The guys do a whole session on targeting—what it means and how to do it—and then dive deep into a case study on a well-known attorney’s geotargeting mishap.
Welcome back to school, kids. Today’s lesson is all about hitting the marketing bullseye—with targeting! Now, targeting means that you are putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time. How do you do that? Gyi and Conrad focus this session of LHLM 101 entirely on helping you understand how to identify and connect with your target market to gain more clients for your law firm.
Later, Conrad recently stumbled upon a Facebook ad specifically targeting Pennsylvania car accident victims… but he wasn’t IN Pennsylvania. So, why did this ad appear outside of its target area, and does this equate to sending marketing investments up in smoke? Gyi and Conrad analyze this particular example of a geotargeting blunder and share their thoughts on how lawyers should approach the complexities of area-specific advertising.
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Mentioned in this Episode:
Target Markets: Why They Aren’t Just for Marketers [A Quick Guide]
The Geotargeting Mishaps of a Pennsylvania Lawyer
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Conrad Saam: Before we get started, we’d like to give a huge thank you to our sponsors, Lawmatics and CallRail.
Gyi Tsakalaki: Conrad, happy anniversary.
Conrad Saam: Is this our anniversary, Gyi? Actually, I should know the answer to this question. It is my 20th wedding anniversary and you know, it kind of flown by. You know, my parents called me like, does this feel like a great accomplishment and it’s like, it’s kind of the expectation, right?
Gyi Tsakalaki: Well, congratulations.
Conrad Saam: Thank you.
Gyi Tsakalaki: That’s a huge milestone. I’m assuming you’re in marital bliss.
Conrad Saam: As soon as we finish recording, I am off to spend an evening. I’m leaving my kids at home like a bad parent and my wife and I are going off and we’re spending an evening at the Salish Lodge out here in Washington and we’re doing nothing and it’s great.
Gyi Tsakalaki: Fantastic. Well, let’s tear through this episode. Well, as we talking about today.
Conrad Saam: And thank you for listening to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, goodbye. No, we’ve got the news as usual and we’re going to do a whole session on targeting. This came up last session when we were talking about branding and we’re going to do a Lunch Hour Legal Marketing 101 on Targeting. How to do it, what it means and then, we’re going to go deep into a case study of a well-known lawyer about their own Geotargeting mishaps and so, I’m really looking forward to that and when we get back, we’re going to hit the news.
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.
Conrad Saam: All right. Welcome everyone to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. As usual, we’re going to start off with the news and it is dominated by stuff coming out of you from the good people in Mountain View.
All right. Three big things coming to you from Google. First, Andrew Shotland, local marketing extraordinaire positive. This is just this morning that it is perhaps the Local Pack is seeing less prominence. So, if you are seeing less action in the Local Pack you may not be the only one. Secondly, Gyi you have really strong recommendations of what to do about Google’s core algorithm update that came out in September. What should everyone stop, drop and roll and do?
Gyi Tsakalaki: Well to be factual? It was really in reference to helpful content update, but I apologize.
Conrad Saam: It’s the same answer. It’s the same answer.
Gyi Tsakalaki: Nothing, do nothing. You know, SEO people like us, we love to talk about these updates because guess what, it gets everybody scared and like, “Oh, I got to go make changes.” In 20 years of Google, in the last 20 years, there’s probably a dozen updates that really significantly changed what you should be doing based on my opinion and so, don’t go mass delete your content, which is why I know that’s what a SEO is on social media telling people, go delete all your content because it is not helpful. Great, really smart.
Conrad Saam: Okay, do nothing brought to you by Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, sit around, and do nothing. But I mean, seriously like, marketing tip for today, but ultimately, when these things are all over the place and there’s a lot of variability in the search results right now, there’s another post on that recently. You got to see where the data falls and most of you don’t have, A, this is not the right time to analyze the data because it is in flux and B, most of you don’t have enough data to analyze anyway.
Gyi Tsakalaki: You don’t have enough data and I promise you you’re looking at a wrong. I mean, many of you are like, “Oh I see some fluctuation happen”, you’re not even checking what version Google has crawled and indexed of your site. The dates that they did that and your tools lag time that’s reporting all this stuff to you and then you see these updates, you see these headlines, you come to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, hear the news, helpful content update. Pedro(ph) go research that and go delete all my pages that aren’t helpful because there wasn’t not going to rang and then you’d been your traffic really falls off a cliff.
Conrad Saam: So, do nothing, be careful, don’t be in an amateur about this and finally, the last thing coming out of Google is an update to and then I mean, this is just showing up more and more to their AI policy, but the Google Search helpful content system and your website. They have dropped the words helpful content written by people for people in search results to helpful content created for people in search results.
