Just when marketers have a handle on advertising, the rules change. Conrad Saam and Gyi Tsakalakis outline the newest ad position being rolled out for professional service providers by Google, one of the biggest players in modern legal services advertising. Lawyers using Google Screened will get a green check, indicating that Google has verified the lawyer’s business background, license, and insurance.
The clear value is for end-users, so they can trust that the results they’re getting in searches for legal help are legit. Saam talks through the benefits for lawyers in a competitive marketplace. He and Tsakalakis also address another major shift from PPC to PPL, pay per click to pay per lead.
The two share perspectives and tips on reading analytics reports, what “statistically significant” even means, what data points to ignore, and other SEO advice.
To best illustrate the task of branding, Saam and Tsakalakis are asking listeners to help them rebrand the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast. Should the name change? The image? The music? What do you get out of this show? Tweet your answers to #LHLMBrand.
And Saam and Tsakalakis want to be sure listeners are aware of Carolyn Elfant’s “Lawyer + Mom + Owner Virtual Summit.”
Special thanks to our sponsor Alert Communications.
Lunch Hour Legal Marketing – Google Just Ruined Everything, Debunking SEO Bull****, & Let’s Rebrand!
September 1, 2020
Gyi Tsakalakis: Conrad.
Conrad Saam: Gyi! Lunch Hour Legal Marketing time. We’re going to talk about Lunch Hour Legal Marketing and the branding around that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Conrad, are you a parent?
Conrad Saam: I am a parent. I think there are lots of parents listening to this right now and most of you guys are panicking over how to handle your kids at school.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What’s going on with schools?
Conrad Saam: Well, so, I have to tell you my oldest kid has signed up for the junior ROTC thing in high school as opposed to doing gym class and he was just told he has to cut his hair which is much more problematic to him than dealing with how to run school from my office which is going to be happening sometime soon. For me and the parents around the country, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. Well, I guess it depends on where you are. I think some schools they’re back, but everybody’s remote in your–
Conrad Saam: Everyone’s remote. Computer, laptops are sold out. Gaming mics are sold out like all the hardware to run a classroom from home is sold out and I think what’s happening is all these lawyers who’ve been learning how to work from home now are now going to be learning how to school from home in the same way. So, it’s going to be fascinating. Yeah, it’s been — so, I’ve some toddlers. My new co-workers are toddlers.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. And so, you know, everybody has different issues, different stages. I understand you have a great suggestion though for lawyers who want to–
Conrad Saam: Yes. So, if you are a mom and you’re a lawyer–
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes.
Conrad Saam: –find Carolyn Elefant. She’s got one person, three jobs. It is a conference going on for moms and lawyers. We’ll make sure that we add that to the notes because it will be amazing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Nice.
Conrad Saam: Even though you and I won’t be there, it will still be amazing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s true. Is that a virtual conference?
Conrad Saam: It’s a virtual conference, yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And hopefully, it’s not going on while this is in pre-production.
Conrad Saam: We’ll make sure that that’s the case. I’ll tell her to hold it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We’ll give it another shot, yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Tell about that. All right, well, enough on personal and loose banter. Let’s do a rundown.
Conrad Saam: What are we talking about Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Today, we are talking about Google ruining your life with a new screened product. We’re going to answer some listener questions, one of our favorite things to do. And introduce a new segment, rebrand that podcast because—
Conrad Saam: Rebrand that podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We need some rebranding. Brand, brand, brand. Well with that, let’s dive in to this episode of 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: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Before we get started, we’d like to thank Alert Communications for sponsoring this episode. If any law firm is looking for call, intake, or retainer services available 24/7, 365, just call (866) 827-5568. The news! Conrad, what is new in the news?
Conrad Saam: Well so, this starts to get crazy because I feel like every time we have these conversations, we say, “Hey, the next biggest thing out Google is changing the world” and we’re going say it again.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I never say that by the way.
