Painting a Moving Train: How Lawyers Will Stay Ahead of the Digital Curve in 2024

Grant brott explores 2024 legal strategies in the digital age on the latest podcast episode.

Tanner Jones, your host and Vice President of Business Development at Consultwebs, welcomes you to another episode of the LAWsome Podcast by Consultwebs.

In today’s episode, Tanner is accompanied by Grant Brott, the Director of Strategy at Consultwebs, one of the best and leading marketing agencies for law firms.

Grant excels at digital marketing strategy, team leadership, and innovation and has over a decade of experience. 

He specializes in SEO management, multi-channel campaigns, and business visibility strategies. With Grant’s focus on AI, Consultwebs has been able to streamline content outline workflow, saving between 40 and 150 hours of work.

Join us for an insightful session as Grant walks us through his insightful ways of illustrating ‘How Lawyers will stay ahead of the digital curve in 2024,’ Grant will draw from his vast expertise and best insights as the Director of Strategy at Consultwebs.

Key Takeaways:

  • 00:23 – Introduction 
  • 01:11 – Journey as Director of Strategy at Consultwebs
  • 01:41 – Navigate the complexities and changes of digital marketing today
  • 03:34 – Common concerns and misconceptions about legal marketing 
  • 06:18 – The key to maximizing brand presence and caseload is to be comprehensive
  • 12:34 – What is comprehensive marketing for law firms 
  • 18:09 – Single strategy v.s. diversified law firm marketing campaigns
  • 23: 39 –  Final thoughts

Best way to contact Grant Brott:

Episode Transcript:

[00:00:00] Intro: Lawsome by Consultwebs. Breakthrough insights to build a thriving law firm with your host, Tanner Jones.

[00:00:16] Tanner Jones: Hello everyone. Welcome to another Lawsome episode. Today on the show, we’re talking with Grant Brott, Director of Strategy at Consultwebs, one of the best and leading marketing agencies for law firms. Grant, an accomplished Director of Strategy at Consultwebs, has led the company’s growth since December, 2020 with over a decade of experience.

He excels in digital marketing strategy from leadership to innovation. His expertise spans from SEO management, multi-channel campaigns, and business visibility strategies. Recently, Grant’s focus on artificial intelligence has streamlined content outline workflow for Consultwebs, saving countless hours in team time.

Today’s topic is Painting a Moving Train: How Lawyers Will Stay Ahead of the Digital Curve in 2024. Grant will draw from his vast experience and best insights as the Director of Strategy at Consultwebs. So we’re excited to hear what he has to say. So Grant, glad to have you today. Thanks for joining the show.

[00:01:12] Grant Brott: Yeah, thanks for having me.

[00:01:13] Tanner Jones: Let’s just jump in. Today, as law firms continue to try to navigate the complexities of digital marketing, it really seems as though things are changing really just as fast as new opportunities are arising. So candidly, this has been a major frustration. Really for all industries, but especially for attorneys.

And it’s a challenge to know whether or not they’re even doing the right thing when it comes to marketing, just because there’s so much noise and it seems so fragmented. So Grant, I’d like to hear from you. What are you seeing being in the trenches. What’s the current digital landscape indicating to you? And I’m really interested what’s driving these emotions? What’s causing all these emotions from lawyers?

[00:01:54] Grant Brott: Yeah, I think it’s a common thing across the industry right now not just legal. There’s a lot, the only common right now is rapid change and shifts in where users are. You’ve got an example with AI we talked to a client and they had signed a new client and when they were talking to them, they found out that they found them through chat GPT and we’re like, wait, what?

So people are, it’s not meant to be a search engine but people are using it to find things and get their answers. And that includes businesses. And so it’s not the intention of the platform, but that’s how users are using it. And so we’re seeing shifts in social platforms, changes and stuff, Twitter or X now has changed a lot of things and made subscription stuff.

You get limited kind of visibility of things and stuff on there. And so people have moved to other platforms, so you’re seeing a lot of change around that with the A. I. side of search results. You’re also seeing shifts in paid ads and how they’re displayed across different platforms and places. And so the only for sure thing these days is change.

[00:03:03] Tanner Jones: So you’re saying the emotions are grounded in legitimacy that lawyers should be frustrated with this.

[00:03:11] Grant Brott: They, yeah, very much from one day to the next, the search results from Google can be completely different. There is no consistency in any of it. And so it is very much like you mentioned earlier, it’s painting a moving train because it doesn’t stay the same anymore.

