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Description

In the last episode, Luke interviewed Nalini Prasad. We heard about Nalini’s life story and how BluShark Digital came to be.

This week’s conversation highlights BluShark and what they’re all about. The goal of this conversation between Nalini and Luke is to help listeners like you understand if what BluShark has to offer is something that would benefit you or someone you know.

Listen in to Luke and Nalini’s conversation as they discuss who BluShark is best suited to help, who they really aren’t good for, and why a law firm may or may not want to hire them.

Transcription

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Luke W Russell:

Welcome to Lawful Good, Powerful Partners. This is a series about interesting and caring folks that we know and trust whose journeys brought them to collaboration with the legal community. I’m your host, Luke W Russell. I’m not a journalist. I’m not an attorney. I’m trained as a coach. I love human connection. And that’s what you are about to hear today. I’m chatting with Nalini Prasad, one of our lawful good powerful partners. The goal of this conversation between Nalini and I is to help listeners like you understand if Nalini’s company, BluShark Digital, has to offer is something that would benefit you or someone you know. If you haven’t already listened to my interview with Nalini about her life story and how BluShark came to be, you can hear that and so much more in the previous episode. As you probably can imagine, Lawful Good as a production requires an enormous amount of resources.

Luke W Russell:

And one way we make this show possible is by featuring people we know, like, and trust, many of whom we have a referral relationship with. So if you listen to this and you think, “Hey, I’d love to hire BluShark,” let them know that you heard the Lawful Good interview and they will financially support our show for each listener that hires them. Join me as we listen in to our conversation where we are discussing who BluShark Digital is best suited to help, who they really aren’t good for, and why a law firm may or may not want to hire them. Okay Nalini, let’s say I’m a lawyer and I’m thinking, “Hey, I’ve heard of this BluShark Digital company. What exactly can they do for me?” What would you say to that person?

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah. So BluShark, it used to be, it’s funny, a few years ago, people didn’t really know what digital marketing was. But the industry has exploded, with a lot of it having to do with COVID, being home, having to transform your businesses, to gain clients online now because it was harder to go out and nurture your referral networks. So what we do is we really help attract clients and leads online. We use the four fundamentals that Google really cares about to have you stand out against your competition on Google. We focus heavier on the organic side of things. So not so much those paid ads at the top, but getting you to rank in the local three pack and the top 10 by focusing on technical, content, link building, local. But the name of the game at the end of the day is to get you visibility so that people know that you exist if they’re looking for your services and can give you a call, find out more about you, and hire you for their legal services.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah, so there’s a lot of digital marketing companies out there. What do you feel like, for a lawyer who’s in the market to shop for a partner, what would you say to that person to help them just when they’re trying to figure out, “How do I pick?” Because there’s so many vendors, some that come and get no results, others that their friend gets good results but then someone else doesn’t. How does a lawyer approach this?

Nalini Prasad:

It’s really overwhelming at this point. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of people in this industry now and it doesn’t have the best reputation. It truly doesn’t, SEO. We know that there’s a lot of companies that are like, “Oh, SEO is easy to do.” And then they create a company, it’s the snake oil that everybody talks about. You go jump in with these folks for $1,000 a month and you’re promised the world, and then you have a back experience. I can’t tell you the number of people that I talk to that are always saying, “Hey, I know enough to be dangerous, so don’t try to sell me. Or I’ve been through this road before, I’ve been with three other SEO companies, it’s all terrible.” So there’s some things that are very, very key that you can look for and that are simple.

Nalini Prasad:

One, I always say that a company that’s doing things properly will have clients and references. So look to the things that have been done by that company before, obviously, that’s number one. Number two, make sure that you own everything. A good company will not be proprietary because they’re not going to hold you and hold your feet to the fire and say, “Oh, well we own your website. So you got to stay with us forever.” In the long run, it is going to be cheaper for you too, because you don’t have to recreate a whole website. You don’t have to recreate all that content and the links and things that were built for you during your time period. But you should own your own content. You should own your own website. So anyone who says, “Oh, we have a really cool robust system where you can see things in the backend and we created it,” those are the buzzwords for proprietary, meaning you don’t own it.

