Welcome to the #mosolo21 resources list
See the presentation in its entirety, with transcription, along with relevant resources for each section, and some bonus goodies at the end.
Good morning everybody. And welcome to my presentation here with the Missouri bar solo and small conference, 2021. Unfortunately this year, I don’t get to use it as an excuse to come home and connect with my family and all of the wonderful people at the solo conference, but we’ll have to make, do with zoom this year and catch up next year today, I’m going to be talking about 15 marketing channels and strategies that work for solo and small firm attorneys ethically, ethically being the key word there. So it’s going to be a lot of practical tips. And then we’ll slide in some information on ethics and considerations for when you are picking up all those extra lawyerly awards and things like that. My name is Willie peacock. I am the shadowy figure in your presentation there, your guide to the shadowy world of marketing. I am an attorney, Missouri licensed and a marketing consultant. So a little bit about me. I am married to my dream girl, who I chased out to New York city. So I am there temporarily for at least another year. And I am a Missouri licensed attorney. That was my swearing in ceremony, just a few long years ago. And that’s my baby girl, my pride and joy, my little Royals fan. Her favorite player is Ryan McBroom of all people.
Tiny bit more about me. I am as I said, married to a goddess and a proud dad. I’ve been a web geek since the 1990s, when I would build web pages in junior high on the family computer. I’ve been a marketing professional since 2011. Also a lawyer since 2011. If you remember that far back, that was the end of the great recession when there were no jobs. So I fell into marketing and I loved it. And I’ve kind of teetered between the two worlds ever since I am licensed to practice law in seven states. Again, chasing that pretty lady around. You got to pick up more bar cards. I currently work for a military.com and fast lab.com managing a $5 million a year, paid search and social budget. I am also a solo Quadro attorney. I’m working on my first book on legal marketing, which I’ve been saying for years now, but this time I’m really going to do it. And a marketing and legal tech company, my interests include the Royals, the chiefs, the Lakers, legal tech, any illegal toy gets me excited, crochet running DIY home renovation and wrenching on cars.
Those are my seven states today, and this is going to be a power hour. And then some last time I think I did seven or eight channels. This time we’re going to hit 14 channels and one tracking platform back to back to back to back-to-back-to-back back to back to back to back. The point of is to kind of give you an overview of a whole bunch of places. You can hit with a marketing strategy. It’s not to teach you in depth about any of these, but kind of to give you an idea to peak some curiosity, sparks some ideas, and I’ll also provide some resources for each of these in the materials and online at all my website, which I’ll have at the end of the presentation. Yeah.
And of course the most important thing we would attract today is tracking your return on ad spend because marketing dollars that go into marketers pockets, but don’t get you. Any clients are an absolute waste. Now the most important thing in any marketing strategy is going to be your website. As I like to say, all roads on the internet lead to home, meaning your homepage. So if you have a Yelp page and Abbo page a Facebook page, Google ads, Bing ads, every ad, all of those are probably going to have a link back to your website. So if your website does not get the job done, then all of those other channels are going to be superfluous and wasted.
Now I relate to break websites down into two different types of sites. You have your business cards, websites, and your encyclopedic websites. Now a business card website is exactly like what it sounds like. It’s got contact info, names of attorneys, maybe a little paragraph about them, practice area listings and a contact us page. But the only purpose is just to advertise the firm, having information readily available on the internet. And these are great. They’re really easy to develop. Every lawyer should have one. If you don’t have a website, people are going to wonder if you’re still in business these days. But the problem with the business card website is it doesn’t really develop new business. It doesn’t get you visibility. You do that through an encyclopedia website, which is what I call it, but other people might just call it a content rich website. And these are websites that have a ton of pages that are educational and informative, and that teach the website visitor about your practice area and about what they need to know.
So I’m a Quadro lawyer. I might have a website on dividing pensions after a divorce, dividing, 401k is premarital interest in a 401k post-marital interests, survivor benefits, and a pension, all those boring topics that don’t interest anyone until they’re divorced trying to split a pension and they go, what the heck does any of this mean? So if you can write these long articles that explain these things and educate people, that’s what an encyclopedic website is all about. Now, this deep content should be exhaustive coverage of all of your practice area. The content needs to be a long form. Again, deep coverage. It needs to cite sources, which I think back to what Google was founded as it was a project of a couple, I think it was Stanford students and they were trying to emulate term papers. And, but for re-imagined for the internet, it was all about what papers cited, which papers, right?
Those are links. Links are incredibly important. Search rankings and people always worry about what links can I get, but it’s also what links you site to that help. And there are studies that show, if you link to authoritative sources, to legislation, to other websites that are known to be great websites, you’re more likely to rank higher than someone who just babbles for 3000 words and doesn’t back up anything that they say. So you need to have long coverage cite your sources. You have to write for lay people. Most people don’t understand legal speak. And as lawyers are great at dropping in technical terms and, and where to fours and things like that. But if you can write effectively at a sixth or an eighth grade level, you’re going to capture the vast majority of the audience and keep their attention. And by the time they’re done reading your website, they’re going to think, oh, this person’s great at community.
True story month. I have gotten two calls from potential clients who have called me and said, the reason I called you was the content on your website. I could tell you were a legitimate human being. I could tell that you wrote it yourself. I connected with you while reading it. One of the things that they mentioned was the joke I made about my mom’s seven divorces. The other one was the story of my dad and his lack of an estate plan and how that led to issues with Medicare and took away his dream of leaving his house to his children.
Those sorts of stories you can mix in with this deep content and you create a, basically a lead generation portal. That’s all your own. You don’t have to spend so much on marketing. This just takes a lot of time. Now, this is all what SEO really is all about. You can read a hundred books on SEO. You can buy all the tools, but the whole point of SEO is to reward these websites that provide this deep informative content. Now, this is also really, really hard. I make it sound easy talking here today, but it takes a lot of time to write a great 3000 word article to clean it up, to add some links, to remove all the technical terms, all of that. Nearly every website company I’ve ever dealt with fails to do this correctly. And when you buy a website through one of the big vendors, what they do is have a team of content writers out in Minnesota or freelancers across the country.
And they say, okay, write 500 words, 300 words on the topic. Make sure you mentioned that the attorney is really experienced, really seasoned, like a French fry. What else can we say? Good about the attorney, aggressive six magic tips in there and make sure you drop a few synonyms for the geographic area. They give you a paint by numbers, Madlib version of content that doesn’t teach the user. Anything it’s marketing copies, 300 words of the best lawyer in South Carolina. Who’s real experienced and real aggressive and going to get you the biggest verdict. Google doesn’t want to rank marketing copy and wants to rank informative con copy. And that’s what’s going to drive your leads.
So a couple other website, performance tips. You want to take your law firm website, pull up your smartphone, turn off the wifi. It’s very important. You want to run it on cellular data because most people, you know, if they’re looking for a divorce letter, they’re not going to sit at home on the wifi next to the wife and go ha divorce lawyer. No they’re going to go outside. They’re going to go out in the middle of a field somewhere far away, maybe on the way home from work, pull over type typing in real quick divorce lawyer before she finds out. So you want to test your site on cellular data. Doesn’t load fast. Can you flip around through all the pages without things distorting to the point where you can’t use them, test your contact forms, test a little tap to call the phone number buttons, test everything, do the same thing on a tablet.
You might need wifi for a tablet, but at least you can make sure your site loads properly. Same thing on a desktop, a laptop, do it on all these different devices, because there are so many ways to access the internet. Today. The majority of traffic is on a smartphone. 60% of traffic on most websites is on a smartphone, but you never know they could be at work. They could be on a desktop. So you need to make sure your website works across all of these. And a lot of, again, these bigger marketing companies will just develop it on a desktop because as they use at work and they don’t even care about the mobile, or they might do a rudimentary test and test at one time on a fake simulated mobile device. And they never actually make sure it works well on slow cellular data.
