Your marketing professional has no way of knowing what you want your legal practice to look like unless you define it for them. Examine where you are and where you want to be, and share those ideals with your marketer! Gyi Tsakalakis and Kelly Street talk with Wendy Witt about how to cultivate trusted relationships between law firms and their marketers that help them reach business goals grounded in their personal values.
Wendy Witt is a law firm business strategist and the CEO behind Million Dollar Attorney, a private consulting firm.
Special thanks to our sponsor Nexa.
Lunch Hour Legal Marketing
Level Up Your Marketing with Wendy Witt
Gyi Tsakalakis: Kelly.
Kelly Street: Yeah Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What is a doofus?
Kelly Street: I don’t know the actual definition, but it’s my nice word of saying idiot I think, so.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You did use them interchangeably.
Kelly Street: Yeah, I really hope that — I know you are looking it up right now, I just know it, and I know you are going to tell me what the exact definition is and I am crossing my fingers and just holding my breath hoping that it is not some terrible, terrible thing that I just said.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, according to vocabulary.com, if your brother angrily accuses you of stealing his favorite sunglasses you can say, you mean the ones on your head doofus. The word was originally 1960s US student slang and it’s thought to be modeled after goofus, an older term with a similar meaning or to stem from the Scots, doof or dolt.
Kelly Street: Oh good, all right. I was really worried I was going to get in trouble there. So I am glad that it has a better meaning.
Oh yeah, there I can see, you know what, I am also looking it up, nobody can see our computer screen, so this isn’t as exciting for them when I say oh yeah, is that I can see the origin is from goofus, that’s even — I am going to have to start saying goofus, that’s even more fun.
Gyi Tsakalakis: There you have it.
Kelly Street: There you have it. Luckily we are not referring to our guest today as a doofus or a goofus. She is actually incredibly smart and intelligent. I am the one who is a goofus or a doofus.
Gyi Tsakalakis: She is a level uppist.
Kelly Street: She is a level uppist.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Let’s level up.
Kelly Street: Our marketing with Wendy Witt.
Intro: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, with your hosts Gyi Tsakalakis and Kelly Street, teaching you how to promote, market, and make fat stacks for your legal practice, here on Legal Talk Network.
Kelly Street: And welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Before we get started we want to thank our sponsor Nexa, formerly known as Answer1, is a leading virtual receptionist and answering service provider for law firms. Learn more by giving them a call at 800-267-9371 or online at www.nexa.com.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Today we are very excited to welcome our guest Wendy Witt. Wendy is a law firm business strategist. She partners with owners of solo and small law firms to build the law firm that gives them the life they love.
Wendy, welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing.
Wendy Witt: Thanks Gyi. Hi Gyi. Hi Kelly.
Kelly Street: Hello.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So today we are going to talk leveling up your marketing. What does leveling up your marketing mean? Kelly, what do you think it means?
Kelly Street: I want to let Wendy answer this one.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay.
Wendy Witt: So leveling up your marketing to me I think it means really examining where you are and where you want to be, measuring what’s working and making sure that you have done the fundamental work so that the experts in marketing can help you. You need to help them to help you.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. And hold them accountable.
Wendy Witt: Exactly. Exactly.
Kelly Street: Yeah, absolutely. If you don’t know what metrics you should be looking for as the lawyer of the law firm, then how are you going to hold your agency or your marketing people accountable to those goals.
Wendy Witt: Yeah, there definitely has to be, if not an expertise, just a basic understanding of what’s happening in the firm. So what kind of clients are you getting from the marketing resource, are you enjoying working with those people, do they fit your ideal client profile, what’s your average case value from these, how much are you paying and so forth, some of those things that a lot of attorneys aren’t recognizing as necessities in their firm.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Totally. You can’t even start to even have a conversation because you are speaking — lawyers and marketers, they just speak different languages.