Nalini Prasad:

When you hear, “WordPress, we put everything on WordPress,” that is the buzzword for it. You own it. It’s easy to move from one place to the next and it’s good things. So owning your stuff is important. Being weary of contracts, and this one is 50/50. So a lot of the better SEO companies and a lot of those snake oil companies do contracts. So you really have to just have an idea of, “Is this contract because this company does really well and they just need the time to actually show the results because it does take time, they want to protect me so that I’m not moving and shaking every three months from company to company?” Because honestly that is what ruins your SEO. That is what ruins your idea of SEO companies, and it’s worse for you on ROI and money.

Nalini Prasad:

You’re spending money three months at a time that are really just going nowhere because you don’t give it enough time. So contracts are not necessarily a terrible thing if you’re with a reputable company and there’s a reason that they are doing the contract. Now, people who are trying to sell you fast and quick and say, “Oh, well we need one to two years. You have to do this.” And they’re not really sounding like they know the technical behind it and why it should take that time, I’m usually better off doing a month to month and a lot of the better companies do offer month-to-month services. So don’t get yourself locked in. Don’t get yourself in a situation where you don’t own anything and you leave empty handed. Those are two very easy metrics, I think.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. I know a lot of lawyers feel frustrated at times, especially a lot of the contingency fee lawyers are like, “I’m having to do all this work up front, I’m having to pay for everything up front, and I don’t get paid unless I win.” And here’s the marketing vendors, “I want to guarantee my paycheck and now people are saying it might take a year for me to get results.” What would you say to that attorney?

Nalini Prasad:

That’s interesting. So I get a lot less to that because they realize that the services that we’re providing are month to month, that it does take time. And really it’s the fact that you guys as contingency lawyers know this is my trial date, we’re going to find out one way or another and it’s a third party that’s going to pay my fees. My client is not shoveling out a bunch of money. So at the end of the day, if we went that strategy, it would be, “Hey, all right. Well give me a piece of every single client that you sign.” And you don’t really want to end up doing that if you’re signing 20 to 40 clients at that one year to a year and a half mark. But either way, I would say that I think that a lot of our clients actually understand that it is month to month services, that it does take a lot of work.

Nalini Prasad:

And so we don’t get that a lot in terms of, “Hey, can we see it work before we pay you anything?” But we do get a lot, “Well, is there a way to start slow? Can we do a little bit and test and measure this because to us we don’t understand what’s going on?” And that’s always an option with the right company. The right company can start with just one city and optimize you for that, for one practice area and optimize you for that. If someone’s telling you, “No, it’s all or nothing. Put in $20,000 a month and we can do this,” that’s sales, that’s not SEO. I think that’s been my biggest with being in this industry is deciphering between what is sales and what is SEO? What are SEO people telling you that are putting this fire under your ass to sign with them, but it’s not really necessary for you actually being successful online?

Nalini Prasad:

So I think just knowing that you can start smaller, that’s the best way test and measure. And when you ask about these KPIs, that’s a big thing because you are paying monthly or you’re paying for a year contract and you want to know how it’s doing, really understand what KPI are you measuring? Because the KPI changes. At least with us in the beginning, your KPIs are just making sure that you’re moving your visibility from page five to four to three. If it’s working, it will absolutely go in the right direction. You’ll see a trend, but you’re not going to be on page one right away. So your KPI is not, “How many keywords am I on page one for in the first three months?” From month six to eight, you want to see yourself start to be visible, maybe depending on your practice area, how many resources are going into there.

Nalini Prasad:

And you’re not really measuring call volume until you start to see yourself visible, which is somewhere between that eight to 12 month range. So that’s when you start looking at call volume, and then call quality is not until after you have the call volume consistent. I really think it’s important that people understand those KPIs when they’re spending money. That it’s not, “Okay, month one, how many calls did they get and did they sign?” And I think a good company will also walk you through those KPIs, write down the KPIs, and every company has different ones that you can create with them. So always talking about that up front.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. By the way, for those listening who maybe are unfamiliar with the term KPI, that stands for key performance indicator. So who would you say BluShark is? Could you give me both, “These are the people we’re best suited to help, these are the kinds of attorneys.” And, “These are the attorneys who you probably want someone else.”

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah, absolutely. So B2C is the biggest thing for if you’re getting into SEO, business to consumer. There has to be someone who is going to go to Google or go to the internet, not their friend, not their buddy, and say, “I need a car accident lawyer. I need a divorce lawyer. I need a DUI lawyer.” They’re in an immediate need for someone and they may not know your name yet. But having you pop up, they’re going to go call these folks and try to hire a lawyer right away. A lot of times some of these practice areas like family law, you may say, “I need a divorce lawyer,” but it may take six to nine months for you to make a decision because that’s a longer cycle. But the fact that there’s still a consumer who doesn’t maybe want to discuss their dirty laundry with their best friends or friends and get those referrals to you, there’s still the search.

