Do lawyers need more client leads? Legal marketing expert Kara Prior has an answer you might not expect.
The Un-Billable Hour
Kara Prior is president of James Publishing and co-founder of its Marketing Amplifier program. She previously worked...
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law...
So much of legal marketing over the past decade has emphasized generating client leads. And, for the most part, those focused on lead generation are seeing those leads come in.
But are those leads turning into appointments and paying clients?
Kara Prior, the co-founder of James Publishing’s Marketing Amplifier program, says there’s a gap between generating leads and signing a client.
Prior tells host Christopher Anderson how lawyers take simple steps to close this gap, using client-centered marketing techniques now standard in other industries.
She shares tips on creating “lead magnets,” video messaging, mystery shopping the front-desk team.
Kara Prior is president of James Publishing and its Marketing Amplifier program.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Scorpion, Lawclerk, Alert Communications and LawYaw.
The Un-Billable Hour
It’s Not About the Leads, It’s What You Do With Them
March 23, 2021
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.
Intro: Welcome to this edition of the Un-Billable Hour. The law practice advisory podcast. This is where you’ll get the information you need from expert guest and host, Christopher Anderson. Here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher Anderson: Welcome to The Unbillable Hour. I am your host, Christopher Anderson.
Today’s episode is about client acquisition, and I wrote down in my notes, “Yay!” because it’s been a while since we’ve done a marketing or sales type show, and what do we do, the crowd goes wild because these are our most popular shows. I keep telling you it shouldn’t be, you should really focus on listening to the other ones, but these are the most popular shows, and I hope you will listen carefully today because there’s a reason that the marketing shows are so popular, and remain so popular. And the general reasons because you just don’t follow the advice on them, and the advice today, I’m really excited about. And if you listen and kind of follow what we’re going to be talking about today, it will help your marketing. It’s so great to be able to look at what you can change and how you can improve the results without spending more money, without spending more time, and just really doing more with what you’ve got.
So, the show title, I’m sorry is, “It’s Not About The Leads, It’s What You do With Them.” My guest is Kara Prior. She’s president of James Publishing and co-founder of its marketing amplifier program, and we’ll talk a little bit about that too. But before we get started, it is time to do a little business, and to do that, what we like to do is say, “thank you” to the sponsors that make this show possible.
Alert communications. If any law firm is looking for call, intake, or retainer services available 24/7, 365, just call (866) 827-5568.
Scorpion is the leading provider of marketing solutions for the legal industry. With nearly 20 years of experience serving attorneys, Scorpion can help you grow your practice. Learn more at scorpionlegal.co.
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Christopher Anderson:°And today’s episode of The Un-Billable Hour is, “It’s Not About The Leads, It’s What You do With Them.” and once again, I am pleased to introduce my guest, Kara Prior. Kara has a rich marketing, and writing background. She’s worked for several newspapers, managed the Entrepreneur Magazine’s °100,000-member social network before she joined James Publishing seven years ago. And now, she’s the president of James Publishing, and co-founder of the marketing amplifier program. She spends most of her time talking to lawyers about, how to maximize their marketing ROI, which for me is just, “I love that” because what most marketing executives and marketing companies do is, figure out how to maximize their clients spend, that they’re just focused on the marketing ROI, which is just why she’s on the show. Kara is also the co-author of the 145-page book, “How Small Law Firms Can Obtain More Referrals” because as we all know, that’s the best client acquisition path there is. She lives with her husband two young boys in Huntington Beach, California. Kara welcome to the show.
Kara Prior:°Thanks for having me Christopher. I really appreciate it. I’m excited to be here.
Christopher Anderson:°I am excited to have you on. Now, I’m notorious for giving terrible introductions, seeing as you wrote that one, it wasn’t as bad as many. But I want to go a little bit deeper before we get started just so the audience, the listeners can understand kind of where you’re coming from. Why do you come at this differently? So, how did you get into marketing, and how did you get and come into being the president of James Publishing?
