Many lawyers shy away from advertising, believing the profession at large gets a bad rap because of the marketing campaigns of a select few. We’ve all seen some cringe-worthy lawyer TV ads, but is this method of advertising really bad? And what about social media ads, geo-fenced ads, and the innumerable other options? Legal Toolkit host Jared Correia talks with Jake Sanders and Paul Julius of Consultwebs about digital advertising tactics for law firms. They dive in to a variety of approaches to digital marketing and help lawyers understand how to hone in on the best strategy their firm.
Check out Consultwebs Legal Marketing Nutrition Guide to gauge the effectiveness of your current marketing strategy.
Paul Julius is the marketing manager at Consultwebs.
Jake Sanders is the content strategist at Consultwebs.
Special thanks to our sponsors Scorpion, Nexa, TimeSolv, and Abby Connect.
The Legal Toolkit
Level Up Your Digital Marketing Game
Intro: Welcome to Legal Toolkit, bringing you the latest legal trends and business initiatives to help you manage your law firm, with your host Jared Correia. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Jared Correia: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of the award-winning Legal Toolkit Podcast here on the Legal Talk Network. If you are looking for the best version of Scooby-Doo, might I suggest Mystery Incorporated as a dark horse choice, it’s really good. And after 40 years I still can’t pronounce horse correctly.
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As always, I am your host Jared Correia, and you should also know that I have Duke Silver’s full discography on vinyl. That in addition to casting this pod, I am the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law practice management consulting services for law firms, bar associations and legal vendors. Check us out at redcavelegal.com.
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But here on The Legal Toolkit, this podcast, we provide you twice each month with a new tool to add to your own legal toolkit so your practices will become more and more like best practices.
In this episode we are going to talk about paid online advertising for law firms. But before I introduce today’s guests, that’s right people, we have multiple guests today, two guests, let’s take a moment to thank our sponsors without whom none of this podcasting goodness would be possible.
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All right, as I said, we have got two guests today, and we are going to get into this thing hard like Jim Levenstein gets into an apple pie.
My first guest is Jake Sanders of Consultwebs. Jake is a content custodian and a co-host of the LAWsome Podcast, which in many respects is really quite awesome. You should listen to it. Jake worked for many years as a digital marketing coordinator and as a marketing director at a personal injury law firm before launching his own marketing consulting agency and then joining Consultwebs, where he is today.
So Jake, welcome to the big show my friend.
Jacob Sanders: Thank you so much for having me today.
Jared Correia: I know this must be a personal life goal if you are so happy.
Jacob Sanders: I have achieved it. Well, it’s hard when you peak this early, but I am ready to embrace the downward slope after this.
Jared Correia: Excellent. My next guest, always on the upward slope, Paul Julius, also of Consultwebs, and also a co-host of the LAWsome Podcast. As Marketing Manager at Consultwebs, Paul has spent the last five years working with lawyers and law firms and the last 10 years managing and optimizing AdWords, Bing, social and other paid marketing campaigns. So it sounds like he is a perfect fit for the show topic.
Paul, welcome to the show as well.
Paul Julius: Thank you. Thanks for having us here.
Jared Correia: All right. Shall we jump in? I think we should jump in.
Jacob Sanders: Let’s do it.
Jared Correia: Jake, I want to talk to you first. You are the only white guy I know who hangs out with Big Daddy Kane, and like that’s a real thing. That’s on your bio.
Jacob Sanders: Yeah.
Jared Correia: Can you talk a little bit about that, and can you also tell me, because I feel like you should know, which member of New Edition is your favorite member of New Edition.
Jacob Sanders: Well, yeah, so Big Daddy Kane, a couple of white people hang out with him. It’s sort of like a Hunger Games, and I just kind of got to the back pack first.
No, I lived in New York and he was recording an album at a studio that I was rehearsing at, and one of the engineers knew that I was a baritone saxophone player and he said, do you want to come and play on the Kane album, and I said yeah. And I went to the studio in Brooklyn, and in the studio is Big Daddy Kane and people don’t know who Big Daddy Kane is. When I tell people I played with Big Daddy Kane, they are like who?
Jared Correia: That’s terrible.
Jacob Sanders: They don’t understand he is the Benjamin Franklin of rap. I mean he is the founding forefather of hip-hop. But that goes over like my Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn jokes. I mean it’s getting to a point where people don’t know the cool references, and I am like I think I am getting old.
Jared Correia: Yeah, I often think of that, is it that people don’t know the cool references or am I not cool anymore; I like to think the former is true.
Jacob Sanders: I think it’s an old soul kind of mentality. There is somebody out there that’s like, I get your Donna Reed references, but the point is with — that’s even older, but Kane, we played the Essence Festival in 2015 with New Edition.
Jared Correia: No. Really?
Jacob Sanders: Yes.
