After leading marketing efforts for Avvo, Conrad Saam left and founded Mockingbird Marketing, an online marketing agency focused exclusively...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of Florida’s largest...
Legal marketing expert Conrad Saam returns for Part 2 of his conversation with host Adriana Linares to explain why for many lawyers SEO has become the “back cover of the Yellow Pages.” It’s expensive and not right for everyone. So when do you need to work on SEO? Linares teases out some tips:
In case you missed it, follow this link to listen to Part 1 of this discussion.
Conrad Saam is president at Mockingbird Marketing.
Back to Basics – Smart Marketing for Solos Part 2
Intro: So, you’re an attorney and you’ve decided to go out on your own. Now what? You need a plan and you’re not alone. Join expert host Adriana Linares and her distinguished guests on New Solo. Tune in to 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 and welcome to another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I’m Adriana Linares, your host. I’m a Legal Technology Trainer and consultant. I help lawyers and law firms use technology better. Today is a special part two of a series that I invited Conrad Saam to do with me. Conrad is the CEO of Mockingbird Marketing. I got him coming back to talk to us a little bit more about internet marketing.
Before we get started though, I want to make sure and thank our sponsors. Thanks to our sponsor; Ross Intelligence, the legal research platform that leverages AI to get to the heart of legal issues fast. Go to rossintelligence.com for a 14-day free trial. We want to thank Alert Communications for sponsoring this episode. If you’re a law firm looking for call intake or retainer services available 24/7/365 make sure and call 866-827-5568. Thanks to our sponsor CLIO and make sure to check out their Daily Matters Podcast, featuring valuable perspectives on legal in the COVID-19 era. Listen to Daily Matters at clio.com/daily or wherever you subscribed to podcasts.
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Hey Conrad, you’re back.
Conrad Saam: I’m back.
Adriana Linares: Thanks for coming back.
Conrad Saam: We’re back for more.
Adriana Linares: This is just such a great topic and I get so many questions from lawyers. I’m going to start emailing them to you for your podcast because you have a podcast now on Legal Talk Network, tell us more.
Conrad Saam: Yep. So Gyi Tsakalakis and I are going to lunch our legal marketing podcast. He was very gracious and decided to help me out. We’ve been talking forever together —
Adriana Linares: You guys are good buddies.
Conrad Saam: We are. You know what’s the funny thing is, he and I should hate each other. We should be vicious competitors and hate each other but the reality is — and this is going to come across, I can’t come across as anything but Eric when I say this. There is a small cadre of legal marketers that frankly deserve the job and we tend to hang out. We tend to know each other and we tend to be client-first and we do the right things. And so, we don’t really need to be vicious competitors. We can be really good friends and that’s how it’s worked with him and I for a long time.
Adriana Linares: I say that all the time about my colleagues when people say “Well, who are your competitors? I say “I don’t really have competitors because we all have to help each other out. This market is so big, there’s so much room for legal technology experts whether it’s in marketing or consulting that we are all really good friends.” Every once in a while, I get a law firm that shops me for — it’s almost always in net docs(ph) implementation.
And I will know who they’ve already reached out to because we’re all friends and we sort of have to ask each other questions or get each other’s help. So, I’m really glad to hear that.
Conrad Saam: I’ll tell you this though, the best way to get really amazing service from Gyi or me, or one of the other group of friends we have is to pit us against each other with our clients.
Adriana Linares: That’s hilarious.
Conrad Saam: Because we’re type-A idiots but yeah.
Adriana Linares: No, that’s fine. So, in our last podcast, I was trying to get us on some basic stuff but we were having such a good conversation about just sort of maybe getting ready to leave a big law firm and go out on your own or really starting to focus on creating your presence online. You gave us a bunch of great tips for thinking ahead, for making sure that you claim profiles across the world just to help make sure that your name search, which was a term that we talked about. Which is someone searching specifically for your name, not necessarily for personal injury lawyer in Omaha.
