LFMM 001 Transcript: Welcome to the Law Firm Marketing Mastery Podcast

Click here to go to the show notes from episode 1

Welcome to The Law Firm Marketing Mastering Podcast, Episode 1. I am your host, and I am here to help you make more money with your law firm!

Well, first things first, Welcome to the podcast! This is, as I just said, Episode 1, it’s the first episode ever. It’s the first podcast I have ever done and other than some webinars it’s my first kind of foray into this form of speaking to people over the internet. So, welcome!

This podcast, as the title suggests, is all about law firm marketing, all about how to make more money, how to get you more clients and how to make your business more successful.

Since it’s the introduction to the podcast, I think I am going to talk a little bit about how this podcast came about, I am going to break out a little bit about what’s going to be on this episode, I am going to tell you about me and about my own personal experience and about what led me to starting this podcast, I am going to also talk to you about why I started a podcast on law firm marketing in the first place, I am going to talk to you about the formalities of the show, give you an actionable item and then we are going to get out of here, okay?

Join me and let’s get going.

First: what led me to decide to do a podcast?

Well there’s a couple of things really. First thing is the last couple two or three weeks or so I actually started listening to a lot of podcasts. I am a criminal defense attorney by day so I will be driving to and from court a lot. In the past I put sports radio on, I put just a music channel on and then stumbled upon some of these podcasts and I started listening them and it was a great way for me to work on my business while I didn’t have an opportunity to actually work in the business.

That really got me hooked on these podcasts and I came to learn that you could do a lot, you could learn a lot and these are extremely mobile, that’s what I liked about them.

I thought that attorneys like myself, hopefully like you out there listening or whatever business you are in could use a business like this, there are a lot of internet marketing podcasts out there, there are a lot of business podcasts out there but I haven’t really found anything that is specific to lawyers and to the business of law and it is a little bit different, there are some different rules and there are some different ideas that go into law firm and so I thought that I might as well take a crack at it, put my two cents out there and see if anybody likes it.

The last thing is I have a blog. Originally it was startingalawfirm.blogspot.com, then it was startingyourlawfirm.com, and now it’s lawfirmmarketingmastery.com.

I have Twitter too: @csmall and I have a Facebook page. I wanted to try something other than writing. Like I said, I have done a couple of webinars and I wanted to kind of move into a new medium. Podcasting seemed fun, like I said, the podcasts that I listened to everybody seemed to have a good time so I thought that I would give it a shot.

Okay, let’s talk about what’s going to be in the first episode of The Law Firm Marketing Mastery podcast.

First there’s going to be a quick introduction of myself, if you have followed me on the blog then you probably already know a little bit about me but I am going to give some information to the other people out there that might not know who I am or where I came from or how I got here.

Then going to talk about pretty briefly what law firm marketing kind of means to me in a nutshell and why I think it’s important.

And the third thing I am going to do is talk about the formalities of the show and why I am doing this podcast, how I think it can benefit you and how I think it’s going to benefit me and that’s it.

Before I get going I would want to point out one thing that I think you can probably already tell. There’s not going to be very much editing on the show, I just plan on getting in front of the microphone, starting to talk and just seeing where it goes. So hopefully you like that. Hopefully I don’t mess up too many times and I am going to guess that over time I am going to get better and better. So bear with me and I hope this is at least mildly entertaining, okay?

All right, let’s talk about me. Let’s have some fun with me. So who am I? My name is Christopher Small, I was born and raised in Junction City, Kansas, I am on this date, October 28th 2012, I am 32 years old. So I grew up in Kansas, went to The University of Kansas for my undergraduate education, went to The University of Kansas for law school, and at that point in time, once I graduated from law school got a job working for a pretty small firm in a small town in Kansas, that was a general kind of practice firm.

I did a lot of criminal defense, I did just a little bit of family law, a little bit of business law, but it was my first real exposure to what life is like as an associate attorney, what life is like as a business owner and also kind of how little actually goes on in the way of marketing a law firm.