Kara Prior:°Yeah. Yeah, thanks for asking.
Kara Prior:°So, that wasn’t a terrible intro. I appreciate it, but I would love to give a little bit of an additional insight. So, I was actually a professional journalist for 10 years. I primarily focused on business journalism. So, sort of the startup, and small business space, obviously, working for entrepreneur, part of my role there. I traveled around the country, and interviewed some of the top startup founders, and that, I was just so taken with the way that they approached marketing. The way that they really approached growth from a very kind of a bootstrap in some ways sort of guerrilla marketing way, that it really kind of strengthened my interest in marketing, and the creative, and kind of out-of-the-box ways, that some of these startups that were sometimes launched in the basement specifically, I was talking to Jack Dorsey, he’s the co-founder of Twitter.
Christopher Anderson:°Right. Yup.
Kara Prior: °It was soon after he launched Square, and hearing those stories, and hearing really, the path. Right? It’s not always overnight success. It’s never an overnight success. Really, hardly ever, right?
Christopher Anderson:°And well, it is it is after the first 10 years of hard work.
Kara Prior:°Exactly. Exactly, and that’s sometimes hard to remember or we sometimes look at these uber successful entrepreneurs, and think, “Wow! Like it must have been easy. How did they do that?” But kind of pulling back the curtain, and learning more about their marketing and their growth strategies, that’s really what kind of pulled me into the marketing sphere. As you mentioned, I’ve been with James publishing for seven years almost, eight years now. We’ve been publishing legal guides for attorneys for nearly 40 years. So, I was really, really, interested in the legal space and working with attorneys. I saw so much opportunity there. There were so many sorts of, proven marketing techniques, and tactics in other industries that just really weren’t being adopted in the legal space. Now, I run the company with alongside founder of James Publishing, Jim Powell, we worked together to really launch this marketing amplifier system that we developed based on kind of the common marketing gaps we see in law firms marketing today. Again, focusing on how do we maximize that ROI? How do we maximize the return on that ever so precious marketing budget that law firms are sorts kind of putting out there, and spending, and a lot of times, it’s a lot simpler than sorts you might think, so —
Christopher Anderson:°Yeah, and again, it’s where the thinking needs to be. The mantra that we hear. I go around the country, I’m talking to lawyers all over the country about every aspect of their business including client acquisition, and the mantra with client acquisition is, “always more leads, more leads, more leads.” It’s what the marketing companies, not all of them, there are some great ones out there that focus better, but many of them are selling more leads. “You want more money?” “Yeah. Well, we’ll get you more leads.” “You want more leads?” “Yeah,” and that’s kind of the extent of the conversation, and there’s a reason for that; it’s because, it’s what the lawyers want to buy. They want to buy more leads. They think that’s the answer. So, let me ask you rather than hyping on my own high horse, which is pretty high. “Is that what they really need?” “Do most lawyers really need more leads?”
Kara Prior:°The simple answer is. no leads are a critical foundation, right? I mean, if you don’t have a steady lead flow, you obviously, need that’s the foundation. You need to be generating leads. You need to be driving traffic to your website. You need to be doing these things, but the vast majority of the attorneys that I speak with, they do have that in place, right? They’re investing in organic SEO, they’re investing in pay-per-click, maybe TV ads, maybe they’re doing some radio. They’re getting inquiries, but the real opportunity, the low-hanging fruit; I’m talking about opportunity that will not cost you any more money is, “How are you handling those leads that are coming in?” Right? “How are you getting the most out of it?” “How are you nurturing them?” “What’s your follow-up like?” And we’ll get into some of those specific, practical tips. But nine times out of ten, it’s, get more out of what you’re already getting.
Christopher Anderson:°Super. So, like, I think one of the first steps to that, and I think the one that, a lot of lawyer’s struggle with, and I have struggled with in the past, and it’s becoming to me, it’s becoming harder, which is, in a world where there are lots of marketing companies helping a lot of law firms, and there’s just a lot of base level noise, just a lot of messaging going on out there. How do lawyers today, the first way to get good ROI is to stand above the crowd. How do lawyers today distinguish themselves? How do you make yourself seen?