Nalini Prasad:

So there has to be an audience and that is compared to B2B. So B2C, really good for SEO. B2B is going to depend case by case. I’m not saying that it is not possible to do SEO for B2B, but business to business, a lot of times you guys know that business owners are going to their buddies, are having a scotch or going to the golf course, and they’re asking someone, “Who should I hire for my legal needs?” Or they have a family lawyer you’re already, there’s lots of connections when you’re a business owner. So a lot of your audience is already doing the referral game. There’s maybe a small portion that is going to the internet, who doesn’t know anyone. But that portion’s very small unless you have a niche.

Nalini Prasad:

So if you’re B2B and you only service young entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry in certain states or tech industry in certain states or a specific demographic, Korean business owners who are immigrating here, those types of folks may not actually have a big enough network and may actually go to the internet just because of their age demographics, because of the language barrier, whatever it may be. That could work for you. But B2C, majority of the time, is going to be helpful. B2B only in very specific cases. And you don’t want an SEO company selling you if you’re B2B high dollar SEO, because you’re not going to make your money that way as much as you would referral. And then I would say I always talk about revenue when we talk about 20% of your revenue should be spent on marketing. Not all in SEO, it could be paid advertisement, it could be billboards, it could be branding, it could be mailers, whatever or it could be referral bucket for dinners and drinks.

Nalini Prasad:

But if you’re trying to grow your company, you need to not be afraid to allocate that 20% to your marketing budget because you have to put money back into your business to make it grow. So I would say knowing your numbers, knowing how much you make and how much you can and should spend is really important when you get into an SEO conversation. You need to know your budget from the beginning because you don’t want to be oversold, you want to know how much you can spend and how much you can actually expand in your particular market. So we say around $350,000 is when you should start looking. So if you’re making $350,000 a year, you can start looking into SEO where you can allocate a few thousand a month. It will not hurt you and it will help you. If you’re under that, you are at a point where you are your firm’s resources. Do not go spend thousands of dollars on SEO. Really try to do the boots on the ground resources from yourself. So go do the referral marketing, try to do some SEO on your own, maybe buy a website.

Nalini Prasad:

But don’t do a ton of stuff to it because it’s brand new. Once you get to the $500,000 mark, you are prime ready to start to try to get into the seven figure. So $500,000 revenue, you want to be putting a little bit of money into your SEO and you can grow from there. So making sure that, one, you are a B2C that is primed for SEO, making sure that you make enough revenue that when you spend that money and you allocate it to marketing, you know that you’re not hurting other elements of your business, you’re not taking away from figuring out your intake team, figuring out your staff. Those things are important, do not try to put marketing above that, because you’re going to grow faster than you’re able to handle and you’re going to have a problem. And knowing how much you can spend and then spending accordingly, I think are the two really big things to talk about in that respect.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. I really love that guidance for people in thinking you don’t just want to take people’s money just to take their money, which I want to set you up with a leading question here, which is BluShark came out of a law firm, the fact that there’s a Price Benowitz. And so I think one thing I really like and appreciate about BluShark is the fact that it’s owned by an attorney who also is practicing. There have been other attorneys who start SEO companies, but I think the fact that there’s a certain ethics requirements for an attorney. So I think there’s a really cool aspect of BluShark in that you’re attorney owned. So could you talk a little bit about that? I’m 100% setting you up here for a question that I think it just shows one of BluShark’s really special qualities.

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah. No, absolutely. So our founder, most people know, he’s at all the conferences. He’s been in the industry for so long and has had his firm for 15 plus years as well. But Seth Price is the Managing Partner of Price Benowitz. It’s here in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. And Seth, while practicing lawyer, also is Mr. I like the management and marketing side of running a business much more than being in front of the bar. So his partner, Dave Benowitz, is a lawyer’s lawyer, loves what he does. And it allows them, as you’re listening to this as a law firm owner, it allows them to stay in their lane, to really be super strong in their firm, both in the litigation and the lawyer side, the legal side and the marketing and management side. So I think as people think about being solos and they think about when they get to that $350,000, $500,000 revenue mark, you really have to figure out do you want to be the lawyer? Do you want to be the business backbone of your firm?