[00:03:27] Tanner Jones: I think we’re going to cover some of that in this discussion, but I’d like to ask, are you seeing any common concerns or even misconceptions about marketing that you have the opportunity to dispel here?

[00:03:39] Grant Brott: I do. I think we still see and hear various clients say things like, Oh, SEO doesn’t work or social media doesn’t work.

I’ve never signed a case from that email marketing doesn’t work like that concept that, Oh, this stuff just doesn’t work. That’s not the truth though. And when it’s done right it works very well. And taking that a step further, when all those things are done right together, it does even more for a business.

[00:04:08] Tanner Jones: What do you mean by done right? What does that mean to you with respect to SEO?

[00:04:13] Grant Brott: There are different levels of, I guess the quality of the work done. Is what it comes down to, you take somebody who’s been doing SEO for a year, the impact of those efforts are going to be very different from somebody who’s been doing it for 10 years, 15 years.

And there’s that, oh, I’m just getting into this, I’m doing the work, or, the work’s being contracted out to somebody. And it, I think it really does come down to the quality, and having, experts that understand how to do these different areas and do them the right way. We’ve been doing this for so long now that we’ve seen what works and doesn’t work and sometimes you’re going to do something and it’s not going to work and you’re going to learn from it and you’re going to adjust your strategy and stuff and move on. But doing it the right way and not cutting corners and stuff is how you get the results with this stuff. It does work. We see it work every day.

[00:05:05] Tanner Jones: Yeah, there’s no question. I actually, speaking at a national conference for lawyers earlier this year, I asked the room, Who believes SEO is dead? And I was just curious. I was curious to see the topic was around SEO and I was curious to see who there was falling into that fallacy there and very few raised their hand.

And it was encouraging to me to see that, those, at least in the room acknowledge that there’s still a huge opportunity, especially when we see continued increase in search. But just as you alluded to, people are now even turning to other platforms like ChatGPT and the like to search for law firms.

I mentioned earlier, I’d like to get practical and really start to give some guidance to our listeners with all of this evolution and search that we’re seeing and across digital, as we’ve alluded to, along with artificial intelligence and other technologies like ChatGPT, from your experience, Grant, is there an ideal place for law firms to start with digital advertising strategies?

And maybe this is for the one who is just feeling overwhelmed. They see a lot of different options in front of them, and it’s often difficult to take that first step. Where do they begin?

[00:06:17] Grant Brott: There’s not an ideal place to start. When you’re looking at this stuff, every firm is going to be different.

No two businesses are exactly alike in where they’re at in the digital landscape. And so you might have one that’s got really good SEO in place, but lacks a good social media effort and branding on that and paid visibility and another might have really great visibility through paid ads and local service ads, but they’re nowhere to show in like the map results for local businesses.

And so the variations of these are just, it’s always different. There’s so many variables in there that I can’t think of when I’ve seen two businesses, as clients, every client that comes through the door is different. And so there’s not an ideal place to start. I think the key is comprehensive.

You want to be in all of the areas. You want full visibility. If you leave social out or paid out or SEO, you’re leaving money on the table by not reaching your target audience where they’re regularly at. So really it’s, you want to take up as much digital real estate as possible. And I guess in regards to an ideal place to start, just start.

At some level, start doing some stuff and know that, okay, right now, I’m only going to add these couple of items, we’re going to do some paid and we’re going to do SEO. But know that you’re missing social, you’re missing email marketing, on email, you’re missing the opportunity to follow up with clients and get referrals and encourage them to refer friends and family that might need an attorney for some And there’s lots of opportunities with this stuff. And it’s just get your foot in the door, and then from there, grow it. Start adding everything into the picture.

[00:08:12] Tanner Jones: I see that. I hear that, Grant. And I’m just trying to think through maybe the mindsets of listeners likely coming to the show with very different perspectives, different experiences and certainly sitting at different levels with respect to how successful or not successful their particular firm may be today.

And when I hear you say there’s no ideal place to start, the best place to be ultimately is you mentioned the term comprehensive, having a comprehensive strategy and essentially being everywhere covering the full landscape of search from local services ads to pay per click to maps results to organic results.

And when I hear that, I agree because I’ve seen clients be extraordinarily successful when they’ve totally just entrenched page one of Google for some very valuable search terms. But let’s be realistic for a minute. That’s seemingly only possible for the biggest of budget law firms. Would you not agree with that?

