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Revolutionizing Legal Marketing: Navigating the AI Storm and Crafting Impactful SEO Strategies

In Conversation with Chase Williams

For this episode of E-Coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Chase Williams, Founder of Market My Market, a digital marketing agency located in Orlando, FL. Embark on a journey into the realm of Legal SEO with Chase, a visionary in the digital legal landscape. Uncover the intricacies of crafting online narratives that resonate with algorithms, transforming legal practices into beacons of prominence. Join the conversation where SEO isn’t just optimization- it’s the orchestrated symphony of legal visibility in the vast wilderness of the internet.

Watch the episode now for more insights!

Legal SEO is the art of turning online visibility into a powerful ally, ensuring that justice is not just served but celebrated.

Chase Williams
Founder of Market My Market

Hey, hi, everyone. Welcome to your show, E Coffee with Experts. This is Ranmay, your host for today’s episode. Today we have Chase Williams, who is the founder of Market My Market with us. Hey, Chase.

Hey, Ranmay, thanks so much for having me today.

Thank you, Chase, for taking your time and doing this with us, man. Chase, before we move forward and pick your brain, why don’t you talk us through your journey and more about Market My Market, and what you guys specialize in, and we’ll take it forward from there on?

I’d say about 10 years ago, I was working for Adobe on the client side, working with various companies, helping manage some predictive analytics, some PPC campaigns, and got to a point where I was like, Man, this is a lot of work and not getting paid for all the work I’m doing these 10, 12-hour days. I went to my current business partner, Ryan Klein. He’s our CEO now, and also one of the founding partners. We were like, Hey, I think we can do this ourselves. At the time, he was working full-time at a law firm in-house as a director of marketing. We just took the leap of faith and started our agency out of our basement in Brooklyn, just us two. I know in the interview before we were talking about SEO and how it’s changed throughout. It’s ever-evolving all the time. We started our agency then, and then we were in Brooklyn at the time, and we went door to door and knocked on a lot of bars and restaurants, just walked in and say, Hey, who’s doing your social media? Who’s building your website? A lot of times, I don’t want to say it wasn’t Mobby, but it was a lot of guys that didn’t want to pay sometimes and we ended up trading work for beers.

But a great learning experience and we got to the point where we finally had some clients. I think we were billing maybe around 5,000 a month. We’re like, All right, this is sweet. We need to get an office. We went to go look at an office and we realized that our rent would be more than what we were making. We decided, Hey, where can we go? I think at this time, it was December, it was snowing outside. Let’s go to Florida. We both moved to Florida, and we found, I think, our first stop was like $500 a month. That sounded good. I was like, All right, we can get our office and maybe hire somebody. That’s what we did. We had our office and we hired a part-time assistant to help us with everything. At the time, me and Ryan were doing everything, whether it was building a website and WordPress or building social media campaigns, doing PPC. We were working with everybody. If you were a massage therapist, you were a gym, you were a law firm, we helped you out. Then I guess about five or six years later, we continue to grow.

We probably had seven employees and got a little bit bigger of an office. We got to a point where we’re like, Man, we’re struggling to figure out who we are and how we can attract people. We decided to niche down. We took a look and said, Hey, who are our best clients? Where do we have the most experience? How can we get to a point where we can be the best in our industry? Industry. It’s hard to say, Hey, I’m the best digital marketing firm in the world, because anybody can say that. It’s hard to make a name for yourself. That’s when we decided, Hey, we’re going to focus on legal. Ryan’s had this legal marketing background his whole career. I’ve had a marketing background in my whole career, so let’s just focus on legal. I think that’s when we got to a point, and that’s where we are today, where we stopped saying yes to these clients that were the fitness clients. At the time, you typed in a fitness marketing company, we ranked number one. That was crazy. But the problem with those fitness clients was they would be starting up a gym and they would have about 30 to 50 clients.

