Episode 41

Published on:

1st Feb 2024

Success in Legal Marketing through SEO & Digital Strategies with Doug Bradley

From Chance to Triumph: Doug Bradley's Journey in Legal Marketing. Join Richard James and MPS on Your Practice Mastered as Doug Bradley shares his accidental leap into SEO, navigating corporate changes, weathering COVID-19, and finding passion in the ever-evolving legal marketing landscape. 

Whether you're a lawyer aiming to enhance your online presence or seeking entrepreneurial inspiration, tune in to witness Doug's serendipitous success story.




Mps: [:

you tell us

a little bit

about that?

So give us a

quick rundown

of your story

into how and

where you are now

Doug Bradley: I started way back

when companies

would publish a book

full of local businesses

and phone numbers

and deliver it

on a doorstep

I sold the ads

that went into those

phone books

and anybody under

the age of 30

is probably never

seen one or

used one

but believe it or not

that was a thing

and people sold

the ads that went

into those phone books

and that's how

I got my start

in advertising right

after college

and even though it

seems ridiculous

that somebody

would have used

that nowadays

but back then

that's how businesses

were found

if you weren't

in the phone

you weren't in

business that year

and we literally had

people you know

lined up to get

their ad in the

phone book on time

otherwise the

book closed

and they were not

expecting much

business that year

well right around

the great recession

advertisers started

pulling out and that

was coincidentally

the timeframe when

smartphones were

getting really popular

and so the

business model


was sunsetting

and luckily for me

I was recruited into

a major legal directory

it fit perfectly

with my experience set

And so I started selling

ads on this

legal directory

and I did

a really great job

I turned around

a failing territory

and created some great

relationships with

attorneys that I still

work with to this day

but one of the things

I learned real quick

was this huge company

wanted me to sell

this very niche

product set that's

difficult to sell

Mps: Hey, law firm owners. Welcome to the Your Practice Mastered podcast. We're your hosts. I'm


Richard James: And

to hear about their journey [:

So I'm excited to have Doug on the show today, Michael.

Mps: Me too. Doug, super excited to have you on.

Doug Bradley: Yeah, I'm excited to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Mps: Absolutely. Doug, around here, one of the things we like to do is loosen people up a little bit, get to know you a little bit. So, why don't you tell the audience, what's something that maybe not everybody knows about you?

Doug Bradley: You know, something that nobody really knows about me or not much about me, Gosh, that's, you know, that's a really good question to put me on the spot because I'm kind of an open book. I tell a lot of people about my life. Let's see. You know, I, that's a really great, great question. I think, I think probably the thing that most people don't understand or don't know about me initially is that I got into this kind of industry by chance and I fell into it.

just started optimizing that [:

ll into this industry too. In:

st presentation in Orlando in:

day review or audit of their [:

But in:

They have the predominant same moving parts, especially if it's a client based business. And so, you know, for, I, I respect the fact that you jumped into the deep end and you proved your worth by showing that you could get results, not only for yourself and your clients, as you're working in the early days, but now as you're running your own practice and getting results for your clients on a regular basis.

and accomplishing that goal. [:

Doug Bradley: business situations. And I think. It takes a special personality to recognize a business opportunity and say, how do I, how do I insert myself into this and create value for my clients that they're willing to pay for?

Mps: Absolutely. Well, why don't you tell us a little bit about that? So, so give us a quick rundown of your story into how and where you are now.

Doug Bradley: Yeah, I actually, I, I started way back when companies would publish a book. Full of local businesses and phone numbers and deliver it on a doorstep. I actually sold, I sold the ads that went into those phone books. And anybody under the age of 30 is probably never seen one or used one, but believe it or not, that, was a thing.

phone book, you, weren't in [:

And we literally had people you know, lined up to get their ad in the phone book on time. Otherwise the book closed and, you know, they, they, were not expecting much business that year. Well, right around the great recession, advertisers started pulling out and that was coincidentally the timeframe when.

Smartphones were getting really popular. And so the business model for yellow pages was sunsetting. And luckily for me, I was recruited into a major legal directory and fit perfectly with my experience set. And so I started selling ads on this legal directory I did a really great job. I turned around a failing territory, and created some great relationships with attorneys that I still work with to this day, but one of the things I learned real quick was this huge company wanted me to sell this very niche product set that's difficult to sell.

ow you, you have to be hands [:

And so I had to take charge of my clients campaigns in many cases and make sure. That they had the things in place that would make it successful. And so I really was self taught. And fast forward a few years later, the company was sold and they fired about 200 sales reps, myself included. And I figured that was the time when I should get into the business on my own.