Nalini Prasad:

You cannot do both. And picking one will make your life better and it will also allow you to outsource. “Now I need a legal officer. I need the lawyer who’s going to do the cases.” Or, “I love the cases. I need someone who’s going to be my business person.” It allows you to just structure your firm a little bit better. Seth figured that piece out and then he started building an in-house team because he ran into firms who were proprietary and wanted to lock him in contracts. And he said, “Well, I really don’t want to do that because I don’t trust the internet enough,” 15 ish years ago. And so he started his own in-house marketing team, created his strategy to build his firm from two to 40 lawyers across D.C,, Maryland, and Virginia. And then when he did that, he said, “Well shoot, I’m in all these masterminds and I’m helping folks do this and it works all across the country. I could probably do this as a company.”

Nalini Prasad:

So he took his 10 person marketing team at the time from the basement of Price Benowitz, that’s how we became BluShark Digital, that is our story. And along the way, everything that I’ve seen has been amazing to know that we have this firm that we can test and measure things with, that we have a business acumen insight into what a firm deals with from their intake to their operations. The understanding is there and it’s both positive and negative. We know what things are not good for law firms. We know what things push your buttons. We know what things to focus on a lot of times for the KPIs. And I always use this story, which is during COVID, March 2020 if we reverse, was the first time I got to see this law firm ownership in a different light.

Nalini Prasad:

So Seth’s been building his SEO for a long time and his volume of calls is great. He does not just PI, but he does immigration, criminals, huge, that’s how they started, trust in the state, all these small things. So he’s got volume. But March 2020 hits and he’s able to see that his phones have just stopped ringing for certain practice areas or all practice areas. And he’s able to use that data and feed it to us very quickly. And on mid-March 2020, about end of March, he said, “Guys, criminal just tanked from a ton of calls a day to almost no phones ringing. We need to call all of our criminal clients and tell them that we’re going to take a break or we’re going to help them and see where this thing goes for the next couple months.”

Nalini Prasad:

And I think being able to have a pulse on the industry that quick is a huge advantage. And we didn’t just go to them and say, “Hey, your life sucks right now. What can we do?” We paused their payments. We said, “It’s crazy. We’ve never seen something like this.” Seth is shitting his pants, Seth is in your shoes and he’s like, “Holy crap, what just happened to my leads?” And you could feel the emotions of the owner in every owner that we work with as a client. So I think that that is really cool to have been able to be on it right away, to sense the emotions that other lawyers were feeling, and to actually be able to address that with our clients. And I think that’s a big part of why a lot of our clients appreciate us. The relationships were built stronger and we didn’t lose… A lot of clients of ours did not say, “Hey, we’re closing shop because of COVID.” A lot of our clients grew throughout 2020 and 2021. Yeah.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. One of the things I’ve always appreciated up about BluShark in my relationship with you and Seth is that… Because I know every single vendor on the planet has at least one client who didn’t love what they got for one reason or another. And what I’ve seen from BluShark is when I’ve known a lawyer who’s like, “Oh, maybe I’m not as thrilled at the moment.” I’ve seen how BluShark steps up and shows up to that relationship really, one, quickly. I’ve even had Seth tell me, “Luke…” So for the listeners who don’t know, I have a small SEO consulting company on the side where our team audits and collaborates with law firms’ SEO vendors. And what we’ve seen from BluShark is just exceptional responsiveness to people. Anytime they have concerns or they’re like, “Hey, I’m not sure.” Especially through the pandemic, if you’re spending on marketing, you’re concerned about what’s happening. And I’ve always seen BluShark just be willing to engage people. I’ve never seen you or Seth or anyone else just brush off a person’s concerns.

Nalini Prasad:

I appreciate that. And I think one of the other big things here that maybe this could have been a great piece of that when looking for an SEO company, what are things you look for? You aren’t human workers. I know that the world is turning into this outsource, outsource and it’s being done really well. Once it’s tried and true, yes, I think that more companies will get into it. But at the end of the day, I think that we work really well with partners and law firms who have culture within their firm as well because they have an understanding that mistakes are going to happen. Mistakes will happen. I never once preached that everything is going to be perfect with your services because that would be absurd to say. But what I can promise is that if we drop the ball, if there is a mistake because we’re running four different fundamentals and all these projects for you and we are humans and humans have good days and bad days, that we will absolutely look at what happened.

