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The Content, Reviews, and ROI Formula for Law Firm Success

In Conversation with Seth Price

For this episode of E-Coffee with Experts, Dawood Bukhari interviewed Seth Price, Managing Partner at Price Benowitz LLP & Founder of BluShark Digital, Law Practice & Advertising Services Agency located in Washington, DC. Seth Price shares insights from his entrepreneurial journey, discussing strategies for law firms to succeed in the digital age. Discover how to leverage content, reviews, and strategic tactics to build a thriving practice and achieve a skyrocketing ROI. Learn how to stay ahead of the curve and crush competition with cutting-edge marketing strategies. Tune in and unlock the secrets to law firm growth!

Local SEO, coupled with Google Business profiles and reviews, is indispensable for law firms seeking online visibility.

Seth Price
Managing Partner at Price Benowitz LLP & Founder of BluShark Digital
Seth Price

KEY TAKEAWAYS

1

Solving problems for clients is key to success in any business.

2

Building authoritative content and acquiring authoritative backlinks are essential for effective SEO.

3

Local search and online reviews play a crucial role in the success of law firms.

1

Strategic hiring and aligning with core values are important for building a strong team.

5

Staying ahead of the curve and adapting to new technologies and trends is crucial in the rapidly evolving field of legal marketing.

Hello everyone. Today we have with us Seth Price, managing partner at Price Benowitz LLP, a successful personal injury law firm, and founder at BluShark Digital, a digital marketing agency focused on helping lawyers stand out. Seth is also a Forbes Agency Council member, a podcaster, and a reputable name in the law marketing niche. Seth. Welcome to the show.

Thank you for the very nice introduction.

Well, I mean, we’re lucky to have you and hopefully in the next 20 -25 minutes, we’ll get some knowledge bombs out of you. Seth, congratulations also for the inclusion in the 2024 INC 5000 list. I mean, you have been growing ever since. Congratulations on another milestone.

I’ll do my best. Thank you.

It looks like entrepreneurship was always in you. Before we dive deep into law marketing, tell us how Seth was as a kid growing up.

You know, I had the lemonade stand and it’s funny because one of the most powerful lawyers in the country always talks about how you could tell who the other kick-ass entrepreneurs were based if they had a newspaper route. That was like the first thing in the US that you could do to make a buck, make more than a buck. Like you could get tips and you know, create your own little business, and growing up in New York City that was not possible. There’s a professional group that owned a contract for our area and they would deliver to the buildings. There was no paper route. And because of that, I didn’t have it, so I was like, maybe I missed something. But then I reflected that when I got to high school, I wanted to get into politics and I volunteered on a campaign that campaign had to deliver newspapers, one newspaper the free newspapers in our area, was going after the candidate and lambasting him and supporting his opponent and another newspaper was supporting him. So we had to get a copy of a newspaper, when it was thicker with ads, to each door in a hundred different apartment buildings, each being approximately 14 stories high. And I remember they said, we need this done, here’s $3,000, we don’t care how you get it done. So I went out and I got the neighbor kids who were probably, if I was 14 at the time, the kids were presumably younger than me, anywhere from 11, 12 maybe a 13-year-old thrown in and said here’s three dollars an hour plus pizza in between they go to a building they do it they come back for more newspapers have a couple of slices of pizza do a building and we were able to cover the whole hundred buildings and I probably spent a thousand dollars on pizza and salaries and got to keep the balance and I thought that’s pretty cool like you know if you can make more money than you’re spending then you get to keep the balance.

Yes, you’ve always been a hustler and a smart businessman.

It was, you know, and everyone was happy. The kids were more money than they’d ever made. You know, they walked away with 20 bucks at the time seemed like a big deal, and food. And the campaign got it done. And then, you know, and I think that that’s one of the biggest things that can be there. If you solve somebody’s problem, you’ll make money.

If somebody wants to do a podcast and they can’t get it off the phone themselves and you’re able to solve that for them, great. If you have to say you really should do a podcast, this is why, that’s a much harder place to be. I’ve been there many times in my life, when I started, I was a founding employee of USlaw that time and we had to convince people to, we had to convince lawyers to advertise online Like, ah, I got the Yellow Pages, Pages would I ever want to do this? And they would yell at us, hang up the phone, and this and that. And so making a market is very, very difficult. But figuring out where there’s already a need and solving for it, is where I think that people see much greater success. Now, opportunities are making a market, but it’s not for the faint of heart, and it doesn’t always work.

Right, well I mean you grew your law marketing firm from 2 to 40 people and then you started BluShark Digital which was the in-house team of your law firm. So tell us about the main pillars that were the main reason for the growth of your law firm. Was it all digital?

