Email marketing can be a very valuable tool for solo lawyers. But how can you make your newsletter stand out from spam and competition? In this episode of New Solo recorded at the 2017 Clio Cloud Conference, host Adriana Linares and guest host Liz McCausland talk to Andrew LeGrand about the ins and outs of using newsletters as a marketing strategy. They discuss things like open rates, tracking referrals, and how to make newsletter content relevant and interesting. They also briefly cover blogging and how to use your blog to effectively reuse content you already have.
Andrew Legrand is the founding partner at Spera Law Group, LLC, a cloud and paperless law firm in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Clio, Answer1, Perfectit, and Unbundled Attorney.
Up Your Marketing Game with Newsletters
Intro: So you are an attorney and you have decided to go out on your own, now what? You need a plan and you are not alone. Join expert host Adriana Linares and her distinguished guests on New Solo. Tune into the lively conversation as they share insights and information about how to successfully run your law firm, here on Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hello. Welcome to another episode of New Solo on the Legal Talk Network. I am Adriana Linares. I am a legal technology trainer and consultant. I help lawyers and law firms use technology better.
Before we get started, I would like to take a moment to thank our sponsors.
Answer 1 is a leading virtual receptionist and answering service provider for lawyers. You can find out more by giving them a call at 800-Answer 1 or online at HYPERLINK “http://www.answer1.com/”answer1.com.
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I saved Clio for last, because we happened to be recording this from the Clio Cloud Conference in New Orleans in September of 2017, so I want to make sure and thank them. They are a cloud-based practice management software that makes it easy to manage your law firm, from intake to invoice. Make sure you try Clio for free at HYPERLINK “http://www.clio.com/”clio.com.
All right, so now we have gotten past those little administrative details and I hope everyone takes a few minutes to visit the websites for those sponsors, because they really offer some great services. I want to just sort of reiterate that I am excited because we are at the Clio Cloud Conference 2017. It’s the first year that they have brought it to New Orleans. They have been in Chicago I think the first four or five years.
And if you are a regular listener to this podcast, you may know that I spend a lot of time in New Orleans, and I always want to do anything I can to have my friends in town. So my friends happened to be in town, many of them for Clio, so I have asked Liz McCausland, my dear friend, to come in and act as a co-host for me as we interview Andrew Legrand about some of his marketing techniques.
So before we bust in, I am going to ask Andrew to introduce himself first. Hey Andrew.
Andrew Legrand: Hey Adriana. How are you doing?
Adriana Linares: I am great.
Andrew Legrand: So I am a small business attorney here in New Orleans. Our practice is mostly transactional, representing mom and pops, any kind of business, any kind of small thing here, helping them with everything from business formation and partnership agreements, leases, real estate, IP, negotiations, dissolution, partnership, divorces, that sort of thing.
I have been doing this for about six years, have two attorneys, a paralegal, virtual receptionist, bookkeeper, that sort of thing. We are a completely paperless and cloud-based firm built on Clio.
Adriana Linares: And you are a regular guest I would say at this point on my podcast. Well, one, because we are good friends, but not just because we are good friends, I mean not all my good friends get to be a guest, you have to have something valuable to say and you are what I would consider a highly tech savvy lawyer. You like to figure things out and figure out how technology can really help you grow your business.
So I asked you to come back and talk to us specifically about marketing, because you have been — you do a lot of marketing and I get your newsletter that I really love.
So after Liz introduces herself we are just going to let you have it with our questions about how you have found and developed some new ways to market your firm.
Liz McCausland: Hi.
Adriana Linares: Nice to have you back. Thanks for taking the time.
Liz McCausland: Thanks for having me. I always have fun with you on this.
Adriana Linares: I know. It’s fun. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Liz McCausland: So I am a solo practitioner. I have my own firm in Orlando, Florida. I practice primarily bankruptcies and mediations. My mediations are somewhat novel. I mediate in five different states, mostly by telephone and I enjoy doing that. I am also the President of the Orange County Bar Association right now.
Adriana Linares: That’s right. That’s a great good job. That’s a great Bar Association and I know it keeps you busy.
Liz McCausland: Keeps me busy.
Adriana Linares: So I am glad you got to come to Clio and spend some time with us.
Liz McCausland: Thank you. Me too.
Adriana Linares: So I wanted to have Andrew back on because he really is, I would say, and I am sure you are tired of hearing this, but a pretty innovative and cool young lawyer, who misses no opportunity to grow your business and make it more successful.
I wanted to just ask you about the latest and greatest in marketing that you have been doing, and specifically with your newsletter, because I think a lot of lawyers don’t think that a newsletter is going to be — like what would a law firm send out as a newsletter to clients, right, how do you make it interesting and compelling.
I think you have done a really good job with yours, because I receive it and Liz, you have got to get on this newsletter list.
Liz McCausland: I just asked how am I not on this newsletter?
Adriana Linares: Well, before we do anything else, how do people get on your newsletter list, Andrew?
Andrew Legrand: So you can go to our website, HYPERLINK “http://www.nolasmallbizlaw.com/”nolasmallbizlaw.com and at the top there is a link to sign up for the Top 5 Business-Killing Mistakes. If you enter your email address there, you will get our Top 5 Business-Killing Mistakes. I guess if you are listening to this, you are probably a small firm lawyer, so you are running a business too. So hopefully those tips help you, but it’s also signing you up for the newsletter as well.
Adriana Linares: Excellent.
Liz McCausland: Awesome.
Adriana Linares: So your newsletter is cool, because — well, tell us the flow of the newsletter.
