As promised, Gyi Tsakalakis and Conrad Saam launch into smart marketing tactics to give you an advantage in the marketplace. They take a deep dive into strategies you can put right to work in your law firm, offering up the best ways to manage your ad spend and laying out common mistakes. Later, they shift gears to discuss how you can take a leadership role in your community in the midst of the nation’s current racial and political turmoil.
Special thanks to our sponsor Alert Communications.
Lunch Hour Legal Marketing
Tactical Marketing – Smart Spending for Better ROI
Gyi Tsakalakis: Cue the banter.
Conrad Saam: Cue the banter. You know what Gyi, I didn’t think my mom was going to listen to the show and she did and she said to me, Con, I think you took too long to get to the point.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I thought she was going to say I appreciate the swearing.
Conrad Saam: No, no, that came later, that was a conversation that we had. But sometime the banter is good, sometimes we have to get right to the tactical side of things, and we promised this would be a tactical show, right Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Got to be tactical. Give the people what they want.
Conrad Saam: Well, the key here is we are making potentially the fallacious assumption that people want to come away with this and improve their marketing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I leave that to you.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Well, maybe some of them are logging in for the witty repartee between the two of us.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, only one way to find out, let’s dive into Lunch Hour Legal Marketing.
Intro: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, teaching you how to promote, market, and make fat stacks for your legal practice, here on Legal Talk Network.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Before we dive in to this episode of Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, we would love to take the opportunity to thank our sponsor, Alert Communications. If any law firm is looking for call, intake or retainer services available 24×7, 365, just call 866-827-5568.
Conrad Saam: Okay, so we are going to dive right in, as we promised, this is going to be as tactical as possible. I believe that is the most important thing that we can do for people.
One of the things that we started out with, and I said this nicely last time, it was dumb things lawyers do, but that’s not what we really called it in our notes. We are going to call it what we called it, because I swore in the first episode and we now have that badge of dishonor of parental guidance necessary, so we are going to call this dumb shit lawyers do. So that’s feature number one.
And you alerted — well, I actually noticed this on our Google Analytics the other day, our articles about Lawyers of Distinction started getting a ton of traffic and every time that happens I start to presume that Lawyers of Distinction has written out another email telling people that they have been nominated for Lawyers of Distinction.
Now Gyi, could you collaborate that for me or not?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I will see this, I got an email announcing my glory and being awarded a distinction from the company you mentioned, right around the exact same time that I saw, I think, I don’t know if it was on Facebook or Twitter that you had mentioned and posted that your Analytics was up. So correlation isn’t causation of course, but that’s pretty compelling.
Conrad Saam: I also got forwarded, you don’t know this, I haven’t shared this with you before, someone actually forwarded me a Lawyers of Distinction nomination to them but they are not a lawyer, right? So right around —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Neither is Zippy.
Conrad Saam: Neither is Zippy the Chicken. I will get Zippy in here one time. I am going to try and get a webcast at some point in time with Zippy on video so people can meet Zippy, but Zippy is a flighty bird.
So here is the deal, Lawyers of Distinction, they have just done another marketing push.
Oh, the other one that we have found recently Gyi, I don’t know if you have seen the ads; have you been hit with retargeting ads from Lawyers of Distinction?
Gyi Tsakalakis: You know, I don’t believe so; I don’t think I have actually been to their site.
Conrad Saam: Okay. That might be the first tactical recommendation that we can give to lawyers today, just don’t bother going to the Lawyers of Distinction site.
The interesting thing that I was going to mention is, I am now getting ads that all you have to do is click on the ad to be nominated for Lawyers of Distinction, so there is a pretty low bar here, although they did mention that they have a pending system in the emails that I was forwarded for choosing Lawyers of Distinction, which might be that you are on the Internet, that seems to be the only qualification.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, and let’s generalize too a little bit, because I think for people that are like not familiar with that particular award, let’s talk more generally about lawyer awards and badges and plaques and all of this stuff that marketing companies sell lawyers to make the lawyers think that they are special.
Conrad Saam: But I think most lawyers actually know that a lot of this is BS, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: So this is just an ego thing. They just love to have this stuff.