Jared Correia: Oh, that’s amazing.
Jacob Sanders: Yes. And so we are backstage and everybody else who I don’t know in New Edition is waiting for Bobby Brown.
Jared Correia: He has got the drugs, right?
Jacob Sanders: Well, yeah, who knows if he is going to be here. So the whole time backstage they are wondering, is Bobby going to show up, is Bobby going to show up, and I asked Kane, I said, do you think Bobby Brown is going to show up? He is like I don’t know man, you know. Boom, out of nowhere, five minutes before they go on, Bobby Brown shows up in sweat pants, a full matching sweat suit, goes onstage and kills it, and comes back and just like disappears again. It was really bizarre.
So my favorite is Bobby, because he is the only one I can remember and he is the closest to an actual magician. So that’s the way I answer that one.
Jared Correia: Yeah, I enjoy the Bobby Brown lifestyle, like sweats and then you knock it out of the park, that’s how you do it.
Jacob Sanders: Just show up, but everybody is wondering, are you going to do it, is it going to happen, will it happen, and then you just — it was crazy when he went on stage, everybody lost their minds, because it’s Bobby Brown. He is in a sweat suit, it doesn’t matter. Anyway.
Jared Correia: Yeah, Bobby Brown is great. I would have to say Bobby Brown as well, but I am kind of a low-key Ralph Tresvant fan actually. He had a pretty good solo album back in the day.
Jacob Sanders: But it’s just — how could you pick when one of them is so obviously amazing to look at, like you can’t stop thinking about Bobby Brown.
Jared Correia: That’s true, that’s true, somebody has got to be the dude and Bobby Brown is the dude.
Jacob Sanders: That’s right.
Jared Correia: Shall we pay some bills, what do you think guys?
Jacob Sanders: Let’s do it.
Jared Correia: So I know this may be a surprise, but the sponsors probably don’t want us to talk about New Jack Swing for an hour. So Paul, can you talk —
Paul Julius: I was about to expound on Bell Biv DeVoe, but okay.
Jared Correia: You can if you want. Like let’s hit Bell Biv DeVoe for a sec and then like why don’t you after that talk to me about what digital advertising is and where law firms would place such digital advertising.
Paul Julius: Sure. Sure. Well, I certainly appreciate New Edition. I was more appreciative of the side projects and stuff, but I agree with what you guys were saying.
Jared Correia: BBD is the real deal man, that’s a good album as well.
Paul Julius: I dig it. I dig it. So yeah, so digital advertising though, let’s steer this back on to the main road here.
Jared Correia: Perfect segue, right?
Paul Julius: Yeah, thanks. So digital advertising, the way I look at it, people have lots of different definitions of what people can do online, stuff like that, I look at it as a very broad thing, where anywhere you can buy a spot, right? So on Google search results or somebody shares a post or something like that on Twitter, that’s not something you bought, that’s more of organic, that’s something else.
So digital advertising is more — people are familiar with like Google Ads or Bing or buying a banner ad or a social ad on Facebook, something like that, to me, that’s digital advertising. Anywhere I can buy an impression, be it a native post with a sponsored content or a display ad or anything like that, that’s where it’s at.
Jared Correia: Got you. Okay, that’s good. So we have definitions, a framework to work with.
So Jake, let’s turn to you now. So now that we know what this is, like can you tell me what some specific digital marketing assets would be as well as some campaigns that you have had success with, just to give people some grounding on like what they can do with this.
Jacob Sanders: Sure. I mean really the main goal of advertising is to get exposure for your brand and I think a lot of people approach advertising as a direct response vehicle. So I think you have to think two different realities, is that there is branded advertising and then there is direct response advertising.
Jared Correia: And I don’t know if everybody knows what direct response advertising is, so if you want to drop that knowledge.
Jacob Sanders: So brand advertising is Just Do It. Brand advertising is a brand message. Direct response is 10% off this Wednesday, bring girls, get in free. You are causing a response with your advertising messages, and a lot of people who pay marketing and advertising agencies are expecting direct response results while they may not be making those choices. They may be making branded advertisement thinking that it’s a direct response, or making direct response thinking it will give them a brand lift.
The things that helped me understand better how digital advertising could enhance my law firm and make it prominent when I was working at Sawaya in Denver, the most amazing thing was branded search for me, to think that I had to pay for the keywords of the law firm. That didn’t enter into my mind.
And my previous marketing director who was at the firm was adamant about not spending a dollar on branded search. He said if they are going to type in your brand name, they are going to click on your ad.
But when I started working with Paul and Consultwebs as a vendor at that law firm, they really opened up my eyes to branded search and how it helped in exposing and getting the calls from the advertising that I was spreading the message around.