The other thing to ask your geek, am I on WordPress? WordPress has a 61% market share. WordPress is like software, kind of like windows for computer. WordPress is for websites. The next closest as of a couple of years ago, when I last checked, this was Juma and 5% that tells you how popular WordPress is. The beauty of WordPress is if you decide to change website vendors, you can take your website with you. If you decide to do a redesign, it’s usually a matter of changing out a theme file, which is the visual file. And most of your content will transfer over just fine. If you want to add functionality like a live chat plugin or a video chat plugin, it’s usually a couple clicks and you’re there anything else it’s going to be coding up? Custom code is going to be very expensive. And your portability between vendors because they may not use the same type of code is going to be minimized. WordPress is amazing because it’s very open source and very portable.
All right, tracking performance with your website, overall website traffic. This is a great rough sign of your health. Your traffic generally should be going up. You know, it might dip in the seasons, Christmas and all of that. But overall, over the years, your website traffic should be trending upward, just as important organic search traffic. You want to ask about that. That’s your people who are coming from unpaid search. That means from the map section, from your website links, when they search for divorce, lawyer, Columbia, Missouri, are you showing up there that should hopefully be growing over time as well, referral traffic, you can ask for a report on that from your vendor that will tell you are your paid channels working that tells you where people came from. Do they come from a, from Yelp, from a link off of, something like that, rankings data.
Now I’m going to be controversial here and say, this is less important. And every vendor out there, especially with when they go to a trade show, even at the Missouri bar conference, you’ll see a sign every once in a while. And it says right on page one. And here’s the thing about rankings. If I’m standing right next to your office and I searched for your practice area, probably you’re probably going to pop up. Rankings now are so personalized by the user’s account, search history, geography, that rankings data that’s pulled up by a rank tracker, not super accurate. It’s pretty accurate still, but it’s not perfect. Also every day, I think the, the ballpark on percentage of searches that are completely unique and brand new to Google is something like 20%. So 20% of searches have never been searched before. So if you’re tracking your rankings on divorce, lawyer, Columbia, Missouri, then those may stay consistent. But somebody might type in child custody, dispute lawyer. They might type in. Those are called long-tail terms. Something completely unique and different. Somebody to fight about child support arrears for me. So rankings data is, it’s a good thing to check, but it’s not something to live and die by. The most important of course is to track your leads and clients by source. And that’s what we’re going to wrap up with today because the most important thing as a business is to know where all of your leads and clients are coming from
ABA rule 7.1. Now we get into the ethics. This is an ABA rule, none of Missouri rule, but the beauty of ABA rules is they’re incredibly informative. And throughout today, how many mixing ends of new York’s and New Jersey, some California, I kind of wanted to give you a spectrum of rules, because even if they aren’t the rules of your state, they are great for information and for great guidance. They usually really great best practices. So the ABA rule says you can’t have false or misleading information about the attorney or the services they provide. And I believe this is actually a parallel rule to Missouri. So if you’re referencing past case results, damage awards, victories, you’ve got to have a disclaimer. Results are not guaranteed. The website. Can’t be likely to create an unjustified expectation as to the results the attorney can achieve is as your website, that screams million dollar verdict million dollar verdict, and tells all the extreme outlier tails and gets people’s hopes up.
And then they come in and you’re like, yeah, you got gotta fight. You got a $500 case. Get outta here, compares the lawyer’s services to that of another, unless they can be factually verified. And there are some state bars that have even said, you can’t use words like best attorney anymore, because how do you, how do you quantify that? So the ABA rule advises against that as well, advertises for a very specific type of case that the attorney has no experience with or competence in. I’ve had a marketing client that wanted to add personal injury cases to her law firms, website. She was only family law, but her suite-mate did PI. And she figured she pick up some extra leads and get some referral cash out of it. Well, that is a, that would be a violation of ABA rule 7.1, probably unless perhaps you had a disclaimer, you can probably cover yourself, disclaimers, cover a lot of sense states or implies that the lawyer can obtain results in violation of the rules of professional conduct.
Well, obviously, you know, if you say I’m going to be unethical to get your results, that’s an ethical advertising contingency fees. Without stating the client may be responsible for expenses or costs. This is the no fee unless you win advertisement. But if your client has to cover the costs that it’s not really no fee, is it. So you need to be more clear about that on your websites, discount language, cut rate, lowest cheapest lawyer. If you want to do that, you have to have substantiate substantiation. The last one portrays a former judge or refers to a lawyer as judge in a misleading way. And actually there is an attorney I know who does this, who out in Utah, he briefly was a judge pro tem in Arizona and still calls himself a retired judge may not be the rule in Utah. Well, I suppose, but it’s an ABA rule.
All right? And New York requirement approve everything, retain everything. So this is, again, this is outside the state of Missouri, but still a really great best practice. So New York lawyer or law firm is required to pre-approve any advertisement, including websites. And they have to maintain a copy for at least a year. If your vendor’s going to put something on the internet, you should probably least read it through. Sometimes it’s downright wrong. And I’ve seen that happen where they put the law incorrect because they’re underpaid writer from Minnesota is producing those 500 word blurbs for 20 law firms across the country and five different practice areas. They don’t know the law specific to New York or Missouri. They may just puts up and down. So it’s important that you review everything before it goes live. That just should be a best practice. A copy of the contents of the website are required to be preserved upon initial publication of the website on redesigns or upon a meaningful and extensive change in content as a New York specific rule.
If you are doing regular backups of your website, you’re going to have this anyway. It can’t really hurt to do. You should always have backups assess that, but that’s a very specific New York ethics rule. You have to keep those backups in case anyone has a question later, California, they have a rule for their websites that say you can’t use the word specialist, or I specialize ed, unless you are a bar certified specialist. You also have to indicate again, a disclaimer saying that this is a communication or solicitation for business. As a law firm, you also have to have the name and address of at least one attorney responsible for the content on that website.
How’d we get to Missouri, beautiful Missouri. So nearly all websites are going to require some disclaimer. The exception will be a website that only has the names of the attorneys contact info for staff offices, practice area lists, bar admissions. So basically a business card website with no aggrandize aggrandizing station, tough to pronounce that word. No, no sales pitch, nothing just basic business card on a website. Almost every website is going to at least have some positive words about the lawyer. Otherwise it wouldn’t be doing its job. The solution to that is simple. Have a conspicuous disclaimer. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Other disclaimers that may be required. And the under the Missouri rules, if you’re doing verdicts on your site results, not guaranteed. If you use stock photos or recreation’s, or I don’t know if anyone’s ever seen, I think it’s low.
All the hammer Stanley famous advertisements out of Pennsylvania, but they’ve been all over YouTube because they’re hilarious. He promises to punish them, pound them. Well, he had a actor playing the lawyer for 20 plus years until he took over recently that sort of drama intubation. If you’re going to use that or stock photos, you probably need a disclaimer there paid endorsements or testimonials. You need a disclaimer part-time or by appointment office addresses need to label them as as much practice areas. You don’t practice that. You just refer out. Remember a prior state says you can’t do that. The ABA rule said, you shouldn’t do that on Missouri. You have to have a disclaimer for that. Have that note at the bottom, this text is likely too small and indiscernible to qualify as conspicuous under rule 4.4 dash 7.2, burying the disclaimer in a separate page, which a lot of website vendors do. They’ll have disclaimer and small print at the bottom. It’s probably not going to suffice either. Yeah, it has to be conspicuous. Okay.
