October 27, 2021

Volume XI, Number 300

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October 27, 2021

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Legal Marketing Budgets with Good2BSocial [PODCAST]

Rachel and Jessica meet with Guy Alvarez, founder and CEO of Good2BSocial, to review legal marketing budget changes since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Please read on below for a transcript of our conversation, transcribed through artificial intelligence.

Rachel

Hello, and welcome to Legal News Reach, the official podcast for the National Law Review. Stay tuned for a discussion on the latest trends, legal marketing, SEO, law firm best practices, and more.

Rachel

So my name is Rachel, a web content specialist for the National Law Review.

Jessica

And my name is Jessica and I do about the same.

Rachel

In this episode, we'll be taking a look at legal marketing budgeting post COVID-19, with Guy Alvarez, founder and CEO of Good2bSocial. Would you like to tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?

Guy

Sure, Rachel. So as you said, my name is Guy Alvarez. I am a former practicing attorney. And currently I am the founder and chief engagement officer at Good2bSocial. Good2bSocialis a digital marketing agency that specializes in the legal industry. And basically what we do is we help our clients, law firms, as well as legal vendors and others, to leverage digital technology to accomplish their business objectives.

Jessica

We've worked with you guys before just on various things. So this is great, we get to have you in here and talk to you today. I'm excited, I'm excited to get started. Some things that are on legal marketers’ mind at this point with the covid 19 pandemic, hopefully coming to a close, what is the way they can handle their marketing budget? How has the pandemic affected the budgeting?

Guy

A great question, Jessica. And that's a question I get a lot from both small firms as well as large law firms. So obviously, what's changed significantly with COVID is the inability to really see other people in person, right. So a lot of firms in the past have dedicated their marketing budget, a lot of it has gone into conferences, or trade shows, or live events. And obviously, for the most part, those things aren't happening today. Or if they're happening, they're happening in a very limited way. Also, people don't really like to travel or travel as much. So that's also made an impact in terms of their marketing budget, from the business development side. A lot of budget in the past has gone to client entertainment, right? So lawyers taking out clients dinners, or sporting events or theater or things like that. And those things aren't happening either. So what we're seeing is really a shift in terms of budget from the real world into the virtual world. And as a result, we're seeing law firms spend a lot of their budget on digital marketing, right ways that they can enhance their website, ways that they can communicate to their clients and prospects, their knowledge, their experience, and basically stay top of mind and develop strategic relationships. So we've seen a lot of investment into webinars, it looks like almost every law firm is doing webinars these days, law firms are spending money on and creating podcasts like this one. So we're working with a lot of firms who have decided to create one or more podcasts and they want to put it out. And then also firms are spending money on online advertising. More and more firms are struggling to take a dip into online advertising, whether that is paid social media like LinkedIn, and Facebook and Instagram, as well as Google ads and other forms of online advertising.

Jess

How much in general should a law firm look to spend on their marketing budget?

Guy

Great question. Historically, we have seen firms spend somewhere between two to 3% of their overall marketing budget on marketing activities. What we're seeing now is firms are investing more closer to five to 6%. And the reason for that is because beat they don't have the ability to get in front of their clients in person. So they're looking to spend money to get in front of their clients through digital means.

Jess

That seems kind of interesting, especially since it's shifting to online versus in person. Is that normal that it would double even though it's digital now instead of you know, the wining and dining that hadn't before?