Nalini Prasad:

We will use it as a learning experience. We will be there to talk to you. We will be there to make it right. We are there to fix anything that does happen along the way, and there will be things that happen along the way. So I set the tone for that at the very beginning, and I think some SEO companies don’t do a good enough job of that, of saying, “Hey, we’re not perfect.” Because again, sales versus SEO, the sales people are there to tell you, “This is the golden ticket. Do it. Everything will be perfect.” And SEO is made up of a lot of intricacies where there’s Google updates and there’s things that happen and there’s all sorts of tests and measuring and things will go wrong. But as long as you’re always generally trending in the right direction, your company is doing as much as they can for you, and making sure communication is there is so important.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah, I love that. Now I’d like to talk a little more about the four fundamentals. Can you just, for people listening who are maybe like, “Okay…” I know you mentioned it earlier, but could you help somebody with, “As a buyer, for the lawyers, how much do I need to know about these things to be making a good decision for my firm and our financial output?

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah. No, absolutely. So those folks are always like, “I know enough to be dangerous,” that’s really all you need to do, is you need to know that these four fundamentals are everything that the top tier SEO companies are talking about. We talk about them in different ways, but the four elements that Google looks at and then looks at you in comparison to your competitors and says, “Are you doing better in these four categories?” Are technical, content, link building, and local SEO. Within each of these pillars, there is a ton of work, research, and things that go into it. But the bottom line for you is making sure that any SEO company that you engage with has all four of these elements on the service list, that they’re addressing all four of these elements in one way or the other. Your better companies where you’re going to be paying more for more resources are just allocating way more work across these elements.

Nalini Prasad:

But technical very quickly is just the back end of your website. So making sure you’re on WordPress, a site that the Google bot actually knows the back end of, can read the coding, know what information you know. Because if they know that you’re the smartest person in the room with the most information, then you should be the answer showing. Content, making sure that your company is helping you create that content, whether it’s collaborative or they’re creating it with JD writers, whatever it is, make sure you’re getting regular content put on your site. And it doesn’t have to be 20 pages. It could be two pages. But again, that’s where your cost goes up or down, the number of pages that you’re doing and the number of pages needs to be relevant to your competitors. It’s not an arbitrary number. Don’t let a company tell you, “We do 8.256 pages every single month and we do that for every single client.”

Nalini Prasad:

Because that makes no sense to me. It should be a different strategy for different markets. Link building is very similar to content in terms of resources needed. It should be doing just a little bit more than your competitors. So it should be different for every firm. And link building is simply getting other websites to talk about you. So you’ve got the technical where the bot can read it, you’ve got the content there to back it up that you’re smart. Now we need the world to tell Google, “Hey yeah, this lawyer is smart. We trust them with a lot of our own beliefs and we have a lot in common with them. We’re willing to talk about them on our site.” So just getting the world to talk about you through various ways, and this is really where companies can stand out because there are some that will do run of the mill projects and they’ll copy everyone.

Nalini Prasad:

There’s some people who will continuously be strategic about it, come up with new projects. And then local is the one that most of you know. Google My Business, making sure that that is kept up with, that you’re looking out for anyone changing information, that you’re doing your weekly post, that when there’s a new field or feature, you’re measuring what that really is and you’re putting the information there, you’re getting your reviews, so important and that is something you have to be doing because you have that connection with your clients. And then that’s really what helps you with that local three pack as well. So making sure there’s some slew of services across all four of those areas. You don’t have to be the rocket scientists and know everything that’s happening in those four fundamentals, but you need to know that they’re happening.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And so for the lawyer, again, thinking earlier with tracking their investment, and for them just having a sense of, “Are we going the right direction?” You talked about some of that was expectation setting so that as a lawyer, you know your first month… Now you might get results in your first month, but practically speaking, we have these different periods of time. For the lawyer who maybe is just a little nervous about overseeing something they feel fairly ignorant on and just unknowledgeable, how do you help ensure that you’re transparent in your reporting so that a lawyer doesn’t have to know too much about those four fundamentals?

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah, absolutely. So for us in particular, those four fundamentals are how we actually crafted our teams. So our departments are by those four fundamentals. We have leads that are dedicated to each account from those four fundamentals. We hire based on how many clients we have so that our leads, our link lead, your content lead, only has eight to 15-ish clients on their plate. We want them to be able to focus throughout the month on what they need to do in just that category and then they’re in charge of making sure that the page in the report on links or on content or on dev is done correctly. So it’s not one account manager that creates this giant report for you, it’s your whole team that is making sure every question that they had for you , questions you’ve asked recently about their department or their wheelhouse, is on that page.

