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In this extended cut of Mark’s interview with Erin Levine, founder & CEO of Hello Divorce, we dive into one of our favorite subjects….. marketing strategy! How do your marketing strategies stack up? Talk to one of our experts today GNGF
Hello Divorce is an online platform that strives to make the divorce process as easy, fair, and equitable as possible. Erin created Hello Divorce to “take the drama out of divorce.” They offer several ways for users to navigate the divorce process on their own or with legal assistance from a lawyer when you need it. Your lawyer is not the center of your divorce – You are.
– Thanks for joining us. This is our extended interview with Erin Levine, CEO and founder of Hello Divorce. The first part of this video is from our GNGF Live which happens every other Wednesday over on our Facebook page. The second part here is this bonus, extended interview where we dive into specifics about how Erin had to adjust her marketing strategy and tactics for Hello Divorce versus her law firm. If you already saw the live, I’ll put the timestamp to the exclusive, extended interview below. And of course be sure to like and subscribe to follow along with all of our great conversations on legal marketing and the business side of running a law firm. And to watch this video on a platform of your choice you can find everywhere we stream at GNGF.tv. Welcome to GNGF Live, your biweekly Ask The Experts about all things all for marketing and business growth. I’m Mark Homer, author of Online Law Practice Strategies and founder of Get Noticed Get Found. On this show we focus on the business side of growing and running your law firm. So I’m really excited to have today’s guest, Erin Levine, CEO and founder of Hello Divorce, the legal technology company providing affordable, accessible, and on-demand legal help and wellness support. Erin founded Hello Divorced to create an online platform that meets users where they are, honoring their personal experience while giving them the legal and financial help they need. Hello Divorce guides users through divorce with Do It Yourself and Do It For You options, as well as access to fixed fee on-demand lawyers. Divorce Navigator, their online tool allows users to conveniently manage and move all the way through the divorce process, saving people money and time. Erin is an authority on divorce loss and she’s also a managing attorney at Levine Family Law Group, a full-service family firm. But before we get going, be sure to like and subscribe to our page, not just the video, so you get updated when our next episode goes live. Of course, it never hurts for you to show a little love and go ahead and smash that Like button on the video too. It really helps us with the Facebook and YouTube algorithms. Now, we have moderators in the chat, so please ask questions and interact during the premiere. And if you’re watching this in the future, after the premiere, we do monitor the comments and we’ll reach out to our guests and answer any questions you have, that’s because we love you all and we love getting to meet you online and in person. You can find a list for our upcoming webinars and events where we’re gonna be speaking on our website at GNGF.com/events. And on weeks when we’re not premiering an interview, we drop a video as part of our GNGF Tip series. These are in depth videos focusing on one topic at a time. You can check it out on our YouTube page or by heading to GNGF.tv. And you can watch our latest video, after this interview of course, at that link in the chat. Check them out. Like I said, we drop a new GNGF Tips video every other Friday. Okay, let’s get to the interview. Erin, thanks for joining us today.
– Absolutely, great to be here.
– Awesome, so you and I know each other from running into each other at legal conferences and of course on Twitter, right. But for the benefit of the audience, tell us a bit about your history and your legal journey and your law firm journey?
– Yeah, sure. I have been a lawyer, a practicing lawyer for 15 years. I am a certified family law specialist in the state of California. And I started my family law firm May of 2009, so just over 10 years. Oh my goodness, so much has changed during that time, right, two kids. It feels like a lifetime ago. But I’ve had my law firm for 10 years and about two and a 1/2 years ago I pivoted the company and built a legal technology company called Hello Divorce. So I split my time between the two, but really, I would say about 80% of my focus now is on Hello Divorce.
– Got it and then, I mean, I would look back to 2009, I mean, that was just right after, you know, people were just coming up from air from the recession and all the kind of stuff, so what an interesting time to start a firm anyways, but then all the stuff you’re doing from a technology perspective. So what inspired you now to kind of pivot away from, like you said, where maybe 80% of your time is now focused on Hello Divorce and the legal technology space?
– Well, I’ve always loved the business aspect of law. I enjoy practicing law but I have really, really enjoyed building a business. And so I definitely got inspired to do something different. I caught the legal innovation, legal technology bug and it got me really excited and back to my roots which was in nonprofit work and access to justice. So earlier on I didn’t really see a path to be able to do that. I had loans. I had expectations. I needed to build my reputation. I needed to learn how to be a lawyer. But about nine, 10 years into it I realized, hey, there is an opportunity here and I’m ready to embark on it. I was also really burnt out. Because I had built my reputation in the community, I was getting some of the toughest family law cases around and I was litigating on a regular basis. In that time I also had children. I got married. So much of my life had changed and the exhilaration and excitement that I once got trying cases, I wasn’t getting anymore, instead, it felt really heavy. And so it felt like a prime opportunity to leverage the profits at Levine Family Law Group into something new and different.