All right. Now we move on to the maps and the maps is my favorite channel for quick results. The beauty of maps is you can set up a maps listing in minutes. It’ll take a couple of days for the verification postcard to reach your address. And as soon as you get a couple of positive reviews, you might see phone calls trickling in it doesn’t cost you a cent. So why Google maps when you’re looking at the search results and we’ll go back a page just to you, another peek at them, it appears above anything organic, all those terms. You’ve been fighting to a rank four Quadro attorney, Columbia, Missouri. The maps is usually above those organic results and it’s below the PPC ads that everyone visually skims over. Anyway, it’s a huge, beautiful maps pack. Okay?
The results are nearly instantaneous. As I indicated, it’s pretty quick to get online and you’ll see results like almost overnight. True story about my relaunch of my law firm. I moved to New York to chase a pretty girl, my wife out here, and I took a few months off to get bar licenses out here and get everything sorted to get settled. We had a baby. I relaunched my law firm a week before we went to Manila, just started the advertising and the Google maps listing really just a Google maps listing. And while I was on a two weeks vacation and Manila assigned to clients and started the work on those clients before I even got home, part of that is me being a workaholic. But part of that is that these, the Google maps thing, if you can get a couple of reviews and get alive, it will start to generate business pretty quickly. It is probably the easiest channel to market on, and it’s absolutely free at least until Google figures out, how to monetize it. So steps to go live, google.com/business, type that in, enter the information for your business, name, address, phone, number, those things. And then you ethically ask for reviews and we’ll go into reviews more later. Once you have a couple of reviews, you’ll start to get traction and rankings on that.
Before I go on to being, I’ll mention that one of the biggest ranking factors in that maps back to make sure you show up in those top two or three results is reviews, but also proximity to the searcher. So if they’re standing around inside your office and you practice divorce law, they type in divorce lawyer. You’re probably going to show up in that number one spot. If you have reviews, that’s huge for credibility is going to get you a phone call probably right away being places. I mentioned being places because it takes about two minutes and it’s instant. It’s not going be huge traffic driver because being in general has about 10% of the market being as an alternative to Google. If you’ve never used it, Google has 90% being has 10 and there’s like duck, duck go and Yahoo and AOL. And they have like 0.01 to get on being maps, being places.com.
It’s a couple clicks it’ll import directly from Google. My business you’ll be verified instantly. So you’ll be live instantly and you’ll be in yet another place for, to find you it’s a couple clicks and you’re done. One thing to be aware of with bang that’s unique to them is they don’t have their own review system. Like go map, says they pull in reviews from your Facebook reviews and your Yelp reviews. So if you have bad reviews over there and you don’t want them to get more airtime, then clean them up. First, try to get some positive reviews over there before you turn on being places. Otherwise that one, one star review from that opposing party that you trampled a few years ago is going to show up right there, front and center on big places, right in the map section right next to your name.
So Missouri rule 7.04 and no map spam. And this is something a lot of lead generation firms are guilty of. So Missouri rule says that your principal office it’s okay to put it on the maps. If the office has a lawyer in at least three days per week, it’s okay to put it on the map. If you add a disclaimer, we are staff these eight days and times and you’re up front about it. It’s okay to put it on the map or if he had a disclaimer that says by appointment only it’s okay. The point here is to just not be misleading. Don’t make people think you have a full-time office in Jefferson city. If you’re actually located in Kansas city and you only drive out there by appointment, just be honest about it. The same rule is also in Texas, Pennsylvania. So for multi-state practitioner, you may want to check the other states as well as just to make sure that it’s, I think it was a model rule originally and it’s kind of proliferated throughout the country.
So it’s a pretty important one to live by. And it’s not hard to keep up with this one, you know, just add the disclaimers ethics, hypothetical. All right. We have many virtual offices. I see a lot of firms do this. They use virtual or drop-in offices throughout the state for clients convenience. Of course, can they advertise their 75 virtual offices throughout the state of Missouri? Why would they well, again, Google maps shows these maps results above the regular search results, and they are heavily influenced by where the searcher is standing down to your GPS coordinates if we’re on a smartphone. So the more maps locations you have, it’s like the more lottery tickets you have. And the more leads you get, just oversimplify things just a little bit. So if you have all these offices, it is huge for marketing. Can they advertise them? Well, as we just discussed, if you’re honest about it, you have your disclaimers about by appointment only, or lawyers are only staffed these days and times, then it should pass the ethics test. Now, if you, you can take it a bit further and say, well, our main office is in Kansas city. We have a virtual office in St. Louis. Well, are you ever actually going to go out there or are you going to force them onto a virtual video chat? If you’re taking it that far, you may be stepping into the misleading advertising bit. So keep that mind. You know, everything in ethics is a spectrum, but disclaimers will cover you in most reasonable scenarios.
Ratings and reviews are right. This is every lawyer’s worst nightmare. Every lawyer I talked to is I’m afraid of the bad reviews. I get the bad reviews. They’re dragging down my, my rankings. They’re hurting my client retention. Oh, we’re going to go into a lot of ratings and reviews and lawyer awards right now, but we’re going to do a rapid fire. So Google maps, Yelp, Adam Martindale, us new super lawyers, lawyers of distinction, American Institute of blah-blah-blah national trial lawyers association and million dollar advocates. All right, how to get reviews. And this is probably the most important thing you can do today. Immediately make it a part of your file closing. So when you wrap up a case, if you think the client is happy or just, you just want to collect feedback in general, ask the client for feedback, send them an email. How did you feel about your experience?
That is a great thing to do. Even if you want a good review, a bad review, if you don’t want to do reviews at all, just to know how you are doing as a staff, you might think things are great. They might think that you’re a sports staff didn’t communicate well enough or you didn’t, or that things took too long and getting that feedback is a key to growing. So ask for feedback. And if, you know, if you want to collect reviews, while you’re at that feedback stage, you can send them a link to your Google reviews less than, and say, please leave us a review on Google. Now, big question we’re going to have here is review gating. Is it ethical? And we’ll get into that in just a second. Negative review is something, every lawyer fears, every lawyer asks about how do I deal with negative reviews?
How do I get them removed? Well, truth is it’s really hard to get them removed. I’ve heard stories of some of the third party sites like the Yelps or the making reviews disappear. If you pay those sites, it’s probably mostly conspiracy theories, but who knows if it’s true or not? I know on Google, it’s really hard to get a review taken down. The best thing to do with a negative review is to respond to it ethically with a nice, Hey, we’re sorry. You had such a bad time. If you’d like to discuss this with the law firm, here’s our phone number. We are a hundred percent here for you and just leave it at that. No case details, nothing that can get you into trouble, just invite them to chat about it and then ask your happy clients to leave reviews on top of that one. So you bury that sucker deep in the list.
So ethics of client review sites, they have to be real reviews. No astroturfing is the marketing term for that, that means no going on fiverr.com or Upwork and hiring people in another country to come in and just slam you with 50 positive reviews overnight, no false or misleading statements and no paid testimonials, unless there’s a discount. I know most of this is common sense, but ethics rules always worth reviewing. So hypothetical here. And this is a, this is a fun one review gating. So lots of legal marketing vendors use using a system to get feedbacks from clients. It’s that feedback process I just talked about. So what they do is they send out a link or an email that says, did you love us? Or did you hate us? If they give you a thumbs up, then say, all right, great. Here’s a link to Google. Go ahead and leave us a review. If they give you a thumbs down, they go, oh, would you like to share your feedback and private? Now, obviously, if you’re doing that, you are shaping your review profile online.