Andrew Legrand: So the idea of the newsletter is to really just establish a personal connection, let them see a little bit — let the readers see a little bit about who I am and then share some helpful information.
So the first section — and what I have done is we have really done a good job in the past year of creating this as a process, is breaking it down and figuring out what my outline is, and how I dictate that and then how it goes to my assistant and then how she inputs it into our software that sends it out.
So all in all it takes me usually about 10-15 minutes worth of time to actually do this. And on her end typing it up and making it look pretty and formatting it and putting together the Calendar of Events you mentioned, I think she takes about an hour-and-a-half to two hours. So all in all, we are probably, the two of us combined about two hours into this once a month.
Adriana Linares: And it’s once a month, right. So go ahead Liz.
Liz McCausland: Is it all digital?
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, it’s all digital. So the workflow is, I get a reminder once a month in my task management software that says, hey, you need to provide some content for this and here’s the outline. So I use a little piece of software called Dictate + Connect. That lets me dictate things. So I open that up, I will dictate based on the outline, kind of just go with the flow and look at the outline and then go from there. And that gets sent off to a transcription company, to Rev. They will transcribe it. It gets sent back to me, my assistant grabs it and she will drop it into our — we use ActiveCampaign for email marketing, so she will drop it into there.
So yeah, it’s completely — I mean this summer she was out of town for 60 days and living in Germany, so she did it from Germany a couple of times this summer.
Liz McCausland: That’s crazy.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, it’s totally digital. No, not paper yet. Email addresses are easier to get, right, than addresses and validating them and it’s just way cheaper too, right.
Liz McCausland: Well, you get to see the open rate, right and see how successful certain newsletters are.
Andrew Legrand: Right, yeah, and the clicks too.
Liz McCausland: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: So let’s just talk about that real quick, because maybe there are lawyers who don’t know what all that means, so Liz, what is open rate?
Liz McCausland: It’s the amount of people, if I am understanding it correctly, the amount of people that actually open the link to the newsletter.
Adriana Linares: Right. So if you send out a 100 email newsletters and 10 people actually click to open it, then that’s your open rate, or to follow a link that opens it or whatever, but basically I think it’s the first level of engagement from receiving the newsletter, right?
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, I think so, and it’s good to track and see what it is. Like I know this past month we opened it, after a few days we usually look at it, I think we are at 29%, which was lower than our average, which was — our average is close to 35%, which I think is actually quite high.
Adriana Linares: I think 30 is high.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah.
Liz McCausland: That is high.
Adriana Linares: Now, we don’t have the marketing expert here, but I am pretty sure that you would normally hear that if you are getting 30% open rate, you are in pretty good shape.
Liz McCausland: That’s what we are told at the Orange County Bar with our newsletter.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: And then there is the click-through rate, which is another — anyway, there is a bunch of measurements that you will want to be knowledgeable on and interested in if you get into newsletter marketing.
So I wanted to go back and let’s talk a little bit about your content Andrew, because I think you normally start with, here is what’s going on, just a quick update on me, like super personal, you like camping and —
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, I went camping. I think this summer I went camping into the Grand Canyon, so I talked a little bit about that. It might be about what’s going on. We are in football season so I am sure this month I will talk a little bit about the Saints.
With the hurricanes last month, I am a University of Florida grad, so I have a lot of friends down in Tampa, in the Florida, Miami area.
Liz McCausland: That’s right, Go Gators.
Andrew Legrand: Go Gators. So I was in touch with them. And obviously in New Orleans we are always interested in hurricanes too. So the beginning is just like this personal connection of what’s going on and what’s happening.
And then there is the next section, I call it What’s New With Me and My Own, it’s a little bit more about maybe what’s going on with my family or my staff, what they are doing, what’s going on there. So less of a seasonal kind of thing and more of what actually went on, what transpired.
And then we go into I think the Substantive Tip of the Month and the Substantive Tip of the Month I just really glean from whatever I did that past month.
So a lot of times it’s, oh, I had three people contact me this month about — I think one month was they paid their employees wrong and they got whacked by the State Department of Labor for the penalties and fines. So I said hey, double check that you are doing this right. Another month there were a couple of insurance issues that came up, so I talked about that. And so there is no like really rhyme or reason for this; I just kind of think about what happened.
Adriana Linares: Just a general business tip of some sort.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, what happened over the past few weeks that was an issue that somebody came in, that could have been prevented, that we could have stuck in there, so that’s the Substantive Tip of the Month.
The next thing is the Success of the Month, which is I guess kind of a little bit of the opposite. We think about what a client did; maybe a client signed a new location on a lease or that sort of thing.
Adriana Linares: And do you ask your clients for permission to talk about them in your newsletter, or do you talk about it very just a client did this?
Andrew Legrand: We actually do it a couple of different ways, and this is where some different marketing efforts come in. Sometimes it’s the generic way, just a client did this, that was a lot of fun. We now have experience in doing one thing or another.
Other times, another marketing kind of channel we have, we call it our Client Success Spotlight, so we are just business. So once a month we try to highlight one of our clients and we highlight their businesses. So I ill send my assistant to their office. My assistant will get pictures, we will do an interview with questions and she writes up these really great stories, and a lot of my clients have been really forthcoming with like why they are entrepreneurs and how they started a business and how their business is doing and sharing a lot of information, knowing that it’s all going to go into this blog post.
And so that kind of becomes the Client Success is that she will do that content, that becomes a blog post, that goes out, it goes out on social media. Some of our clients are very savvy on social media and they have shared that on their social media.