Guy

Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of firms don't know what they're doing. So they're wasting a lot of money, right? They're spending money on advertising online without really understanding how to do it. So I'll give you a perfect example. A lot of firms, especially corporate law firms right now are experimenting with LinkedIn advertising because LinkedIn is a great way to get in front of a professional audience. If you go to LinkedIn or if you talk to the LinkedIn sales people, they'll basically tell you to spend as much as you possibly can, so that you can reach your target audience. So let's say, let's say you're trying to reach in House counsel in the state of California, right? Let's say you have a firm, and you really want to reach in House Counsel, and you go to LinkedIn, and LinkedIn will give you a recommended budget of between, let's say, eight, and $20 per click, you know, that's what they want you to bid, right. And so if you talk to LinkedIn, they'll say, Oh, well, in this case, you should fit the $20. That way, you can make sure that your ad is going to be seen by your target audience. But the reality is, it doesn't really work that way. Sure, if you're going to bid more money, there is a possibility that more people will see it. But that's not necessarily the case, you could bid less money. And if you have a really good offer, or a really good ad or post, people aren't going to click on it, and then more and more people aren't going to see it. It's the same as if like, let's say you went to an art auction, right? And someone's was auctioning a painting. And the auctioneer said, Okay, we're going to start the auctioning at $1,000 for this painting. And you raise your hand and you say, you know, a million dollars? Well, why would you do that? What you don't know yet, you know, maybe you put it in for $2,000 $3,000 $10,000. So that's why firms are spending money, but they're not spending it in a productive, efficient manner. And part of the reason for that is that they're just not familiar with how paid LinkedIn or other forms of advertising online, really work. And so that's why we're seeing more and more money spent, but not necessarily the most efficient type of spending.

Jess

So this is kind of a good Segway into my next question that I had. So how do firms know how to spend for a new law firm versus an established one?  A new law firm probably isn't going to have the necessary background and know how to spend their money wisely.

Guy

So there's two ways that you can, you know, make sure that you're doing the best you can. One is you can hire an agency like ours, who has experience and knowledge and knows what they're doing and has done it a billion times. Or you can train your team, right? invest in training, invest in getting them up to speed, so that when, when they're doing it, they know what they're doing.

Jess

I'm not surprised to hear that from you. I’m sure how many people you work with,they need help knowing how to budget. And that's great, because that's what you guys are there for to help guide them through that.

Guy

Yeah, and they could spend a little bit of money with us managing it, but at the end of the day, they're getting a much better bang for their buck, because they're not wasting a ton of money. I'll give you another example. I see a lot of law firms that are doing Google advertising. And Google advertising can be really expensive, right? But what they're doing is when they create the ad, they're linking their ad back to their websites. And that's a big No, no, you don't want to link an ad back to your website, you want to link the ad to a landing page, where the visitor really has the option of either filling out a form or picking up the phone. If you're sending them back to your website, they might forget why they thought there, they might start to explore other things. And all of a sudden, you wasted a ton of money, and you're not getting the results that you wanted. So that's just another simple example, of firms not knowing how to spend their money and spending their money in a non efficient way.

Rachel

So to sort of go off of that, we've spoken a little bit about how law firms should allocate their budget, and how they can best use their marketing dollars. But I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about what are the most important areas to focus on right now in terms of legal marketing spend.

Guy

Or so as I said, a lot of the money that used to go to trade shows conferences, sponsorships, you know, it's not being spent anymore, because, you know, people aren't going to real world events. So from my perspective, the best way to spend money is to give your audience your target audience and it could be either existing clients or new potential clients is to communicate to them the knowledge and the experience that your firm and that your attorneys have. And that's why content is so important. Right, a lot of firms I know are like, Oh, you know, we want to improve our search engine visibility, we want to, you know, but they don't understand that the only way to do that is by creating really good, valuable content. That's the number one priority. Same thing with social media, if you're not creating client centric, valuable thought leadership content, you're not going to have a very successful social media strategy. So really, the focus should be first and foremost, on creating that really great content. And the way to do that is to really understand what your audience is interested in. They're not necessarily interested in your awards, or your new hires or your qualifications, sure, that matters to them down the road. But right now, what they're most interested in is, what their business and the problems or issues that they're facing. So the more that you can put yourself in the shoes of your clients or your prospects, and create content that's going to be really valuable and interesting to them, the more you're going to have success from a marketing perspective. So I think first and foremost, the investment should be around client centric, thought leadership content. That's number one. Number two, is I think you need to invest in a way to measure everything you're doing, right? If I'm spending a ton of money, and then I asked you, well, you know, how are you doing? What are you getting out of it? And you don't have an answer, then how can you possibly improve on what you're doing? So you need the tools and technology to properly measure the effectiveness of your legal marketing? expenditures. And a lot of firms don't have that, right. Some firms might measure and say, Oh, yeah, we look at Google Analytics. And I said, Great, well, what do you do after that? What do you do with the data? We send it to our lawyers, okay. And then what happens? Nothing happens. So if all you're doing is looking at data, and not analyzing it, and not coming out with some meaningful insights out of it, then you're not really gaining much. So you need to invest in technology. And in people that understand what's working, what's not working, and what you can do to adapt or change so that you can get the results that you want.