So, Gyi your suspicion is the reason they’ve dropped this is because they can’t tell the difference between AI generated content and human generated content, fair?
Gyi Tsakalaki: Yeah. Mostly, they can’t. I mean, I’ll prove it to you. Go to Chat GPT and ask it to give you five different greetings in English and it’s going to say something like hello and how are you and that kind of stuff. Well, guess what? Google can’t tell if Chat GPT wrote that or a human being wrote it and they don’t care. Also, it’s also important because for a variety of reasons, you know and I saw this change too and my interpretation is they dumped this language a while back. They had already said they don’t care about whether a machine does it or not as long as their tools and their machine deems it helpful. Now, how they do that?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, all right. So, don’t worry about your AI generated content bringing you to the bottom of —
Gyi Tsakalaki: No, go search for it now while you’re sitting there. Go search for Chat GPT for Legal Marketing and I’m very confident on the first page, you will see a post that was completely written by Chat GPT and the reason I know this is because I published that post and it still ranks even now.
Conrad Saam: the beautiful irony. All right and for those of you who will be at Clio Con, you can see both Gyi and myself and Gyi, I think we have a bit of a giveaway. Can you talk about the LHLM swag available to you only in Nashville or Las Vegas?
Gyi Tsakalaki: We got swag. We’re starting with trucker hats because trucker hats are amazing and they actually show up on video when we record you asking us a question. So, flag down Conrad or I, ask a question, will give you a hat, will record you and will talk about it and answer your question on the show. So, if you needed more swag in your life, Lunch Hour Legal Marketing is here to deliver.
Conrad Saam: This is the first ever swag that we’ve developed for LHLM, I believe. So, catch us both at Clio or find me at (00:07:01) Perfect later on that week and will record questions and will answer them on the airwaves later on. All right, when we come back, we are going to give you guys, I think it’s a primer in the U.S. It’s a premier in English on targeting and following that we’re going to go deep into a case study about Geotargeting.
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Gyi Tsakalaki: Welcome back class. We are back in school at Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Have a seat and we’ve got some LHLM 101 and today’s topic is an overview of Targeting in Marketing. Conrad, why don’t you define what we mean by Targeting?
Conrad Saam: Yes. I mean, at the very highest level targeting is ensuring that you are putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time and one of the keys with Targeting, one of the difficulties that law firms have especially the smaller you are and the bigger market that you’re in, it’s very difficult to try and boil that ocean or reach the entire city. And the smaller your budget is, the more ineffective it is when you try and have that really, really large reach because as we talked about at the last podcast, people really need to see things seven times before they even remember anything right? And so, it’s that repeated exposure. How to get repeated exposure in an entire city? You don’t, but if you can constrict that market, constrict where those ads are being delivered to a segment of the population, you’ll do a lot better and there lots of different ways and will put these in the notes.
There’s a great post from HubSpot about identifying Target markets. There are lots of different ways to segment out a market and we’re going to cover four of them. The first Gyi is behavioral targeting. What do we mean when we talk about behavioral targeting?
Gyi Tsakalakis: So that’s based on some user’s behavior. It might be that they’ve already visited your site in the case they might do retargeting. It might be that they are following a certain client journey so you might see in your analytics data that a large number of your clients follow a certain path. Maybe they subscribe to your email and then they click on your site and then they click on an ad or something like that. And so, you can use that to inform your targeting, your ad targeting.
Conrad Saam: One of my favorite behavioral targeting that you can do is identifying people who have visited competitive sites. So I’ll move outside of the legal world, but if I start looking at the Ford website, I may get hit by ads from Chevy without having ever been to the Chevy site. So, interesting ways to do behavioral targeting. The next one is psychographics, okay. What do we mean by psychographic targeting?
Gyi Tsakalakis: So this is identifying beliefs, attitudes. I like to think about it as like this is like what keeps people up at night in the context of your potential clients and so lawyers would probably be familiar with this in terms of jury selection and (00:11:30) when they’re trying to understand people’s biases, beliefs and attitudes, that plays a role in your audience targeting too.
Conrad Saam: Okay. Psychographics and the one that’s often associated that is demographic, demographic targeting. Give me a great example of where demographic targeting is super important in the legal world.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, in certain practice areas lawyers want to focus on people who can afford their services. And so especially if they think about like family law and divorce and a lot of lawyers are like, well I want to do these high net worth divorces because there’s more fee in it for me, but there’s all sorts of demographics that you might consider age as a demographic, technically locations are demographic. I know we’re going to talk about that is a separate one but — yeah, it’s a data, audience data that you can use to inform your campaigns.