As soon as you have 100 clients, you don’t need your marketing company anymore because now you’ve got 100 clients, you can write down referrals and, hey, I’m spending. I think at the time we were charging like $1,000 a month. I’m spending $1,000 a month, and that’s quite a bit of money for somebody who’s having to pay $5,000 rent to $10,000 rent. They’re sometimes paying some franchise fees, and it’s usually them and another trainer the whole time. Then they’re trying to hit six figures. Right off the top, that’s 12 % of what they’re making if they’re lucky, and so it is an expense for them. That’s when we decided, Hey, who are these clients that can afford us? Who’s somebody who needs us forever? Who’s always going to want more clients? Who’s always going to want more business? Who’s not just happy with 100 clients? That’s when we got to the point of really focusing on, hey, we’re going to be the best legal marketing company. Then we just really started going after the legal vertical and started going to the conferences, the branding on our website instead of going to the front page and saying, hey, we’re a marketing company.

We can help you out with everything. We pivot legal. Then down the line, we pivoted just to SEO. I think 96% of our business now is just SEO. We don’t do PPC at all. At the time, we were doing everything. There are certain circumstances where we will take on clients and do basic pay-per-click, where we’re just bidding on protecting someone’s brand name and just bidding on their brand name. But we just really found a great team around SEO. We found some great processes, I think, which we’ll talk about a little bit later, and got to the point where we just built a machine. Now that the machine is oiled, we’ve got everything running, and we’ve got some great people in place who can replicate the processes. We’ve got a sales team, we’ve got an SEO team, we’ve got a support team, we’ve got our operations. You have to have everything lined up to scale. That way, you can then increase your prices, increase your value for your clients, and then get to a point where you’re not underperforming for your clients and you’re specialized. You just create a better product at the end of the day.

You’ll be able to truly be an expert when you know so much about a particular industry. That’s where we are in a nutshell. I know that maybe that was a long-winded answer of who Market My Market is and how we started, but hopefully that gives you some context there.

Yeah. Lovely story, man. Lovely story. How difficult is it to say no to business? I have been in those shoes. Saying no is very difficult. You have to keep the lights on after a certain stage you can. But initially or during those initial years, it is difficult to say no. When you make that decision that the one you did that, Hey, we are not going to do anything apart from legal and apart from SEO. Tell us to our viewers, what was that? The first experience of saying those no’s to the businesses and looking at those revenue not coming in? How is it?

Ranmay, it’s so painful to say no. Because you see that dollar sign and you’re chasing the dollar. If you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur, you’re chasing that dollar. But a lot of things come with that dollar. It’s like, Hey, I’m going to take on this client that’s a, let’s just say, a dentist and I know nothing about a dentist. Then you run into all these issues where it’s like, Hey, I’m not allowed to be called this specific thing because I think a perfect example would maybe be in the real estate industry in the United States. There’s a real estate agent, there’s a broker, and there’s a realtor. That’s like a realtor is like a trademark term. There are so many things, especially when you’re doing SEO around content, where there’s just a huge learning curve. But to answer your question, it’s so hard to say no. It has to do with the dollar sign, but it’s the best decision. I think it applies to life, too, because if you say yes to everything, you just get spread so thin. I think you can get to a point where you have leads coming in and you see that lead and you’re like, This is a shitty lead.

I want to get to a point where I can be like, this goes through life, too. Hey, you want to go to dinner? You want to make sure you’re sometimes you just got to say no, and so you can focus on other important things. It needs to be like Hell, yeah. Oh, man, we got this lead. Hell, yeah. This is our bread and butter. Let’s do this. If it’s not that, it’s okay to say no. At first, it’s going to hurt to say no. But at the end of the day, the things you say no to the clients are going to be clients for three months. The clients that don’t align with maybe your core values, the clients that don’t align with your current processes, I think the only time it’s okay to say yes is if it’s something that excites you and you’re like, Hey, oh, man, I haven’t worked with the dentist before. This is a good opportunity for us to learn and maybe start to verticalize in dentistry as well. That’s what we did, too, is we got good at medical and we’re like, Hey, I’m sorry, we got good at legal.

Then we were like, Hey, this translates well to medical because the clients you’re dealing with, they’re well educated, they get the value of a marketing firm, they have the budget. I think one of the things that’s hard for me, it’s always been hard for me, is when you have somebody that’s an entrepreneur and you’re talking to them and you’re like, At the beginning, you’re just like $500 a month. And their eyes light up and they’re like, Oh, man. I always think of myself when I was looking for that office and I’m like, This is what we make. I think as long as the value is there and you can deliver that value, you can get to a point where you’re working with clients and you’re like, Hey, it’s going to be $10,000 a month. And they’re like, I see the value and this is going to make a million dollars for me. Let’s do it. Having that connection, and maybe that’s not what you want to do in terms of your strategy or how you want to approach your business, but it just has to align with your long-term goals.

