people might find what they need quickly. Other times it’s a sign that something’s wrong. For instance, if your homepage has a high bounce rate, that really isn’t good. A high bounce rate can be due to a number of things, including a site that feels untrustworthy or a site that loads slowly. Luckily, all of these problems can be fixed quickly.

Sometimes it can be hard to run a successful law firm while also worrying about advertising and digital marketing metrics. If this is the case, you’re in luck. Mockingbird is here with the most comprehensive and accessible report out there, so you can let the numbers tell you how to run your business, and let us tell you where the numbers are coming from in a language you understand. If this sounds like something you could benefit from, let us know!

It’s Not Your Agency’s Data, It’s Yours