– Interesting, I mean, ’cause there’s a lot of things probably even six, five, seven years ago right, I mean, the technology and all the tools and stuff probably weren’t even there to do some of the things we’re doing now. So I think that’s also fascinating, right. Like just a few years ago you probably couldn’t even just easily do some of the stuff you’ve been doing. So just for the audience, walk through what exactly is Hello Divorce?
– Right, well it’s constantly evolving. So that question might’ve been answered differently three years ago than it is now. But I think we’re pretty solid now in terms of our business model and we’re actually, by the time this has aired we will have hopefully launched in two more states. So we are on the road now to that and it’s super, super exciting. But currently, Hello Divorce is a online platform that self-represented litigants can use to work through their divorce, start to finish. They pay for only what they need and want and as they go. So many people, one of our most popular products, for example, is our membership to DIY Pro. And what that is is users follow guided interviews using a software called Documate to instantly populate their divorce forms. And from there a legal assistant comes in and files and serves the documents for them. If they want at some point along the way for help from a lawyer or mediator they can access them, but in increments of 30 minutes or one hour, and that lawyer or mediator will have access to their forms to be able to see where they are in the process, what things are looking like, what does their estate look, do they have kids? And so the idea is to make it a very cost effective, efficient, high quality divorce process, assuming that you either have an uncontested divorce or a divorce where both parties are committed to trying to resolve their divorce outside of court. So it’s not the right option for somebody who has a terribly contested case. Although there still are plenty of resources and opportunities to gain help, but it wouldn’t be a start to finish solution like it is for 97% of our customers right now.
– But even in that 3% there are things that can help, just, it’s not start to finish, you’re saying?
– Absolutely, so there are resources that explain what is discovery, and what will my court appearance look like, and what should I wear, and what is the process of divorce? There are videos. There are templates to start to draft declarations, for example, that you can then hand off to your lawyer if you have one. So there’s lots of resources and tools there to help anyone who’s working through the divorce process. But in terms of a start to finish solution, it’s really geared towards people that are working and committed to staying outside of court.
– So I have to ask, I mean, you mentioned that when you were in your law firm, you kind of were getting a little burnout or a little, just, it was becoming a really hard on you. And I think I’ve actually heard you present where you said that you actually were dealing with some really tough, contentious cases a lot and then you kind of said, why do I do this? And then you stepped back, looked at your website and realized that your brand was that, right? I mean, it was all about the bad divorce and tearing the kids apart and whatever and all those images that we know. But have you been able to kind of switch that brand and get the kind of cases you want, but also, has Hello Divorce helped a lot with kind of reducing that burnout?
– Yeah, I mean, you just called me out, geesh. No, I remember saying that. I think it was in Atlanta and I remember looking at you, ’cause had I worked with you back then, there’s no way in hell you would’ve let me do what I had done which is just create this really ruthless, aggressive brand that people came to when they wanted war. And we lived up to that expectation, but it was not the type of consumer that I wanted to be working with. I wanna work with people who maybe have complex cases but are not out to destroy the other party, especially if they have children because we know that kids do not do well when there’s fighting or tension between their parents. So I did, I looked at my branding materials on my website, which I had just kind of thrown together over the years and realized that with words like aggressive and fighting and winning and zero-sum game we were definitely attracting some really interesting characters with a lot of stories that maybe aren’t right for this podcast, but one day we’ll chat about them. And yes, with Hello Divorce we’ve been able to do exactly what I had hoped for, which is to attract the type of consumers that we want to be working with. And in so doing it softened the Levine Law Brand. People saw us as more than just the litigators that we once were. In fact, at this point I only have one attorney in the entire firm that spends a lot of time litigating. Most of our attorneys are either coaching or mediating or going to court appearances that don’t involve a lot of advocacy which has in turn helped with their burnout as well. And clearly, there are people that can litigate their entire life and enjoy it and that’s really important to them. And if so then the goal is to market yourself to those type of people, but that certainly wasn’t mine. So Hello Divorce became this opportunity for me to rebrand to try something out and if it failed I still had the Levine Family Law Group, right. That was still there and it was pretty solid, so I got to experiment. Now, not just like wildly experiment, I really researched and studied and surveyed and designed with a lot of thought behind it. It did give me this opportunity to experiment. I thought, what’s the worst that can happen? It fails and I have the law firm, so I was really lucky for that, yeah.