Is this permissible. Now this is probably a great ethics discussion to have over a few drinks, but one of the rules is not to have false or misleading communications, not to have false or misleading content and reviews. If you are so strongly shaping your review profile, that you’re hiding anything negative and only showing the positive, then you might start be starting to get through that gray area and into the bad territory. On the other hand, every business kind of does this don’t they, you know, if someone, you know, someone loves your business, you say, Hey, go ahead and leave us a review. It’ll help a lot. You don’t call up the client who hates you or the opposing party that you steamrolled and say, Hey, why don’t you leave us a review about how much you hate us? So this is probably a gray area. There’s probably a spectrum of where this is. Okay. And where this is not okay. Consultant ethics, attorney. If you are concerned about it, I probably would not use a review gate personally. You know, if I know a client loved me, I’d say, great. You know, go ahead and leave us some feedback, but I’m not going to set up a full review gate system to maybe disarm them or confuse them into leaving. Just the negative feedback with me and the positive feedback online.
All right, lawyer awards had promised we dip into these real or fake. It’s a fun game to play us news. Best lawyers. If we were in person, I’d say, raise your hands. If you think it’s real. But instead I’ll just say, these are the ones that I have seen that have at least some measure of credibility to them or that I think are commonly accepted by our community of lawyers, best lawyers, super lawyers, Martindale rating, Aval rating. Yeah. On the other hand, these are some that I have some questions about the American Institute of Naval practice area. They have one, I believe I had opened my first law office in California after in 2015, after moving from the bay area down to LA and I had been in practice about two weeks. When I got a letter from these find people telling me I was one of the top 10 lawyers in California, I can cut that alone.
Common sense will tell you that there’s some lack of legitimacy there. Lawyers of distinction is my absolute favorite fake award. So I wasn’t sure if they were real or fake. I got an invitation. All the lawyers in my firm got an invitation, but I worked at a great firm at that point. So maybe we’re all very distinct lawyers who knows. So I went online, tried the nomination process because they forgot one of our lawyers nominated him. He got an email 15 seconds later. Wow. That’s quick. I nominated my brother who at the time was in law school, not a lawyer yet. He got an real quick. Then I nominated a ham sandwich. Ham sandwich got an invitation within about five seconds. And that’s when I was certain 100% lorries or sanction was probably not a legitimate award. And then a law firm in Seattle nominated their dog and bought an award for their dog.
And then the internet now. So Laura distinction, probably not high on the list of credible awards. There’s all of these. There’s a new one every day. I probably get four or five of these a year. Ask yourself one. Does it pass the smell test by your gut? If you ever heard of these people, does it seem fake because some of these are obviously fake, but also do you have to pay to keep the award or to advertise the award? They may say your name to list. You can keep it no matter what, but if you want to advertise it on your website or get one of these handy little website badges, you’ve got to pay us $300. Oh, it’s obviously a scam. You all have common sense. I’ve known some lawyers who say, well, clients don’t know any better. So get me 25 of these and I’ll hang up the plaques in my office. Well, that is unethical.
Okay. So should you chase awards? Great question. So many bar associations are cracking down or requiring details on how these awards are determined is that award misleading. And can you explain the award in your website? There’s a two great questions to ask when you’re considering, do I want this award? Sure. So New Jersey was on the forefront of fighting these spam awards and they have come out with these rules. The lawyer must first ascertain whether the organization conferring the award has made an actual inquiry engine, the attorney’s fitness before they can advertise the receipt of the award. That means lawyers of distinction that hands out awards to ham sandwich. Within five minutes of me submitted the nomination probably did not actually make any inquiry into it into a ham sandwiches, attorneys fitness. So do some research before you advertise it. Basically you, the lawyer must be able to describe the standard or methodology used to determine the award recipients, either on the ad that you were placing up, meaning your website or via a convenient publicly available source.
You could probably link to the award vendor’s website. You have to add a disclaimer, no aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme court of New Jersey. They don’t want consumers thinking that New Jersey has anything to do with Abbo super lawyers, Martindale Laura’s of distinction, national association of fake spam awards. Any of them all disclaimers and explanations must be placed in close proximity to the reference, to the award. So this is very important because a lot of us marketers, a lot of us lawyers want that a badge right at the top, right? Actually the contact forms that where the user feels warm and fuzzy and says, oh, they are a lawyer of, of great refuge. Well, then I can go ahead and fill out this form or call them and hire them right away. Well, it’s not good enough to put a disclaimer or the explanation of this methodology down deep in the footer or the a tiny link that’s hidden at the bottom of your site. That goes to yet another page, which is another standard practice. You need to put that disclaimer right up there next to the badge.
All right. So how to on super lawyers, if you want to be on the super lawyers list. So they say that they have a proprietary selection criteria. It’s patented. I think every year ballots go out to lawyers, all of the country. I think they used to mail them. Now they email them. I haven’t gotten one years. Most people I know who get on the list either get it because they are extremely well known in their community or their firm does some shameless, stumping, or I voted emails. Maybe they’ll send an email to every lawyer they know saying, I voted for you on super lawyers. Here’s a link. So you can also vote on super lawyer if you want to get on super lawyers. And you’re not already on the list, naturally, that’s a little bit of shameless stumping. You can do online voting and send some emails, Martindale kind of a similar idea.
They have a peer rating system. There’s actually a lot more transparent. You submit a list to Martindale of 20 to 25 references that are attorneys in your community. The references must already be listed by Martindale. So that way they know how to contact him. And that way they know that they are real lawyers and they will reach out to each of these people and try to get enough responses that they can give you an AB rating, BB rating, whatever they call it now is a good, best practice for this. As to warn your peer references, that Martindale may be calling so that they actually answered the phone.
Yeah, I will mention that I have not seen Martindale AAV rating, BB rating on the internet ever, except for on lawyers’ websites. So if you think this is going to drive you a ton of traffic by getting one, it may not, but it will get you a shiny badge that you can put on your website that says, boom, I may be rated. And that might help people take the step between reading your website and picking up the phone. We call these trust signals in marketing parlance, how to get an ammo rating. So the first thing and most important thing to know about advo is that the rating system and the client reviews section are absolutely independent of each other. So they have a 10.0 rating that rates, how much of an attorney you are in your community, I suppose. And then they have a five star system which has client reviews. You can be a, with a hundred bad client reviews and you can still be a 10.0, according to lawyers and vice versa. You can be a 2.3 with ethics, trouble on the attorneys on the lawyer rating. And you can be a five star. All your clients love you.
the five-star thing is your standard five star review system for the 10.0 rating. Everyone wants to know how do you get there? Well, you get points for speaking, speaking engagements, like the one I’m doing right now, you get points for writing articles for known publications. You get points for peer endorsements, bar leadership positions and for stacking up notable lawyer awards at last checked for me, which was like five or six years ago when I was helping somebody out with their profile. I think Laura is the distinction was not one that would get your points, but super lawyers being one that’s well-recognized in the community did get your points on Abbo. Now, again, I’ll say this. Now the avenue is part of ammo is part of Martindale. They seem to have disappeared off the internet, which is a bit funny, four or five years ago. If you search for traffic ticket, lawyer, Seattle, or car accident, lawyer, South Carolina avenue would usually show up in the first couple of results.
Sometimes they’d show up two or three times. Now, if I stick with the same thing, I’m probably not seeing avid anymore. So whether it’s worth going through all this effort is up to you. It can get you an extra badge for your website. The best thing to do is to go on your own search engine, near your office, typing your practice area. If Advil has significant placement, invest some time into it. If it doesn’t, then you’re only doing it for a batch and empty, empty match. All right. So how to have, so I made this many years ago and I still share it online. There’s a free ebook guide and an infographic and today’s resources. They give you a guide on how to get to that 10 point. Oh, basically I managed profiles for my entire firm at one point and helped all of them get up to that 10.0 rating. So by doing that, I figured out roughly what the points were worth and what the tricks were to gain everybody to 10 point out for reference. I was a 10.0, and I had been practicing law actively for about a year at that point. So that tells you how manipulable that 10 point already, maybe.
