LFMM 002 Transcript: 3 Reasons Old School Attorneys Don’t Want You to Market Your Law Firm

Click here to go to the show notes from episode 2

Hello, and welcome to The Law Firm Marketing Mastery Podcast, where we get more clients, make more money, step-by-step.

I’m your host, Christopher Small and today in episode two we are going to talk about three reasons old school attorneys dismiss marketing your law firm.

What’s Going on with Me Right Now?

Before we begin I am going to talk about something that’s going on in my life – the way that I am probably going to take these podcasts on is to break them up into three parts. Part 1 is just going to be what’s new that’s going on with me that kind of can relate back and help you all out. Part 2 is going to be the real meat of the podcast, and then part 3 is going to be a Tip of the Week.

All right, so let’s just dive in. What’s new with me? Well starting on Thursday I actually have a trial coming up. It’s a DUI trial. There is a blood test involved and the offer sucks. Client wants to go forward so we are going to go to trial and do it. And I was thinking about this and in a lot of ways setting a case for trial, saying that you are ready for trial is a lot like starting a law firm and in many ways like marketing a law firm.

Well the first thing that comes into that is that there are a lot of unknowns. You don’t know what’s going to happen at trial. Though you have an idea of the way you want to take the case, you have a theme that you want to outline, that you hope the jury buys into, that they pick your side of the story, basically.

And the same thing kind of goes along with marketing a law firm. You are going to have a plan, it’s going to be based on some assumptions, it’s going to be based on some things that you hope work but at the end of the day you are not going to know for sure if it’s going to work out, if you are going to kind of actually get out there and just kind of do it.

Second thing about going to trial that’s kind of like starting a law firm or marketing a law firm is that you are going to have to put yourself out there. There is a chance that you are going to fail. There’s a chance that you are going to make a mistake. There is a chance that people are going to see it, it’s recorded right? Trials are recorded, there’s a transcript of everything. Where I’m at they do them all by audio so you are going to actually hear yourself fail if you mess up. And the thing about it is that mistakes are going to happen.

There are going to be things that don’t go your way. There are going to be things that you can’t prepare for and you are going to make mistakes along the way, which brings us along to the third way that a trial is a lot like starting a law firm or marketing a law firm.

At the end of the day you give it your all, you go out there, and no matter what happens you move on, you learn from what you’ve done and you hope to make the product that you are providing, the service that you are providing, your trial skills, you hope to be better the next time.

You have to use what you’ve done and what you’ve learned to move forward and when you are marketing your law firm and also when you are starting a law firm that’s the best you can do. Try something out, you are going to test it out, you are going to put it out there, if it works that’s fantastic, if it doesn’t well then that’s something you can cross off a list and you can move on to the next thing.

But if you don’t try it, if you don’t put yourself out there, if you don’t subject yourself to the opportunity to fail you are never going to have the opportunity to succeed. So you are just going to have to kind of buckle down, get into that uncomfortable spot and go for it, so that’s what I am going to do on Thursday.

We pick the jury in the morning and should go till the end of Friday, so maybe next week I will give you an idea of what happened and maybe reflect a little bit on it from the other side. So that’s it, that’s what’s going on that’s new with me.

This week I will kind of be buckling down after this and getting ready to go to trial and do my best to win for my client.

Feature Segment: 3 Reasons Old Attorneys Don’t Want You Marketing

Okay, lets’ see, The Feature Segment – Part Two: “3 reasons old attorneys dismiss marketing.”

I don’t know about you, but I read and subscribe to a lot of different blogs. I subscribe to blogs on law firm marketing, I subscribe to blogs on personal finance, I subscribe to blogs on marketing in general, I subscribe to blogs about being a lawyer and practicing the law, and I subscribe to a whole bunch of different blogs.

And a couple of the blogs that I subscribe to are those kind of legal blogs where people talk about the practice of law, case law coming out, stories in the news and how they reflect on the law, and a couple of them are written by some attorneys that are older, a little bit more established in their practices. I wouldn’t call them curmudgeonly but they are probably right on the edge.

From time to time they will talk about marketing a law firm and in particular they talk about the ways that people market law firms today, the use of social media, the way that people that are right out of law school market their firm and present themselves to the public, and a lot of their time is spent kind of dismissing those actions, downplaying those actions, and just trying to make people feel bad for marking theirs services.