Nalini Prasad:

So your report is cumulative, shows you all the work completed across those four departments, but it also shows you what’s coming up. It will also show you how you’re moving along. So you’ll be able to see how many referring domains, how many people had been endorsing you last month versus this month. How many new links have you gotten? So it’s a mix between what has been done, just actually checking the box and saying, “Okay, the company’s doing what they’re supposed to do,” and then seeing the metrics of how is that changing my visibility now? You should have both of those elements in any kind of reporting that you’re getting from any SEO company. And then we also, because it’s a PDF, at the very beginning on your onboarding call, I think it’s really important, and I think even if a company doesn’t necessarily offer this, this is one of those things you can ask for and they will do it.

Nalini Prasad:

It doesn’t hurt them anymore, but being able to personalize the KPIs all on the reports that you get monthly because every firm measures differently, especially based on your practice area. Some people may say for family a phone call that was 40 minutes long or a second call is a big deal to me because it takes a while for me to actually sign someone. Whereas a PI firm will be like, “Why didn’t that sign in 45 minutes? Why are we on a second call?” So I think making sure that you are very clear because not a lot of SEO companies have a legal background. Explaining to them what it is that you think is a conversion and making sure that they understand that’s what they should be putting in those monthly reports. It has to be collaborative. You cannot expect to hire a company, set it and forget it, and think that they’re going to mind read in every industry. That is the biggest thing. Ask, ask, ask for things and over explain what your expectations are so that they can answer, “Can we do this or can we not?”

Luke W Russell:

Yeah, and that’s one of the benefits of going with BluShark is you work in the legal industry, you’re owned by an attorney, you came from a law firm, you understand the needs of a law firm. I remember one time I talked to an SEO vendor, this is probably about nine years ago at this point, and a lead had come through the website and I remember him telling me, he’s like, “Look, if that person signs, that pays for the budget for the whole year if they get a big…” And so he was just looking at this one web form on a website and his disconnection with the industry and the understanding of, “We have a steady stream of leads because not every lead signs up and it also costs a lot of money and a lot of time until we get paid.” And so I think what I’m hearing from you is obviously it’s self-serving to some degree, but also there’s a certain value in going with a vendor who understands the legal industry so well.

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah, and I think that’s a big benefit. But also my rationale is if you get some badass SEO person that you have found that’s a one off and is in house even or something like that, just making sure that you teach them what we may already know. Teach them what that looks like for a lead and a conversion so that you’re not constantly upset every month that they’re not giving you the right information. So yeah, absolutely, that’s one of the things that I think we do really well is doing that monthly call and talking to the clients about, “Where is your ROI and what can we be doing better?” But I think that sometimes too, let’s think about that. If you’re in the legal industry, you’re like, “Oh, I know already what they’re looking for,” sometimes it’s still good to have that conversation because every firm is different and maybe they’re looking for something a little different. So across the board, it’s important to have that conversation.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. You mentioned collaboration in a couple different contexts, and I think going back to my question earlier about who are you also not good for, is I’ve met attorneys who fire their SEO vendor because their SEO vendor is like, “Hey, we need this or that from you.” They’re like, “I just want to cut a check and you go rank my website.” And then you mentioned local, also making sure you understand what KPIs you should be tracking toward. Talk to me a little bit about what a lawyer should expect in hiring a good SEO vendor like BluShark in terms of what it’s going to require from the law firm.

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah. And honestly, that is one of our biggest expectation points that we set on our first call, is it’s not a set it and forget it. It is not a pay us money and we do everything and we never have to speak to you and it’s going to be magic. And I always get this question at the end. It’s like, “Okay, what haven’t I asked you?” And a lot of times the question is, “What do you need from me? You haven’t asked me what I need from you to make this a successful partnership. It’s a relationship. And so for content, while you can outsource that and a lot of companies do it really well, having JD writers create this content for you and you just have to quick approve and put it up, sometimes the best content is collaborative.

Nalini Prasad:

So we do lean on our clients a little bit to do interviews or to get that content from them just in conversation because they are truly the expert. Sometimes it makes the quality of that content a lot better. It makes sure we keep content in the pipeline if you guys have time, especially if your firm has multiple lawyers. If you guys spread that out and each lawyer did one interview a month, you would only have to do one or two a year. But that is a big piece of it is making sure that you guys are doing your interviews or being collaborative in what content you think is working or not working, giving us feedback on that so that we can constantly improve it, and then the time it takes to actually approve the content. Because there are bar associations involved here, ethics involved here, we’re not just going to write stuff and then put it up there.

