Lawyer Video Marketing Success Story: Keith L. Magness
In this next installment of our legal video marketing success series, we sat down with New Orleans, Louisiana car, truck, and motorcycle accident attorney, Keith Magness, to discuss his firm, his decision to invest in video, and the results he’s seen after implementing his law firm’s videos.
Digging down into the reasons why he decided to invest here’s how Keith increased overall revenue 30% and website conversions 40%-45% while spending less than 1% of his top competitors’ marketing budgets:
Can you describe your law firm?
We help people injured in car, truck and motorcycle accidents receive and keep more of the compensation they deserve.
Why did you decide to produce a video for your firm? What challenge were you looking to solve?
I was looking for a better way to connect with potential new clients in an otherwise impersonal digital world. Video allows your emotion and passion to come through, and for those thinking of hiring the firm to see exactly who and what they’ll get if they do.
There are a number of legal video companies out there, why did you choose to produce your videos with Crisp Video Group?
Many companies I interviewed had good equipment and could provide good quality video and sound. But Crisp’s end product stood out.
Making a video about my personal story, and why I focus my practice on auto accident injury law was a big and emotional decision for me, and I wanted it done right.
Where were you at with your business one year ago vs. one year later?
Revenue is up approximately 30%, and we are seeing more of our model clients approach and retain our firm.
How has your video content impacted your firm?
Overall conversion rates for our digital advertising have increased from an average of 24% to 40-45%.
We’ve even had months where we’ve converted 60%.
For those potential new clients who viewed our videos, the sales process is much, much easier. This is because they already have a feel of who we are and why we do what we do, and know we are in this based upon my individual experience with the system, and not simply to make a buck off their injury or loss.
I’ve actually had folks tell me that after they saw my story video, they knew I was the attorney for them.
Can you put a monetary estimate on the impact your videos have directly or indirectly made on your firm?
I believe our videos have had a direct impact on our online conversion rates which, on average, have nearly doubled.
This has led to more signups. Given the typical life cycle of our cases, and the fact our story and brand video went live in October, 2016, I cannot specifically quantify the financial impact as of yet.
But I can tell you we are meeting with and being hired by more individuals who mirror our model client profile.
Based upon the average value of our cases, I’d guesstimate we’ll easily see at least a 10x ROI on spend within 12-18 months of going live with the videos.
How do you compare in terms of size/market share/resources/marketing budget with your competition?
There are Personal Injury attorneys in my market (New Orleans, Louisiana) who spend over $1,000,000 per month between TV, outdoor and digital advertising.
We don’t even spend 1% of that, so we must be smart about where we put our advertising dollar in order to make sure we are getting in front of the right folks.
What concerns did you have leading up to this decision? Did you have any doubts about making the right choice?
To be honest, my biggest objection was cost.
I first contacted Crisp about a year before we shot our story and brand video as I was looking to shoot some FAQ videos. The price scared me away, and I went with another vendor for that work.
However after talking to [Crisp’s CEO] Michael about what was going to be an emotional project for me, I knew Crisp was the right vendor for us to do our story and brand video.
After pulling the trigger, and seeing all that goes into pre-production, the shoot, and post-production, I can honestly see why Crisp is more expensive than the other video vendors out there.
My experience was amazing, and I’m sure I’ll be back in the future as I know what I’ll get for my money – top-notch work.
Of the various marketing investments you’ve made in your firm, what hasn’t worked?
Yellow Pages was a complete bust. They put a ton of effort into sales, but simply did not deliver on their promises.
When I asked them to put their money where their mouth is and either (a) reduce my monthly rate to fall in line with the actual (lower) value ROI (which ended up being negative at the end of the campaign) they were delivering versus what they advertised, or (b) allow me out of my contract early, I got the “a contract’s a contract” line.
Needless to say, that was a very expensive mistake that I’ll never make again.
What would you rank as the top 3 investments you’ve made in your firm?
First and foremost is investing in myself. Like many lawyers, I didn’t have a business background before I founded my firm. After about 3 years of doing it all on my own, I was running out of bandwidth and growth was stagnant.
Realizing I needed help, I reached out to and retained various consultants who taught me (and are still teaching me) about what it takes to have a successful law practice – that is, one that meets your personal, professional, and financial goals.
Second is the investment I’ve made in my team. This includes both the people who are physically in my office on a day-to-day basis, and those who assist me from afar. My bookkeeper, marketing manager, IT and telephone receptionist are all virtual professionals.
In fact, I’ve never physically met my bookkeeper (I’ve met her boss), any of my IT folks, or telephone receptionist. In this day and age with technology, you don’t necessarily need a person in your office to provide outstanding service to your clients.