So, we covered some — I think really good tips over there and I want to bring it back a little bit more to just website and thinking about some terms and when to hire a marketer. So, we also talked about SEO and sort of talking about search engine optimization and how it’s evolved and it’s an art and a science. I’ll say this as someone who spends a lot of time with legal marketers. SEO is not typically something that a lawyer should take on their own. There might be a time when you decide to hire someone for help to help you with that SEO. I have always said it’s a science it’s really a difficult art form these days. Science and an art getting SEO to work at a price point that somebody wants it to work. Can you speak a little bit to that?
Conrad Saam: Well, I think the biggest piece that’s missed and it’s missed by agencies. It’s missed by agencies, as well as clients. Every SEO expert, ninja maven(ph), whatever they want to call themselves, thinks every client can have success in SEO. And that’s actually not the case. Sometimes, and not even sometimes, 40 percent of the time, I’ll sit down with a new law firm and be like, you should just forget even playing in this game. This is a marathon, not a sprint and your sneakers are still in the box and there are people rounding the final aid station, right?
And so, don’t bother. So true story, I’m doing — dealing with two of these, right now. I have a new lawyer starting out, doing PI opening offices in two massive markets. Like, don’t even bother, don’t try.
Adriana Linares: Don’t even bother, you’re too late to the game.
Conrad Saam: And then I have another client. I’m literally was working on this RFP this morning, where they were like “Our SEO budget is $5,500 a month. And based on where they are and what they do.
Adriana Linares: It’s not enough.
Conrad Saam: I said, so this is the worst pitch you could ever give. I told them they should put their money in PPC, like don’t even bother. You’re so far behind and they’re like, “Yeah, but we used to be great” and I was like, “I know, it’s a race everyone has passed you. You guys have sat the last four years out and it’s gone, I can’t catch up.”
Adriana Linares: Yeah, and I think that’s such an honest thing to tell people and it’s so hard for them to understand. I think because for so long, lawyers have been hearing from different marketing agencies “We’ll get you on the front” like it’s easy, but it’s not easy. It may have been easy 12 and 15 years ago. I don’t think it’s easy today.
Conrad Saam: It’s brutal, it’s brutal. So, Carolyn Elefant and I have had this conversation. She talks about how SEO has become the new back cover of the Yellow Pages. It just — is so expensive and by the way, I cannot stress this enough. All of this is dependent on how competitive it is and what most law firms aren’t thinking about are what are the nuances where it’s not competitive. A nuance could be language, right?
I can tell you I have a couple of the country’s most successful Polish language legal websites, true, right? And they don’t need to compete in English because they can win in Polish, right? Now, you might be like a small market. Yeah, but for a small law firm that’s game —
Adriana Linares: It’s all the market.
Conrad Saam: Right? That’s all we need. So, we’re going to dominate that. It can also be geographic. I have a client who’s in the Panhandle at Oklahoma. We did an amazing job for him like five years ago. He calls me every six months with some new idea that he wants to run by me and that’s it, like that’s all we do. Because we’ve got — he has the best legal website in — I don’t know, 50 miles, right? And so that works for him.
You can also have a very, very specific niche. We have a couple of our clients and I love these.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: A couple of our clients are very, very obscure components of the law. And they’ve got seven or eight competitors nationwide and we kill it for them because they’ve only got seven or eight competitors nationwide.
Adriana Linares: Well, I was just — I was helping a lawyer in San Diego a few months ago and she is an estate planning lawyer, “How do I get on google?” I said, “You’re a brand-new lawyer in a pretty big market, San Diego.” I said, “You’re not getting on google without paying for it but can you niche your practice?”
Conrad Saam: Right.
Adriana Linares: She’s like, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, I never see anybody pitching estate planning to young parents.” I go, “Why don’t you become the lawyer in town for young married couples, who don’t think about estate planning?” So, I mean, I was just trying to give her an idea of how to create a niche of any sort because you can’t just be an estate planning lawyer and expect to be found.
