Marketing is an essential business tool, but many lawyers lack the expertise needed to leverage it in their law firms. Expert legal marketer Conrad Saam joins Adriana Linares in this 2-part series to discuss simple, effective marketing tactics for attorneys. They define the basic marketing terms all lawyers should know and offer practical advice for going out on your own.
Conrad Saam is president at Mockingbird Marketing.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Clio, Lawclerk, ROSS, and Alert Communications.
Back to Basics: Smart Marketing for New Solos – Part 1
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: Hi everyone. It’s time for another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I am Adriana Linares, your host. I am a legal technology trainer and consultant. I help lawyers and law firms use technology better.
Before we get started we want to thank our sponsors.
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Well, I have a very talented non-lawyer as my guest today. Hey Conrad.
Conrad Saam: Hey there Adriana.
Adriana Linares: Do you hate the term non-lawyer?
Conrad Saam: No, I actually really like it. I think the fact that I am not a lawyer rubs some people the wrong way, but I also think my kind of academic training outside of the legal industry has been super valuable. I think many people in the marketing world tend to either be lawyers who have become marketers or kind of nerdy people who have become marketers. And frankly the business perspective on legal marketing is really lacking in many cases.
Adriana Linares: I agree. Well, I don’t mind the term non-lawyer and every once in a while I see people getting in a Twitter fight over the use of the term as it’s somehow derogatory to those of us who are not lawyers. I don’t care. You can call me a non-lawyer. As a matter of fact, I have a password somewhere that’s like proud non-lawyer.
Conrad Saam: Well, but I think here is the thing. When you hang out with people who are like-minded, you tend — I mean we see this kind of in a macro sense in what’s going on in social media today and politics even, but I think it is very important to look outside your typical box and I think the non-lawyer — if lawyers only ever talk to lawyers you are going to miss a lot of the world and a lot of the perspectives.
Adriana Linares: Well, for sure and especially in the areas that we help them with, which back to you my friend, you are not a lawyer, you are not a drummer in Metallica, but I do like your t-shirt.
Conrad Saam: I am not. This is what happens when we record podcast during COVID and I don’t have to go into an office and I am like oh, I am wearing Metallica today.
Adriana Linares: It’s cool. I am still in my pajamas and there is a pink unicorn behind me. Tell us what you do?
Conrad Saam: Well, so in 2006 I was recruited to this little company at the time called Avvo and I ran their marketing from, I think when I started there were six or seven people there and they turned into a 400 person behemoth. They have since recently kind of fallen off the SEO map, yeah, a little bit of sad trombone going on there.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, sad trombone, for sure.
Conrad Saam: But when I was at Avvo what I enjoyed the most and I think people end up doing what they enjoy, I enjoyed marketing Avvo through educating lawyers about SEO, and my very first — you — this was in Florida, my very first presentation was called, “The Death of the Yellow Pages” and I had this hour-long argument with a large group of lawyers about the yellow pages versus the Internet, and basically spent a ton of time over years and years and years educating lawyers about how online marketing works, how SEO works, how PPC works, blah, blah, blah.
And finally I was like, I really like doing this and I would rather do this directly with attorneys. And so I started Mockingbird; we have been around since 2013 technically, and we only work with lawyers. We do all sorts of marketing, but ultimately it comes back to that business perspective, right, and so none of this marketing is important if it doesn’t really serve the business, and I think in a lot of situations we miss the fact that the marketing should be serving the business aspect and we got caught up on stupid things that are unimportant, but ultimately marketing is a business tool and if it doesn’t meet those objectives who cares, right?
Adriana Linares: Yes, I agree. So it sounds to me like maybe marketing might be simplifying what you do, because I think that a lot of really good legal marketers, actually the goal is client development and engagement, not just marketing, right, like hey, don’t just recognize my law firm name, actually let’s get some business out of this marketing and I think that’s a big piece that we miss a lot.
Conrad Saam: Well, some of the — the funny thing is, and this has evolved for me over time, I am an SEO guy, like that’s my personal thing that I really wish was a bigger thing and I could do nothing but that, but now I run this agency so we do all sorts of things, as time has evolved, as the business has evolved, as our business has gotten bigger and as we have worked with larger and more sophisticated clients, what I found is many of the needs for lawyers does not lie in, I need a better pay-per-click campaign or I need to rank XYZ for this specific vanity term, but it’s like you guys are terrible when you answer the phone, right, or you don’t know how — like here is another concept. You don’t market to your ex-clients as referral sources, right?