Liz McCausland: I was going to say, that’s a great way to get new people engaged and to give your clients some benefit of advertising kind of on a different platform.
Andrew Legrand: That’s kind of the point is that the whole article is all about them. It’s not about how we help them; it’s about them and their business. So it’s definitely like a hey, let me — it’s marketing for us, it’s content for us, but it’s definitely, hey, it’s about you and you share this to, it’s your story and we are just basically being the journalist for it. So it’s kind of definitely a win-win scenario for that.
We usually get a testimonial from them as part of that process too and we use that on our website later on, but that’s usually the — we had one client who is a food blogger and she has like 100,000 followers on Facebook and she shared it to her Facebook and our pageviews that day were like through the roof.
Adriana Linares: Awesome.
Liz McCausland: What a great idea.
Adriana Linares: He is brilliant, this kid.
Liz McCausland: He is.
Adriana Linares: And then you have got two more of my favorite things that you do, which I wonder if you are going to talk about that.
Andrew Legrand: So the rest of the newsletter, yeah, so you mentioned that. I think, I don’t know if there’s another section in there; the Calendar of Events I think is what you are getting to. We will just cut to that.
Adriana Linares: There is another thing you do too that’s cool and that’s thank anyone who has referred you business.
Andrew Legrand: That’s what it is, yeah. Thank you for referral. So we recently set up a system to track all that and keep an idea of where it came from, so if Liz sends me an email saying, hey Andrew, I sent so-and-so to you, even if I never hear from so-and-so, Liz will be mentioned in the newsletter and we will send her a thank you note and that sort of thing, and I think that actually — we have seen an increase in referrals. I think for people —
Adriana Linares: Isn’t that interesting.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, I think people kind of want to be seen in the newsletter. They want to be like, I am in there now, I joined the list.
Adriana Linares: I want to be in there.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, exactly right.
Adriana Linares: And I am like, this is going to happen and my name is going to be in there. I am going to refer Andrew some work.
Liz McCausland: Well, and I am curious, how do you track your referrals?
Andrew Legrand: It’s a pretty — it could be as simple as a spreadsheet, to be honest, just date and the name of the person who referred and the name of the potential client. We use ActiveCampaign as our — it’s our CRM, it does everything. So we figured out a way to kind of customize it in there basically by tracking, hey, we created a new contact, the date they were referred to us and then who referred them. So we are able to sort by that date. Think of them as Clio custom fields almost.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, I was just going to say, actually in Clio you could create a custom field that is referral source, if they don’t already have it, which they might.
Liz McCausland: Yeah. Well, here’s the thing with that, they don’t. You could do those.
Adriana Linares: You just create a custom field.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, it will be pretty easy in Clio.
Liz McCausland: There’s people who never come in or who call and you figure out like I am not the person you need to talk to, you think you need to talk to me, but what you really need to talk to is this type of lawyer and so they never make it to your Clio.
Adriana Linares: But wait, they should though and here’s why, because every lead should be entered in Clio as a lead and then you change the status to closed or lost or client, that way you are actually tracking how many leads come in and any other information about, the lead came in, why did they not make it? We weren’t able to sign them or we couldn’t help them, and then at the end of the year, you would be able to look and see, either way you are doing it.
Liz McCausland: Yeah, right, and that’s probably what I am going to do now. I was using Lexicata for that, but I think I might move it over to Clio, so I am using really just one thing. But what I like about it is that –and I talked to you about this is at the end of the year I look to see who has referred me cases and when I decide if I am going to do gifts or anything at the end of the year, this person sent me three, four cases.
And so last year I did Echo Dots. They were on sale and I sent everybody an Echo Dot who had referred me cases and then I sent them a nice letter with my top 15 uses for my Dot.
Andrew Legrand: That’s a good idea.
Liz McCausland: And that was a huge hit. So I am already preparing now to try to figure out who do I want to send something to and what happens when I send them.
Adriana Linares: Apple Watches this year, you stepped it up a notch.
Liz McCausland: No, no, we are not — listen, if someone sends me that many cases, then yes, we will move to an Apple Watch.
Adriana Linares: Okay and then the last thing that — we have talked about, but we didn’t actually — we talked about it earlier.
Andrew Legrand: I do want to touch on that, because to be clear, I think it’s fair to mention this. The custom field is a great idea. Like Liz is using, what did you say, Lexicata to track that; I am using ActiveCampaign. That might be too complicated. Like Clio, actually I think it would make it really easy. They have custom fields and you could say where did this person come from, referral, who referred them and then the date they were referred, and then it would be really easy to just export that and sort it by the date they were referred and you would have a list of this people.
Liz McCausland: Yeah, and that’s what I think I am going to do. I went to the Clio Lab yesterday and talked to them about how to try to set that up.
Adriana Linares: That would be really easy.
Andrew Legrand: It’s super easy.
Adriana Linares: You would have like lead and then they go to pending while you are doing a conflict check, if they have moved on, and then it becomes open and then closed.
Liz McCausland: Right, and you can sort it by — you can see how many people have referred you.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah. And that’s a good precursor to — before you jump into a Lexicata or a more complicated CRM system. So the Calendar of Events is fun. That’s something my assistant does and when I said it takes her an hour-and-a-half, I think that’s what takes up a lot of time. So she will go through and by this point I think we have five or six different sources that she will check once a month and just find different things that are going on.
Adriana Linares: A festival, a Saints game.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah Pelicans games, business resources.
Liz McCausland: You guys have so much that’s going on in New Orleans. I can’t imagine how big —
Andrew Legrand: Even in Orlando. I mean, what is Orlando, 2 million people?
