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Digital Marketing Strategies for Law Firms

In Conversation with Brian Hansen.

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Brian Hansen, President of Rocket Pilots. Brian shares strategies for law firms to boost revenue through digital marketing. He highlights the importance of a unique selling proposition, humanizing the firm’s story, and building a strong brand.
Watch the episode now for some profound insights.

Reviews have become a driving force in the decision-making process for potential clients, making reputation management crucial for law firms.

Brian Hansen
President of Rocket Pilots

Hi, everyone. This is Ranmay Rath on your show, E Coffee with Experts. Today we have Mr. Brian Hansen, who is the President of Rocket Pilots. Welcome to our show, Brian.

Thank you for having me.

Superb. Brian, before we move forward and discuss in detail about digital marketing and you share your insights, I would request you to introduce yourself and Rocket Pilots to our audiences today.

Sure. No problem. My name is Brian Hansen. I’m the founder of Rocket Pilots. We’re a boutique-style agency and we’re vertically focused on helping law firms increase their revenue through digital marketing. By way of just a brief background, I come from the big agency world, which opened my eyes to what I call the mistreatment of small businesses and law firms, and attorneys. And what I mean by that is I learned how unethical agencies would impound for ad spend and not tell them how much went to fees and how much went to the media publisher, right? Or this world of all these self-proclaimed experts, right? Like starting an agency because there’s no barrier to entry and then promising the moon and completely underdelivering. Rocket Pilots were started with the inspiration to solve these problems. We have old-school values, honesty, transparency, accountability, communication, and things like that. The things you would hope that every business has, but unfortunately in the digital marketing world, they don’t always exist. So yeah, we’re having a good time helping attorneys get out of some of the messes that they’re in and serving them the best that we possibly can.

Superb. Talking about the legal industry has become increasingly competitive in talking about presence online. What strategies do you develop or probably implement so that your clients get those traffic against their competition and stand out from the crowd there?

Yeah, it’s such an important question because we are seeing it get more and more competitive. And you mentioned something of particular importance, and this is standing out from the crowd. We coach our clients on having a very clear USP unique selling proposition because it’s one thing to do well in SEO and Google ads and all of these different marketing mediums. But let’s be frank, others are showing up as well. So spending the time to define and properly articulate your unique selling proposition, which is done externally. What I mean by that is the perception of the firm and then internally when the firm is communicating with them. So this is done through high-quality designs because the site is often their first touch point. We recommend videos, but not just any video, videos that humanize the experience, and tell the firm’s story. Often that is why the attorneys decided to get into this business. It’s a way to connect with their prospective clients. Then once they become a lead, the responsibility shifts to the individuals that their prospective client is speaking with. Now it’s about a best-in-class experience, making sure there’s no buyer remorse when they hire that firm, and strong, infrequent communication.

Then if you’re hiring a law firm, you’re probably going through something. If it’s a PI firm, maybe you were injured, a difficult time. If it’s a family law firm, it could be a child custody issue. If it’s criminal, you could have trouble with the law. Having that empathy, we feel that when firms get all this right, that is a way for them to stand out, and distinguish themselves from the competition. Then what will happen is just that snowball effect. It will help their reputation, they’ll get the reviews, they’ll get a name for themselves, and that will work in conjunction with their marketing efforts to get them more cases, which is what they all want.

Absolutely. You did mention reviews, which is a very critical aspect, especially in such a niche. What do Rocket Pilots do to engage in those reviews? What is your perspective on using software for reviews and all of that?

Right. Like a lot of our services, we’re even on the execution side, or we’re a participant in the consulting and coaching side, which reviews represent as well. Because what we do as part of our SEO scope of work is we respond to all of the reviews on Google Business Profile on behalf of the client. We know that the content, so it’s good for SEO, but it’s also just good for reputation management. Now, outside of that, we encourage the firm and we offer ourselves as consultants to help them acquire more reviews. Sometimes that’s in the form of just conversations and coaching their team on the appropriate dialog and talk track. How do they ask for reviews? Do some of them feel uncomfortable? For PR firms, some of them still have the client come in and pick up the check and I’m like, Hey, I cannot think of a better time to ask somebody for a review when you’re handing them money. Have them do it right there. Have them pull their cell phone out of their pocket and get the review. In regards to software, yes, there’s some good software. We typically recommend Bird Eye or Podium.

It will require a little bit of time and effort internally to get organized. It’s like creating this culture that it’s not just like the attorney at the top that’s cracking the whip, we need more reviews. Everybody internally has to understand the value and the culture needs to participate in that. We try to play a role in shaping that for them.

Absolutely. Very valid point mentioned there in terms of creating that culture of caring for your customers and giving importance to their experience with your business. And attention is also very critical to not just responding to positive reviews. You need to respond to the customers who might not have had a great experience and that can fix them. Because all those legit reviews are typically 4.2 to 4.7, 4.8 ish. If it does a couple of reviews and just five stars, as an end consumer, as your prospect who is googling around, well, you might not take it in such a legit way that this business is getting honest reviews. It’s a catch-22 situation there. How do you want to play around with it?