The key is to hire smart and constantly review various metrics to ensure you don’t need additional assistance in any area, and the folks you have on board are delivering, and continue to deliver, the level of service you desire (in my case, second to none).
Third is the most difficult, and always a struggle – investing in my family. I’m constantly striving to spend more time with my wife and three children.
I’ve developed policies and procedures to help ensure the practice can still function while I’m out, and I’m to a point where I typically don’t miss any school events and can spend most of my vacations without having to check email.
I’m not to the point where I can completely unplug, but that is a goal of mine – an extended vacation or time from the office where no one calls, emails or bugs me unless it is an absolute, and defined emergency.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made for your firm?
To focus our efforts on assisting victims of car, truck and motorcycle accident claims.
This required me to completely divest myself of at least four other practice areas (and their cases/revenues) I was servicing (family law, criminal, estate planning, and successions), but has actually helped us grow.
It has also allowed us to assist our clients more deeply as we are no longer distracted by the nuances of the other practice areas. Instead, we now eat, breathe and sleep auto accident injury law.
Do you believe investing in video for your firm was the right thing to do?
Yes. We intend to invest more dollars on video in the future. Both for external marketing purposes, as well as to assist with and streamline the onboarding process.
What advice would you give to attorneys struggling to differentiate themselves and grow their legal practice?
Find a niche. It is scary to let go of revenue streams, but you don’t have to do it overnight like I decided to.
Instead, identify the one area of practice you’d prefer (this could be for personal satisfaction reasons, or ROI), and set a goal of when you’d like your firm to be focused on that area. For example: in two-years-time, I only want to do disability cases.
Then devise a plan to slowly wind down your other practice areas, and convert your website and marketing message from one of “I do X, Y, and Z,” to one of “I’m a disability lawyer.”
During this transition, you don’t have to turn away non-disability work, but you should definitely begin branding yourself as one, and find other attorneys who would be willing to handle referrals in those practice areas you no longer want.
Why do your clients choose you over any other attorney or law firm?
I truly believe they see the passion in our practice. We keep our case load small so we can give every case the personal attention we’d want if we were the client (and which I didn’t get when I needed legal help after my mother’s death).
We touch every one of our clients no less than twice per month via telephone, and constantly keep them updated with emails and copies of correspondence.
At the large TV firms, the volume doesn’t allow them to do this.
We’ve taken on many clients who previously retained one of the TV lawyers in our market, and at the end of the case, they all say how different we were, and how they enjoyed the level of communication on their file.
After a client’s case is resolved, we don’t simply shove their file in a box and forget them. We continue to keep in touch through our newsletter, birthday, anniversary and holiday cards (we send out cards for Thanksgiving and other “odd” holidays such as Valentines, Earth Day, July 4th, Veterans day, etc.), and consistently remind them we are here for them, no matter the source of the problem.
We truly want to be their legal advisor for life. If we can’t help them, chances are we know someone who can and we’ll help put them in touch.
Do you believe the “why” is more important than the “what” when it comes to attorneys growing their business and marketing their firm?
I truly believe that people don’t buy “what” we do, but “why” we do it.
For example, many lawyers practice auto accident injury law for the simple reason it can be one of the most profitable practice areas dollar-for-dollar if done right. While this is true, I think people can sense if this is your primary motivation for doing this type of work.
That is, if all you care about is money, and you look at every potential client as a dollar sign, they will pick up on this as you probably won’t conduct yourself or treat your clients with the level of compassion or empathy good, quality, clients demand.
Sure, there will always be those clients who themselves look at an accident as a way to make a quick buck. But that’s not the individual I’m looking to represent.
I want to work for good people who were unfortunately hurt in an auto accident, and who value working with someone who has walked a mile in their shoes, and will treat them honestly and fairly and with the compassion and empathy they deserve.
What piece of advice do you wish you would have been given when you first started your law firm?
I wish I would have had someone sit me down and explain how hiring the right individuals (virtual, part-time, full-time, etc.) can not only greatly improve your quality of life, but the level of service you are able to provide your clients.
You cannot look at staff as an expense, but an investment.
It is up to you as a business owner to structure your systems and procedures to ensure your staff are properly trained and engaged in a manner that will not cost you more than one or two months’ salary before they become a profit center (this “profit” could take the form of additional revenue, time savings, etc.) for you.
Anything else you’d like to mention about story of impact video has had on your firm?
I have a great story about a recent signup that shows just how powerful our videos can be…
One lady, after seeing our video, cancelled her appt with another attorney to come see us instead because she connected with my story.