[00:09:15] Grant Brott: It gets hard to do it at scale and at the level that’s necessary if you’re in a competitive area. But to some degree to hit your area and your target audience around your local office even a small starting area into these things is going to be beneficial. It’s really, it’s top of mind awareness. The more you get out there in front of potential clients, the more they’re aware of you.

It’s almost I’ve got magnets on my refrigerator that I’ve gotten from in the mail and stuff. And it’s got some business name on it for, HVAC or something like that. I think I’ve even got one from an attorney from the local area. That’s got like a solar calendar or something on it for the moon phases or something like that.

And that keeps them top of mind. They’re literally in my house on my fridge. Every time I go to open my fridge door, there’s these magnets with these businesses on them that I see. And being in all these areas and having that top of mind awareness. If. you’re doing some social media and getting it from the audience, you’re on their mind, they’re seeing your brand, they’re becoming familiar with your brand and the more that you get, the more likely when something happens, they’re going to remember that brand and they’re going to go search for you.

And then they’re going to find you, and they’re going to connect with you, and now you’ve got a new client. And I don’t know that it’s necessarily, oh, I can’t afford to do all of these things. You don’t need to compete against the giant gorilla in your market. You just need to take a little bit of a chunk out of that gorilla’s territory.

And so starting at any level is going to be beneficial. To start getting that visibility across the different areas.

[00:10:58] Tanner Jones: It’s solid advice. I think it, as you’re talking through this, I’m relating it to when you’re early in your career, retirement as being so far off. We all know, for example, 401Ks or Roths or, wherever else you’re investing.

There are good places to invest there. It’s a means to the end. The goal is ultimately to build up that portfolio so that you can live off of that in retirement. That’s to me, akin to this comprehensive concept. It’s important to, to be everywhere as you’re alluding to have this comprehensive strategy in place.

But the reality is that starting out. You’re not just going to start out in retirement position, if you will. Relating it back to that analogy. There’s a process. You have to take steps to get there. But the end goal remains the same. It’s to saturate, essentially page one is what I’m hearing you say, along with other comprehensive marketing strategies, to be able to put yourself in a position to ultimately be there one day.

Let’s spend a moment talking about comprehensive marketing. Cause that’s something we’ve brought up multiple times in this discussion. Some people may hear that and think what’s, I can assume what comprehensive marketing means, but what does it mean to you? How would you define comprehensive marketing today, Grant?

[00:12:09] Grant Brott: Yeah. So going off of what we’ve been talking about it’s not just the one thing it’s how all of it works together. And so comprehensive marketing is SEO is papers, PPC, pay-per-click, is social media, is email marketing – it’s all of these areas. It’s digital PR, you win a giant case, you do something big in the community, put a press release out about it, try to get you in front of local media and stuff like that.

So by having all this stuff work in conjunction, a potential client may see your ad in PPC and they might see your site listing in the local map results. And then maybe the first organic result or second organic result. Now they’ve seen you multiple times in the search results. And they’re like, Oh, Hey, okay. Let’s check these guys out because it’s like. Here’s one. Here’s one. Here’s one. These guys are here. They’re obviously doing this, and Google’s showing them in all these different areas as an answer to whatever I’m looking for. And by taking up that real estate and being in all the different areas. And then also, if you’re running, display ads and stuff like that and remarketing ads or anything like that, you end up on social media and now you’re seeing ads for them over there too.

And you’re on the Facebook showing up as ads, you’re on Instagram, whatever it might be. And so the more they see you, the more you resonate in their mind. And it’s that, It’s not even a thought at that point. They just see it and it’s just something that clicks and they’re like, Oh, let’s click these guys.

And so by taking up the real estate, being in all the areas you’re being that top of mind where it’s just, it’s something that is in your head because you’ve seen it and it just resonates and you just want to click that. And that’s comprehensive. That’s being in all the places that your target audience is going to be.

Then, email marketing, I haven’t really said much about that, but if you tack that on, now, maybe they come to your website and they download like an e-book on the, a car accident claim process or something like that. And then you follow up with a series of helpful emails talking about the process and how you can help them and sending them the other information.

Now you’ve taken that person, you’ve given them something, and you’ve followed up with them, and you’re driving them back to your website again. And so now they’re, instead of just downloading that thing, maybe skimming through it and being done, now they’re doing that and you’re contacting them again, and now they’re like, oh hey, let’s go check this out, because this is something that, I have this question. I want the answer to that, what you’re talking about. And so now they’re back on your website again. Now they’re even more familiar with you. You’ve already given them something helpful, and now they’re coming back for something more. And there it is. They’re back on there. Now the chances of them contacting you are even greater.

