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Podcast - Are You Wasting Your Partners' Time with Ross Yellin Esq.

8 mins

Law Firm Marketing, content marketing


Waste of Time with Ross Yellin Esq. - Transcript

Hello, everyone, you're on with Luke George, Marketing Specialist, Lauren Stobierski, Marketing Associate, and Ross Yellin Esq, Managing Director of Practice Alchemy.

Today we're talking about waste of time. So is marketing a waste of a law firm Partners time? If you've seen the slide deck on our website about wasting partner's time great.  If you haven't I recommend checking that out. There's a lot of good content in there on how marketing is actually a waste of a partner's time. So Ross explain to me in a nutshell, why is marketing a waste of a partner's time if it does bring in new clients? 

Ooh, in a nutshell?

Okay, I'll try and keep it short. It's a waste of Partner's time most importantly because their time is just so incredibly valuable... Billable hour we all have played by those rules before. I remember that timer ticking every eight minutes and those eight minute increments are worth real solid dollars.

it's a waste of their time because generally speaking, you know, they're not trained in marketing. They haven't spent their career honing their skills in marketing. They spent their career and education learning law and how to practice it, you know, so generally speaking it's going to take them quite a bit of time to use, you know, today's marketing tactics the different channels.

They just don't have the skill set to really put it into action in a quick and effective way.

That makes sense.

So as an attorney and as a Managing Director of a marketing agency for law firms what you're saying is that marketing itself isn't a waste of time. It's a waste of time and money for the firm for the partners to do the marketing both because they're top dollar, and their top dollar hourly. We all know how that goes. As well as they're not up-to-date and staying up to date on what the current trends are in marketing, how to reach the prospective clients. Is that correct?

Yeah. That's exactly right. I think, you know, I think a lot of law firms preconceived notion of marketing of what marketing is of how it's done.  There's a lot of thought that it's kind of all smoke and mirrors. And what does it actually produce and I think that ultimately stems from the fact that there's, you know, again getting back to the education background, you know skill sets, but also it comes down to Performance Marketing.

So if there's you know sure you can spend, you know, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars on marketing, but if you don't know what those dollars are doing for you, it's hard to see... hard to see the reason why you would spend them you need to understand and track "This dollar brings me back three dollars" and if you can show that for someone they're going to spend more than a dollar. I guarantee it.

So it's really, you know, that's that's the key difference there. It's making making marketing money matter.

Relationship Between Marketing and Referrals for Law Firms

That makes sense. Yeah, I think that's a great segue into this next question I want to ask "Is Law Firm marketing important, is it relevant in 2019 or is the 'Referral Channel' still successful?"

 It's a great question. It's a little bit of a "it depends" answer hearkening back to my law school days. So the the answer is a referral network is always going to be,  bread and butter you absolutely want that, well-oiled and working for your firm.

There's no question about it. However, your referral Network can you know I mean you can continue to grow it but it takes a long time to nurture that network to nurture those relationships to the point of someone actually making a referral, you know, when it comes to current clients making that referral then you know, you are really relying on...  what I like to call "dazzling and delighting" your clients with service so you might  ultimately get them the best return but if you haven't been incredibly communicative and , responsive and what not, but they still might not necessarily love you personally and that's a problem when it comes to you  that referral marketing source. You have to be able to grow that but I think even still moving into the more modern marketing methodologies,  measuring the return on that is a more modern theory, right? So used to just be oh I'm going to go to this lunch and I'll make a bunch of contacts or I'm going to go to this, you know, speak on a panel.

Well now we want to drive that to the next level. Okay, if you went to a conference, you know, the the folks that you met there. How much did it cost to get you to that conference and how much of that costs are you recouping? How many people are turning into a  Referral  sources turning into clients.

You really need to marry the two kind of the old school and the new school and the new school does exactly what the old school does but, to another level. It's much easier to cast a wider net with modern marketing mix, do paid social you can do paid ads through the Google Network for example, and you can just reach a much wider audience than you can by actually shaking hands

And Ross,  it's great to nurture those referrals but you've also talked to law firms who say they live off of referrals, they don't need any more leads. But they've also lost potential million-dollar deals because they're not credible online. They don't have a credible website. They don't seem like a legitimate Law Firm because they've been living off of those referrals for 20 years. What would you say to those types of law firms?

