Karin Conroy is a legal marketing consultant and founder of Conroy Creative Counsel, which specializes in creating award winning...
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law firm management,...
Many attorneys’ marketing strategies focus on generating a high volume of leads, but is that really the best way to grow a business? Chris Anderson and Karin Conroy think not! Karin shares her key steps for helping lawyers connect with the right clients: insight, intake, and discovery. They outline how to filter down leads to find the best matches for your firm, what to do when you progress from lead to client, and how to curate meaningful client relationships throughout the process.
Karin Conroy is a legal marketing consultant at Conroy Creative Counsel.
The Un-Billable Hour
Insight, Intake, Discovery: Making Less Equal More
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients, and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. This is where you will get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson, here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher T. Anderson: Welcome to The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast helping attorneys achieve more success. We are glad you can listen today on Legal Talk Network.
Today’s episode is about marketing and it’s been a couple few episodes since we’ve left marketing and I’m excited to come back and have another show talking about an aspect of marketing. And what’s interesting I think about today’s guest is that we’re not going to talk so much about how to get more leads and if you’ve listened to some of my podcasts, some of my feelings around that, while many lawyers think that it is a solution more leads, more money, more money good, there are and there are plenty, plenty of vendors who — that is the extent of their conversation with you, and it will sell more leads as the solution when it’s very often really just a way to exacerbate a problem that’s going on with the business.
I might even take an episode I’ve been thinking about this to talk one-on-one with you about what I call the Five Commandments of Marketing, but for right now let us just suffice to agree that marketing that has bad ROI, that has bad metrics, that doesn’t have good return on the number of sales that have happened out of the marketing effort, that problem is not going to be fixed with volume and that’s what we’re going to be talking about here today with Karin Conroy.
The title of our show today is ‘Insight, Intake, Discovery: Making Less Equal More’, and as I just mentioned my guest today is Karin Conroy, and Karin brings great experience from her time as Director of Marketing for Century 21 and since then she’s also brought her MBA and her non-legal aka real-world marketing experience to benefit law firms. With her business Conroy Creative Counsel, she’s helped more than 200 law firms improve their marketing and continues to bring her mix of technology, design and business knowledge to bear for law firms, which makes her a great guest.
Karin also writes for Lawyerist and Attorney at Work and sharing her great ideas widely, and we’re really grateful to have her on the show to share them with you. Of course ever so humbly I am, your host, Christopher Anderson. I’m an attorney with a singular passion for helping other lawyers achieve success with their law firm businesses. In The Un-Billable Hour every month we explore an area important to help you be a more profitable lawyer through growing your revenues, getting back more of your time and/or getting more professional satisfaction from your business. The Un-Billable Hour is dedicated to bring you guests every month to help you learn more about how to make your law firm business work for you, instead of the other way around. And before we get started, I do want to say a thank you to our sponsors, Nexa, Solo Practice University, Scorpion and LAWCLERK.
Nexa formerly known as Answer1 is a leading virtual receptionist and answering services provider for law firms. Learn more by giving them a call at 1800-267-9371 or online at www.nexa.com.
Solo Practice University is a great resource for solos, no matter how long you have been practicing. Make sure you check out solopracticeuniversity.com and learn how to run your practice better.
Scorpion crushes the standard for law firm online marketing with proven campaign strategies to get attorneys better cases from the Internet. Partner with Scorpion to get an award-winning website and ROI-positive marketing programs today. Visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast.
LAWCLERK, where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Visit lawclerk.legal to learn how to increase your productivity and your profits by working with talented freelance lawyers.
And again, today’s episode of The Un-Billable Hour is ‘Insight, Intake, Discovery: Making Less Equal More’ and my guest today is Karin Conroy, she is the Founder and Creative Director of Conroy Creative Counsel.
Karin, welcome to The Un-Billable Hour.
Karin Conroy: Thank you, I am glad to be here.
Christopher T. Anderson: I am glad to have you, and it’s sort of a tradition with this show that my introductions are pretty pathetically briefed, so because I want to give you the opportunity to listen to this, I am trying to make it sound like this is my intention. But I am just really bad at intros, but so if you don’t mind just take a moment to tell us a little bit more about the background that led you to be doing marketing — creative marketing for law firms?
