Jan is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, using techniques developed while building national brands in the hyper-competitive consumer product space. His company has helped small and solo law firms in the most crowded markets in the U.S. generate hundreds of thousands in case billings, uh, every year.
Jan Roos: Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, while we do focus on those small law firms for now, the way that we arrived at that was actually kind of an evolutionary process. So, we’ve done the kind of marketing that we currently do for law firms, in a lot of different markets.
David Brower: I want to talk about your, your ’boutique digital agency’, as you advertise it. It’s been mostly small and medium law firms, but it seems to me it’s a, it’s a process that would benefit a lot of different industries.
Jan Roos: Yeah, so my background actually comes from doing, um, consumer products nationwide, so it was a completely different kind of marketing, but the sort of tips and techniques I developed while doing that were what I ended up taking to mostly local business, uh, particularly in the service niche. So, I could get into the details of what this kind of stuff works for more, uh, more … Or, later on, rather, but basically, the kind of marketing that we’re doing for, for law firms right now, it’s based on paid traffic and, uh, the really attractive thing about it is that we’re getting leads coming into the door on these campaigns in 72 hours or less.
David Brower: Wow.
Jan Roos: So, that’s why we focus on the speed and, um, another thing is that it works great for small law firm owners, or basically any small service business owners, because I’ve been in the same position at all that countr- All the companies that [inaudible 00:01:45] have been bootstrapped, so I, uh, I definitely feel the pain of not being able to wait for six or twelve months to be able to get a return on your investment. So, these small practices and business owners, a lot of times, they’re getting billings in the first month, which end up paying for what they’re doing on advertising, what they’re paying for service, and then some. So, that’s where it gets really interesting.
David Brower: Wow. That’s huge, man. So, you developed this while you were doing some nationwide branding?
Jan Roos: Right. So, basically, the business I was running before was, uh, we sold consumer products. One was in the outdoors and backpacking space and the other one was in fitness, so specifically, we did Crossfits and Triathlon. So, at this point, it was, you know, this was the first business I started. It was me and a partner on the, the sourcing side, so it was basically, you know, “Hey, we got a lot-full of this stuff. It’s sitting in a warehouse somewhere. Like, all right, what are we gonna do? Let’s go move this.” So, I was, you know, sales, marketing, dishwasher, janitor, all in one.
David Brower: Right.
Jan Roos: So, I had to basically take responsibility for, um, all these different kinds of marketing and I did have some experience working in agencies before, which I was able to leverage, but um, yeah, I mean, there’s- It’s very different when the rubber hits the road and it’s totally different for whatever, uh, kind of business you’re in, and even which kind of market you’re in.
So, I had a lot of- Well, we were kind of going through, uh, the major different types of marketing that you could do online. We were doing some direct sales. We were doing some PR outreach, uh, SEO, uh, that kind of stuff, um, and then finally, paid traffic. And the thing that was really interesting was that we noticed that completely different- The channels worked very differently for the two different markets that we were in. So, like, for example, PR worked really, really well in the survival space and it was kind of related to where we were positioned relative to our competitors. Uh, it was a lot more unique, so it was able to get journalists attention more, which was great.
Um, we noticed that paid traffic ended up working really well in the health space, just because it was easier to target people, uh, via those, like, very niched interests of triathlon or Crossfit. And the other thing that was really exciting about paid traffic is that, basically, um, there was just way less of a ramp-up time. So, the thing is, a lot of the tactics that are used online and a lot of the stuff that’s kind of being promoted out there is, uh, a lot of it’s- I mean, not to say it doesn’t work, but it’s definitely a flywheel, so whether this is SEO or content publishing or PR, um, it’s kind of a, you know, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, and then all of the sudden, things start coalescing or they don’t. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.
David Brower: Sure.
Jan Roos: But, regardless, uh, it’s gonna be a while before you figure out where things are going. The thing that’s great about paid traffic is that, you know, this is basically what the- Some of the most valuable companies in the world, like Google and, you know, Microsoft and Facebook, this is their primary business model. So, they make it extremely easy. There’s- Mark Zuckerberg didn’t, you know, build Facebook to 1.6 billion people just, you know, for the good of it. It’s like, you know, he’s selling access to those people and if you want to buy traffic on that, you can be in front of them tomorrow.