I was surprised what the partners in the firm that I was working for did to keep business which was very little and I was immediately drawn to coming up with ideas to get new business and I think at that point, that’s the point where I was really kind of turned on to the idea of owning a law firm and marketing a law firm and eventually I had the opportunity to pursue that passion, which is how I got here eventually.

I worked there for about 18 months, then I went and took a job with a small insurance defense firm. I worked there for about 6 months, got a job with the Kansas Department of Transportation, worked there for about 18 months until my wife got a job in Seattle, Washington and she wanted me to come with her.

So I made her a deal: I told her I’d go wherever she wanted for her job but I get to open my own law firm.

In 2009, CMS Law Firm LLC opened up in Seattle. It’s a DUI law firm, a traffic ticket law firm and a criminal defense law firm.

It started off as you might expect – pretty slow. I didn’t know a single person in Seattle… well I knew a couple of people in Seattle but I didn’t have any kind of base in Seattle, had no marketing system set up in Seattle or anything like that and I think in the first… so I opened in June 2009, I think in that first year I probably did about $50.000 of gross revenue.

In 2010 it was about 100K maybe and then in 2011 was… I did about 210K and then this year I think I am on pace to do just a little bit more than that.

So anyway I’ve had some success, I’ve had some good experiences and I’ve done a lot of thinking and a lot of testing and a lot of planning when it comes to marketing my law firm, because I think unlike a lot of other attorneys I am actually interested in that aspect of it, so I spent probably a lot more time that many other people do when thinking about how to get people to my law firm.

One of the other things that I did when I first decided I was going to start this firm, which I think would have been June or July of 2008 was I started a blog about starting a law firm. I did that for a couple of reasons.

The first reason was kind of like this podcast actually. I went on the internet and looked around, I was looking for success stories or I guess tales about starting a law firm, resources for starting a law firm, and there just wasn’t that much out there.

So I decided that I would start a blog about starting a law firm, record my experiences, be as frank open and honest as I could and it would allow me to kind of reflect back some day and see what was going on in my mind, see some of the stupid things that I did, and also help people out there who were thinking of staring a law firm to have a resource that they could rely on for help.

There are some books out there, but they are dated, they weren’t written before Facebook, they weren’t written before Twitter, they probably weren’t written… I don’t think podcasting was probably even invented yet, when those kind of books were made.

So anyway I started the blog: startingalawfirm.blogspot.com, just a free blog on blogger, and eventually moved it over to http://startingyourlawfirm.com/ pretty recently, and then over time, really in this past year I really found myself focusing a lot more on marketing a law firm, on thinking about getting clients.

Because when you are talking about starting a law firm, when you are talking about putting together a successful law firm, what it boils down to is getting clients. I am just going to trust that you know what you are doing when it comes to your legal work, I am going to trust that you are going to put the time and the effort in to represent your clients well, but if you don’t have people calling you, if you don’t have clients then you can’t work, you are not going to make any money, you are not going to be successful.

And I think you are going to find if you do start a law firm that that’s going to spend your time thinking about, right?

“Are people going to come and talk to me this month?”

“What can I do to make sure that the people I’ve helped in the past come back again?”

All those kind of questions are things you are going to be thinking about all the time, that’s all marketing, right? When people are thinking about my firm name, can they find me, if they need my help?

All those things are marketing questions and all those things are extremely important when it comes to having and starting a successful law firm. So I mean a week ago probably I launched http://lawfirmmarketingmastery.com/ and this Law Firm Marketing Mastery Podcast.

There isn’t even a post on Law Firm Marketing Mastery yet, I think I am going to start it off with this podcast and then I am just going to point people from the old website to the new website, so if you are a long-time reader of startingyourlawfirm.com I appreciate your time and all the comments that you left there and the discussions that we’ve had and I hope that you will bring it over to lawfirmmarketingmastery.com.

And finally the last thing about me: family. When I started my law firm it was just my wife and I. She had a job which made things more comfortable than some other people are going who are starting a law firm, have going for them but about a month ago I had my first child Blakely came into this world so there is that added pressure for me to make sure that my business is sustainable, is successful and can provide for my family.