Liz McCausland: We don’t have a festival every weekend like you do.
Andrew Legrand: Right, Fried Chicken Fest, whatever is going on. So that Calendar of Events is always fun and it’s always fun — we talked about tracking clicks, that always gets like at least 10 clicks. So it’s really cool to see. And I can see who is doing it too. So it’s kind of a fun thing when I look at that and then I will call someone up that week and be like, oh, hey, you see this? It’s a little weird big brotherly to a certain extent.
Adriana Linares: Well, if people haven’t figured out that anything they click on, look at, search for or visit on anything that’s connected to the Internet is being tracked, then you guys need to wake up.
Andrew Legrand: I think the other cool thing too about tracking that is that my assistant sees all that and I think that kind of is a sense of ownership or reward.
Adriana Linares: Pride, sure.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, pride. She is able to say like, oh wow, we got 10 clicks and this ownership percentage, whereas if it’s a paper newsletter, there’s no feedback whatsoever on that. So she is getting that immediate feedback and that sort of thing. Like I said, this whole process is on my end 10 or 15 minutes.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, that’s great.
Andrew Legrand: And it goes out just boom.
Adriana Linares: How many people, plus or minus, do you have on that mailing list or names and addresses?
Andrew Legrand: It’s close to about 500 I think. We have done a good job of — so we have automated the process of when somebody becomes a client, it’s in the engagement letter and no one ever says, no, don’t add me to that or modify your engagement letter. So we made it part of our engagement letter that you agree to sign up for this and then we add them automatically.
And then we have other people that get added in, because they downloaded a report or they downloaded some class or they did something else. So we are not just — I think the important part and one reason our open rate is so high is I am not just getting business cards and dumping people in there. Someone has to take an action to get themselves in there. And so a lot of times you get a newsletter and what happens there is that I get newsletters from people who I didn’t give that permission to and sometimes I will mark those as spam.
Liz McCausland: I kind of do too. I do. I get so many emails.
Andrew Legrand: Sorry, but not sorry. Like that’s actually the definition of spam, is an unsolicited marketing email, especially if I don’t know you. It’s a little bit more awkward when I get like Liz’s newsletter and I am like, uh, or it’s somebody in the local community who I have met networking a few times, that’s a little — when it’s someone from like across the country I am like, whatever, you are definitely a spam.
But all those spam marks, when everyone does that is that the mail servers start to recognize that. So if Liz and I are both on Google and I mark something as spam in Liz’s mailbox, it will be marked as spam too and that just hurts your open rate and people might not even see it, much less decide not to open it.
Adriana Linares: Right. Well, I have a couple of more questions I want to ask about the newsletter, but before I do that I just want to take a minute and take a quick break to hear a message from a couple of our sponsors.
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Adriana Linares: And we are back. Welcome to New Solo. This is Adriana Linares. I am talking to Andrew Legrand and Liz McCausland about Andrew’s magnificent marketing machine.
And when we left off we were just talking about the really cool things that Andrew is doing with the newsletter, which is not boring, it’s not legal, and you must have a mix. So these are the next couple of questions I was going to ask you. Lawyers, businesspeople, individuals, do you know what your demographics are like for that newsletter?
Andrew Legrand: I haven’t broken them down, but there’s definitely friends in the legal community, like you two, Liz, just said, hey, I want to join and Adriana, you are like, oh, I am already on it, I get that, that’s why we are having this podcast, right?
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Andrew Legrand: And then there’s local lawyers in the community and then it’s a lot of clients, a lot of people who have used me and I haven’t talked to them and they are business owners and we help them set up their LLC and we haven’t talked to them in two or three years.
Adriana Linares: And everybody is a potential referral or client for you, being — so it’s really —
Liz McCausland: It’s a great way I think to keep your name in front of them in a very un-intrusive way. It’s kind of the old time congratulations notes or whatever you used to send out to try to keep people thinking about you and you do it now in 10 or 15 minutes you said.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah. And I think once a month is key too. I don’t know about you all, but I get some newsletters once a week and that gets to be a lot.
Adriana Linares: Sure.
Liz McCausland: Too much.
Andrew Legrand: It’s a lot of work, but it’s also like I just can’t read this and to, I guess my credit and my staff’s credit, I do get a lot of people saying, hey, I read your newsletter once a month.
Adriana Linares: Oh, they know it comes once a month.
Andrew Legrand: It’s just a couple — it’s a couple of sentences on tips and what’s going on in the Calendar of Events and I think people find that awesome.
Adriana Linares: No, I love that you mix business with pleasure and personal and I think it’s really good. So we said earlier where people can go to sign up for the newsletter and we will pick it up again at the end. I wanted to ask you though, so a couple of other things that you are doing beyond the newsletter, you are very active on social media. So tell us a little bit about your various social media channels and how you use them, what’s going on?
Andrew Legrand: Social media, I don’t find personally is a great resource for clients directly. I think it’s more about staying in touch and connecting. Now, when you are active at conferences like this, Twitter is a great resource, just because you see what’s going on and you stay top of mind with people.
I have actually met a few people here that I have never met before in real life and it’s like, oh hey, I know you from Twitter.
Adriana Linares: I love that.
Andrew Legrand: I am seeing more and more LinkedIn to be a pretty good source of information.
Adriana Linares: Sure.
Andrew Legrand: I think a lot of people have like Facebook fatigue, especially after the elections of 2016, where it was just like hyper-politicized, no matter what end of the spectrum you were on, a lot of people were just kind of over that, whereas LinkedIn has kind of somehow avoided that.