So, when you have that traffic part not- This is not something you have to worry about in the equation, you basically have the means to test different messages, uh, different offers, different actual, you know, ways to, uh, to [inaudible 00:04:58] your business. And when you get something that works, that’s when you get the leads that are coming in within 72 hours or less. So, basically, you know, when we started out cracking to these different markets, we had to put our, you know, put our copywriter hats on and figure out what were the things that people were appealed to? And it’s something that we did in custom, but at the point that we’re at right now, we more or less cracked the code, so campaigns that we’re running in one part of the country, you know, we can more or less turn on- You know, if we have campaigns that are doing really well in New York, we have those campaigns that with, you know, relatively- We have to tailor it to the different accounts, uh, more or less, but we can turn those on in LA, we can turn those on in Atlanta, and we’re getting the same awesome results from them.
David Brower: Wow. How exciting is that, man? How, uh … So, for a business owner out there who goes, “What the hell does paid traffic mean?”
Jan Roos: Yeah.
David Brower: (laughs) You know? How does that- How can you define that for somebody that knows zip, zero, about this kind of stuff?
Jan Roos: Gotcha. So, this is, uh, paid traffic is basically- So, you know, all these companies- I mean, the biggest two right now are Google and Facebook.
David Brower: Right.
Jan Roos: So, uh, and the thing is that’s actually interesting, within Facebook, you actually have the ability to advertise, even if you’re just a person. Uh, there’s literally comments for it and then, for Google, uh, you want to go to a site like adwords.google.com. A lot of the times, they actually- Google’s very, very strong on using direct mail, so if somebody’s had a business registered at an address for a certain amount of time, chances are, these guys have already reached out to you.
But basically, paid traffic is when you end up signing up for an account like this, you give Google or Facebook your credit card and then, uh, you’re able to buy clicks or impressions of people that are on either of these networks. So, in the instance of Facebook, it would be the ads that your seeing in the Newsfeed as you scroll through. Uh, on Google, um, there’s a couple different but the one that we deal with mostly for a client is the ads that you’d see if you type in something like, you know, ‘plumber Kansas’ and then, you know, the top couple of listings are actually gonna be ads and when you click on those ads, Google is charging whoever is putting that ad up for the click that you just made.
David Brower: Got you. So, if you’re- In a perfect world, you um … Tell me if I’m not right on this, but it seems like you would focus businesses on Google as an example to being … What? The top three? Top five?
Jan Roos: Um, yeah, so the thing is that there’s kind of a … There’s a nuanced answer to that, but more or less, you’d want to be at the top and the thing is that, in most markets, there aren’t even that many competitors for there to be more than three or five results. Um, the thing is, if you’re in a market where there’s more, then that, um, sometimes it’s actually better to be in the lower position, as long as you’re getting enough clicks to satisfy a budget. But, um, yeah. Basically, as long as you’re on the front page, which on Google, that’s the top eight positions.
David Brower: Okay.
Jan Roos: Um, you’re gonna be able to get enough traffic to, hopefully, turn over some leads. And the thing is, it’s um, you know, the standards- We usually shoot for a 10% conversion rate with our clients, so if you can get 10 clicks in a day, you’ll get a call a day.
David Brower: Okay.
Jan Roos: Yeah.
David Brower: And so, and then, you’re paying for that click?
Jan Roos: Yeah, so that’s the thing that’s important. So, uh, on Google specifically- So, when you’re paying for the click, this is a really, really important distinction because you, uh, like basically, after the point at which you made a click, you’re the most vulnerable. Um, Google’s more than happy to let your clients click on these ads, so they don’t really care too much whether you set them up in the right place. Um, what you should care about as a business owner, though, is whether these are clicks that actually turn into people who are calling you.