– So I have to ask ’cause this is in my head here. You actually have a traditional law firm and you have this kind of new technology-driven way of practicing or helping people through a divorce. Can you compare and trast like during COVID kind of how this turned out? I mean, ’cause I know a lot of law firms really struggled. I mean, one, even meeting with clients, right, was that you were used to somebody coming to an office and sitting down with them and stuff, to a product that was a 100% online subscription mentality. I’m just curious, I haven’t seen anything from you on this yet but can you compare and contrast those for me?
– Yeah, I don’t think I’ve spoken with anyone about it. Well, maybe Jack Newton on his podcast just a touch. But yeah, this has been extremely interesting. Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you look at it, family law is pretty recession-proof in that, unfortunately, when people are having harder times they tend to have more family law issues. The question then becomes, do they have the money to be able to spend on that and to get things resolved? And so I’ve really felt for, like my friends that are in criminal defense and other areas that had been so majorly affected. But what I will tell you is I live in the Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area. We started shelter-in-place. It was March 14th or somewhere right around there. And within the first three weeks we literally got zero calls at Levine Family Law Group and it was absolutely terrifying. The phones just stopped. Meanwhile, we had a 244% increase in traffic at Hello Divorce. And what we found was that people all over the country and in some cases, the world, were coming to Hello Divorce to answer questions about what happens now? So things that we didn’t ordinarily really discuss, like are the courts open and how to do a virtual hearing and how do you co-parent during a pandemic, all of a sudden became really, really important topics. And fortunately, people started to trickle to Hello Divorce. Now, those first few weeks, even at Hello Divorced, sales were not high. No one was buying at either place. But since then we’ve had a steady increase, 10% month over month. This month, a 12% increase in terms of our sales at Hello Divorce. And Levine Law Group has done well. I think part of it is that people are looking for established brands, right. They’re spending a lot more time online and so they have more time to research. Even with the kids at home, they have more time online and they might have been willing to try the brand new lawyer down the street who’s half price, in the past but in my experience, not so much anymore. Unless that brand new lawyer has a really solid web presence, good SEO and good reviews and knows who he or she is and is conveying that authentically to the audience, and for those people who are doing that, that’s who’s getting the business. I mean, this is anecdotally of course, but I speak to 40, 50 lawyers a month and that has been our experience.
– Yeah, and I mean, I think that it resonates with the traffic and the numbers we saw, right. We saw the quick dip, but the ones that had been investing in marketing for awhile and marketing from a full marketing, not just, I want some leads, but like their brand, their reviews, their web presence and everything, quickly kind of bounced back. I wouldn’t say bounced back to pre numbers but, I mean, some actually managed to do well. It kind of goes along with what you’re saying, there is maybe less people looking for lawyers for the help at the time, but that traffic probably went to fewer firms because everybody went with the people that I can trust right now or who’s Google saying is the top three or whatever, right. That’s all they’re looking at, they’re not taking the extra time to find five, six, seven people to talk to. It’s like, when I’m unsure, I’m going to go with trust. right.
– Right, and it goes to that point that you made a long time ago. I think I probably read it somewhere where you said, you don’t start marketing when you’re doing really well. In fact, I don’t know if he said it’s time to kick up or at least stick with what you’ve got but, I mean, that resonated so much when this happened because had we not done all that work before, we would’ve found ourselves in a really, really challenging position. And so instead we got to focus more on how are we going to pivot, how are we going to meet people’s needs, how are we going to at Levine Family Law Group make people feel safe and taken care of if we can’t hand them a magazine and tea? We gotta focus on those more nuanced issues in the firm and online, for that matter, instead of freaking out about where we’re going to get our next buck?
– So speaking of the next buck, I am curious. So your pricing is lower for Hello Divorce than like a traditional law firm. It’s part of the reason many people are looking at that as a neat model, but how does that translate to your bottom line? I mean, you mentioned you like the business side of things and so you seem to know your numbers here, spouting 250% growth off the top of your head here, but how does that translate to your bottom line when you’re having to charge significantly less for this model?
– Yeah, so we had to do a lot of work on this, but it’s a combination of things. Well, first of all, it’s high volume. Second of all, the lowest on the totem pole membership, the DIY, is $99 a month with an average membership of five to six months and that’s purely passive income, right. Because from the time they purchase the membership to the time they use it and complete their divorce, there’s no interaction with a human, unless they purchase a la carte services. Everything is automated. So that’s lovely, right, and you keep building upon that each month and you start to see a really nice result there. And then, with our other membership levels, they’re really quite a high profit margin because what we’re paying for is labor, and for the most part the labor is not a lawyer. So I think that’s what allows us to do this and make a good living is that you have someone purchasing a 199 a month option so that somebody can file and serve their documents for them, but that’s it. So it’s very little work for the person who’s doing it and the worker or staff member gets to do it whenever they want from wherever they want. So it’s a nice little income generator without affecting their quality of life and it’s a win, win for the consumer, the staff member and Hello Divorce. So I’m not sure I really answered the question but the margin is quite high and the volume is high. And so that’s how we’ve been able to make it work and that’s how you have to make it work now. We still have startup costs that we’re paying off, but if you take those out of the equation then we’re quite profitable and that’s the reason why we’re expanding.