I had the hands on experience. I had some relationships. And here we are today.

emember when I built the law [:

And we actually, we, we actually were able to, because people were pulling out, we were actually starting to capture the back cover and the inside back cover and the inside front cover and the little widgets on top of them. And so for a while, we got a lot of, we got a lot of juice out of that lemon, or I guess it would be like a, Benjamin Graham cigar butt concept.

Like it was all the, the yellow pages were almost dead, but they had enough life left in

them and while everybody else was exiting, we were able to get things at a deal and it really worked out very well for us. Interestingly enough, I just got a yellow page book put on my doorstep last week. believe that?


Doug Bradley: can't, No I can't, I haven't seen one in years.

k a picture of that as well. [:


and triple truck, right? I mean, They were trying to get ahead of everybody.

And I think it's interesting. And I want to make a point to those who are listening. So you said something very, very interesting that the yellow pages had a natural window of time at which you could get your ad in and then the book closed.

And the reason the book closes because, well, they had to print it and then they had to deliver it.

Right. And so they would only you only had a window for so long. And because of that, there was a sense of urgency for attorneys to get this done. And I feel like one of the things that's happened in today's digital marketing age. It's a sense of urgency is gone. And so a lot of attorneys sit back on their heel and they don't act and they don't act and they don't act because they don't have to act.

And I think it's actually costing them opportunity. Would you agree with that?

le, you know, people land in [:

The time to start was just yesterday. And, and so it's hard to have a sense of urgency to make something happen in the future. But those firms who they come to me and they've had experience, maybe they were an associate or a partner. at another firm And they said, you know, our phone rang off the hook with really good leads from SEO, and we're going to be starting up this firm in the next few months.

bsite, to do SEO, to publish [:

It's kind of a tough sell.

Richard James: Hmm.

Mps: I agree. I think that's, that's spot on. I I'm curious, Doug. I mean, most entrepreneurs you speak with depending on varying levels of intensity have had a down point or a failure point. Do you have a story from, one of those moments in your entrepreneurial journey?

Doug Bradley: Yeah. COVID that, remember that thing that Yeah, that, was a real scary Most of our clients are on a month to month. Contract we don't, we're one of probably very few SEO agencies that don't lock our clients into a one year agreement. And when COVID hit, boy, that was a scary time to be a month to month vendor.

just precautionary measure, [:

And so, once we started to go through that, I said, well we really have to start to my team and I got together and we really have to recalibrate our approach. You know, people aren't going to stop meeting lawyers business might change during this timeframe, but we really need to start talking about how to work through this in a non-person to person environment.

So we started sending out more messages to our clients about using zoom, about the comfort level of over the phone. And over zoom we introduce some campaigns to our clients especially those who did a state planning. I mean, people were really concerned about. Their long term health or, possibly dying through the pandemic.

content that we had written [:

You know, let's schedule a 30 minute zoom meeting and, and, you know, we'll meet virtually and we'll talk about your potential claim or your case. And, and that was a really scary moment in time because we did lose a good chunk of business and we came right back after about six months of the initial shock, but yeah, definitely definitely a scary time, I think for myself and a lot of small businesses.

Richard James: Yeah, I don't think COVID, obviously that's not a unique experience for you. A lot of us went through it. Everybody was a little bit different. Ours was a little bit different. We weren't, we, our clients are month to month too, for most of the percentage of our business that they've been around for a very long time and we weren't sure.

market, that law, firm owner [:

without marketing. We nothing else happens, right? You're back to only word of mouth advertising. And during the COVID era, when people weren't seeing one another word of mouth was really getting hurt. And so advertising and marketing was probably more important than, than ever.

And so we would actually have clients come to us and go, you know. What do you think we should do? And we want to take some precautions. And back then I remember we had some clients that were, they were actually in industries that were really affected. Like bankruptcy got affected pretty hard. And like 50 of our clients at one point were bankruptcy clients.

We'll just, we'll give you a [:

Keep spending the money on marketing because you need to keep investing in marketing to keep the lead generation going because somebody was going to need your services at some point. Now, yes, there was a window. Where marketing maybe didn't as make as much sense the same way we always did it, but we needed those.

