96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine. With 1.3 million attorneys to choose from at the click of a mouse, if you don’t separate yourself from the masses you’ll easily be passed over for the competition.
As online competition grows, you have to stand out to potential clients in order to win their business. You have to find a way to quickly connect with online visitors and ultimately get them to contact and hire your law firm.
For Beverly Hills, California firm, Obagi Law Group, their differentiator became video. Recently, we spoke with firm owner and lead counsel, Zein Obagi, Jr., to discuss his law firm’s biggest legal marketing challenges, successes, insights, and results after implementing their legal video strategy.
Here’s what Zein had to say:
Can you describe your firm?
We are a business and real estate litigation firm with other practice areas including veterans rights.
What is your firm’s biggest marketing challenge?
I think it’s getting in front of clients who need us at the time they need us.
What types of marketing are you currently investing in?
We currently invest in our website with Scorpion and we occasionally promote Facebook posts, but we don’t quite yet have Facebook advertisements. We’ve also invested in legal video.
Currently, what’s working?
Our legal video definitely got a lot more attention than anything we’ve done in a long time. It made people think, “Hey, maybe [Obagi Law Group] is the right firm for our client that we can’t serve, or for our client’s friends,” and it’s kept us very salient in people’s minds after they saw our video.
How do you compare in terms of size, market share, resources, and marketing budget with the competition in the area?
We have the ability to spend on marketing, but right now we’re not necessarily inclined to do so outside of how we are already investing.
It’s mainly because I haven’t seen a huge return from pay per click or other advertisements.
I have found that generating buzz around the firm with blog posts, legal videos, and alike is probably the biggest thing, and will provide the biggest surge of leads per dollar.
On that note, why do your clients choose you over your competition? What makes you stand out?
They choose us over our competitors because they know we are dedicated masters of our practice, we will fight hard until the end, and there is no institution/entity/person that we will not take on to adjudicate the wrong that has occurred to them.
Why did you decide to produce a video for your firm?
At Lawyernomics, I saw the videos that Crisp had produced and thought to myself, “You know, we have definitely achieved some great results for our clients and would like to convey that.”
It seemed obvious to me that the clearest way to convey big wins you’ve attained for your clients is to do legal video.
Outside of video, what other options, if any, did you consider to help solve your firm’s challenges?
I considered blogging, which I know is a helpful tool to help generate higher SEO rankings. It’s something I try to do, but it gets deprioritized when things come up.
I have dedicated time to enhancing my Avvo profile, ensuring that I have a high rating with a lot of reviews. Systematically, after concluding representation, we seek reviews from our clients.
We’ve also implemented systems that try to ensure that we have a strong referral machine in our firm, and that we thank those who refer us business.
There are a number of companies that produce legal videos. Why did you choose Crisp over another company?
I chose Crisp because of their strong presence at Lawyernomics and the fact that [Crisp CEO] Michael Mogill spoke powerfully about the impact of video. It seemed like a no brainer and a worthwhile investment in my firm.
What would you say has changed about your business from six months/a year ago to today?
Since the Lawyernomics conference, I have picked up key vendors and consultants who have helped transform my firm into not just a legal powerhouse, but a powerhouse as an automated business.
The firm’s capacity to take on matters, internal systems, and reputation in the community have greatly grown. Now, attorneys from across the country look to us if they have a client in our area that’s in need of civil litigation services.
Can you put a monetary value or estimate on the impact your videos have had, whether it’s directly or indirectly on the firm?
I can’t say exactly, but I can say two things about the monetary value: it exceeds the price paid and the investment made in the video, and the legal video costs less than the average client value for the firm.
Would you say that the ROI of the video has been positive, and that it is justifiable? Has your video paid for itself?
Absolutely. There’s no doubt. We’re taking on some major institutions right now – a foreign country, an international jewelry company, a billionaire who retaliated against an employee by firing her when she didn’t accept his sexual advances – and I have no doubt that both our clients and our adversaries are aware that we will persevere with our cases to the end, in part because of the legal video, where we express that.