Kara Prior:°A great question, and you’re absolutely right. there is a lot of noise right now, right? That it’s crowded. So, I mean, if you think about it, most of your prospective clients, kind of being candid, they will reveal that they can’t tell much of a difference among the lawyers that they’re considering, right? They’ll say, “all their websites kind of look the same.” It’s really, it is, it can be difficult to kind of stand out. In my opinion, the easiest way to distinguish yourself is with video.
Kara Prior:°Video is an amazing, amazing, tool. It’s really a must-have at this point. It’s not, and its no longer kind of a nice to have. A few minutes of talking to prospects will do more to separate you from the pack, from the competition, than thousands of words to be frank, and it’s a lot easier to just simply produce a video, right? Especially in the age of the pandemic, right? We’ve all kind of come to expect; we see our nation’s top leaders; we see news reporters coming to us live from their homes. It’s not this high production value.
Kara Prior:°You don’t need to spend a bunch of money. Get your smartphone out, get your webcam out, and shoot some FAQ videos, right? So, it’s really a great way to of course, build trust, build familiarity, and really, it really frequently leads to calls. So, everyone is familiar with Zoom or Meet, kind of used to seeing those living room backgrounds. So, you really don’t need to worry about the high production standards, and the solution is kind of, to let the prospective clients meet you on your website, learn about you, learn about who you are as an attorney, who you are as a person, and how you’ve handled similar cases in the past, similar fact patterns. All of that, really it goes so far in distinguishing yourself. Put yourself in your in your prospect’s shoes for one moment. They are likely looking to hire an attorney that they don’t know to handle a pretty serious legal issue that they also don’t know much about so, there’s lots of apprehension. Video is really a great inexpensive way to distinguish yourself pretty much right away.
Christopher Anderson:°I think what you’re talking about is really important. I think we all kind of know it, but we don’t until you do some of the work that you’ve done, and I’ve done, you don’t realize like how, because we live in this legal space. Like, how unsophisticated a consumer, our clients are. They buy cars more often than they hire lawyers. They buy houses more often than they hire lawyers, and those are scary transactions, and this is to have someone usually help you with a problem or an opportunity that may change the trajectory of your life. But there’s no school on what’s important. There’s no school about how to distinguish one lawyer from the other. So, you’re recommending video as a way to connect, and I think that’s great recommendation. Let me ask you like, where do we put the video? Is it on homepages? Is it on landing pages? Is it in emails? What do you recommend?
Kara Prior:°Excellent question. All of the above.
Christopher Anderson:°Of course.
Kara Prior:°Yeah, and the big hurdle is shooting the videos. So, just, don’t let that get in your way. Just start with one, two, whatever you can do. Once you have that asset, it’s pretty easy. Upload it to YouTube. It’s pretty easy to just embed it on your website, even stick a link in your email signature, share it on your social media. Video is wonderful on social media. Assuming you have a Facebook, maybe a LinkedIn profile. So, really getting it out there, in any way that you can. Certainly, if you have an email list, sending it there, and I often get the question, “Well, what should I talk about in these videos?” Answer common questions, that’s a great place to start. I mean better than anyone kind of the type of questions that your prospective clients have for you. You’ll sit down, make a list, and just tick them off. These don’t have to be long. You can answer frequently asked questions in 60 seconds, or however long it takes, but that’s the best content, and really share it wherever you can.