So, how you get to that 10%- Uh, and compared to the industry average, this is people who are educated. These are people who are amateurs. This is all- All things in between is about 2.5%, so the way that you get to 10, um, it’s by selecting the right kind of traffic. Uh, on average, that would be with, uh, with the appropriate keywords, it’s on having a strategy which matches that traffic to an appropriate page on your website and having the compelling copy and design on that page to make a message that really compels someone to pick up that phone and call you right then.
David Brower: So, content, content, content, call to action.
Jan Roos: Yeah, basically, and that’s all the way though to ad content as well. I mean, that’s, that’s a thing that a lot of people miss out on is, you know, if you’re writing something that’s talking about how, uh, you know, you’re a relationship focused service, um, you shouldn’t be advertising how cheap you are, because you know, when people are clicking through that, they’re looking the cheap ser- Uh, they’re looking for the cheap service.
David Brower: Right.
Jan Roos: Yeah.
David Brower: Right, and if you’re, if you’re in a business and you have a value proposition and you’ve had a promise in there, you better be prepared to honor that promise 24/7, you know?
Jan Roos: Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing, too, is it ends up covering you from the people who aren’t interested. If you have, uh, a value pro- You know, there’s no wrong value proposition in the business. Um, you know, even if you’re a premium service, if you’re putting that on your ad copy and you’re being bold about it, you shouldn’t be attracting tire kickers because they shouldn’t be looking- You know, they’re not gonna be looking for, uh, you know, premium service. They’re gonna be looking for cheap services, so there’s no reason they want to click on your ads. And then people- You know, sometimes- And this is, you know, just a pretty simple concept in marketing in general. It’s like, you know, you don’t want to appeal to everyone and you don’t especially don’t want to appeal to everyone in paid traffic because you’re gonna attract a lot of people that aren’t gonna end up calling you if you’re appealing to the things that don’t really represent your business.
David Brower: So, being able to use the content, uh, the ad words, and really fine tuning, uh, a niche to get in there that’s, that’s gonna work, it’s really kind of surgical, isn’t it?
Jan Roos: Oh, yeah. And there’s, there’s a million and one ways that you can rock with this, but um, thankfully that’s sort of how we’ve made a niche because we’re taking, uh, something that’s really complicated and a lot times- You know, if you were to work with a big agency on this, this would probably be three or four people that are working on it, but we have the process, so um, you know, it’s all tailored and dovetails with itself in a way that really makes it sing.
David Brower: Nice. So, it’s still just the two of you?
Jan Roos: Uh, oh, no, no. That was a totally different business partner. So, and-
David Brower: Oh, okay. Okay.
Jan Roos: Yeah, yeah. No, I pivoted a bit. So, I mean, at this point, uh, we’ve got a couple of employees, we have account managers across the country. Uh, you know, we’ve got our own micro-marketing sales team at this point. Uh, but it all started out with, you know, it was just Jan and Mike Shingle.
David Brower: Nice!
Jan Roos: Yeah, but over the past three years, we’ve, uh, we’ve been able to scale up to the point where we’re, um, we’re having those full-time account managers for our clients that can do these things, you know, pretty much any hour of the day.
David Brower: That’s exciting, man. It also gives you a little bit of, uh, an opportunity for a little of balance in your life, maybe.
Jan Roos: Oh, yeah, absolutely. That’s how, you know, you’re able to do the things like, uh- Well, at the end of the day, it ends up going back, a lot of the times, into research because, you know, if we’re just running around, uh, just balancing client accounts all the time, it doesn’t really give us a time to go do the, um, the new programs that we’re experimenting with to get even better results for our clients. So, I like to, wherever possible, take that time and really invest into developing new stuff because that’s, at the end of the day, what’s better for our clients is what’s [inaudible 00:12:06].
David Brower: That makes perfect sense because technology changes on a dime. I mean, it’s just, if you’re not keeping up with it, it’s, uh, it’s a long road.