Wendy Witt: That is so true. And I think that while marketing can be delegated, the hard underlying foundation cannot, that the lawyer still needs to play that role so the foundation being who do you love working with, what kind of firm are you trying to create, what kind of life are you trying to create, what does that ideal client exactly look like and what kind of work do you need to be doing, because you don’t want marketing — like the more specific you are to your marketing professional, the better results that they can produce. Doesn’t that make sense?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes, it really resonates with me, because we ask those questions all the time and the lawyers that know the answers to those things, they are going to do a lot better, because your marketing person can’t tell you, to use your phrase, the life that you love, right?
Wendy Witt: Yeah, exactly. And so I would encourage listeners to obviously reach out to professionals but don’t be afraid to do the hard work of figuring out your brand, who you are, what kind of people you want to attract, because believe it or not when you are first opening your door you think, I will just take anybody that walks in the door, but that’s not true, that doesn’t last long.
So you want the people you love, the cases that you love and doing that hard work and really a foundational thing right after that is taking advice from your client and what I mean by that is using marketing, using their words, their guidance in their marketing. So asking your clients what you do, asking your clients who you — like how you help, what their life was like before they worked with you and then after, and getting that feedback and when you get three to five clients say similar things, then you know you have your marketing message.
Does that make sense from your perspective, from the marketing professional side?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Makes sense to me.
Kelly Street: Yeah, absolutely. You know I like what you mentioned about taking any client that comes your way and that that either doesn’t last very long or maybe it lasts for too long, because I met a wonderful lawyer who is very experienced; I don’t know exactly his age so I will just say experienced at the ABA TECHSHOW and he was talking about how he wished he — one of the things he wished he had done is he wished he had been pickier with the clients he had taken on and that now coming towards where he said I have more clients than I know what to do with and I have never done any marketing, but if I had I would have been able to choose the clients that I wanted to work with.
Wendy Witt: Wow. You know what, that sounds so simple but it’s really profound, because I think it’s a common mistake and shifting your perspective to, I want anybody that walks in the door and has a credit card, to I only want to work with these people; one, it enhances your quality of life, but it also allows you to get the systems and processes in place for one particular type of client, one area of practice, like really niching down, and then that turns you — naturally transforms you into an expert in that and then more people want you and you can charge higher fees, it’s just a positive snowball.
Kelly Street: Yeah. So one of the things that you mentioned before you can even do marketing to put into place is I know you talk about personas and kind of crafting your ideal client profile, this often kind of gets a bad rap or people frankly don’t really do it very well. So what are some tips or suggestions that you have to actually get to that true persona so you can go and attract those kinds of clients?
Wendy Witt: So I actually teach a course called How to Talk so Clients Will Listen (and Hand You a Check) and through that we use a workbook to actually go through and identify just the very detailed things, where does your client shop, like do you want a Walmart shopper, or do you want a Nordstrom shopper, do you want somebody that drives a Tesla or the Mazda GLC, like my first car, all those things that may not seem relevant, it’s not just somebody that’s say getting a divorce or needs to update their estate plan or wants to bring in a foreign national for a job in their corporation, all those things are important beyond the work that you do. So it’s beyond the kind of case that you want.
So even race or political persuasion, these aren’t things that you would necessarily put out in the world, but when you are talking to your ideal client, you could name your ideal client. So my ideal client’s name is Holly. She is happy. She rides her bike on the weekends. Her law firm brings in $500,000 and so forth. And you go through the whole persona that when you are doing your videos, when you are writing your web content, when you are speaking, you are speaking as if you are talking to Holly, and that’s really effective. So that’s the first step.
The second step is to take your Holly’s, your ideal clients and ask them. So this is really different than getting a testimonial. So a testimonial, you want them just to say all fabulous things and it’s going to go on Google or LinkedIn. This is actually finding out how they help you, what that transformation was like. This is for you to take their words because you might think oh, I am an estate planning attorney, and I say that because that’s what I did for 15 years. So I am an estate planning attorney. Well, do people even know what that is? Do most people disqualify and think they don’t even have estate.
So instead of just saying I am an estate planning attorney, call yourself what people — what your ideal clients give feedback, how did you help them, that transformation, talk about that transformation in your marketing.