So there is all of these other facets and people tend to have a very finite perspective of what marketing is in the legal world and it really has not that much to do with you rank X, Y or Z for this term or your bounce rate is that or should I have a blog here or a WordPress site there, it’s so much more than that, and I feel like I have enjoyed having my agency grow to accommodate all those different facets that lawyers are dropping the ball on and it’s been kind of a fun journey that way.
So yeah, it is a much bigger picture.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, and journey is a good way to put it through our careers because that’s what I feel, I have certainly had over the past 20 plus years of helping lawyers.
Let’s do this. I want to tell everyone that we are going to make this a two podcast series because I just know we are going to have a lot to talk about and part of that being that I want to sort of take it back to the basics. I am going to ask you to define a bunch of terms that I know we are going to use over the next hour or so worth of airtime.
And our goal is going to be to give lawyers, whether they are new lawyers, established lawyers or thinking about starting their own law firm, the basics for asking the right questions about getting their website set up and then using their website for marketing.
Conrad Saam: Right.
Adriana Linares: So let’s start with what’s the difference between a blog and a website?
Conrad Saam: This should not be a debatable point. We are going to get into controversy on question number one.
Adriana Linares: Number one.
Conrad Saam: Okay. So let me go back to what the traditional answer to that is and then we are going to use technology to really answer that question.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: Okay. So traditionally a blog is a much more informal conversational approach to talk about more kind of topical issues, and it’s conversational in nature. A website is more online brochure where this is what we do, this is my profile, these are the practice areas that we work on, here is my office.
The interesting thing is from a technology perspective, and you will hear people say you need to use WordPress, you need to use WordPress, you need to use WordPress, they mean that for their website.
WordPress is actually — and it started out, the history of WordPress is a blogging platform. It just happened to be a really good blogging platform and so what’s really happened is as technology has evolved, as WordPress has gotten better, it is the de facto standard for blogging and websites.
Now, the reality is blogging really is just another form of content and I want people to kind of separate in their minds the notion that these are two fundamentally separate things. It’s more of a tone and a timely issue with regards to thematically what your content looks like as opposed to one or the other.
Adriana Linares: So I hear a lot about content marketing and you just said a blog is about content, so is my profile on my website considered content when it comes to content marketing or is my blog and what I am talking about and writing about or video blogging about my content?
Conrad Saam: So you need to go to the users’ perspective. Are they looking for Adriana, then your profile is content marketing, right? And so when you think specifically about name search and we are getting kind of deep into the tactical side of things, but if someone is looking for you, Adriana, you need to make sure from a content marketing perspective around you the person.
Adriana Linares: When they find me.
Conrad Saam: When they find you, where they find you, how they find you, did they find someone else and then find you. If they find you, are they seeing an advertisement for your competitor, all of these things come into play, right. And so to get again deep into the tactical side of the name search, someone is looking for Adriana Linares, you need to make sure that you control as much as you possibly can that experience, right, so do they land on your website, can you leverage Facebook to try and drive traffic to people who are looking for you. Can you run LinkedIn? You had — the last session was on LinkedIn, right?
Adriana Linares: Yeah, that’s actually why I thought about you because I loved that you wrote somewhere, it was either Facebook or on Twitter, someone put the last podcast I did with Dennis Kennedy and Allison Shields and just one very simple sentence you wrote, LinkedIn, the least known, most powerful form of non-SEO marketing or something, what was your comment, do you remember?
Conrad Saam: It’s name search, right, it is super, super powerful for name search. When I started, we started with Avvo, when I started there I literally spent three years of my life understanding how the algorithm, Google algorithms applied to name search, right?
Adriana Linares: And so by name search you mean you are searching for my specific name, Adriana Linares, Conrad Saam, right, not legal technology trainer, not legal marketing expert, not personal injury lawyer?
Conrad Saam: It is your name. It is your name.
Adriana Linares: Okay, name search is not your law firm’s name, you the human.
Conrad Saam: And so think about where this becomes really important for a solo, especially a new solo, you have just left your law firm, people are still looking for you; I have seen this happen, and this gets really — this can get really gross really quickly.
Adriana Linares: Oh, this is the good story. Right, so they leave their big law firm, they go out on their own and people are just looking for them by their name trying to figure out where they went and how do I contact this lawyer.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. And old law firm keeps the profile up of, let’s call her Mary Smith, right, so Mary Smith’s profile stays up on the old law firm. I look for Mary Smith, I find old law firm, I call old law firm and the answer that I get is Mary is not available right now, is there anything we can help you with.
Adriana Linares: We have another lawyer who might be able to help you.
Conrad Saam: Bingo and that is garbage. I am not sure what our PG rating here is, so I will tone it down nicely, but that’s awful.