Christopher Anderson:°Yeah. One of the things I ask my sales team to do, and I think this is a great point, is to actually write down those, “What questions are you being asked?” After you do your spiel, “What questions are you being asked?” Write them down, and the ones that pop up most frequently, go shoot some videos. I think that’s a great recommendation. So, that’s a way to stand out. The other thing I like that drives me absolutely nuts is, and I’m a big fan of the lean startup, and the startup way, and this concept of vanity metrics versus lean metrics. What drives me crazy is that, a lot of people promise, and suggest that it’s a wonderful thing that they’re going to get them more traffic to their website, and again, it’s kind of like more leads. Who cares? What we care about I that ROI. So, can you talk a little bit about, “How to take the people that are coming to the website?” The people that naturally come through SEO or through, well, we’re going to talk about why not to send them directly to your website in a minute from ads, and whatnot. But they’re coming to your website. “How do you turn them into actual appointments? How do you turn them into clients better?” Because a lot of people are getting a lot of visitors, but not much happening with them.
Kara Prior:°Exactly. Yeah, the metric that matters is, “How many of those visitors are you converting into appointments?” “How many of those appointments are you converting into paying clients?” So, most of the vast majority of the legal websites I look at offer two choices: call me now, or leave my website, right?
Kara Prior:°A percentage of sites also have live chat, which is an improvement that sometimes gathers contact information, but your website needs to offer a lead magnet; it’s the single best way to gather contact information from those website visitors, and build your prospect mailing list. So, most of your website visitors, they leave without a trace, right? They come, maybe they’re just not quite ready to book a consult, not quite ready to give you a call, perhaps, they’re looking to gather more information, get some of their questions answered, right? And they don’t complete that form that the only option is to complete a free case evaluation, right? And you never learn anything about them, you never even know that they were there. So, if you offer your visitors a lead magnet, or –
Christopher Anderson:°But can you define that. I think that’s kind of a buzzword that folks use, and everybody’s like, “Oh, yeah. One of those.” Is that like a fridge magnet? Is it the same thing?
Kara Prior:°Right. What the heck is that? Yeah. So, when I say, “lead magnet,” it’s you’re offering material. So, a booklet, it could be a video, it could be a checklist, you’re offering educational material in exchange for the visitor’s contact information. So, it’s sort of, we explain that it’s, “gated content” meaning, rather than a visitor just going to your site reading your blog, and leaving, if you have a blog, which is good. It’s good to have a blog, but that’s a separate conversation, and they leave, you’re not collecting that contact info, right? So, a great way to offer educational materials, a lead magnet, is through an FAQ pop-up. So, this is a great way to deliver it, is an exit intent pop-up; meaning as the visitor goes to leave your site, it goes to x out of your site, at the last minute, a pop-up appears offering for instance, a lengthy branded educational booklet that you’ve created in exchange for contact info. So, you’re collecting that info, but more importantly, you’re sending out that valuable, very much non-salesy, very educational content to that prospect who’s looking to get some of their questions answered, and then of course, you’re able to nurture keep, in touch, stay top of mind, provide value, set up set them up into an automated drip sequence or email series, so that you’re top of mind, when they are ready to hire, right?
Christopher Anderson:°Exactly. Yes. So, let’s come back in a second because we need to do a little bit of business, and hear from our sponsors. When we come back, I want to talk about how to cut down like, it’s so funny like in marketing, we’re always talking about, “Get more, get more, get more, convert more, convert more, convert more.” I want to talk to you a little bit about, bar the door. Keep them away. I want to talk to you about how to cut down the unqualified leads that waste our sales team’s time, or our time, and quite honestly ethically as lawyers, we’re wasting their time if we’re talking to a prospect that’s not qualified to work with us. We’re wasting their time; they should be talking to somebody else. I want to talk to you about that, but first, let’s hear from our sponsors.
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Christopher Anderson:°And we’re back, with The Unbillable Hour, and Kara Prior. She’s the president of James Publishing, and we’re talking about marketing. We’re talking about client acquisition, but it’s been really great. We’ve talked about really how ROI is the focus, and so far, we’ve talked about turning more people who visit our websites into actual appointments, and contacts, and also, how to stand out from the crowd. It’s kind of weird what I’m going to ask next, but Kara, one of the bugaboos, I think that that plagues a lot of people who actually get traffic to their website, get some success, and or maybe do some other kinds of marketing is, they start getting unqualified leads calling in. People that even don’t have a problem that that lawyer can help, that they’re outside the jurisdiction, that can’t, don’t have the financial resources to hire the firm, but in one way or another are not qualified. How can they cut down on that?