So people care about — well, this is taking me down the bunny trails, but I think it’s an important one, but stop me if you would like. Attorneys, when they write their bios and when they talk about what they do, they get very intellectual, and I graduated from this school with these honors, I am a member of this Bar and this organization, blah, blah, blah. And I would suggest that that’s really bad marketing, because nobody cares about those things or very few people care. What they care about is who you are as a human, how you help — do you help other people like them, are your clients happy, who do you help, how do you help and what are the results you get and then mostly why do you care.
Kelly Street: Yeah. And we can weave your education in a little bit into the — because there are people who care about it. So it’s like I have always been a high achieving person, which is why I wanted to go into law to like help other people maximize themselves or whatever it is, and so I went to this school because I thought that that was the best. That’s probably a terrible example, but something like that.
Wendy Witt: Yeah. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do it as long as you are showing that you care, you have empathy, because the whole purpose of this is to get people to know, trust and like you. They assume because you are an attorney that you are competent.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s a mistake.
Wendy Witt: Right. But for all those engineers out there and other lawyers, they are going to want to see where you went to school and all those things, so you can certainly list those. But yeah, like showing the real you, I think that’s something that’s hard for attorneys is to show the real them, but when you are really authentic like that, not you dancing on tables in your pajamas on the weekend, but why you do your job, why are you in this career, what joy do you get from it, people want to hear about that, because then they connect with you as a person.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I help people make sure their money goes to their kids instead of the government when they die.
Wendy Witt: A lot of estate planning attorneys do say that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh, that’s not good then?
Wendy Witt: No, I am not saying it’s not good, but it — that doesn’t get a lot of people, that would really appeal — because I did practice estate planning, that would appeal definitely to a lot of men. If you talk about family, protecting your kids, that appeals to a lot of moms. So it’s kind of a win-win.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Nice. One of the things that, just kind of talking about going down bunny trails, because of your experience in working with so many law firms, how do you start to have the conversation about like business metrics with law firms, like do you say like okay, so part of the life that I love is I have got to make some money and so here is where I am today on revenue and profitability and expenses and here is where I am trying to go. From your expert vantage point, do you talk to them about like forming a marketing budget and how much that should be and what the guideposts are, and I know it’s different for all law firms and practice areas and it varies, but we get that question all the time from lawyers that will say — I will say have you thought about a marketing budget? I have never thought about a marketing budget. Well, what should my marketing budget be? How do you have those conversations?
Wendy Witt: Yeah, those are definitely part of the conversations. We have KPIs metrics that we track monthly. For the marketing we tend to track those quarterly, but definitely people ask me how much money they should be spending and it’s interesting, I mean a general guideline, I would say 10%.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s what I say too by the way.
Wendy Witt: Okay, all right, cool. So like if you are — it depends, where you spend that is interesting compared to what’s going on in like where your firm is.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Wendy Witt: So when you are first starting out, I don’t encourage people to spend a lot of money, they are just hanging out their shingle.
Gyi Tsakalakis: They don’t have any.
Wendy Witt: Right, they don’t have any and this is where I feel people try to just get rid of their marketing and they need to do this work first. They need to be networking. They need to be through all the free social media. They need to be speaking wherever they can speak and really get clear on their message, and then when that builds up and there are some funds available for marketing, which it needs to be a priority no matter how many clients are coming in the door, even if you are really busy, you need to keep that marketing going, that’s when you invest in other forms of marketing and delegate that.
Kelly Street: Got it. So this is where the leveling up comes into play of you start off with just putting the — like you mentioned, putting your persona and your ideal client in place and figuring out okay, now we have clients coming in, and the 10% just to clarify, is that all 10% of revenue is what you use 10%?
Wendy Witt: I use 10% of revenue.
Kelly Street: Okay. And so then you have got — you actually have clients come in, you have a budget, what are some kind of the next steps that law firms should be doing at least in 2020?
Wendy Witt: So there has to be a strong social media presence. It always surprises me when lawyers aren’t really active on LinkedIn. There is a lot of free social media space and so part of that original foundational research that you are doing with their clients is finding out where they hang out. So are your clients hanging out on Instagram, are they hanging out on Twitter, are they hanging out on Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever they are, TikTok now, all these things, you need to know where your ideal client hangs out, and then that’s where you spend your focus.