And to give them a little bit of credit or a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, I think they are coming form a good place in the sense that they want to make sure that people are not portraying themselves as something that they are not. And I agree with that. You always want to be honest and straight forward with people but at the same time you can be a good lawyer even if you are newly out of law school.

I know some attorneys that are really, really good and I know some attorneys that have been in practice for a long time that are really, really bad. And the opposites apply as well, right?

I know some new attorneys that just suck and I know some old attorneys that are really good. So what irks me about the way that these lawyers talk about marketing your law firm is that I think they try to make people feel guilty for promoting their services, like it’s unprofessional, like it’s beneath them because that’s just not what lawyers do.

So, anyway, it’s those kinds of posts that I have been reading lately and seeing that led me to want to talk about it. It is my podcast and I can talk about whatever I want, right? So that’s where I wanted to go today.

1. Old Attorneys Don’t Understand New Marketing

I think reason number one why I think some of the older attorneys dismiss law firm marketing is that they don’t understand it.

For example, me, I am 32 years old, and when I was in grade school we had computers, but they were old school computers that you play like Oregon Trail and things like that. Green screen with the yellow letters. There were no graphics or anything like that, but certainly didn’t have the technology we have today.

When I was in college was about when the internet really started to pick up. 1998 was my first year of college and I’m so thankful I kind of had the opportunity to grow up with the internet. Obviously we have the rise of Facebook and things like that so those things are second nature to me and they are second nature to most people that are coming out of law school now, or even have been out of law school for the last five to ten years. I have been out of law school for seven years so certainly I would expect somebody younger than me to be familiar with that, but the older guard attorneys are not familiar with that. Some of them still don’t use email!

In fact, I remember my first job I worked for a lawyer who didn’t want to use email. He wanted to have everything typed. We still have a type writer that we used excessively and I just didn’t get it. It was something that this guy was comfortable with. He didn’t want to change and I think that kind of spills over into these marketing efforts.

They don’t understand websites, they don’t understand search engine optimization, they don’t understand Facebook and Twitter and so they just dismiss them as being useless. In some ways and I guess they figure if we can scare everyone else from using them then we are all on a level playing field. Of course we know that’s not the case. I have Facebook pages and I have Twitter, and, by the way, if you want to follow me on facebook you can go to facebook.com and search Law Firm Marketing Mastery and I will pop right up, Twitter is @csmall. Since I just started my Facebook page I have only 15 fans I think.

It takes 25 to get your specific Facebook address so if you want to go there and like my page I would really appreciate it. I put a lot of information out there that I don’t put on the blog and a lot of those snippets and links and it’s a great place to have a discussion about things so please go there.

And it’s the same with Twitter. I put a lot of information there that I don’t put anywhere else and it’s a great resource. And it’s a great resource potentially for your law firm, and I think that we will probably talk about that maybe in another podcast about how to use those things to market your firm and it may be in a way that you don’t really think about right now. It has less to do with specific lead generation and has more to do with top of mind awareness and kind of brand building, things like that.

So we will get to that some other time but just know that when you hear the older attorneys talk about it, sometimes it’s just because they don’t really understand how it all works.

2. Survival

The second reason why you hear – I think, I am just guessing, I haven’t talked to these guys, maybe I will invite them on a podcast and we could talk about it, I am sure one of them in particular might consider coming on and talking about it because he’s got a lot of opinions, he is not afraid to tell anyone in particular or to someone like me what he thinks. But I think that some of the reason some of the older attorneys downplay law firm marketing and in particular try to make it seem like it’s something that we shouldn’t be doing is because it protects their interest, right?

What I mean by that is there are attorneys around that for a long time they had to do with absolutely no marketing. They relied on referrals and they’ve put their advertisement in the Bar Journal every month and they made a nice living off of that.

Well, now you have people coming in (like me) and they are utilizing business marketing methods and they are taking away some of that business. And that scares them. They don’t like that, obviously, so they do what they know how to do and they try to dissuade people from taking part in marketing efforts, right?