Conrad Saam: And so, the key there is as soon — if you niche within a market and by the way, I want to hit one other point before we go into this.
Adriana Linares: Yes, don’t forget.
Conrad Saam: Depending on what you do, it’s actually — it’s achievable; divorce, immigration, they tend to do better. Estate planning frankly, in a smaller city is achievable. So, like if you’re in a smaller city or if you’re not doing PR(ph) in criminal defense like — SEO can play into the mix, right? Depending on where you are. So, I don’t want to throw everything out like SEO is terrible for everyone. I’ve just recently had so many experiences with people thinking they can go to top of Google and PI in Downtown Atlanta.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Conrad Saam: I don’t know how to help you. But the niching is very fascinating, because if you can niche yourself within a market or within a type of practice or a language, what happens there, there’s this great book this is like a very old business book called Selling the Invisible by a guy named Harry Beckwith. I’ve got like 10 copies on my shelf right here. I send out to people all the time. When you are the estate planning attorney for young parents.
Adriana Linares: That’s a good idea, right?
Conrad Saam: Your market is a great idea, right?
Your market becomes — like your prospects are thinking about “Am I a young parent or not and if I’m a young parent, this is the right person for me. If I’m not, it’s the wrong person for me and that’s fine.” Beckwith says “The narrower your focus, the broader your appeal,” right?
Adriana Linares: So true.
Conrad Saam: And it makes people want you more and so this —
Adriana Linares: I’m a great example of legal technology of legal, I don’t just do technology consulting or IT, I do very specific legal technology consulting and you’re right, my scope is broad or my reachability is broader because of that.
Conrad Saam: Because of the focus. I believe this — Beckwith’s book is fantastic, it’s a great read.
Adriana Linares: Awesome that’s a good recommendation right there. Hey, let’s take a quick minute and listen to some messages from some sponsors before I come back and ask you a few more questions.
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Okay, we’re back with Conrad Saam from Mockingbird Marketing and Conrad has a new podcast too on the Legal Talk Network which I will happily pitch and encourage you to go subscribe to called “lunch hour” —
Conrad Saam: Legal Marketing.
Adriana Linares: Legal marketing. I wasn’t sure if “lunch hour” if legal was in there. Tell me, let’s go back a little bit.
Conrad Saam: Sure.
Adriana Linares: We spent a lot of time talking about directories and trying to get found and searches. But let’s go back to a basic website.
Conrad Saam: Sure.
Adriana Linares: So basically, I’m getting ready to go out on my own — I’ve started the strategic process of getting my practitioner page on Google My Business set and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go back and listen to the previous episode. I’ve claimed my profiles on LinkedIn — on all the free directories I can. And now, I’m just going to have a website built and I’m going to assume — are you a WordPress pusher as much as anybody?
Conrad Saam: I’m no WordPress pusher.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: I would say, if you are using any —
Adriana Linares: Wix? Like what happens when somebody comes see — and they say, “I’m going to build my website on Wix or Squarespace.”
Conrad Saam: So, this is my caveat to WordPress. If you’re going to do it yourself, go spend 19 bucks and learn WordPress but if you don’t want to do that, and you’re in an uncompetitive market and you have a way to get people to your website through advertising or something like that. And you build something on Wix or Squarespace, like okay.
Adriana Linares: It’s fine.
Conrad Saam: Okay, I don’t love it, it’s not what I would do but it’s okay do it yourself. What you should never do, never pay a professional to build you a Wix website. That’s like hiring my daughter to do your portrait. Don’t do that. So, you know, for me, WordPress is where it is but you have to think about like if you’re going to run advertising and you want a really cheap website, right? Because you’re going to run advertising to it, that’s fine, right?