And as far as leveling up, like there is yeah, you need to get your SEO in place and you need to be speaking and doing podcasts and all those kind of things, but then even you get to a certain level, what else are you doing, are you doing your TED talk, are you writing a book, are you holding a conference, are you the leader, the thought leader in your field. So there is always room for growth and having that foundational element, then delegating and having a marketing firm take care of business for you so that you can focus then on more of putting yourself out there.
Kelly Street: Okay, great, I am glad that you are going in this direction, because where my head was at over here is a question that I get all the time and since you work with solo and small firms and have much more intensive conversations with them about this than I do, just since I am not as much of a client facing role for Gyi and I, but I do get asked all the time, how much time is this supposed to be taking? I am a solo or I am one of two lawyers in my firm, how much time should I really be dedicating to this stuff because I also need to be handling cases?
Wendy Witt: It’s interesting because I tell people when they are first starting out that 90% of their time needs to be marketing. If you are not doing the legal work or setting up a system like you really need to block it out.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You have nothing else to do.
Wendy Witt: Well, you know what like — and you are not going to keep going, like I have had — I have actually turned away some clients who didn’t believe in marketing in whatever form, just didn’t do it. I don’t want to spend my money on that because I want to keep my fees low and I am like — and I couldn’t work with that person because I am like your firm is not going to be there in three years when your clients need you, like that’s just doing your clients a disservice. If you are not a responsible businessperson, you are not going to be able to continue to keep your employees, to serve your clients, provide for your family, like you have to be smart in business in addition to being a dynamite lawyer.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. I love lawyers that say I don’t believe in marketing.
Wendy Witt: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I am always like, at the very least, I am like do you ever tell anybody what you do because guess what, you just did marketing.
Wendy Witt: Yeah.
Kelly Street: Marketing sneak attack.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, this is funny, this is like such good real talk here, because so many lawyers, before you even get to any of this other stuff that we talk — this marketing stuff, whether it’s social media or SEO or TED Talks, whatever it is, there is like this fundamental misconception.
And I have got to say over the last 10 years I think it’s getting better, but this idea that law firms aren’t businesses and there is some kind of special thing that lives outside of a business. I think you articulated really eloquently like you can be the best lawyer in the world but if you are running at a loss, you are not going to be a lawyer for very long.
Wendy Witt: Absolutely, and what I think people have to realize or lawyers have to realize that there is — you have to be a successful businessperson to be able to serve more people. If you want to make a dent in the universe and help more people, you do it by being successful at what you do. And if you want to do pro bono, if you want to serve the underserved, that’s fine as long as that’s your choice, that you are not doing it because of poor business practices.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. You still better be able to have some access to money if you want to be a 100% pro bono right, because you have still got to eat.
Wendy Witt: Yeah, that’s an important point and a point that I went through, because when I graduated from law school my favorite professor said Wendy, call me if you give all your money away, because I was in my 20s, oh my goodness, I don’t even know how I got through my 20s, because I was just this wanted to save the world and it took a long time for me to realize it takes money to save the world.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Kelly Street: Yeah. All right, that is a great note to go into hearing from our sponsor. So we are going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsor and then we will pick things back up after that
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Kelly Street: And we are back. All right, where we left things off is you need to have money to be able to save the world and I love that because one of the things that I, and Gyi can attest to this, I am a nutcase for a company mission, vision and values. And so I see this as just definitely like another thing that is so important to have in place and really ties into that, you have to have money to save the world. You also have to know how you are going to save the world to make money.
Wendy Witt: 100%.
Kelly Street: So what are some kinds of things — how do you advise on creating that, because I think one of the things that, and again Gyi can attest to this, that I challenge all the time with values is, values can either be aspirational or values can be what you actually are doing at the time. Does that make sense?
Wendy Witt: Yeah, it sure does and when you are living within your values, you are going to feel happier and then be more successful, because you are going to attract people to you, have more energy and so forth, and you are going to attract the people that you want.
And one thing I love about really knowing your values in addition to that is that you are going to have opportunities come to you, and if you are as solid on your values, then you know whether to say yes or no. Does this fit within my values, you evaluate every opportunity and is this going to be closer to my goal, and if it’s not, then you need to say no, thank you, so that you can say yes to what really matters.