I think in the beginning when you’re first starting an agency for anybody out there that’s listening, you have to say yes to everything because you have to learn and you’re going to hate some of the work you do. You get to the point where you’re like, I’m sure you’ve seen those leads come in where I know you work with digital marketing agencies, Ranmay. You see the leads come in and you look at the website and you’re like, Oh, man, this client is going to be a nightmare. You just know it. Or even that first phone call you have with somebody and you’re like, This person is not listening to me. They think they’re the expert. I think that’s one of the things if you can establish that you’re the expert and you’re like, Hey, you’re hiring me to be the expert here, listen to me as an expert. When you have that mutual form of respect, hey, I respect you and your perfection as a doctor, as a lawyer. I know you worked hard. You did an extreme amount of school to get there. Listen to me as well. I’ve been doing this for 10 years, 15, 20 years, whatever it is, and I’m the expert because of this.

On the flip side of things, if you’re just starting an agency, there is some level of fake it till you make it. But I think it is extremely fake till you make it now with some of the marketing that I see, especially on Instagram with some of this new stuff. In my opinion, that’s a little bit overkill with over-promising and under-delivering.

Under-delivering, yeah.

The key is under-deliver. You have to edit that part out. The key is to underpromise and over-deliver. But that’s one of the key takeaways I can say.

I very strongly believe in under-promising and overdelivering because that gives the client that kicks in that we said something and we overachieved. It also gives a realistic benchmark and then the client’s mind that this is what’s going to happen in, let’s say, a quarter or six months from now. You also are at a bit of ease and you have that leverage to try some things out and take that extra bit of risk and see if that works out. Maybe try a high search volume keyword and see if it works or not. Rather than just chasing low search volume or low hang tips, as we call it, we do that. We do that to keep the needle moving. But it also gives us that extra bit to take that opportunity that, Hey, we have achieved what we have probably promised and now is the time to go gaga about it. Let’s do some experiments. And if it comes off, then it gives us that adrenaline push or rush, but it is also helping the client as well. It’s a situation for both of us, right?

Yeah. There are plenty of agencies. I’ve heard it forever where it’s like, Oh, there’s other agents I’m talking to. They promised me I was going to be top 10 for a New York City lawyer. I’m like, I’ll bet you a million dollars you will not be there in the next two years for organic, okay? Because your website is a year old and you’re competing against people that have been doing this for 20 years and their website was they’ve been doing SEO for 20 years. It’s not going to happen, at least with my company. Maybe there’s somebody who’s dedicated to 50 people working solely on SEO for your firm, maybe. I don’t know. I think being honest about that is refreshing because people will, especially a salesperson, say whatever they want to say. I think that’s one good thing that I’m not sure how often you do the sales, Ranmay, but it’s different when you’re a salesperson just trying to make a sale versus somebody who’s doing the work and you’re- Yeah. Because you’re able to set the expectations. Because if my sole job was to sell anything was just to sell SEO services and pay-per-click services, you can say what people want to hear, but they’ll be clients for six months, three months, and then you’re back at square one.

It’s better to have a client that’s going to be a lifelong client and slowly earn their trust. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, too. I’ve worked with 10 marketing companies, and a lot of times people work with 10 marketing companies. It’s just because there are so many BSers out there and there are people who maybe they overpromise and underdeliver. You see the marketing out there. It says, Hey, we guarantee first-page results. You can’t guarantee anything with Google unless you’re paying for it on pay-per-click.

Yeah, absolutely. And you know what? I liked it when you said you cannot be sure as to what is there unless you’re paying for it. It’s an organic result, right? And at the same time, for example, we do a lot of research and prepare this audit. We go through, for example, if you have a domain authority of 30 and fighting the battle with someone who is at, let’s say, 70, 80, whatever, you’re not going to get there overnight. That is a period and there is a lot of investment that a particular site or business would have put in to be there. If I’m promising you that a jump in three months and you’re believing that, I’m not sure then what’s happening. Every promise that we make or any digital market or any market is making, has to be based on facts. You should know your business. One thing I do not let go of is a client leaving an agency coming to you for something, I dive deep into it and ask them, Why did you let go? Why did you fire that agency? What was the reason? Promises and all is fine, but what work?