Rachel

We talked a little bit about measuring ROI and measuring how these campaigns are performing. What metrics should they be paying attention to? And how can they really get started?

Guy

That's a great, great question, right? A lot of times, I speak to marketers, and they're really frustrated, cuz they say to me, God, you know, we just got, you know, 1000 new followers on LinkedIn, or we just got 20 new likes on Facebook, or we just improved our traffic, we're getting now 2000 unique visitors to our website. But the lawyers don't care, right. And the reason the lawyers don't care is you need to be able to tie your metrics to actual business objectives, right? lawyers don't care how many likes or follows or shares are bought, they don't care. They care about, did we get any new business? Or were we mentioned in an article or publication, or you know that we get a new speaking opportunity? So you need to closely tie your digital metrics into real business objectives? In order to really be able to quantify, yes, we did this invested investment, and this is what resulted out of it. And I'll give you another example. So as I said earlier, a lot of firms, especially over COVID, you know, have invested heavily on webinars, it looks like every firm was doing a webinar almost every day. But if you ask most of them, you know, what did you do after the webinar? How did you follow up, most of them may be sent out an email, thanking everyone. And that's it. So now you spent all this time, effort and money in creating a webinar, and you did nothing to follow up. And so that is the types of things you need to do is make sure that you're not only investing in the creation, but also measuring the execution afterwards and have a plan for how you're going to be able to turn website or webinar visitors or registrations into potential clients.

Jess

That's interesting. So that long game of follow up, is that one of the ways these firms can make sure that they're getting the desired ROI Is that just one of the techniques? or What else could they implement?

Guy

Yeah, that that's a very important technique, right? Because one of the things I tell law firms is, don't think about it just because you weren't you attend a webinar, it doesn't necessarily mean you're ready to hire someone, you know, you might just be interested in the topic, or maybe your boss has asked you about it, but they may not be ready to hire you. So you have to invest in the long term. And you got to make sure that okay, we did the way when it was about 100 registrations, and out of those 100 registrations 50 people showed up. So now you're gonna have to have a strategy for those people that showed up, you should have a strategy for the people that didn't show up. And what you want to do is you want to stay top of mind, so that when the timing is right, when they actually have the need, they're going to be like, Oh, yes, this firm, that they continue to email me about this topic, they certainly know what they're doing. Let me reach out to them. Right. So that is, that is definitely one of the ways to do that. The other thing is, you need to be able to repurpose your content, right? There is a process called cope, which talks about create once publish everywhere, right? What that means is for every piece of content you create, you should find a way to repurpose it. So if we're doing this podcast right now, maybe we can take the transcript of the podcast and create a blog post. And maybe since we're doing a podcast and a video, now we can chop up this video into little segments. And maybe out of that you can have, you know, 2030 different social media posts. So again, it's really about how you're investing in the content creation, find a way to repurpose it, because the other thing is, everyone likes to consume content in a different way. Some people like to read, some people like to listen to podcasts, other people like to watch videos, other people like to look at infographics. So you should be able to repurpose that content in as many different ways as possible, so that people can consume it in whatever way they choose to consume.

The follow up part seems to be just like an industry thing. I think they're trying to pump out as much content, especially being new to webinars, I'm sure they're just cranking those out doing a webinar series and not thinking about, well, how do we stay on people's minds, the content is valuable, right, because the people go to the webinar to gain insight on that topic that they're interested in. But once they leave, that has now no longer occupies the brain at that point,

Right, or they'll make the mistake while they're doing a webinar, but they don't record it the right. And so just because you had 100 people show up, there's a lot of value to that webinar. So you should take that webinar, you should post it to your website, you should email about it. I mean, again, it's not just a one time thing. Every time you build content, it's another asset that you can build on. So that eventually people will find you and hire you.