Adriana Linares: Hard for you.
Conrad Saam: I can be polite when I am a guest, I told you that, or at least well-mannered. So I have seen that. I have gotten involved in — I have gotten in the middle of a lot of these issues, right? So I mean as the new solo you need to really think about this.
Adriana Linares: So tip number one, do not let your law firm keep your profile page up longer than the day you walked out the door.
Conrad Saam: And it’s not just your profile page, right? So we started talking about LinkedIn, like you need to go back and think about when someone is looking for you, and so think about you are going out on your own, right, you are going out, you are embracing the nobility of the American entrepreneur, everyone wants to support you, people know this, it’s a beautiful noble thing and they look for you and they can’t find you, right, or they look for you and they find you where you used to be. That is your worst case scenario.
Because if you are an amazing lawyer and all of you think you are, you are probably not all amazing, there is no Lake Wobegon effect here, but if you are an amazing lawyer, you should get a lot of referral business, especially when you step out on your own because there is that nobility of the American entrepreneur. You can blow that by getting those referrals, those referrals vet you online and then they find the old firm or they find a competitor or they can’t find you, that is a disaster.
Adriana Linares: So while we are on this track and before we go back to standard terms, I just want to close the circle on this, if I am thinking about leaving my law firm, what should I be doing ahead of time aside from, okay, let’s forget the profile page for now because it’s something I am just going to make sure is taken down when I have left, but let’s say I am giving myself three to six months to go out of my own, I have got to fill out my LinkedIn profile, make sure it’s cleaned, right?
Conrad Saam: Yeah. So I almost don’t want to answer this question because this is specifically the — I give different answers based on who I am talking to.
Adriana Linares: Sure, give me a generic.
Conrad Saam: No, no, I am going to give you the two answers because it’s important to understand the nuances.
Adriana Linares: Okay. All right.
Conrad Saam: The first thing that you should do if you are going out on your own and you are a big firm, I would create a Google My Business Practitioner listing.
Adriana Linares: While you are still at your current firm?
Conrad Saam: Yes.
Adriana Linares: Got it. Tell us more.
Conrad Saam: We will dive into this. So let me move out of legal and explain this in the medical field because it will start to make sense to you and you can understand how Google thinks about practitioners.
If you are looking for a heart surgeon, right, you are not specifically looking for blah, blah, blah hospital, any old heart surgeon will do, you are looking for Dr. Jane —
Adriana Linares: Seymour.
Conrad Saam: Jane Seymour, okay, you are looking for Dr. Jane Seymour.
Adriana Linares: You are an ape.
Conrad Saam: She is the best heart surgeon and you have been referred to her, okay? And she happens to work at my Sisters of Good Mercy Hospital down the road. You don’t care about my Sisters of Good Mercy and you only care about Jane. So Jane can have what’s known as a practitioner listing that’s specifically around Jane, okay?
Now, the nuance here is that is Jane’s, it is not my Sisters —
Adriana Linares: The human.
Conrad Saam: The human, it is not my Sisters of Good Mercy, right? And so that profile can do things like build up positive client reviews, that’s an asset that you Jane owns, okay?
Adriana Linares: I didn’t know Google — I guess I just hadn’t thought about having your Google My Business page as — let’s say another example, you are using doctors, but immediately I think about hairdressers, because when my hairdresser leaves the salon, I am immediately trying to find her or him and I know they are just at some other salon in town so it’s kind of the same example.
Conrad Saam: So I know absolutely nothing about hair, so let’s be clear.
Adriana Linares: I can see why on video.
Conrad Saam: I have the hair for podcasting, right?
Adriana Linares: Yes everyone, we are on video and Conrad has — actually has never had hair, he has hair on his face sometimes, but not on his head. So yeah, okay, but the example is the same I think.
Conrad Saam: So here is the thing, I am fairly certain that Google doesn’t do this for hairdressers, but for professional, and this is — like sorry hairdressers, if there are any hairdressers listening I apologize for smirching your profession, but for professionals like lawyers and doctors, it does. And so —
Adriana Linares: Interesting. So how do I find that?
Conrad Saam: It’s exactly that issue, right, where you want that hairdresser, that heart surgeon as opposed to where they happen to work.
Adriana Linares: Okay, so when I go to Google My Business, is there a way that I choose professional practitioner versus —
Conrad Saam: Yeah, you can create a practitioner page there.
Adriana Linares: Excellent, okay.
Conrad Saam: And so that’s really valuable, because what you want there are the reviews that start to build up under your profile as opposed to your firm’s profile.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, that makes sense.