Well, yeah, and you bring up a good point because we don’t just respond to positive reviews. So if it’s a negative review, sometimes that requires us to interact with the client before we respond because this is very important. This is how the public sees them. So that needs to be crafted with care. It’s quite interesting to engage in these conversations because intuitively, you think you’re responding to that individual. Maybe you are a little bit, but really what you’re doing is you’re responding to the community because you want to show everyone what your response is and what your viewpoint is, and how you react when things don’t go perfectly. Now, and this starts to get a little bit outside of the scope of marketing, but sometimes it’s a good opportunity to have a conversation with your client and say, Hey, did something go wrong here? What happened? It could be a time to reflect on it, and huddle with your team because, yeah, we can try to put this fire out. But more importantly, is this a consequence of a business operation that needs to be perfected so you can have less of these in the future?

Absolutely. As a marketer, if you have signed a project with your client, what I feel is we should go beyond our terms and conditions in the contract and feel as if they are our own business and take care of it from that perspective and also take that extra yard to understand what operational difficulties that they might have had. Then probably we can go out and solve the major problem of positioning them online versus just talking to, let’s say, the SEO terminologies, and the link-building aspects of the business. Glad you mentioned that.

It’s a tightrope because you don’t want to do things that are too far out of the scope of work, so you don’t have scope creep and you’re also not good at them. But also, like you said, internally, I think we have that culture of over-delivering. If the client is coming to us for help and it’s something that maybe wasn’t specifically in the contract, but it’s relevant, yeah, we’re going to be there to help, even if it’s just from a coach thing, and consulting perspective.

That is what probably differentiates you and makes you stand out of the crowd there. Perfect. Great. As a digital marketing expert, what are some of the most effective ways to identify and target the ideal client demographic for a law firm in a local market? What strategies would you recommend for delivering the marketing efforts to that audience?

Yeah, really important question. I’m chuckling because when marketers talk about how they market their agency, it’s very easy to create their ideal client profile. But when you talk about attorneys, it’s so much more circumstantial. It depends on what platform are we talking about. I’m going to use personal injury a lot as an example, but if you think about a PI firm and who their ideal client profile is, well, in reality, anybody could be the victim of negligence. Anybody could be in a car accident and find that they need a PI attorney. But there are some takeaway points. We have learned that the more affluent communities typically have a lawyer in their network or somebody that knows somebody. So often those aren’t ideal. And then you run into some restrictions on the platforms on how detailed you can get with the targeting. A lot of what we do is more search marketing when they’re bottom of the funnel. But yeah, these learnings we have from so much spending on Google ads or all these different SEO campaigns. So a few things for sure that stand out are the target areas and who are the folks that live there, and then device targeting, because we see this huge trend in mobile.

Then lastly, what I touched on in the first question is the client has their pulse on that. They know who their perfect client is. Then once we’re having a better understanding of that, we want to make sure all the assets align with their brand and is speaking to their ideal client profile.

Absolutely. Talking about the brand it plays an important role. But as for you, how important is it for the success of a law firm, especially in a local, crowded market? What do you do to build a strong and recognizable brand? Create that brand voice in that demography. How do you play along with it?

I’m glad you asked that because we see this trend, especially in personal branding for attorneys. I think it’s slow-moving, but there are some use cases of some lawyers that are doing some outstanding work there. If you’re an attorney, the first thing you do is have some courage because to build that brand, you have to break out of your shell and know that you’re probably going to be in a vulnerable situation, perhaps, over and over again. But it’s a good opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from competing law firms. So typically, this is accomplished on social media. My advice to anybody who’s going to go into the personal branding space or take that on as an initiative is to pick a platform and do the best that you can there. Don’t try to do everything. Don’t say you’re going to post on LinkedIn, YouTube, YouTube Shorts, TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram Reels. It’s just too much. Understand where your clients are, and what platform they are engaging in the most, and create content for that. Try to get some success there. We’re talking about branding. This is a way for you to demonstrate your expertise. Position yourself as a subject matter expert, and have that brand awareness where you’re always showing up.

Then just demonstrate to the community what you’re doing, how you take care of clients. It takes a big effort. It takes a lot of planning and often a lot of videos and post-production and all those things. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can certainly pay off.

Absolutely. You did mention so many platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, and others. In your experience, how do law firms incorporate social media into their digital marketing strategy? If there are any tricks up your sleeve that you want to share, you’ll be glad to hear about them.

Yeah, of course. When I think about social for attorneys, I categorize it into two different categories. If you’re doing some of the stuff I was talking about on the personal branding side, you’re going to want to strike gold on the organic social, which we know is going to take some time and get the algorithms working in your favor. Because what we see a lot of are law firms that they’re posting on social. It’s relatively irregular or they’ve hired a social media agency and they’re like, we do four postings a month. And it’s like, all right. And then you go look at wherever it’s going and there’s not any followers. And it’s that tough conversation. It’s like, Do you know you’re just posting to the same 50 people? So first you have to decide, are we going on the organic? And then go deep, not wide. So pick Instagram and keep the content quality high. Or are we going on the paid side, in which you’ll run into some publisher restrictions depending on the practice area? We know in terms of tricks up our sleeve, it’s effective for class action and mass sports. So paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram, that’s because you have fewer restrictions for that genre of the law, and flat out the customers are there.