They want to keep what they’ve got and I know this first hand because I had people all me when I first moved to Seattle and opened my practice telling me that what I was doing was wrong, telling me: “This isn’t the way that we do it around here!” and that kind of stuff, because I was literally taking people’s clients away. I started a couple of blogs, one of the blogs that I started was a traffic ticket blog and I started talking about ways that people could beat their traffic tickets.

And I would list some of the common ways with the idea that people would read that information and they would do one or two things: either they would check their ticket and they wouldn’t see the problem that was there that I talked about and they would want help and they would call me; or they would see that, “this may a little bit more complicated that I thought it was!” and again they would call me and ask me for help.

What happened was I started to get a lot of phone calls and I started getting a lot of traffic clients, and other attorneys were not really very happy about that, and I really did get people calling me to stop doing what I was doing.

Trust me, the first time I got that call was a little intimidating and it was a little nerve-wracking because I was brand new into the area, into the bar and I didn’t want to step on anyone’s’ toes, but at the end of the day the fact of the matter is, what I was doing is what everyone should probably be doing, right?

You want to provide value to people, you want to demonstrate to people that you know what you are talking about and you want to give people information that will allow them to know they can trust you. That’s what marketing is all about and a blog is a great way to do that.

Eventually I moved past being worried about what all those other people thought and knew, you know, that as long as I am acting within the ethical guidelines I am okay. And I am not going to let a couple of people whose business may or may not be affected by what I am doing, I am not going to let that bother me, because what I am doing is something that they could be doing as well.

3. Marketing Isn’t “Professional”

Okay, so the third thing, and this kind of wraps in with the other two, is that marketing is not “professional,” that this is a higher calling being a lawyer and pushing your services is beneath us.

But that’s ridiculous, right? Think about all the other people that market their practices: doctors, dentists, professional athletes, professionals of all kind. Everybody markets their services. It’s the way that you let people know who you are and what you do.

And again, I think that the argument that it’s not professional, that this is not the way that things are done, that just goes back to that old guard, back in the day when someone would come into a law firm and they would practice under an established attorney for 15 years before taking over the practice, and they would get all those clients and they would build a reputation over time.

That doesn’t work anymore. This is the information age. Barriers have been torn down. It is possible now to get in front of people like you’ve never been able to get in front.

For example, look at me right now in this podcast, right? I am just a guy. I am not technologically savvy at all. I found some videos on YouTube, which, by the way I want to give a shootout to the Smart Passive Income Blog. That’s where I got this information from and, you know, in about an hour or so I was up and running with the ability to podcast.

The only money I had to spend is I bought a microphone, a microphone screen, and a microphone stand and that honestly was it. The audio program I use to record was free (audacity). The podcast is on iTunes and that’s it. It was easy and anybody can do it.

And that just opens up so many more possibilities for everyone today to reach out and get in touch with your clients, right? You have the ability to talk to people in a way that you never had before, and it’s not unprofessional to take advantage of today’s technology, it’s essential.

I would argue that if you are not doing this kind of stuff you are running the risk of losing out on business that you could have or losing out on your law firm. I think pretty soon you are going to start to see law firms really go by the way side that don’t take advantage of this technology and these opportunities to get in front of people.

When the older guard talks about marketing and they try to pass it off in a bad light, I guess the only thing that I can say is as long as you are being honest with yourself, you are being honest with everyone else, and you follow the ethical rules of your state, then forget them, right?

They are going to be mad no matter what you do because you have just taken money out of their pockets and they are not used to that happening to them. And they are certainly not used to having that happened to them from someone that is the new kid on the block, right? Can you imagine when I started popping up in court all the time representing people, literally nobody knew who I was because I had just moved here from Kansas, so I wasn’t established at all, I didn’t know anybody, and I can only imagine some of the conversations that people had when I started showing up in Google and doing all those kinds of things and you can do the same thing and you should do the same thing.

You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your business to market your law firm in a respectable way. So do it.

I’d Love to Know What You Think of the Podcast!

Okay, I think that is going to wrap up the feature segment of the week, and by the way if you have comments or questions or anything I would love to hear them. There is this podcast that will be on my blog: lawfirmmarketingmastery.com, and probably by the end of today this feed is in iTunes, so you can follow the feed and get updated whenever there is a new podcast that comes out. And there is going to be a new one coming out every week.