Jan Roos: Oh, yeah. For sure. And that’s the thing, too, it’s like, you know, a lot of the times, um, you know, Google likes to position it- Uh, well, Google in particular. Facebook a little bit less. But, um, I mean, Google, if- It would love for AdWords to be a completely self-serve platform, but the reality is, there’s things that change so fast, like, it’s not something that you can kind of be- Uh, you can’t really be half pregnant on this stuff because, you know, if you end up not missing- So, I mean, a recent example, um, they changed the format of text ads, which they hadn’t done in the past 15 years, and people who aren’t actually updating that, um, they’re not gonna be able to show their ads anymore unless they update the format. So, you know, if you’re not keeping your ear to the railroad tracks, you’re not gonna be able to see, uh, those kind of developments and, you know-
David Brower: Yeah.
Jan Roos: -that’s one instance when your ads aren’t being shown. Uh, the more insidious instance is when, you know, there’s an update and you’re the only advertiser that’s not taking advantage of it, so your competitors are getting the clicks, better clicks and cheaper clicks, while, you know, you’re stuck in the dust because you didn’t really know what was going on. Yeah.
David Brower: Makes perfect sense. Well, let’s switch over to Facebook for a minute. Obviously, apples and oranges, but what does, uh, what does novice business person need to pay attention to, uh, with even looking at Facebook?
Jan Roos: Right, so um, just to be totally clear, it’s not something that we really focus on for the kind of deliverables, uh, that 72 hours thing, and I’ll explain why. The thing about Google, is um- David, have you ever read the book ‘Breakthrough Advertising’ by, uh, Eugene Schwartz?
David Brower: I have not.
Jan Roos: Okay, so it’s, uh, it was a great book. It was published in the ’70s but, uh, the big innovation is basically the stages of market awareness. So, through the customer journey, and this has kind of been, you know, co-opted in a lot of more general marketing information is the whole, uh, view of a funnel. So, by the time somebody’s typing in, um, you know, ’emergency plumber Topeka’, chances are, the pipes leaked, their basement’s flooded. They’re reading to make a decision right the and there. Um, that’s, that’s what we call a ‘buying keyword’ in AdWords, but that’s- Yeah, and then, in the, uh, in the language of Eugene Schwartz, it’d be a ‘solution aware customer’. So …
David Brower: Okay.
Jan Roos: The thing is, they’ve already made the decision to, to make a, a lead, or make a purchase decision by the time they type in that keyword. So, that’s the main difference and that’s how you can get people going on so fast. Facebook is still definitely effective, you just have to take a different strategy.
So, Facebook today can kind of be compared to TV advertising, you know, in most of the 20th century. So, I- There was a really, uh, a great metaphor for this. People may go to Google to make decisions, people go to Facebook to avoid making decisions. And, you know, I’m sure-
David Brower: Oh, wow.
Jan Roos: (laughs) Yeah. But-
David Brower: That’s awesome. (laughs)
Jan Roos: But, the thing is- So, it’s- I mean, the thing is, that being said, um, we’re talking with clicks that are orders of magnitude cheaper, um, and the thing is, you know, people make a really- But, the thing is, you have to really step your game up in terms of A, what your follow-up strategy is gonna be because, for the most part, people aren’t going to click onto one page directly from Facebook and book a free consultation with you, for example.
David Brower: Right, right.
Jan Roos: Um, but, if you have, if you have- You have to have content that will draw somebody away from what they were reading or, you know, you’re gonna be sandwiched between, you know, a video of a cute French bulldog and, you know, your baby cousin’s, you know, birthday pictures. So, you’ve gotta have something that’s gonna pull them away from that.
David Brower: Right.
Jan Roos: But, granted, if you can, if you can get that attention with some quality content and then have a strategy for follow-up, um, you know, I’d recommend things like retargeting or email capture and then, you know, it’s a couple steps that you’re gonna have to do, but you can still get them all the way down that funnel, it’s just, you have to take responsibility for doing that and have a plan in place for every step.
David Brower: That makes sense. That makes sense. I ran an advertising agency for an automotive group for a few years and retargeting was, like, oh my god.
Jan Roos: Oh, yeah. It’s fantastic.