Sawaya, big on TV, big radio presence, so people didn’t quite — maybe they were — maybe they weren’t as direct as they could have been in their search, so they type in a couple of words with the name and we weren’t paying for those, but they were looking for us.
And when Paul and I kind of looked at our digital advertising and we switched and I said let’s just try and pay for our branded search terms, and it was like night and day. The conversions were strong. Those people knew who we were. They knew that they wanted to call us, but they just needed more information. We weren’t paying to show up. When you pay to show up and you pay to get your message out there, that’s when the magic of advertisement happens, but usually people are under-investing or expecting different results from campaigns that aren’t aligned with the metrics of the overall goal.
Jared Correia: Yeah, I would say that’s true, and that in a nutshell is why people call you the Big Daddy Kane of digital advertising. I have heard that actually.
Jacob Sanders: That’s right. There is no half-stepping when I come into the analytics.
Jared Correia: Now then, let me turn to the Michael Bivins of digital advertising, your protégé Paul. Paul, one tactic that’s getting a lot of attention is called geofencing, particularly last year. So what is that and is targeting hospitals or other locations with this method effective, full disclosure. I have no idea what any of that means, you guys wrote that question for me, so please, go easy on me?
Paul Julius: Sure. It is a bit of a weird one. So geofencing is a tactic that’s primarily used with display campaigns, so you are going to be looking at like banner ads, stuff like that, and what you can do is you can put in GPS coordinates. So if you knew the GPS coordinates.
A good example that I like to tell people is when you go to Target, if you have any coupon apps on your phone, it knows when you walk into Target and it starts hitting you with these ads for the different specials and stuff with the coupon. So geofencing is essentially using GPS coordinates to lay a perimeter around an area or a building or a particular part of the building depending on how precise you want to get.
And when you cross into that fence, it’s going to start showing you ads on your mobile phone, whether it’s through an app or through a search engine or something like that.
So what we ran into — what people try and I think Jake and I ran a bit of a philosophical debate on this one, but people were targeting, saying hey, let’s target the emergency room, let’s target the emergency room of this hospital with ads for a personal injury lawyer.
I had someone who pitched the idea of targeting funeral homes with wrongful death advertising. So those are right and you can.
Jared Correia: Morbid, but it makes sense.
Paul Julius: It does. And I think it gets a little bit into a bigger thing of what context do you want your firm represented in and kind of what context do you want to be serving ads with a particular message to people.
Jared Correia: So it sounds like you are pro-geofencing, it’s just a matter of like how far you go with that.
Paul Julius: Well, I think it’s a business decision honestly. I mean Jake, and Jake, jump in here, because I know we have had some back and forth on this, but it’s a business decision. As a marketer I look at all this available data and these options and these targeting methods and I am thrilled. I mean to me, if I can chop out all the stuff that I don’t need to pay for and just focus my fire on a very specific targeting method, that’s amazing. As a consumer, I don’t know if I am in an emergency room, that that’s the most appropriate time for you to be singling me out.
Jacob Sanders: Well, to kind of give a counterpunch to this geofencing idea is, I don’t think enough people see precision targeted advertising. The point of advertising is so many people see it and that’s how you grow prominence and that’s how you grow your brand.
Geofencing sort of takes this idea that it’s better to take an advertising message to a single person, when in reality, advertising in a practice is sort of signaling, it’s costly signaling. You are saying look at this ad, I can afford this ad. I have the means to take care of you. And a lot of people don’t think that way in advertising. They think you are going in there, do a rational thing, and explain something to somebody who is in a funeral home, who is like, you know what, this lawyer has a good idea, I don’t know how they found my information.
That isn’t necessarily how it would be if you had a strong advertising campaign that was broadly shared and widely distributed in the network, people who had a wrongful death claim would know, I am going to call the lawyer I know, who is in my head, not the lawyer who is in my phone all of a sudden.
So I think geofencing is a great idea, it’s a great concept, but it kind of goes against the core idea of branding and getting exposure for your law firm online. More people need to see it, not just one person. That’s just my thought.
Jared Correia: Yeah, I like that.
Paul Julius: And just to confess, we have done this. We have absolutely targeted hospitals, and I don’t know that — I guess what I would say is the data was inconclusive, because think of it this way. If you were targeting the entire city block or an entire ZIP code, which are also options, you would be covering that hospital anyway, and another point to make with this is that, you can’t filter out only people who are visiting at the hospital. So you are targeting every single person who crosses into that fence, every person with a phone, every doctor, every nurse, every custodial person, all of that stuff. So the idea of precision I think can be not as precise as people imagine it to be.
Jared Correia: Yeah. No, that’s really good discussion here. And Paul, I have to say, did you use Target as your example on purpose?
Paul Julius: Yes.
Jared Correia: I just want to give you credit for that.
Paul Julius: Thank you.
Jared Correia: I wanted people to know that.