Do clients mention your video?
Our current clients love our videos. It’s actually at the bottom of my email signature block, “An Introduction to the Obagi Law Group,” and I know based on the number of clicks it gets and when it gets them that people are certainly watching the video.
Does anyone ever mention the video when they call in or come in for an appointment?
Our veteran prospective clients who have called have all seen our video. There have been comments online where people say, “Oh, I have a friend I want to refer to you guys,” and so on and so forth, but we have not actually asked people if they’ve seen the video or not.
Existing clients certainly comment when we send it out, “What a great video,” “Wow, so proud of my council,” “So glad we have you on our team,” etc. People in general say that the video displays us as candid attorneys who are truly dedicated to our trade.
What is your advice to other attorneys who are considering Crisp for their firm’s video?
Go for it. Action kills fear, and there’s no reward without risk.
A person may perceive a risk in investing a sizable sum in a legal video, but there really is, in my opinion, no risk.
It will be worthwhile from a reputational standpoint, from a credibility standpoint, and from a lead generation standpoint.
What would you rank as the top three investments you’ve made in your firm?
The website, the legal video, and the Richard James partner club.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for law firms that are trying to differentiate themselves from the competition?
I think it’s just standing out. There are so many attorneys, especially in the state of California, that it’s easy to get blended in with everybody else.
It’s difficult to communicate the message that you have a strong, special practice and you feel you can help folks out better than anybody else unless you take it to a new medium, which I believe legal video is.
What are some of the biggest challenges or problems you run into on a daily basis?
Overall, as a business owner it’s making sure that you make time to both service the existing business you have at a high level, and allocate time to invest in your firm, grow your firm the right way by blogging, and do all of the other things that are required to keep your firm on the cutting edge.
What advice would you give to attorneys who are struggling to differentiate themselves and grow their legal practice?
Consult experts regarding your website, the media you’re putting out (especially video), and learn how to run your firm and master your practice.
What piece of advice do you wish you were given when you first started your law firm?
I wish I would’ve started my firm with all of these things in mind. Fortunately, I think I’ve solicited and retained the right expertise at the right time to ensure that we grow in the right way and with our best foot forward.
What would you say to an attorney who believes that a professional video is too big of an investment, or they’re doubtful of the value it could provide their firm?
If it’s too big of an investment, then that attorney isn’t looking to grow their firm or take it to the next level. You can’t attain new results by doing the same things you’ve been doing.
If you’re looking for a different result, then you have to do something different. Legal video is one thing that is not fully saturated yet, and you might as well take the opportunity sooner rather than later to get out there with it.
If you’re worried about the value ask other people, ask for reviews of the legal video producer, and find out what their testimonials say.
Has your investment in video improved your life in any way?
Creating the video helped me articulate to myself why I’m doing what I’m doing, what my purpose is, and what I feel my calling is.
It has made me focus every day. The simple question, “What do I look forward to every morning when I wake up?” was articulated in the video and now it’s something I think of every day when I wake up.
I think about what wins I’m going to get for my clients, and how it’s going to impact their lives. It’s helped me articulate my goals and my purpose and live up to them.
What’s the best part of owning your own law firm?
The freedom. The freedom to take on the cases we want, to fight as long and as hard as we need, and to be flexible enought to implement new marketing approaches and procure advice from the people who know the most about running and marketing a law firm.
What was the biggest mistake you made in your business?
Not going to Lawyernomics sooner so I could meet people like Crisp, Scorpion, and Richard James.
What do you see as the future of legal marketing?
I think people are going to have to regularly solicit client reviews, build a referral machine, and stand out with things like legal video.
Any final words?
I would like to thank Crisp Legal Video for their dedicated work. The entire process was flawless, professional, and expedient. I greatly appreciate it.
I enjoyed working with the folks over there; everybody from the cinematographers to the editors and more.