Conrad Saam: It’s interesting with location and the geographic target image. Geographic basically means where you are. Geographic targeting can be really effective at hitting both demographic and psychographic targeting. So this type of person lives in this neighborhood, but it really depends on the city, and it depends on your area. You may have a city that is segregated by affluent areas and non-affluent areas. And then I think of Philadelphia as a great example of a city that does not look like that where block to block the demographics are amazingly different. It can really change. Seattle is very similar to this, too where just really small changes in where you are physically can have a massive impact on what your demographics look like.
Geographic targeting, really, really important. We are going to go deeper into that. The really cool thing about and I think this is why social ads are so effective is our ability to now identify people through targeting, behavioral targeting, psychographic targeting, demographic targeting, geographic targeting. It is amazing with what you can do through a Facebook, through an Instagram and all of this data really helps put the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Gyi, the other targeting that I really like to think about is your own CRM system, right? So, can you talk to me a little bit more about how lawyers are using their own, and I mean it’s here. I’m basically at the most basic level of the list, but how are we using lists in CRM systems to actually tactically target people?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I give the easiest one to me. The easiest one is custom audiences. So ideally you have a segmented list meaning you’ve got a list that contains a group of people who are former clients, maybe you’ve got a list that’s like referral sources and that referral source list might be segmented by like other out-of-state lawyers that might refer you cases because they don’t practice in your state. Or it might be professional service providers in your area that don’t do what you do because they get these questions like who do you like for X legal thing. So, by taking that CRM data with those email lists you can create this custom audience on a social platform and then stay top of mind with messaging, with ads that are specifically speaking to that segment. So, reaching out to former clients and then we’re talking about in terms of retargeting and custom audiences. But the other thing that is super powerful with CRM data is the personalization aspect because you can actually send them like a message on their birthday. You have maybe an anniversary, if you have anniversary data in your CRM you can wish them a happy anniversary and I think that kind of segmentation is extremely powerful.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, absolutely. And that, we’re seeing more and more corporate law has for years in your decades been effective with CRM-based marketing. We’ve seen an explosion of CRM-based solutions sold to the consumer facing legal industry. So that is absolutely going to continue to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to marketing effectiveness. All right, so our big takeaway here is just because you’re in a huge market does not mean you need to boil the ocean and with targeting you can actually drill down and find the right people and put that message in front of the right people at the right time. It’s not just about your target clients, right? When we come back, we’re going to do a quick review and then we’re going to go into a case study on geotargeting.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And so as Conrad mentioned before the break and stole my thunder, we got a new review for Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Best pod I’ve heard in the space sent by Off Scripting, thank you Off Scripting. Conrad, is that your mom?
Conrad Saam: Not my mom. She does not.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s very nice if it was and whoever you are off scripting, we do appreciate it. Five stars countering do you know their stuff and I get a better understanding of the legal marketing landscape every time I listen. They’re great chemistry. It makes those of learning entertaining which keeps me coming back. Thank you Off Scripting and Conrad, thank you for your contribution to our excellent chemistry.
Conrad Saam: Outstanding. Outstanding. I love it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We do have good chemistry.
Conrad Saam: It’s the fair amounts.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right, Conrad, talk to us about this Facebook post that you found.
Conrad Saam: Sure. So, this was really fascinating to me. You and I spend all day long on lawyer websites and so we get all sorts of targeting on social. We get all sorts of targeting on display. This was a Facebook ad from TopDog Law that says, and I love this, it caught my eye. Anyone in Pennsylvania who’s been injured in a motor vehicle blah-blah-blah. So let me talk through. This is a terrible medium with which the podcast is a terrible medium with which to explain this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s why we’ve brought it up.
Conrad Saam: Yep. Exactly. The ad says anyone here in Pennsylvania who’s been injured in a motor vehicle accident blah-blah-blah. The URL in that ad says Pennsylvania, compensatecaraccidenlawyers.com Pennsylvania. When you click through to that that redirects to a URL that says Massachusetts and the content on that landing page says don’t waste time Pennsylvania residents get 60% more cash except that was not in Pennsylvania when I saw this. So I took a quick screenshot and posted it and I wrote when you are a Pennsylvania car accident law firm and your advertising reaches well outside of Pennsylvania, how to burn money. The first thing I want to hit Gyi, is and I want to ask your opinion on this. Do you like those ads? Let’s assume I was in Pennsylvania. Do you like those ads that call out the location in the advertisement?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, as a general advert — LHLM 101, the more tightly relevant that your ad this with your audience targeting the better, right? So if you’re showing so in the basics are, if you’re showing ads to people in Pennsylvania, then it makes sense to use Pennsylvania in your ad copy and in your landing pages and in your messaging.