All right. Legal directories. We’ll take a quick break. I think we are a more than halfway through here. We’re powering through this pretty quickly, but we still have a lot to cover. So we’re going to power through it even quite, even more quickly now legal directories. This is your fine law law info, Yelp. Abbo all those sites that list a hundred lawyers on a page. And they often outrank real lawyers. So you search for car accident, lawyer and Joplin, Missouri, and you might see a fine law or a law and phone near the top and maybe a Yelp. And then you see a sprinkling of two or three real law firms at the bottom. So should you spend money to in these directories? Most of these we’ll put paid placements at the top and then maybe one or two unpaid right beneath. So it’s basically pay to play if you’ve got to be able to sites. Well, the best thing to do is to do the Google check search for your practice area and in your geography car accident, lawyer in Joplin, Missouri. And if you see fine loss showing up on every page, and then you have to throw a few bucks at fine law, same for Yelp ad, et cetera.
All right. Pay-per-click and social media is this become my newest love of and marketing. So the beauty of pay-per-click, these are the ads, the top of the search engine, whether it be Google or Bing or duck, duck go, or AOL, mostly Google. This gets calls from people with urgent needs. They are already out there searching for exactly what you are, and they are pretty much ready to buy. They might want to talk to one or two firms, but they need your help right now. This is why pay-per-click is so competitive with lawyers, but it’s also why it’s so beautiful. If you need clients right now is because you can put up some money and you will probably get some phone calls right away.
On the other hand, paid social advertising on Facebook, Instagram, maybe Twitter. It’s really good for branding. These people aren’t out there looking for a lawyer right now. They’re out there looking at cat videos and pictures of plants. So when they see an ad for a law firm, they’re not going to go, I better hire them right now, but they will see your brand. You’re staying top of mind. It’s really hard to track an ROI or return on investment for those paid social ads. But if you’re in a small community and maybe you do multiple practice areas, it can be really effective because you’re always in their brain. And when they finally get into a car accident or need a will done, or a divorce that they choose a lawyer, I know then they might, your, you might pop into their brain or in their searching. And they see five names on a list on Google and they say, oh, I recognize that one. Let’s call that one first. That’s what branding is all about. Unpaid social, where you just put up a post on Facebook, it’s a waste of time or is it we’re going to find out right now?
So PPC basics again, this has become my love because this is what I do for most of my hours of every day. These listings are auction style. The more you bid on a, on a keyword like divorce lawyer, the higher you will show up in those, in those ad rankings. For the most part, they also factor in the quality of your head of the relevance to the search term and how well your website works. Is it going to take 10 minutes to load? They didn’t knock it. They’re going to take you off there real quick. But for the most part, if you’re willing to spend more money, you can be at the top. That’s also why it gets so expensive. I was helping a buddy out a while back and we’re looking at car accident clicks, and they were exceeding 200 plus dollars per click in his small town market.
And I’ve heard of that in the big cities, but now it’s getting all the way out into the rural areas in the south where it’s 200 bucks just for a click to your website. They may or may not even wait for the website to load. They may not wait to call your firm. I think the industry average last year was about 10% of clicks to website converted. So that means if 10% of those clicks, that’s $2,000 just to get someone who actually will call and speak to you. And they still may not have a monetizeable case. They may not want to actually assign with you after talking to you. That’s how expensive PPC can get.
It’s usually charged on a cost per click basis. Every time they click on your ad, you’re going to pay again and again and again, robo bidding, which we’re gonna talk about shortly is one of the newer things that’s been offered just a few years. It is one of my favorite things because it uses nerdy things like machine learning and artificial intelligence, to tell who to target the ads at and how much to bid PPC is very expensive in most cases, but it’s instant. So he could put up the ads and within about 12 hours, once they’ve been reviewed and vetted and they make sure the landing pages work the robots on, on the ad platform, you will be online and the results will be instant. This is what I call reactive marketing. You’re reacting to a need. That’s already there. You’re not convincing anyone of anything, except for we are exactly what you’re looking for.
It’s a lot easier of a sales job. Then you may need to possibly hire someone someday. So think about us now, PBC, we’re gonna compare Google versus Microsoft. These are the two biggest search engines. Google has a 90% market share, which is insane. Microsoft has only 10%. So you say, why would I even waste my time with Microsoft? Well, as we just mentioned, those $200, $200 clicks right on Google, it’s extremely costly and extremely competitive Microsoft. And the other hand, it’s a lot cheaper and a lot less competitive. That same buddy, I was helping out $200 per click on Google, $5 per click on Microsoft, stretches budget a lot farther with that. And pretty much overnight, he was ranking at the top of every search result for every practice area he wanted in his small town, because none of the other lawyers had figured out that Microsoft also has ads.
They could buy. All of them were on Google call tracking as a native feature. Google has a built-in call tracking feature. That’s a little complex to set up, but if you don’t want to pay for a separate tracking platform, it’s great. It’s a little glitchy. I don’t love it. I’d rather have a third party platform, but it can be handy for all those times where someone’s looking at your ad. They immediately dial in the number that way you’ll be able to track success. Did I get a lead off of that ad? Microsoft does not have that built in one. You have to pay for a third party platform. Now the third party platforms are about 50 bucks about starting. They can get more expensive with volume advanced bidding strategies. I don’t want to bore you all too much with these, but they are awesome. So a couple of things you can do these days, you can set algorithm loose and say, here’s my budget spend $500 per day.
And I want you to maximize the number of actual converted leads you can get. And the robot will start mixing and matching clicks across demographics ad copy time of day website placements until it finds the most optimal way to get you the max number of leads for your budget. You can also do target cost per lead. If you say, Hey, I’m making 700 bucks per case on average, I want a 20% profit margin. I need drew some salary for staff. All right, well maybe I could spend half that on a lead. You can say Google get me leads for 350 bucks. How easy is that? It’s a little, a little more complex than it sounds, but that’s basically the idea there target Roaz that’s return on ad. Spend that if I was to oversimplify, it would be saying, Google, give me a 40% profit margin and it will do it.
That one requires a ton of volume. Now you have to be like a traffic ticket firm or a multi-state farm, that processes hundreds of cases at a time maximize conversion value. If you can get value data back to the Google ad system, which is actually pretty hard to do, but if you can, all of your case values within 30 days, if you can at least estimate it, you can start to have the algorithms optimize for the most efficient cases, which ones are worth the most. It’ll pick up on patterns on demographic time of day search terms, catastrophic injury, things like that. All of these bidding strategies are also now available on Microsoft ads. Now to summarize all this start with Google ads, it’s the most market share, but you have to monitor the costs closely. If you’re paying $200 a click, then you’re going to want to probably tone it down a little bit. Maybe try some other practice areas. And if you’re not getting results, that’s where Microsoft is key. With a couple of clicks, you can import your information from Google over to Microsoft. You can put in some strike bid caps as their bidding system tends to go a little more wild, but it can be absurdly cheaper. I mean, $200 versus $5.
Another problem with Google that’s happened lately is they’ve introduced local services ads, which we’ll get into. And those are now pushing the normal paid search ads down the page and shrinking the amount of those that show up, which is increasing the cost per click. So it may be worth exploring Microsoft more than you ever would have. And looking at the local services ads, forget to add a second hypo is PPC ethics trap. So Missouri rule four dash 7.2 ads are okay when they’re distributed generally to persons not known to need your help, right? You can’t go to the side of a plane crash and hand out business cards. We all know that rule is this the same thing. You go into people who are on a search engine who need your help. You know what they’re looking for because you’re narrowing down by their actual search terms. Is that solicitation? I don’t think so. It’s more like you’re putting ads up in a directory and this is kind of a dynamic directory. If they’re searching, just like in a phone book, if they opened up to the divorce lawyer pages, well on a Google ads, they’re typing in divorce lawyer to get to the divorce lawyer pages faster. So really you’re just jumping into a dynamic directory and putting your ad there.
