How did a mechanical engineer land into the legal marketing space? How has your experience been here so far?
I always had a thing for cars growing up. If you found 13-14 year old Kaushik’s search history, you’d find something like ‘cool cars’ ‘fastest race cars’ etc. I thought “Wow, I love cars, why not become a mechanical engineer?”
After a year in University, I realised that I liked owning cars better than making them (laughs). Towards the end of high school, I got into the digital sphere. Instagram was starting to take off in the US and I knew that it would take 2-3 years to get really big in the East and I wanted to ride that trend.
I started a bunch of side projects with my best friend/business partner, Ethan, and after from graduating uni, I wanted a ‘real job’. My cousin is a lawyer and I reached out to her and she told me to work in a law firm as Covid had just started and a lot of firms were expected to grow digitally.
My experience so far has been great! I connected with a bunch of amazing people via LinkedIn and they really helped me grow my business.
A little birdie told us that at the age of 19, you were earning 2500$ through SEO and marketing?! How was that experience? What was your strategy and what would your tips be for a youngster wanting to do something similar?
19-year-old Kaushik was a party guy. He loved to drink and eat in a lot of bars and restaurants across Seoul. Since I went there so often, I became good friends with the owners. Eventually, it came to the point where I decided that if I was gonna spend my money there, I might as well make them money and make me money. Win-win right?
I went to them and started pitching Facebook ads to them and within a couple of months, I had 4-5 clients. Eventually, I had to stop because school work got too intense and the money wasn’t worth the effort.
If you’re 18 or just thinking of getting into digital marketing, I would learn one skill and stick to it. Try to avoid shiny object syndrome. There are a million digital marketing tools and strategies, but chasing all of them won’t get you anywhere. Learn one skill, get good at it, and then monetize it.
How can one self-learn SEO? Could you recommend some resources for a beginner?
The best way to learn SEO is to dive into the deep end of the pool. Ethan & I started SeoulInspired, a travel blog with 150,000 monthly visitors and we didn’t know a thing about blogging when we started it.
We lived in Korea for 3 years at this point and wanted to let others know about it.
Starting your blog is the fastest way to learn SEO & Content Marketing.
If you’re looking into SEO and Content Marketing for the legal industry, my blog is pretty good (laughs). You can check it out at valeolegalmarketing.com
What is Legal Marketing and why is it relevant in today’s age and time?
Simply put, Legal Marketing is just marketing your firm to your audience to build trust and credibility.
Most law firms are faceless. Their clients don’t know who they are, what their values are, and what the people working at the firm are in real life. It feels like they are interacting with a business and not a person.
People buy from people they know. People are more likely to come to you for their legal needs if they know more about you. One of the largest stigmas is that you keep your personal life out of your professional life.
People want to know more about you, your life, your values, and your interests & hobbies. Not sharing those makes you look like a machine.
Gone are the days where lawyers could focus exclusively on legal work. Now, you have to be a marketer, a salesperson, and a lawyer, and building your brand will make all 3 of these easier.
Why is your target audience limited to small and medium-sized firms?
When I got my job as a digital marketing manager at my previous firm they had no idea how to market their firm digitally. They had the right intentions but didn’t have someone to guide them.
At the same time, I was chatting with people from my network who worked at other small and mid-sized firms and they all faced similar issues.
Big firms can rely solely on word of mouth, but if you’re a small firm and are just starting, that is not the case.
SEO is extremely effective for small and mid-size firms as it helps them get their brand name out, hire better talent, and get higher quality clients.
What is your strategy for high-quality leads? How do you draw the distinction between a high-quality and a low-quality lead?
Building my brand on LinkedIn has been my best marketing activity. It cost me 0$ and it only cost me time. I’ve built my brand on LinkedIn and the inbound leads I get are automatically high quality as they’ve been following my content on LinkedIn for at least a couple of months.
I also publish articles consistently (3-4 times/month) and work on my ranking. I have a pretty detailed contact form on my website which prevents tire kickers and only gets me pre-qualified, higher-quality leads.