Adriana Linares: Thankfully remained somehow absent for much of that, sure.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, I guess like most professionals, right, you try to keep that out of professional discussions.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s good.
Andrew Legrand: So I am seeing more and more traction on LinkedIn. We are sharing articles there and getting things, same kind of thing.
Adriana Linares: Oh, you are?
Andrew Legrand: Yeah. I share a good bit of stuff on there and again that’s my assistant just finding good content from the local newspaper, what’s going on in business, sharing our blog posts, that sort of thing and you get likes and clicks and profile views and that sort of thing.
Liz McCausland: Let me ask you this Andrew and I don’t know if you feel like you can answer it, but there may be listeners who really don’t have either an assistant who is tech savvy or an assistant — maybe not have an assistant, is that something that you think can be outsourced to other people?
Andrew Legrand: There are companies out there who outsource that. I haven’t used any of them, so I can’t speak for how good they are, but there are companies out there who claim to be able to do it for a couple of hundred bucks a month. But honestly, I think one recommend — I found my current assistant because I was looking for a recent college grad who had a background in marketing and because she had a background in marketing, she is really good at that stuff.
Now, the other stuff that I ask her to do as a legal assistant is pretty straightforward. It’s folding envelopes. It’s formatting things in Word. So like a lot of the traditional things that we might ask a legal assistant to do, I think really any young person coming out of college can do. They are pretty good at that. It’s not very complicated. Whereas, her being a marketing specialist really helps because she can do that sort of stuff and she enjoys doing that kind of stuff.
Liz McCausland: So it’s kind of thinking outside of the box from your traditional legal assistant into marketing, because that’s a big part of our business now.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah. So I was really like, let me find a marketing assistant and it will be easy for her to do the clean up around the office, order more paper, change the ink, do all those small things that traditionally were a legal assistant, whereas now it’s — and I made that clear to her when I hired her, hey, you are a marketing assistant, you are going to do this. I am also going to give you more hours by asking you to do administrative tasks.
Adriana Linares: And I think a lot of that of course is just testimony to how much you have automated your practice and you have tipped the scale on what the need is for a legal assistant versus a more versatile assistant that could also do your marketing and what other tasks, that’s great.
Andrew Legrand: One of the other things that helps too is being digital and paperless, you can go and use — you don’t have to use your legal assistant to be a paralegal too, she is not a paralegal. I am not asking her to do 10 million different things. I am not asking her to be an associate. And I think in a lot of law firms, especially older law firms, that legal assistant has been taking on jobs that they aren’t qualified to do.
Adriana Linares: I see that every single time I walk into a law firm.
Andrew Legrand: Right, but now it’s easy to find a virtual paralegal.
Adriana Linares: Sometimes they are the IT person.
Liz McCausland: And don’t you find that many times they don’t know the IT part.
Adriana Linares: Well, no, not many times, almost all the time. I got a lawyer who says to me, I don’t know anything about that, but my assistant is really good with that server. So I think that’s great, that you have found that sort of versatility in an assistant.
Let’s take another quick break and just get a couple of more messages from our sponsors and we will be right back.
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Adriana Linares: Imagine what you could do with an extra eight hours per week? That’s how much time legal professionals save with Clio, the world’s leading practice management software. With intuitive time tracking, billing and matter management, Clio streamlines everything you do to run your practice from intake to invoice. Try Clio for free and then get a 10% discount for your first six months when you sign up with the code New Solo 10, that’s New Solo 10 and do that at HYPERLINK “http://www.clio.com/”clio.com.
Adriana Linares: So great, we are back with Andrew Legrand and Liz McCausland talking about marketing, specifically what a good job Andrew does; I think he does, maybe you don’t pat yourself on your own back, but I do Andrew.
I wanted to ask you, because you mentioned your blog and of course there’s always the question of do I blog, do I not blog, I don’t have time to blog. Do you find that your blog, which sounds like it’s pretty active — so my first question is do you find that it’s a good source of just either traffic information and keeping top of mind and then do all of your articles, whether you post them on LinkedIn or they are in your newsletter, point back into the blog or you send them to your website or it kind of depends on —
Andrew Legrand: We are reusing content in a lot of different ways. So if we have a blog post it will be — obviously be a social media post and we will recycle those after a while and get those out there, or things like for the Client Success Spotlight is kind of mentioned in the newsletter, but it’s also a blog post. And it’s there and it goes out on social media.
I also do a lot of tech tips.
Adriana Linares: Oh yeah, you had a good tech tip, gosh, what was it last month?
Andrew Legrand: Well, I had this big kind of data bank of tech tips that I had given out in the past and I hadn’t used them for anything else. So we turned that into blog post, we turned that into, I think it was a monthly newsletter for a while, and I am not exactly trying to be — I don’t want a new tech tip every month.
So I think we went like almost a year with once a month tech tips and that kind of just stopped, just because — but it was — the content was already there, so it was finding ways to reuse content that we already had, I think that was — it gave my assistant something to do and I was totally hands-off on that. So I just gave her the data bank and said, hey, go use this and get that out there. And so that was kind of fun to see that come out and she is like, what do we do, we are out of tech tip? So I am like, we will figure that out later.
Adriana Linares: That’s great. And then tell us is the blog a good source of —
Andrew Legrand: So the blog is definitely populated with a lot more content with when I was a younger attorney and I had more time to devote to it. And so I have used the blog in a few different ways. First of all, you are getting a lot of FAQs, a lot of questions; bankruptcy, forming a business, people are always googling for that information.