Conrad Saam: Well, so here is — this is the downside and this is where this I think becomes problematic, these badges, the wheat shafts, the trophies, the golden gavels, unfortunately for Joe consumer it’s actually really difficult to determine whether or not a lawyer is actually a great lawyer.
And so we call these trust marks in the industry, and they can mean absolutely nothing, right? And in the case of Lawyers of Distinction it actually does mean nothing. They could be the AV rating, which no one outside of the legal industry knows what AV means. AV used to mean the place where the overhead projector was kept in middle school, that’s because I am 45, but AV rating meant nothing, the Avvo rating came in, that was 1-10; we have got the Star ratings in Google or Yelp for example. But then there is all these other things that you are like, what is this, what does this mean, the Million Dollar Advocates Club, there is all sorts of different awards.
And so the problem for Joe consumer is they don’t know any of these ratings, they don’t know what any of them mean and yet it does bestow some level of quality or perception of quality on to that individual attorney and that’s the problematic part to me.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. That’s the real reason I think that — at least that we see, when we get our emails from lawyers asking us about this stuff, that’s their position, right? I want to be able to use this to persuade my potential clients that I am the best lawyer or the AV lawyer or all these other distinctions for a super lawyer.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, it’s hard to get away from that distinction word, like the accoladed lawyer.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So what are we telling lawyers about these things, you are saying no badges, some badges, all the badges?
Conrad Saam: So this is my — this is partly philosophy and partly pragmatic, my take is I think these things are important, I really do. I think they do bestow some level of quality in the mind of the consumer.
I draw the line personally when there is no quality in the award itself, right? And I think that — I mean individual lawyers may take umbrage with that perspective and I have lost friends over the Lawyers of Distinction “honor”, but my take is you are lawyers, you are educated, you are smart, you should have some level of cynicism built into your profession, and so if it smells gross, it probably is gross and it’s probably not worth stepping in to.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. And I will add two more kind of considerations for folks that are thinking about whether to sign up or renew. One is, is that the cost, I think it’s tricky to do an actual ROI analysis on a badge, but some of these things, they are pretty expensive. So go find the cheap award I guess is my advice there.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, because the cheap award that you build with Photoshop, you may as well do the same. If you are going to buy a BS badge and you know it’s a BS badge, why don’t you just Photoshop your own golden leaf or golden gavel and Gyi, you could be Gyi’s mom favorite lawyer award, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. And then the other thing is, in the context of making a decision about badges in general and their impact is, don’t forget your rules of professional conduct. So on top of that we should just be doing the right thing, there are ethics rules that probably apply here, false misleading, communication by lawyers services all come to mind, especially if it’s an award that’s using superlatives or some kind of certification that your state bar does not actually recognize, you might get yourself in trouble there. So that’s another thing to think about in making decisions about badges.
Conrad Saam: I am curious and this is not being Socratic here, I am unaware, with the exception of the huge outcry that some bars had with the Avvo rating, which was that 1-10 score of an attorney’s résumé, I am unaware of any state bars going after individual awards.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, what happens is they don’t go after the awards, they go after the lawyer, right? So they don’t — the state bar doesn’t regulate the award company, so what they do is — what actually happens is your competitor reports you for some kind of violation and the state bar sends you a letter saying hey, take this down because it’s false and misleading. That’s what happens most of the time.
I will tell you, there are some high profile ones, not necessarily in the badges context, but — and I haven’t checked on them; this would actually be a good episode for us, there is actually a case, I think it’s in Pennsylvania, of a client suing the law firm for fake Google reviews. So the theory of the case is I wouldn’t have hired this lawyer if not for these fake Google reviews, that’s false and misleading, that’s basically fraud. So they are suing the lawyers.
And that’s working its way — I think it’s working its way through, I don’t know if that got resolved yet, but that might be an interesting one to look at.
Conrad Saam: Are you suggesting some of the reviews aren’t genuine?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, that’s a — we don’t have time to cover that one.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, okay. Just as we touch in on Avvo, I am going to use this as a very smooth segue into our Listeners Ask segment. So last week we asked you guys to submit questions to us. Some of you have done so and I am going to throw some of that out.