Now, there are limitations there, I don’t like going to Wix, Squarespace kind of route, I just don’t.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, I don’t either. I think, I just — look you’re much more diplomatic than I am. I just tell them to go to WordPress. I mean it’s the standard platform, you’re going to find the most plug-ins, most people are familiar with using it. When you want to grow it or shrink it or change it, you’re going to have a lot easier time on WordPress. So, I’m a WordPress pusher.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, I mean, it’s professional versus unprofessional. So, you’re on WordPress. I think for me, the key here is don’t get — especially, for a solo, especially starting out, don’t get really wrapped up in the most amazing dramatic website. A lot of people tell me I don’t want a cookie cutter website. I was like —
Adriana Linares: Every website is cookie cutter.
Conrad Saam: It’s any other cookie cutter budget, right? We’re making cookies here.
Adriana Linares: I’m sorry. Yeah.
Conrad Saam: There are some stuff that’s out there. There are some stuff I look at — so let me put that into financials. If you’ve got 10-grand to spend —
Adriana Linares: A month or a year?
Conrad Saam: — period, right? This is my — it doesn’t for my purposes here, it doesn’t really matter. If you’ve got 10-grand to spend, I want you to spend as little as possible as you can on a website, especially if you’re starting out. And as much as possible, driving people to that website as long as that site doesn’t turn people off.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Conrad Saam: Sometimes, I looked — I look at sites all the time.
Sometimes, you’ll get a website you’re like “Wow, if I ever landed on this website there’s no way, I’m calling Fred because Fred clearly can’t afford a website, so he can’t be a good lawyer,” that happens.
Adriana Linares: That’s how I am and when I see an attorney with @aol website right on their homepage, you pretty much bet that I’m not going to refer them. Even after somebody referred me to refer them, I go to their website and I think well, I’m not going to send a friend to that website because one; it is terrible but two; they have an AOL email address.
Conrad Saam: Don’t have the AOL, don’t have Yahoo, don’t even have Gmail. Have your own bloody email address, you’re a professional.
Adriana Linares: There’s a term you mentioned earlier that I want to go back to in our previous podcast. You said vanity term or did you say vanity URL? but I want you to tell me what that or those are.
Conrad Saam: I talked about vanity search, it’s kind of a pejorative —
Adriana Linares: Oh, for your name search?
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: okay.
Conrad Saam: So, like a lot of people will search themselves and see how — this is a pejorative term that SEOs use. Because it really annoys us when you start searching for yourself or searching for this out of the other thing and thinking that that’s what represents what other people see when they’re looking for you. It just doesn’t represent, it’s a stupid waste of your time.
Adriana Linares: Well, that’s not bad. I mean it’s a good advice, I don’t know if it’s pejorative. I mean it’s the word “vanity” you’re not like dropping an F-bomb or anything. Is it important for me to have my last name in my URL for my law firm?
Conrad Saam: No, not at all.
Adriana Linares: So, I can have a name search that I’ve been working on for three or four months before I even go out on my own or launch my law firm. And then when I’m going to decide on my law firm URL because if you have like, you said in our last conversation a common last name, it’s going to be hard to find a URL for you know, Smith Law San Diego, you know?
Conrad Saam: Right, right, it is hard.
Adriana Linares: So, what do I do at this point when I want a URL that’s easy to remember, that is reflective of what I do? Maybe I can have my last name in it?
Conrad Saam: By the way, this is very dependent where you are in the country because different states have different perspectives run what you can name the law firm, blah, blah, blah. Naming your law firm is a big deal from an SEO perspective. Okay, I’m having this conversation with someone right now and this is a strategic question “Are you going to build up the firm as you?” Right? Let me move it out of legal. Should Mocking Bird really be Conrad Saam Consulting, right? Because Conrad’s got this big reputation, everyone knows who Conrad is. Or is it something that can live without Conrad, right? And it can be a thing above and beyond Conrad. It’s a question that you need to think about what your future looks like.
And so, naming the firm, I think a lot of people don’t put enough time into doing that right and thinking about what the future may hold, especially in a very uncertain future. And if you named the firm San Diego Estate Planning Expert, let’s not use the word “Expert” San Diego Estate Planning Legal Resource, right? I hate this but right now, in those local results that will help you rank in those local results which I hate because now it looks like all the local results and you’ve got law firms changing their name just to show up, specifically —
Adriana Linares: Wow.