– So you’ve had great success in this already and you’ve only been a couple of years in and, I mean, obviously you’re everywhere. Everywhere I see you you’re talking about these kind of new models and things for people to think about. So what do you think other law firm owners, and it’s usually a lot of people who listen to this and watch this, what do you think that they can take away from your success in this area? How difficult or easy is it to add on some of these newer models, whether it be limited scope representation, the coaching versus actual a lawyer for some of the things, subscription services or other models?
– It doesn’t take much to stand out and really boost your business. It doesn’t take a lot of effort and it doesn’t take a lot of expense because consumers don’t have a very high expectation for customer service and technology-based products from lawyers ’cause they’ve never had it in the past or very infrequently. So starting a company like Hello Divorce, here I was burnt out before and now I’m working two, three times that and on everything from product development to marketing, to sales funnel, to the actual legal work. So that’s a major product in itself. But what I am talking about with you is more like these minor or major tweaks that we can do just to offer something that maybe your neighbor doesn’t or offer it better or more cost effective. One example I like to give, and I know everybody screams ethics and believe me, one of the largest expenses I’ve had is with ethics lawyers, so I get it. I want to make sure that everything I do is legit and in line with ethics rules. And if it’s on the fringe, I wanna see what I can do to package it in such a way that I hopefully won’t have any issues. But ethics rules are out there and there’s a lot of great people and resources that can help you walk through it. So I don’t want that to be a deterrent. One thing that you can do is really push these limited scope services or, especially if you enjoy that, legal coaching. So literally setting up a page that says a little bit about you and what service you offer and an option for a customer to both schedule, subject to conflict check, and pay is amazing. I mean, it’s what we do in every other industry, why can’t we do it in law? And we can and it doesn’t take that much work. And I’ve seen people just thrive in terms of building their business and their model. So there’s lots of little things you can do to experiment. You can write a book. You can write an eBook that maybe you charge something on Gumroad or charge something on your website and see if that works. You don’t have to completely 100% pivot to start thinking about new ways to bring in income and new ways to bring in passive income if you ultimately want out, which I think most of us do at some point in time, wanna retire or wanna decrease our hours.
– Got it. I mean, the idea of just throwing something on your website and saying I’m available for some coaching or whatever, the amount of kind of free, almost, legal advice that happens during just the initial consultation that people are looking for, really, that they didn’t realize that they have to wait on, when you can just say, no, book an hour with me and I’ll go dive into all your issues. What an easy way just to have, you know the money’s already paid ahead of time, the credit cards, the calendar’s already booked. You don’t think about it, you get rid of a whole intake process and everything. I love that model and just seems like an easy thing to add on. So unfortunately, we are out of time for the Facebook portion of this. But if you can stick around for us for just a few more minutes, I’ve got a whole bunch of questions I wanna get around specific to some of the marketing strategies I’ve heard you talk about for, especially the differences between things you’ve done for your law firm versus what you’ve had to do for Hello Divorce. Do you mind sticking around, if we can dive into that we can post that on YouTube on Friday?
– Absolutely, I can continue to admire your color coordination with the walls and your handkerchief, which, I just love it so let’s continue the chat.
– Awesome, but before we wrap up, where can people find you online?
– Okay, so across social media, my handle is @HelloDivorce. I manage those accounts even when they’re company accounts, so you can find me there. And at www.hellodivorce.com and levinefamilylawgroup.com.
– Awesome, well we’ll get those in the chat and in the show notes as well. And just hang out, I won’t be one minute, I’ll be right back. Thanks for joining us today, everyone. Be sure to like and subscribe to our Facebook page so you get notified when our next episode goes live. We have new interviews about law firm marketing and the business side of running your firm here every other Wednesday. We’re gonna keep going here in the GNGF Studio, so you can watch the full, extended interview with Erin Levine this Friday on our YouTube channel. We’ll be diving into more detail around the marketing strategy and tactics Erin uses for Hello Divorce versus her law firm. We’ll see you then. All right, thanks for sticking with me Erin.
– Absolutely, let’s do this.
– All right, so I wanted to kind of dive into the marketing side. It’s what we kind of do here for law firms and so I have to ask a lot of these questions because you have kind of two different takes on things and you were successful at doing some marketing around your law firm. So, first of all I wanna talk about, we kind of hinted a little bit before was around branding. So how important has branding and maybe the content around your branding been for maybe, whether it be your law firm before, or definitely for Hello Divorce?