So I will tell you unequivocally the firms that continue to figure out how to market, maybe differently than the way that they did market, but they still had a budget for marketing. Those firms are by far. So much further along today than those firms that cut back and stop spending on marketing during that pandemic time, because they were still figuring out how to grow.

o be ready for the difficult [:

Oh, I'm just going to cut this marketing

expense. I generally understand it intellectually, but because I know how it works, I don't agree with it because I've seen the other side of that story. If you continue to market, you continue to grow. Do you agree with that? Michael,

ip side there, what was that [:

Doug Bradley: You know, I actually have a really clear aha moment and I still remember it to this day. I carry it with


my story is my wife and we were at our prior home and I was really Nervous about starting this business because we had a mortgage. We, you know, had a baby a newborn and I had been building elements of my business working at another job, a corporate job, that was a great job, but I knew that it wasn't my longterm endeavor.

I really wanted to have this business. And I was basically waking up at 5:00 AM from five to eight, I would work on my business then from. Eight to five, eight to six, I would work the corporate life. And then from six to ten or six to midnight, I would work on my business more and just build up infrastructure processes.

d finally I had done a pitch [:

Like everything that had been building up to that point was just a notion or just a guess, or just a dream. And then when finally, actually a lawyer said, I see the value, I'm going to invest and pay for that. It just was emotionally overwhelming. And that's the moment I knew that I loved what I was doing.

I knew that I wanted to do it for a very long time and that it was going to stick with me.

Richard James: you make a, you make a living from nine to five and a fortune from five to nine, brother. That's the. that's

systems, adding frameworks, [:

And you're growing your business. It oftentimes feels like you're changing the brakes. You're driving down the road. Like there's a lot going on. and so when when a law firm is trying to break free from where they are out of the chaos into the freedom spectrum, we tell them, look, there's going to be some extra hours needed here.

You're, you're going to need to work the. Job of your business from nine to five, and you're going to need to work the business of your business from five to nine for some window of time. I, I've got a question for you, Doug. How long have you and your wife been married?

Doug Bradley: Just over 20 years. We celebrated 20 years last year, but we've known each other since we were 12. So I guess that's the bigger headline.

Richard James: Got it. Now. Hey, I'm with you. My wife and I met over the butter out when we were 15 and 16 years old and Michael met his wife when he was 15 years old and she was 14 years old. So we're in the same camp. Tell me you guys work together now.

Doug Bradley: No, no, I don't think that would work out.

Richard James: Good. Very smart, man. Very smart, man.

se I know everything and she [:

Richard James: there you go. There you go. But

Doug Bradley: No, she she works in mental health, completely separate fields.

Richard James: Got it. Well,

obviously she was a real supportive of your journey and, and you taking this leap. And so congratulations to you on finding the right partner in this journey. Because as, as law firm owners go through this, I hear a lot of them struggle with the spouse. You know, not supporting them and not and not necessarily because they're not supportive, but because maybe they've gone through years and years of them working 70 or 80 hours a week with not a

lot to show for it.

Right. And

then finally they're like, now I really have to put in the extra time. And like, are you kidding me? You've been putting in the extra time for the last 15 years and got nothing to show for it. And so. I, I just, I'm so happy to hear that your, your spouse supports you. And, and so I just, my message to those that are listening is if you, if you have a spouse, you know, nurture them don't take it for granted.

If they're [:

single, can do it, but if you're married, you need the support of that other person.

And so I'm glad to hear that about you

Michael, you have, you have support in your marriage as well. I mean, Delaney and you don't

work in the business together, but she totally supports you.

Mps: 100%. And and that is not to be underestimated because I've, you know, heard the flip side equation from people before too, and it's. couldn't really even imagine, to be honest with you. I could imagine that's a very difficult road to go down.

Just because you're constantly caught in this battle of, well, do I put in the hours and actually get it done and work and get to where I want to go or, or do I not?

about. I can imagine that's [:

to have an unsupported. So, definitely lucked out in that regard. And very, very happy about that. But Doug from a success habit on a daily basis, what, what are, what are some of the things, or what is the one thing that, you do to help continue your sustained success?