Karin Conroy: Well it’s kind of one of those windy road paths that I had a lot of different experiences but looking back, in retrospect it all kind of makes sense and all the pieces fit together into this strange outcome. So I started in the dawn of the Internet way at this little tiny beach Internet cafe where it was still like the era of Netscape and Napster was cool and not illegal. And I was making websites in HTML and all of that. So I started there and it was this very sleepy little beach town and that kind of went south and shut down, and so that’s where a lot of my clients initially started coming from and then eventually I decided I needed to figure out what I was doing.
So went back the first time to post — undergrad did a design program for about three years and then I went back, the second time I got my MBA. So I then started working at Century 21 and I was doing a combination of design and management, but when I got my MBA it kind of fit all these pieces together where not only do I look at things from a creative side and I really have that kind of in my core, but it’s also strategy and for law firms especially I find that lawyers don’t learn this stuff in law school, they don’t learn the kind of things I learned in Business School about how to set up a business and what a P&L is and all of those kind of fancy things about how to crunch the numbers.
Christopher T. Anderson: Karin, you are totally wrong. What they teach us in law school, you haven’t understood this, but what they teach us in law school is that you work really, really hard to do great legal work and at night the magical law firm marketing and business fairies take care of everything for you.
Karin Conroy: Exactly. Right. So, that’s actually kind of the role that I try to come in and be that business fairy to a lot of my clients.
Christopher T. Anderson: See, it was true.
Karin Conroy: Exactly, so my wings are not super-visible all the time but they’re there and that’s kind of where I try to plop in and say and oftentimes I’ll be working with people who have learned the hard way that they don’t know this stuff and I’ll have talked to them maybe a year before and they’ll kind of look at my proposal and not quite see the value in it and then they’re thinking, oh, I can do this, I’m a lawyer, I should be able to — I’m a smart person, I should be able to do this, and then they try to do it and it doesn’t go so well and they start to calculate the number of billable hours that they’ve just wasted, and all of a sudden my proposal looks very appealing and I hear back from them and then they’re kind of an ideal client because it’s like, oh, now I get it, now I see why I need someone like you who understands all this stuff that I just don’t get.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, but — and so I totally get that, that’s so-so true. What I wanted to talk to you today about because, I mean, you really got some great thinking around this and I think it needs to be heard is whether they use you or they use someone else to build a great website and they figure out social media and they do — they get some leads coming in, so many people focus on the leads and so few people focus on the actual results to how many of those leads actually become clients —
Karin Conroy: Right.
Christopher T. Anderson: — and then you wanted to talk about and we were going to talk about Insight, Intake and Discovery. So, let’s first of all, I think it’s important like those are three different words and lawyers when they hear the word “discovery” think something else. So let’s describe what are we talking about first of all with Insight, what do you mean by Insight in this trilogy of important things to be thinking about?
Karin Conroy: So first you shouldn’t be just throwing out this giant, wide net and trying to catch any potential clients. So before I even did my MBA I’ll kind of keep relating this to my own business and building my own business. I would get people who would say, hey, I know that you know how to make a website and I am — I cut hair and I need a website and I’d be like, yes, I think there’s probably some money behind that, let me do that. I have never done a website for someone who cuts hair, but, okay, let’s do it, and it was always just a disaster. So, first of all, insight is about figuring out who your potential clients are and then creating some kind of a system around a filter for those inbound leads.
So all of your leads should not then make it to the next step. So there should be a filter where you have some kind of a system to ensure that these people are a good fit and not everyone should be a good fit.
So you shouldn’t just say, oh my gosh, I have 3,000 hits on my website this month, 3,000 new clients, no.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right.
Karin Conroy: Like, that’s just — that’s just kind of basic, basic marketing, but there should be a number of filters, it should be kind of like that funnel that upside-down funnel where, okay, you’ve got 3,000 hits on your website, that then converts to level 2, which is the number of people you actually reach out to which converts to level 3, which is the number of people who make it through kind of a good fit on either side filter then — keeps filtering down and down and down until maybe 2% to 3% of that traffic actually becomes a client.
So insight should just kind of be that broad system that filters the people through your kind of questioning or whatever that system is to make sure that step one, it’s a good fit.