Conrad Saam: And this is why I didn’t want to answer your question because usually I am talking to the law firm and I tell the law firms, whatever you do discourage your practitioner pages, because what you are doing is you are enabling them and you are paying them to build up a Google reputation that they can take and walk with. And so there is a tension here and it gets increasingly nuanced around this, but that’s one thing that I would recommend.
The other thing I would recommend is do amazing work while you are leaving, not just for your firm and not just because it’s the right thing to do; by the way, it is the right thing to do, but do amazing work. And what I want you to do is build up 6-12 months of clients who think you are absolutely amazing and I am going to come back to this concept of the nobility of the American entrepreneur, when you hang up that shingle, that’s your referral source, that’s your review source and I would go out of my way to over-deliver, be amazing and —
Adriana Linares: Be responsive, be overly communicative, get those bills out on time.
Conrad Saam: All those things, like just be amazing while you are leaving. The worst thing you can do is be complacent and screw your clients because you have kind of got one foot out the door, like that is — I mean be a bigger person for starters, but from a marketing perspective that’s a disaster, because what happens is you leave and go out on your own and then your referral sources, those are your primary referral sources and more than anything you want to depend on those people as opposed to paying people like me tons of money to do your marketing for you.
Adriana Linares: I love it.
Conrad Saam: So those are kind of my going out on your own things.
Adriana Linares: That’s awesome. Those are two very good pieces of advice. And before we talk about those terms again I want to make sure and circle back. Let’s take a quick break and listen to a message from some sponsors.
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Adriana Linares: Okay. So Conrad, you just gave us two super valuable pieces of information which was claim your individual professional practitioner profile on Google My Business; and two, if you are getting ready to leave a bigger firm, this is not the time to slouch and to slack off, it’s actually probably a time to work even harder so that when you do announce your departure, you have a good referral network behind you.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. And the reviews, like I want to hit that again, do that amazing work and then when you hang up that shingle you can ask for those reviews and your clients will want to support you if you’ve done an amazing job for them and you’ve never — there’s almost never a better time to convert review requests into an actual review than when you start out on your own.
Adriana Linares: Awesome, because they want to help.
Conrad Saam: They do want to help.
Adriana Linares: Your clients want to help.
Conrad Saam: Because you just helped them, right?
Adriana Linares: And I think it’s hard to for attorneys to ask for reviews, before we go back to my terms, which we’re going to I swear eventually, but it’s such a normal flow going, can you tell me some suggestions you give for asking for reviews? Do I hire one of these review companies that help me gather reviews or do I just send an email that says, hey, can you write three or four words for me that you wouldn’t mind my using on my website and/or could you go to Google, how about Yelp, where, how do they get reviews and where the best places to put them?
Conrad Saam: So this is going to sound corny, but the best way to get reviews is to be an amazing lawyer, right? And there’s no amount of marketing or systems or emails, this, that or the other thing that will change that.
And so let me — on the flip side, I had this now ex-client who called me up and he’s like, “Conrad, I got this terrible review. I need you to get it taken down and blah, blah, blah.” I’m like, “Dude, you’re mean to me all the time, that’s why you’re getting terrible reviews. You’re probably mean to your clients” and it was, and I didn’t say and I’m being plotted in using the word “mean”, he’s now an ex-client, right? And you’re like, you can’t — I can’t fix you being a jerk. So start there.
Adriana Linares: Let’s not be a jerk; good advice.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, so from there this becomes a very individual thing and I have wasted — I’ll be honest, I’ve wasted thousands, tens, maybe let’s call it tens of thousands of dollars of my client’s money on systems to try and automate the process of generating reviews.
Okay, here’s the deal. Legal, it’s very personal, you’re asking someone to really —
Adriana Linares: Put themselves out there.
Conrad Saam: Thank you — I was going to say get naked on the web about someone who is really personal but like they are really putting it — if you’re dealing with a legal issue you’re dealing with something very personal, it’s not like an undercooked pizza, or the size nine-and-a-half was really a size nine, and you’re pissed, this is really personal. You’re making a huge ask in asking for a review.
So to send that as an email for me just doesn’t work. I don’t like these automated systems and we’ve tried them, but my bias here, a very strong bias is, to do amazing work and then make that request, and you can do things early on to try and make that happen, you can do things like early on in the intake.
Listen, Adriana, customer service is super-important to me as a lawyer, the most important way that I measure that is what my review profile looks like, which is probably why you came in, probably why we’re sitting down today. I’m sure they had a lot that went into your consideration set.
So as we move along I want to make sure and you don’t have to leave a review, but I want to make sure that if you were to leave a review that it would be stunning, and if we ever get to a point where that’s not the case, let me know, right? Because I want to have any problems that come out, I want to surface those as quickly as possible. So you can set that up.
