California; he invests $5,000.00-$7,000.00 per month with them. He wanted my opinion on how they were doing, and what strategies might increase the amount of leads generated. So, we checked out the report and data that the marketing firm provided us with.
Basically, the results of where his money had been going for the past two years. What we noticed is that he's getting phone calls each month, which is great. However, most of them are coming from the advertising and not organic ads. These phone calls take a bigger bite out of his ad spend.
Let's take a moment to differentiate leads that come from 'ads' versus 'organic'. With ads, you're paying for each phone call each month to Google or Facebook, where with organic leads, those are leads that find your website because they searched for something and found your website on Google, and it was not an ad.
Once you begin ranking on google organically for different keywords, you can receive organic leads, you can likely have recurring leads, where with ads, if you stop paying you will stop receiving the leads.
Google simply chose to put your website at the top because you had the best content, and provide users the best experience, and best answers to people's questions. The goal is to get more organic phone calls because those are closer to free once your website's at the top. Now of course, getting your website to the top is not free unless you're a full-time marketer and building your own website. Not many attorneys have time for that. Anyway, more on that later.
Let's tell you guys what we found in the report. He's spending about $3,000.00 directly to ads with Google, and a little bit with Bing. I thought it was great that his marketing company had a small part of the budget went towards ads to Bing to make sure they weren't overpaying for the leads from Google.
1. Phone calls are decreasing despite ad spend remaining the same. (ads issue)
However, one thing we noticed on the report was that the phone calls are decreasing over time. Simon has been paying them the same amount each month for two years, but the amount of phone calls every month on average is going down.
So that was a little bit disappointing to me, but I'm also not surprised because the more people that want to pay Google for the web traffic that are searching for criminal defense, the higher the price the criminal defense attorney is, or their agencies, will have to pay Google (or Facebook/Bing/etc) for that phone call.
Perhaps there's more competition, and that's why his phone calls were going down, which is too bad because that $3,000.00 that he spends on ads each month goes out the window and does not help his asset become worth more. Remember, if he stops paying that money, he will not receive any phone calls for the next month which is what leads me to the next three feedback points I had for him.
Just to be clear, the first suggestion I had for him as well as other attorneys that want to get better performance from their marketing company would be to make sure the phone calls are going up and not down. Your marketing company, if you're spending thousands with them, they should be improving the ads so that you're getting more phone calls.
If the search terms you are paying Google for get more competitive and cost more, maybe that's something they should educate you on if you have questions, and that is a possibility.
However, optimization will hopefully overcome that. With that being said, we don't want ads when looking long-term.
We want organic traffic. Let's keep going with the report and I'll tell you guys the next three out of four recommendations that I had for my cousin. All of them are organic.
2. Invest in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to better convert organic visitors to leads. (organic issue)
The second point was that he's getting a lot of web traffic. We looked at his analytics. He's getting 6,000 visitors per month, which is fantastic.
Now the problem is, we're not getting that many organic leads or phone calls. There's 6,000 visitors, what are they doing? What they're not doing is scheduling a phone call with Simon, which is the number one goal of the website.
I recommended he ask the marketing company to invest in conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Conversion rate optimization is a strategy where you just test how people are using your website, which pages are they going to, where are they clicking, where are they moving the mouse to. Then you use that data to make small changes to improve the conversion rate (schedule a phone call). You do NOT try to get more website visitors on your website.
CRO could be simply changing a button from a light gray to a red color, or changing the font on the title text, or choosing a different font. A great designer and great marketing company should know 'best practices' for various industries that will increase conversions.
One way to improve your CRO is to have your marketing company do research by using a heat map.
By doing that and also best practices you can increase the amount of people that click that button versus if it's a light gray on a black or white background, maybe something that pops a little bit more helps the website visitor understand what action they need to take, which is either call Simon or schedule a phone call with him.
The great thing about CRO being an 'organic strategy' is if you make some changes on your website that result in more phone calls by using conversion rate optimization, well guess what? The next month you also get more phone calls and you don't have to pay for more conversion rate optimization. That's the second point.