It was digital. I mean, there’s no way to put it. We worked on digital. From day one, a buddy of mine, Dave Benoist, went to college and law school with him. We took the same year off between college and law school. We were fraternity brothers back in the day. We stuck with this guy since 1987. You weren’t even born in 1987, were you?

I was born exactly in 87.

So I was graduating high school and starting with university. And, you know, we divided and conquered. He was the chief legal officer. I did the marketing and management and we built it through digital. Like at the time there were very, there were plenty of firms that were expert lawyers, and solos, and there were bigger firms that were doing some crappy legal work, but nobody had tried to meld great lawyering with great marketing. And that was sort of my passion. We were very successful at it and about eight or nine years ago, we had this real rock star who I had mentored from intern to admin through marketing assistant to marketing manager to marketing director who said, Hey, I want opportunity for this guy. He wants opportunity. We could replicate what we did for price benefits for others. And that was the impetus for BluShark Digital.

Right. I mean, you know, in the US, you know, you find more lawyers on billboards than you find models and actors. So, you know, like the lawyers love the billboards and the traditional form of marketing. How easy or difficult is it still to convince lawyers, you know, to take the digital route?

Absolutely. You know, easier and easier. People used to be when I started, phone books were dying, so that was not the issue, right? You didn’t have to convince people to get out of phone books. That, during my generation, was happening. But the TV players ignored digital, completely. And they were like, we can make our money there. And they did for many, many years. It has gotten much, much harder with just TV. Many people in the state have cut the cord.

The OTT has not had the same ROI that the traditional TV has and the number of people who are watching broadcast TV is shrinking dramatically. Dramatically. To the point where it still works. I’m not telling you that people shouldn’t do it, but I don’t know a single major TV advertiser that doesn’t also have a major digital presence. This also means that you can’t before you might be saying hey, that’s the TV player. I’ll be digital those TV guys are throwing a little money at digital and Making it very very competitive even for the little guy.

Right. Talking about digital, like SEO for lawyers, especially in niches like personal injury is very important. What does your SEO process look like? Just like the main highlights, which are relevant to the niche.

So, I mean, look, digital marketing has certain principles and SEO specifically, right? So the pillars of SEO we’ve always looked at as content and links being the one-two punch. People who are not building authoritative content and not putting authoritative backlinks, that is not SEO. Now, you can build a website and you can just in a non -competitive space and it may eventually get eyeballs, but if it’s competitive, those two things are needed. The third leg of this is that you need to have a well-coded site. Your schema needs to be in place. You have to show Google what’s what. What has transpired over the last three to five years is that locals have taken on an amazingly important role. So before it was just your website, but now it’s your website and your Google Business profile. It used to be Google My Business. And that is now combined with reviews. So it used to be that an agency could do everything that a law firm needed. And that with the advent of local, you still need the law firm to do good work and produce reviews in a meaningful number, in a meaningful quality. And without that, you really can’t tell the story needed to move the needle the way you could. So that agencies now need to work as we’ve always had, but collaboratively with law firms and I’m always amazed there are law firms that get it and there are law firms that ignore it, and those that ignore it do not do nearly as well as the ones they buy-in at the executive level. This isn’t like hey I told somebody to get me reviews. This is just like you’re looking at your bottom line you’re looking at your review count, the growth, the cadence, and all of that.

Right. Any specific tools that you like for reviews, like review management in particular?

The answer is yes. Any of them are fine. There’s not one silver bullet. And the tools only get you so far. Right? If you want somebody like you could send that email to put people on a podcast. That’s great. If you have their testable number, that’s going to make a big, big difference in your conversion. Right? Emails you get day in and day out. Text messages are great. Better yet, pick up the phone and say hello if you’re able to speak to a happy client. And the problem is, I’ll use this, this is the analogy I use a lot, which is if you’re a Jiffy Lube, Jiffy Lube is a US-based oil change place. You come in and you drive your car in, no reservations, and you’re out in 20 minutes, maybe with an upsell or two of an oil filter or again, an air filter or maybe an Ouija wiper. But you know, they probably have an average ticket price of 80 bucks and you’re on your way.

They have 500 clients a day. If they get 1 % from an email drip campaign, that’s pretty good, right? If you, you know, I take that. If you know, if I had five reviews a day, 365 days a year, that’s a pretty good number of reviews. So I’d be pretty happy. Now the problem with a law firm is if you have, you know, a hundred closings a month and you get 1%, that’s not very good. So only need to opt.

That percentage and it can’t just be here’s an email but it’s got to be your staff tied in setting the tone that we are built on reviews we need we count on it and that we’re going to be doing this you get there you know their permission to send it you follow up I mean it’s not that it’s going to be 100% but it can’t be 1% percent.

I think this question is so important in the times we are in. How do you keep your law firm always five years ahead?