Now the downside, the flip side here and I know every single lawyer is saying, are you out of your mind, because some clients are crazy, right? Some clients are absolutely nuts and I work with lawyers. Some of you guys are absolutely nuts. So part of your review process is, when you see that red flag, just recognize that that’s probably a negative review wait to happen, it’s not just a pain in the ass of a client, it is a negative review just bubbling under the surface —
Adriana Linares: And they are more likely to write a negative one than a positive one, so you’ve got to cut that off at the pass.
Conrad Saam: And I have never — I’ve been working — I’ve been working with a lawyer since 2006. I’ve been running — we’ve — I tried to count this the other day, I probably run over 300 law firms over the last 10 years. I’ve never seen that freak flag and been like maybe she’s going to be fine, maybe I’m just over-thinking this, go with your gut. I’ve never ever seen the false positive, right?
But what you miss are like, oh, she seems like an amazing client and then two weeks in she’s crazy like that happens, but I’ve never had it the other way around where you are like, wow, maybe, maybe, maybe we should just give him a chance because it’s all — they’re always crazy, right?
So that’s another part of it, but my very long-winded answer to your very simple question is, this is personal, and I would make it a request in the beginning. I would set this expectation in the beginning and then I would make the phone call, and it’s a phone call, it’s not an email.
Adriana Linares: It’s a phone call saying, “Hey, can I send you a link and will you — do you mind posting a review for me?
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: They’re going to say yes, and then what about someone said to me, is there a way to automatically post my Google reviews to my Yelp page? And I said eh.
Conrad Saam: So Google doesn’t like this?
Adriana Linares: Yes, that’s what I said. I said Google don’t like it.
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: So how do we choose, because I know that Yelp probably isn’t where most people go to find a lawyer but it comes up in a search.
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: So do I strategize so that I a) test clients that might use Google versus might use Yelp, or do I just go 50/50 or do I just go all Google forget Yelp or any other directories?
Conrad Saam: You actually go with a client, okay? So let me touch on Yelp really quickly. I hate Yelp, you hate Yelp, everyone hates Yelp, everyone who owns a business — there are no business owners except people who own Yelp who love Yelp, okay? And that’s fine. People use Yelp, get over yourselves, okay?
So depending on where you are geographically in the country, people use Yelp to find a lawyer, so get over yourself.
Two, claim your profile, fill it out like you’re going to get bombarded by salespeople just get over yourself, okay? Be a part of that ecosystem. And it depends on where you are in the country. Yelp is very inconsistently represented across the country, but if you’re in California, Yelp is big, and so recognize that that’s part of it. People do use Yelp.
So point number two is, Yelp specifically will not publish a review from a first-time reviewer. So if you start out on Yelp — let me — let me paint this differently, you’ve just been an amazing lawyer, you’ve done a great job of being a lawyer, you’ve been accommodating, you’ve been accessible, your litigation has been just a masterpiece of lawyering, and you send a client to Yelp because that client he is so absolutely unbelievably grateful. He sets up his Yelp profile so he can review you. He writes a review and it gets filtered out because it’s his first review.
Adriana Linares: Oh gotcha.
Conrad Saam: So my bias here is let people review you where they are comfortable.
Adriana Linares: Good.
Conrad Saam: If they are a big Yelper go Yelp, if they’re not, have them on Google, if they’re very concerned and this is one thing where I do think Avvo is helpful. Legals personal and private and you can leave an anonymous review on Avvo.
Adriana Linares: On Avvo.
Conrad Saam: And that’s the only major directory where you can actually get an anonymous review. So —
Adriana Linares: What about Facebook, on my Facebook page?
Conrad Saam: Came on.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: Like — like these, let people review you where they tend to be and there might be one exception to that. You get the flaming review, right? You get the loony red flag that you just ignore because you needed the money and you get the negative review and they’re bonkers crazy.
The second best way to generate reviews online after starting your own business is in response to a negative review. So here’s a little tactical idea. Instead of asking people to review you all the time, maybe you wait until you get that loony review, right?
I have a couple clients who do this where they are holding on to seven or eight or nine really happy clients and then the review request looks very different or you make the review request and they ignore it and then you can go back to them later on, they say yes and then they don’t do it. You can then go back to the later on and say, listen, I know we worked together, my business really has been negatively impacted by this bonkers crazy reviewer and if you could help share your experience in working with me I’d be most grateful.
