As a business owner, I’ve mostly eschewed getting political online. That ends now.
Today we announced the candidacy of Jason Rittereiser in his bid to unseat a Republican incumbent in Washington’s 8th Congressional District in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Seventeen years ago, I came to Seattle a die hard, life-long conservative and have found myself slowly leaning towards the center ever since. In 2004, I posted a “Republicans for Kerry” bumper sticker on the back of my VW Jetta. I was thrilled to brush shoulders with Obama at his WA campaign headquarters, which coincidentally was next door to Avvo’s second office. Last year, I notched a protest vote for Jill Stein. I’ve increasingly found myself drawn to what I would have formerly called bleeding heart causes and have often wondered if its a product of the sea air, proximity to Mt. Rainier, or something they put in the chai lattes at Starbucks.
There’s a great line in Inherit the Wind, “maybe it is you who have changed, by standing still.” I’ve come to the conclusion that the shift in political standing isn’t because of my personal changes, but because the conservative landscape has shifted so much underneath the country. I find today’s political miasma nauseating and I look forward to playing a small part in return a semblance of balance to the political system. Thus my deep pride to be working for Jason’s campaign.
I’ll continue to fly my American flag regularly (unlike the majority of Seattleites – seriously you should consider how much it means to people in the service to see those flags flying, but I digress…) and now have a chance to turn Mockingbird’s skills towards the political process. We are providing technical support, design services and of course marketing. I’ve always encouraged Mockingbird’s clients to embrace their true self in their public persona, as I’m 100% certain that people hire people who happen to be lawyers, instead of the other way around. Its past time that I ate my own dogfood….
You can (and should) read more about Jason. More to come (and if you happen to be in the greater Washington area, expect fundraiser invites from yours truly).
Here at Mockingbird, we like to do things the right way, and from our humble beginnings, we’ve always thought operating on a four-week basis gave us an edge over the competition. We preached data consistency and argued that the number of days in a month don’t always match up.
However, we’ve found that four-week periods still have inconsistencies like holidays and seasonality. Also, sending out invoices every four weeks caused problems with everyone’s accounting departments.
Mockingbird is happy to announce that we are changing, and we’re hoping this change will make everyone’s lives just a little easier.
After numerous requests and some self-reflection, we are moving away from four-week periods and are transitioning to a monthly cadence for reporting, billing and invoicing.
We are all used to receiving bills on the same day every month. Comparing March to February is easy to understand. Operating on four-week periods made sense in theory, but moving to a monthly cycle makes sense in real life.
For our current clients, your Account Executives will be connecting with you to discuss what this change means for your specific billing needs. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.
I thought instead of penning another Top 11 things for Online Marketing for Lawyers in 2017, I thought I ‘d write a post on what inspires the way we do business at Mockingbird.
In the past 12 hours I’ve had interactions with two different local companies that have inspired me over the past 5 years or so. One is Tutta Bella, a small local pizza chain – the other Fat City German Cars, a single location, independent auto service shop.
I’ve been a repeat customer with both of them for years and every time I go, I’m inspired to make Mockingbird more like this restaurant and auto shop instead of other online marketing agency. Fat City is unlike any other mechanic you’ve ever been to. Buttoned up. Squeaky clean. Impeccable service. Punctual. Even their facility – located in a historic building near the space needle – screams “we are so much more than local dealer”. Fat City stands out in an industry renowned for sales upsell chicanery.
Benchmarking within your own industry makes you just as good as they are. But it doesn’t inspire going above and beyond to reach for greatness. Greatness that creates unexpected moments of inspiration for your clients or prospects.
Here’s a smattering of why I love these two Seattle based companies:
Expertise and Excellence
I once watched a chef at Tutta Bella pull a gorgeous pie out of the oven and dump it right in the garbage. Well, it looked gorgeous to me – but to the chef, imperfect. Expertise and Excellence should be an obvious requirement for online marketing agencies, yet very few invest in the training, persnickety attention to detail and sense of ownership required to truly be experts.