3. Why is there not a notable increase in organic web traffic? (organic issue)
Moving on to the third point, this was a concern about the marketing company because Simon is paying them for both advertising and "SEO" work. I looked at the invoices in the report. I'm not quite sure exactly what SEO work they're doing for him.
They are definitely writing one blog post per month, and they're 'targeting' some keywords. They did the website for free for him, and the website maybe has dozens and dozens of pages of content, which is great.
That may be why he has some visitors. However, Simon's been paying this company for two years. Actually, Simon had written some blog posts in the past that actually get more web traffic. More on that later.
Anyway, what we noticed was every single month he's getting around 6,000 visitors per month, and I was disappointed that that number was not growing because if this company's writing blog posts for him and doing SEO work, he should be showing up more on Google, and he should be getting more organic, unique visitors every single month, or at least on average for the past two years, right?
Anyway, that was the third recommendation I had for him: The marketing agency should be growing his organic web traffic each month each quarter or at least every six months on average.
But, his monthly organic unique visitors (not from ads) are staying the same for two years, that's not okay considering he is paying the marketing company to do SEO work, in addition to running ads.
We actually looked at more of the details, and we saw that he was targeting criminal defense attorney Orlando, and some other keywords that I thought were a little bit too competitive. I also recommended he target some easier keywords. Maybe he can go more local. His law firm's in downtown Orlando, and he lives in Winter Park, so maybe he should target Winter Park criminal defense attorney, because there's less people in Winter Park than the metro area of Orlando. He's able to compete with less attorneys, which means he'll be more likely to get on the first page of Google for those keyword terms.
All right, so yeah my third recommendation to be clear was that he should ask his marketing company, "Why is there no organic visitor growth in the last two years?" Moving right along to my fourth recommendation. We already touched on this a little bit, but it was to revise the keyword positions. We looked at how much web traffic he got in the last two years, and he had about 150,000 new visitors, which is great. But I looked at what blog posts were bringing in those unique visitors, and guess what? They were two blog posts that he had written from 2012. They weren't even the blog posts that the marketing company had written for him! So what this means is Simon should take the time to write a blog post, because when it's authentic and coming from the founder of the law firm, then that's going to be a more genuine blog post, and obviously more detailed also. Google likes longer articles.
Your goal should actually be to have over 1,200 words on every page of your website. Yes, that's a big task. Anyway, once we noticed those blog posts were moving in, that made us even more skeptical about the marketing company because two third of the web traffic in the last two years could be attributed to Simon's blog post that he wrote. So, what SEO work is this marketing company doing? I'm sure they're doing some work, but they're not providing real results. We also looked at the keywords and we revised those. I still need to get back with Simon, because I just met with him recently. Maybe next week I'll send him some keywords that he should recommend the marketing company target, because those are too competitive. The keywords that he's looking for are too competitive, and that's why he's not getting more organic phone calls.
But if you pick something very specific and very localized, it's going to be easy to one of those keywords. So, we need to revise the keyword strategy. That was the fourth recommendation I had for Simon. Just to recap, the first point that this attorney should ask his marketing company is, "Why are my phone calls decreasing when I'm spending the same amount of money towards ads each month?" That's a question about ads. The next three points were questions about organic growth, and that's with all the website visitors he has, he should invest in conversion rate optimization, CRO. The third point was ask your marketing company, "Why is there no organic growth over the last two years? You guys are writing blog posts, why isn't that driving me more visitors? What about the other SEO work that you're doing? Can you tell me why that's not being more successful?"
4. Revise the keyword strategy to less competitive keywords in a smaller geographical area
The fourth point was to revise the keyword strategy to less competitive keywords so he is more competitive for the keywords that have less competition.
I speak with many entrepreneurs who want to rank on google for something like 'snow removal app' but the fact is that you need to start small. Think local, think about winning your neighborhood, and then once you have significant sales you can dominate the closest metro city, and then state, and then later you can hire multiple full-time marketers who help you dominate the country.
That's it. Thank you guys so much for tuning in.
For the attorneys reading this blog post, I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. We're typically not for hire, but I'm happy to give some quick feedback. If you have any questions, just mention this blog post.
Good luck out there. Keep up the marketing. To learn more, visit The Handshaking Blog.