Paul Julius: I am trying to get a sponsorship from those fellows, but they don’t return my calls, and they have sent me some, I call them responses, they call them restraining orders, but it’s a balance I think on how you look at it.
Jared Correia: Shameful. The mom-and-pop stores will be responding to you. You guys have got to hit out the Ben Franklin five and ten cents store; that should be where you go.
Jacob Sanders: Oh my God, yeah. I used to buy all my smoke bombs from them when I was a kid.
Jared Correia: There you go, yeah, it’s coming back. I think this is a good place to take a break. Why not, right?
Jacob Sanders: All right.
Jared Correia: First half of this podcast, total fire, but it’s time for our first break as I said. Here now are some of the things you should buy.
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Jared Correia: All right, thanks for sticking around. Guess what, I found an old Milk Duds under the couch, so I am good to go for snacks. And I am chatting here with Jake Sanders and Paul Julius of Consultwebs. We are here talking about paid online advertising for lawyers.
You guys have totally had Milk Duds from under the couch before, I know.
Jacob Sanders: Totally, yeah.
Jared Correia: All right guys, let’s turn to social media, right, everybody talks about social media, mostly because people are annoyed about their like uncle or grandmother or x old person in their life tweeting about Donald Trump. But is social media worth advertising on for law firms who want to market formally to legal consumers?
Jake, why don’t you get this one?
Jacob Sanders: I think it is. I think regardless of if you think it’s necessary or not, you have to understand that your clients or potential people who could be doing business with you are looking for you. Social media is a great way to sort of describe yourself outside of your résumés, outside of the tightly controlled narratives that we kind of keep around our business personas.
A lot of people are wondering what good social media looks like for a lawyer and I am —
Jared Correia: That’s a good question, yeah.
Jacob Sanders: I mean really it’s the end result. What does good social media look like, I think it looks like regular social media. I think it’s you being a person and not you selling.
I have a mentality around the way I use social media and it’s the rule of threes, is that you can spend a third of your time talking about the industry of which you are in, a third of your time talking about the vertical, the specific vertical and your disciplines, and then a third of your time selling. Tell people that you represent these clients. Tell them that you do that. Don’t do that all the time.
Talk about thought leadership, but don’t forget selling. Talk about being normal and sharing your day-to-day stuff, but don’t forget about the clean kind of thought leadership that you have to be cognizant of.
So I think if you can keep the rule of three in mind, just know that you have to be natural and know that people are searching for you, it creates prominence in the search rankings, people will know you, they will have something to go against.
But a lot of lawyers I think are wondering what the ethical considerations are. I don’t want to be seen doing this. A lot of lawyers, when real legal stuff hits the fans, you guys don’t talk. It’s really interesting because you are fence sitters naturally. Well, I am not going to say he is guilty or innocent or it’s good or bad or I am not saying it was comparative negligence. I am not saying that it was this or that. You don’t say anything.
So social media is scared, like a scared world, because something you could say could get you dragged, aggrieved, or the Bar Association could see this. So my thoughts, keep it light, keep it lively, keep it real, be a person, and those are the lawyers that people are going to be looking for, not some automaton that’s selling all the time, or somebody who is constantly quoting Tony Robbins or somebody who is doing this or that. You have got to be a blend of all those things.
Jared, you are a good example. Mike Wayne is a good example. Mitch Jackson is a good example. I wish I knew more about Mitch. I mean he is really sold on that social stuff, but he has a strong presence and I know it drives business for him.
So like Paul was saying earlier, this is all business decisions, but at the end of the day, if you want to stand out and be different, which is digital advertising, which is advertising, which is marketing, social media is fantastic. So don’t be scared and take a look at some lawyers who are being humans, awesome, smart, funny, that’s what the world needs.
Jared Correia: And Mitch Jackson has got a great back story. Shout out to Mitch. You guys should talk to him about that at some point.
Jacob Sanders: I love Mitch.
Jared Correia: Yeah. So Paul, let’s turn to you now, since I think this is an interesting question. I think the question we have here is, does lawyer advertising end up elevating awareness of a few law firms at the expense of the legal community at large? So first, do you believe that, and if you don’t believe that, how can that perception be changed?
Paul Julius: Wow, thank you for asking me the easy questions here.
Jared Correia: Yeah, yeah, only the easy ones for you. No social media questions for you, sir.
Paul Julius: Does advertising end up elevating the awareness of law firms at the expense of the legal community at large? I don’t think so. I think it’s very dependent and that’s something that I know people hate when they say, well, it depends, but it does depend. I think it depends on what you are doing and what you are saying.
I think it’s important too to keep in mind that a lot of the people who are most critical, and Jake and I have looked at — one we refer to a lot is the Florida Bar Association survey, where they polled all their members and asked them about this and they said that one of the biggest things that they feel that’s giving the legal profession at large a bad reputation is advertising.