Doug Bradley: You know, I'm, a pretty hands on agency owner. I, really love SEO and the technical aspects, and I'm a little neurotic about rankings and performance of my clients. And so, outside of, you know, waking up. I make breakfast. You know, I typically take my daughter to school. I come home and I usually am looking at emails and rankings for my clients to make sure that there's to identify either any problems or, you know, maybe something went through the roof for one of our clients and I want to identify those and see, you know, do we need to redirect?

gically do nothing? Or do we [:

Are we either behind? Are we ahead of schedule? Does anybody need extra personal follow ups? And that's usually my day. And then we use some time for business development whether it be outbound calls or whether it be. Working on our website or, or something along those lines. So we're always trying to keep moving.

And as you had mentioned before, Richard, it's, it's, you're, you're building the boat as you row. And a lot of that is happening along the way.

Richard James: That's great, and I love to hear you. You said the word outbound calls, it warms my heart. You're obviously a salesman. Salesman, so I, love

if you're listening to this, [:

Anyway, I, I I'm curious, you know, as you think about scaling, cause it, it sounds like you've got a reasonably sized firm, but it's, you're also pretty personally involved. So I, you're leaning more towards the boutique, high service, white glove, really taking, nurturing your clients and not feeling like a mill.

Is that a correct assessment of how you see your firm?

Doug Bradley: Yeah, I, I I would say you nailed it. We, we, we aren't the firm for everyone, but the firm that we are the provider for, they really value the relationship and most of our clients are very long term clients.

Richard James: Yeah. So as you're, you know, you've got that law firm out there that's sitting there and you, maybe you've wrestled with this yourself, but they're wondering, do I grow big or do I keep it small and keep it all? I mean, do you have any. Thought process about how you, what decision or process you came to, to answer that question for yourself.

adley: Well, I, you know, I, [:

Personally, you're going to have to decide what it is that you like to do. Do you like to manage people? Do you like to manage clients? And I like to manage clients. I like to work with clients. I like to go out to lunch. I like to go out to dinner with them. I like to meet them face to face. I like a personal relationship.

If they text me, I'll text them back typically immediately. And so I like that. And I think you know, comparison is the thief of happiness. And if you constantly come, if I were to constantly compare myself to a huge. Profitable marketing agency, I would just be miserable because I am, I'm not there yet, but quite honestly, I really enjoy where I'm at.

And if the law firm [:

And when a client works with me, they're working directly with me. I have a team behind me and they're supporting me. But they are getting the one on one service directly from me. And that's personally what I enjoy.

Richard James: that's great. A lot of

law firms could learn just from that message alone.

Compare it comparisons, the thief of happiness. Love it.

Mps: Sure is. Doug, what's got you excited? What's got you fired up today? Could be personal, could be business.

ngue this year too o all the [:

I think. For me, that's a really exciting thing to be a part of in an industry. That's changing change means opportunity. And so if we see things, if I am seeing things change, not just with search, but the way that people search and there's not, everybody's going to use Google forever and the platform may change, but if you partner with the right agency.

And that agency is paying attention to these things. You're, you're going to be ahead of the curve because you're looking ahead rather than behind. And so, if to me, it's, it's just the amount of change that's been happening just in the last year, more change in the last year than has happened in the last.

probably nine years combined.

Richard James: Change for the confident is opportunity. I love it. I love it. I'm excited about that change as well. Michael.

Mps: Hey [:

If people want to learn a little bit more about you, where can they go?

Doug Bradley: Yeah. I mean, my website pretty much has it all. EverestLegalMarketing.Com You can follow our blog. If you do look at our blog we do like to chat about industry updates. I'm usually tweeting on a fairly regular basis. If there's changes to what Google's doing, if there's changes to something that's happening specifically in the legal marketing industry.

And you can just look us up on Twitter, EverestLegalMarketing you'd find me there and give us a follow.

and now developing a [:

That is obviously getting great results for your clients who are sticking around with you month after month. We need more people like you to help more law firms be able to accomplish their goals and the only way they're going to do that is if they're able to have a great partner in marketing. And so congratulations to what you've built.

Doug Bradley: Thank you. I appreciate the, the platform. I appreciate you introducing me to your audience, Richard and Michael. It's been a great time and I, I really do. Thank you.

Mps: Of course. And to the law firm owners listening, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to invest. As you may or may not recall, we got the gentleman's agreement around here. So if this is not your first time listening or watching, we kindly ask that in exchange for us, invest in our time, money, and resources into this, which we'd love to do.

You hit that subscribe or follow button, depending on where you're listening or watching like this episode, and then show Doug some calm or some love down below in the comments. We appreciate it. And we love putting these on and hope you got some value from today.

Richard James: That's the part, everybody.


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