About Our Guest
Ben SessionsBen Sessions has been recognized as a Top 100 SuperLawyer by SuperLawyers Magazine from 2018 through 2020, and he has been consistently recognized as a SuperLawyer from 2015 through 2021. He is 1 of 4 attorneys in Georgia to be Board Certified in DUI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD).... Learn More
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– Thanks for joining us. This is our extended interview with Ben Sessions, of the Sessions Law Firm in Atlanta, Georgia. The first part of this video is from our “GNGF LIVE” which happens every other Wednesday on our Facebook page. The second part here is the bonus extended interview where we dive into how Ben got 100 Google reviews. If you already saw the live, I’ll put the timestamp to the exclusive interview below. Be sure to like, and subscribe to follow along with our great conversations on legal marketing and the business side of running a law firm. And to watch this video on your platform of 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. I’m excited to have today’s guest Ben Sessions of the Sessions Law Firm. Ben runs a solo law firm in Atlanta and has seen significant growth in his firm by teaching himself online marketing and running his website, writing content and managing a social media on his own. As always be sure to like and subscribe to our page. And not just the videos, you can get updated when our next episode goes live. Of course, it never hurts for you to show a little love and hit that like button on the video too. It really helps us with the Facebook and YouTube algorithms. We’ve got moderators in the chat. 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 follow-up questions you have. That’s because we love you all. And we love getting to meet you online and in-person. And you can find a list of our upcoming webinars and events where we’ll be speaking on our website at GNGF.com/events. On weeks when we’re not premiering interview, we drop a video as part of our GNGF Tip series. These are in-depth videos focusing on one topic at a time. Check it out on our YouTube page or by heading to GNGF.tv. 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. All right, let’s get to the interview. Thanks for joining us today, Ben. Thanks so much for having me. We’ve met and chatted at a number of conferences. I got to… We got to hang out in your hometown in Atlanta, not too long ago but for the benefit of the audience, tell us a little bit about yourself.
– I’m a solo lawyer. I’ve got three offices, one in Atlanta. I’ve got satellite offices in Macon and Columbus so I can meet with clients there, but for the most part I just use those locations just for marketing purposes. Primarily criminal defense lawyer. I also handle some car accidents, personal injury cases. It’s a little bit of a diverse thing. It spreads me a little thin but, it also allows for some different sources of revenue into the firm. That’s why I’ve tried to keep those balls juggling in the air.
– Why did you decide to focus on criminal, DUI and car accidents?
– I had a car accident background. I worked at an insurance defense firm for about a year and a half outside of law school. I worked there, clerked there throughout law school as well. I knew what was going on in that practice area. But then I left there and went to a small firm that did predominantly criminal offense. And so it was what I fell into. But I pretty quickly realized that you could have a steady source of revenue that was generated as a result of those criminal defense cases, particularly DUI that’s for the most part is my specialization. It’s about 85% of my caseload in the office. But I also recognize that it did not provide sort of an extra bump on the revenue that the PI side of things do, the personal injury side of cases do. I was trying to diversify a little bit and quickly realized I didn’t wanna just be relying on those DUI cases ’cause it’s honestly… It’s a grind. Day-to-day handling criminal cases and really trying to get ahead. I think most lawyers who do that for a long time you can sort of tell because it ages them pretty quickly. You’re going from court to court, case to case on a daily basis. If you don’t want your life just to be just that grind, day in and day out, you gotta figure out some other type of cases that will give you some revenue that doesn’t… They honestly don’t require you to work. I know that that’s not what a lot of people would say about those cases but that’s the truth of the matter is that they have some additional profit margins that are there, that criminal defense cases just don’t have for you. I tried to integrate those two, primarily just for business purposes.
– And how long… I forgot to ask this earlier. How long have you been on your own and your own firm here?
– I’ve been on my own for about six years. I’ve been practicing law for… This is my 16th year.
– I’m glad you mentioned that. ‘Cause a lot of people always say, “Hey, your niche down. Have one practice area. It’s easier to find the target market and hit your clients and your advertising dollars get to be targeted and focused.” But you’ve made it a conscious decision to say… ‘Cause it’s not just about the marketing. It needs to be about your lifestyle, your business, your business goals. So you’ve created… Do I understand that you’ve essentially created a little bit more diversity in not having to rely on just one revenue stream so that you have like that… Which I guess probably worked well. I mean, ’cause DUI has dried up a little bit during the pandemic that came through in early in the year. That probably was nice to have that diversified stream then.