Christopher T. Anderson: And can that insight even go to the messaging that you’re putting out there, like kind of like letting people know like we’re for you —
Karin Conroy: Yeah, 100%.
Christopher T. Anderson: — but we are not for you, yeah.
Karin Conroy: Exactly. So, this is another thing I’ll kind of come touch on throughout our conversation. You should have some kind of positioning for your brand and branding is initially something anytime I talk to law firms — most law firms. There’s some very educated, elevated lawyers that I talk to who like talking about it, but for the most part when I talk about branding they all kind of tense up and get a little uncomfortable, but basically you should either be positioned on price, convenience or quality.
So let’s hope it’s not price because that you’re probably — that’s probably going to be a disaster. You don’t want to be the Walmart lawyer. So let’s set price aside. So you’re either going to be convenience or quality.
So you’re either a lawyer who let’s say you’re a personal injury lawyer who you want to be out there on every billboard and you want to be the quickest, fastest, easiest thing that someone remembers if they’re in an accident. Okay, so that’s probably convenient. You are going to approach everything from a position of convenience. You are going to do everything quick, you’re going to have your phone number, you’re going to have one of those annoying memorable phone numbers like 800 —
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, it’s going to be like, Got Hurt Call Burt 1-800 Burt Burt, yeah
Karin Conroy: Exactly. Everything should be about making it convenient and fast. And so your messaging should be convenient and fast, your filtering system should be, is this one — is this someone who is looking for someone who is a convenient lawyer, or is this someone who wants quality which is so different and everything about quality is going to be number one, higher price; number two, they appreciate your value, and if they don’t then shove them over to someone who is that price-based or convenience-based lawyer.
So you should probably have some of those people in your Rolodex, let’s hope it’s not a actual Rolodex, but in your phone that are your referrals that are going to be — you’re going to send those people over to. So, okay, you get a person who comes in and they are price-based. Oh, here’s my price-based referral person who I’m going to send you over to and you’re going to do that in a very nice professional and friendly and systematic way.
Okay, I’ve got this templated email, here you go, this is my buddy, we have some kind of a partnership relationship. They know I’m going to send you this referral. We are not a good fit, but here you go. I’ve already got this all set up. But let’s say your quality, because this is the one that I like to speak to the most, because this is what I am, then all of your branding, all of your insight, all of your — all three of these things we’re going to talk about Insight, Intake and Discovery, it should all be around quality.
So you should have a filter that if someone is out of the gate asking you about pricing or how fast and convenient it is, those should be at least red flags. It shouldn’t be that they — your clients should care a little bit about price of course, but it shouldn’t be their driving factor.
Christopher T. Anderson: Sure. Everybody does that.
Karin Conroy: Yeah, exactly. So, I know that was a mouthful.
Christopher T. Anderson: No, that was fantastic, because I think that’s — I mean to me and we’re going to talk about intake, these other two things are really important, but this is the main one, because I think what I see — I mean, listen, in this business I’m out there helping a lot of law firms and I surf — I look at what law firms are doing in their marketing, and like without being — well, actually with being exaggerating but not that much. So many law firms rather going like, hey, you know what, we help people with stuff. So come see us, because that’s what we do and then they’re surprised when, because you said 2% to 3% of leads become clients which — that would be awesome and I think that’s a great idea, that would be a great rate, but they’re just shocked and dismayed when they are at 0.2% and then their phones, they are spending gobs and gobs of money answering phone calls and speaking to people that they shouldn’t even be speaking to.
Karin Conroy: Right.
Christopher T. Anderson: But so let’s take it to the next step. So that’s insight, which I thought is brilliant.
Karin Conroy: Yeah.
Christopher T. Anderson: What’s Intake, what’s this next step of Intake?
Karin Conroy: Okay, so if you picture that upside-down funnel, these are people who have made it through that insight. So in some way they may have red flags and that’s okay, but in some way — so for myself I have a very rudimentary scorecard and I’ve got it so drilled into my head, it’s basically that I kind of evaluate people on three or four things. I can glance at like their initial contact and score it in my head. It’s not a complicated thing but for me I score it on how much they talk about their budget, basically what their kind of practice area is and I just kind of look at what they’re talking about and whether I see value for me and my services.