So if you know what you’re doing, you can acquire them at a cost-effective price point. So yeah, I think for lawyers, it’s just deciding if they’re going the organic or paid route and then having a plan. I typically recommend paid social media marketing after mature Google ads campaigns. Once they have a nice data set of what is successful for them in terms of cost per lead, cost per call, and cost per acquired case from paid marketing results, then those are some benchmarks that you could bring over to some other social media marketing platforms and see if you can get the same or better results there.

Absolutely. In terms of local SEO for law firms, what do you feel are the most effective strategies for building citations and directory listings and ensuring that those listings are accurate and consistent across different platforms?

For citations specifically, the goal is simple. You want to build more citations than your competitors. Now, the good thing here is everybody’s link profile, everybody’s citation profile is public and accessible through SEO software. I’m telling you what to do, but I want to tell you what to avoid. You want to avoid the very cookie-cutter citation plan. So if an agency is like, Yeah, we handle citations, we use Yax, we got you covered. It’s like, Okay, that is not a plan. Because in law for marketing, it’s just like this pyramid of who can do more and you’re never done because everyone’s trying to outdo each other. So for us specifically, we use a variety of different software. We’ve already done the hard work of which ones don’t create duplicates. Then from there, we have a product we’ve created where it’s a comprehensive list of niche legal directories. We build it by hand. But that’s a good thing because we feel that most of the competitors of our clients are probably not doing that. Then when we’re done with that initiative, we take the top competitors in the space and aggregate a big spreadsheet with all their citations and then we get to work making sure that basically, no one has citations that our client doesn’t have.

I guess it’s the Grant Cardone mentality when it comes to citations, and that’s how lawyers should be thinking. It’s like, Whatever you’re doing right now, then exit and trust me, there’s a way that you can.

Great. Superb. Before we let you go, Brian, I have to ask you this, the burning topic about chat, GPT, AI content, and content writers scared of their jobs right now, and all this artificial intelligence storm that we all are in right now. What or what is your take on it?

I’ll give you my viewpoint and then I’ll tell you what we’re up to. But I think just in general with AI and law firms, a lot of attorneys are having this FOMO feeling like they’re missing out. What’s happening right now, it feels like every day there are 15 more tools that are being built.

Lawyers and the management at law firms have to be particularly protective of their time. So don’t go FOMO into every new AI app that comes out. Many of them won’t be around in the years to come, and the cream will rise to the top. Now, if I look five years out, I think AI will be part of every business operation aspect of the law firm. That’s just how I feel. From intake to practice management software to internal and external communications and things like that. You mentioned chat GPT, which is the talk of the town right now. What we’re doing is, first, I would say we’re just paying attention. We’re using chat GPT as a tool. What I mean by that is it’s really in the same category as Semrush, Hrefs, and BuzzSumo. It’s great for research, for ideas about what topics should we create or outline, briefing. But in my opinion, it does not have a place without the human component. It’s just not there yet. When we’re creating content, humans are still actively involved in outlining and briefing and writing, and editing. We’ve done this exercise several times of comparing a piece of chat GPT content to one that was done by a really good writer and the writer is still winning.

Plus there’s still this asterisk of the unknown. I think a lot of people are confused about what Google knows and what Google doesn’t know, but they have well-documented material that was around before chat GPT came out about how they detect AI content. We’re still in this phase of, what will they be doing in the future but an exciting time.

Yeah, exciting times are ahead for sure. Great. Then, Brian, before we let you go and wrap this up, I would like to play a quick rapid-fire with you. I hope you’re ready for it.

Yeah, let’s go.

Great. Your favorite book?

My favorite book is a book called Shark Never Sleeps by Drew Rosenhouse, which is a sports agent. Very inspiring story and highly recommend it.

Great. Are you a morning person or a night person?

I am a night person, but I am trying to become a morning person just for so many reasons about productivity. I do have two little ones, so they’re helping me with that transition for sure.

We all are in that battle forever. What was your last Google search?

The last Google search I did was probably news or finance related, which is normally how I start my mornings, just seeing what’s going on in the world.

Typical agents, you want to talk about finance there. If a movie was made about your life or you, what genre would it be?

I don’t know. Hopefully, something upbeat and cheerful. I try to stay as positive as possible and hope that resonates with the people that I interact with, whether that’s loved ones or in a professional setting. I love any movie that is based on a true story or is like a success story. Hopefully, something like that in the end, but we’ll see.

Great. Lovely. Thank you so much, Brian. I’ll not grind you any further. Thank you so much, Brian, for taking out time for this podcast. I appreciate this. I’m sure that our audiences would have benefited a lot in terms of what they heard about doing SEO and digital marketing for law firms in particular. I appreciate you taking the time to do this with us.

Yeah, thank you very much for having me. It was an honor. Very much appreciate it.

Thank you.

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