So I think there’s this very kind of internal criticism, but at the same time you have to realize people aren’t making these commercials for other lawyers. They’re making it for people, and to go even a little bit deeper, they’re making it for people who would see something on TV and follow up on that. They are not somebody who would have a connection in their social group or in their network or something like that they could refer them to a lawyer. So they’re trying to reach a very specific demographic. Another thing to keep in mind too is that mass media like that is a very comparatively cheap way to reach a large amount of people.
So I think some of that is sort of a peer criticism, I guess I would say. I don’t think it necessarily cheapens the industry or anything like that. I think there’s some maybe misunderstandings in general that may be perpetuated by some of this advertising and I think a way to do that is to focus a little more on how people help instead of — I’ve seen some commercials that absolutely play on — we’re going to get you, interact, get a check or stuff like that, and that’s memorable. I mean, I remembered it now, but that’s not necessarily. I’ve seen some other ads where the attorney or the group in general is very personable, they’re very local focused, they’re very focused on your rights and the things that they can do to help you out.
I know, Jake; Jake and I have talked about how — I think lawyers can forget how isolated people can be, particularly when they and how intimidating it can be to have an insurance company telling you, this is going to happen, and you do this or that, and if you reach out to somebody who says, I’ll fight for you and I have a history of fighting and winning for people, just like you, I think that’s a valid thing to say.
Jacob Sanders: Yeah, yeah, man. I mean what — and you think well why — so it was 81% of lawyers. Paul, think that attorney advertising negatively impacts the public’s perception of the legal profession. Overwhelmingly lawyers just believe this. Oddly enough, asking lawyers who advertize themselves, do they think lawyer advertisements have a negative impact? 85% of them agreed.
Jared Correia: Yeah, which is crazy.
Jacob Sanders: What is it? What is it that’s preventing us from either understanding these business decisions or trying to correct the way the public perceives this profession. In regards to Bar Associations, doing something to help the way lawyers are perceived in public, there was a case in Wisconsin where the Bar Association was going to use the dues to create a whole bunch of TV commercials about lawyers in Wisconsin, helping make the world a better place, doing veteran outreach stuff with Social Security and a lawyer sued them and said, no way, you’re not taking my money and making these TV commercials that make it seem like we’re good because I get to tell you what you do with my money.
Jared Correia: That’s about right.
Jacob Sanders: And you’re like, okay, you are right, you’re right, okay. They are your dues, but isn’t it interesting that when faced with an opportunity to create advertisement that corrects the public’s perception of a negative profession they shoot it down with a lawsuit. It’s funny because Jim Adler, the Hammer, Texas Law Hawk, Frank Azar here in Colorado, there’s Frank 00:29:04 or whatever, there’s several strong arms, several hammers, several eagles, several gorillas. There’s a pirate lawyer in Las Vegas. The fact is, is these guys have made a branded decision that they know creates salience in the minds of consumers and so —
Jared Correia: Consumers love pirates, it’s totally true.
Jacob Sanders: Well, but it’s like — I want to get that guy and he’s going to mop the poop deck of these insurance agents.
Jared Correia: Well, I would have gone with walk the plank, but that’s viable.
Jacob Sanders: Well, I just thought I would go there, but no going back. We’re in uncharted waters. The point is like does advertising impact the negative profession? The point is lawyers are making boring, tepid, safe under-invested advertising campaigns and expecting something different. They’re expecting a change and the people who are paying big for TV, paying big for digital advertising are eating everybody’s lunch.
Jared Correia: Yeah.
Jacob Sanders: So the point is, is you can complain about this or you can stand out make a kick, make an ad the kicks butt that defines who you are.
Jared Correia: Thank you.
Jacob Sanders: I’m sorry.
Jared Correia: All the Bar associations across America, thank you.
Jacob Sanders: But, you know what I’m saying, it’s your chance to know that you just have to get noticed. No one knows you, no one cares, your quality of work, your legal advocacy, no one cares. You have access to the same case law your competitors do. There’s no way that you could possibly turn it around in any different way or write a different writ or do a different demand. You could probably change the way you phrase things. What you need to do is work on branding, what you need to do is work on your client experience and understand that come with a brand commitment, be unique and differentiated and do something that gets noticed.
Everyone’s making boring ads and then you’re dogging on a hammer on Jim Adler. He is in Curacao right now laughing at you.
Jared Correia: No, it’s totally true. It’s funny, I think some of the things that people forget about this too is it like lawyer advertising? As like a thing that you can do, has only been around for like 45 years. So it’s not like this is like a mature industry. Yeah, exactly.