What engagement, as their agreement did you have with them? Was the expectation setting in line? Were you guys on the same page from day one or not? Whether they have underdelivered or you over-expected? There are two sides to it always. We need to set expectations right from day one so that I’m not in that agency’s shoes, let’s say, six months down the line because we look at long-term relationships. The second part of it, when you said about selling, for me and us as an agency, I always say this to my team, your retention starts with your C. Retention does not start after your client has gotten onboarded or they have started a full-time project, the retention starts with the field call or initial sale meeting presentation which you have made if you have sold the right thing, which you are good at in terms of operationally as well, the client is going to stick around, so you don’t need to worry about it. If you have made some promises on the fly that you will rank e-commerce or any platform for that matter against Amazon on a keyword, wherein, let’s say, whatever the X amount of search volume, that’s not going to happen.

At times I also feel that business owners, because it is so important for them, it is their business as well, need to be a bit more educated before they sit on these meetings as well to understand that because there are a lot of marketers like you mentioned, a lot of YouTube, social media, a lot of chat going on there. You need to know your stuff, tell your stuff to that. There is a situation for you and the brand. There are ways to go about it as you mentioned. Great. She’s building a successful agency? We all know it is not an overnight job. We all have spent years on it and then still trying to grow. It requires a strategic vision. Can you share some pivotal moments in the early days of Market My Market, where your vision crystallized and how it shaped the agency’s trajectory for sustainable growth?

Sure, definitely. I think there are a couple of key factors. One is seeing your value, for sure, raising your prices. That’s scary. It’s just as important as saying no. Every single year, maybe your costs are going up. You need to retain employees. You need to hire better employees. You need to invest in maybe outside consultants to come and take a look at your operations or your processes or how you’re managing projects. Who’s going to eat that cost? It’s really scary to go to your client and say, Hey, I know you’re paying me $2,000 a month right now. We’re going to need to renew it for $2,500. This is why. As long as you quantify why and everything is going well and continue to grow, we’ve had clients that have started at $1,500 and they’re spending $10,000 now. So as long as you’re quantifying the value and the client sees the value, and you’re just able to get better clients, and then you raise your bottom pricing level. Let’s say right now your minimum client spend is $500, and you got to take a look back and sit down and look like, Hey, how much does this cost us?

This is my second suggestion: tracking time. This is something that I was very against for a long time because I don’t like to track my time. I don’t like to be micromanaged, and I don’t want to micromanage my people. But there’s so much data that you can find from tracking time. We have 37 employees at our company and everybody tracks every second of their day. It’s not to make sure they’re working. There are people where we’ll see and we’ll be like, Oh, wow, they could use more work. But it comes down to how much time are we spending on clients. Many times we’ll do an audit and say like, All right, this client should be getting 20 hours of work a month, but they’re getting 50. What’s the solution here? And it’s, All right, we need to charge more money. Or do we go to them and say, Hey, we need to spend more time on your account, so we need to charge more money? Or do we say, Hey, I probably wouldn’t recommend saying, Hey, you can spend less money with us. It’s more about coming up with ideas. Hey, we’re maxed out of this right now.

We have these other strategies. We want you to expand into these neighborhoods or these specific areas or cities or whatever, however, you manage your clients. But come up with ideas and then track the time. It’s pivotal in understanding your business and understanding your billing. I think the pivotal thing is understanding how to correctly bill for your clients and then tracking your time and your team’s time along with that billing and merging those two data sets, and that way you’re able to scale.

Lovely. And talking about, like you mentioned, the number of hours, your resource cost, and stuff, many agencies struggle with stagnant profit margins because the industry dynamics are such. How did you navigate or overcome the challenge at your agency? And what are the financial strategies and models rather that proved instrumental in achieving sustainable profit margins for Market My Market?