One of the questions that I got, this is from Joshua Pauline, what is the post-Avvo move, right? So a little bit of background on this, and Gyi, you can actually add some color to this, it looks like Avvo’s performance in SEO has really taken a hit recently. Do you know Gyi if that has persisted on — I know you are following some of the directory rankings?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. So for our data, we track about 200+ primary head term legal keywords, so personal injury lawyer, category keywords, criminal defense lawyer, lawyer across four major markets, and yeah, over the last 365 days they have basically from our data fallen completely off of the list for those.
In fact, out of the keywords we track I think they only appear on the first page for one keyword and it’s like in the 9th or 10th spot. So no top three positions for any of the keywords in the major markets that we track, but we will talk about it, it varies from place to place and keyword universe to keyword universe.
Conrad Saam: Your mileage may vary, right, depending on where you are. So I think a lot of lawyers are feeling this, who are Avvo advertisers and Joshua is essentially asking where do I move my money, where is the smart money spend right now?
Gyi Tsakalakis: You are asking me?
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Well, I was letting the silence speak for itself, because it’s a very hard market right now. Today it’s a very, very difficult market to figure out where to put your money.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. I think the other thing too is what are we limiting our options to? Are you saying out of every marketing activity you can possibly do? I am big in investing time and money on content production.
There are a lot more people that are open to messages that might be sitting at home, working remotely, they have got podcasts on in the background, they have got Facebook popped open in a tab, being there with message and leadership is more important than ever. And so a lot of these lawyers that are capturing that audience now and building an audience and creating private Facebook communities and posting video content and doing interviews and guest posting on podcasts, that’s where my money would be invested in.
Conrad Saam: And pushing that on the community side, right, so like it’s not just 10 things to do when you get in a car accident in Sheboygan, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: It’s being involved in Sheboygan and showing that off. That right now for me, I think we touched on this last podcast, that for me is just so — the opportunity to be really involved in your neighborhood and really involved in your community has never been more sorely needed than it is today and I think that’s something I would really push.
The other thing, and this is — I hope my friends at Google don’t listen to the podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Don’t worry, they don’t.
Conrad Saam: Okay, good to know. But Bing advertising, Yelp advertising, all those things where everyone tells me that no one ever looks for a lawyer, in many cases you are wrong. If you are in a community where there is a lot of Yelp traffic and it’s a big Yelp state, try advertising on Yelp, because Yelp hasn’t figured out how to get lawyers to advertise there and people actually do look to Yelp for advertising, people do use Bing more than you think, even though all of you tell me that you don’t, it’s in the same way that you tell me you scroll right past the ads and yet we have a multitrillion dollar online advertising market.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right and that’s why also at the risk of giving the annoying marketer answer is it depends, spend money on what’s working for you. The biggest issue most of the time is, is that you don’t have systems in place to actually track performance and so that’s where I would spend some time and money is actually making sure that I am generating the target return and it’s not — as you and I kind of talk about all the time, it’s not the spend a dollar, make a dollar, it’s spend a dollar, make $8, or spend a dollar and make $10. Obviously that’s going to vary by your firm economics, but that’s where I would spend my money, I would spend my money — more money on what I can track that’s working or it’s achieving an objective at least and less money on the stuff that isn’t meeting my objectives.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, you bring up an interesting point there, I am going to hijack it a little bit, the spend a dollar, make a dollar, that is the last ditch effort by the salesperson who cannot make quota at the end of the month. One client and it will pay for itself Gyi, just one client is all you need and it will pay for this advertising, doesn’t that seem like a great rationale for spending money?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Really it’s — it really depends, like is it — have you already worked up the case or is it a referral?
Conrad Saam: No. I mean here is the deal, if you spend $1 to make a dollar, that means you are working for me or whoever it is you are spending that dollar with, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: And so I would look at it this way, if you spend a dollar and you make $5, this is a really pragmatic way to think about it, that means every Monday you go to work for your marketing people, every Monday, that’s 20% cost per client and that means that you work for your marketing every single Monday and that seems like a great deal for marketing agencies or publishers or places like Google, but it’s not a great deal for you guys, and so I would be really, really careful with how these things actually pan out and what you are thinking about in terms of what makes sense.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. You know what’s an interesting one that I always like to ask, it’s in the same vein, how many advertising platforms actually help you manage the return on ad spend? Any of them?
Conrad Saam: A great agency will.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, but if we are on a platform?