Referrals and Credibility

Yeah. You're absolutely right the next step, you know, yes is  shaking someone's hand meeting them always going to drive a relationship further? Absolutely. However,  what happens after  you shake their hand what happens after you say, you know, "Hey Luke, this is the attorney that I worked with, I thought they were great you should use them" in you know fill in the blank case. What does that person do? They immediately jump online, they search that firm  they could just be really taking that person at their word and looking for the phone number, but in the process of finding that firms phone number, they're also going to find their website.

They will hopefully find positive reviews to kind of reinforce that notion of these are the right folks to choose, but you know on the flip side of that if what they find is a website that looks like it hasn't been touched since the 90s, if they find negative reviews that haven't been responded to then suddenly your kind of, you know, etching into that. "Oh, this might not be a great referral" and you know rising that doubt factor and then causing a question to come into the equation. Whereas if every step of the way, until they actually pick up that phone and speak with you, you can really drive home the trust factor, drive home the "you've landed in the right place" messaging that you want.

There's a lot critical mistakes that can be made along that Journey.

So if marketing is a waste of a Partner's time, what are their options?

Well, so firms approach this in a bunch of different ways, you know, obviously we're here we're talking about Partners doing the marketing. So those firms that have that realization kind of aha moment of "why are our partners wasting their time doing this."

Internal vs. Outsourced Marketing

The next question is obviously as you as you raise "what do we do about that? How do we take if we get that time back into the hands of our partners? To go to those billable hours." There's a few options. Some folks will hire someone in-house an in-house resource is going to be generally if they're hiring one person. It's going to be a $75,000-$100,000. Investment in that person to get someone who's truly a generalist. Yeah, they can probably touch on a bunch of different channels make some impact, you know lightly in each area or they can come to us at practice Alchemy and you know get a full team of specialists who specialize in paid marketing who specialize in content marketing who someone like myself who has been a practicing attorney and understands, you know, okay, we have this campaign to drive client generation. Someone's filling out this form  on our website or calling us and at that initial contact point, in the intake process, how do we drive home the fact of you've landed at the right place and really begin to kind of getting back to my earlier answer  of you know, Dazzle and Delight them with service and make sure that not only are they picking up the phone to call us, that the they're then retaining us as a client and the team here at Practice Alchemy has folks that specialize in each and every single step of that process.

So instead of getting that singular internal marketing resource or asset? You're getting a full team of people who really specialize in, live their life in this specific space.

 And they're not mutually exclusive, you have had clients come to you who have an internal marketing manager who maybe... The firm prefers somebody in-house who they can knock on the door and talk to you but they also want access to the specialist, that a team of outsourced marketing may have. What would you say to a firm that currently the understands that marketing is a waste of a partner's time, and they have an internal marketing resource, but  they want more horsepower for their marketing.

Yeah, that's right. And I think saying they want more horsepower for their marketing is hitting the nail right on the head. It's not to say that that internal person isn't effective and usually they come to us with that realization of we have a great resource on staff.

But we have one person we need a full team, you know, I mean.  Gosh, we have clients that have come to us, you know 40 plus partner firms and they have one person focus on marketing and maybe another admin assistant who's kind of sort of supporting them. That's not enough to really get the job done for a firm of that size, and we play with them perfectly. We join in you know, all of our clients.. we really view as partners. And so, you know if I can if I have an internal person at a firm? All the better. They can help us tell the story that much faster. They can help us learn that much quicker. And by the way, it's not as though we take the work off of their plate. We can just augment it and we can touch on different things that perhaps they don't have the expertise in. Or, frankly, don't have the bandwidth for and we work in partnership with them to really make sure that you know, we're hitting all of the marks that we've set out to hit.

Thanks Ross for explaining why marketing is a waste of time. Again, if you haven't seen that slide deck go ahead and check it out on our website PracticeAlchemy.com under the resources.

Thanks again to Lauren as well for joining us and stay tuned for next episode.


Ross Yellin