Conrad Saam: Okay, 100% agree. And we’ve certainly seen this like you can get more sophisticated in this so we had a client for a while that did DUI work in Las Vegas, sorry, in Nevada. And so one of the really successful ads that we did was targeting people outside of Nevada who had gotten their DUI while they were being stupid in Las Vegas and super, super effective, and you can have content that really speaks to that specific thing. We’ve done it with immigration law for military people in Korea. There’s a whole lot of stuff that you can do with this in order to make the targeting work, but the key here is I was not in Pennsylvania so why was I getting advertisements for Pennsylvania? I want to dig into some of these comments. The first big picture comment on this was hey, you know what? TopDog law, they’re huge and they’re winning, right? So let me read a couple of these for you because I found it really, really fascinating.
James is growing like crazy. His organic social strategy is really solid too. One of the few that get it. TopDog Law is absolutely killing it. Great dude as well. And so, this might not be wasted, I think he’s referring in other sites. I don’t think he’s burning money. James appears to be growing. So Gyi, do you think that because you are growing, you are not burning money?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well look —
Conrad Saam: You think you’re doing it all right because you’re winning?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, and also you don’t believe everything that’s written on the Internet but look, I have no reason to believe TopDog has come up in other conversations. I have no reason to doubt that he’s doing awesome. I’ve visited his site. I think he does a fantastic job telling his story, his social media. As mentioned, the organic social media strategy I think is extremely compelling and obviously the proofs in the pudding, and we’ll put links into the social media profiles and go check out what he’s doing. Tremendous following reach, visibility, all that kind of stuff. But I think that for me, the two big things are, one is that as you’re alluding to, he can be doing all those things right and having a ton of success and still some of this stuff gets tricky, and so maybe it was a targeting issue. Maybe he wants to advertise nationally for Pennsylvania. I don’t know. That to me does seem like it could be implemented a little better. But to me, the other thing that this brings up, and I’m in a bunch of these groups and we know a lot of the people that commented on this particular post. And you see that and if you’re not in the know, you read some of this stuff. I think this came up when we talked with Paul Faust too but there’s some nuance in there, right? Like some of those folks might have an interest, they might have skin in the game. Maybe they’re a referral partner with TopDog. Maybe they’re trying to win TopDog’s marketing business by —
Conrad Saam: Maybe they run TopDog’s targeting.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Maybe they work at TopDog, I don’t know. So I would be careful with that. But constructively, because again, this isn’t a knock on TopDog’s — doing great. This is about constructively what would you do differently in terms of targeting. And the other thing that we can share is in our prep for having this discussion, I think it’s important for people to kind of know some of the nuance here is — if you’re not familiar with the Meta Ads Library, you can go to the Meta Ads Library and type in an advertiser, type in a domain and see the ads that they’re running with the landing pages. And so, one of the takeaways here is that this stuff can get pretty complicated, right? In fact, the URL that was — at least the URL that we saw in the Facebook post is probably not an active URL anymore, and so it got 302. And so, when you click — when I typed in that URL today, it redirected to a Massachusetts page.
Now, again, if they’re not running ads on it, maybe not a problem, but if someone bookmarked that — that’s why you got to be careful about thinking about how you use landing pages and how your redirects work, and certainly from a messaging standpoint, you can have a national campaign. Nothing wrong with having a national campaign, but you know, think about how does Pennsylvania resonate when you’re doing a national campaign. So anyway, the devil’s in the details of the implementation, the other critique, constructive critique that I would have, maybe not necessarily, maybe it’s not even directed at this particular ad but in terms of the geotargeting, I’ve found that the localized — the more local — so in the same like LHLM 101, if Pennsylvania is relevant, you know what’s even more relevant? Your local city, right? And again, we’ve seen this and we’ve talked about this in the past with Google. Google’s got data on this too. Proximity matters a lot more to legal services consumers than lawyers want to give it credit for. And so therefore, you want to be talking about, you know I serve your specific city. That’s more compelling than you know Pennsylvania or I’m a personal injury lawyer. And so, it goes kind of back to your point about the boiling the ocean too.