So I feel the pressures that all of you feel, I started a law firm, I am still working on making it as successful as it can be and so I think that gives me a perspective that some other people don’t necessarily have and that’s why I am here.

Okay, so that was probably actually pretty long explanation of who I am but I am never going to do it again so take it for what it is.

Okay, why I started this podcast on Law Firm marketing. I’ve already kind of touched on that but just very briefly we will go through it again.

First, I think marketing is the most critical area of your business. There are people out there that talk about managing a law firm and running a tight ship and having systems in place for your employees and for yourself, and I think that’s also extremely critical. But, if you don’t have clients, if you are not making money, none of that matters, right?

So marketing is critical. It’s the most critical area of your business and if you are not thinking about marketing a law firm, you are not thinking about how you are going to get clients, then you are really doing a service to yourself.

The second reason that I started this podcast is because although marketing is extremely critical for your law firm, there are very few law firms that have any kind of succinct marketing plan or philosophy. That’s one of the ways I was able to come into a market like Seattle and really make some decent money really fast. The competition, while ingrained, is not really doing very much to get new business and sustain the business that they have.

Nobody teaches marketing in law school, most lawyers that you talk to, particularly the old school lawyers – they feel like marketing is kind of a dirty little 9-letter word, people don’t really like to talk about it, they don’t like to act that like they have to solicit clients but they do, and I am here to talk about it.

And that goes to number three, that most law firms just copy what everyone else is doing. And if you are copying what everyone else is doing you are falling behind.

You need to get out there and to your own thing. You need to think about how you want to get clients, what makes you different, and then execute on those ideas. And if you are not doing that you are doing a disservice to your firm, to your family, to everyone.

You need to get out there and do what you can to get some clients.

Reason number four I started this podcast is because I want to take current marketing concepts that are applied in businesses across the world, and I want to apply them to law firms, to my law firm specifically, but I wanted to help you apply them to your law firm as well, because these are things that people just simply are not doing because I think most of the time we don’t even know about them, we haven’t thought about marketing, we didn’t learn marketing, we don’t know what to do.

Okay so that leads me to reason number five. I am going take these concepts, I am going to apply them to my law firm and we are going to talk about them.

My law firm is going to act as guinea pig for you. It will take a little bit of the fear and anxiety hopefully out of implementing some of these marketing concepts and then you can apply them to your own firm and we can talk about them.

You can tell me if you think my idea is dumb or if it needs to be tweaked or if you’ve tried something in the past that’s worked. I really want this to be a collaborative environment. I want us to be able to talk about law firm marketing and ask questions and talk about our fears and how to overcome those fears and really push ourselves to be as successful as we can because, I will say this is kind of off topic, but there is actually no reason that any person that’s listening to this can’t have a successful law firm.

It is possible. There is enough business out there for everyone, particularly if you are taking the time to market your firm and implement good policies and practices and procedures when it comes to marketing a law firm.

Success is possible and I am excited to join in that with you.

Number six of the reasons I started this law firm marketing podcast: I want to empower all of us to make smart decisions when it comes to marketing.

If you haven’t opened your law firm yet then you are just going to have to trust me on this. If you have already opened then you know what I am talking about. But there are a lot of marketers out there trying to sell you something.

One of my last posts of my blog was about an hour and a half phone call I had with Yelp, a Yelp salesmen who was trying to get me to buy ads on Yelp. And you will get those a lot of time, people will guarantee you they can put you in the search engines, people will tell you that you need this or that and I am hoping that through this podcast and through my blog and through our discussions that you will be empowered with the knowledge to know or to recognize when a marketing opportunity is a good one, because there are people out there that are selling good things, there are people out there that are selling things that can help you market your business.

This is not something you have to do all on your own, but if you can’t recognize a good opportunity from a bad opportunity then you are in a tough spot.

Number seven of the reason why I started this podcast on law firm marketing, and this is a selfish reason: I want to become an expert on law firm marketing.