– What I tell people who are trying to enter, for example, DUI practice is over the last decade we saw a dramatic decrease in the number of DUIs. We had Uber and Lyft that entered into most of the major marketplaces. And if you were solely relied upon that you probably saw a significant decrease in the number of cases. I was really fortunate that our numbers have actually continued to grow but shrinking marketplace. And I was really fortunate about that. But overall the numbers of DUI cases have really shrunk. If you weren’t thinking about ways to bring in some other revenue already, you were really seeing a real hit as a result of that shift. Also just culturally. I mean, we’ve seen people who are less accepting of going out and having a couple beers and getting behind the wheel. I mean, most people that are my age, probably have been taught and indoctrinated in a very good way that that’s not a risk that you should be willing to take on a daily basis. So we just… We’re not seeing people who are accepting of that. And so you needed to be thinking about what’s another practice area that I was gonna try to pick up if I wanted to maintain the same sort of revenue that I was generating previously within my office. I just think it’s certainly something I’ve struggled with on a sort of a continual basis is am I gonna make the conversion from criminal defense and DUI cases just to personal injury contingency based cases. And there’s times whenever I’m like, “Why haven’t I done this already?” But you… There’s a downside to it as well, which is like, for example, in the pandemic if you were solely relying upon car accident cases you probably saw your business pretty much dry up. I mean, in Atlanta, I’m in the Buckhead district of Atlanta and there was time from there it just looked like a ghost town out there and I was still generating revenue. It wasn’t what I wanted to be generating off criminal cases but I was still able to get some cases out there. I know car accident lawyers who were like, “I might as well not even go to the office because there’s not any calls coming in kind of thing.” There are some upsides and downsides to having that niche down for sure.
– Speaking of the looking back, the differences between focusing on one area, focusing on the other, let’s talk about marketing strategies a little bit. ‘Cause I… That’s where we initially met, was at some marketing conferences. What are some of the best… Would you consider your day to day marketing practices that at your law firm that you’re focusing on?
– I’ll probably spend a lot more time thinking about, for example, they… My website and my social media posting that a lot of lawyers I know do. Know a lot of lawyers are completely hands-off about that. I’ve been the exact opposite. I’m extremely hands-on with it. I actually enjoy it. I’m continually posting to the website, those pages and blog posts. I tried it. I tried to make that an ongoing effort of developing, for example, a practice area that I’m not currently getting cases in to try to go ahead and post evergreen content, that’s focused on those practice areas where I’d like to generate some cases down the road. I’m thinking a year, two years, three years down the road that hopefully I can at some point in time gain some SEO traction in those areas that I don’t currently generate cases from. And I saw that work over time for the last five or six years, we really started… If I would think ahead and say, “All right, what kind of cases do I want in future?” If you really start thinking about those and planning down the road, is not your… We were talking about this before we started recording but it’s not happening in two weeks. It’s not happening in two months but it likely will happen two or three years down the road if you’re putting up really quality content. You can even overcome people who have a lot higher budget if you’ll just start thinking of working on those things. On a continual basis, I’m trying to post up pages, not necessarily blog posts on those topics, but… And then on my blog posts, I’m just trying to do current issues in our practice that I think would be beneficial to a reader that happens to hit the website. And then I always post on… I’m pretty active on Instagram. It’s the channel that I like the best. Although, I’ve gotten a… I’ve gotten a fair amount of leads and cases off of Facebook as well. I’m just not as comfortable with Facebook for some reason to me, doing a quick three or four minute video for Instagram is probably the best thing that I can do on a daily basis. It just engages with the people who already follow me really well. And I usually get a lot of comments and that sorta thing, all that. That’s what I try to do on an ongoing basis.
– That’s great. I mean, I think it’s important… Wanna reiterate something you said there, it’s like you’re spending a lot of time on this, first of all but you’re doing it in a way of thinking down the road, like this is not, I’m doing something right now hoping for a phone call tomorrow. It’s where do I want to be in a year or two? And let me start doing the things now, put the things in place, put that kind of foundation for search engine optimization or whatever else you’re looking at to do. And another thing, I’m glad you said that. ‘Cause a lot of people are really like, “I need it now.” They’re used to the, I pay for a TV ad and phone call comes in the next hour. That’s very… I just wanted to highlight that. And you do… I mean, how much time? So you just spend a lot of your own time doing it but about how much time is it taking there? I mean like, are you in a groove now or what was it before? Did it take more time or?
– I can do an Instagram video. I actually don’t do many outtakes at all. Me and my secretary laugh about this. Sometimes I’ll do three or four of ’em trying to get in the flow of it. But there’s days whenever I do a video and I just literally the first take and I don’t even watch it again. And I just post it out with a simple blurb about what the video is about. And then I make it, well, I don’t know what they call them, a story or whatever I’ll make… I’ll share it to my story. And that’s where you actually will see a lot of traction from it as well. For people that are trying to get instant feedback from there in terms of cases and case flow, I tend to think that you should be doing those free Instagram videos all the time. I mean, it costs you nothing and there’s no harm to it whatsoever. It passes right by people, if they don’t wanna see it then they don’t have to watch the video or anything. It’s so easy to do it. And that’s such an… The easy thing. But people are just uncomfortable with putting themselves out there in that way. And you gotta be… You gotta figure out what your voice is, what you feel comfortable with and at least be able to talk to people. Use it as practice for talking to clients or making a pitch to a client about something. And you really are making a pitch in those videos and in your office. It doesn’t need to be salesy necessarily. It can be informational, but at some point in time you’ve gotta be willing to engage with those folks.