Kara Prior:°Absolutely, nearly every lawyer with a marketing program complains about receiving too many unqualified leads. I mean, I hear it all the time, and the reason is simple, their website, it’s not, you’re not properly explaining what’s required to qualify for your representation, right? So, we can’t figure out why lawyers kind of wait for the phone call to explain what types of cases they accept, right? Because at that point, your time is wasted, there’s no pre-screening that’s occurring, and this is particularly true when you’re receiving a high volume of leads maybe through something like, a pay-per-click effort, maybe a social advertising campaign where, your volume of leads is high, but they’re not going through any screening, any funnel process to weed out the ones that might not be a great fit. I say that, deselling, doing a little bit of deselling is just as important, kind of protecting your calendar, protecting your appointments, or protecting, if you have a screener kind of protecting that, and really kind of only opening it up to folks that you can help, right? This isn’t a perfect process, but a great way to do that is, ask some very simple qualifying questions on your website. So, I just previously talked about the lead magnet, the lead funnel option where you’re collecting contact info in exchange for a valuable booklet for instance. Well, on that pop-up, why don’t you ask, “How immediate is your legal need?” So, are you basically just browsing? Are you looking to hire an attorney right now? Where are you in that spectrum? And you want these qualifying questions typically to be multiple choice, so that they’re very easy to respond, you don’t want to sort of hinder, you don’t you don’t want your visitor to just not complete the form because of these clunky questions. So, keeping it pretty tight, and really easy maybe a drop-down menu that they can just simply click a multiple-choice answer. So, how immediate is your legal need? And then a question that helps you understand maybe the severity of their legal need could be helpful as well. I think, you would know I mean, you as an attorney who would know the question that needs to be asked, right?
Christopher Anderson:°Right. Every practice area is going to have different questions about that. But yeah, understanding the urgency, the severity I think you said, and the anticipated length of time before hiring. Those are great things to help qualify, prequalify the people that you’re talking to.
Kara Prior:°Yeah and I mean, that’s pretty simple to implement, right? We’re not talking about this lengthy form. So, it’s pretty, pretty, simple to do, and it’ll really cut down on those unqualified folks getting through.
Christopher Anderson:°That’s a great tip. I mentioned a minute ago, when we were talking it was like, I said, when we’re converting more traffic that comes to your home page; I said, but we’re going to talk in a second about why you might not want to be sending people straight from one of your ads, your social media, directly to your www.I’m a lawyer.com website. Why not? Why is that sometimes a mistake?
Kara Prior:°Right. So, online marketers learned years ago that, using a landing page, and funnels for specific marketing campaigns is really the best route. So, at a minimum, your PPC, and your other leads should really be sent to a landing page that has no distractions, right? Very minimal distractions. Websites, they offer too many choices to be truly effective lead generators. So, they’re of course fine for pulling organic traffic, and for branding your website is a wonderful showpiece, but PPC, Ads, social posts should all be linking to dedicated targeted landing pages that offer really only two choices: respond or leave. So, far too often l sees this mistake where firms are spending thousands of dollars a month on their PPC campaigns, crafting beautiful Ads, and then just sending them to their homepage, and losing them.
Christopher Anderson:°Right, and I mean, you probably know the number better than I do, but I think like the average amount of time that people spend looking at a website before deciding to do something is really short. It’s like it’s in that two to three second range, isn’t it?
Kara Prior:°Yeah. It’s really short.
Christopher Anderson:°And so, like if that’s all you’ve got them for sending them to your general, “it’s us page,” might not like, you’re just not going to get the interaction, you’re not going to get them to that decision point and your landing page can do that, right? By providing, I think, the things you talked about by having a lead magnet, maybe by having a video to keep them there watching, your video for a little while, and to give them that binary choice like, yeah, well I think you said, “Go or take an action.”