We have every single quarter we look and we say, Hey, what’s our profit margin on our counseling to be? Those clients that don’t have that margin, or we go to them and sometimes we fire the client because we’re like, Hey, we’ve been working with you, but we need to increase your pricing. I would essentially call this firing the client, not them necessarily firing us because we’ve been working hard for six months and we’ve eaten that profit, we’ve eaten our profit and we’re working at cost for you and you can see the progress is going well and we need to charge you more. It’s just having an honest conversation with your clients. It does get a little bit dangerous when the client’s not doing well. There are many factors why a client might not be doing well to go to them and say, Hey, we need to increase the price. There’s sometimes you bite off more than you can chew, especially early on in the agency, you do. You just say yes, and, Oh, you need this for sure. Do you need me to build a website for you?

For sure. Oh, you need this integration? No problem. We’ll build out a custom integration with this. Then you can lose money doing that. Sometimes you have to do it, but the more you can say no, like we talked about previously, to these things that are outside of the processes and outside of the scope. The more you can focus on things that are inside of your processes, it’s going to be able to accomplish those tasks. If it’s outside of your scope, you do need to charge more money for it because there’s going to be some learning on your team to build out that process. You might have to hire some outside counsel to explore how to get something done. There could be roadblocks with how specifically you’re integrating with maybe a third-party API. You might be double, or triple spending your time. We’ve built out projects that were way outside of what our team could handle normally on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes they’re exciting projects. You’re like, This would be cool for a portfolio. You get to a point and you look at your numbers and you say, Hey, we broke even on this or we lost money on this.

That’s a bummer. But now we have this great platform we built for them and now we can retain them for another two or three years and it’s worth it. As long as you can justify that, it makes it worth it at the end of the day.

Absolutely. Let’s talk about legal marketing. There was a gradual process in the decision-making to mesh down to this particular domain. As a marketing agency, you want to specialize in legal marketing. How do you balance that? It’s quite delicate within immediate client needs to implement long-term strategies in such a competitive space. We were discussing PPC in legal marketing as that’s not a go-to solution given the market dynamics. A lot of competition in the SEO space, backlinks, and stuff. How do you balance it out? Sure.

The first thing when we talk to a client is we think if we ask them, What are your short-term goals? What are your long-term goals? We put that into a roadmap. If someone says, Hey, I want to do this in the next six months, like we spoke about before, it’s being honest. Hey, but six months may not be the best timeline. Let’s put that in for nine months. We have a schedule that we work on together with our clients to outline what are our goals for this month—and we call it our 30, 60, and 90-day plans. What are we going to accomplish in the next 30 days? What are the metrics we’re looking for? Whether it leads, whether it’s web traffic, phone calls, or whatever your main KPI is going to be, we map our strategy around what the client is looking for, and then that entire process is ever-evolving. After the first 30 days, we tack on the 30s after that. We always know within the next 90 days, what’s going on with the account. What are we focusing on? Because you get to a point where you might be doing, especially with SEO, which is very different than pay per-click.

Pay per click, it’s instant, and you can make changes instantly. If you start getting some leads that maybe aren’t favorable, right away, you can do a negative keyword insert. You can put a bunch of negative keywords in the campaign, and you’ll stop showing up for that. A perfect example in the legal industry is maybe we wrote an article. This is when we first started working together, and it was about getting bit by a dog. A lot of lawyers don’t like those cases, but maybe we didn’t do our due diligence and ask them at the beginning. Or maybe they took those cases on before and it was fine. Now all of a sudden, they’re getting 30 leads a month for dog bites, and they don’t want that anymore. It’s like shifting the strategy around. With pay-per-click, you can just say, Oh, you don’t want dog bite campaigns anymore? No problem. I’ll turn the ad group off or the campaign or however you set up your marketing with SEO taking the content down would be an immediate solution if you didn’t want those cases. But by coming up with that cohesive strategy together where it’s mapped out, you’ll avoid those roadblocks where you’re starting the cases that you necessarily, as the lawyer, don’t want to take on.

Absolutely. And then, Chase, we were hit by this AI storm sometime around this time last year. As AI continues to reshape industries and our industry in particular, how do you perceive its impact specifically on legal content creation, which is a difficult niche to create content? We see a lot of actual lawyers and advocates, they are at the back end of creating content for legal firms or marketing agencies who do legal marketing for that matter. Are there any particular aspects of the legal sector where as per AI has shown notable transformative effects? What is your take on it? Where are we headed?