– And I wanna dive into social media strategy here in a little bit. But on… We’ve met. I mean, I know you’ve jumped into WordPress to do your own… Type in your own content. You’ve pulled up your analytics and said, “Hey, Mark I got a question for you, over here.” You understand, and you’re in these things. Again, on a week, ’cause in… When somebody is getting going, getting started, they often can’t afford agency or something, so you need to roll up your sleeves and learn and do some of this stuff. Like about… And if you were telling somebody, “Hey, you’re getting started.” How much time should they be setting aside? So they don’t have the marketing budget, how much sweat equity budget should they be thinking about?
– Spend an hour a day. An hour, a day consistently for six months and you would see a dramatic change in the number of leads that you were getting through your website and the amount of traction that you’re getting on it. I mean if you really did that consistently. Did a You… Did a page or post a day and did a YouTube video that you posted up in that content. You could even have that transcribed to create content. And you did that consistently for six months, you would see a change in your website. You probably need to keep going at some rate past the six months in order to keep it active and keep it really reacting positively in the search engines. But if you did that, I would think you would tend to do that. I usually spend somewhere in the range of 30 minutes to an hour a day. I think that it’s worth that. I think it’s most the valuable thing in my practice and hey, it’s what’s gonna keep it alive in the future and that’s what it’s important to me. I think it’s worse than that time.
– Yeah and you, you spend time also learning. I mean, again, I met you at a few marketing conferences and stuff, but you’ve went and figured out and watched videos on how to do analytics, those kinds of things are important as well. I think people should… It’s not just, stare at a blank screen and type a blog post, but, go out and read some articles on what’s working, go ahead and watch some videos on Instagram videos or, using WordPress, using Google. Google analytics is like… Should be your best friend. And there’s great videos on how to use it.
– Absolutely. And I can… I know lawyers who don’t even know what type of platform that their website’s on, or even that there is a platform that is on. They don’t even have any understanding of it whatsoever. “Am I on a proprietary platform BYON, WordPress or whatever type of content management system I’m using.” You gotta know that because you need to, ultimately, particularly if you’re trying to do this on a real bare bones budget you gotta know how to go in there and add content to it. Even if you don’t know anything about best SEO practices. If you could just post a page up there, just post a blog post up there you would really see a dramatic change. You just gotta know how to get in there and actually do it. And it’s not hard. I mean, if I can do it anyone can do it for sure. And it’s one of those things that once you actually tried it a couple of times, you quickly realize there is no magic to this, just get in there, start trying, you’re not gonna break anything and just go in there and start posting some articles and pages and stuff like that. It’ll help.
– Yeah and I know I…. We have an opinion but what do you usually recommend as a lawyer, who’s doing this on their own? What platform do you use? And I think if I remember it was WordPress.
– No question in my mind whatsoever. There’s no question in my mind at all, you should be using WordPress. And honestly, I’ve used one of those proprietary platforms. I have, it costs me almost $10,000 to get my content moved from that proprietary platform over to WordPress. Spent a lot of money and wasted a lot of time and a lot of effort and I’m still trying to work out the kinks from that transition from the proprietary platform to WordPress. It had like some funky formatting in it and all that sort of stuff. And it was just a problem. It’s a problem with… If you know anything about SEO stuff, people are watching it like, I’m a… My H1 tags were all messed up and I didn’t have meta descriptions that transitioned over and all of that sort of stuff was a big problem. If I had never moved to the proprietary platform.
– Yeah and that’s usually what we recommend. Is if you’re starting off, use WordPress and then find somebody who knows what we’re doing on WordPress and build a solid system. And there’s a lot of like… Even WordPress is starting to release… People are starting to release things that make it almost Squarespace like but that actually brings a lot of like weight in performance issues too. We’re gonna keep the basics and.
– It really does. So whenever… A lot of the themes that I’m seeing that are being used on WordPress now are a proprietary esque kind of theme. All the benefits that you have from WordPress are lost as a result of that clunkiness of that theme. And it also makes it so that you can’t move to another theme if you want to very easily. I would just encourage people just to… If you were starting off on a real budget, use one of the basic WordPress themes, don’t go out and buy a really heavy duty or quote unquote fancy theme that operates on top of WordPress, or however you wanna think about that. Just use a basic one ’cause at the end of the day, even ugly websites that work really well and function really well in terms of search engines, generate business. You can have a great looking website, no one finds it anywhere, anything. Be careful about using those types of themes that might otherwise take away the benefits of the WordPress platform.