Kara Prior:°Yep. video is wonderful on landing page. Also, some social proof, some testimonials, some reviews on that landing page, also goes a long way.
Christopher Anderson:°The other pet peeve, I’ve got; so, we’ve talked about folks that want leads, leads, leads versus ROI, and we’ve talked a little bit about how to get that ROI standing out a little bit better, cutting down on the unqualified leads, so you save both your sales teams time, and you talked about like unqualified leads coming through pay-per-click. I mean, those are just clicks you’re paying for from qualified people, and sending people to your homepage, those will all improve with ROI. But here’s the big one that I want to ask you about, because a lot of people spend a lot of money on Ads, and they fine-tune them, and they’re getting the people coming, they’re getting the traffic to the landing page, and there’s no follow-through. There’s no follow-up. What do you talk to when you’re helping people get better ROI? What are you suggesting they do to follow up with the leads?
Kara Prior:°Yes, this one pains me, I have to say.
Kara Prior:°Because the opportunity is right there. These are folks who have already inquired with you in one way or another, right? So again, kind of the common thread throughout this conversation is, don’t let those go without following up, right? You’ve worked so hard to generate that lead however, it came through just because that person didn’t sign up right away, doesn’t mean that they’re not interested, right? Depending on the legal issue that they have, a number of reasons could be to blame, why they’re just not quite ready, right? So, to ignore those leads that come in, and don’t sign up right away is a huge, huge, mistake, and a huge opportunity, really. So, when following up you really, right away need to call as promptly, and repeatedly as possible.
Christopher Anderson:°Let’s quantify this. When you say, “as promptly,” what are we talking about in a few days, a week, or two? What are we talking about?
Kara Prior:°I’m talking about 15 minutes, max.
Kara Prior:°There is proven data that the longer you wait, the harder it is to reengage those folks, right? And you need to have a system in place in your office, in your firm, to follow up right away, to call within 15 minutes, ideally, right? I mean, I know that’s not always possible, but if you have lead tracking, and lead follow-up, and you’re automating as much of the kind of nurturing sequences, and drip series that we’re talking about, much of that is automated then, have someone dedicated to calling those leads right away. If it’s not you, then have someone that is their primary, that’s their top priority, right? They need to drop other things because in the end, that could be a client, right?
Christopher Anderson:°And it’s not, I think, it’s not as important that the person who calls them can answer all their questions. It’s just getting, reaching out, contacting them, and getting them booked for an appointment, finding out what the real issue is, asking them questions, getting them engaged with your firm because again, if we go back to that unsophisticated consumer, guess what people who are not sophisticated in any kind of transaction don’t want to do. More of it, right? They don’t want to go talk to 12 lawyers. They don’t. So, if you engage them, they’re going to stop, and they’re going to talk to you. But if yeah, 15 minutes, I mean, the shelf life here is ridiculously short, and you’re like you said, the drop off, it depends on the practice area what the drop off looks like. But you need to get them engaged. Criminals really short, family laws, kind of short. Some others have a little bit more time on them, but you need to get them engaged.
Christopher Anderson:°Where else in the intake process do you see lawyer’s kind of dropping the ball? I mean, so there’s this first call, we’ve established that. That’s got to happen. You got to reach out to them really fast. But that’s not the whole process; what else are we not doing as lawyers to really maximize our ROI? Because remember, this was a lead, it came through the funnel, we paid for a click or we paid for the advertising, we paid for something, this and depending on your business, you might have $40, $60, $200 invested already by the time you’re talking to someone, this is a gold nugget, what do we, how can we do better in the intake process of how we handle them?