Conrad Saam: It’s happening and so right now, and over the last two or three years, like that’s a thing, it works. I hate it, but it works.
Adriana Linares: Hate it but it works. So, should I put the area of law that I’m practicing if my last name is harder to get to?
Conrad Saam: I’m giving you a specific SEO answer and the answer to that questions is absolutely.
Adriana Linares: Okay, the thing that —
Conrad Saam: And I don’t like it, again I hate it.
Adriana Linares: Well, here’s why I think that’s a tough decision to make because I cannot tell you and you probably have the same experience. How many lawyers can’t predict their future? So, they’re going to start out in one area of law and then that’s what they focus on. And then either a partner comes on or they meet someone that whose law firm they want to join and maybe they’re going to change the practice. Which I’m having this conversation with the firm right now.
They’re trying to get out of estate planning, more into real estate and so there’s transitioning that happened. So, I guess if you decide to do that, really focus on one area, just know that there might be a change in your future. I get it all the time, they don’t know. We look at what is happening right now in the world with lawyers and law firms. All the changes that must be circling, right?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, you guys get together and breakup like the Kardashians, right?
Adriana Linares: Yeah, so true.
Conrad Saam: And sometimes, that’s really ugly, right? I’ve gotten in the middle of — I’ve got a client right now who the last conversation I had with him before he hired us as a client was him threatening to sue me because I was helping out his now former ex-partner as they were breaking up, right?
Adriana Linares: Wow.
Conrad Saam: And he came after me. And so like, it can get very, very ugly and you don’t know what the future holds.
Adriana Linares: You really don’t.
Conrad Saam: It’s really difficult. I can tell you on my own experience. I thought I was going to be a single-person SEO consultant, right?
And now, I’m doing all sorts of things as an agency. But you guys don’t know what’s going to happen and having that name focus is problematic. Sorry —
Adriana Linares: It can be.
Conrad Saam: — and the practice already focused within the name can be problematic. Frankly, having the name within the name is problematic because Smith and Jones become Smith and Smith, and Smith and Jones and Smith. It is not easy.
Adriana Linares: It’s not easy. Let’s take a quick break and listen to some messages from some sponsors and we’ll be right back.
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All right. Welcome back. Conrad, we’ve had a good conversation so far about naming the website. You should probably have it on WordPress.
Conrad Saam: Yes.
Adriana Linares: You have some leeway on alternatives, I don’t. Talk to me — we were talking a few minutes you’re saying “Look, if you have $10,000.” I think this is a really great advise. If you have $10,000, spend as little of that budget in building a nice-looking, non-repulsive website and then spend the rest of your budget driving traffic to that website. One of the terms that you mentioned in our previous conversation was bounce rate. And I think it’s interesting for you, I think that’s a great term for you to describe in going back to building a website that is not going to bounce visitors right off the page because it’s so unattractive.
Conrad Saam: Sure. So, I think there’s two elements to bounce rate and we need — so this is a — I have a pretty strong opinion on this. So, let’s start defining it first. A bounce is someone is someone who comes to a website, looks at one page and then leaves. Okay now, traditionally, there’s two elements that make this a negative thing; one is if you are a publisher, if you’re AVO(ph) for example, you want a low bounce rate because every single time someone opens a page, opens a new page turns multiple pages, you’re adding more inventory, right? You’re adding more advertising inventory, so publishers like bounce rate — like a low bounce rate. They focus on having a low bounce rate. The second thing is there was a time when they hide bounce rate. A conversation that a high bounce rate was something that Google didn’t like. The example is basically, “I’m looking for fuzzy bunny slippers, I do a Google Search for fuzzy bunny slippers. I click on the fuzzy bunny slipper link, that’s number one I look at that result and I’m like, “Wow, I really don’t like that shade of pink, I’m going to go back to google and look for a different fuzzy bunny slipper.”