Conrad Saam: Well, so this is — I mean this is — I think the fair thing is and it’s a hard part with legal, especially things like PI, it’s very hard to get to that return number within a system. That data generally lives well outside of your advertising system and that’s a hard problem to solve and there are things like Lawmatics, Lexicata, Avvo Ignite, which we are going to talk about in a second that have tried to help solve that problem, but if you are — in many cases you don’t know what the return is going to be, you don’t know when it’s going to happen and it’s difficult to track that client back into your advertising system, that’s a really hard problem to solve, and in my perspective, very biased, but correct, a good agency will try and close that loop for you and a bad agency will just send you things like impressions and bounce rate and ranking reports and so you — and by the way Gyi, what is ROAS?
Gyi Tsakalakis: ROAS.
Conrad Saam: ROAS, we need some more ROAS; that sound like a bad wine.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s a band. ROAS, Return On Ad Spend.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. And so you should be able to talk to your clients, to your vendor, to your marketing spend about your return on ad spend, right, what is this returning. And if they are not thinking about this, they are not in — it’s not a business mindset, they lack a business mindset, they are thinking about things like click-throughs and impressions and page views per session and stuff like that as opposed to —
Gyi Tsakalakis: What about brand awareness, Conrad?
Conrad Saam: We need more brand awareness, lots more.
So in all fairness, to get tactical and difficult, return on ad spend is very easy if you have an advertisement that clicks through to a purchase of a product and there is a price on that product and you know what that is. So if you are selling fuzzy bunny slippers and your fuzzy bunny slippers retail for $39 and you know what the click-throughs are and the funnels are and what the drop-off is and all that part, you can calculate return on ad spend in real time, okay?
The reality is in legal services you have complexities. One is you don’t in many cases know that revenue, you don’t know when that revenue is coming in, and the other really, really difficult part about a lot of marketing is you have this multi-touch attribution problem, right, and so branding is one of those multi-touch situations in which you may put your brand in front of someone 70 times before they actually click-through and do anything.
Or you may initially get them from a CPC campaign, pay-per-click campaign and then you advertise them with retargeting and they see 27 impressions and then they find out click-through and then they contact your firm. And so it becomes — this is not super straightforward, it’s difficult, you have to have some form of modeling around this, but I don’t want to completely poop on branding, because as we have seen, it works on television, it works on radio, it works on billboards, it does work on the interwebs, but you are looking at — and here is my caveat on branding is going big and going for a long time, and the branding is not something to — don’t take branding out on a first date, you need to get married to branding for a year. That’s a terrible analogy.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Be married to branding for a year, and with that, let’s take a quick break to hear a message from our sponsor.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: And we are back, and Conrad now wants to ignite the passions of the listeners.
Conrad Saam: Well, so we ended this with a discussion about branding and we just had an experience of branding, and the key of the sponsors here is, you’re probably not going to hear this once and connect with the sponsors, right? It is that repeated exposure, it’s knowing over-and-over again. You hear it on this podcast, you might see the advertisements on espn.com, you might go to the PILMMA Conference and see the booth. It is that repeated exposure and law firms have to understand that this branding concept is the repeated exposure, and the more you spend on it, the more it actually returns, because it does require many, many touches to be effective.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s 400 images of a whopper every single day.
Conrad Saam: I am getting hungry now, Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: There’s a Burger King marketing study about that, about how because they wanted to know if we just expose people to a tremendous volume of images of whoppers, will there be an incremental lift, and there was.
Conrad Saam: Because you get hungry for whoppers when you see lots of whoppers, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I guess, because it’s an old study.
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I haven’t had a whopper in years.
Conrad Saam: I haven’t. Now with the whole COVID thing, I don’t know the last time you ate out. We have not eaten out at all for like two or three months. So sidenote, in the spirit of being awesome and being local and being engaged, go support your local restaurant people. It is a noble thing to do as I’m sitting here completely guilty of not having done that.
Okay, next feature, Gyi, we are going to talk about the news. Two pieces of news I want to cover, we had mentioned Avvo Ignite and some of those tools that are trying to connect a marketing spend to the end client and the revenue that comes out of that, everyone should know, and by the way, we’re recording this just before the end of the month. At the end of May the Avvo Ignite product is not just being no longer supported, but it is going offline. So if you are using Avvo Ignite and you’re listening to this podcast, you should be scrambling.