So for each — for myself versus any firm, this is going to be a different kind of scorecard, but should be very basic. You should be able to look at any kind of a initial contact from a client or potential client and just score it, and say, okay, this may be 6 out of 10 or this may be a 2, which is a no, or — and have kind of some sort of breaking point. So if it’s under 5, or whatever it may be, have a breaking point. But let’s say it’s a 6 or a 7, so yeah, there may be a little bit of red flags, they are talking somewhat about budget, but that’s all right.
So it somehow has made it through that insight you’ve scored it, it’s okay, it’s okay enough to go to the next level, because ideally you’re going to get them to the next level and you have to do some convincing to them. You are going to have a conversation and really figure out if it is an 8 or 9 or if it really is a 2 or 3.
Christopher T. Anderson: You mentioned that whether or not that will work for you, how do you feel about like is this part of that intake also evaluating whether you can really bring value to the client/
Karin Conroy: Yeah, and that’s the other piece that I didn’t mention is whether I think it’s going to be a successful project. So if I look at what they’re asking and they’re needing a website or whatever it is they need yesterday or if they left a firm or were fire or something last week and they had no knowledge of it or they plan to leave a firm and they didn’t even think about a website until two months after the fact, and they are just in a panic, that’s probably not a project I’m going to take because they’re in such a hurry, they are going to cut all corners, they don’t see my value, they just want it too fast for it to be good.
So, yes, absolutely, whether you think it’s going to be successful, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a successful case outcome, but whether you and the client agree on the kind of goals for whatever that case or project or whatever it is.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. Cool. All right, so that’s Insight and Intake, what’s Discovery?
Karin Conroy: So Intake also just to step — one step back.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, I am sorry, please yeah.
Karin Conroy: For me that includes — so I set up an initial call, I go through. It’s also kind of an interview for me with that client to make sure that they’re good fit, but then it’s also at one point in the intake they have now signed up and we have an agreement and they are new client, and so that will include a Welcome Packet that took me forever to put together and I do kind of refine it from time-to-time, but it includes some standard things that I think are standard for any kind of business like just an understanding of expectations, how they can get in touch with you, what they’ve signed up for and agreed to, you would be surprised the number of lawyers that I work with that didn’t even read through the contract. So little things like that that just kind of reiterate the important little bits of what their role is and how it’s all going to work.
And so I have checklists for all of that stuff, so anytime I get a new project I go through a list of checklists. There was a really great book a few years ago about how surgeons and everyone, they really need these checklists to ensure that everything is getting done correctly, because after the human brain hits like three or four things on a list, it’s very questionable about how many of those you can actually remember. So I have checklists for everything to make sure that myself and my team is getting everything done and doing what we were promising. And so that’s kind of intake, then it goes into Discovery.
Christopher T. Anderson: Okay, but so is this intake process is involved and really helpful at narrowing down the match between you and the potential client?
Karin Conroy: Exactly. But also kind of setting the stage for the whole project.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah.
Karin Conroy: So they understand, especially in my case a lot of my clients haven’t done a website before or if they have, it was painful, and so, and each firm does things differently, so this is oftentimes not something that they’re familiar with and that’s also the case for a lot of people who are initially hiring a lawyer.
They haven’t necessarily done that before or maybe one other time and so they really don’t know what to expect. And so, it’s really important right off the bat to be open and clear about all the steps, all the levels of communication, what’s going to happen next, here’s what I need from you, here’s how the payment is going to happen. All of those really important things.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, okay, so we’re talking with Karin Conroy and the title of the show is ‘Insight, Intake and Discovery’ and we’ve gone into good detail on what insight and intake are and how important they are in matching through the marketing process and the insight and then intake, once they become a lead, how to match them with the business and match the business with their needs.
We’re going to take a break right here, and when we come back we’re going to learn about what is Discovery, and then we’ll also talk about how to measure all this stuff and how to actually put it to use? But first, let’s hear from our sponsors.
LAWCLERK is where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Whether you need a research memo or a complicated appellate brief, our network of freelance lawyers have every level of experience and expertise. Sign-up is free and there are no monthly fees. Only pay the flat fee price you set. Use rebate code ‘unbillable’ to get a $100 Amazon gift card when you complete your next project. Learn more at lawclerk.legal.