So if you can write a $300-500 blog post, it helps a lot of people.
Adriana Linares: 300-400 words.
Liz McCausland: You said dollar.
Adriana Linares: I think you said dollar.
Andrew Legrand: Dollar, 300-400 words yeah. That’s a lot of money for a blog post. And so I think that helps is like those frequently asked questions that you get. It also helps if you get emails from friends that want kind of free advice.
Adriana Linares: Oh sure.
Liz McCausland: Do you get those?
Andrew Legrand: Not so much anymore, but when I did get a lot of those, that’s a blog post.
Adriana Linares: I had some for him over the past couple of years for sure.
Liz McCausland: I get them all the time.
Andrew Legrand: Well, that’s a good example is rather than responding back to them in an email, write a blog post for them that obviously doesn’t mention their name and maintain privacy, and then you respond back to them with a link and say, hey, thank you for that question, I turned it into a blog post.
Adriana Linares: It’s a great idea.
Andrew Legrand: So that’s kind of the reuse of content. If you are going to write a three or four paragraph email, why not just respond to them right away.
Adriana Linares: Right, that’s a great idea.
Andrew Legrand: I also try to focus on my blog specific things. So right now on our blog we are focusing on a few different things, partnership agreements is a specialty I am trying to do, so I have my assistant writing topics on that. Louisiana recently legalized medical marijuana. I see it as a new industry coming out in the state.
Liz McCausland: It is a new industry, yeah.
Andrew Legrand: So we are putting out topics and content on that. The city also started regulating Airbnb short-term rentals, and I put out a lot of content on that. I have actually gotten some business from people who own properties and want to turn them into short-term rentals.
So I feel like the blog post is on frequently asked questions, questions you get from friends or kind of very specific issues you are trying to grow or news articles too. Whenever you read something in the local media that, oh, this happened, kind of explain it to people. Sometimes a lawyer does a better job than the news media explaining it to people.
So I will see in the local media that a business partnership just got in a fight. Two people, they own a business, they are in a dispute, the news really doesn’t talk about how that could have been prevented or what stopped that, so I will go and get the facts from the news article and just give a legal spin on that.
And I think any lawyer can really do that is reading the newspaper and seeing what issues, where they can read the news article, hey, what am I seeing between the lines and sharing that, and those — that’s actually gotten the most likes, the most views, the most comments is just using a journalist to get the facts for you.
Liz McCausland: Right. And I was going to say, we are here at Clio and every year Clio opens with their CEO doing an opening keynote, and in Jack’s opening keynote he stated what the data is for how people find their attorney, and first it’s through a family or friend referral, then it’s through another attorney referring, and then it was through looking on the Internet.
Adriana Linares: And you know how they get that information, from those custom fields or from the referral field in the Clio profile, which you should all be using if you are Clio users.
Liz McCausland: I agree. I agree. Working on it, working on it. But when you have content like that, if I am somebody, when I have a question, you know me, I go to the World Wide Web and I ask my question and if somebody local were to answer a question like that, I am going to go to you.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah. I have gotten some business, not a whole lot, but definitely like counsel from other states calling me that are — it’s kind of like both, right; it’s they are finding me online because of the content and then they are referring their client to me to solve the issue.
Liz McCausland: Because you are local.
Andrew Legrand: Because we are local and they can’t handle it. So it’s really hard to say, hey, you are doing this — that content is almost both streams, you are staying top of mind on your referral sources, you are putting content out there because you get ranked higher, all those sorts of things. So I really don’t do it with one goal or the other in mind. Some things we do, but for the most part content is — it’s going to generate both.
Adriana Linares: That’s awesome.
Liz McCausland: It is awesome.
Adriana Linares: The next thing I want to ask you about is your friend, 100?
Andrew Legrand: Team 100.
Adriana Linares: Team 100, okay. So this is a cool concept you have got.
Andrew Legrand: So the idea is that as lawyers or resources for our clients and our clients are always looking for something. A lot of times it’s pretty easy. I am always getting requests for an accountant and an insurance agent as a business lawyer.
Liz, I am sure you are doing bankruptcy, you are getting requests for something, right?
Liz McCausland: Real estate agent for short sales and accountants, yeah.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah. So you have those referrals built in, but there is also other things that may be not related, so what I have tried to do is build a Team 100, a lot of my clients are on that list. Basically as a resource for when somebody comes to me and says, hey, this thing happened, I need so-and-so, do you have anyone that you can refer me to? I always want to say yes. I always want to have somebody that I have talked to, that I have vetted, that sort of thing, and that works really well. That’s kind of a win-win for everybody.
So that person who is going to real estate short sale, they might also need a mover, right. They might also need —
Adriana Linares: A cleaning lady.
Andrew Legrand: A cleaning lady to come in and clean their place up, maybe a lawn person.
Adriana Linares: An estimator, an appraiser.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah. When somebody says, hey, I am getting married, it’s, oh I have got a florist, I have got a bus company, I have got a wedding planner.
Adriana Linares: I have got a second line planner.
Andrew Legrand: Oh, I don’t have that, can that be you?
Liz McCausland: We also have a second line advance team.
Adriana Linares: Oh, wait, hold on, there might be a whole new business for me here. Goodbye Legal Talk Network. Hello planning second lines in New Orleans.
Liz McCausland: Yes, yes, remember we talked about this. The advance team goes ahead to the bar that you are going to stop at in your second line and we preorder your drinks for you. So when you arrive, you have everything ready. You can —
Andrew Legrand: Do you test those drinks too, just to make sure that they are —
Adriana Linares: Well, naturally, we don’t want to disappoint our clients.