Gyi, I know you have a bit of a dog in this hunt, so I’ll ask the question to set it up. What are some of the alternatives to the Avvo Ignite product and what do these products do and why are they useful?
Gyi Tsakalakis: HubSpot, no, seriously and full disclosure as Conrad mentioned. I’m an adviser on Lawmatics and Lawmatics is doing some really great work to help solve this problem, but we’re really talking about client relationship management and marketing automation, and so some of the bigger names and there’s even bigger names than these at the enterprise level, but HubSpot comes to mind, active campaign, but essentially what they are doing is their various function and feature sets, they’re helping you nurture from marketing activity, whether it’s a paid campaign or organic, visit your website, phone calls, through the journey from potential client to client, and then ideally you’re able to actually quantify the value or the fee generated by that record, and then track it back to the money that you spent to acquire it.
So you can do things like Return On Ad Spend by campaign or by channel or by source, return on investment in the time that you’re spending, so if you just spend a lot of time publishing, you could track back how many of my fees were generated from these different activities and then say, this is a good use of my time and money or this isn’t such a good use of my time and money.
Another thing that we talk about in this context is nurturing existing relationships. So one of the most untapped resources at most law firms is your former client list, where you represent them in something and then you no longer stay in touch with them, whether that’s just a check-in on their birthday or wishing them Happy Labor Day, these types of CRM tools can help with that stuff too.
That’s kind of the overview of the lay of the land. What do you have to say about CRM, Conrad?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, so I think the key here is you can automate the process of getting to what I consider a very important number which is cost per client, right? Fees become very difficult. There’s a time element, there’s an uncertainty with that, and it becomes especially in PI and even things like family where the initial fee often balloons as the spouses become more-and-more embittered.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s a great metric. How do we — so I’ve never heard of cost per client before, how do you calculate cost per client?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, there’s a tool that came out of Microsoft called Excel, there’s also Calculators. Here is the key and I’m being snarky on-purpose, because it really shouldn’t be that hard you need to be able to track back your newly signed matters on a regular basis; monthly ideally, quarterly at a minimum, back to the marketing channel from where they came.
And, the caveat here is you do not ask them where they came from, because of two reasons. One, it’s super, super-disruptive, obnoxious to the client, okay? So, oh, I’m really sorry that you just found your wife in bed with the piano teacher, how do you hear about us? Was that a Google ad?
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s the piano teacher.
Conrad Saam: Well, the piano teacher, well —
Gyi Tsakalakis: The piano teacher referred to you.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, thanks piano teacher. No, but like a lot of people are still asking their clients how they found them, either on a form on the web and they think this is generating good data, but it’s not. A, it’s super-intrusive and obnoxious, and B, it’s never accurate. At best, it is the Internet, right? And the Internet is a fairly large place last time I looked. There’s lots of places for you to spend your money, and the answer that Internet doesn’t help you track down where you spend your money to acquire that customer.
And, Gyi, there’s a whole bunch of infrastructure one can put in place to make it very, very easy to actually track this down. So there’s dynamic call tracking, there are tools like Lawmatics, the —
Gyi Tsakalakis: CallRail.
Conrad Saam: CallRail is a great tool that you guys should be working with.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Clio Grow.
Conrad Saam: Clio Grow, which used to be Lexicata which they — I don’t like that they called it Clio Grow, it’s just a weird, I don’t know.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You are not making friends, man.
Conrad Saam: I know, I would not have — I think my problem here, Gyi, is rebranding things is always very difficult. I will tell you this so, the last time we talked, we talked about our adventures in re-branding Mockingbird as cockroach to help people know that their job is to survive to the COVID crisis, it was a really, really interesting experience, I would not recommend rebranding. I thought it was going to be really clear that this was just a one-off.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Needless to say you’re back to Mockingbird.
Conrad Saam: We went back to Mockingbird, because it was fun, it was different, it was unique, it stood out and it was super-confusing to a lot of people.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So here — I know I can hear listeners typing this into Google right now, what’s a good cost per client?
Conrad Saam: So the answer to that is, it depends. See, I’ve been working with lawyers for so long, I can equivocate on anything.