Okay, it’s another really great way to encourage people to help you because people do want to especially if you’ve helped them in a legal matter they do want to return that favor, and so that’s a great way, that’s very, very pragmatic, it’s very real, and it’s — frankly it’s very raw, and people get it, right? And that’s another great way that I like encouraging people to leave reviews.
Adriana Linares: Excellent, oh, it’s very good advice. Let’s take one more quick break, listen to some messages from some sponsors and we come back, we’re talking terms, okay.
Conrad Saam: We will get back to agenda point one.
Adriana Linares: We’ll be right back.
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Adriana Linares: All right, we are back. I have got Conrad Saam from Mockingbird Marketing, one of my favorite humans. I feel like I say that about all my guests. Well, I wouldn’t have a guest, that wasn’t a favorite human of mine. So thanks for coming. Wait, before I forget, you have got a podcast too now —
Conrad Saam: We do.
Adriana Linares: Tell me more.
Conrad Saam: So Lunch Hour Legal Marketing very, very happy
Adriana Linares: Lunch Hour Legal Marketing?
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: On Legal Talk Network?
Conrad Saam: On the Legal Talk Network. So — and this is why I have all this cool hardware which I am super, super enjoying. So now Gyi and I have been talking legal marketing for a very long time privately, and finally, he’s like, this is ridiculous, we should be talking as a podcast, and so yeah, so we are doing a podcast. We’ve had some really interesting things that we have talked through, and our promise here is very, very tactical legal marketing, and I think that’s what you are getting from me like we are trying to go into these terms that we want to talk about and yet every time we do that we move into these highly tactical elements.
Adriana Linares: But easy, they are tactical but they are simple. That’s —
Conrad Saam: It’s so simple.
Adriana Linares: So simple, all right, let’s talk about some simple terms. I just want to cover some real quick ones.
Conrad Saam: Bring it.
Adriana Linares: You have said several times SEO, and at this point I feel like everybody knows that SEO stands for —
Conrad Saam: Search Engine Optimization.
Adriana Linares: Okay, Search Engine Optimization.
Conrad Saam: And it gets faceted and it’s become more faceted. So I want to really break up for you in your mind. SEO I call it the art and science of showing up for things that people are looking for, that’s basically what we are talking about. However; and this is where I wish I could rewind a decade because I really loved what I will call organic search, but it’s really —
Adriana Linares: Yeah, I need you to define organic versus non-organic today, those are two more terms, so are you going to cover those and tell me about assay? Okay, we are going to hear like three of my terms.
Conrad Saam: So if you think about search and basically it means the — for me the three different facets that will show up on Google. There are three components of this. You have typically at the top, the ads, that is Paid Search PPC, Google Ads.
Adriana Linares: PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click, which means, when somebody clicks on that ad that Google served them because of your campaign you are going to pay for it.
Conrad Saam: Correct.
Adriana Linares: Okay, go.
Conrad Saam: So that — and that is at the top and this is for most legal searches although things that are very high up in the funnel, things that are very informational like how do I check the status of my H1B1 visa? Right? That may not actually get what is next which is the local search and by local search it’s the map with the pins in it.
Adriana Linares: Okay. So we have got Pay-Per-Click Search, Organic Search and now you have got me on local search.
Conrad Saam: So let me — I am going to — I am literally going to walk down the page. We have got PPC up top, then you have the maps, and if you look for a pizza restaurant, you will find the maps with the pins in it. Now, one little faceted nuance of this is that you actually can have an advertisement show up in that map. So the bastardization of maps and advertising has fully happened.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: So you can actually advertise within that map if you do things correctly. Underneath that, and this is what I personally love and the fact that it’s at the very bottom just makes me sad every single day, but there’s nothing I can do about it, is what’s called or it used to be called just SEO or now it’s organic search or natural search and that is what shows up underneath.
Now those natural search organic search listings for legal are dominated by the directories, which sucks, okay?
Adriana Linares: So when I am a brand-new lawyer who’s just, I mean, a new lawyer that’s spent four to six months getting ready to go out on my own and I have bought my last name linareslawfirm.com and I have done all the right things, there’s a chance that that’s where it will show up.
Conrad Saam: There’s a chance, there is a chance.
Adriana Linares: We are going to talk about that too.
Conrad Saam: We are going to talk about like what requires to go in each of those components and when people are doing that name search because you have been a great person, you have gone on your own, you are getting all those good will referrals, there’s a chance that depending on your name if someone’s looking for you they can find you. My name being very, very unique, there’s only one of the Conrad Saam alive in the world today and he’s like a 14-year-old kid in Germany, it’s very easy to find me. If you are a lawyer named Thomas Brady, you have a problem, right?
Adriana Linares: Right.