Conrad Saam: Are you saying I call Wolf(ph) on changes in technology?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’m not blaming anybody here. I’m just saying don’t bucket me in that group.
Conrad Saam: Okay, okay. Well, I will be part of that group, but this time, I really, really mean it. I think this is big.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right. What are you talking about?
Conrad Saam: Google Screened.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Google Screened.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, what is Google Screened Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’ve no idea. You’re supposed to tell us.
Conrad Saam: Okay, we’ll go into this in depth. Google Screened is the new product that’s coming out from Google that in my world is going to change everything. So, very quickly, say you understand what this looks like. This is a new ad unit that appears at the top of the page and so now, instead of having three different sections on a search engine results page which we call the SERPs in this industry because we’re cool, we acronymize everything. There’s now going to be a new one and this is at the very top and there’s a couple of things that go into this that are really, really fascinating. The first is they’re actually screening who shows up there. And that screen takes into account three things.
One, they’re doing background checks. Two, they’re actually checking with the State Bar to ensure they’re actually licensed in the state that you say you’re licensed in.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What a concept! What a concept! Well, listen, that’s not a new concept. I pulled that off a long time ago, right?
Conrad Saam: That goes back to 2007. No one else has done that. I mean, although Tim Stanley does that at Justia, but I don’t think — Gyi, are you aware of any other directors that are actually checking to see whether their listings are actually real attorneys?
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s a good question. Not at the top of my head. I know, you know, not actual–
Conrad Saam: –licensing. Some do like business search checkup, but just to make sure they’re actually a business. So, for me like checking on the licensing. That was a big deal with–
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s a big one. Yeah, that’s a big one.
Conrad Saam: And Google is now doing that. So,
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s a good thing.
Conrad Saam: I don’t want to put another nail in the avo(ph) coffin, but that does not sound like it’s good for all those primary differentiator, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: The avo coffin, not avocado. Avo coffin.
Conrad Saam: It’s two very different things. Although the avo people tell me they’re coming back, so—
Gyi Tsakalakis: Avocado.
Conrad Saam: Okay, and the third thing is they’re making sure you have insurance, right? And they’ve looked at this state by state. So, it’s a fascinating new thing that really, from my perspective, Gyi, adds a lot of value for end users because there is so much crap and specifically, the local search results.
Gyi Tsakalakis: But so, I’m going to — so I’m going to get my phone out. I’m doing a search here, personal injury lawyer in Chicago.
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You’re saying I’m going to see some ads coming up at the top and what are those ads going to look like? What’s the difference here? Is there something–
Conrad Saam: So, there’s a couple of things. They’re at the top, right, so—PVC is further down. The local results are now further down.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay.
Conrad Saam: They come with a green check mark. If they’re not currently–
Gyi Tsakalakis: Green check mark.
Conrad Saam: A green check mark, yeah. If they’re not in your current market right now, the best way to find this if you want an example is to look for a roofer. Roofer is near me. So, the thing is Google ran this in 2017 for different markets, right? So, home services, roofers are the one that like seems to pop up all the time, so you can see what this looks like if you look for roofers near me.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I think you can also look for like Santiago(ph) Immigration or Santiago real estate attorneys.
Conrad Saam: Yes, so they will show up. Sometimes, we’re seeing this show up. Immigration and real estate were one of the earlier ones that they were pushing out, but right now, most of the searches that I’m seeing were not actually seeing this show up for legal, but it’s a matter of time. And partly it’s because when they rolled this out, there is this background check which takes time, so at the time of this recording, most of this has yet to show up. But the other thing Gyi, that becomes really fascinating with this, we’re moving from a PPC model to a PPL model.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay, so that’s a big deal.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, that’s a big deal, right? So, PPC, pay per click, you pay Google every time somebody clicks on your ad whether it’s someone who actually wants to hire you or accidentally clicks or some click farm in China.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And then we’re your competitor. And then we’re competitor or Conrad.
