Lawyers frequently get scammed by online marketing companies. Potential clients call me, reporting that they’ve been paying some well-known marketing company for six months with zero return on their investment—not a single phone call generated by their online presence.
This happens because very few “online marketing experts” have ever made a single dime on the Internet, other than convincing unsophisticated buyers to pay them to do their online marketing. They are not actually “marketing experts,” they are simply “sales experts.”
In terms of online marketing, lawyers are extremely unsophisticated buyers, often desperate to generate business in any way. This makes attorneys, particularly solos and small firm owners, extremely susceptible to online marketing scams.
You can avoid this by learning a little bit about lawyer marketing and personally participating in it. Generate a few new clients through your own online marketing efforts, and you will be able to identify the scammers who call and e-mail you. You will become sophisticated and un-desperate by taking control of your own marketing efforts.
Below are five steps (and one bonus step) that will help you use the Internet to generate paying clients for your law practice.
Step 1: Make Video Content
If you don’t have content, then you don’t exist online. And because the Internet is the dominant media of our day, if you don’t exist online, you don’t exist at all.
At the beginning, ignore search engine optimization (SEO), Google pay-per-click, Facebook ads, link building, guest blogging, tweeting, paid Yelp ads, paid Avvo ads, any paid lawyer profile, Instagram influencer marketing, radio ads, television commercials, billboard ads, and any of the millions of possible ways to burn money on marketing.
Don’t do anything until you have 25 videos sitting in your free YouTube account. Why 25 videos? Because if I said 100, you probably would have stopped reading.
Why is video the best online content? Video has several advantages over written content:
- It is easy to make. Just turn on a camera and talk.
- It is easy to re-purpose into written content or a podcast.
- It can also be uploaded to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Video builds trust faster than other content. People see your face, hear your voice, and learn your personality. They feel as if they know you, then they hire you to be their attorney.
Your competitors are afraid to get in front of a camera. You are likely to be the only lawyer in your city taking video marketing seriously. You can compete with hundreds of lawyer SEO experts like me for ten spots on the first page of the Google search results, or you can be the only lawyer in your city with 25 videos sitting in your YouTube account.
Publish one video ASAP. First, just make a video that stinks, upload it to your personal Facebook profile, and realize it’s not the end of the world. Your first 20 to 100 videos will be terrible. Get over it.
What should you talk about? You just want to be a lawyer who entertains people. That’s what Bryan Wilson, “the Texas Law Hawk,” did. His YouTube video went viral, he got into a Taco Bell Super Bowl commercial, and now his phone just rings.
Most attorneys are not going to be able to do that their first time out, but know the winning formula: Entertain, Educate, Engage. You will have to find your voice and become comfortable on camera (it’s easy once you get a few videos under your belt). Until you find your own voice, here are some folks you can emulate.
- Aiden Durham: view her YouTube videos at youtube.com/user/aidenkramerlaw
- Gerry Oginski: view his YouTube videos at youtube.com/user/lawmed1
- Angela Langlotz: view her Facebook videos at facebook.com/pg/trademarkdoctor/videos
- Kenneth Stephens: view his LinkedIn videos at bit.ly/k-slinkedin
What do they all have in common?
- They entertain and educate.
- They just talk about the law.
- They publish often.
You can do the same.
Here are a few sample topics to get you started. I made these for a divorce attorney, but you can adjust them for any legal niche.
- How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in [City]?
- How Do I Get a Child Support Modification Order in [City]?
- Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement in [City, State]?
- What Is the Divorce Waiting Period in [State]?
- Do I Have to Pay Alimony If I Get Divorced in [State]?
- [City] Divorce Lawyer for Men
- [City] Divorce Lawyer for Women
- Flat-Fee Divorce in [City]
- Why I Became a Divorce Lawyer
Just get in front of the camera and talk about the law. It’s easy.
The essential video equipment. The equipment below will get you started, and it won’t cost a fortune.
- Camera: I use my iPhone or a Logitech C270 Widescreen HD Webcam ($21.99).
- iPhone tripod: On Amazon (search for “iPhone tripod”) they run about $13.
- Adequate lighting: Try the LimoStudio 700W Photography Softbox Light Lighting Kit ($64.99 on Amazon).
You don’t need a fancy backdrop; I shoot videos in my car, in my kitchen, in my office, at the gym, and just about anywhere the mood strikes. But if you just want to buy a backdrop, then search for “collapsible background with stand” on Amazon.
And you don’t really need a microphone; I just use the one in my iPhone or webcam, and it works fine. If you want to get fancy, don’t do it until you have at least ten videos posted somewhere.
In the beginning, quantity, not quality, is the goal (frequency over perfection).
Step 2: Put Your Videos in Front of Your Potential Clients
In the beginning, your problem is obscurity. Nobody in your city knows who you are or what you do. You need to establish a beachhead. And that starts with your friends and family.
In Step 1 you made a video using your cell phone. In Step 2 you will upload that video to your YouTube channel, your personal Facebook feed, your Facebook business page, your LinkedIn feed, your Twitter feed (maximum 2 minutes, 20 seconds), and your Instagram account (maximum 60 seconds).
I don’t have the space in this article to explain how to do all of this, but you can find anything via Google search or a quick search on YouTube.
Here’s an example of the process: First, I created a YouTube video at bit.ly/lawschoolcaper. Second, I uploaded the same video file (mp4 file) directly to Facebook as a native video post at bit.ly/lawschoolcaperfb. Third, I uploaded the video to LinkedIn at bit.ly/lawschoolcaperLi. I also uploaded it to Twitter, and I turned it into a 60-second Instagram video at bit.ly/lawschoolcaperig.