But the other thing we became over the weekend was second line chasers, kind of like storm chasers, searching for and looking for second lines in the French Quarter. And for you, listeners, who are not familiar with what a second line is in New Orleans you should Google it, because it is one of the funnest, coolest things you could ever be a part of.
Andrew Legrand: There actually hasn’t been a second line here at Clio.
Adriana Linares: I know, I think it’s too big.
Liz McCausland: They had a second line that marched in the Clio.
Andrew Legrand: That was a brass band that marched in; I don’t know if that was really a second line.
Adriana Linares: So listen, we have been there. I think we were a couple of minutes late. Me and Liz and Barbara and Kim would have been right behind that brass band waving our napkins.
All right, anyway, tell us about —
Andrew Legrand: Team 100, so we build it, and then we got about 30-40 spots filled up just based on people we are already connected with, people that are typical referral sources, people that refer us work. And so then what we did was we sent out a form to the people, the 30-40 people on that list and said, hey, we are looking for people in these industries, these sectors, and from that we got about 40 different responses of people saying, oh, I recommend this person, I recommend this person, I recommend this person. So now I am going to those people and I just actually this week mailed those people a letter saying, hey Adriana, Liz recommended you for the Team 100 in this position.
Adriana Linares: Do you have your favorite technology consultant on there?
Andrew Legrand: I don’t think so, probably we do.
Adriana Linares: I feel like you should. Do you keep that list public, like on your website where you could just point people to it or you tell them sort of when somebody calls and asks you for something?
Andrew Legrand: Right now it’s internal. I think what we are going to do is we have it stored in ActiveCampaign, so basically I am building it with the idea that it should be public and it needs to be public. So we put it in ActiveCampaign, which is our contact management, CRM, that sort of thing, and when we get around to hiring a developer to put that on their website, they can basically pull that data out of the CRM and just put it up on the website.
Adriana Linares: That’s great. Quick question for you, because you mentioned ActiveCampaign and I am sure that a lot of listeners will have used or use or are familiar with MailChimp or Constant Contact, and I know that you are a guy that goes out there and kicks the tires and figures out what’s the best. What is it about ActiveCampaign as opposed to the others that took you over there?
Andrew Legrand: So I did pick it a couple of years ago and I know Lexicata is here and I will give them a shout out, because I do hear a lot of attorneys —
Adriana Linares: We love them.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, a lot of attorneys talk a lot of great things about them, but two years ago they really weren’t as powerful as I wanted.
Adriana Linares: They were brand-new, so it’s fair.
Andrew Legrand: They were pretty new, yeah, it’s fair, and now they seemed to have developed something else.
But there are really two things you are looking at in a CRM, there’s contact relationship management, there’s really kind of two things you are looking for. One, does it allow me to do things like newsletters? Will it allow people to join different lists?
And you might have different lists. I have my newsletter list. I also have a list for people who are interested in, I mentioned the partnership agreements or short-term rentals and medical marijuana, those are all different lists, and so I can send specific things to those people and hit them with that. So does it mention lists where I can do newsletters?
Does it do drip campaigns? Can I send someone — when somebody signs up, can I send them a series of emails over a series of days?
Adriana Linares: A predefined set of emails. Welcome to Spera Law the first week, so automated. So drip campaign is a series of automated emails that go out based on time or some other parameter that you set up.
Andrew Legrand: Right. And they go from everything. It could be somebody contacts us, but they don’t hire us, so we want to hit them with a drip campaign everyday and share information with them and basically display our expertise. Say, hey look, you haven’t hired us yet, but here all these resources we have available to you that are free. Is anyone else doing this? Maybe not. So that’s a drip campaign.
And then there’s also something that I think Lexicata does well is basically tracking your leads and what stage of the pipeline are they in. So somebody makes a phone call, but they don’t respond or they don’t follow up. Okay, we have talked to them. They have done the initial consult. We sent them an engagement letter, but they haven’t signed up there. So that’s more of like a deal pipeline function. So there’s a lot of different softwares out there that do one or the other.
MailChimp is good at newsletters and drip campaigns. It doesn’t really have that deal tracking aspect of it. ActiveCampaign is kind of built for automation, which as you two know is like —
Adriana Linares: You are the king of automation baby. You are the man.
Andrew Legrand: If it doesn’t automate, I am like no. So it was just a piece of software that was super reasonably priced, has a great API, integrates with everything. It’s definitely — what’s cool about it is it’s not built for lawyers; it’s built just to do email marketing and deals.
Adriana Linares: And do you remember the monthly on that just so our listeners kind of have a clue?
Andrew Legrand: I want to say I pay annually for it, just because at this point I am so tied into that; I am not backing out. I think it’s like $700 a year.
Adriana Linares: Okay, reasonable. Awesome. Well, can you think of any other brilliant marketing tips or suggestions that you can give to our listeners and while you are thinking about answering that question, Liz, I want you to think about any other questions we can ask Andrew real quick before we let him go.
Liz McCausland: How long have you been practicing Andrew?
Andrew Legrand: It will be six years in October.
Liz McCausland: Has the source of your business changed?
Andrew Legrand: I don’t know if the source has changed, but it’s definitely — I have definitely done a better job of figuring out where those sources come from. So for me, in a business practice online, I have realized that I don’t get too many high quality leads online, so as a result of that we started charging initial consultations for people who contact us online.