– I think that it was everything for Hello Divorce, because I think of a brick and mortar very differently than an online business. And with the brick and mortar, there were so many other factors in play that could help support the consumer, the potential client and make them feel like they’re safe and taken care of and that the law firm itself has the skills necessary to handle their concern. Whereas, Hello Divorce, you’re asking someone to, without ever meeting or talking to or really seeing the face of the company, spend up to $3,500 on their actual divorce. So I think of it very, very differently. And I think that branding and content was extremely important that Levine Family Law Group to attract the right type of consumer, the type that we wanted to work with, but that with Hello Divorce it’s more of an effort in that that content and that branding has to be tweaked and utilized several times a day versus several times a month. Does that make sense?
– No, it totally does. And we talked a little bit about the branding already earlier with around your law firm. So from the content perspective are you guys, for Hello Divorce, ’cause I could see the content being very similar needs for both. Some of the things that would work for one would actually work for another, but any different kind of content strategy for driving people to Hello Divorce that maybe would different than just a local law firm?
– So I definitely think that we repurpose a lot of the content that we have put on Levine Family Law Group or Hello Divorce, but we’re speaking to a little bit different of an audience, right. One audience is trying to do this without lawyers and, or without retaining a lawyer. And one audience is interested in having a lawyer guide them through the process. So when we do repurpose content we have to be very careful around that, but it’s clearly like an incredible bonus ’cause whenever we need content, it’s there. Let’s see, the content for Levine Family Law Group I think, well, let me just back up for a minute. When we were serving potential clients about what they wanted and needed in a lawyer and what they were looking for on a website, one thing that bothered them more than anything is law firms that have those blogs or that content that tells you what the problem is, which by the way, you already know what the problem is, scares you into thinking that you can’t solve that problem without them, but then gives no actionable tips besides, hire me. And consumers want to be, for the most part, a part of their case. They want to know what’s going on and how they can help because they know that your lawyer doesn’t know everything there is to know about you, and they wanna be able to tell their lawyer what relevant information that lawyer might need. And so I think one thing that we’ve really tried to do with our law firm marketing is that when we do offer a blog or an eBook or something else of that sort, is to answer a question and not be afraid that giving that information is going to lead to them not hiring you. Because in my experience, it’s the exact opposite. People like information. They like reliable information. No matter what, they’re going to go on Google and they’re going to look for it. But I’d rather have a much more educated client who understands the issues than a client who’s gotten all this garbage on Google and comes to you with unreasonable expectations. They’re going to take that information, they’re going to process it the best they can and then they’re going to have questions because law is complicated, and who better to come to than you? So no hiding behind that fortress of information anymore. It’s just not helpful and it, to a large extent really pisses people off.
– Yeah and I think it’s interesting, if you look at the data, it’s definitely skewing younger too, right. So if you wanna future-proof your law firm, you definitely need to be thinking that way. So maybe somebody who’s 65, wasn’t kind of born and raised on going into Google to research everything, like anything, right, you don’t go to Google immediately, There it’s like it was more of a networking and talking and asking questions and meeting up with people, so there was this really big trust of the expert. You know, like you’re good at this and therefore I’m gonna go to you and you know all. To the point where, I remember doctors in the early days, they hated WebMD. But now doctors actually say, well, to learn more information about this go to the web and research this area and come to me with questions, right. And same kind of thing, right, if give good content you can actually send people to that content so they become more educated and you save some time in the process. So I think that’s great that you’re heading that way.
– That’s a great qualification, though. I am talking about the Millennials, Generation X, whatever the name of the generation that comes after millennials is, Z, Y, whatever, that’s who I am talking to. Obviously, if you’re an estate planner or maybe, hopefully not, but maybe your target is much older, then you might wanna rethink some of the stuff that I say, take it with a grain of salt.
– Yeah, it’s definitely a future-proofing your law firm, I think, or whatever you’re looking to do in terms of the technology. So speaking of on the Hello Divorce side, then. So from a technology, you’re a startup, essentially right? I mean, you were a startup. You were investing in product and content and payment and people to do the processes and figuring out how to scale. Probably not a huge amount of room for marketing budget in there ’cause you’re using profits from your law firm to kind of get it going. So what are some of the tips and tricks that you used to kind of promote Hello Divorce on a budget?