Kara Prior:°Yes. Yes. So, I tell attorneys, all the time sort of assuming, that your front desk phone person is performing well, can actually be a costly mistake especially in these days of remote work, right? So, the only way to know, if the standard, if it’s up to your standards, and your phone team is performing, and is working satisfactorily, is to mystery shop, and record those calls. I mean, especially in these days of remote work. Performance levels can sort of slide without you knowing, and materially reduce your appointment flow. So, these should periodically have someone, your friend, whoever, call your office, call your front desk, with a hypothetical legal issue, just see how it’s handled, right? Grade on them; just general knowledge, empathy, qualifying, and closing too. Whatever closing might be, if that’s just passing, setting an appointment with you, or actually signing with you. But with a simple call; maybe one or two mystery calls, you may be able to pretty simply fix a shortcoming that could have huge impact, a huge ripple effect.
Christopher Anderson:°Yeah. I think, that’s really key. This is Kara Prior. She’s the president of James Publishing. We’ve been talking about how to maximize your ROI on your marketing. We’ve talked about standing out, we’ve talked about improving the process that the clients go through. We’re going to take a break here. But when we come back, I want to go like that one step farther, and talk about referrals. And finally, like last some last words on what’s changing, and how to keep up with it? But first, one more word from our sponsors, and we’ll come back with Kara Prior.
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Christopher Anderson:°And welcome back to The Unbillable Hour. We’re still talking with Kara Prior about maximizing ROI on these leads. And so, what I wanted to do and now that we’re coming back is talk about lawyers are a little bit still uncomfortable with this stage of things; are online reviews important, and how can we get more of them?
Kara Prior:°Online reviews are critical. They’re absolutely critical not only do they of course, provide that wonderful social proof that consumers check online reviews before doing almost anything, of course restaurants, and they check reviews before hiring a lawyer. So, it is so critical to have a steady stream of fresh reviews from your past clients that come through, and not only from that perspective, but it certainly helps with your local ranking on Google as well. It’s an important factor in who shows up in that, what we call the local pack, which is, can be a lot easier to kind of rise up into than the slow going of the organic SEO results that actually appear below. So, for those two reasons: online reviews just become more and more critical, but I often hear from attorneys that, they’re nervous, they’re scared to ask for reviews. They’re scared to get those negative reviews, right? So, don’t let that handcuff you, please. Do not let that handcuff you. Some, you can’t please everyone all the time, right? And sometimes, those not so glowing reviews will come through, and it one, gives you an opportunity to respond, right? And it also creates a more authentic, genuine snapshot of your firm, right? If you see five out of five stars, a hundred reviews, “Ah, you know what, that seems not quite right.” If you have four and a half out of five stars, right? You have a small a small collection of not five-star reviews, that’s okay, it can actually be a good thing. So, yeah. I highly recommend doing what you can to collect those online reviews from your past clients.
Christopher Anderson:°In your experience, what’s the best time to do that? Should you wait a year after they were your client? Obviously, I’m seeding the question, but seriously, what’s when’s the best time in your experience for asking for that review, and getting that review?
Kara Prior:°Yeah, that actually does depend a little bit on your practice, but in general, as soon as you can after the case is wrapped, for a personal injury firm, right after they receive that settlement check, that might be a really good time, but for the most part, the more you can systemize like, I’ve been talking about, the more you can automate this process as well, so it’s not manual, and you just have the review request emailed, go out automatically, at a set time once the case is wrapped, that’s always good. And don’t be shy about reminding folks. For the most part, they want to share their positive experiences. They maybe just didn’t have time at that exact moment, so don’t be shy about sending some nudges as well.
Christopher Anderson:°Is there some way that you could also make it easier for them?
Kara Prior:°Yes. So, first of all, I want to say, getting Google reviews is the most important.
Kara Prior:°So, not inundating your past clients with multiple, you know, “Review me on Google, review me on Avo, review on lawyers.” Pick one, make it simple, include a direct link in your email, and most people have an existing Google account, so they don’t have to set up, create anything, to leave the review, and it’s pretty simple.
