2016 Legal Marketing Challenges and Opportunities with Robert Mazow [PODCAST]
Legal marketing presents many challenges, including not only getting traffic to a law firm’s website, but also getting potential clients to click through and connect with the firm. However, this year there are many legal marketing opportunities that could potentially change the game for independent lawyers and law firms across the nation.
John McDougall: Hi. I'm John McDougall. Welcome to the "Legal Marketing Review Show" on "National Law Review." Today, my guest is Robert Mazow of the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Welcome, Robert.
Robert Mazow: Thanks, John. Thanks for having me.
Legal Marketing Challenges for 2016
John: Absolutely. What are your biggest legal marketing challenges for 2016?
Robert: Because most of our advertising dollars are spent online and with our website, it's a challenge getting people to get on to the website, spend some time on it, but then also to make the phone call or send the email. It's so busy out there, especially in the personal underworld online. This is a challenge to get people to respond and contact us.
John: That's quite a change from years ago, when newspapers and things like that or Yellow Pages [were the place to go for information].
Robert: We used to spend thousands of dollars a month on Yellow Pages. We did TV. We've done radio. We've done newspapers. In the last four or five years, we've spent probably 100% or close to 100% of our advertising budget online. We do find that this is worth much more than the old fashioned way, but still there are the challenges of trying to stay ahead of the other guys that are doing it.
Legal Marketing Opportunities for 2016
John: What about opportunities? What do you see as the biggest things that you can do for 2016?
Robert: We spend a lot of time upgrading our site. We spend a lot of time blogging and trying to keep it fresh and active, with new content and new photographs. That's so well and good, but we're also refocusing in 2016 on spending more money on targeted areas of our practice.
For instance, instead of doing a shotgun approach that we used to do and spend money a little bit on car accident clicks, a little bit on dog bites, we're now focused more on one of those particular issues. We're finding that that seems to be working.
John: Niching it down can ironically open your floodgates.
Robert: Yeah. It worked in 2015. We're going to continue to have a narrow focus on one or two particular areas that we work on.
Digital Marketing Tactics That Hold the Most Promise
John: What digital marketing tactics specifically hold the most promise, such as SEO, social media, paid search, et cetera?
Robert: It's a combination of SEO and paid search. Social media is good. It's not necessarily going to lead to phone calls. It may keep our name and faces out there, but we're finding that the Pay Per Click and the SEO is really where we're seeing the better return.
Potential Compliance Issues
John: Are compliance issues for content marketing getting in the way of your legal marketing, or do you find that manageable?
Robert: We're very conscious of the kind of information that we put out there. We deal with people and their protected health information all the time, including medical records and medical issues. We are very careful about what information we put out there.
For instance, if we're going to blog about a particular case, we assume we're not going to use people's names. We'll be very neutral about what we put out there, just because we're focused on HIPAA and privacy issues.
The Difference Between SEO & Paid Search
John: You said SEO and paid search are strong channels for actual lead gen. What's the difference for you from SEO and paid search? Do you see any better leads coming from one or the other, or do you like one better than the other?
Robert: Last year, we started to increase our budget in the paid search area. We found that by doing so, we needed to drill down into one particular issue. For instance, dog bites. When we started spending more in that arena, we saw a real uptake in phone calls and email leads, which turned out to be great cases.
John: And you've backed that up with SEO content, blogging content, so that they get to the site from the paid search ad, but you're really putting your best foot forward to be a thought leader.
Robert: We're trying. What we're seeing is, like I said, it's a joint upward, where you can't have one without the other. We're focusing on dog bites. Increase your budget for dog bites, because there's cases we're going to back that up with dog bite content.
When a person does get to the site, they can see that we're well qualified in that area. They can see that we have a certain expertise in that area. That is, we believe, absolute return into phone calls and dollars.
John: Any customers they call in, do they mention some helpful content or YouTube videos, or blogpost, or anything like that?
Robert: We try as best as we can track what it was, if we can, that brought them to our site or brought them to call us. We don't spend a lot of time vetting the personal, because they're generally in the state where they can hurt. We do try as best as we can to track where they found us. We keep a log of that in our system, so that we can know.
Legal Blogging Challenges & Opportunities
John: What about blogging? Do you feel there are challenges with blogging or great opportunities? What's your overall feeling of blogging?
Robert: It's important, like I said earlier, to keep the site fresh. When you look at other people's websites and they haven't put any new content in two or three years, and I always find that to be telling that the person's not spending the kind of time and money that they need to.
You have to find the time to do it. You have to find the content to put in. I do feel that if we can get a blog up once or twice a week or a few times a month, that's what we're targeting to do.
John: Are there practice areas where you feel that that's more powerful? Not just for Google, but for the customers to position you as a thought leader. I don't know if there are more business B2B things versus the personal injury, where you might feel blogging is better, or even within personal injury, auto versus dog bites or other things. Are there any areas you see more effective with blogging?
Robert: Sometimes, we try to stay topical for as seasonal as perhaps. With winter coming up and winter driving, we find that people are going to be searching more for issues related to dangerous driving in winter conditions or icy conditions. We tend to blog more towards what we think people might be thinking about at that time.
In the summer and spring, when people are outside, and they're jogging, and they're biking, and they're running, we're blogging more out issues related to that. Again with the dog bite issues, we're spending so much time on this past year. We would try to stay topical in that.
For several blogs in a row, we've been blogging about how to keep your children safe from a dog, how to prevent yourself from being bitten by a dog, what to do in case of a dog bite, et cetera.
Linked In Optimization
John: True inbound marketing as they say, really leading with that top of the final early stage of the buyer's journey, where they have those questions. You're being helpful. What about LinkedIn? Are you planning on doing any more with LinkedIn optimization? Have you done much with that?
Robert: We've done probably just a tip of the iceberg with LinkedIn. I do see that people find the tabs and motility. We haven't dug below the surface on that. We all have LinkedIn pages. They all have some information and our photographs.
We'll connect to our website, but more time definitely should be spent on that. Professionals and business people are looking at LinkedIn. If they're looking or hire an attorney in my field, they may look and see what kind of a profile I have in LinkedIn. That's something we need to spend more time developing.
John: Have you heard of LinkedIn Pulse?
John: LinkedIn Pulse. I don't tune in enough myself. I've done some posts on LinkedIn Pulse. What's amazing is it lets you publish, instead of just like a quick status update on LinkedIn, like you could on Facebook or send out a tweet.
Some time back, LinkedIn made it, so that you can publish a whole blog post, full length, long form content. It's amazing. You get a bit more views. If your blog doesn't get a lot of traffic, you can get a nice little boost of extra views, because LinkedIn is just LinkedIn. It has a large audience.
Thanks so much for talking to us today. How can people find you online?
Robert: Our website is helpinginjured.com. They can go to our website. There would be a person there to answer any questions and direct them to us. People can call us at 978 744 8000.
John: Thanks for speaking to me today, Robert. Check out legalmarketingreview.com, as well as National Law Review for more information and interviews on legal marketing. I'm John McDougall. Thanks for listening.