Conrad Saam: Love that point. If you can actually target where people are, which you actually can, you can drill down a lot tighter than Pennsylvania, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. And remember, ad targeting, think about search. There’s two ways to think about geo ad targeting. There’s where the machine thinks you are and there’s the keyword intent. What you’re actually looking for. And again, this is kind of Google Ads 101 but if you’re someone that’s searching for a suburb of Philly, if that local modifier is in their search query, then you want your ad copy and your landing page to speak to that specific city, and that’s why Google does dynamic ad generation based on the query, because they know it works.
Conrad Saam: And I think what happens is when you have all of that dynamic content being generated, if that is not run extremely well, you can end up with things like an advertisement to me suggesting that I’m in Pennsylvania, right? And that’s where it can go wrong. It’s easy for this stuff. The more complex — this is just the way systems work. The more complex the system gets, the more effective it can be if it’s working, and the more likely it is to completely blow up. So let me ask another thing. Let me put it differently. Can you think of any – no, this is just such a strong argument. Can you think of any good reason to be advertising Pennsylvania to someone who’s not actually in Pennsylvania? And with the exception of I got hit in Pennsylvania and now I’m sitting in Washington state. I can’t come up with any other good reason for.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You know, and I know this is not the case because my understanding from reviewing the site is that the services ,I think he has a relationship with our lawyers that he refers to, which is also an interesting thing because again, I’m not trying to cast any specific aspersions here, but there’s legal advertising, ethical rules, and so depending on how you construct this program and what your disclaimers are and what your messaging is, you got to think about like, are you licensed in all 50 states? Are you disclaiming who the local attorney is that’s responsible for ads in the states that you’re advertising in? But I was going to — sorry I’m going on a legal ethics diatribe here. Back to responding to your question, maybe there’s an argument to know, look, if the person’s not wherever they are, this campaign is purely designed to go after the people that you described, out of state people who are hurt in Pennsylvania.
Now, I will say this, though, in clicking through the landing page, the messaging in this particular case was residents of Pennsylvania. So again, even if you give the benefit of the doubt that it was an ad targeting people that might have been hurt in Pennsylvania but are out of state, the messaging doesn’t match. And so, again, the point here, again, is not to just beat up on this particular campaign. It’s just you got to really think about the nuance through the whole journey and that’s why it’s so important that you see from ad group through creative, through landing page, through follow-up email messaging, as you said, the more complicated this gets, it’s really easy to cross an automation or cross the wrong message or use a merge field that populates the wrong information and then it’s like, well, now you spent money saying, hey, this ad that you’re seeing in Seattle, even if you did get hurt in Pennsylvania, is speaking to residents of Pennsylvania. So you’re like, wait a minute, I’m not a resident of Pennsylvania.
Conrad Saam: And I’m sitting here in Washington, right? So, you have like when this works, it’s amazing. It’s really easy for the complexity of this to overwhelm the system.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, exactly. And the more dynamic, the more complexity, the more challenges. And again, we see this in fact, one of our what we do and we’re shopping around and looking at competitors is look at the UTM parameters and the query strings in the landing pages for some of these ads and you can really get a sense of the sophistication level of what the advertiser is doing and it’s something that if you’re running your own ads, obviously this should be resonating with you. It’s like you got to make sure you’re paying attention to this kind of stuff, but this is one of those things to talk to your marketing director and your marketing agencies about is like, hey, what’s your process for making sure we’ve got targeting lockstep and that you should really be reviewing to make sure that it’s like I got ad creative, landing page, URL. Somebody’s got to own that and be accountable for it and managing it because even really smart and effective marketers can make these mistakes and it can be very wasteful, especially if you’ve got big budgets running on these platforms.
Conrad Saam: I think that’s a really good point. These systems can change and break, right? Going back and checking your work on the regular, I think is a really good point, especially if you’re spending a lot of money. I think it’s really important to make sure that what you think is being done and is what is actually being done. With that, now that we have made unfriends with people in the state of Pennsylvania. Gyi, I am leaving to go spend some time with my spouse. I will see you in two weeks.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Actually, I’ll see you in Nashville, man.
Conrad Saam: Yes. Can’t wait to see you. Have a wonderful anniversary. Dear listeners, thank you so much for dropping by. If this is brand new to you, then please do consider subscribing. If you had a great time, leave us a review and as always, we encourage you to #LHLMs with any questions, feedback, topic, ideas and we hope to see you in Nashville for Cleo. Till then, Lunch Hour Legal marketing. I’m Conrad and I’m out of here.
Male: Thank you for listening to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. If you’d like more information about what you heard today, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts and RSS. Follow Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You definitely are thinking about your anniversary.