And so, there was this notion that Google was using that to determine whether or not that your initial rank should actually belong to be there, right? You guys are lawyers and the reality is — let me give you a different example. I’m looking for an immigration attorney in Seattle and I type in “Immigration lawyer in Seattle,” I click on the first link that I see. I come to this amazing page; I see that Jane is just as amazing immigration attorney who completely shared my own personal experience going through the immigration process. And she is exactly who I want to call and I call her and I hire her, and I close the web browser and I have just bounced, right? I’ve just looked at one page and left and that’s a bounce. And Google knows —
Adriana Linares: But it’s a win.
Conrad Saam: It’s a win, it’s a huge win.
Adriana Linares: But Google doesn’t know?
Conrad Saam: No, they do know.
Adriana Linares: They do?
Conrad Saam: They do know. So, the notion that every single website should perform like a publishing platform is a misnomer. And so, I get — if I get lawyers — So I’m blanking on the name of the theory but there’s this psychology theory that when you know a little bit about something, you start to feel like you know a lot about it. And I think bounce rate is one of those things where people are like “Oh, I get it. I understand that this is a thin.” And so, I talk to lawyers about bounce rate a lot.
Adriana Linares: But I guess, ultimately is my goal to prevent a high bounce rate?
Conrad Saam: No, your goal is to get them to call your bloody phone, right?
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: Right? And so like, if this was a real thing, if this was something that I worried about, I would have the phone number obscured from all of my viewers and you’d have to go to a new page to see the phone number. And there would be like plugins that were like bounce rate on optimizer or bounce rate minimizer plug-in that sends people over to a new page that looks at a phone number that you then call.
No, you don’t care about the bounce rate.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: You want them to pick up the bloody phone.
Adriana Linares: So, how do I make that happen?
Conrad Saam: Well, you have to get them to your site, right? I mean there’s two elements to this. You have to get them to your site and then you have to make it easy to connect with them. So, they get to the site is — we talked about this in our previous episode.
Adriana Linares: Yep.
Conrad Saam: Pay-per-click, Google Local and SEO. We haven’t talked about the competitiveness of each of those and how to assess that which we should come back to. But the second thing is, do people want to connect with you? And can they connect with you the way they want to connect with you? Go ahead.
Adriana Linares: I was just going to say, I’ve been doing a ton of training on remote meetings with clients and lawyers have said “Which platform do I get? Do I use Google Meet, do I use Zoom? Do I use FaceTime? Do I use whatever? and I say, “You use them all.”
Conrad Saam: Use what they want.
Adriana Linares: Use them all, you become an expert in all of them. And when you’re engaging the client, you say which platform or which video meeting service are you most comfortable with and that’s where you go. So, I think that’s our goal always in legal is help as far as technology experts goes, helping to reduce the friction in communicating with the client. Now in this case, we’re communicating with a potentially new client. So, what you’re saying is you’d give them all the choices? Click to call, click to chat.
Conrad Saam: So, the choices for me — click to call, chat —
Adriana Linares: Fill out a form.
Conrad Saam: Fill out a form or phone call. Most lawyers tell me, that I have this conversation once a week. I’m amazing once I get someone to talk to me and so I need to talk with them. Like, we got to get them on the phone and I can close them because I’m just amazing, I’m so charismatic and knowledgeable. They’re not always charismatic and knowledgeable but that’s a different problem. But most of you are approaching this from — and by the way, I am guilty of this. I did this with my agency for a long time.
But most of you are guilty of thinking that the way you like to converse —
Adriana Linares: Right.
Conrad Saam: And turn people into clients is the way you should force people to contact you. The reality is, if I just walked in on my wife with the pool boy, I may not want to pick up the phone in front of my kids. I may want to fill out a form, right? And so, you need to make it convenient for your audience to connect with you the way that’s convenient for them and appropriate for them, especially in legal.