I used to drive an old, beat up VW Jetta, that I suspect was the first to get off the production line when VW moved their operations from Germany to a brand new factory in Mexcio. The car was a disaster and I would bring it in to Fat City to ask Lance what to do. Now there was always a litany of issues that could be addressed, but Lance would always help me figure out what had to be addressed. “You can get another 6K miles on these brakes, but you have to fix the…..” Lance knew his job wasn’t to maximize his share of my car repair wallet – it was to keep me on the road (and safe) within what I had to spend (which frankly was – “as little as possible”).
Bedside manner is that important yet rare ability of a doctor to explain things in plain English. Bedside manner applies to mechanics and SEOs as well. I recall picking up the Jetta at Fat City one day – they had saved the worn out parts of the wiring harness (apparently a car item that very very rarely fails, but did so in my car’s case) and walked me through what was wrong with them. Being able to translate the highly technical nature of what we do, into simple business terms is key to our communication at Mockingbird.
Tenure and Training
Being Awesome requires Awesome people who are thoroughly inculcated into your culture, and methods. I recognized Leslie, the manager at Tutta Bella, yesterday as the server who we had been our regular a good 5 years ago. (And yes, I know both Lance and Leslie by name…. little things matter.) After a few years she disappeared from the restaurant, so I asked what she had been doing. Turns out, she had been tapped to open one of their new restaurants, got that up and running, managed another one for a year and then returned to the one where we had first met. The only way to turn great people into awesome people is to a)have them around for a long time and b)train them like crazy (especially in the constantly changing world of technology).
Oh – and the company itself? Fat City’s been around since 1973. There’s a level of excellence that comes with specialization and longevity… kind of like and legal SEO starting out in 2006.
Great firms know what to give away, and what to charge for. When the Jetta finally bit the dust I spent some time research and shopping for used Audis. Found one the exact one I wanted 400 miles away and had it checked out by a dealer who sent me a written report that I didn’t understand at all. Lance didn’t charge me a dime to review it.
So today, I drove past thee Audi dealerships, with their certified Audi professionals to an inconvenient part of town to drop my new car off with the only mechanic I’ve ever trusted.
Whether you celebrate Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or just consume copious amounts of cookies and egg nog, we wish you good health and much happiness! Cheers to the end of another successful year and to the beginning of 2017 from all of us at Mockingbird Marketing.
We hope you’re doing well! We’ve been extra busy this year trying to deliver more value for our customers’ marketing budgets and to make their law firms even more successful than last year. A few new products have been rolled out, and we have improved upon already existing processes to make us smarter and faster about what we do.
We’ve been lucky enough to be accepted into Google’s Partner Acceleration Program, which allows us to offer the highest level of Paid Advertising support available! Additionally, we’ve held a few hands-on workshops that have generated a lot of praise from both large and small firms. Come to think of it, you’re familiar with workshops – maybe you could swing by our next one in Austin on January 12th and let us know what you think.
Our business reporting has become more tailored to our clients’ goals, more accurate and provides even more actionable insights than ever before. We’ve deemed 2016 “the year of the spam” and have increased our efforts to keep our data clean. You know how much we love data; probably as much as you love ice cold milk and cookies.
We’ve continue to grow and have signed some of our best clients yet! We’re constantly amazed at how smart our clients are, especially outside of the law. We have noticed, however, that our legal SEO Store still gets a lot of traffic, so hopefully we can engage with these prospects so that we can have an immediate and positive impact for them next year.
We have a lot to be grateful for this year, so I hope our wish list below doesn’t obfuscate that. In fact, we are most grateful that we get to play a small role in the important services our clients provide.
P.S. If you get injured delivering all those gifts, head over to the search engines. You’ll find one of the attorneys we work closely with and highly recommend! Stay safe.
Brief side note for today. For years, Mockingbird has supported my brother’s fundraising efforts for the Challenged Athletes Foundation – a non-profit that provides grants to help physically challenged people with the tools they need to pursue an active and healthy lifestyle. Their seminal event was held last weekend – a triathlon in San Diego.