Jess

When these law firms that are having all these issues with their budgets, when they come to you guys and ask for your help to any firm that may listen to this episode with you guys on it, what do you want to tell them? like three things that your expertise, you know, is a tried and true? What would you want to say to them?

Guy

So that's a really great question. You know, one of the things that we're really different about other agencies and other companies like us, is we don't take a cookie cutter approach to any of our clients, right? I have a lot of times prospective clients will call call me and say, okay, we need to, we need to do some SEO on our website, or we need to create a podcast, or we need to redesign our website. And I said, Okay, well tell me more about that. What Why do you want to do that? What are your what is the business objective, right? So just because they think of something that might not necessarily be the best way to accomplish what they're trying to accomplish. So we start off with every one of our prospective clients, we start off by having them fill out a questionnaire, and then we do an audit of their digital properties to kind of see where they're at, where their competitors are at, and what their business objectives are, and we don't charge for that. That's something that we do. And once we do that, then I have another conversation and I say, Okay, this is what we saw, this is what you told me, based upon that on that this is what we would like to do. And then we come up with a very specific strategy for them. That would enable them to accomplish their goals. And sometimes this gets frustrating for some clients or prospective clients are like, well, I just want to quote How much does it cost? And I'm like, I'm sorry, you I'm not just going to give you a call.  I need to understand more about what you're trying to do, what your competitors are doing and where you're at today. And, you know, that's worked really well for us. So the one thing I would say is, if you come to us, you're going to be treated as a unique, very distinct client. And we're gonna develop a unique and intuitive strategy, just for you, that is going to be different from any other clients.

Jess

I think that's definitely the biggest part of marketing. If you want to be different, you can't do the same old tried and true, or maybe what used to work, you know, even with this post COVID environment, you got to change it up. And yeah, I'm glad you mentioned that every client's needs are very specific. And budgeting is one of them. And I'm sure that changes how you approach marketing for them. So it's interesting that you will look at all those metrics for free. And then you also have your own podcast, which is free for legal marketing, the legal marketing, 2.0 podcast. So you guys offer a lot of valuable insight for people. And that's why we wanted to have you on this podcast so that if our clients or anybody else who listens knows that this is an option out there that they can use, because I think marketing is such a big thing, digitally, especially right now probably forever at this point.

Guy

Yeah, we're big believers in in providing valuable information for free. You know, we publish a blog post every day, we do a weekly podcast, we do monthly webinars. We do other things. We publish free ebooks all the time. And the reason why is we want to educate our audience as much as possible, so that when they need someone, they may know a little bit about how to do it. But if they really want to do it, well, they'll think of us first. And if they don't, at least they get that really good information. And eventually that ends up helping them down the road to help sauce.

Rachel

So one thing that I was curious to get your point of view on is sort of the through line that we're trying to focus our inaugural season our podcast on, which is sort of how legal marketing has both changed because of COVID. And also, where legal marketing is going post COVID are sort of in this weird Limbo state where we're on the cusp of both things, going back to normal, or people starting to think about going back to normal. Also, things aren't back to normal yet. So I was just curious, like, what have you seen change over the past year? And how do you see things changing more moving forward?