So we’re going to go back to that business school answer that Gyi and I were talking about earlier in terms of just one client and it will pay for itself, does that make sense? That’s a terrible cost per client, because that cost per client literally is a 100%. Your return on the — just one client and it will pay for itself, is zero, right? That is your return and no one would ever invest in the stock market where your return was zero, so that’s insane. And so, you need to think about how much you’re willing to spend for that client.
Now, you may be a volume shop, NPI, or you’re doing tons of car accident lawyers, you have a lot of lawyers that you’re paying as little as you possibly can and you make it up in volume.
On the flip-side you may be a boutique firm that wants that very, very special case, right? And so the answer is very, very different based on your objectives and how aggressive you want to be and what your economics look like. So that’s kind of my thought on cost per client.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Got it. Well, I think that’s important for people to be thinking about. One other thing that under the Listeners Ask section that we didn’t cover, and I think it also dovetails with some of the other things that you’ve been seeing floating around the web I think are newsworthy. It comes from Jim Hacking, what are some the big marketing mistakes that you see lawyers make, and then not necessary — maybe this isn’t one of the biggest mistakes that you see, but connecting that to this idea of Kelly Phillips Erb saying, I received an email explained this week that I was being un-followed for being too political thoughts.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. So Taxgirl has been around for a very long time writing, writing amazingly well about possibly the world’s most boring subject, losing followers because she’s getting political. And by the way, I read her stuff all the time, this is not political. This is just facts, okay? And so, you can see just how amazingly difficult this world is right now.
Gyi, you and I are sitting here talking about, hey, you need to be vocal, you need to be involved in your community, you need to be available and sharing content, a lot of the content on the web is really dark right now. I mean, we’re sitting on the last 48 hours — the racism that’s happened very, very prolifically on the web in the last 48 hours is beyond disturbing, okay.
And so the question becomes — I personally find it difficult to be active and involved in the conversation without having a lot of that conversation being political, okay?
And for me, well, let me back up a little bit. We have had last night riots in Minneapolis, okay? We’ve had the George Floyd, that issue, the murder, I will call it murder, I was trying to slash my words carefully there and I started with murder I went to issue to tone it down, but like that’s murder. I will let you lawyers debate whether or not that’s actually the case but if you have watched that video it is sickening.
You have the Amy and Christian Cooper altercation in Central Park and then this is all colored with an election that is just rife with awfulness. And everyone has a voice. And so the question becomes for me is — and I have my bias on this, do you insulate yourself from this conversation or do you embrace this conversation?
And Gyi I am wondering where you stand on this. I tend to — you already know where I stand on this, but —
Gyi Tsakalakis: If you don’t stand for something you stand for nothing. Here’s kind of my bigger picture on this, in general and I tie it back to some of the bigger mistakes that lawyers make, is it really this whole subject really hits me on two of them. The first is, big marketing mistake is that your marketing is not about you, the lawyer, it’s about your target audience, your potential clients, your existing clients, the people that refer you business, other lawyers in the community, the people who actually care, the consumers of which you are publishing, that’s mistake number one is, lawyers tend to — whether they are told by their marketing person or instinctually they think they need to tell everybody that they see that how hard they fight and how many years of experience they have and how good grades they got in law school.
Conrad Saam: And how many money they have won?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, no matter how much money they have won, maybe some care about that. Any event, it’s not about — that’s a big mistake, number one is, it’s not about you, it’s about them. And in this context the other thing is, is that when you think about it being about them, it’s impossible to stand out in a competitive marketplace and be vanilla. And so when you say “insulate yourself” the question like am I telling you that you need to be a polarizing figure in your local community? I am not saying that, but I am saying that if you want to stand out, if you want to take a leadership role, if you want to be a knowledgeable and thoughtful and trusted adviser, I don’t think that you can just make all of your content either ignore some of these issues that we are facing, this silence is deafening, is that it is saying?
Conrad Saam: Silence is deafening. I am sure that was Voltaire.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So everybody has got to find their own comfortability level with how much they want to engage on these issues, but certainly especially if you are in a practice that’s serving a community that’s facing these issues, if you are silent on this, you are not an advocate for your community or for your audience or for your clients, lawyers are — there are certain lawyers that aren’t, if you are a corporate tax lawyer maybe these aren’t the issues that you are taking a lead on, but if you are a criminal defense lawyer, if you are — if you work in the criminal justice system, if you work in the civil justice system and you serve legal services’ consumers in your local community, I don’t see how you can be completely blind.