Notes from Paul’s thank you email:
My Challenged Athletes’ weekend started on Friday night as I rushed from coaching soccer practice to the annual Celebration of Abilities event held in conjunction with the San Diego Triathlon Challenge. The evening serves as a kickoff for the weekend, a ceremony for annuals awards, but mostly as an opportunity for introduction and socializing between and amongst challenged athletes and fundraisers. I’m always struck by something on these evenings be it a particular inspiring story or a chance encounter. This year the biggest impact was the realization that many of the attendees, particularly the younger ones, were meeting their heroes for the first time. Unlike a wide-eyed kid meeting LeBron James in complete awe, these kids’ motivation was entirely different. They didn’t want an autograph or to see a championship ring, they wanted to ask questions like, “how did you deal with kids teasing you about your prosthetic leg?” or “What do you do when you feel like the world is unfair?” These interactions reminded just how important the community that CAF builds really is. As Lorna Day, mother of Sam, who unfortunately lost his life to cancer in August but not before having years of incredible experiences generated by CAF, stated:
“This community nurtured Sam’s spirit in a way in which we, his family, could not.”
The other highlight of the Celebration of Abilities evening was the introduction of these sixteen members of the US Paralympic team (45% of the US team was supported by CAF) who had returned from Rio, many sporting medals of gold, silver and bronze. Hearing their passionate description of the life changing experience was inspiring.
As part of the second wave of Gold Team members who had raised significant funds above the minimum requirements, I dove into the water on the heels of 94 Challenged Athletes who had entered in the first wave to start my mile swim. Twenty-three minutes later I was the first Gold Team member to exit the Pacific. My enthusiasm was only slightly tempered when Lisa noted that I had swum about thirty second slower than Rudy Garcia-Tolson a double leg amputee who had led the Challenged Athletes wave.
To my Mockingbird clients – a trickle down thank you for making my support of this outstanding organization possible.
We’re happy to announce not one, but two Legal Connect with Google events for October.
This is a free, day-long, hands-on Workshop specifically designed to assist lawyers in evaluating their online marketing effectiveness. Classes are focused on local, natural and paid search and are taught by Google employees and Mockingbird founder, Conrad Saam.
So if you wanted to attend the pilot event this week at Google HQ in Mountainview, but were unable to, there’s now a second and third chance.
During this intensive Workshop, experts from Google and Mockingbird guide attendees through a 12 page worksheet to evaluate the efficacy of their current online marketing efforts, with an eye towards identifying specific weaknesses or missed tactics. This is NOT a conference with talking heads delivering thinly veiled sales pitches from sponsored powerpoints, but instead a hands-on, interactive education, empowering attendees with actionable tools & tactics.
This is a HANDS ON workshop, you will need a laptop and access to your Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and AdWords accounts, as well as your firm’s website CMS.
We have a variety of partnerships, friendships and other assorted business relationships. I’ve never felt the need to crow about any of them until now…. our relationship with Google. In fact, I’m guilty of mocking marketers who claim to have special Google access – those who imply they have special access to the algos because they have a picture of Matt smiling at their company’s trade show booth. And there are some who tell prospects they have office space in Google’s Mountainview HQ (you know who you are).
So I was thrilled at the beginning of the year to become one of a small handful of Google Small Business Advisors. For me – I serve as an expert in both SEO and Public Relations, happily donating time and providing advice and guidance to small businesses through Google’s Small Business Community – expertly quarterbacked by Google’s Elizabeth Porter.
It got better.
Earlier this year, Mockingbird was included in Google’s Partner Acceleration Program. There’s just one legal boutique – Mockingbird and I’m beyond proud of our talented team who made this happen.
This entails a lot more than the snazzy Google Partner badge to subconsciously influence prospects by affixing it all over our site and proposals.
We’ve earned the Google Partner badge. The Google Partner badge shows that we’ve demonstrated advanced knowledge in Google AdWords advertising products that help us deliver results and build long-lasting relationships with our clients.
We’ve recently sent Mockingbird’s senior staff for four days of advanced Adwords training with Google’s own Adwords account managers and specialists.
We’re co-hosting events specifically for lawyers at Google through my posting with the American Bar Association.
We have access to Google’s internal benchmarking data specific to the legal industry.
And most importantly – our PPC clients know that their accounts are tended by some of the best talent in the industry – supported directly by Google.
When we say that we’re calling Google, we’re not calling a 1-800 number, we have a dedicated strategic partnership manager and account manager to help us strategize, optimize and keep our clients ahead of the digital marketing curve.
Stay tuned – I’m committed to making Mockingbird’s partnership with Google extend to the entire legal industry.