Adriana Linares: I agree, I think we lack a lot of flexibility, it’s a very rigid profession. It’s changing a lot, especially over the past couple of months but I think that’s such a great tip to end on. Because unfortunately, we’ve reached the end of our time as we often do when we’re chatting Conrad. Which is you know, you have to become unfortunately, an expert in a lot of things that you might not be comfortable with and that might be figuring out how to make a website look good? How to get those components on there? Or what I tell most lawyers is “You should hire somebody to help you” but you really want to be able to ask the right questions and understand what types of reports you want to get from them. What your goals are when they talk to you about SEO and PPC. You know, get educated beforehand and don’t be afraid to ask them in-depth if you do find someone that can help you in becoming that expert.
Because you just have to, today you’re running a business, can’t sit there and just write checks and not know what’s going on. And I love your idea of meeting the client where they are most comfortable, whether it’s through marketing or you know, in my world of technology consulting. Any last words of wisdom that you wish every lawyer would have in their head when it comes to thinking about marketing? And especially, if maybe they’re on a budget, which they’re all on every budget.
Conrad Saam: They’re all in a budget, they should all be on a budget. I think the key here is, as you are talking to agencies, as you’re looking to agencies, I want you listening for the why this(ph) channel? Why SEO? Why pay-per-click? And most agencies are hammers looking at the world as a nail. I do content so you need content, I do advertising so you —
Adriana Linares: I do blogs, so you’ve got to have a blog, blogs will save the world.
Conrad Saam: Exactly, and people look at the world like that because it’s convenient for them. I think what you really want is a strategic partner who’s going to say “Don’t blog because you don’t have the website authority to do it. What you should do is — what you should do is local or what you should do, given your situation is you need to spend as much money as you can on pay-per-click because that’s what’s going to get you the returns the best.”
And so look for an agency that is going to look across all the channels that you can use and tell you why they’ve chosen X, Y or Z or X, Y and Z as opposed to — you’re a nail and I’m a hammer and it’s a matchmade in heaven.
Adriana Linares: Before I let you go; I do want to ask you to help lawyers with realistic expectations about costs. When they hire a high-end, high-performing agency like yours, can they come to you with a $500 a month budget for marketing?
Oh for a website? Sure.
Adriana Linares: Oh, but wait, you build websites for free?
Conrad Saam: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: So, tell us a little bit about that because that’s a very cool service but what I mean beyond that is — well now, I really want to work on my PPC and my SEO, how much is that going to cost? So, tell us about your free service first and then set some expectations for me about what this —
Conrad Saam: — so we talked a little bit about cookie cutter websites. We have our own free cookie cutter website which we’re giving away to lawyers. I don’t want to turn this into a pitch session.
Adriana Linares: It’s okay.
Conrad Saam: When COVID came out, I was like “What can we do for our community?”
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: So, we have a WordPress-based site called FrEcho that we’re giving away to lawyers.
Adriana Linares: F-R-E?
Conrad Saam: C-H-O.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Conrad Saam: It’s FrEcho because it’s our website product called Echo.
Adriana Linares: Oh, I got it.
Conrad Saam: And made it FrEcho because we’re creative like that.
Adriana Linares: Very creative, FrEcho.
Conrad Saam: So that’s one thing. But really, if you have a $500 budget, you need to have a bare-bones website and you need to be bidding on your name. And I would probably do anything else outside of that, I would put into my kid’s college fund or maybe into a lease on a new BMW.
Adriana Linares: So, it’s not cheap is what you’re saying?
Conrad Saam: Again, it depends on where you are and what you do and your budget needs to align with that. I do have clients who spend $500 a month on us on a basic website and their name search, right? And that’s fine because they do a very specific thing and that’s what they need. What you can’t do, and I also have clients who spend $17,000 a month on SEO alone. I have clients who spend $105.000 a month on pay-per-click.