Jacob Sanders: Right, in the 80s, it’s when it started. We talked to Harlan Schillinger who’s one of the first advertisers who started that in Colorado, started legal advertising, the first TV commercial was shot and one of the best TV commercials I’ve ever seen what came out of Colorado and it was a lawyer standing in front of a courtroom just saying blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… and the tagline was like we know that you think we sound like this but you need a lawyer. And it was hilarious, it was funny it made fun, it was self-deprecating, there was something there. Those are the ads that me and Paul love. Those are the marketing campaigns that we really cherish. If you want to make money and be quick and strong and whatever, that’s fine. You just got to know that that is going to get a response.
Like Paul was saying you just have somebody say they are going to fight for me? Great, you have somebody who says I have 200 years of combined legal experience and I’m reliable?
Jared Correia: I am like a horseless carriage.
Jacob Sanders: Right, right.
Paul Julius: Yeah totally. I mean something that I think Jake and I really key in on a lot is that there’s a book called ‘Hey Whipple, Squeeze This’ and it’s all about classic advertising and stuff and the point is that Charmin commercial, Mr. Whipple, was wildly, wildly successful, I mean, for years.
Jacob Sanders: And people hated.
Paul Julius: And the thing is people hated him. Absolutely hated him.
Jared Correia: Screw that guy.
Jacob Sanders: Yup totally.
Jared Correia: Squeeze that Charmin
Paul Julius: Yup, but it worked, yeah.
Jared Correia: All right, that’s a good note to end on. Let’s take a break in segment two. Everybody, in case you forgot, maybe you have, I’m talking with Jake Sanders and Paul Julius of Consultwebs. Let’s take another break before we come back again. In the time, listen to some more words from our sponsors.
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Jared Correia: All right, thanks for coming back everybody. Guess what, we’re at the third part of the podcast. I know that the third part of a trilogy is often a mixed bag, but we’re going to close this out like it was Back to the Future Part III. So let’s get back to our conversation with Jake Sanders and Paul Julius of Consultwebs. We’re talking about paid advertising for law firms.
So I think this is pretty interesting that you guys had been in a vendor-client relationship prior to taking onto your turn roles. I believe Paul was at Consultwebs and Jake was at a law firm and then he has his own consultancy. So, is there anything you guys can pass along that you learned from that relationship like tips for working together setting expectations, things you hate about each other?
Jacob Sanders: Paul, Paul you want to go.
Paul Julius: Hang on, I’m on number 15 on this list of things I hate.
Jared Correia: Yeah, how long is your list?
Paul Julius: Yeah, yeah, yeah — no, I’m kidding. So Jake — obviously we work together now, so we had a great relationship from the start pretty much. I think communication and transparency is very important and I learned that a lot with Jake was that as the marketing director at this law firm, he was responsible not only for the work I was doing and we were doing at Consultwebs but all across the board, their TV ads, billboards all that stuff.
And communicating that to the stakeholders at the firm was a big part of what he needed to do, so a lot of what we were talking about, it wasn’t that he didn’t understand. It was that we needed to make things digestible and explainable to people who maybe didn’t have the same in-depth knowledge of how advertising and online marketing and stuff like that worked.
So it was important to say here’s what we did, here’s why we did it, and here’s what we expected, and then being honest and just looking at those results because every time we needed to refer back to something when someone didn’t know, you always have the numbers there and people can get numbers if you can show them A+B equaled C then you don’t have to talk about impression share and impressions per conversion and perceived value.
Like that’s — those are vanity metrics, let’s talk about you spent this much, it led to this which led to this much coming back, and I think that — Jake was very, very good with that. And another thing I learned from Jake was the importance of brand awareness, and he touched on this earlier but we had some really, really long kind of soul-searching conversations about where ads were placed.
And this came out when YouTube, I think it was at Chrysler, maybe it was, basically they found out that their ads on YouTube were showing like before ISIS beheading videos and so they pulled all their advertising off there and then GE did and everybody was like, whoa, hey, this isn’t the precision targeting you told us.
So that became very important because at the firm from his side, they worked very, very hard to build and maintain this reputation and respect in the community and one or two bad placements that somebody takes a screenshot and posts on Twitter can undo all of that. So I think that was very, very important.
Jacob Sanders: Yeah, man, yeah, I think the truth is I came into that law firm as a social media guy. I was just going to be tweeting and facebooking and being funny coming up with some good ideas and then they fired the director, and because I had found out just kind of like poking through there was tons of like projects that were just kind of up in the air nothing was really landing and I just was sort of asking questions and then it led to his ousting and then they said do you think you can handle it? And I was like – and so the answer is no, but yes, and what I realize is that I’m a musician. My college degree is in Jazz Performance.
Jared Correia: Much like these podcasts.
Jacob Sanders: Well, but all I do is — all I do is basically my life has been creatively expressing myself in either getting shot down or having people explode in thunderous applause. And so my life has been this sort of bipolar accept me and let me work on something so you can accept it.