And then, referrals playing off of your existing client base. How do you stay in touch with your clients after you’ve closed their case? Email marketing is a great way of putting stuff out there. We’ve got one firm who gives away turkeys and boxes of steaks and all kinds of stuff to client, past clients who refer new clients to them.

I refer somebody. If I had a good experience and I knew I could refer somebody and get a box of steaks. Hey, I’m giving your number out. So building that, building your own community with your past clients. And so many firms don’t do that. And that’s just another area from a digital, the digital landscape that is why aren’t you doing this?

[00:15:58] Tanner Jones: It makes sense to me, Grant. I, there, there’s a study the long and short of it. And this was a, this is a significant study, a multi year, in fact, I believe it was a multi decade study on lots of large businesses throughout the world. And the study ultimately determined that the most successful businesses with respect to marketing were firms or businesses who were doing just what you’re suggesting, which is the comprehensive approach.

They’re focusing both long term efforts, which is often brand building, things that don’t necessarily immediately produce return on investment, but do support the brand in a positive way. Coupled with short term sales activation tactics and strategies. And ultimately they found that the brand building efforts actually helped to support.

The sales activation efforts because people were familiar with the brands. And so they were more likely to convert when the cells, the ad or whatever that sales activation strategy was that was in front of them. So everything you’re saying is founded on proven data and studies that, that imply that is the optimal strategy.

But I’d like to take a, maybe a different angle and throw a potentially challenging question at you. Realizing that diversifying strategy is important. I think we could all acknowledge that there are some firms that have leveraged maybe singular, we’ll call them tactics or a certain strategy that has produced amazing results.

I can look back and see certain clients of Consultwebs, for example, that have just absolutely crushed it in SEO and have produced incredible results and return on their investment for firms like that, who maybe are in a current very fruitful position where they’re seeing incredible results from one specific strategy or a particular strategy.

Why would they ever consider either redirecting funds or reinvesting in other places just to satisfy what you’re suggesting and implementing a comprehensive marketing approach? How would you speak to that situation?

[00:18:05] Grant Brott: We’re talking about the retirement and the 401k and stuff. And it’s very much like that.

A 401k is a lot of different things that you earn money in, and so in investing, you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You diversify, but you do double down on what’s working. And so if SEO is working yet, do more of it, but why not diversify? And, we started this call talking about change and how Google especially is changing the results on a regular basis is adding new things in, taking things out, and, every algorithm update is a okay, what’s going to happen now? For the most part, if you’re doing good quality work, the impact is minimal. But, they’re rolling out AI, their generative AI search results, which are very different.

We don’t know how that’s going to, the final version of that’s going to look like or what that’s going to do to the landscape. We’ve seen them roll out updates that have drastically changed the results in local. And things that didn’t work well that they had to backpedal on, but if your business suddenly disappears because of something for three months they’re rolling something out and updating something that impacts your business for that time frame, where you wait for Google, who we have no control over to make whatever changes they’re doing, and then maybe the results come back to normal, but we’ve seen many businesses hit very dramatically with this recent algo update this rolling out and it’s still rolling out.

It’s not complete. It’s been going for the whole month so far. And so if that’s your whole thing is you’re relying on the results in that search and Google, we have no control in the end, at the end of the day, on what Google decides to do. And so putting all your eggs in one basket is risky. And so having your audience on social media, having your audience on different social platforms, having an email list that you can reach out to, to get referral business and stuff, having a healthy referral side to your law firm is something that’s just good.

And so I think that’s the reason, definitely if it’s working, why not do more of it? But on the other side, if you’re focused on just the one thing, it could bite you in the butt down the road, because at the end of the day we have no control over what Google does. And that’s not just for organic and the local results, but there’s PPC ads, there’s local service ads.

Thanks. A lot of what digital marketing is built around Google. And building your audience, owning your audience on other platforms, Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, or X Snapchat, TikTok,  LinkedIn, like you want to have groups of target audience on all these different places.

You want that visibility. Because if one, one stumbles, it’s not that big of a deal when you’ve got these other areas that can drive business and you can shift resources over to do more on them while you wait for Google to finish doing whatever it’s doing.