Conrad Saam: If you are a lawyer named Robert Shapiro you are one of I believe the last time I looked it was 23 different Robert Shapiros practicing law today. So you have a different problem. So they are like there’s nuances around this, but again, you have PPC up top, the local search underneath that with some ads in and then underneath that you have the natural or organic search.
Adriana Linares: How do I get my website on organic search?
Conrad Saam: So this is a, I mean, we could talk for a month about this.
Adriana Linares: I know, sorry.
Conrad Saam: So there’s a couple things that we need to think about, and so I think what we will do is look at this strategically for a law firm, right?
Can you even get on there? I think that’s the first question that most of you don’t even ask.
Let me go back to Tom Brady. Can my 14-year-old go out and play for the Patriots? No, and some of you are 14-year-olds thinking that you can try out for the — oh he’s not in them with the Patriots anymore, he moved out of Florida, right? I forget these things. I am not really a football guy. For me football is played with your feet and it’s mostly –
Adriana Linares: I understand.
Conrad Saam: Anyway, you get my point.
Adriana Linares: You know I am from Uruguay.
Conrad Saam: I know, so we can we can go down that path. Anyway we are digressing.
Adriana Linares: As usual.
Conrad Saam: So you need to think about and I think most firms don’t have this conversation in their heads especially people starting out is can I show up in those search results?
Adriana Linares: How do I get past those directories? I think you can’t.
Conrad Saam: You don’t and this — so this has sucked —
Adriana Linares: This is realistic expectations being set. Okay.
Conrad Saam: And I have been wrong about this — yeah, yeah, yeah, so think about that — in the organic search you have ten listings, okay? Typically depending on the search, four to six typically of those listings are directories. Avvo —
Adriana Linares: And we are talking — right, I was just going to say Justia —
Conrad Saam: Yelp, FindLaw, Lawyers.com, Justia, really smart people who have been working on this for a really long time and you think you are going to start out as a solo, go, what’s your question?
Adriana Linares: Do I want to be in the directories?
Conrad Saam: Yeah. Absolutely, because they get traffic, right? And people — so again, I am going to go back to name search, you are starting out, directories do really well with name search, right? And I would say the big ones and Avvo used to be amazing at this, they may still be great, I don’t know, they used to be amazing, I know this because I did it. I don’t know how they are doing right. Let’s see. Not humble. Someone just wrote down on their notes “Conrad is not humble”.
Adriana Linares: It’s okay.
Conrad Saam: So they may still be good at Facebook, great on name search, as a name search place, Lawyers.com, Justia, LinkedIn is amazing for name search, Twitter does well for name search, again depending on your name, but play the game, right? Play the game, don’t ignore the game, you may hate it, you may hate the game, but play the game.
Adriana Linares: So I know Avvo you claimed your profile for free. Do you know what about the other main directories, like FindLaw, Justia, can you at least claim your profile for free or is there always a cost involved with those?
Conrad Saam: Most of the time, but once you just listed it’s free, most of the time the directories want content and they want you to claim and they want to show engagement because that encourages the more content they have about you the more likely they are a surface to more traffic they get blah, blah, blah.
Adriana Linares: And by that you mean like on Avvo they want you to answer some questions, they want you to post an article, are the other ones the same?
Conrad Saam: So specific — so we are getting — we are walking on a path here, with Avvo specifically I am talking about name search, so they want a filled out unique profile.
Adriana Linares: Okay, so just claim your profile and fill it in.
Conrad Saam: Those questions that you just talked about answering questions on there, that is a great way for Avvo, and by the way I never thought this was going to work and I was completely wrong. That Q&A forum is a great way for Avvo to get the legal community to build their content for Avvo, right? And so you need to think about whether or not you want to do that.
Adriana Linares: Okay, good tip.
Conrad Saam: But — and by the way I don’t actually mean don’t do it, right? I just mean you need to know that you are doing it, and so think about that specifically. So most of the directories want you there, so they will encourage you to claim your profile, because frankly, as soon as you claim your profile, that is a qualified lead for their sales department, right? So enjoy that —
Adriana Linares: Just know what you are getting into, maybe use a Google Voice number for that.
Conrad Saam: No, you don’t, no, you don’t, no, no, no.
Adriana Linares: You have to use your real number?
Conrad Saam: You use your firm’s primary number.
Adriana Linares: Oh, that sounds terrible.
Conrad Saam: Okay, because the directories drive data into Google system to help whether or not you show up on that map.
Adriana Linares: And so this is a side but important note that I think we should pin a home or what’s the word I am looking for? Drive home?
Conrad Saam: Drive home. Pin home?
Adriana Linares: I don’t know.