Kelly Street: Yeah, I like that. Another question I got asked at TECHSHOW or that came across me was that somebody said — raised their hand and said in a session I was leading was, are blogs still important, should I be doing anything with my blog? And I said yes and I think this is also where people always say like nobody actually cares about my mission, vision and values. There are a lot of people like me out in the world who are crazy for these things and will with every single company that I am going to engage with, I go to their about page and I am like what does this company say that they are about because I want to know as a consumer who cares about these things for myself that the companies I am working with are in line with my personal values or that they have even thought about them.
Wendy Witt: Right, you want to know that they care right and why they are doing it. I mean there is — and I am not going to remember it exactly, but that’s one of the reasons they say Apple was so — is so successful because they are very clear on that and companies that reach success are very clear on their values and it makes life less confusing, more streamlined.
Kelly Street: Yes, 100% onboard with that. All right, back to you more, I guess, Breast Tax sorts of things. I want to talk about tracking ROI and making sure that people are getting a return on their investment.
Wendy Witt: Yeah, so that’s really important in all areas of the law firm whether it be employees, or rental space, office space or marketing. So, let’s talk about this a little bit. I think a lot of attorneys aren’t tracking this, and they are not knowing if their dollars are invested wisely. Does that make sense?
Kelly Street: Oh yes, absolutely.
Wendy Witt: Right, so some things I would suggest that attorneys consider tracking are — so you set up a SEO campaign or incorporate SEO or you do a workshop, those two examples, so how — from those how many people are you getting from those marketing tools? How many are setting appointments, how many are showing up from those appointments? How many are you closing, what is the value of that case? What’s your average case value from it? How much are you making and what’s your profit from it, and so really understanding your return on investment from each of those tools that you’re using so that you can see what makes the most sense and in another part of that is testing which areas of practice, what services do you provide that provide the best ROI because then you know what services to market.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, in that vein do you have any recommendations for tools or a shortlist? I imagine there’s a — the way we kind of look at it is like finding the right tools can be just as big of a challenge is trying to define KPIs, but do you have a shortlist of tools you’d like to recommend in the context of tracking, so certainly in tracking ROI?
Wendy Witt: Yeah, so we’re currently using Google Sheets or Excel, but some software that comes along with law office management also has some tracking in it, you just have to go through the work of setting it up so that it matches what you want, customizing it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, yeah, I mean Google Sheets works great, very flexible, Excel is very flexible.
Kelly Street: Gyi, do you have any technology that you would recommend?
Gyi Tsakalakis: For me it’s kind of in the world of like CRM and so I like active campaign. If you’re depending on how your MarTech software budget looks, you know, hotspot is great, Infusionsoft can be fine. I think that Infusionsoft changed its name though, I can’t remember what it’s called now. But even something as simple like even CallRail has basic lead qualification, you can enter like the fee. So it’s kind of the gamut, obviously I’m a product advisor on Lawmatics, I think they’re doing some interesting things, obviously biased; but it’s really more about the features, it’s like connecting the — as Wendy mentioned, customizing it so that you can actually say, okay, that’s somewhere you have to.
If you’re going to do ROI, somewhere you have to enter the fee that you’re getting because that’s going to be your return, then the question is, how you are measuring that against the investment and if it’s Google Ads then you need something in my view you got to get pretty granular, so you need some kind of sophisticated tracking, but I think the part that people miss, so they’re thinking we talk about a lot is cost per acquisition and cost per client and things like that. So we can do that much easier, but if you’re going to do true return on investment or return on Ad Spend, you have to have a system that’s tracking your fee to back to a lead source, otherwise you’re always — you’re going to be spinning your wheels and so I’m always curious to hear about creative ways that lawyers are doing that. So for listeners, if you’ve got ways that you’re doing that you want to talk about, I’m all ears to those because I think that’s a big — we’ve had clients where I’ll say, okay, we’d love to do a return on investment analysis for you and they’ll be like, great, let me fax over a piece of paper with some of the clients we’ve recently had, and I’m like, whoa, that’s going to be really challenging to tie that down to specific keyword bids and stuff.