Yeah, that’s a great question, Ranmay. There’s a lot of opportunity. I’ve seen in the US specifically, that some lawyers will try a case using AI. That’s dangerous because I’m not sure if you saw the article where this lawyer went in and used ChatGPT to create their argument, and ChatGPT decided to create this case law in these cases that didn’t exist. The lawyer went in there and said, This happened at this time and these cases didn’t exist. I know this is going to get better. It’s going to get better where ChatGPT is going to learn and there are already models out there that aren’t available to the public that are just next level that are scary. We currently use it for generating ideas, and it’s great for that because there are only so many ways to write a blog about how you got in a car accident, what do you do next? Using your keyword research and tying that into content generation in terms of subject matter, we’re using that a lot in terms of writing content from scratch. We’ve got content writers in-house, so we’re attacking that with our content writers, but using it for proofing is great too.

Once our content is written by our content writers, they go in and proof it via ChatGPT for any grammatical errors or any type of subject matter errors, that’s great. Then you can have a second set of eyes. But that’s how we’re using it right now. It’s just really for creating some better ideas. When the SEO team is doing their QA research, they come back and say, Hey, here are some keywords that we want to focus on. There are some opportunities in the market. Then we go to ChatGPT and say, Hey, here’s loading all the previous data and say, Here are the blogs we currently have. Where’s the gap? Can you help us come up with maybe 20 ideas? Then out of the 20 ideas, maybe there are five we grab and say, All right. Then our content writers go in and write those five ideas. There are also opportunities for outlines. It’s, Hey, here’s the background and the client. We have built out specific prompts that just work for us and work for our clients. Maybe it’s like, Hey, write me five bullet points, and then the writer is going based on those five bullet points and writes the information.

But people are getting, especially with the new plug-ins for OpenAI and them opening it up to a marketplace, I think there’s going to be disruption very quickly. I’m excited to see that.

Yeah, absolutely. I’m also excited. It’s still getting its groove. It’s going to take time, but the humanization of content is still what’s required at the end of it for sure. Because any website content, for example, the decision making to purchase a product or a service has to be made by a human at the end of the day. Those storytelling aspects of it, emotional aspects of it, are still missing, right?

Yeah. I just thought of something really funny as I finished speaking last time I remember seven years ago using content spinners to just do PBN-type work. The content was just so bad. For our listeners, they don’t know what that is. You just put a piece of content and then the AI back in the day would just rewrite it so it’s original content, and that’s what Google wants, this original content. But it would just read so poorly. There are opportunities there, I think, if you’re still doing offsite content that’s just used for link juice. I think there are opportunities there currently to spend a lot of content via ChatGPT.

Lovely. That has been a brilliant conversation. But before I let you go, I would like to play a quick rapid-fire with you. I hope you’re game for it.

Let’s do it.

All right. Your last Google search.

Let’s see. I got to go in and see. Let’s see. I’ll go on my history.

Yeah, it’s an open book. Don’t worry.

I’ll be honest here. Hold on. I almost cleared my history. I haven’t been on Google. Let’s see. I looked for a running event. I’m a runner, so I look for a running event.

Oh, wow! Wonderful. Your favorite Netflix show?

Oh, wow. These are good questions here.

I’m trying to think. Right now, It’s on Netflix, but I just started watching that Coachella show on Apple TV, and that’s pretty good. It’s pretty cool, but that’s what I’m watching right now.

Okay, lovely. Let’s say if we were to make a movie on You Chase, what genre would it be?

It would have to be like a comedy.

Okay. What was that one place that you traveled to maybe in the recent past, so early maybe that you felt was overrated?

Oh, Paris.

Paris. Yeah, the same with me as well, to be honest. Okay. Let’s move on. Okay, I’ll not grill you any further than the last one. What did you do with your first paycheck? First paycheck of your life, okay?

Oh, man. I’ve been working since I was 14. I was sweeping up and cleaning up at a pizza shop. I’m thinking when I was 14 and I got a paycheck, I probably went to the arcade and spent it on video games.

Okay. Lovely, Chase. Thank you so much for taking your time and doing this with us. I appreciate it.

You too. Thanks, Ranmay

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