Advertiser: If you are missing calls, appointments and potential clients, it’s time to work with Nexa Professional. More than just an answering service, Nexa’s virtual receptionists are available 24×7 to schedule appointments, qualify leads, respond to emails, integrate with your firm’s software and much more. Nexa ensures your clients have the experience that they deserve. Give them a call at 800-267-9371 or visit them at nexa.com/podcast for a special offer.
Christopher T. Anderson: And welcome back to The Un-Billable Hour. We’re talk with Karin Conroy. Hey, we’ve been talking about insight, intake and discovery, really important steps to kind of juice the investment that you make in your marketing to make sure you’re reaching the right people and then that you’re matching them with your business.
We gave great definitions of insight and intake, and now Karin was going to talk to us about what this discovery portion is. So, Karin, what’s this discovery bit?
Karin Conroy: So it’s not so different from probably how a law firm will do the discovery of a case. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know exactly, but my guess is that it’s basically a fancy word for research and so for myself when I have a new client it’s about getting all the necessary information about that client and about their potential clients and who they’re looking to work with.
Christopher T. Anderson: So they’ve signed up now. They are a current client?
Karin Conroy: Right.
Christopher T. Anderson: Okay.
Karin Conroy: And now I’m figuring out what we’re going to do basically. So now I’m figuring out kind of what the approach is going to be for that project, who their clients are, what the messaging is going to be, what kind of brand they are looking to represent, what kind of colors, fonts, styles, but usually — well not usually, but oftentimes the colors, font, style and visuals are the thing that it gets distilled down to and there’s so much more behind all of that, that a lot of firms start with that and it falls flat because they don’t really understand what goes to make that effective and how to tie that in with your messaging and how to do things that aren’t cliché and all that stuff.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, cool, all right, so you put this whole scope together, so — and then you really know what you’re doing with the client, and I imagine you, when we’re talking about the law firm marketing these all fit indirectly to when the law firm finally gets the client, it’s all about making sure that they get in a systematic methodical way what the scope of the representation is going to be.
Karin Conroy: Exactly. And so for myself when — if we go back to that idea of the brand’s positioning whether it’s price, convenience or quality and I’m always coming from a quality position. So I travel quite a bit with my family and I really enjoy very high-end hotels and so I come back to that in my head a lot just to because I think kind of visually.
So I need to have those visuals of if I was walking into a high-end hotel, they do all these little tiny things that make them high-end and there are things that they’re thinking of before you would ever think of it, a lot of things that you would never even think to do. If they’re greeting you at the door with a cool washcloth, if it’s a humid temperature or something like that, I would never greet someone at my front door with a cool washcloth but it’s such a nice little idea.
So it’s little things like that that if you are looking to convey that kind of a brand, you need to be thinking way ahead of your client, the little tiny things that are going to put you way over the top and make you super-memorable and make it different. So not just the normal typical obvious responses, but high-end quality things.
Christopher T. Anderson: Now, I’m sorry I just got this vision of this criminal defendant client comes in and you are like, you look kind of dirty, would you like to 00:25:26?
Karin Conroy: Here is a bottle of hand sanitizer, please don’t touch anything.
Christopher T. Anderson: No. I get it. So let’s put this all to real work.
Karin Conroy: Okay.
Christopher T. Anderson: So we talked about this and I mean I think anybody listening at this point kind of gets that these are really great ideas. So now let’s — if you don’t mind, can you share like how you teach law firms to make this actionable, make it measurable, what kind of data can they use in this insight and intake part of the process in particular that can help them make decisions?
Karin Conroy: Well, this is going to be a vague answer because for every firm, it’s going to be different so that’s the short answer. But the first thing is to figure out what your key performance indicators, those KPI things are, and if you’ve never heard of that, it’s just basically a number that you assigned to some kind of a goal.
So for some of the firms I work with, the first thing they’ll tell me is, I have no interest in SEO; I do not care about Google; 98% of my clients come in through referrals and so what I care about is my reputation. I need some kind of a presence online that represents my experience and when people go to look me up, they can feel that I totally understand their problem but that I also have the experience and the knowledge to help them solve their issue.