Conrad Saam: No.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Or they’re not PPL, pay per lead. So now, you’re not paying Google for every click, you’re paying for Conrad to fill out a fake form on your ad and the form fill experience is a Google controlled lead experience, right?
Conrad Saam: It’s actually the phone call. You’re paying for that phone call, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay.
Conrad Saam: And so–
Gyi Tsakalakis: I thought they were testing some forms too when they made the program.
Conrad Saam: No, but the interesting thing that I’ve seen with this is they’ve broken out legal. They’ve really gone deep into legal. They’ve talked individually to State Bars to find out what requirements are and they’ve really dug deep into legal. They are not, you know, on the practice area side. We kind of break legal into roughly 20 practices. Google for this PPL product has, I want to say 170 to 180 different practice areas which means you’re paying different rates for instead of personal injury, it’s now motorcycle accident versus car accident versus trucking accident.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Like old-fashioned total attorneys paper lead.
Conrad Saam: It is and so, like it drills down into things like there’s a red light traffic ticket category.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, a question for you. Are they — can you return bogus leads?
Conrad Saam: So, when I talked to the Google people, they said that you can dispute your leads. So, there is a mechanism to ensure that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s wonderful, yeah.
Conrad Saam: That’s going to be so much fun. Disputing leads for paper lead is just an absolute nightmare.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, especially with Google, right because you know, what kind of real human customer support infrastructure are they going to build for that?
Conrad Saam: Don’t know. I don’t know, but I do know that there is a thing to dispute them. I don’t know what that’s going to look like.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, what about I’m a lawyer by Google ads and does this apply to me? What’s up? This is some 50 ad. I pay 50 dollars a month and I get the green check anywhere or something?
Conrad Saam: So, here’s — this was very confusing and I made it more confusing with a couple webinars that I did because I personally did not understand Google’s marketing material when it came out. So initially, it was a 50-dollar thing which applied to Google guaranteed as well as Google Screened. Now, just so you guys understand the difference. Google guaranteed is not a program that is available for
the legal industry, only Google Screened.
And as soon as I saw Google guaranteed for lawyers, I was like there’s no way Google is going to go into the business of guaranteeing legal work. And so, the 50 dollar was really a charge for getting the Google guaranteed if you were a roofer or
a pool boy or whatever it might be.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Pool person, Conrad.
Conrad Saam: Pool person. A pool administrator.
Gyi Tsakalakis: This is the second time we brought up pool boys in and—
Conrad Saam: You. Again, I feel like you have some note that says like mention pool person.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay, I do. I don’t even have a pool. I didn’t say I didn’t think you got a pool in the farm in Seattle. Is there a pool out there?
Conrad Saam: No, no. No, no pool out here.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right.
Conrad Saam: So anyway, this is based on a pay per-lead model. It will be revolutionary I believe. Every time we talk about a new thing coming out of Google, I talk about how it’s the next big, big thing. This one I actually think is the next big, big thing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, in theory hopefully, you know, the classic pitch on paper lead is you’re paying for leads instead of clicks and so hopefully, it makes it a little bit more efficient and hopefully, it’s a little more efficient if it’s, you know, bidding, but you know as you know and having been around, you know, not only with Avo, but having been in the agency world and looking at different paper lead programs, paper lead programs present a whole new set of issues, right?
Conrad Saam: Yeah. It’s going to be a completely different game, so strap in. Gyi and I have been begging reviews and we got a couple of good ones. Before we get into today, we’re going to ask you to review us especially if you think it’s amazing. I’m going to steal Gyi’s thing here. Gyi did a great job of asking for positive reviews to mention him and if you hate the show, to please mention me. So, for this week, we’re going to flip that around. If you have any complaints, please go to Apple and complain about Gyi and if you think it’s amazing, you can talk about Conrad.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And we’ll read your review as we’re about to do right now.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, go read the review. Gyi,
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right. Well, this is my — the review I’m most proud of which comes from Brooks Derrick and the title of the review is Peter Piper Picked Peppers.