Kelly Street: Yeah, and what I want to emphasize is because this is going to sound really intimidating and lawyers are going to say, I don’t have time for this, but it doesn’t mean they have to be doing it. It’s just they have to have someone doing this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, exactly.
Kelly Street: They don’t have to be doing this themselves, they have to review the numbers once a month to see how things are working.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. Now the attribution things are huge. I mean, we talk about that all the time. I was just telling people the other day like if you’re spending money — especially on advertising, advertising is the easiest one to beat down, stop advertising if you’re not tracking it to fees.
Kelly Street: Right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right the other stuff, not to go down the Gary Vee thing, but he always talks about like, ROI, what’s the ROI of your mom? And it’s like, well, okay, if you’re spending time networking and you don’t have a sophisticated tracking or attribution thing, fine. At the end of the day, like you said, Wendy, I think it’s important especially doing like events at the very least, if you’re collecting business cards and you’re putting them into some kind of contact database, the very least you can say, okay, I am starting to create some of these relationships, and if those people become referral sources or clients themselves, now you have some basic attribution. I think that you can do that easily in a Google Sheet or Excel, but turn off the ads if you’re not tracking it to fees.
Wendy Witt: Yeah, well, that’s exactly it. If you’re not measuring the fees that you’re getting and even there’s a subjective point of that is are you liking the clients that you’re getting because some attorneys will tell me, well, I’m doing this and those clients tend to be a pain in the butt.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Wendy Witt: Somehow they’re not attracting the right people so then it needs to be adjusted, but knowing what comes through where things come and which service is providing the value to you in your life assuming that you’re trying to go for the highest profit possible then you need to know which services are doing that and what the marketing which marketing is bringing the clients for that highest revenue service.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Kelly Street: Yeah. So one of the things we had a conversation internally about the other day was how long these things — how long ROI can take to be realized and so one of the pieces I know gets frustrating for law firms is, well, you know what, from the time I get a potential client lead in, it can take one to two years, sometimes in personal injury cases it can take longer than that to see what the actual end result of that case is. So, how are lawyers supposed to keep the faith during that time that these things are paying off and that they should keep doing their marketing?
Wendy Witt: Well, there’s a philosophical approach that if you take the right actions that the universe provides, there is a method to it, it’s marketing as an art and a science, and I think looking at the science part that there are numbers that show you returns, and yeah, personal injury, you’re not going to get any money from a case for eighteen months to two years, may be even three years, so it does take a long time. I think you need to also look at it as building relationships, how long does it take to build a relationship, and sometimes you meet people and there’s an instant clicking and then sometimes it takes a year, two years to build a relationship. People don’t want to hear that, but it really — marketing is, it’s a long game.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s gardening.
Wendy Witt: Right, yeah. It’s gardening, right, great, yeah, it’s gardening.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, the other thing just say kind of respond to Kelly’s point for the personal injury lawyers out there who maybe didn’t like the answers that we gave. There are things that the folks can do is there’s other things you could there’s indirect metrics of success. So, yes, ROI, great, return on Ad Spend, awesome. But in the meantime, how much is it costing to open a file? Right? So cost per client, cost per lead, usually if you’re opening files that like Wendy said, are the types of clients that you want to take on, that’s a good leading indicator that you’re going to — you’re moving in the right direction, right? So you want to really be thinking about this throughout the entire process, don’t just get hamstrung by, oh, I can’t measure any of this stuff because it takes me three years to measure return on Ad Spend, it’s like, okay, well, guess what you can measure. You can measure the number of qualified leads that a campaign is generating now.
Wendy Witt: Yeah, I love that, right. What I think lawyers also need to hear is that you will get — you don’t have to be perfect to start this journey and to focus on your marketing and invest in your marketing that it will — your marketing will get refined, refined, refined, I mean, even the experts AB testings and then make adjustments, it’s a constant refining as life unfolds and you learn more and the world evolves.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Kelly Street: So, some of the other things I’m thinking about is when we’re — you mentioned social media is kind of a marketing tactic that law firms can use, are there other things that you’re hearing about that law firms are doing, that you’re like, wow, that everyone else needs to be doing this?