So marketing and advertising is sort of a natural form for a creative person like me but when I had to take over the director of marketing position, I couldn’t be the creative person anymore. I couldn’t just aim for likes. I couldn’t aim for vanity metrics, and so I threw myself.
Jared Correia: Too corporate.
Jacob Sanders: Well, I threw myself at everything I could understand. George Brenkert, Marketing Ethics; Byron Sharp How Brands Grow. I went deep and learned as much as I could about marketing and I went into my firm. I like saw my sales and intake process. I tried to track the leads then I reported on the leads then we reported them against average case fees and then we talked about settlements and then we talked about return on investments. And I created this Excel spreadsheet that looked like it was just — I didn’t know a Jazz Performance major could do these things. When I showed it to them, they were like — they were blown away, they had never seen this level of trackability, accountability, transparency.
And it was with Paul helping me define what I was looking for and then me going into the law firm and questing for those not vanity metrics. The things that talk about revenue, the things that talk about profit. They wouldn’t let me in, but slowly they started to realize that I could help them.
And so then I started to become a part of the media buying and then I started becoming part of the creative process but it had to start from a place of stupidity. I couldn’t have done any of that without knowing that I was dumb about marketing, knowing that I was dumb about finances and advertising and stuff, and we made — I mean it was — it was amazing, the improvements that we made, we overhauled the website. I mean rankings were just through the roof. Campaigns were just rocking. Thousands of times at ROI percentage and that’s the truth. But it only happened when Paul and Jake came together.
You can have a great vendor and a great leader, but if they don’t come together. You can have a great CRM or you can have a great Excel document or whatever it is, case management system, but if there isn’t a person running it and a person responsible on the other side for helping, connected, all your advertising and marketing things are going to be just dead in the water, and it’s just going to be another dream that you had.
So the point was, come from that place empty headedness, know that you may succeed, people may laugh at you or they may clap, but you are going to do the work and make sure you have the numbers that go beyond something that’s just a vanity metric, because that’s just how I had to prove my life and those experiences have kind of blossomed into our relationship in the way that we help people think about marketing and advertising.
I talk to my law firm. I said, how’s the lead tracking going? They’re not keeping up on the leads. They’re not doing what I was doing, they’re not tracking, they’re not following up, they’re not connecting the marketing.
And so that can be frustrating to hear. Are they struggling? No! Could you make money and not know where it’s coming from? Sure. But it’s —
Jared Correia: You’ve just described law firms in general.
Jacob Sanders: But it’s just massively better to have someone who cares and if you’re not there and you don’t care, none of this stuff is going to matter.
Jared Correia: God damn, what a beautiful story. Hold on let me wipe my eye.
Jacob Sanders: Well —
Jared Correia: All right, let’s segue into the next section which is where this is partly going, so like this idea of like accessing resources for better understanding on this topic. Can you guys recommend resources for people listening to the show if they want to dive into this topic as well in addition to what you’ve already talked about?
Jacob Sanders: For sure. Yeah, I would go to consultwebs.com and look at our nutrition guide.
Jared Correia: Oh nice. I have to take a look at that.
Jacob Sanders: We’ve created something called the Legal Marketing Nutrition Guide and it basically is a primer to help people understand two factors in regards to making your business more profitable. You have to grow your brand and you have to activate sales.
So, I think when I came into marketing I was all about culture and messaging, and just about brand stuff. But I wasn’t about sales, and then I went hard into sales but I was neglecting the brand.
So the whole idea is that through marketing science Andrew Ehrenberg, Byron Sharp, people from the — it’s IPA, it’s a European Think Group that does advertising and marketing research. They’ve studied consumer behaviors and they have figured out the science on how brands grow. I’ve taken all that and trans-mutated it into a marketing metaphor. In the Legal Marketing Nutrition Guide it’s everything that I think of and believe in, in regards to marketing and it’s right there, Consultwebs help me make it with our coders. We designed it. We made it look beautiful. You can download your report to figure out if you’re balancing in between growth and sales and how you can achieve that, because that is a consolidation of all of the inspiration and books that I’ve read, so I would suggest people go there.
Jared Correia: That sounds awesome. Paul, any additional suggestions?
Paul Julius: I got nothing, man, I’m just riding on Jake’s coattails.
Jared Correia: You got something? Go ahead.
Paul Julius: No, I was just — well, I was just going to throw out a couple things.
Jared Correia: I’m giving you the floor, the floor is yours.
Paul Julius: Okay. Sorry, sorry. Definitely go to consultwebs.com, but if you’re looking to get a little bit deeper into specifics of digital advertising, perhaps some of the different methods, Google itself Google Ads has a great course. You can go through, get certified, it’s a great place to start. Same thing with Bing, and I would say the last thing you can do is you got to get in there and get your hands dirty.