So their goal and result and their measurable kind of result is going to be a lot different than a personal injury attorney who does care a lot about SEO and is going to be looking at all those numbers. So a client who looks at their reputation and that kind of stuff is going to be someone who looks at the number of people who mention their website, who mention that, oh, I looked at your website and it was really impressive.
And I looked at — maybe I looked at your bio and I noticed XYZ and that is the reason that I decided to call you or there was some compelling piece of messaging that I noticed, and I’m going to mention now that is the reason that I actually converted to actually pick up the phone or send you an email or do that very simple conversion.
Christopher T. Anderson: So how do we gather this data, how we may get this data in and how do we find that out?
Karin Conroy: Right, so for that type of a firm it’s going to be a pretty simple kind of sales funnel and way of measuring that. So typically the lifecycle of that client is going to be they got your name from someone else or they heard your name somewhere and then they looked you up online, and then in some way your website converted them and reinforced what they had already heard enough to make the conversion, where you either picked up the phone or made that email.
So in that kind of course of that client, those are the behaviors that you want to reinforce so you want to make sure that your phone number is visible, all that stuff.
So, number one, you’re going to count the number of clicks on your phone number or on your email address. So that’s a measurable number, but also you’re going to have some kind of an intake process in your law firm that makes sure that you ask these people, okay, how did you hear about us, and then you’re going to keep track of that.
And it can be something as simple as whoever is doing your intake, making sure that they’re keeping track of it in some way or even if you are just keeping track of it as you take those calls, depending on who’s doing that. So that type of firm is going to be pretty simple, pretty basic, and you don’t need to make it overly complicated, but you just need to know, okay, most of them are coming in from X referral source. So maybe there’s one particular referral source that’s doing 80% of you are referring and so you need to make sure to nurture that relationship, make sure you send them a nice little present every so often, keep in touch with them and keep that happy relationship or maybe not, maybe there’s five or six but that’s going to be the question that you’re really driving at.
And you only have to go back a couple steps to figure out where the beginning of that funnel starts.
Christopher T. Anderson: Perfect. We’re going to take another break here and hear from our sponsors. When we come back we’re going to ask Karin about what software we might use to help track this information because once we get going, there’s a lot of information that we’ve talked about probably be helpful to have something that can help us track that and then what kind of — what were some red flags go-no-go, what kind of information might give us go no-go decisions.
But first, we’ll hear from our sponsors and then we’ll come back and ask Karin those questions.
Advertiser: Feel like your marketing efforts aren’t getting you the high value cases your firm deserves? For over 15 years Scorpion has helped thousands of law firms, just like yours, attract new cases and grow their practices. As a Google Premier Partner and winner of Google’s Platform Innovator Award, Scorpion has the right resources and technology to aggressively market your law firm and generate better cases from the Internet. For more information, visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast today.
Advertiser: Ready to create and build your own solo or small firm practice? Need a nuts and bolts education on the 360-degree experience of starting a business? There is only one online destination dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Solo Practice University, the only online educational and professional networking community, dedicated to lawyers and law students, who want to go into practice for themselves. More than a 1,000 classes, 58 faculty and mentors. What are you waiting for? Check out solopracticeuniversity.com today.
Christopher T. Anderson: And welcome back, we’re speaking with Karin Conroy, and we’ve been talking about Insight, Intake and Discovery, and we’ve just got done talking about a lot of information to look at the data to be able to make decisions about our marketing and about whether or not to take certain clients, and Karin, before we went to break I said I was just going to ask you about what do you recommend to your clients regarding software to use to kind of keep track of this stuff? The market is so full of different — there’s clears Clio Grow, there’s Insightly and Contactually, and there’s HubSpot and ActiveCampaign and Salesforce and Keep which used to be Infusionsoft what do you recommend?
Karin Conroy: So I start all of these conversations whenever — I often will talk to someone who’s starting a new firm and setting all this stuff up and they have this question and I suffer from this issue myself of shiny object syndrome, I see all of these new software and I just waste so much time looking into this. So the short answer is, keep it simple. Do whatever you can do to keep it the most simple that you possibly can for the best cost.