Adriana Linares: I got a guy in Florida that spends $60,000 dollars a month that makes it back tenfold.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. So, it’s very wide. For me in general, PI sucks — actually PI is great for me. This is all in reverse. PI is expensive, criminal defense is expensive.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Conrad Saam: Mass torts — those types of things are brutal. The further you move away from a large town, the better off you are. And the more you move into what I will call “extremely fragmented practice areas” typically, those look like employment, family. There are a very few, really large family law players. It’s a zero-sum game, so the bigger you are, the more you have to spend on this stuff and the more it works as kind of a flywheel. But to the extent that you are in the more fragmented practice areas, you can get by in a $2,000 budget, right?
And you can do well in a $2,000 budget but if you’re running PI in Atlanta, your SEO budget is 15 grand a month, right?
Adriana Linares: Yep.
Conrad Saam: And that’s to be effective and what I don’t like seeing, I’ve got this right now. Dallas PI, their budget is 5-grand for SEO and I was like. “Don’t bother, just don’t bother. Put it into something else” or you know? Or that BMW.
Adriana Linares: Commercials are actually cheaper than that. A radio spot, you know.
Conrad Saam: Radio spot.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Conrad Saam: Branded advertising but like, don’t dip your toe in the SEO pool if you’re in a very competitive market because you’re just —
Adriana Linares: You’re just going to lose. It’d be like me sitting down in a blackjack table, you know? I’m just there to lose my money because I have no idea what I’m doing.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, like if you have a gambling problem instead, right? Don’t spend it on an SEO agency that’s —
Adriana Linares: Have fun while you’re wasting money. We should not encourage anyone to have a gambling problem, I’m sorry.
Conrad Saam: No, no, sorry. Go to —
Adriana Linares: You guys cut the —
Conrad Saam: Go to New Orleans and hang out with Adriana and myself.
Adriana Linares: You guys cut that part out of the conversation. All right, well Conrad it’s been really great having you on. I would say I’ll invite you back, it’d be great. I’d love to have you on as a regular but I’ll just send people to your show instead. Remind us one more time about your new podcast on the Legal Talk Network.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, it’s Lunch Hour Legal Marketing with Conrad and Gyi.
Adriana Linares: I love that and then —
Conrad Saam: I’m sorry, I should say Lunch Hour Legal Marketing with Gyi and Connor because it’s really his show that he invited me on. I should be more gallant than that.
Adriana Linares: Oh, and Gyi is G-Y-I is his last name.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, you want me to spell the last name?
Adriana Linares: Yeah and Tsakalakis is his last name. You know, since we’ve thrown so many props at him, you might as well make it easy for people to search for him.
Conrad Saam: It’s Gyi Tsakalakis at AttorneySync. You can spell his last name. T-S-A-K-A-L-A-K-I-S.
Adriana Linares: That’s very good.
Conrad Saam: Which would make a great password if you needed one.
Adriana Linares: Indeed, it would. Hey, I might change all my passwords. Actually, Gyi’s full name would be great. And tell everyone how they can find, friend or follow you. Where are you active?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, I am active on Facebook, LinkedIn. I’m active — mostly, you can find me through Google because I have that very unique name conradssom.com, you can find me that way. If you can’t, you should never hire me.
Adriana Linares: And if you’re going to search Adriana Linares, make sure you put minus viola(ph). Otherwise, my alter ego that plays the viola, my Colombian alter-ego that place viola turns up. Yeah, you’d think a name like Adriana Linares — but you know, Adriana Linares is kind of like Jennifer Smith in the Latin-American Hispanic world.
Conrad Saam: And that’s why — again, this goes back to our theme of competitiveness. The more competitive it is the harder it is to deal with.
Adriana Linares: So true, well thanks so much again Conrad, I very much appreciate your time. I know you’re super, super busy this morning and I want to thank all our listeners again for listening to New Solo on the Legal Talk Network.
If you like what you’ve heard today, I’d love for you to subscribe, rate and give us a review on iTunes and tell your friends about my podcast and about Gyi and Conrad’s podcast too. We’ll see you next time and remember, you’re not alone, you’re 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. The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always consult a lawyer
New Solo covers a diverse range of topics including transitioning from law firm to solo practice, law practice management, and more.
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