– That’s awesome. Well, I’m glad you said that ’cause I’ll be honest we have to constantly talk about that. And I don’t think… A lot of times I feel like law firms don’t quite get it ’cause it’s like, well, it seems that it’s easier to use, but I’m glad that in your experience, digging your hands in you’ve seen the negative sides of it. But jumping on your website a little more. You write a lot of your own content. How do you think about the messaging? What are you actually writing? Why are you writing certain things in a certain way on your website? And then do you approach it differently on your social media?
– My website is primarily just informational, targeted at prospective clients, not necessarily referral sources. I do provide a lot of resources up there, like sample pleading, sample briefs, and that sort of stuff. I mean, I know lawyers that go there and get those things and look at them for what is it that I’m trying to do with, for example, in DUI litigation. That’s something that I know people are going there for, but it’s primarily just for clients to provide them with a ton of information about this to basically become a resource before they ever even call the office. That’s what my goal is. And I would say it’s probably written above a lot of clients’ heads, and that’s okay with me. I’m completely fine with going into… Deep diving into DUI defense and telling them everything about legal issues and potentially giving some things away to people, lawyers who are looking on there for information. That’s okay with me. I’ve never been timid at all about giving away stuff for free. And I always just felt like it helped me at the end of the day. That’s what my goal is in terms of messaging on my website. My social media stuff. I usually talk about things like, how is it that I choose a lawyer and what types of things that you should be looking at in considering lawyer selection. ‘Cause I… Usually those people who are watching my social media stuff and who really our prospective clients, they’re trying to decide which lawyer that they’re gonna choose. And honestly they have no idea how to evaluate lawyers. They just don’t… They’re not experienced consumers of lawyers at all. A person who has got a DUI probably this is the first time that they’d call a criminal defense lawyer. Most people who… I won’t have the client on the PI side of things, on the car accident side of things, I hope it’s their first time calling a lawyer. ‘Cause if it’s not their case probably sucks. And so I’m like thinking about those kinds of things. And if you… If it is your first time calling a lawyer you don’t… Lawyers don’t think about this a lot of times they haven’t spoken to lawyers before. They’re not educated about this process and that’s a lot of their anxiety about it. And so you just wanna put them at ease. And that’s what I’m trying to do in those videos. Give ’em some information. Tell ’em about things to be thinking about. Tell ’em about things that they should be concerned about. And that really is it. That’s what my goals are there.
– Awesome, on your content stuff, and on your website you mentioned search engine optimization and thinking about certain keywords or certain practice areas you wanna work within. You handle all your SEO work on your own? If I remember.
– I do. Yeah. I do all my own SEO stuff. I use a couple of tools. I use MAS for the most part. I heavily rely upon it and people have different preferences I know, but for the most part, that’s what I go to. And that’s just because honestly, I went to there… Talk about an example of an informational site overload and people that really give away a ton of stuff for free, MAS gives away a ton of stuff for free. When Rand was there in particular, you could go there on that Whiteboard Friday, you could… Yeah. They were awesome. And they’re still doing ’em, but I just got so much out of watching those video clips and stuff and they were tremendously helpful. And I was like, “Hey, if this place is willing to give away this much stuff just on a free basis just to go in there and watch videos and learn how to do stuff. I should probably start using their service. And that was what I did. I use them for both local SEO and for traditional SEO of stuff, just to monitor what’s going on with my site. And I usually will try to make changes based on the problems that it’s observing and that sort of stuff.
– Got it. On the SEO side, I mean, have you been able to… Through the tools and stuff and analytics, have you… Because you’ve been doing this many years you mentioned. Have you been able to measure and see that, I’ve grown into, or I’ve gotten more cases based on these areas I’m targeting?
– Yeah, I mean, it’s been a dramatic change from, let’s see probably three, four years ago to now. I mean, now I see like the light at the end of the tunnel for some of those keywords I was really trying to go after in key areas that I was trying to target. I started off with just the office in Atlanta, and then I tried… This is probably giving away too much information as well but. Then I tried to identify less competitive areas in terms of internet savvy of the competitors that are there. And I tried to look at mid-major markets is the way I would think of them. If there’s an area where there’s not a high concentration of really technologically savvy lawyers then I would try to step in there and go, “You guys aren’t our target in the internet so let me try and go after that and those areas.” And that was the reason why I picked Macon and why else I picked Columbus at the end of the day. And so those were areas where I saw a pretty quick move up. You couldn’t do that in Atlanta at all because you got really big players that are here that are targeting those cases. But in those smaller markets, you can really go after ’em because the big players really don’t wanna spend their budget on less traffic there. That’s what kind of… That’s what my thought process was.