I really, really like it. I enjoy thinking about this stuff, I enjoy talking about this stuff and I enjoy implementing this stuff in my own law firm so doing this podcast gives me an opportunity to sit in front of this microphone, talk about this law firm marketing for as long as I want even if no one listens and really become, hopefully, really good at marketing a law firm.

And then the final reason I wanted to do this podcast is again, this is a selfish reason, but I think that this is going to help me in my law practice in other ways too, not just marketing.

For example, I am having to sit in front of this microphone and speak to you hopefully in a coherent way, hopefully in a persuasive way, hopefully in a way that you could understand, that makes good points, and that is going to only help my clients, my staff, everyone in the future, because my skills are going to become better, right?

So those are kind of just a few of the reasons why I started the Law Firm Marketing Mastery Podcast and I am sure some other reasons will crop up or are there. But that’s what I came up with today, okay?

Okay, we are almost done with this first episode. I am kind of excited, and it’s going pretty good I think.

On to the formalities of the show: The plan is to do one of these every single week. I think that you can never really hear enough about marketing and I have a lot to talk about so I am going to try one per week. I am going to see if it works, hopefully it does. It’s going to take me a while probably at the beginning here trying to get going, but once I get a system down turning what I am doing right now into something that is actually on the internet and on iTunes, hopefully we will get to that relatively quick.

I am going to try to keep these to around 25 minutes long. 25 minutes is about enough time for me to make one or two in-depth great points and also not make you bored.

Some of the podcasts that I listen to can get up to 45 minutes to an hour long. Typically that is a time when people are doing interviews and things like that, which I plan on trying to do, although I am not sure exactly who I am going to have on here. But I have some ideas and I think they are going to be fantastic. But most of the time probably around 25-30 minutes, okay?

I am going to have at least one actionable item per week. I am going to try to give you something that you can do every week to get more clients for your firm.

Once the show is done it’s going to be posted on http://lawfirmmarketingmastery.com/, it’s going to be posted on iTunes, there will be a feed that you could subscribe to that I am actually going to turn on after this second episode and I will also make a transcript that will be available if you would rather read what I am saying, then you can do that.

Almost every episode I will probably talk about some other businesses that help me and you will see that I have kind of been doing that lately on the blog. I am talking about my website re-design with elance.com, and starting an email marketing list with AWeber.com.

Anytime I mention any other kind of company like that I will provide you with a link to them on the blog so that you could go and check them out. And I will tell you that most of those links will probably be affiliate links which means if you do decide to use those services I probably will get paid something. Usually it’s a very small amount, but why not put an affiliate link on there?

Those things that I am putting out on there and I am talking about here on this podcast are services that I use myself, so anything I put on there is going to be something I use, something I like. If I don’t like it you will know about it, you can see that on blog too, there are going too that there have been several occasions when I talked about services that I was unhappy with and I will continue to do that in the future on those podcasts.

And finally, like I said, over time I will try to get some speakers in here. I also would hopefully like to get some of you, some of the listeners that have experienced some success with your marketing efforts.

If you do have successes I would love for you to tell me about it on the blog, tell me about it on Twitter, and tell me about it on Facebook.

By the way, my twitter is @csmall, my Facebook is Law Firm Marketing Mastery – go on there and like the page, tell us about it, tell us what’s going on and maybe I can put you on here and we could talk about your successes and some of the things that you did, and we could help out some other people.

Okay, that’s it with the formalities of the show. We are almost done.

Like I said, I am going to leave you one actionable item per week, this week’s actionable item that the Law Firm Marketing Mastery Podcast tip of the week is: “Just do it!”

Stop thinking and planning and trying to make everything perfect. If you want to start a newsletter for example, just make the newsletter, get it out, and tweak it, week to week. The longer that you wait the longer it’s going to take you to get new business.

For example, this podcast – I know this first one is not going to be perfect, but if I didn’t just get out there and start it, do something and turn the mic on, then nothing was ever going to get done.

Take that first step, do that first thing, and I guarantee you will really, really get something great out of what you are doing, okay?

That’s it for today, thank you for listening to the Law Firm Marketing Mastery Podcast at lawfirmmarketingmastery.com. Please like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Talk to you in a week!