Wendy Witt: A very simple thing and Gyi and I talked about this on Twitter a while ago is simply just living your life and getting out there, doing the activities that you enjoy and then you naturally meet people through those activities, and when you’re doing something you enjoy, you’re putting out that energy you are yourself, you’re relaxed, you’re talking to people and then people know you.
I mean, we have a personal injury firm here in Western Pennsylvania that just knocks the socks out of everyone else. First, they’ve always known that marketing was just as important as practicing law in the business and I had a conversation with a managing partner and he said, it was simply like growing up, he was part of his kids’ baseball teams and soccer teams and those kind of things. I mean, it sounds so simple but just you doing what you love is an easy way to make that happen.
Social media is a given — there’s free space there, there’s investable space, putting yourself out there, writing articles, commenting building — it’s all building — it’s building relationships. Back to Gyi’s point of it’s gardening. You’re building something, you’re growing something.
Kelly Street: And so two of the — I think about this with social media all the time but when I am thinking about doing the things you do naturally and the things you love to do and then just putting it out there, two of the things that I get — the comments that get back to me are number one, the kind of the — nobody wants to friend their lawyer on Facebook sort of thing where it’s like or the opposite side of that where it’s like, well, I’m a professional, I want to be seen as a professional, so I don’t want them to know that I’m coaching my kids’ soccer team or that whatever it might be, maybe not wanting to put that stuff out there for your clients to see, and then the other side of it is, I feel like an absolute doofus when I put that photo out there or when I turn my camera on to say like, all right, I’m live at my kids’ soccer game and we’re the sponsor, that sort of thing, so both on the side of wanting to portray yourself in a certain light as a professional and I feel like an idiot doing this, how do you help coach people through either of those mentalities?
Wendy Witt: Yeah, I totally get that. So one is letting go being perfect, second is really looking and seeing why people hire lawyers and people make referrals and hire people because they like them. They are not going to like — one thing I think that attorneys don’t realize is how scary they are, like we get so used to ourselves that like another attorney isn’t intimidating, it’s just — it’s who we are, they’re our friends but when you’re a layperson and you’re not used to interacting with attorneys, it’s very intimidating to call a law office or to meet with an attorney, and if you’re meeting with an attorney, it’s probably not, I mean, there are adoptions out there or business opportunities, but other than that there’s probably a negative reason why you’re meeting with the attorney, so there’s a lot of emotion.
They are judging whether they like you when they’re deciding whether to hire you or not. So the more you can put out there, and baby steps, right? So writing something or just posting a picture is a way. What I’ve seen is that attorneys get much more response from their personal Facebook page than their business Facebook page. So you can post on your professional page and I encourage you to do that, it’s free space, but it’s personally where you’re going to develop those relationships and they have to remember that it’s not just clients, it’s referral sources. So putting themselves out there to other attorneys or people in positions to refer them to, that’s going to bring more clients in as well.
Kelly Street: Yeah, that’s a good point, and I was thinking about how you brought up LinkedIn earlier as it’s a underutilized space and as I might have my beefs with LinkedIn’s ad platform, but other than that I think it can be a great space especially for referrals, and so I was just thinking that one of the things if Facebook feels weird or Instagram feels weird, starting at LinkedIn so you can start off in your suit and it’s expected is probably a great place to start.
Wendy Witt: True, true like start baby steps and just get more comfortable and more comfortable, and the bottom line is everybody has to do what’s right for them, but I think that I would invite lawyers not to be scared of showing who they are in real life or in social media.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Totally, I mean that’s the thing that gets me and I’m a total fan boy of the Clio Legal Trends Report but one of the things that they talked about is about almost half of clients are shopping around and so even if you spend money and time on getting to know people and advertising and being online, like you said, Wendy, if they don’t like you, if they don’t find you some way what you’re doing resonates, they end up hiring somebody else. So even if you get that coveted number one spot in Google, you spend all this time building links and then they get to your page and there’s not something on there that makes them like you. There’s going to go shop around anyway and so it’s like you can’t have it both ways, you can’t be positioned as someone that people want to hire and not share a little bit about who you are.