– And that’s smart. And that’s I think really interesting inform… For somebody else listening here, another lawyer. I mean, from a strategy perspective that’s a really good strategy saying, “Okay, yeah, my office is here and I’m not changing that, but it’s really competitive and I’ll get there someday.” But what are some areas that I can go win at, because just, the people who are competing aren’t far along. Do a little competitive research. They don’t have much of a website. They don’t have really backlinks. They don’t have reviews, whatever you’re using as a score enable to pick those off and you essentially created two new offices just for that reason. It’s a great strategy. And we’ve seen it work, time and again, so that’s… Kudos to you for figuring all that out and doing it on your own.
– It was sort of out of necessity, it’s like, “Hey, I wanna generate some business now.” And I knew that I couldn’t do that very quickly in Atlanta. I realized, as well, those areas for some reason, people just had this assumption that, for example, internet marketing wouldn’t work in those less advanced areas, so to speak. And it completely does. There are intelligent people there who are doing the same searches that people are doing in Atlanta. And so there’s no reason at all not to go after them in that way.
– Yeah and significant amount of searches are happening on mobile devices. Everybody has an internet browser in their hand, so. That’s great. Well, we are running out of time on our actual Facebook live portion but can you stick with us for a few minutes longer? I really want to dive into your social media and the social media strategies and the stuff you’re doing there. And I’d really… I think the audience would love to hear that you’ve got… Whatever your process is for your client reviews, your online client reviews. ‘Cause you’ve got over 100 Google reviews. As a solo attorney in Atlanta, you’ve got over 100 Google reviews. If we could talk a little bit about what you’re doing for that. I mean, people love hearing about, about that. And we can post that extended interview if you don’t mind, on YouTube on Friday.
– Absolutely. That sounds great.
– Awesome, before we wrap up, where can people find you Ben? Online.
– You can find me on Instagram just search for Ben Sessions, lawyer I’ll pop up there. And on my website, the Sessions Law Firm.
– Awesome. All right, we’ll be right back. Hang out with me there, Ben. 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 Studios and you can watch the full extended interview with Ben Sessions this Friday over on our YouTube channel. We’ll be diving into more detail about his social media strategy and the process that’s got him over 100 client reviews on Google. See you then. Well, thanks for sticking with me, Ben.
– Awesome. Let’s talk about your social media. You talked a bit about Instagram. Is that primarily your channel? Do you use any other social media channels?
– I use Facebook and I use Facebook Business. I actually don’t… I wouldn’t encourage people to do it. Just post it under your own name. I get, if your friends, your family, they’re gonna see it, all that sort of stuff. But those are your real sources of business. Your friends that you have on Facebook, if they’re already your friend, odds are they probably like you at some level. And so just go ahead and market to them if you’re in a small firm. Now, if you’re in a mid to larger firm obviously you probably don’t wanna be doing that. But if you’re a solo like me or in a small firm, there’s no reason at all why it is you shouldn’t be using your own personal Facebook page to at least republish your content from your Facebook business page to your personal page. That’s completely acceptable. And that’s something that… You don’t wanna bombard the people in your feed with it but at least think about that. I pretty regularly post to Facebook Business page. And then I’ll republish things to my own personal page. And if someone’s got a problem with that it’s cool with me just unfollow me, unfriend me, whatever it is you gotta do. It’s okay. No skin off my back. And then on Instagram I actually re… I was not comfortable on Instagram to start with. I thought it was like Tik Tok which I think people should be using Tik Tok as well but… It feels like it’s gonna be a thing in the future. And you don’t wanna miss that boat in some way. But I actually enjoy Instagram, the post. And I found that it’s really good for the people who are loyal to me. They really like that, the Instagram post and the Instagram videos, and that’s sort of thing.
– Do you get engagement? Do you spend some time engaging and commenting back and forth with people? Whether it’s Instagram or Facebook?
– I really do on Instagram? I really… The Facebook posts… There’s the… My mom will obviously reshare stuff all the time that sort of thing. But there’s not a lot of engagement on Facebook for whatever reason, but on Instagram, there really is.
– Yeah, well, you’re spending your focus on Instagram so that makes sense that that’s where you would get a lot of your engagement. It’s a very… You’re using very visual medium with your interviews, but I’m glad to hear that. ‘Cause I also hear a lot of times people will just, “Yeah, I’m posting on social media and people will comment and they’d never do anything with it.” And so that engagement is what gets the, I think the momentum going. And especially in an Instagram where like that.
– Absolutely. That’s right.