– Yeah, this was the first year that we started paid advertising. I mean, we had a few Google Ads or Pinterest boosts early on. Pinterest is my secret weapon by the way. Pinterest is amazing in certain areas of law, so I’d love to hear your take on that sometime. But we definitely, oh my gosh, I lost my train of thought. Oh budget, so sorry about that. So we just started this paid advertising not that long ago. And so before that it was totally on a budget and what we did, and you can take lots of different strategies, but I am talking online strategy because I am more of an introvert, sometimes an extroverted and introvert, but I like working and I like doing it sort of alone. So we did a lot of content, what we call the freemiums, good, solid content in plain English that’s designed well, not expensive. There’s so many opportunities to get help for not that much money. Even for our membership option page, for example, we used 99Designs and paid a few hundred dollars to have a 100 different people give us prototypes that we chose on our files. So it’s really finding the right people, but those people don’t necessarily have to be super expensive. And the people that you’re working with, you wanna make sure have that expertise that you need. So a lot of freemiums, flow charts and checklists and worksheets. Our worksheets get thousands and thousands of hits, people love them. So interactive guides, you might think PDFs are dead, they’re not to people that in consumer-facing areas of law, like landlords, tenant, family law, estate planning people love this stuff. They print it out, they put it on their fridge or their bulletin board and they check things off as they go. So that’s been huge.
– Love checklists. Love checklists.
– That’s awesome.
– And then for me, social media has been a really big way to get not only the Hello Divorce out to a wider audience, but the word-of-mouth referrals and to position myself more as a thought leader, which I think is important especially if you want more of those like high level, high ticket cases. So I listened to everyone, including you, and read podcasts and articles. How could I get away from the posts that say, if your need a divorce lawyer, call me, we’re here to help, to valuable information that I could share with my colleagues and with potential consumers. And that, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving, along with earned media. When you get mentioned in press, that article is out there forever. And someone like you, Mark, would probably say, well, let’s get a backlink and let’s make sure that it’s cross-functional so that we can boost that SEO and then it becomes just the gift that keeps on giving.
– [Mark] Yep.
– Ultimately, I chose someone to work with for SEO and that was hard to do, but I found someone that I really liked and connected with and that felt like a wise investment. The design, the branding, the SEO work, that felt like a wise investment. Writing the actual content, designing new and different freemiums, I mean, there’s a million other things that I felt like didn’t need top dollar, but I really wanted to focus on when somebody has a particular expertise that I don’t have.
– Yeah, and you’re right, I mean, like 99Designs, I tell people you can go to Fiverr and for 10 or 15 bucks, but don’t just do 10 or 15 bucks, hire like five people, different people to do the exact same thing. And so for like 45 or 50 bucks you’re gonna find something, maybe the one for 15 isn’t gonna hit, but if you’ve sent 50, you get to kind of pick. So Dianne Design’s very similar, right. You had a lot of people, so some were just way off the mark but for your $99 or a $100, whatever you kind of come up with, you had all these people working for you, kind of competing, really right. And so those tools are great. Upwork can give you some great tools. So I tell people all the time, leverage these resources ’cause they’re not crazy expensive once you understand what you’re doing. But understanding who your brand is, and you mentioned earlier, the messaging you needed was different. And so that really comes down to understanding your target market, right. So you really understand who your audience is and how to speak to them, that’s like the biggest part of the battle. Then you can go kind of find people to kind of stay within brand and keep them in line.
– I 100% agree. I mean, you cannot do anything or hire anyone until you understand who it is that you want to target and connect with and work with. If you don’t know that it’s going to be virtually impossible to market in a way that’s effective. I also wanted to say though, on the Upwork, on the Fiverr, on the 99Designs or Crowdspring, a lot of us have already used contractors through those sites. And so you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel or start over, there’s so many of us that can give you referrals to people that we’ve worked with that we think understand and get it. I know Ryan McKeen, I don’t know if you know him or not?
– Yeah, I know Ryan.
– He’s a Connecticut trial attorney and he will oftentimes, if he gets someone amazing like a translator on Fiverr or someone to help with design, he’ll send us the link and we try to help, all of us help each other out that way, because it is a little bit tricky to find the right person. And if you already have one, that’s great. And I also wanted to give a shout out to my business attorney, Doug Bend, he’s in San Francisco because he practices law very similar to what you were talking about earlier, Mark, with providing that information for a much more knowledgeable client who will then come to you for what they actually need. I feel like it’s so much more cost effective and I get so much more value with Doug because when there’s something I can do on my own, he shows me how or leads me to the right place. But when it’s something that requires more skill, he’s right there to take over and to handle it. So I think that is the wave of the future. I think that’s really important.
– Yeah, no, I couldn’t agree more. And I still look at people who are kind of selling the eight blog posts a month and some social media stuff that nobody ever sees, there’s no real target audience, there’s no understanding of the messaging. Actually, I think it’s hurt people’s brand more than it helps their search engine optimization.