Guy

So it's interesting, a couple of things. One is COVID has definitely accelerated the trend towards digital, there's no question about that. So we were already starting to see that before COVID, more and more firms were investing in digital, you know, sprucing up their website, creating more content, blah, blah, blah. So that has definitely happened. It accelerated it to a point where a lot of CMOS and marketing directors that were complaining because they couldn't get their attorneys to create content, all of a sudden, they were inundated by huge amounts of content, right? It was like they couldn't put it out there quickly enough. You know, things settle down a little bit. So you're starting to see less of that. But there's still a ton of content that's being created. And the problem is, you know, just throwing up a bunch of content and see what's going to stick is really not a great strategy. So what I think is going to happen, what we've already started to see happen is firms are going to start to take a step back and say, wait a minute, it's great that we're creating content, but what's the strategy behind it? You know, who do we really want to reach? We can't market to everyone, right? So you got to really figure out like, what are the strengths of your firm? What are the markets that you really go out want to go after? What is your ideal client profile look like? You know, what are the types of companies that hire you, where you're really profitable? And then so what they're gonna start to look at is creating content and strip marketing strategies that focus on their ideal customer profiles, and then measuring everything that you do. So I think that's really what's going to ship is a focus on strategy, and narrowing that focus to your best potential client, and then creating strategies around those clients. So, you know, the only thing I would say is, you know, that's the change into the digital world is, a lot of times I see firms get very stressed out about all these new technologies. And they want to make sure they don't miss out on anything. And, you know, a few months back, everyone wanted to be on clubhouse/ Well, you know, clubhouse is a good new property, and there's certainly value to it. But just because it's out there doesn't mean that you have to be on it, right. So I think the important thing is to really be measured in how you approach new technology and new channels. But most importantly, I think, if you're going to improve your marketing, the one thing that I would recommend, is to focus in on your clients, and really gaining an understanding of what it is they really need. Right? That is the most valuable thing. And I don't think that law firms spend enough time figuring that out, they don't spend enough time doing research on their clients. Because if you talk to a client, they typically want three things. They want a firm that understands their industry, they want a firm that understands their business, and they want a firm that understands them, that individual that you're dealing with. And the only way that you can do that is by spending some time doing research. And once you get that information, then you can create the nominal marketing strategies that really have an impact. So I think that's something that firms are starting to realize. And I think that's the right way to go. So if you're a CMO at a firm, or marketing director of a firm, convince your lawyers to spend some time and some budget, really researching your existing clients, so that you can come up with strategies that are really going to make an impact.

Rachel

Great, thank you for giving that great takeaway. I think our listeners will be really interested to sort of really hone down on the direction that they should take their marketing, especially now that everything is going digital online, it's more important than ever to have a strategy for that. So yeah, thank you for joining us today. That about wraps up our episode on legal marketing budgets, posts COVID-19. And Special thanks to Guy Alvarez with Good2bSocial for joining us.

Guy

Thank you, Jessica. And thank you, Rachel, it's been a pleasure. And if any of your listeners want more information, go to good2bsocial.com. And check out our blog posts or podcasts, webinars, etc. Thank you.

Rachel

Thank you for listening to the National Law Review’s Legal News Reach podcast. Be sure to follow us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts for more episodes. For the latest legal news, or if you’re interested in publishing and advertising with us, visit www.natlawreview.com We'll be back soon with our next episode.

 

 

Copyright ©2021 National Law Forum, LLCNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 279
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About this Author

Rachel Popa National Law Review Editorial Manager
Editorial Manager

Rachel Popa is an Editorial Manager  for the National Law Review. In her role with the NLR, Rachel edits and manages client content, authors original thought leadership articles for the publication, and manages the production of the NLR's new legal news podcast, Legal News Reach.  Additionally,  this past year, Rachel spoke about how to launch a successful law firm podcast in a webinar with McDougall Interactive.

Prior to joining the NLR, Rachel was a reporter for Becker's Healthcare in Chicago, where she covered the ambulatory surgery beat and authored custom content for...

708-357-3317 ext 705
Jessica Scheck NLR National Law Review Web Content Specialist Editorial Team
Web Content Specialist

Jessica Scheck is a Web Content Specialist for the National Law Review, and authors original thought leadership articles, and manages the production of the NLR's new legal news podcast Legal News Reach. Prior to joining the NLR, Jessica spent more than five years in the legal industry as a Virginia Circuit courtroom clerk and a paralegal in Virginia and North Carolina. Prior to her years as a legal professional, she worked in communications as a writer, copy-editor, social media...

708-357-3317 ext. 709
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