Very, very tough. I think you go to conferences, you read, you listen, you do podcasts like this to see what people are talking about. You pick up tidbits. But law firms are generally not ahead. I always say software-wisest is a huge proponent of getting cutting-edge software. I’d rather get the kinks out and then come in two years in and make sure that it’s working the way it’s supposed to be working. Give me a great example. AI Chat. Been out there for a while, waited a couple of years, and couldn’t be happier seeing it as compared to what most chat companies were doing, working in the Philippines, not great response times, and hit-or-miss quality. I would rather make sure that somebody, nobody’s saying anything stupid, they can always click something to leave that AI Chat. But the AI Chat does a lot of good things with pre-scripted information and to me, I know it’s not pure AI. It’s not like we’re doing, you know, chat GPT responses, but that with proper-scripted responses we can get a lot of copy.

Yeah. What form of content works best, you know, for lawyers?

You know, a great question and I think it depends and the answer again is yes. I’m a big believer in evergreen content that dives deep into a particular subject matter area. In a blog that is engaging, you know, one of my partners I do the podcast with the law firm blueprint. He put something out about mental health and lawyers on LinkedIn and it got 20,000 views in like two days.

For a layperson, that’s a huge deal. It’s not some dancing girl who’s getting a million views, but a thoughtful post. So what I would say is those combinations of things that drive traffic that might be more sexy, as well as the fundamental things that answer questions that demonstrate to Google that you are the substantive expert in an area.

Right, right. Tell us your favorite client story.

There are so many, I’ll tell you one which is like sort of, it doesn’t always take a ton of money if you’re in a niche market. And we had a client who came to us who was in a career change and didn’t have a large budget, was in a very small geography for a less competitive area of law. And we were able to build it up, eventually give him a satellite officer too, and with a very, very reasonable budget, we were able to crush this and allow this guy to switch careers. We’ve seen that.

I just got word that a client that we’ve been working with has had the fastest growth to eight figures I’ve ever seen in a law firm. In like five years or so he got there and is working some, crazy profit margin, exceeding 50%. I mean, it’s not sustainable, but it’s freaking free, pretty freaking awesome. We were the main driver of all that business.

Right and you know it’s such an amazing feeling as well. Seth strategic hires you know are very crucial for any business including law firms and you know you have spoken about you know hiring and how important it is you know important it is like your know blike practices or strategies you follow.

Well, I would say that the key is to make sure that you hire people that are matching of your core values and who have substantive expertise. That sounds obvious, yes. And one of the frustrations is when you start a firm or a business, you don’t have that same gravitas to get everybody applying to you. And so I know that early on, the people looking at us were very different. I now have parents, and friends of mine in the neighborhood calling because their college-age kids want to get into BluShark Digital. And so people are vying to get there. It’s a prestigious thing to get. And so that we’re getting a higher level of, I mean, early days, we had guys passing Adderall bottles around the office. We had to fire somebody over that. We had one guy who came in, no joke, with his laptop and started day trading during the day. Even after we said you can’t do that, he’s like, well, I don’t make enough without it. And we’re just like, you know, so we haven’t seen that in five years. We get a much, much better ilk. We’re getting people who are smarter about how we’re doing, not that we don’t make mistakes. You know, Gary Vee talks about it. And, you know, I remember this is a couple, this several years back, but we hired a guy. I had one of my best interviews. I was in Miami, the guy flew to Miami to meet me. We had like epic dinner on the water, one of the nicest meals you could have. And I was like, this guy’s amazing. He made it a week. It was an epic failure. He had come from one of the lead gen companies and had been there for 15 years. And I was like, this guy can open a division for us. And it was like, he had met, he only had two people in the Rolodex after 15 years. Again, my mind was blown but again, there’s a funny Gary Vee video that I love where he’s talking about like, we all suck at it. You keep trying to get better, but when you make a mistake, and I did in that case, you hug the guy and say, look, it’s just not right. You know it, I know it. I think he went groveling back to his prior job, but like, this guy should never have left where he was.

What excites you the most about the future of legal marketing?

You know what, what I love is that you never know what’s coming next and it’s that challenge and figuring that out. AI is going to play a big role. How that fits in and making sure that we’re ahead of the curve to where AI is being pulled from. I think that is the part, the challenge. You mentioned saying, you know, how do you make sure you stay ahead of the curve? I think it’s, I’ll give you an example of where we were successful. We had seen Google push towards proximity, location-based search. And we were already on clients to say, hey, if you want to survive, you need to open second and third offices. And those that did well on that proximity update, and those that didn’t got crushed. So, you know, I’m always, you know, it’s always a thing where we are wanting to make sure we’re ahead of the curve, we’re generally there But when you miss, you scramble and you make sure that you protect the clients and you get them where they need to be.

Well Seth, thank you so much for your time. It was fun and hopefully, we’ll have you back for another episode.

Enjoyed it. Thank you so much.

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