– Yes, exactly. The whole reason why I do a blog is because I update it at least weekly and I do it with very relevant content and it’s completely authentic and real and genuine. But if that wasn’t the case, like if I didn’t have time to devote that, if I didn’t love that piece of it, then that would be the least of my priorities. And I know we’ve had this conversation before. ‘Cause once you said something about blog and I was, like what, what no blogs aren’t dead. I love logs.
– Yeah, it’s why you’re doing it, right. Like, you’re doing it. You have a passion for the area. You’re trying to lead discussion and provide authority, maybe even introduce some sort of debates in some areas of it, right. That’s a reason blog, you care, right, and people comment and people share and people link to those type of blogs. But posting something about, there was an accident on I92 or whatever it is, just because you’re a car accident attorney, who cares. If anything, you’re doing a disservice because if I get in an accident and I see you’re kind of just glorifying in these other accidents, that’s not talking to me with empathy, right?
– Oh my God, yeah, I cannot believe how many people still do that. It makes no sense to me at all. Or people who don’t have call to actions. I mean, CTAs are so crucial and I think lawyers, generally, we’re so good about talking a lot. We know our craft. We know how to be a lawyer but we don’t always know how to speak directly to the consumer and I think we’re afraid of that word, sales. And I just encourage all of us to use call to actions more regularly so that if they’re on your site, they’re interested in speaking with you or working with you, but they need to know what’s the next step and we have to make sure they have that talk about budget. That’s so easy to add a button on your site and so important.
– And one of the things really close to that, you talked about what’s the next step? I always encourage, like let people know what the process is like to work with you, right, so if you’re a law firm. But on your website you do this, right, and not only do you do that but you say, here are the different ways to work with us, right. And you had different ways to do it. And here’s what it’s going to look like working with our firm. Because people kind of wanna know, well, if I’m going to call, what is step one, two, three, four and what’s an outcome? And it doesn’t have to be like here’s exactly, right. Legal can take you down different paths, but just the general process I think it’s so important for people to understand. And I think Legal Trends Report even had that as one of the top four people we’re looking for. It’s just like what is the process of working with you as a Mr. Lawyer?
– You’re giving me such great ideas here because I think at Levine Family Law Group we’ve modeled a lot of the way we handle cases and onboarding to Billie Tarascio and her firm in Arizona and partially because I had Modern Paw Practice as a consultant for a long time. And with her help we developed this really awesome handout to customers after they have purchased that explain exactly the steps that we’re going to take.
– Just put it back
– But now that I’m
– Into the website, yeah.
– Sort of encouraged and inspired to to share that earlier on in the sales process because, I mean, it’s a huge benefit to people.
– I mean, actually the fact that what you have on your Levine Family Law site, just, there’s different ways to work with you. It’s not just like one size fits all. You have to hire us to do this. You can just get some coaching. You can get some mediation. Here’s the different things. So that’s a step in the right direction right there, right. It’s just, I have options here. They understand a process. They have different ways to interact with me, not just scare tactics and I gotta call them because I should be scared and they’re not gonna tell me anything online. So yeah, agreed.
– Right, and if you’re gonna practice and way of lawyering is to take a case from start to finish and not piecemeal it, then explain why and share that with the potential consumer. Because they’re looking into it. They’re looking at all their options so we need to tell them why hiring you from start to finish is going to get the best outcome, or it might actually end up being cost effective ’cause you’re not stopping and starting and you have a lawyer who understands it. Whatever it might be, this is your opportunity to share that with people and I think it’s really important.
– You talked about the sales word, right. Lawyers like to call it intake, but really, it’s like CRM and sales, it’s what all the rest of the business world calls it. Why do we have to be different in law firms? But that kind of sales point is when somebody contacts you off of your website and they saw here’s how you approach things, they agree with that. They’re gonna be a much easier person to kind of move down to the next step in your process than somebody where you have to spend all this time explaining and they’re, like, well, that doesn’t really fit what I’m looking for and yeah. Filter them out at the website. Don’t have to take all those calls.
– Right, then if you have staff, you get to use them for stuff that really matters as opposed to stuff that could’ve easily been automated or shared earlier.
– Right. Totally. So real quick, I wanna hear about the Pinterest, though. So tell me about your Pinterest domination that you’ve figured out here?