Driving back home from a trial, I ran across this great run DMC rendition nestled in this dynamite podcast. So, I did do a little very short run DMC rendition. You’ll have to listen to all the episodes if you want to find out which one it is and judge me on my quality.
Conrad Saam: And if you look really carefully, you can find pictures of Gyi. Whenever I do something with Gyi, I always go back through his Facebook feed and find pictures of him. I want to say, I don’t know what you were singing because it’s a picture, but it’s awesome. He is more musical than you can imagine.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I was singing Rappers Delight.
Conrad Saam: Rappers Delight. There you go.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, at a wedding.
Conrad Saam: At a wedding?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, it’s a whole thing, yeah.
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And the other – do we get any other reviews?
Conrad Saam: We did. I’m going read one from Maurice Lilienthal, one of my favorite people, non-client, but I’m going to read this because it’s great and it makes us look awesome. In the world of legal marketing, there’ a wasteland of noise and people looking to take advantage of lawyers. If you want to know the truth about legal marketing from a trusted and well-respected source, Gyi and Conrad are your answer. They’re knowledgeable and well-respected experts in the legal marketing industry who will tell it like it is. We said that when we started this out, we’re going to do the tell it like it is thing, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: We did. I’m worried that this segment though is going to solicit a bunch of negative reviews and barf emojis, but–
Gyi Tsakalakis: We’ll see how it goes. So, if you want us to read your review—
Conrad Saam: Yeah, please mention Gyi and the barf emoji. Gyi’s barf emoji reference made me barf. All right, we did promise that we’re going answer some listener questions, okay. And so, we’re going get into a question from Jeremy Baker who asked us on LinkedIn. We’re going to answer his question and then we’re going to steal it and talk about something else. Here’s the question. Why my average session duration on Google analytics can vary so much by channel grouping each month? Some months organic traffic spends four times longer than director social traffic. In other months, the average session duration is more even across channel groupings. I usually have a few hundred visitors each month, so small sample size is not the answer I think. So, I’m going to suggest that small sample size might be part of the issue, but there’s a couple other things we got to talk about here.
So, umber one is apples to apples comparison for channel groupings. So, are we looking at it — is it all — have we isolated the following variables, device location, landing page, because if you’re seeing a fluctuation across channel groupings, you have to isolate those other variables and the other thing too again back to the original point if you filter out, so if you really dive down, you say, okay look we’re going to look at mobile visitors to this specific landing page across channels month in and month out and you still — well number one, do you even have enough visitors now, enough visitor data to actually, have something statistically significant.
And then two is if there’s still a statistically significant difference, we could talk about it, but my hunch is, is that there’s a lot of other noise going on in there that’s not going to tease out something like you know, we could talk seasonality and all that kind of stuff, but I would really like to and maybe Jeremy will come on the show and we can dive deeper, but you’ve got to isolate those other variables so people look at like the top level traffic report and you know, you’re comparing direct traffic to search to email to paid, but again, if it’s across devices different locations and then how many visitors are actually talking and is the difference actually statistically significant. And what does this word that I keep stumbling on statistically significant even me.
So yeah, so the deal with statistical significance and this is by the way when I interview people to work at Mockingbird, I get them — I box them into a corner where they have to say something along the lines of statistically significant and then explain what it means because if you don’t really know what it means, it’s one of those things like ROI, that lots of people like to throw around, that no one actually knows what — maybe not no one, most of the marketing agency people who say ROI couldn’t give you the formula for it and it’s the same with statistically significant. So, the deal with statistically significant data and by the way, for me, Jeremy, if you’re running a hundred, a few hundred visitors each month, you do not have a sample size that’s valid enough to make any suggestions with a month’s worth of data. You have to, I mean, you have to be so vastly different.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yup.