Nalini Prasad:

We want your approval before we do that. And I think sometimes that is a bottleneck in a firm, especially if you’re solo or if you are just two people and you just don’t have time, you got so much stuff you’re doing, I get it. I get it. Sitting there and looking at 10 pages of content when you get caught up especially, “Oh man, there’s this keyword in there, this doesn’t read well for a normal human,” that’s SEO language. It can take you a lot of time to approve that content. My biggest in advice always is if you’re going to go into SEO and you’re spending a higher dollar on it, it is worth it to have somebody in the office, whether it is an intern or an actual dedicated director of marketing, to be that liaison person who can do this for you so that you’re not wasting your valuable time.

Nalini Prasad:

But the other things that we need from you, reviews. You guys are going to be the best at getting those reviews from your clients because you know them. Again, that could be someone from within in house. It could be your marketing person that creates those emails, sends them out, touches based on behalf of you from a text message, whatever. But someone from your firm, whether it is you, the managing partner, or a marketing director, needs to be involved in the content, in the local in terms of those reviews, and sitting down at least once a month with your account manager to talk about, “How has the month gone? What leads have you gotten?” Because without that conversation, what are we doing? We’re a hamster on a wheel. We don’t know if the work we’re doing is working. You don’t know that we’re doing a lot of work for you. So that monthly touch is so important that someone from your firm is talking to an SEO agency.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now how do you go about crafting a strategy when you have a new law firm, they’re working with you, and how much is the strategy just, “Here’s what we do,” and how exactly do you actually really tailor that to what the law firm wants versus BluShark wants?

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah. So if we get real nitty gritty into the process of this one, every single client’s strategy is set before they sign a contract or before they sign a… Whatever, we’re month to month, not a contract. But in that during our sales calls, our sales process, we are finding out about you, we’re doing research on your competitors and your markets. We are identifying some low hanging fruit markets that you can get it into. We’re discussing if the demographics are right from your end, is the SEO right? The amount of resources that you have and can allocate based on your revenue, should we start with smaller cities or bigger cities? That gets locked in? So we say, “All right, these are the cities we’re going with. Green, non-competitive cities, yellow, more competitive. Red, oof, we’re going to have to do a lot of content links here.”

Nalini Prasad:

So we set those cities together based on demographics and the SEO outlook of it, and also being able to hit that in eight to 12 months, ranking you there. That’s set. Then when you start with us, there’s an onboarding call with your account manager. What happens behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t know about is before you do your onboarding call with your account manager and your onboarding call with your links lead and manager and your content lead and manager, three separate onboarding calls, the person who has talked to you for these weeks in setting that strategy fills out a six page Google Form on all of the nuances of the strategy that we’ve created, all of the information that is needed for all those onboarding calls, everything about you that could be helpful in that process.

Nalini Prasad:

And those managers are armed with that information. The leaders of your team know this stuff before you hop on a call with them. And so that really helps take that strategy and makes sure everyone knows it and is on the same playing field. You have conversations with them so that if things are changing, you can get that fixed at the beginning and then we’re off. But there’s a lot of strategy that happens up front, not just on your sales calls, but in those onboarding calls when the whole team is learning this stuff internally.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now you mentioned at one point something about month to month. Do you not require people to sign a year long commitment?

Nalini Prasad:

No. So for our robust product where we’re doing that strategy and picking the cities, we’re on the hook to rank you, it is month to month.

Luke W Russell:

Oh, wow.

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah. We have those reports to truly show the work that’s being done and we set those KPIs early on. So you know that in month zero to three, we’re doing the website. And right now, we still are doing websites at no cost to the client because we know there’s a certain structure since technical is so important that we need you in for the Google bot to quickly understand how many pages of information on this practice area in this city does this site have? So whether you have a five page website or a 5,000 page website, we do the same audit of every single page of content. We change those URL structures up. We redirect them. And that happens in the first 75 to 90 days in the back end while you’re doing your onboarding, while we start links, while we start content production.