– I put very little effort into Pinterest. So earlier on, like, maybe a year ago I did hire someone from Upwork to sort of step up my Pinterest game. It ended up not being a good fit. He was doing some stuff that I think was borderline shady. So got rid of him and didn’t really pay any attention to my Pinterest and then picked it back up and started to put the freemiums and my quotes, like the quotes I have for Instagram onto Pinterest and it’s insane, the reach. You have to think about the demographic of who is on Pinterest. Primarily women, oftentimes we spend more time on Pinterest when we’re going through transition, life changes like remodeling a house or looking for a new look. And a lot of those things come with divorce or other big life legal changes. And so I started noticing that we were getting 75, 80,000 monthly views on different posts. And I started tracking where leads were coming from. And there’s just this huge amount coming from Pinterest. Again, I don’t do any strategic work with Pinterest right now, I simply post on a regular basis. I am excited to see what happens if I do find the right person to help me with our Pinterest campaign. But in the meantime, it’s kind of like the little engine that could, I had no idea. When I started using social media software, every company and person told me we don’t include Pinterest on this because we don’t really consider Pinterest in social media. We don’t think it’s going to be that helpful. And here it’s been amazing in terms of the lead generation. So I’m just gonna keep with it and one day learn how to actually do it strategically or farm that piece out.
– Yeah, that’s fascinating. I mean, I remember we tinkered with earlier on. We tested some things. We didn’t see a lot of tick but one thing you just mentioned that I’m gonna take and think about, because I’m thinking you mentioned transition, right, people go to, which makes sense, right. I’m planning a wedding, kids. So I didn’t think about it, that’s a transition moment, like a divorce.
– Prenups, yeah, I didn’t think about that, yeah. But like retirement could be another one, right. So like estate planning and that like could be a really good, good market. And I think the other thing about Pinterest, there’s not a lot of lawyers there. So you’re probably getting the benefit of not only, there’s an interesting mix to your audience, but you’re the loudest person in a quiet room.
– Yes, absolutely and reaching out to other people in your industry who aren’t lawyers, because they are so helpful to get the word out, like micro-influencers who are excited also to pair with the lawyer. Because for the most part, lawyers haven’t cared what they do or connected with them. So don’t do all the work on your own. I’ve let these people retweet and repin my stuff and it’s just been amazing, shockingly. I don’t really know how.
– So what are some examples, examples of types of micro-influencers, like what type of things are they doing? Like what industry that would love to partner with a lawyer for this kind of stuff?
– Yeah, so in the divorce world there’s divorce coaches who are life coaches but they just put divorce there as that’s their niche. So there’s also certified divorce financial analysts. There are people in the forensic world. There are non-lawyer mediators. There are people that help divorcees establish a new look and set up a dating profile. So, so many different potential collaborators here. And some of them have pretty amazing following. And you don’t need a million followers to be able to get some great word of mouth and help spreading the word. So I think the same would go for estate planning, not litigation but, you know, you’re pairing with a lot of people. So other lawyers who are doing pre and post nuptial agreements, retirement advisors, financial planners. There are places like Ellevest and other online resources that deal directly with millennials that are trying to live with more intention, that are trying to do self-care. So if you think about it, if you’re young and you’re doing estate planning, you’re being really proactive about your life and you wanna feel good about that. Well, there’s people that are out there peddling products and services to make you feel good about what you’re doing, great match.
– That’s great, I mean, I love that thinking too. I mean, you’ve mentioned on the prenup side, right, there’s probably wedding planners. Like somebody asks, it’s like, well, here’s somewhere you can go. Here’s a resource for you and they maybe didn’t have that in their back pocket before. So those things are great. I love those more than the chiropractor and financial advisor, but thinking one level beyond that. And you mentioned like the influencers, it doesn’t have to be that huge audience. It’s quality, it’s the community that people feel really, really connected to that one person than it is, really, the quantity, right.
– And they’ll trust them. Obviously, being on podcast is a really big one too. A podcaster who deals with parenting issues whose followers absolutely adore him or her, having you on is amazing, like your exact target audience and already this podcaster endorses you which is major, so. Yeah, I think I love the micro influencer take on things because I really do think that we can cross-promote and help each other out. Obviously, we have to be careful when it comes to referral fees and affiliate links. You gotta think about does that work, is it ethical? But you don’t even need to do any of that, right, at all. So start sharing other people’s stuff.
– Just being a resource, yeah. Yeah, be a resource, share content, provide them with content for their network is usually enough, right. So that’s great. Well, we’re gonna keep going here if we had more time, but I think we need to wrap it up. And we’re getting into the deep tips now, so this is good stuff. So if somebody made it this far, they learned about Pinterest, they learned about micro influencing, and this is gold here. So thank you so much for sharing and sticking with me.
– This was fun. I never get asked these really nuanced questions. I never get to discuss them. And it gets my wheels turning and feeling inspired again. So it was great, I loved speaking with you. We should do it again sometime.
– Awesome, well with that we’ll wrap up. So thank you.
– Hey, what’s up? I’m Josh, thanks so much for joining us. If you feel like you learned something today, think of how beneficial it would be to chat with myself or another one of our marketing consultants one-on-one. Go ahead and visit our website to schedule your free consultation. It only takes a minute.