So, for myself, I have tried everything under the Sun. I do a lot of Google Docs, Google Drive, do a lot of shared documents through Google, but then I also have found kind of a CRM that fits within Gmail and that way I can kind of do things right inside of my Inbox, but the short answer is to do whatever makes the most sense for your firm. If you need to integrate it with a number of people and team members in your firm, that’s different than that what would work for me.
So, for email, I personally like ActiveCampaign quite a bit, but MailChimp is not bad. MailChimp gets better all the time and it’s free. So ActiveCampaign, great, if you’re doing something more complicated, but it’s more expensive. MailChimp is perfect for getting started and being free. But the one thing I do use quite a bit that I think is critical is Boomerang and canned responses in Gmail, so I have a whole bunch of systems where I just automatically have certain responses.
So, for example, in that insight if you’ve got people filtered out and you know it’s not a good fit, you should have a canned response for that, so you don’t have to sit and think and redraft an email every single time, you need to refer them over to somebody else.
For each step in your process you should have a whole script of responses. Especially as they’re moving through and they’re getting to be a potential client you should have things where you don’t have to rethink your messaging every single day.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense. We are almost to the top of the show, but Karin, I didn’t want to let you go before because I’ve read some stuff you’ve written about this. I know you have some big thinking around this, but I wanted to ask you about women in design in marketing and in design in general and whether or not that’s an advantage and since you’ve spoken about it before I thought I’d love to end this show with your comments and thoughts about women and design.
Karin Conroy: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of stigma, especially around designers that there are these kind of artists and kind of foo-foo and whatever, but I think there is a very unique perspective that women are able to tackle in design that is unique and so whether it’s better or worse or whatever is not necessarily what I’m saying but considering marketing in general, the basic outcome and goal in marketing is to be memorable. So you’re trying to be different, you’re trying to set yourself apart. In most of the cases of the clients I work with, they’re in big geographic areas where the competition is fierce. And so if they just put up a site and it looks like every other site and it has a downtown nighttime skyline picture of X city and it just says, Law Firm, X City they’re not setting themselves apart, they’re doing the opposite of every goal in marketing.
So considering the benefits of women and their ability to look at those different approaches and figure out how to set yourself apart is something to consider, and in my experience it’s been a superior advantage over the kind of general cliché responses that most of the men that I’ve worked with come up with.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, well, I think it’s certainly an aspect and people can check out your website at conroycreativecounsel.com and take a look at what you’re talking about, but I think that makes a whole lot of sense.
Karin Conroy: Yeah.
Christopher T. Anderson: Unfortunately, because I’ve got like — I just want to talk to you like another 20 minutes about that, any other stuff for another 20 hours, but we’re out of time. So that wraps up this edition of The Un-Billable Hour, the law business advisory podcast, and our guest today, in case you’ve forgotten, has been Karin Conroy. She’s the Founder and Creative Director of Conroy Creative Counsel. I already mentioned they can find out more about you at conroycreativecounsel.com. If they want to follow up with the name of that software you are talking about or anything else, are there any other ways they can get you on Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn, what would you — how would you like people to contact you?
Karin Conroy: Yeah, any other — any of the above, Twitter is just Karin Conroy, @KarinConroy. LinkedIn is always a great way, I connect to a lot of people through LinkedIn, you can just look for my name.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic, and that’s Karin Conroy, CEO and ROI.
Karin Conroy: Yeah, thank you.
Christopher T. Anderson: Thank you, and this of course is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you.
Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thanks for joining us and we’ll see you again soon.
Outro: 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.
Thanks for listening to The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. Join us again for the next edition, right here with Legal Talk Network.
Best practices regarding your marketing, time management, and all the things outside of your client responsibilities.
Tom Lambotte discusses the key tenets of his Optimize Method framework for lawyers.
David Neagle shares tips for developing a mindset that can help bring businesses through difficult economic circumstances.
Kimball Parker discusses solutions to common problems faced by law firms struggling to adjust to remote work.
Scott Wallingford discusses strategies for maximizing per-client profitability in your law firm.
Marco Brown highlights the importance of prioritizing billing for your law firm.
Clio’s Jack Newton discusses his new book and the lessons he’s learned over the last ten years studying successful law firms.