[00:21:23] Tanner Jones: It can get so intimidating when you really start to ponder how many directions, how many options there are for a law firm marketer to invest money because their  budget is always finite. There’s always going to be a limitation to it. And just as you’ve already said, the title of this podcast is around painting a moving train. The concept of something like, we’re not controlling the train. The train is going to continue to barrel down the tracks.

The biggest opportunity you have is, first and foremost, accepting that fact. You can only control so much. So in that case, what I’m hearing from you is, control the controllables diversify continue to reinforce what’s working, but continue to test new technology, new available platforms. And I love that advice and I’ve seen nothing but success with firms who embrace that mindset.

So Grant, I appreciate you being willing to come on the show and talk through such an important topic and such a timely topic for law firms this year. As we wrap up here, I’m curious, is there anything maybe I didn’t ask that you would have wanted to share with listeners today, Grant?

[00:22:30] Grant Brott: Just as a wrap up, it’s in marketing being seen and recognized by potential customers is, it’s fundamental. That’s the purpose of it. Visibility ensures that a brand or a product or service is top of mind. Like we talked about for the consumer, for the potential clients, when they’re ready to make a purchase or a decision. And so you get that through comprehensive marketing efforts. You can’t be top of mind if you’re not doing stuff that puts you top of mind. And so that’s where that comprehensive thing comes in. And then I think that the bigger part of that is, I mentioned quality a little bit about the quality work and stuff like that. Some of that comes from the partnership with the people doing your marketing efforts, for us, the firms that work with us. And provide, their own unique perspectives on a topic so we can work their voice into the content, we get better results out of that. The ones that are involved in the community are engaged in doing things that we can put press releases out. Doing things in their community, being a business, doing what businesses do it’s a partnership.

And I think that’s, there’s strength in that, especially when you’re trying to look at, a comprehensive campaign, it’s hard to run that siloed away from a business on their behalf. We need to know what you’re doing. We need to know what we can leverage. Do you have people doing volunteer work in the community?

Do you have attorneys, that sponsor or do speaking engagements, or they wrote a recent article and something we can leverage all of that. All of that works into that comprehensive kind of concept. And come into these things when you’re looking and working with a marketing partner, it’s, that’s what it is. It’s not a vendor relationship. You want a partner relationship. Cause then you’re both in it to grow the business and get the results.

[00:24:21] Tanner Jones: Grant, I appreciate that wrap up and we’re very grateful for your time, your expertise and being willing to share. What you’re seeing this year, what’s the best way for listeners to contact you?

[00:24:31] Grant Brott: LinkedIn. Just Grant Brott on at LinkedIn. Do a search and I’ll pop up.

[00:24:36] Tanner Jones: Very good. Thanks again. Looking forward to the next one.

Lawsome by consult webs with Tanner Jones. For show notes, links and info, go to Consultwebs dot com slash podcast. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review. Watch for the next Lawsome episode to discover more breakthrough insights to build a thriving law firm.

Episode Tweetables and Quotes:

“Various clients say things like: ‘Oh, SEO doesn’t work’ or ‘social media doesn’t work,’ and ‘email marketing doesn’t work.’ That concept that this stuff just doesn’t work. The truth, though, is when it’s done right, it works very well. And when all of those things are done right together, it does even more for business.” @consultwebs

“There are different levels of the quality of work. You take somebody who has done SEO for a year, and the impact of those efforts is very different from somebody who has been doing it for 10 years or 15 years. It all comes down to the quality and having experts who understand how to do different areas and do them the right way. We’ve been doing this for so long now that we have already seen what works and does not work. Sometimes, you do something, and it’s not going to work, but you’re going to learn from it, adjust your strategy, and move on. Doing it the right way and not cutting corners is how you get results. It does work. We see it work every day.” @consultwebs

“There’s not an ideal place to start. When you’re looking at digital advertising, every firm will be different. No two businesses are exactly alike and where they are at in the digital landscape. You might have one that is really good at SEO in place but lacks social media effort, branding, and paid visibility. Others might have great visibility, such as paid ads and local service ads, but they are nowhere to show in the map results of local businesses. So, the variations of this are just always different. That’s why there’s no ideal place to start digital advertising. The key is comprehensive. You want to be in all of these areas. You want full visibility. If you leave social media out or SEO, you’re leaving money on the table by not reaching your audience where they regularly are.”  @consultwebs

“In investing, you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You diversify. But you do double down on what’s working. So, if SEO is working, yes, do more of it, but why not diversify?”   @consultwebs