Wendy Witt: Exactly, people need to know who you are and why you care? So even if it’s a sad story or an inspiring story of why you do what you do, share it. If you’re too remote, in that suit with your arms crossed and a frown on your face which attorneys think means that they’re a good litigator or something, so if you’re not opening your arms to people in your photos, and in your office and how you dress then you’re going to have a wall between you and your client, and you really don’t make it any harder for them to reach out to you.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You’re so funny too of thinking about the litigators, it’s like that is such a great paradigm image of the litigator and a soother arms class, but then you actually watch — you go to court and you watch good litigators, they never just stand there with their arms crossed and a pout on their face.
Wendy Witt: No, they can relate to people.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, they tell the story of the jury.
Wendy Witt: Exactly.
Gyi Tsakalakis: They don’t make that connection though, right? It’s like, in court, I’m just like, just do what you do in court.
Wendy Witt: Yeah, exactly, love it.
Kelly Street: Yeah, on the note of lawyers who are kind of just doing what they do naturally and talking about things they’re passionate about, Gyi and I, both, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with him, Wendy, Morris Lilienthal.
Wendy Will: I do not know him, but please tell me more.
Kelly Street: Got it. Where is he located again, Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Alabama.
Kelly Street: Of course Alabama, the Trash Pandas, their Minor League Baseball team, anyway.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Haan?
Kelly Street: He is — because he talked about the Trash Pandas on one of his podcast episode, he does this so incredibly well, where he just — he has causes that are important to him and his family and he just shares them and he’s getting high returns on that and getting so many positive comments and referrals and people who are just like, yes, because you are sharing that this is something you’re passionate about, you could be a boring old lawyer in your suit, but instead, you have a smile on your face or you’re just kind of your heart on your sleeve and you’re putting it out there.
Wendy Witt: He’s relatable.
Kelly Street: Yeah.
Wendy Witt: Yeah, absolutely.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I think the other thing too in the context of this conversation, it’s important to mention is, how you use these different platforms and matters, so I know, because I’ve had these conversations, lawyers will say, well, I tried Facebook and it didn’t work and it’s like, well, what are you doing? Right? So, Wendy, as you mentioned, if you could just got a Facebook business page and you’re just sharing like firm news updates that no one cares about, guess what, it’s not going to work?
Wendy Witt: Yeah, we’re closed on a Snow Day or President’s Day.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, right, versus talking about — if you’re passionate about something, whatever it is, Trash Pandas or Biking, if you’re in those groups where people are having — like they’re congregating around those common groups, that makes me think of the – Facebook has been doing a lot of TV ads, they have the one with a Kazoo Group, I don’t know if you have seen that.
Wendy Witt: Yes, yes.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Marching around with Kazoos. So if you’re in the Kazoos, and you’re in the Kazoo Group on Facebook and you’re talking Kazoos and guess what, someone at some point has some issue that is — they’re dealing with in their life that’s hey they could — they should talk to a lawyer. Guess what, you’re the Kazoo lawyer for them.
So that’s the thing I think that one of those dots that I think a lot of people, they hear us talk on these podcast and it doesn’t quite resonate, so hopefully that connects that dot a little bit better for folks.
Wendy Witt: I love it, that’s perfect.
Kelly Street: Yes, this is so great. Oh, I would have so many more follow-up things that I would love to say and questions I would love to ask, but we are out of time, unfortunately.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Bummer.
Kelly Street: So —
Wendy Witt: Hey, thanks for having me, Gyi and Kelly, I really appreciate it. It was a nice conversation.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Wonderful, wonderful to have you. Tell folks, how they can get a hold of you if they want to learn?
Wendy Witt: Yes, please reach out to me. You can learn more at milliondollarattorney.com and you can reach out to me at [email protected].
Kelly Street: Fabulous. Thanks again so much, Wendy.
As always, Lunch Hour Legal Marketing listeners, I hope you enjoyed your lunch in this episode and give us a rating or review on Apple Podcasts. Thanks so much and have a great day.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: How is that?
Kelly Street: Well, actually it was cute.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Very goofusy, but what we are going to do to us.