So, at some point try to set yourself up a little campaign, figure out how these things work, set some expectations, try and meet them, know better, substitute, there’s no better teacher than experience here I think, so, that’s my recommendation.
Jared Correia: Right, Paul, are you ready, this is your moment to shine.
Paul Julius: Okay.
Jared Correia: You get the last question.
Paul Julius: Oh really?
Jared Correia: Yes, yes. This is my new segment, it’s called Tweets you Forgot About, wherein I read back an old tweet of yours and you comment on it. Are you ready?
Paul Julius: Oh no, oh no.
Jacob Sanders: Oh brother.
Jared Correia: It’s not going to be bad, I promise.
Paul Julius: Okay.
Jared Correia: I’m glad you’re ready because that was a rhetorical question I was going to ask you anyway.
Paul Julius: Yeah.
Jared Correia: Here’s your tweet from March 27, 2019. I still can’t believe someone pitched the idea. Let’s let 100 cats loose in IKEA and see what happens and got it approved. I watched this video. The fact is that really a whole lot didn’t happen, the cat’s kind of just loiter that’s cats would do, they didn’t even build a single piece of furniture.
So Paul, my question for you is what would have happened if IKEA had released ligers instead?
Paul Julius: Oh man. Well, you know that that 00:46:06 bookcase would have been built in about five seconds, man. I don’t know. I was so blown away that somebody — whoever would have pitched that, whatever their marketing agency was like I just want to find those guys and be like what’s next like, can we — what we want to do is lower the president of this company into a live volcano with a GoPro on, wearing nothing but an IKEA Speedo.
Jared Correia: I like how you went to human sacrifice next. Well played, that escalated quickly.
Paul Julius: It’s a logical step, I mean at least for me. I don’t know. You guys, is there something different? I mean is that — is that weird?
Jacob Sanders: No.
Jared Correia: No, I think that’s right. Well, I was going to ask Jake, because I can’t resist like, Jake, I want to give you a hypothetical animal too.
Jacob Sanders: Yeah.
Jared Correia: Loose in IKEA, a Griffin.
Jacob Sanders: Yeah.
Jared Correia: How would a murder of Griffin’s have torn up an IKEA in your estimation?
Jacob Sanders: So being born from the mother Griffin which is Merv Griffin.
Jared Correia: Right. Correct.
Jacob Sanders: Who was very amazing, very dynastic in the way he presented game shows, you may remember one —
Jared Correia: Introductions, baby, I’m all over it.
Jacob Sanders: So, we’re talking prices right, we’re talking — I mean what else, but —
Jared Correia: 00:47:23 game show ever.
Jacob Sanders: Oh, price is right. Griffins have a — and also they have a taste for lingonberries.
Jared Correia: Is that so?
Jacob Sanders: So I would be a little concerned because they are a Grecian sort of a mutant animal, assuming they are from Greece.
Jared Correia: I’m not sure.
Jacob Sanders: Lingonberry might upset their tum, could have some problems and Griffin cleanup is probably going to be your biggest problem there.
Jared Correia: It’s going to be gnarly. So I think that’s the perfect segue to end the show.
Jacob Sanders: I would try to end ours.
Jared Correia: Good Griffin talk. We’ve reached the end of yet another episode of The Legal Toolkit Podcast. This is the podcast about digital advertising for law firms and we’ve been talking with Jake Sanders and Paul Julius of Consultwebs. Now I’ll be back on future shows with further insights into my soul, The Soul of America and the Legal Market. If you are feeling nostalgic for my dulcet tones; however, you can check out our entire show archive anytime you want at legaltalknetwork.com.
So thanks again to my guests today Jake Sanders and Paul Julius with Consultwebs for making their appearances today.
All right, Jake Paul, can you tell everyone how they can find out more about Consultwebs and the LAWsome Podcast as well?
Jacob Sanders: Go ahead Paul.
Paul Julius: Consultwebs can be found on the Internet at www.consultwebs.com. LAWsome Podcast can be found, it’s the thelawsomepodcast.com or you can look us up on iTunes, Android, Stitcher anywhere, anywhere that you get —
Jared Correia: How convenient that this would all be on the Internet. It’s a beautiful thing.
Paul Julius: It is, it’s there. It was — we made it, we made a choice to go. It was that or smoke signals, and we decided that Internet — there was a future in Internet.
Jared Correia: Would have been really disappointing if we end to this thing, you guys didn’t have a website. So thank God for that. Thanks again to Jake Sanders and Paul Julius of Consultwebs.
Finally, thanks to you out there, all of you out there for listening.
This has been the Legal Toolkit podcast where it’s always on like Donkey Kong.
Outro: Thanks for listening to Legal Toolkit, produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network. Join host Jared Correia for his next podcast covering the current business trends for law firms.
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