Conrad Saam: The beauty of statistically significant is if you — let’s go use a very, very simple example. If you want to know if mice are taller than elephants, all you have to do is look at four or five mice and elephants and you got a pretty good idea. Conversely, if you want to know if women are taller than men, you probably have to look at a hundred people in order to make that assessment, okay? And so the variability in your results and the closeness of that variability determines the sample size that you need to have in order to make an assessment. That’s the theory behind that and you get into T-tests and blah, blah blah. In order to actually calculate that. Most of the time, the answer that I get on statistically significant questions is uh two months right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Which is immaterial if you’re looking at you know, mice and elephants.
Conrad Saam: Exactly. The other one that really jumps out of me in this question is well a couple of things. One is, is like isolating like the pages we’re talking about. So obviously, if you land on a page that’s you know, long-form content versus short, that’s going to impact it. And then the other thing though that I think is worth asking is who cares?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: What are these pages? Is there something going on about session duration that has some meaning, right? Is it — are you — are they watching a video or are we are we just talking about like you know, how long their session duration is. They go visit another page on the site. Did they bounce, you know, yadda, yadda, yadda and then again even with all that being said, what I’d really like to see is, is any of this traffic converting into something meaningful? So let me ask this question. Let’s go debunk some SEO bullshit.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Oh, we just got the explicit rating again.
Gyi Tsakalakis: No that’s fine. I I think that’s okay. Every time you go down this road, I’m—
Conrad Saam: No, no, no, no. So, here’s the — here’s the question.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay.
Conrad Saam: Session duration and bounce rate. I get this this question from a prospect at least once a week.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Who is feeding people this?
Conrad Saam: I don’t know. It drives me crazy. So, here’s the thing. Let me ask you Gyi. Do we want–
Gyi Tsakalakis: The answer is no.
Conrad Saam: Go ahead.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You already know the answer.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, I know.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Go ahead.
Conrad Saam: So, Gyi’s right. The answer is no, but I’m going to ask the question anyway, so you guys can hear the debunking happen in real time. Hey Gyi!
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah Conrad.
Conrad Saam: Should I work on improving my bounce rate or increasing my session durations so Google likes me more?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Neither.
Conrad Saam: Why Gyi? Because I keep hearing this because –
Gyi Tsakalakis: Who’s saying this?
Conrad Saam: Do you want me to name names?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh no, I don’t, but out of all the trash we hear about SEO, this one to me is like I can’t – I haven’t heard this one coming. I mean, maybe I’m just living in a different SEO bubble, but again, so the answer is forget about it. You can forget about—
Conrad Saam: Forget about it. You can forget about bounce rate, you can forget session duration and –
Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay, people are going come in like, oh that’s not very honest answer Gyi, but I’m not going give you a new honest answer. You want to fight with me on Twitter about it, go. Fight with me on twitter. You can leave a nasty review. The answer is none of this stuff is — not you’re not going to pay your rent with session duration times.
Conrad Saam: Oh, my session duration’s three minutes, so therefore, I must be the most successful internet marketing person and I can now pay my bills.
So, the history of this comes from publishers who make money by serving ads.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right.
Conrad Saam: The more time you spend on it on a page, the more ads they can serve up. The more pages you turn on a page, the more ads they serve up. It’s great if you’re a publisher. If you’re a lawyer and someone comes to your website and they see an amazing page and they’re like, Wow Gyi’s the guy that I want to hire. I’m going to call him. I shut my browser and I call him. That’s a bounce and it’s everything that you want.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And the conversion.
Conrad Saam: And the conversion which is what we want to talk about. It’s a bounce, a conversion and potentially a fee. So, give me your short — I would rather you don’t spend a lot of time reading my long form content, just give me a call. Close your browser and give me a call and then sign up.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Did you say call baby?
Conrad Saam: No, I did not. All right. If I did, please edit that out.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right. We have rambled about session durations for long enough. Let’s take a quick break.