This is the plan, and I would love for you to leave comments or questions on a blog, if you have topics that you like me to talk about I would love to hear it, I am always looking for things to talk about and I want to make sure that I am answering the questions and talking about things that you the listeners want to hear, so don’t be afraid to get on the blog http://lawfirmmarketingmastery.com, and leave me a comment. You can also do this on Facebook or Twitter, I would love to hear from you in any of those places, honestly.

Tip of the Week: Yelp and Advertising Your Business

Okay, let’s talk about the tip of the week. Today what I am going to talk about is Yelp. I am going to talk about optimizing your Yelp business listing.

If you are not on Yelp you should be. There are people that are going to Yelp searching for the services that you provide every day. It doesn’t matter if you are a bankruptcy attorney, business attorney, criminal defense attorney, traffic attorney, it doesn’t matter. All of those areas of the law are being searched by people on Yelp and you can go and get a free profile there, and the great thing about it is that you are going to start showing up pretty highly on the Yelp search results if you just take the time to optimize your listing.

And that is what I want to talk about today.

I had a conversation with a Yelp salesman last week. We talked literally for about two hours about the opportunities that Yelp has for law firms like yours and mine to make money.

He was trying to sell me advertising to get these preferred listings at the top of the page and take the ads off of your profile and things like that. But Yelp is still, from a search perspective, kind of in its infancy, so they can’t, for example, guarantee that if I buy ad placements that they will only pop up when people are searching for the potential clients that I am looking for.

For example, when I was on Yelp, I would search for DUI attorney and the preferred listing was a bankruptcy attorney. So I just told him: “Look I don’t want to buy ads if that is going to be the case!” And he couldn’t tell me whether or not that would happen or not.

But what we did talk about was the way that Yelp works and some of their search algorithms and things like that and it became pretty clear that Yelp is sort of like a young Google in the sense that you can optimize your listing to show up very high in your search results. All you need to do is, in your profile, fill it out, use as much of the space as you are provided and don’t be shy when you are filling that out to include your keywords.

So, for example, I am a Seattle Traffic Lawyer, I make sure that I include “Seattle traffic lawyer” and “Seattle traffic attorney” in both my profile and the description of my law firm and any place that I was allowed to do that, that’s what I did. Because I want to make sure that when people search for those terms that my site is one of the ones that pops up.

The other thing that you can do is, if possible, if you can have the people that leave you reviews, and, by the way you should always ask for people to leave you reviews on Yelp, Google Maps, anywhere that they can, like your Facebook page and things like that.

If you have this relationship with them, if they will include the keyword in their review that will also help to boost you up.

For example, someone would say: “I was looking for a Seattle traffic lawyer, I found CMS Law Firm, and they did a great job! They helped me out, their communication was excellent, they got the results I wanted, and I would definitely recommend them to anyone else!”

Homework

Using those keywords really, really helps boost you up in the search engine so if you can take advantage of that why not do that? Because that’s something that a lot of other people aren’t doing, so tonight I want you to go to Yelp, claim your profile, it’s completely free, take 30 minutes and fill it out. Be as descriptive as you can be, throw a couple of your keywords in there, not too many, maybe once or twice in of the areas you can describe yourself and describe your firm, wait a couple of days, and go on Yelp and search for your keywords and see if you pop up.

And here is the other part of this tip. If that doesn’t work then go tweak it a little bit. Change a couple of words here and there and see if that doesn’t make a difference. Instead of having DUI lawyer in there once put it twice. Wait a few days, test it out and see what happens and just tweak it until you are number one.

And once you are number one you will just have to sit there for a little while and hopefully you will start getting some phone calls. If you are not getting phone calls you want to think about maybe tweaking your call to action there, to send people to your website or to just tell them to call you, start tweaking it from there. But once you are at the top take advantage of it, and that should get you one or two clients a month.

And when you are staring from zero one or two clients a month is a big deal!

So with that I think I am going to wrap it up. Thank you for listening to episode 2 of the Law Firm Marketing Mastery Podcast. Again, this is Christopher Small, your host, and I can’t wait to talk to you next week.

If you would like to follow us on Facebook click here. Also please go check out our blog http://lawfirmmarketingmastery.com. You can follow us there, you can subscribe to this feed on iTunes to get all of our latest episodes, to get all of our latest blog posts and I can’t wait to talk to you again! All right, take care, good night!