David Brower: Unbelievable.
Jan Roos: Yeah. If you can get the volume, it’s- I mean, that’s the thing. It’s, it’s basically, you know, it’s the successive steps of, of showing an audience, “Hey, who’d interested in this?” Some amount of people raise their hand. You round up the people that raise their hand, show them something a little further down the funnel and just, you know, repeat as many times as necessary until you can get somebody’s credit card.
David Brower: Let’s talk about your book.
Jan Roos: Yeah, awesome. So, um, basically, the book is called ‘The Legal Marketing Fast Lane’. So, in it, I go over a lot of the principles that, uh, we were able to use to build this business and the thing is, it’s uh, we were working in some of the most competitive markets in the entire world. So, for example, personal injury in, uh, in New York City is, like, one of the most expensive costs per clicks that you can get in the entire world of PPC. Like, we have people in the city that are paying, you know, north of $150 per click, Dave. (laughs)
David Brower: Wow.
Jan Roos: So, the fact that we were able to make this work was- Sometimes, people who had budgets of, you know, really small, like, you know, on the order of, you know, $2,000 in a market where that’s the amount of cost per click-
David Brower: Right.
Jan Roos: -um, we have to develop some pretty crazy techniques in order to do it. So, basically, um, I go through a lot of the different philosophies of what you need to know when you’re going in to paid traffic. Um, it’s geared towards lawyers, obviously, but if somebody wants to take- Uh, check it out, I mean, there’s- Some of these principles can apply to, uh, different businesses, as long as they have that, that sort of urgent need in the same way that a law firm does.
But, uh, basically, there’s actually a- You know, we’re going- We go through the steps of how you can go ahead and set up a funnel like this yourself and, you know, while you might not get absolutely stellar results like you could by working with an agency, you can, a lot of the times, get something serviceable, as long as their message is right, it’s really- It is actually realistic to get those results in 72 hours or less.
David Brower: So, if you’re a service industry, you gotta be paying attention to this.
Jan Roos: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the people-
David Brower: Or, service business, I mean.
Jan Roos: Yeah. I mean, as long as you’re local. So, the big criteria is, for, uh, when we’re selecting clients, is you need to make sure you’re having something that’s relatively high ticket. So, that’s where something like an emergency plumber-
David Brower: Yep.
Jan Roos: -or, you know, somebody who does roofing or commercial welding or something like that. That’s good because you’re gonna get- And you know, it’s not cheap. You’re probably gonna have to expect to pay at least $500 or $1,000 with Google to get any sort of tangible result from this. Anything else than that, you’re just reading tea leaves because you need to have a certain amount of data to make the statistics make sense.
David Brower: Makes sense.
Jan Roos: But, um, so as long as you have, you know- My rule of thumb is, you know, if you’re making at least $1,000 per client, um, there’s an urgent need that the kind of clients that need you, um, need to hire somebody in the next week or so. You don’t want to be dealing with too long of a sales cycle, just from a cashflow perspective. But, if you fit those two criteria, um, you know, that’s- This is definitely something that can work for you, as long as there’s enough people searching for it.
David Brower: That’s terrific, man.
Jan Roos: Um, if you want to, uh, we’re actually gonna go ahead and get a free offer going for anyone who’s interested in the book.
David Brower: Okay.
Jan Roos: So, that would be at, uh, legalmarketingfast.com/freebookbrower.
David Brower: Very good! Say that again. legalmarketing …
Jan Roos: Legalmarketingfast.com/freebookbrower
David Brower: Very cool! All right, man. Well, this has been a treat for me. I love learning about this stuff and I’m sure our listeners did as well and, uh, keep up the good work and keep the fast track going.
Jan Roos: Fantastic. Thanks, Dave. Appreciate it.
David Brower: All right. Jan Roos with-
Jan Roos: ‘Legal Marketing Fast Lane’.Have a comment? Subscribe to my blog and then join the conversation...and if you have an idea for a blog, please email it to me David@DavidBrowerVO.com With gratitude, David Brower
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