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Conrad Saam: And we’re back and we made a promise, we’re going to keep our promise that’s what we do here at LHLM. We had a new segment.
Gyi Tsakalakis: A new segment called rebrand that podcast.
Conrad Saam: Yes and you might, from the name of that segment, gathered that we’re going to talk about the possibility of rebranding this podcast and use it as a case study in branding because most of you guys are terrible with branding. right? And I’m hoping that we can go through our process of discussing whether or not we rebrand this podcast and you can learn a little bit about how to think about lawyers and branding because what we’re going to talk about here is extensible to what you guys do.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. So, the kind – or at least our theory is that through this process of talking about how we’re going to explore rebranding this show, you’ll have some takeaways that you can take back to your own practice. If you have a podcast, obviously it will be pretty applicable to that, but I think that will be more widely applicable concepts that you can use for branding. So, what is branding Conrad? What do we mean by branding?
Conrad Saam: So, I think branding often gets mistaken as logos and maybe colors, right? And for me, branding is a much wider understanding of how you’re different in the marketplace and I like to use the terms positioning, messaging along with the term branding because most of you try to brand yourself as a lawyer, but that’s not really a brand. It’s a job and so, the branding really is how are you different, what makes you special, why you instead of everyone else? It’s the — to use some really basic concepts, so let’s think about what’s coming out right now in the automotive world, you’ve got the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco and arguably the Toyota 4runner, all as very outdoorsy tough guy vehicles that frankly do the same damn thing and yet people are really, really invested in one or the other because of branding, right? And so, how as a lawyer, do you get someone deeply invested in you or at least understanding how you are different from everyone else when ultimately, you’re serving up a very, very similar product and I hate to say that because you guys aren’t going to take umbrage with that but ultimately, you’re solving people’s legal problems. The question is why you and why are you different?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right and that’s for me to kind of summarize some of the things you said and number one, I love the repositioning too. I’m drinking the David Baker Kool-Aid, Baker’s book, the business of expertise. If you haven’t read it, go check it out. Lawyers are in the expertise business as far as I’m concerned, but the short version here is who do you help, how do you help them, and why are you uniquely positioned to help them, right? It’s that’s why people should choose you as Conrad said from every other lawyer out there. That’s the kind of the framework and so one of the things we’d like you to do if you’re listening is to tweet us some of your favorite lawyer brands. You can use the #LHLM brand or just LHLM, we’ll still find it. But we want to see what you think about lawyer brands that are, you know, they can be your favorite or they can just, you could hate them and they can just be memorable.
Conrad Saam: I like to hate them too, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: What are the brands that you hate?
Gyi Tsakalakis: The most – with lawyer brands that come to and pop into your head when you think about lawyers?
Conrad Saam: Yeah and I think one of the things is the key that Gyi mentioned there is they pop into your head, right? And it might be that you hate them. I was talking to one of our clients the other day and they’re like we do a lot of branding work and people tell us all the time that they’re sick of seeing our brand all over the place and they’re like and every time I hear that, I know we’re winning, right? Because the people know what it is.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Exactly and you know the other thing too and not to – I think one of the places that there’s a lot of really important compelling reasons for really strong positioning, but one of the ones that I think keeps coming up especially in the context of the web is, it’s a lot easier to generate demand for people that are looking for you and the efficiency, the conversion on those searches, is way higher than non-brands. So, when someone comes even to our website, is looking for me or my business name, we’ve already built in reputation, know like trust, yadda, yadda, yaddah versus someone that comes to our site that comes in on a non-brand query like, you know law firm SEO agency or best law firm SEO agency, that’s not nearly as strong, you know, not nearly as efficient and qualified potential client for us and so anyway, you know, this debate goes around and around. Well, should I do brand or not brand or whatever and the answer is both, right? But to me, the cornerstone and I think a lot of lawyers get this, they just don’t use — they don’t have the language to articulate it this way is that, you know, lawyers forever have known like reputation and relationships matter.