– That’s great. What is your… If you step back and you may have talked a little bit about this, but like you’re thinking… ‘Cause you really had a strategic approach to your website and your SEO. Have you really thought about your overall social media strategy? What is your approach here and why are you doing some of the things you do?
– I do think of social media in particular, as a direct response type of medium that I’m using there. And I’m asking for a person who’s looking for a lawyer or he thinks of there might possibly need a lawyer that hopefully they’re gonna pick up the phone after they see one of the videos and call me or send an email through my website or something like that. That’s what my goal is in doing that. Usually those types of videos are really just what do you need to be thinking about if you’ve been hurt in a car accident. What happens to you on your first court date, in a DUI? How do you save your license if you’ve been arrested for a DUI? Right out of the gate, what is it that you have to do? Whenever you’re interviewing lawyers what types of things are you considering? For example, is it a flat fee? Is it an hourly fee? Is it a tiered fee structure? Is it contingency fee? Those types of questions that clients really have, I wanna try to go ahead and answer some of those in a really just conversational tone in my social media posts. It’s not a law professor or a lecturer or anything like that. It’s just me talking to you like a regular person about, “Hey, this is what the struggles that you’re gonna have are. These are what the problems that you’re gonna face are. These are the types of lawyers who might try to sell you on a certain tactic. Or just outright making you promises that there’s no way possible that they can deliver on. And just to be aware of that, whenever you’re going through it. ‘Cause you… Whenever you’re interviewing these people you know what their goals are at the end of the day and what kind of incentive structures there are for them. I try to talk about those things in those videos.
– That’s great. You’re looking at your social media from a… It’s a direct response, a quicker, here’s a video. If you need this information, right now here’s how to get ahold of me. And whereas your content on your website is much more, like a longer-term play for a search engine reason. Somebody was to search, DUI attorney near me, and they happened to be in Columbus, Georgia your website typically would show up and they would get to you that way and hopefully call you. That’s kinda like the two. Okay, got it.
– One thing I do think that you can do pretty easily that for people who are say like, “Hey, I don’t have two hours a day to spend on this stuff.” Or, “I don’t wanna spend two hours a day.” You take a video that’s four minutes long and you post it to Instagram. You’re gonna go to Instagram TV basically. It’s gonna… That’s where it’s gonna publish it. And you can take that same video go over to Rev.com, which is a transcription service. You upload that video there, you get it transcribed. You’re gonna have to clean it up some, based on that automatic transcription that’s there it’d probably cost you less than a dollar to have that transcribed. You have that transcribed and you can take that content over republish it to YouTube, and then post it up on your website, you got a blog or a page notice there. And that’s pretty quick to do that. It doesn’t take a lot of time and that’s how you can really be generating content on an ongoing basis across multiple different channels. I was doing YouTube for awhile and I’ve got a ton of videos up there. I just didn’t find that… I found that the value that I was getting from it was through my website. My website would… It would convert better when I had the video out their talking about the topic but I didn’t generate the leads as a result of YouTube. I think YouTube for me is how I ultimately have been trying to publish those videos. And I don’t know if it’s the best for in terms of SEO purposes but I found that it was best for me in terms of ease of use. And just publishing it to the website was pretty easy using YouTube.
– Yeah, and I think that there’s different arguments on that. Yeah, YouTube’s easy. There is some discoverability there. We’re always waiting to see. Google will occasionally do some tests and YouTube videos show up in the searches and then they stop showing up in search history. So yeah, I think if some people are just starting off, YouTube is a great way to get going. Taking it up a level within your website if you’re really focusing on SEO, that’s a much more advanced conversation that I think that, it’s working for you, so why change it? That’s going well right now.
– I’ve been during… I mean, COVID gave us a chance to really work on some things that we might not otherwise work on. And I was playing with schema markup, for example.
– [Mark] Yeah, absolutely.
– I’ve been trying to figure out how it is I can markup videos in a way that will help on discoverability of them. And I definitely haven’t found the secret sauce to that. I’ll bug you about that later on but that’s one that things that once you start figuring out what you’re doing on the basics of SEO, you’ll start to realize that hey, there’s some other great things you can do to really help you.
– Yeah, and you mentioned a lot of your content was question and answer based, frequently asked questions is your video content and you can have the transcription there and stuff. Hopefully you’re using the question and answer schema, as well.
– I’ve been trying to integrate.