The conspicuous disclaimer, events may be necessary, especially if you’re using ads on, on Google maps and things like that. Again, watch out for putting comparison words in PPC. A lot of the times the PPC vendors don’t know the ethics rules for lawyers. They might say best lawyer in Missouri on the ad, and that might get you into trouble. Remember verdicts and victories. It is very common for these marketing firms to say, billions of dollars in verdicts. You’re in right there with an exclamation point. Well, is that going to be misleading? Make sure you have a disclaimer. If you’re going to step that into a pay-per-click ad, all right, am making responsive ads. These are one of the newest features on, on both ad platforms. And these are magic because you can turn over the targeting or the messaging of the ads to the robots. So at dynamic search ads, these can go a little nuts.
They will scan your entire website and search for things to target. So if you have a page on child support and you forgot to put a badge for that, if you have a dynamic search ad campaign setup, it will know cause it scans your website and it’ll put a badge for child support that way you don’t have to build out an ad for every conceivable thing off your website. Problem is sometimes you might have a blog post about your favorite sports team. And these ads might get a little confused and think you’re advertising for football. So what you want to do is make sure you set your bids and your budgets very conservatively on that and just use that as kind of a way to do research. And when people might be looking for and what things you might be missing, if you see child support popping up in the dynamic search ads campaign, then you can make a new campaign that is dedicated to child support.
If you see football popping up, you can quickly put in a negative keyword that says don’t show my searches for football, responsive ads. These are awesome. So you can put in up to a dozen headlines. I think it is. And six of the longer texts descriptions. And although Google only show one or two descriptions at a time and two or three headlines at a time, depending on what device the user’s on it we’ll mix and match these 12 headlines and multiple descriptions to find the best possible combinations over time. So if you’re a high volume firm that does hundreds of traffic tickets, you can put in all these combos and it will ABC D E F G testes until it finds the best. And I’ll start you prioritizing those over the less performing ones. And then you can swap in a more and it’ll test those pretty rapidly.
all right. That’s, that’s it for pay-per-click. Now we’re going to go to Google’s newest local services ads, and these are more of a pay per lead. Now there are a lot of things I love about this idea instead of paying for a click that may or may not go to your website that may or not may or may not turn into a lead may or may not convert all of that. So many moving pieces that can go wrong. You could lose your tracking and not find out that they came from a paid ad. This is pay per lead. So Google screens, you to make sure that you are reputable. They checked for your malpractice insurance for your bar license, and that’s pretty much it. And then they will say that you have been screened and we’ll put you in this pretty little box at the top of the search results. And with this, the user says, oh, they have good reviews. They have been screened by Google. They must be legit. And they will click through. And these leads convert a lot more often in my experience. And now you have some cost predictability instead of saying, ah, do 800 clicks brothers, 800 clicks, actually turn into clients. You go, oh, okay. I have 20 leads. And I’ve tracked out of those 25 of them turn into clients.
So pay per lead is a lot more easy, a lot easier for you to track. So again, you sign up, pass a background, check, upload your insurance policy, cover sheet. It’s pay per lead. You define your practice areas. This is pretty cool. So I do estate planning, but I do not do probate cases. I don’t want to go to a courtroom and fight over belongings of a dead person. So I, on my, when I tested these ads, I specifically said, I want to stay planning. I do not want probate. Now users don’t know the difference. So I did get a ton of calls for probate, and that’s not really Google’s fault. That’s just someone searching for lawyer for wills. And they don’t know the difference. So they call me, but Google was good enough to refund every single one of those probate leads. All I had to do is hit the refund button and say, they called me for probate.
They did not call for estate planning. Now the downside on this platform, it’s new and it’s in testing. So it is spam written. All of the, I have seen firms from Florida advertising in South Carolina, it’s buggy, and it’s very unpredictable. You can be getting a ton of leads one month, the next month. Nothing because so many other lawyers jumped on or so much spam has jumped on. Or in one case I heard of just a glitch in the backend of the system, took a lawyer off there. So all of a sudden their phones were quiet. It’s good to add this to your portfolio. If you’re doing other advertising things. Cause like I said, it’s a very good product, but right now it’s so early that it’s buggy and unreliable. They are generous on refunds though. For junk calls, there is a long list of practice areas there that they are covering right now. And it’s probably expanding all the time. It’s worth going on Google, local services, ads, website, kind of checking what’s currently available, but the obvious ones, DUI, bankruptcy, criminal, stuff like that are all on there.
All right, now we’re moving on to social media and we only have 13 minutes. I’m going to power through this quick Facebook everybody’s on Facebook, your grandma, your niece, your aunt, your uncle it’s for everybody, Instagram millennials probably in younger, probably nobody over the age of 40 is really on Instagram in general. That’s a rough guideline, no offense to anybody here. Twitter doesn’t work for anybody on their ads. At least in terms of law firms that I’ve ever heard of LinkedIn is great for business to business legal fields, tic TAC. I’m too old to understand that, but I know it’s a young audience and people are supposed to be doing singalongs, but they don’t who knows proactive marketing. This is where this is the term I like to use for it. You are convincing people on these platforms that they need you like for estate planning. For example, you can hit a user who, you know, has a family, has kids has assets. You can find that on Facebook and you can send them multiple ads saying, protect your house, protect your kids, protect your spouse, all of those things, and slowly convinced them that they need to sign up with you.
All right, unpaid social though. Is it a waste of time? So most lawyers do this wrong and it is a waste of time for them. So they have a marketing agency that I’ll write a blog post they’ll share the blog post to Facebook, maybe boost it for 10 or 15 bucks. So people see it. That’s not going to get your clients not going to get you anything. And even if they don’t boost it, they’ll just put up a blog post. Hey, everybody read my blog posts. That’s not going to work either. So the not very well kept secret was about a decade ago. Facebook started limiting your reach. Even if people who follow your page or like your page to roughly 5%, it’s gone up and down over the years. But a very small percentage of people who like your page will see what you post, unless you pay them.
Now unpaid stuff that does pay off. This is your relationships that you cultivate on Facebook with your community. Be a part of your local civic group on Facebook. I’m a lawyer I know in Brooklyn is a leader of a group for a union in the area. And he gets a lot of worker’s comp cases. That way be a part of the community you want to serve just like you would in real life. A lot of that’s moved online, especially since the pandemic, but always they’ve been on Facebook groups, discussing their unions, their jobs, their cleanup crew for the city, all of those things. And if you’re a part of that and they know you’re a lawyer, you’re going to have that constant presence. You’re going to become that go-to person, but that’s a lot of work. Isn’t it. It’s not instant advertising paid ads. So again, these are more for branding and lead gen.
You can stay top of mind. One strategy that does work according to many agencies and lawyers I’ve worked with is the lure. And the drip is where you put up an ad for a free ebook or something, some other invaluable resource. But when they get to the page, you have to give over your email address. Everybody hates that, but they do it. And then you send them an email. Now another one in two weeks, another one in a month, another one in another month, that way you’re constantly in their brain. So when they finally decide they need an estate plan, you’re there get their attention. Facebook and Instagram are visual mediums. If you are just using text posts, nobody’s going to read it. It wouldn’t even show up on Instagram. It’s got to be a beautiful, visually attractive ad that hopefully leads to something that will help them out.