This is what we’re talking about. Your ability to distinguish yourself from a reputation standpoint to your target audience, that is an extremely valuable thing. It’s something that doesn’t matter if Google makes an update or Facebook’s, you know, they take away your organic reach. None of those things matter if you’re able to establish a true brand that has a reputation for you know, to either, whatever it is. You know, you can have a reputation for a million different things. Figuring that out is part of the process that we want to talk about.
Conrad Saam: And so you have this brand awareness concept and then which basically means I recognize who you are. Morgan and Morgan is probably the biggest driver of brand awareness in the legal industry. And that’s just knowing who you are. That’s the McDonald’s, right? Like I recognize McDonald’s, I recognize Coke, I recognize these things. The positioning is why you, right? The why are you so different and and it can be, I mean, it can be all sorts of different things and leaning into those things helps essentially — especially when the legal industry is so bad at the positioning. Most of you, 98 out of 100 of you, position yourselves as someone who has a law degree. And the people who lean into something else do a really great job of making the decision for someone who’s looking to hire a lawyer. Do I want to hire Bill who, I understand who Bill is, or do I need to find another lawyer and that becomes a binary conversation. So, you have all the — you got 25 different options and your first question is, Bill’s got this positioning that either resonates with me or not and so I’m going to hire Bill or not. And then I’m choosing between all the other 24 or if Bill’s just like another guy with a law degree, now, I’m now at 25 different options instead of a binary discussion about Bill versus every other lawyer out there.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. And then, you know, once you’ve once you’ve done that exercise and you you’re able to answer those questions, who you help, how you help them and why you’re uniquely qualified to help them, you can start tailoring your message to deliver on that — those brand promises to help position you and how you help those people and so that’s where we start — it’s only until you have that cornerstone can you start worrying about logo and you know, in our case, music, artwork, what we’re going to do on social media and everything else that flows from that, but anyway, that’s at least where we want to take this because, you know, I think part of this is the exercise of Conrad’s a new host of the show and so, it’s taking on a new brand, right? And so part of this process will be rebranding our show and walking through some of the things. So, where are we on this conversation ourselves?
Conrad Saam: Yes, so some of the things that we think about are like, so we’ve got the who are we? Who are we Gyi? Like and I mean it’s a fair thing like I’ve come on, you know, do we make this a — is this the Gyi and Conrad Show? Is this a picture of, you know, two guys? Is it a — do we stick with something that that’s maybe recognized from our brand recognition perspective with the hamburger and Lunch Hour Legal Marketing.
We’ve got the music that’s associated with this, money makes the world go around. Is that the right message? Is that the right discussion? Is that what we want to represent who we are?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, I think. Go ahead.
Conrad Saam: No, no, no, keep going.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I was going to say, well one of the things that I think as you’ve been saying that one of the things that keeps coming out to me and I think that has a lot of applicability to lawyers is that you know a lot of these podcasts we’re talking about this with Adam, our producer, a lot of the podcasts – I mean as you’re listening, you really start to like develop a relationship in your mind with the podcast host and so, you know, the same thing with lawyers, right? The colloquialism, is that people hire lawyers, not law firms and so I think that’s a very important point. If you go out and you do your searches on your firm name and you’re seeing logos and you’re seeing the firm name and you’re not seeing a lot of visibility from the lawyers, you know, maybe this is different for big law than it is for solos and smalls and I think that’s best part of the conversation too. But for us, the people behind our show, you and I, and the people at a law practice, the lawyers themselves, that to me has got to be at the forefront of the what makes you unique right? I mean, logos, I don’t care how clever you are. Logos really aren’t going to make you unique. I mean, it’s funny because, you know, and this is one thing that the branding people talk about all the time, but you know, the swoosh, it gets its meaning from what Nike has you know, become, right? Otherwise, it’s like if you just — you can put a checkmark on something and be like, oh, yeah. People won’t even think twice about it. And so it comes after right that logo comes to embody what the positioning is.