High quality for me is firms who’ve already done their research about me, spoken with a couple of my other clients, and know how I work, operate, and how much I charge. It massively reduces the sales cycle and the communication quality is significantly higher.
What would your advice be for a small or mid-sized law firm just beginning with its legal marketing journey? What should be avoided and what should definitely be included in their core strategy?
If you’re a small and mid-sized firm and are just starting, I would tell you to not get worried about the metrics. I’m talking views, website visitors, likes, and follows.
For the first 6-8 months, you shouldn’t expect a thing from your content marketing efforts. Having this mindset will have you publishing content consistently, and not be worried if you don’t hit “goals”.
There is nothing, in particular, a firm should avoid. You’ll make mistakes, but that’s ok and perfectly normal. The goal is to stay consistent even when you don’t feel like publishing content.
There are two things I recommend a firm that is just starting they do; build your blog and build your personal brand on LinkedIn.
These will have the highest ROI in the long run.
Does the complex jargon that lawyers use prove a hindrance for them while marketing?
The content production process might look something like this if you work in a small or mid-sized firm. The partners produce the content on a topic they want and they pass it on to the BD team and they make the content “less legal” and edit and publish it.
I know that because that’s what I did at my previous firm. When the BD team read the article written by the partners, we were repelled by it as we found most of the article to be legal jargon, and we didn’t want our readers to face such torture.
Having complex legal terms is disconnecting you from your audience, especially if you’re in the B2C industry.
There is not only a disconnect between you and the readers but there’s also a disconnect between the BD team and the partners. The BD team struggle at times to figure out what the content is about and they end up wasting both their and the partner’s time.
Unless your firm works exclusively with law firms and gets business from them, I would advise them to steer away from complex legal terms.
Your clients don’t care about changes in the law. They care about how it affects them.
Give your 2 cents on how it would affect them and your client will be more likely to read it.
How should a law student or young legal professional seeking a career in legal marketing begin? What are the primary steps one should take?
I would advise them to start learning a digital marketing skill. I would recommend them to learn SEO or Content Marketing as paid advertisements are illegal in some countries.
Having some proof that you’ve been in the digital space (i.e. start your blog, build your own website) will make them infinitely more valuable as they can have the best of both worlds and serve as the bridge that connects the partners and the BD/marketing team.
Is it important to have studied law in order to do well in the legal marketing sector? Is the lack of legal knowledge a hindrance?
I am living proof that you don’t have to study law to become a legal marketer. At times I wished I was a lawyer to understand what the lawyer was talking about, but its certainly not necessary.
Please tell us something about your podcast “The Legal Two Cents”. What is the idea behind the podcast and the name?
Ethan & I started “The Legal 2 Cents” because I wanted to listen to some good podcasts in the legal marketing field and I couldn’t find any that were casual and chill.
Most of them were way too formal and it was too structured and rigid. I hated that.
I wanted something where people can tune in, learn about marketing, and watch Ethan & I talk shit for 40 mins (laughs).
You consistently post on Linkedin, regardless of the numbers and engagement. What is the idea behind consistent posting?
I honestly believe that metrics such as likes, follows, and comments are vanity metrics.
When I post content on Linkedin, I look at the big picture and ask myself this:
“Are you moving the needle in the right direction?”
The answer is always YES.
“Are you connecting with the right people?” Yes.
“Are you engaging and adding value to the right people?” Yes.
“Are you getting inbound leads every month?” Yes.
I have answers to my big picture and I don’t dwell on irrelevant metrics.
Lastly, a month ago, you announced on your LinkedIn that you’re creating a guide for law firms and lawyers. What will this guide cover? Where can one access it?
I made a poll on what guide lawyers and law firms would like to see and it was a 50-50 between “A Complete SEO Guide for Lawyers & Law Firms” or “How to Generate High Quality Leads from Google Ads”
I’m in the process of creating both and it will be on my website under the blog section once it’s up.
Link to website: www.valeolegalmarketing.com