Now I am also not and we talked about this a little bit in the prep for this conversation. I am not suggesting you just become a political hack either here, right? That’s not take — that’s not leadership, right?
Conrad Saam: Well, I think the key here is the hack, right? And so the backside of that is like, this has to be genuine. You have to be really genuinely committed to something like this in order to get involved. So the hack for me is like don’t become involved because you see it as a marketing opportunity, but I would flip that and say don’t be afraid to get involved because you see that as a marketing liability and my — I was just watching the videos that came out this morning of the riots last night and I am sitting there, so this is an extreme level of this, what could you do as an attorney if you are in Minneapolis last night? Are you involved — like at the extreme of, are you involved on the streets involved in their protests with the camera, right?
By the way those protests got my opinion here way out of hand, blah, blah, blah, but are you involved, are you talking to people, you have a better opportunity to talk to people in the community than last night, right?
And that is I feel like lawyers are afraid to do that in many cases, and here’s the thing they killed me, and by the way I do not have a JD. I went through my experience working within the legal industry started in 2006 and I will tell you, I walked in with the same perspective of lawyers that most Americans have, which is very negative, and I have had this beautiful insider exposure to the nobility of the legal profession that I don’t think Americans understand, okay? But all of you who went into — almost all of you who went into law understand that nobility and being involved in the concept of justice right now, it feels to me that you guys as an industry tend to be afraid to take that position and yet you are the perfect people who went into this to take that exact position.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, and I think because I again in the mindset of giving listeners an example of someone I think is doing a really remarkable job of serving in a leadership capacity online as a lawyer is Ken White of Popehat, so if you want to look at for examples you can look up Popehat on Twitter, you can look for Ken White attorney and he will come up.
And again, you might not share the exact same viewpoints, everything that he publishes but in terms of taking a leadership role, he’s a pretty good example that we could all benefit from learning from.
Conrad Saam: And we all know who he is because and he is — by the way Ken has been at this for a decade more or and so —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Marry your brand.
Conrad Saam: Exactly, yeah, marry your brand for at least to you, let’s put it that way.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: But, yeah – no, I mean Popehat is a great example. There are lots of — there are lawyers who are very vocal on this stuff. I am surprised that — I feel like right now and especially if we are going into an election season that’s going to be really hard. A lot of people are thinking about these things. I think people are afraid to take a side because you are alienating some of the market, and I would just advocate that if you are not really, yeah, I think you said this just a little bit ago. If you are not standing for something, you don’t stand for anything, right? And this is a very easy thing to start standing for.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, and again, I think this point also resonates with me. I am a 40-something, White guy, maybe my voice on this is not the voice that should be listened to the most, but maybe I can be an advocate and get some of the other voices that might be lawyers that whether they are a lawyer of color or of a underrepresented community maybe this is an opportunity to be more inclusive in hearing their voices.
Conrad Saam: Alright, I just had an idea, and let’s wrap on this, but let’s extend an invitation. I would love to have as a guest on our next podcast someone who was actively involved and has been very, very close. The perfect person is an attorney who was involved in the protest last night, but there are other examples but that is something I would love to bring someone on to talk about that experience and why they took that step. So if you know anyone, if you are that person, we would love to talk to you, find a way to get in touch with me or Gyi and we would love to have you on as a guest about a brave decision where you have been involved with something very recent.
Gyi Tsakalakis: There you go. Thank you everyone for tuning into this episode of Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. As always, love or hate what we said here today, please do go leave a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcasting platform. And if you just stumbled across this episode and actually do want to hear more of it from us, please subscribe to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher. There’s a lot of podcasting platforms these days.
Conrad Saam: There are and thankfully you and I don’t have to think about it because this is produced so well. So we just have the easy part. We talk it gets recorded by amazingly good talent and then it gets distributed, which is amazing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Thank you, and thank you Conrad.
Conrad Saam: Hey, thank you.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Until next time.
Conrad Saam: Until next time, hopefully sometime it will be in-person when this COVID thing is all over.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I will wear a mask.
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