– That’s one that people… If you have a lot of frequent asked questions, you’ve been doing… It’s in our book, we talk about it. It’s everywhere. All the different blog posts we’ve talked about on videos, that’s a great way to get started on content. It’s much more evergreen, long living content, probably better for search engines in the beginning than worrying about lots of blog posts. If you don’t wanna do all the blog stuff you can really spend a lot of time just on FAQ questions but schema markup, if you don’t know what that is go Google it, schema markup. And there’s a lot of ways to walk you through some tools out there. But question and answer is one of them that, is a way to accelerate some search stuff we were seeing. That’s great. Yeah. Keep on working on that. Tell me about… If somebody does find you they… Whether they saw an Instagram video in Macon, Georgia about car accidents or whatever, or they’re in Columbus and looked for DUI attorney, they reach out to you. What happens when a prospect calls your firm? What are your processes there?
– Intake process is actually fairly simple in my office. We have an answering service. It’s available 24 hours. The answering service will in turn, text me and email both me and my secretary that initial call. And then I’ll try to call that person back within… Usually within five to 10 minutes. And I truly do believe that that call back time if there’s any better predictor of whether or not that client will retain you, I’m unaware of it. I don’t know of anything that’s more predictive about whether or not that person could have hired your firm than you calling ’em back really quickly. That’s what I try to do. And then from there I use… Is it okay to say the name of the service that I use?
– Yeah, absolutely.
– I use Clio.
– Clio, yeah.
– It’s really good for me because it’s fairly straightforward. It’s not.. In my mind it’s not really robust. There’s some services, some things that I wish that it had in it. I wish it wasn’t a two-part system where you had a Clio Grow for the intake and then Clio Manage for the actual case itself. I wish that they were combined. But it ultimately works pretty well for me. And it certainly was an improvement over the system I had before, which was nothing. It gave me some organization and it really has helped me in that way. And the one thing that… Two things it’s really helped me on dramatically are, first, it really simplified the contract process. I’m now able to get contracts signed within five minutes and that used to be a real pain. Clients would… They’d print it and then they’d be like, “I’m sorry, man. I gotta wait until I go to fax this thing or scan it from an email or something like that. The ability to have a client sign a contract on their phone has changed everything about the retention process. That’s how you convert clients. Is calling them back quickly. Getting the contract to ’em quickly and getting that back in your office and getting started on the case. That’s really important. The second thing that it really helps out with is the integration to LawPay in the payment system. I mean, hey, if you’re signing up clients but you’re not actually recovering the money that they owe you, you’re not doing… You’re not staying in business very long. And a lot of lawyers are not very good at billing their clients and LawPay and Clio make that so much easier. Like the ability to send out 100 invoices at one time. And that’s what you’re doing in a criminal practice is very important. And for it not to take two hours to do it makes a huge difference. I would encourage anyone to really consider how is it that I’m getting the contracts signed. How is it that I’m billing my clients on a regular basis so that I can keep the revenue coming in. ‘Cause if you’re generating the cases but you’re not billing ’em they’re not working and you’re just working for free at that point.
– And it’s amazing how… What the data is on offering a credit card how much your receivables just disappear pretty much. When you invoice people, people are willing to pay. People wanna pay. It’s just inconvenient to pay by a check these days. And a lot of people forget that, so it’s like just by giving the credit card option… And I know you people are like, “I don’t wanna pay the fees.” Or whatever. But it seems it’s better to pay a little fee than not to get paid at all.
– Oh, I know. I mean, can you imagine someone is like… Is there any better example of cutting off your nose to spite your face, giving up 3% of your money? Come on, we’re talking about the difference when you collecting $5000, $10,000 and you’re sacrificing that over $15… A ridiculously small amount of money.
– Yep. No, I totally agree, totally agree. Probably that, the ease of process. You’re calling people back right away and you’re telling ’em what it’s like, whatever your fees are gonna be. You have like the ability to collect on credit card. You’ve got a practice management system in place to keep track of everything so you’re being very consistent. Is that, you think a big part that would lead to, all the amazing amount of client reviews you’re getting? I mean, ’cause you also have to have a process for that. I mean over 100 Google reviews for a solo firm is great.
– At first I would tell people is for each one of those satellite offices you as well need to have original, authentic reviews for them as well. Macon, I got 20 or 30 reviews there. Columbus, I got 20 or 30 reviews there. And then my primary office in Atlanta over 100. But that is not something that happened overnight at all. What I do is I try to identify clients that are fans. People who really like me, really like our office, really liked the results that we got. I identify those people. And consider them if you’re not… If you don’t think it matters in terms of your business, that’s cool, you stick your head in the sand on that, that’s fine, but consider it an insurance policy because at some point in time, you’re gonna have a crazy client. If you’re in any business at all you’re gonna have some people who are… You can’t do anything to please them. And they’re gonna go on Google and they’re gonna post up a scathing review of you. And if you don’t think it happens it happens to the best lawyers in the world. Just go out there and do some Google searches. You’ll quickly realize like every lawyer, no matter how good a service that they provide is going to have some crazy people who they deal with. I know people who have bad reviews just as a result of not calling back the person.