Like a resource like allure. Facebook has introduced some advanced bidding controls, such as minimum return on ad spend. These are probably too complex for most law firms to use two or more for e-commerce, but they are worth mentioning for extremely high volume firms. So social media ethics, a lot of the disclaimers we mentioned probably apply. Now you have a website. You’ve probably put all those disclaimers on there, according to the Missouri bar rules. But if you have a Facebook page, you probably need to say staff these days and times only these hours, you probably need. If you’re posting your verdicts all the time, you probably need to add a disclaimer of results. Not guaranteed to those posts. Keep that in mind just because it’s a Facebook page. Doesn’t mean the rules don’t apply that apply to your webpage. They’re both separate online advertisements, kind of like having two websites, client review ethics, the ones we just talked about on the review section, they apply on Facebook too. Facebook has a review element and there’s a ton of ethics cases on people who have befriended their clients, judges, opposing counsel, opposing parties. That’s outside of the scope of marketing. So I’m not going to talk about it too much, but know that there are huge ethics traps with that.
All right? And we’re going to power through the last couple ones here, marketing automation and CRMs, the beauty of marketing and automation. Someone comes to my website right now. They fill out a contact form. What happens? Well, most law firms, the law firm will get an email and they’ll call back. And four or five days on my website, they get an email instantly. They get a text message instantly. Both of those say, Hey, first name of person who filled out the form. We got your message. How about you? Go ahead and schedule a free consult yourself using this self booking tool, or we’ll call you back in a couple of days. As soon as we can, we try to call Mozilo back within 24 hours, it also has into an email list and that we can do a drip campaign and send them an email once every month, just to check in, are you ready to move forward?
If you have a consult fee, you can set it up. So they automatically get booked for their consult. I’m sorry, invoice for their consult. You can also have it automatically send them an intake form and a request for them to upload their, their paperwork that they, you need to discuss the case. You can do all of that automatically with one of these and eliminate the tasks that would take 20 to 30 minutes per client for your support staff. I have eliminated all of that entirely and it’s just client fills it out. The intake form, the website, the name, email address, phone number, boom. They get a series of emails asking for the intake form, the self scheduling, all of that. For current clients, you can use this for a drip campaign every month or so. Check in. How are you feeling about affirm? Is there anything we can do better or anything that’s going wrong? Last thing you can do with this, that’s easy is once you change this case status to closed, have it automatically send an email that says, how was your experience? Did we do a great job, terrible job. That’s how we grow as lawyers and as business people.
And my favorite one, I think we have just enough time to cover it, build an app. And I know you’re thinking you’re crazy. I’m not a coder. I can’t build an app. How am I going to build an app? Well, in the last few years, there has been an explosion in the number of these little app builder apps, apps to build apps, how Metta that are completely no code. So you don’t have to hire a programmer. You don’t have to sit and learn cobalt on the weekends. You can just through clicking and dragging and dropping, build an app after pattern, rally document Natalie law, woodpecker doc assemble, which is a semi code platform, but serves the basis for most of these, all of these are available online. Hello divorce is a startup. That’s made the news and won a ton of awards. They built their whole platform.
It’s a self service divorce platform. All the tech that underlies that, that generates the documents is powered by document. What are the app builders? I built a traffic ticket app cause I hate the city of New York. And I’ll get to that story in a second. I built a using after pattern, which after pattern is free to try out, which is awesome. So these are great for building freemium apps. Maybe you want to build out a freewill generator. Anybody can generate their own will. Of course you’ll have a disclaimer. You know, you should have this reviewed by a lawyer, but turning yourself into a quick legal zoom to give them a basic will. Then when they’re ready to do a trust or a real estate plan, or if they want to spend a few hundred bucks to come in and sit down with the lawyer and go over their will, you can upsell them later.
It’s also great for unmonitored sizable apps fight the $50 ticket. That was the point of my app. Again, I’m going to come back to that one cause it’s a fun story. Proper apps, the robo lawyer, the how do you do your divorce online without having to hire a lawyer because you can’t afford it. You can charge a few hundred bucks or sometimes even a couple thousand dollars to guide someone through the divorce process. Building one of these apps. These can be a direct revenue source. If you go for the true robo lawyer, they can be lead generation through freemium or run monetizeable leads. You can just use them for brand awareness. It will just know that you exist. Once they’ve used your app, they can also be a great review generator. Did you use our app for the free resources, free resource? Great. Why don’t you leave us a review while you’re at it and say thank you.
They also can build links. I’ve got a ton of links to website SEO benefits. I’ve gotten rankings off of this. And let me tell you that fun story right now. So my wife, gorgeous lady, brilliant lady, a doctor, courageous. She was out there fighting COVID on the front lines. She had to go cycle through four or five different hospitals covering wherever they needed help while she was doing that. She was getting these wonderful driving 36 at a 25 mile per hour. Camera tickets all the time. That’s the middle of the night. There’s no kids out. Darn it. But they’re still going to give you a camera ticket. It turns out so after she racked him a few of these, I was getting frustrated. So I did some research and ways to beat these tickets. And I built an app on a Saturday when I was bored and I put it up for free on the internet.
Nobody’s going to hire a lawyer to find a $50 ticket, but they will use a free app. And that free app has generated a ton of attention. We’re talking thousands of website visitors, I ranked for fight or red light ticket in New York city. I never thought I’d write for anything in New York city. There are millions of lawyers and robo lawyers competing for those for that spot. And I’m up there. I was number one for a while. I might still be the effect has been enormous in terms of website traffic. And in terms of actual business, these days I’m getting calls for estate planning and Quadros that it wasn’t getting before. Just because as more links point to my website, because the traffic ticket thing, it’s raising everything as Google sees me as more of a legal authority. So these can be handy outside of the immediate impact of the app.
We’ve got three minutes left to go. This one, I’m going to skip over quickly. Everybody says we all have zoom or WebEx fatigue and we probably do, but it’s also probably the new normal. So if you want to go beyond the live chat on your app, on your website, which a lot of firms have, there are now plugins that will do live chat and live video chat. You can add this to your website, the one I’m going to be testing right now, I can’t vouch for it cause I haven’t used it yet. It’s called get dot lead. But there are a ton of other ones out there where you can have your receptionist live video chats from your website or a live text chat. If they prefer click to call, it gives them options of all of this. How do you keep track of what is working?
So you can ask people, how did you hear about us? But they’re just going to say the internet. You can use tracking phone lines, which is great. It works well. But the best thing is to use an overall tracking platform. And example of that is what converts. There’s also call rail. You can use built-in features in your CRM, or you can use Google analytics. I’m testing welcome Brits right now for a friend. And it seems to be working pretty well. They can pick up on form submissions. What website did they come in before they filled out that contact form? Did they come off of being at a Google ad? Any of those or do they just type your name in, did they come off of Facebook? Whatever it is. It’ll tell you where they came from and it’ll help you track the calls, the forms, the chats, all of that tracks at one platform. That way you can tell which channels are working, which you should spend more on. It also sends that data back to the ad networks so that you can optimize your bids right in the ad interface.
Okay? Dollar figures that matter. You want to track these by source. So for Google ads, you want to track your cost per lead cost per client, that you actually acquired revenue per client. Are you only getting low value cases off the paid ads or are you getting the good cases? Conversion rate? I got a hundred leads off of this ad platform. Last month, did a single one of them turn into a real client or were they all junk? That’s important track Rachel, on your marketing investment. It doesn’t matter if you get a hundred leads. If you’re spending $10,000 to get those leads and you’re only getting $10,000 back, you need to track your ROI by source. So you can see which ones are most efficient and put more money into those and take it away from the expensive platforms. If you want a quick way to get this done, hire a freelancer off one of the freelance websites to build you a dashboard that tracks all of this automatically.