If it’s a cold call, you might just have an idea. I can’t talk to everyone who just has an idea about starting a business, so we put out this initial consultation as kind of a qualifier for them.
Liz McCausland: To weed out the tire kickers and people who kind of just want free advice.
Andrew Legrand: Exactly. And then I also see the referral network as just being better qualified clients. So we have different marketing campaigns that are going after them. The Team 100 is more of a referral generation source.
It’s hard to really track are they coming from different places. I think honestly it’s hard to say. We got one in the past month that came from online. That’s going to be one of the bigger clients we have signed this year. So I don’t think there’s like — you can’t concentrate on one or the other.
Adriana Linares: But the thing is if they came — if they found your website, but then were able to refer to your blog, look at all the other — all those things that you work on are sources of trust that someone starts to use as a building block in deciding whether or not to hire you.
So yeah, maybe they came through online, but it was because you have all this other good information on there, including a newsletter, whether they sign up for it or not.
Liz McCausland: And I think as a business owner I am more attracted to a lawyer who obviously knows how to run his business in the market and puts his effort into so many different high quality aspects that I am going to be drawn to someone Like Andrew when I am looking for an attorney because –.
Andrew Legrand: Especially a business lawyer, right?
Liz McCausland: Exactly. And so you are going to understand my mindset and so I think that really works for what you do.
Adriana Linares: Well, it’s just been really cool Andrew. I think you and I have been friends, I think — well, not long after Katrina I think.
Andrew Legrand: 2011 or 2012 I think when I first met Ernie.
Adriana Linares: And it has just been so cool watching you develop such a really smart law firm. I mean, you are really a model for a lot of lawyers, young and older, about how you can automate.
You have been at this conference for two days. I don’t think I have seen you check your phone. You are not stressed out about anything. You are not like a lot of us who are going I have got to sit down in front of a computer for an hour. You have got it figured out. It’s impressive. So I really appreciate you taking time, I do, and I know that our listeners do sharing all your knowledge because it’s impressive.
Liz McCausland: It is. I am impressed and I have practiced a little longer than you. I want to be Andrew.
Adriana Linares: You can be.
Liz McCausland: I hope to be.
Andrew Legrand: I don’t know how to respond to that.
Adriana Linares: Well, we will pin that right there.
Andrew, tell everyone on the podcast who is listening how they might be able to learn more about you, sign up for your newsletter, follow you, send you a question, not that you have time to answer every single question, but again, if it’s a good one, he will make a blog post out of it.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, I think the best way is — Twitter is always a good one, @LawByLegrand. I am kind of active on there. Usually criticizing the Saints or the sewage and water board here in New Orleans or whatever crazy politics we have going on in New Orleans.
LinkedIn is also a good resource, Andrew Legrand, or just kind of look around.
Adriana Linares: And your website for the newsletter sign up?
Andrew Legrand: HYPERLINK “http://www.nolasmallbizlaw.com/”nolasmallbizlaw.com and there’s a little sign up for our Top 5 Business-Killing Mistakes and that will drop you into the newsletter online.
Adriana Linares: Excellent. Thank you so much.
Liz, remind everybody how they can find, friend, or follow you on the Internet.
Liz McCausland: Probably Twitter is the best place, @LizMcCausland.
Adriana Linares: Awesome. Well, this has been great, and unfortunately, we have run out of time and I want to of course thank Clio for bringing us altogether to our — I think this is all of our favorite city. Andrew, you were born and raised here. Your family goes way back. Your uncle —
Andrew Legrand: Where did you meet my grandma?
Adriana Linares: I was just about to tell the story. So we were at Mardi Gras, or as Andrew calls it Mardi Gras, and his grandmother was sitting watching a parade go by and she said, that’s my son in your grandfather’s spot, is your uncle then?
Andrew Legrand: Ryan, he was on a float, so he was on a float going by with a mask and she is in her wheelchair and it’s like 9:30 on a Sunday morning.
Adriana Linares: It’s the Thoth Parade, and we walked down with Andrew to where his family sits year after year after year, and his grandmother; he introduced us to his grandmother and she says, that’s my son coming by. He is in my husband’s spot. So their family goes back celebrating Mardi Gras. And I imagine it would have been your grandfather’s spot before that and they have a spot on a float and she was so proud. And I remember asking her how many Mardi Gras have you been to? And she said, my daddy brought me to my first Mardi Gras when I was six months old and I have never missed one since.
Andrew Legrand: She just turned 90 this spring.
Adriana Linares: Isn’t that awesome and amazing?
Andrew Legrand: That’s a lot of Mardi Gras.
Adriana Linares: That’s a lot of Mardi Gras. And so what I was going to say to you is this is my favorite city, I think it’s Liz’s favorite city, but you were born and raised here and you have been here, I have a feeling this is your favorite city too.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, it’s hard to turn away, especially when it’s Mardi Gras.
Adriana Linares: I really want to thank Clio for bringing us all together. Of course bringing the Legal Talk Network and making it possible for us to record here.
So I want to remind you that if you have liked what you have heard and want to learn more, make sure you visit the page for New Solo at HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com.
Of course we always appreciate a nice rating on Apple for podcasts and iTunes, if you would just take a time to do that and leave a nice note, that really helps us with our ratings. I am trying to beat out The Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell podcast with ratings, help it, and make it happen ladies.
And just want to say thank you so much for listening. And remember, you are not alone, you are New Solo. See you the next time.
Outro: Thanks for listening to New Solo with host Adriana Linares. Tune in again to learn more about how to successfully run your new practice, solo, here on Legal Talk Network.
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