– Yeah, yeah, absolutely. They haven’t even… Wasn’t a client?
– That’s exactly right. They’re not even a client of the firm. They don’t even know who this person is. And that person literally goes on Google, puts up a one-star because they didn’t call back within three hours. And that’s really scary. I mean, that’s-
– Well, and it is the world we’re living. If you think of it from Google’s perspective, they’re like as a consumer, I wanna know if I go to this restaurant and the host is hard to even see and it takes forever to get your name in and then you wait forever for your table. And then the waiters are really slow to come to you. You kinda wanna know that. In Google’s mind that’s, well, the same thing. “I called to get this legal service handled and I have this problem and nobody called me back.” It’s a legitimate thing, but it’s crazy that, it’s such a simple thing to fix too. To call somebody back.
– That’s right. And you’re absolutely right. And so think about those reviews as sort of insuring against those types of reviews. If you get your hands on there, you got 50, 75, 100 reviews. Well, whenever that one star review rolls in from that crazy person who didn’t even actually hire your firm, you’re now protected against that because you don’t have two reviews on your Google page. And one of them is a person who didn’t even talk to anybody, having real connection with the firm. They’re protection against that inevitable bad review that you’re gonna get and it’s gonna come at some point in time, we all have to deal with that problem. That’s the way that I like to think about it is even if it doesn’t generate leads. But once you start getting to a certain point, you’re definitely gonna recognize that… I can tell you the number of clients that I’ve talked to that say, “Hey, I read through all your reviews. You got an awesome… You have an awesome collection of reviews from former clients and that’s sorta thing. It makes a huge difference. Those also, if you go on my Instagram page, they are a great source of content. People love to see those reviews. They matter more than anything else. And it’s super easy to make ’em into Instagram posts and stuff like that. For me, it’s just an easy… People were using Avvo before. And I spent a lot of time on Avvo, in fact, I got a ton of reviews up there that basically are no longer of any value at all. I would encourage anyone who’s currently using Avvo but not focusing on Google reviews to completely do a 180 and switch over and really focus in on Google reviews in lieu of that other service. I just think it matters more.
– I mean, I agree. Start with Google. I think one’s a critical. So what… So you identify your fans. I mean do you… Are you mainly reaching out? Do you email ’em? Is somebody taking care of that for you? Or how are you getting people to take the time out of their day to go and review a lawyer?
– Fortu… You know how you have those people who you know really like ya and who really you did a great job for ’em. They really… You really got along with them they really got along with you. And I’ll just text ’em and say, “Hey Justin, this is a really important part of my business. It’d mean a whole lot to me if you would just go on Google and do a short review. Don’t talk anything about the facts of your case. Just talk about your experience with my office.” And generally those people, whenever you reach out to ’em in that way, relatively quickly after the resolution of the case, they’re gonna do it for you.
– That’s great. And then is it usually that happens or do you also have some follow-up build in, or?
– I normally… Normally those people… It’ll happen for me. Maybe I’m just lucky in that way but that’s what my experience has been. That whenever someone who really got a great result and who I can have a good relationship with, they sort of feel obligated to do that thing for me. ‘Cause we’re basically friends at that point in time.
– And again it starts with, you called ’em back quickly. I mean, they probably had a great experience all the way through and you… It sounds like you’ve really been thoughtful about your process and we even dive into how you’re using Clio and what it does for your benefits and that’s a whole… Probably another story. But yeah, having that experience with you to be able to talk about what it’s like to work with you versus which is what people wanna read in reviews by the way, it’s success or not success that it’s like, is this the person I wanna trust my really emotional issue with?
– Yes, that is absolutely the case. If a client went up there and said, “He cared about me, he listened to me, he fought for me. He stood up for me whenever I didn’t think anybody else would. And we lost the case and I would hire him again.” That would be the best review that you could probably get. You didn’t get the result that the client wanted, but the client really perceived that they obtained a valuable service from you. And that they understood the process and like, “Hey I got a fair shake as a result of the work that he put in for me.” That would be… For most clients it would be like, “Wow, that person likes him despite not having gotten a great result in the case.” That would probably be pretty motivating for most prospective clients. Obviously you’re gonna have a lot of people who are like, “Hey, he was great. He was compassionate. He listened to me and we got great results in the case.” And that’s your sort of standard review.
– Awesome, well, let’s… We can wrap it up there on reviews here but I love to bring you back for a whole bunch of other stuff that I know we’ve talked about over the years. Thanks for joining. And this’ll be… If people don’t watch the YouTube part extended interview on Friday they are missing out. This was great stuff. Thanks for sticking around with me. Really appreciate it. And I’m sure the audience will get a lot of value out of everything you just shared. Thanks a lot, Ben, and you have a great day.
– You too. 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.