All right, so we only have 30 seconds left. I thank you all for sitting through that power hour, I’m going to have a bunch of free resources at the website right here. Omni esquire.com/most solo 21. Keep it free marketing tools. Abbo 10.0, guide an infographic, a preview of the book and some announcements you can sign up for our mailing list. I’ll announce when the book is ready. There’s my Twitter, LinkedIn, my website and my phone number. And that’s the end of the power hour. I hope you all enjoyed it. Please feel free to reach out and happy to chat about marketing and answer questions anytime. It’s my favorite topic. So you can text call tweet me, LinkedIn, me, whatever you’d like to do. Enjoy the conference, everybody.
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Marketing Channels & Tips
I’m a Missouri Lawyer. I’m a marketer. I’m a dad. I’m a husband. I’m a New Yorker (for now). I’ve written millions of words of (award-winning) content for others and generated millions of dollars in revenue off lead generation setups for big corporations.
Currently, I run a part-time law practice, take on marketing and content projects, and offer consulting services.
Websites AND SEO:
Websites were my first love in the marketing arena. I started building them on a 166 MHz desktop using Microsoft FrontPage when I was still in elementary school. Despite that long relationship with websites, people almost put too much emphasis on them. Websites can serve as a lead generation mechanism on their own, if you want to invest heavily in search engine optimization and content. And they can be the piece of the user’s journey where you seal the deal — they start on a directory website or a paid ad and end up on your website, where your bio and website copy convince them to call and schedule a consult.
For most firms, all they really need is a business card website. This is what I call a website that has the sole purpose of looking good and providing the contact information for the firm. It might have attorney bios, a list of practice areas, and contact information, but it doesn’t have longform articles about the law or the sort of educational materials that will help with your Google rankings and drive traffic to your website.
Business card websites are easy. If you need one, check out Fiverr for outsourced freelancers that can make you a website for as little as five dollars or as much as a few hundred dollars, but far less than you will pay any full-service domestic marketing agency. Here’s what you should look for:
- WordPress-based site
- Good reviews from users
- A sample portfolio that looks professional
- Ask them to do minimal speed-based optimization (install a couple of compression plugins)
Here’s what you probably won’t get with a Fiverr website:
- SEO Optimization
- Schema (backend code) that helps Google identify your business type and location
While both of those things are great to have, they are not prerequisites to launching a firm or getting referral clients, and often times the search engines are smart enough to figure out who you are and what your website is about without the extra coding. (Truth be told, many “mom and pop” agencies and even many big ones skip the schema and don’t really understand SEO or great content, so you might not be missing much at all with a Fiverr site over a big agency, except the recurring bill.)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content are the most important pillars of the best marketing strategies for any business because quite frankly, they drive in free traffic indefinitely. While you will have to invest more upfront in writing amazing content and optimizing your website for the robots, it does pay off in terms of a recurring stream of inbound potential clients. It is very slow to start, and for months you will be adding content and not seen much of a difference, but if you do this right, it will become your best source of leads and might even make it so you don’t have to spend extra money on paid search advertising down the road.
One of the hardest things I had to do, when working with a portfolio of lawyer clients in my agency days, was to get them to understand the importance of client reviews.
I AM NOT OVERSTATING IT WHEN I SAY REVIEWS ARE EVERYTHING.
As a lawyer, multiple times per week, I get calls from people who said they picked me over the competition because of my positive reviews. In fact, I stopped paying for advertising more than a year ago — before the pandemic — and yet my business remains strong. And it is almost entirely due to reviews and word-of-mouth.
Once you have set up your Google listing, all that is required under Google’s terms of service for someone to leave a review, is that they have some experience with your business. That does not mean they have to be a client. They can be a co-counsel, and opposing counsel, someone who came in for a free consult, someone who worked for you at some point — just don’t violate ethics rules by Astroturfing your review profile by having your friends and family write fake reviews.
Lawyer Awards & Rating Sites
We Love Badges
Avvo, despite disappearing from most search results after their acquisition by Nolo, is an easy first stop for most lawyers. Why? It’s free and it’s algorithm behind the rating system is very manipulatable.
I’ve published an infographic (click the above thumbnail) and a full-length ebook guide to getting your profile to 10.0.
The AV Rating predates most legal careers, as well as the Internet, and some might say that it shows – Martindale is notoriously absent from the search results and has been since … well, search was invented.
With that being said, many lawyers recognize the value of a Martindale rating and it can be an added trust signal to potential clients. If you are interested, the process is no longer a mystery – they published a blog post on it. It’s basically a peer reference system.
The third major award worth mentioning is SuperLawyers. Here’s the truth: I used to work with those guys and they really mean it when they say that it’s a closely-guarded proprietary secret. BUT, it does seem that a large part of getting on the list is the peer voting process. Every year, ballots go out and lawyers can vote for their colleagues and friends and that plays a large part – perhaps the largest part — in deciding who makes the list.
Beware Fake Awards
At least quarterly, I get a letter in the mail from a new lawyer award. They are all crap. A good way to tell if the award is crap is to ask whether or not you have to pay to keep and advertise the receipt of the award. For example, if you get named to SuperLawyers, you can advertise that fact without paying them anything. But, if you want a plaque or space and their online directory, you have to pay for that. Many fake awards won’t even let you mention the award on your site without paying a fee. Make sense? For more: lawyer awards are bulls**t.
Social Media (and Google My Business Posts)
Unpaid posting on FB, Insta is nearly useless. Unpaid reach is typically about 5% of your connections. Paid boosts of reach is cheap.
More effective are actual ads, especially “lure” ads. (Get this e-book on how to become a lawyer-millionaire overnight!) Require a user to submit contact info for the lure and follow up regularly to stay top of mind and slowly convince them that they need you.
Google My Business
It’s not a social network, but it acts like one. You can post to your GMB profile, much like you do on social networks. Some of the social posting tools – like Publer and Hootsuite – allow you to post to GMB at the same time you post to other social networks.
BUILD AN APP
Last year, during a pandemic, while schools were closed, my medical resident wife did something awesome: she volunteered to fight COVID on the front lines. In between rotating through multiple hospitals, she picked up a ton of speeding camera tickets for going 36 in a 25mph zone … in the middle of the night.
I was livid. So I built an app. To date, thousands of people have used the app to fight their tickets in NYC. And the effect on my law firm’s website:
Hilariously, most of that is for things like “fight red light camera ticket NYC” or “fight speeding camera ticket,” which are not things my firm does. But, it has also attracted links and helped raise my rankings and traffic for things outside of tickets as well.
Was building the app difficult? Not really. There are a wave of no-code app builders for the legal space: Afterpattern (which I used), Rally Legal (which integrates so, so nicely with your website), Knackly, Documate, LawYaw, Woodpecker … you get the point. (If you try one, tell them I sent you, or better yet, reach out to me first and I’ll help you pick the right one for your use case!)
beyond website chat
Simple website chat widgets are great. And if that’s all you’re looking for … Tawk.to. It’s free, I’ve used it for years, and it works. But if you really want to stand out, consider taking your communication widget to the next level.
CallbackTracker is a startup that gives you a widget that lets a client call/SMS/email/WhatsApp/chat, or schedule a call back for later.
GetLead.page is another tiny startup that gives you drop-in video chat, audio, or regular chat on your website.
Here is a shopping list for cheap and free resources to jumpstart your efforts – it’s great for solos or for delegating to a computer-literate staff member who has a lot of time on his/her hands. Some more fun tools:
- TidyCal (a cheap “pick a time on my calendar to chat/have a free consult” app, a la Calendly);
- Pexels (free stock images for your marketing materials
- Canva and Crello (graphic design apps for social posts, flyers, and even e-books)
And here is the full-length guide to getting a lawyer to a 10.0 rating on Avvo.com. I wrote it a couple of years ago, but it doesn’t appear much has changed, even after Martindale-Nolo-Internet Brands bought Avvo. A shorter infographic is at the bottom of the post.
Finally, here is an awesome step-by-step guide by Hootsuite on setting up Google My Business (Google Maps).