Christopher Anderson:°Awesome. You know, the reviews are obviously are coming towards the tail end of the representation. I think there’s another opportunity at the tail end of the representation, I’d like to hear your thoughts on which is, taking these clients especially the ones, we’ve done well for, and turning them into a referral source. How can a review sort of like a passive referral source? And saying, “Yeah, say something nice about us once” because lots of people might read it. But how can we actually get clients to send us new business?
Kara Prior:°Absolutely. So, assuming that your past clients will remember you is a mistake, right? I know it might be kind of difficult to believe, but you have to stay top of mind on an ongoing basis, so that, if they have a legal issue that where they need your assistance again, you’re of course top of mind. Maybe they have friends or family who are going through a situation where you could help monthly newsletter is without a doubt the best way to stay in touch. Newsletters are old school, it’s true, but they’re certainly a proven way to keep in touch.
Christopher Anderson:°Are you talking paper or are you talking electronic?
Kara Prior:°Either one; depending on your budget, depending on your resources. If you if you’ve been keeping an email list of your past clients, e-newsletter is obviously a cheaper option, that said, I think all of our inboxes are sort of exploding right now. So, if you do have the budget, and of course, you have the postal addresses of your past clients on file, which hopefully you do, printing, and postally sending a print version, a nice full color, glossy newsletter is also a great option. Honestly, it’s likely to be read more than the e-version. If you can do both, even better.
Christopher Anderson:°Yeah, and even quite honestly, for a lot of the folks I work with, we’re not even worried about it, more likely to be read, more likely to be seen, right? Because email newsletters may never even be seen, never mind read, and certainly, if they don’t see it, they are not reading it. But it comes in the mail, in paper with something that looks like your firm at least, it might be seen to keep you top of mind. All right, as we bring this to a close, Kara, I cannot believe how fast these things go. I wanted to just like, do one more hit here, which is, listen marketing is changing. It’s changing constantly. Where to market, how to market, attention span of consumer, what works, what doesn’t work, it’s all changing a lot. Let’s give our listeners one big take away, how do they keep up, and stay on top of what’s really working for attorneys in their practice area, in their geographic area.
Kara Prior:°Yeah. You are definitely right about that. So, it changes almost every day. I know that can sound overwhelming, but keep it there. There are some wonderful blogs out there. There are lots of wonderful agencies that can help you, podcasts of course, and if you need help, find it, right? You can outsource any or all of this. You can find freelance help. You can hire part-time. So, don’t feel like you have to shoulder the burden of your marketing, right? You have a lot of other pressing client matters, get help and get help often, that’s what I would recommend.
Christopher Anderson:°I think that’s great advice because people like you, this is what you do, you keep up with this. It’s your job. Lawyers, while they may be good marketers, their job is to serve their clients, and it’s harder to keep up, because it’s not what you’re focused on day in and day out. So, I think that’s a fantastic advice, and with that fantastic advice unfortunately, we’re going to wrap up this edition of The Unbillable Hour. Thank you to all our listeners for listening. Our guest today has been Kara Prior. She’s the president of James Publishing, and co-founder of the marketing amplifier program at James Publishing. Kara, if people are not satisfied with what they’ve heard here, and want more, and more, and more, how can they reach out to you to get more, and more, and more?
Kara Prior:°Yeah, thanks for asking. So, learn more about our marketing amplifier program at jamesamplifier.com. You can reach me directly [email protected]. That’s K-P-R-I-O-R at James Publishing, and I’ll give you my direct line (714) 434-5926. I love talking about marketing. I love giving tailored advice. So, feel free to reach out anytime.
Christopher Anderson:°Fantastic. Kara, thank you so much.
Kara Prior:°Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.
Christopher Anderson:°Oh, it’s mine. All mine. Of course, this 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 speak again soon.
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 Unbillable Hour, the law practice advisory podcast. Join us again for the next edition, right here at Legal Talk Network.
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|Published:||March 23, 2021|
|Podcast:||The Un-Billable Hour|
The Un-Billable Hour
Best practices regarding your marketing, time management, and all the things outside of your client responsibilities.