As I said before, you are trying to establish a beachhead here. Initially, only your friends, family, and those you are connected to on social media will see your videos. In many cases, that will be enough to start generating buzz, word of mouth, and sales.
This close-knit audience comes with the advantage that relatively few people will actually see your first 25 videos, which aren’t going to be that great because you are still learning at this point. And that’s okay.
Step 3: Leverage Your Content to Network with Other Attorneys
There is a platform called “Be Live” at belive.tv. It allows you to conduct talk-show style interviews on Facebook Live. This format not only allows you to build up your stock of videos, but it also lets you partner with other lawyers. For one such video broadcast, I reached out to Angela Langlotz, a trademark attorney in Dallas. It was great for both of us because we got to share each other’s audience of friends, family, and social media connections. She also got introduced to all my online marketing business owner friends, and all her attorney friends got to see me associated with her. Win-win for everyone.
I added even more value for her by promising 1,000 views on YouTube, which I purchased for $0.07 per view on YouTube.
As part of this process, I downloaded the original mp4 file from Facebook and uploaded it to my YouTube channel. Now if you Google search “Facebook Live for Lawyers,” that YouTube video (youtube.com/watch?v=R1voM-qQfug) is on the first page of the search results.
You probably don’t need to promise any number of views to get another attorney on your show, but when you start moving up the chain, interviewing legitimate legal celebrities in your area, you may have to sweeten the deal a bit. (Check the rules in your jurisdiction regarding such offers.)
This strategy will grow your business. For example, maybe you practice bankruptcy law, and your friend from law school practices family law in the same city. You invite him to be on your video broadcast, where you discuss, “How to Protect Your Assets During a Divorce.”
You shoot the video, upload it to all your social media profiles, then send him the link, and he happily shares it on all of his social media profiles. Both of you just doubled your audiences.
Then you e-mail that video to the next person that you want to interview and ask her to be on your show, too. Repeat this process until every lawyer and business owner in town is fighting for the chance to be on your show.
Step 4: RePurpose Your Videos into Written Articles
Many attorneys have trouble converting incoming phone calls into paying clients. The temptation is to claim that the leads are bad, when the fact is that most attorneys, and the people hired by attorneys to answer their incoming phone calls, have zero sales training.
Therefore, I created a YouTube video to help the clients of my marketing agency close more incoming phone calls.
The problem is, that video is only one piece of content. And if I’m going to be everywhere, and always in front of my potential clients, then I’m going to need a ton of content.
So, I turned that video into a blog article on my own website. The links to the video and articles are below so that you can reverse engineer the method. But, basically, I just embedded the video on my blog and summarized what was said in the video as a short article below the video embed. Consequently, if you Google “law firm phone script,” my blog article and YouTube video are both on the first page of the search results.
Additionally, I turned this YouTube video into an article on LinkedIn Pulse, which is LinkedIn’s native blogging platform. I used the same method of just embedding the video in my LinkedIn Pulse article and then briefly summarizing what was said in the video as a short article below the video.
Just be careful not to copy word for word the same summary that you used in your website blog because your website may incur a duplicate content penalty inside Google’s search algorithm. Change it up a bit. See my examples below.
Now, I have turned one piece of content into three. I’ll show you why that is important in Step 5. Here are the links to the YouTube video, Blog article, and LinkedIn Pulse article.
- YouTube video: bit.ly/lawphone
- Blog article: dustinsancheztv.com/phone-script
- LinkedIn Pulse article: bit.ly/2wXn9wT
Many times, I will take it a step further and upload the mp4 video file directly to my personal Facebook profile, my Facebook business page, my Instagram, and my LinkedIn profile. Each of these platforms now allow you to upload video files directly to their platform, as opposed to just sharing YouTube videos there. But don’t worry about trying to upload your video files all over the Internet. In the beginning focus on one to four platforms.
Step 5: Be Everywhere with Automatic Syndication
Hootsuite.com is a social media syndication platform. You can connect it to your Facebook Business Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, and a few other Web2.0 platforms.
And if you want to share an article or video to all your social media platforms, you can just drop the link into Hootsuite one time and it will automatically syndicate to all your social media.
In my case, I have some 50-plus videos sitting in my YouTube channel. Each of those videos has been re-purposed into three or four other pieces of content. Each of those articles or videos has a URL (a link) associated with it.
Each one of those 150-plus links is sitting inside a text file, and once a month I load all of them into Hootsuite using Hootsuite’s auto-schedule function.
I have the auto-schedule function set to post two times a day, Monday through Friday, to all my social media. Within those parameters, Hootsuite then chooses the best time of the day to post an article or video to each of my social media platforms.
The result is that I’m always in front of my potential clients. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter. I’m on Facebook. I’m on Instagram. I’m on Google Plus. I’m everywhere. All the time.
And my phone rings. When people call me, there is no sales process. They already know, like, and trust me because they’ve already spent two to four hours watching me on video. You can do the same.
Bonus Step: Lawyer Profile and Web 2.0 Domination
I know all this sounds confusing. I don’t want you to get hung up on all the details. You can take this entire article and boil it down into one sentence: Make 100 YouTube videos as fast as you can.
You could ignore everything else, and you’d probably never have to hire a marketing company like mine.
The meat and potatoes of your marketing plan should just be to publish 25 to 100 videos as soon as possible. That will really move the needle for you. I don’t like to talk about lawyer profiles such as Avvo, Justia, and FindLaw very much because, other than having them so that your website can get a backlink from them, I don’t think they offer much value.
But certain profiles such as Avvo and Justia allow you to upload your video content, which helps your profile stand out. When you have a chance to upload your videos to your lawyer and web 2.0 profiles, you should take advantage of it.
But, as I said earlier, just make the darn videos, quickly and often. Good luck!