Conrad Saam: Pin the tail on the home.
Adriana Linares: Jesus, it’s Monday. You want to have consistent information across all the directories. So you want to have the same address, the same phone number, the same zip code, you don’t want it to be no suite and then suite 22 on Google versus going out to Moz and it’s just an address without a suite, is that right?
Conrad Saam: Correct. Name, address, phone number, consistent across the directories.
Adriana Linares: Consistent across all platforms; Facebook, LinkedIn everything.
Conrad Saam: Now, two nuances to that question.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: Okay? One, your profile should be different. Take the time to write a great creative profile for each of these things because in having unique profile content you can control what shows up when someone is looking for your name. So if you have unique content on your law firm website, which is unique to your LinkedIn profile, which is unique to your Lawyers.com listing. The likelihood that Google shows those listings when people are looking for you, is much higher than if you just copy and paste it; so that’s one.
Number two, and this is something that most people don’t understand or even no agencies I would say you’re kind of not all to know this, you can use a tracking phone number in your Google My Business profile to show whether or not the phone is ringing from that local listing. You also need to include your primary phone number, but that as the primary phone number.
Adriana Linares: There is a difference between primary versus tracking number.
Conrad Saam: And so in Google you can have two numbers listed. You can have a tracking number listed, because Google wants you to know how much business you’re getting from them, because they like you to send lots of money to them.
Adriana Linares: And tracking number means what it sounds like. I’m able to track the calls that come in because they are specifically ringing on the line or coming through the phone number that I have listed specifically on Google. Does it cost me more money to have a tracking phone number?
Conrad Saam: Just the cost of the phone number.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: And it — yeah. No, it doesn’t.
Adriana Linares: Great.
Conrad Saam: I mean, it’s not something I want people thinking about.
Adriana Linares: Okay. Back — I just want to go back to a point you made a moment ago which was, you want to have unique content on all these different listings or unique information on the profile, but not your basic data about your location and your phone number. So what do you mean when you say that?
Conrad Saam: I mean, so like — so —
Adriana Linares: So don’t copy and paste your bio.
Conrad Saam: Don’t copy and paste your bio.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: And I would go through the process. By the way most of your bios lawyers —
Adriana Linares: Terrible.
Conrad Saam: — are really boring.
Adriana Linares: Oh, so boring.
Conrad Saam: Really boring. I will give you a reference Megan Hargroder does a lot of story work. She does amazing profile bios.
Adriana Linares: conversationsdigital.com.
Conrad Saam: There you go. So I love her. She does a great job writing amazing bio content. Most of you are so stuck on convincing people that you are a lawyer, they already know you are a bloody lawyer, they want to know who you are and a great bio will tell them who you are. I don’t — and I don’t care who that is, right?
But the person behind the lawyer is so much more important than I was captain of the debate club. Right? So get out of that. Be who you are. Let that come through and you guys have a massive resistance to letting the person behind the law degree come out. Some of you don’t and you’re shining examples of lawyers who don’t. Most of you are so stuck on marketing yourselves as being a lawyer and looking as lawyerly as possible, it’s just get past yourself.
Adriana Linares: Got to figure out a way to shine and just copying and pasting someone else’s profile and replacing it with the college you went to in the law school, you went to and your accolades is not necessarily the way to go.
Conrad Saam: Correct.
Adriana Linares: I knew we were going to run out of time. So what I’m going to do now is wrap up this episode and bring you right back so that we can get to my terms and ask you a couple of other basic questions.
Before I let you go on this round though, please tell everyone how they can find, friend and follow you, and don’t forget to give us one more pitch for your podcast. Where I’m sure you and Gyi get into all the stuff at a much greater length and depth. So I’m glad that we’re just going to cover some basics here, but then I can point everyone to your podcast for really in-depth conversations about all these little points.
Conrad Saam: So it’s Lunch Hour Legal Marketing as a podcast and you can find me. I’m very — so we are talking about name search. I’ll use this as an example. I’ve a very unique name Conrad Saam with two As and you can find me on Google. There’s lots of ways to find me. My company is mockingbirdmarketing.com. You can find me that way, but if you can’t find me I’m doing a terrible job.
Adriana Linares: If we can’t find you the Internet is broken. He’s really the problem.
All right, everyone we’ve reached the end of this first of two episodes. So I want to make sure and tell you that we’ll be back with more from Conrad. I knew this would be a great conversation.
If you liked what you’ve heard today, we’d really like a great rating from you on iTunes, and of course, if you like this podcast, please share it with everyone else that might be interested in learning more about running a better law firm and practice.
We will see you next time. And remember, you are not alone, you are New Solo.
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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