Conrad Saam: And so the key here is to make this very genuine and understand what our positioning is and I think that’s one of the things that’s frequently missed in these kind of branding and position conversations is you probably already have that right? You probably already have an understanding of what your positioning is, but that really also lives in the mind of your audience. One of the reasons that we started this of in reading the reviews is that’s a great place for us to gain an understanding of what the audience thinks we are. Why are we different like so. So, the way I think things are and the way Gyi thinks things are. What’s really important to us is how you guys already perceive us and so we can lean into that understanding of who we are and how we’re different.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s the second thing we’re going to ask you to do is to tweet us. What do you think this show’s all about? What do you think our positioning is? You can either again, lhlm hashtag on Twitter, lhlm brand or write in reviews, you know, you can tell us, like hey, these guys are a couple of jerks who don’t know anything about legal marketing. It’s like okay, that’s our new position now.
Conrad Saam: We’ll read it on the next podcast. Or you know, those of you that are connected with us, in a variety of other ways, feel free to reach out to us if you’re more comfortable doing it privately. But in the end, we want to hear from you, right? A part of this whole exercise in this idea of eating our own dog food here is to hear what people who actually listen to this show have to say or what they think this show means to them and how it helps them and we encourage law firms, I mean part of our process all the time is create that feedback loop, right? So, create that feedback loop at your law firm, ask people what they think about your practice, ask them why they chose you, ask them how you stand out, ask them, you know, understand the language that they use to describe the problems that they — the challenges issues that they have and why they came to you. That will help you start to flesh out some of this positioning.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, what are other ways that people can do research for their own branding to get a feel for what their branding looks like?
Conrad Saam: I mean, there’s consumer surveys, there’s you know you can listen to conversations of on intake. I think that’s one of the best ways.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes. So, I would find ways that you can listen in to how people think about you without necessarily needing to do a formal survey, right? And you can ask those open-ended questions. You can have your intake. Not like, so I like replacing the question of how did you hear about us with why did you call us right? And what was it that made you call us and you can do a ton of research by listening to the answers to that question on intake.
Conrad Saam: Yeah and it’s so important too because even you see and we talk about this all the time, but what you think is the experience of potential clients and clients might be much different than what it actually is and so, you know, it comes out in reviews, it comes out in even an email messaging, but a lot of this is just as a listening exercise, a research exercise with your existing communications. So, that’s where I would implore people to start. Or you can be like us and you ask people to tweet it. What do you think of us on Twitter.
Yeah. I mean, so we’ve done all sorts of research for different clients and understanding who they are. If you are a PI lawyer, let me just be super blunt on this, your branding and positioning and messaging isn’t six million dollars recovered right? That is not a branding or messaging or positioning at all. And that’s what most of you think it is.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What about years of experience?
Conrad Saam: Well, we have a combined years of 212 years of experience doing, yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Or how hard they fight.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, they fight really, really hard. Everybody fights hard.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Everybody fights, let me just tell you, everybody gets million dollar verdicts, everybody fights super hard and everybody’s been practicing law combined for over a hundred years, the end. That’s not positioning.
Conrad Saam: It’s not. Okay, next time you hear from us, we’re going to get deeper into our own positioning. We’re going to talk about whether or not we ditch the hamburger. We’re going to talk about whether or not we renamed the podcast. We’re going to get some feedback and read that feedback and we’re going to apply that to how you should think about your own law firm.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right listeners, until next time. We bid you adieu. If you just stumbled across this, please do go subscribe, so you can catch our latest episodes as we go through this rebrand process and just to bang the drum one more time. If you like this or if you don’t like it, if you have suggestions for us, feel free to leave us review or contact us. We’d love to hear from you. That’s the only way we get better. Thanks so much.
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