Nalini Prasad:

But that is a big benefit of BluShark too, especially if you come from FindLaw or Scorpion or a proprietary place, you’re not paying us $15,000 to $30,000 to just give you a WordPress site, you get it and you own it. So that’s happening in the first three months. Really, you got to give Google some time after that to now index all those new URLs and learn how you restructured your closet. So having those KPIs, I think, are so important too for that month to month expectation, that this is month one, this is month four, this is month six, here’s where you should be. And being open to saying, “Your account manager wants to hear questions from you.”

Nalini Prasad:

So if you feel for whatever reason that it’s month six, and your KPI’s not measuring right, because you’ve built a relationship with your account manager, you can have that conversation pretty frankly with them and say, “Hey, I don’t know what’s going on.” And that’s a lot easier to then talk about it, fix it, show where you should be versus blowing up because no one’s talked to you for six months, you’ve been festering and now you’re like, “Nope, I hate SEO.” So I think all of that’s really important in that being month to month. You have to do all of that.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah, that’s not. And for the listener who maybe isn’t aware, month to month is not normal within the SEO world in the legal space where it’s typically a year long commitment, which makes sense because it does take time to rank, but also I think it’s a big from BluShark to say, “We’ll do this month to month.”

Nalini Prasad:

And I think that’s a big part of that too, is through the years, something we’ve learned is who’s a right fit and who’s not. We talked a lot about that, but if you are not going to be a partner that collaborates and you’re not going to be a partner that trusts the process and allows us to show you a month over that we’re in this together, that you see that we’re putting our own $15,000 to $30,000 to redo your site at the beginning, not asking that of you, then it’s definitely not the right fit to move along with us.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. So is there anything I haven’t asked about that we should cover?

Nalini Prasad:

See, there’s that question. No, the one that I really like to always throw in is what is needed from both sides of the party, because I do think that every SEO company can have a strategy, every SEO company can tell you, “Here’s the four fundamentals and here’s what we’re going to do.” But at the end of the day, the companies that have amazing client retention are those that have amazing client relationships. And so I think if you set expectations up front, if you’re very honest in what’s going on with your team, if your team knows your firm, it’s smooth sailing from there honestly, because you are going to be able to talk through when a hiccup happens, you’re going to be able to celebrate when something cool happens in their personal life or their professional life. And I think that partnership part is so very vital to what we have BluShark have created here with our values.

Luke W Russell:

I love that. So if people are interested, you have your website, BluShark Digital, which is blusharkdigital.com. What would you recommend for somebody who’s kind of curious, but maybe they’re not sure if they’re actually ready to hire someone?

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah. Looking up SEO and research is hard. There’s books out there that you can be reading just on the fundamentals of it. But lots of the top tier companies have a resource section on their site, and so you can go around and watch recorded webinars, recorded talks, and get to know the folks of that company a little bit. Learn about their culture and look at reviews on Google My Business, look at reviews on Lawyerist, things like that. Those resources are there. And then once you’ve narrowed it down to a few companies, start doing the contact forms. Or if somebody’s talking, you see Seth speak, we give our cell phone number out.

Nalini Prasad:

Feel free to text us just for information on SEO. Doesn’t have to be a whole call. We’re happy to talk about this stuff. But I always say try to be specific in the folks that you do schedule calls with. Don’t try to stay schedule 30 calls with 30 SEO companies, because one, you will get lost yourself. You will forget who you’ve spoken to. You will confuse vendors. You will not have your notes together. So taking the hour of time to narrow it down to who you think might be good and then choosing three to five max and then have deep conversations with those three to five.

Luke W Russell:

I love it. And then also there’s the Maximum Growth Live podcast, which is with Seth as well if people want to be able to just hear a variety of insights.

Nalini Prasad:

Yeah. Seth and Jay. Jay Ruane’s out there. He’s an awesome criminal lawyer who does some social stuff too.

Luke W Russell:

Awesome. Thanks so much, Nalini. It’s been an absolute pleasure. If you are thinking, “Yeah, I’d like to speak with this BluShark team,” or want to check out more information on the work that they do, go to blusharkdigital.com. That’s blusharkdigital.com. And if you do reach out to them, please let them know that you decided to contact them after listening to the Lawful Good interviews. By doing so, you are helping support the podcast and the work that we are doing in the world. Thanks so much for listening to us this week. This podcast is produced by Kirsten Stock, edited by John Kerr, and mastered by Gelo Bertalini. A special thanks to the companies that make this project possible, Russell Media and the SEO Police. You can learn more about these groups by visiting our website, lawfulgoodpodcast.com. I’m your host, Luke W Russell, and you’ve been listening to Lawful Good.