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How I Started An SEO Agency For Lawyers Generating $3.6M/Year

Chris-Dreyer-live

Ryan Stewart

I build, grow and sell digital agencies. Most recently, WEBRIS, a 7 figure SEO agency.

Chris Dreyer is the CEO/Founder of Rankings.io, LLC. His company is a hyper-focused SEO agency helping elite personal injury law firms dominate first page rankings.

In 2018, they were #858 in the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America.

Chris joined us last week to talk about how he grew his niche agency to such large numbers.

Timestamps:

  • 1:03 How are you growing existing accounts if you’re not stacking services?
  • 5:19 Is it easy to convince law firms to pay you for the value of your service instead of leads generated?
  • 7:15 Are you selling them on the value of your service instead of a certain outcome like traffic, leads, etc.?
    9:28 How are you guys structured internally?
  • 18:58 When it comes to the core parts of SEO are you following any processes?
  • 20:18 What kind of upsells you have for your clients?
  • 21:15 When you say open a new location you mean you will set up an office for them and get it verified?
  • 22:46 How you arrived and the niche of a niche and how others can do the same?
  • 25:17 How long did it take your business to pick up the revenue that you might have lost?

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How are you growing existing accounts if you’re not stacking services?

It comes down to attribution. We had to understand how much business we’re driving to the attorneys and what the average case value is for each firm. Ours is a value-based fee structure, unlike most SEO agencies.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 1:03)

Is it easy to convince law firms to pay you for the value of your service instead of leads generated?

It really is a results-based conversation. We won’t get clients unless we give a good ROI. The key difference is that our sales cycle is a lot longer.

We do a full diagnostic. We dive in and understand their business and goals. It is this substantial diagnostic where we get the conceptual agreement that’s where we get the nod.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 5:19)

Are you selling them on the value of your service instead of a certain outcome like traffic, leads, etc.?

Yes, although we will have those conversations it is not in the contract. Competitiveness in every area is different so you can’t know the exact value. So we charge a different fee for a different location.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 7:15)

How are you guys structured internally?

We have marketing, sales, account management, operations, finance and HR like any traditional company.

Then we have specialized project managers that work with our strategic partners for content and link building etc.

We also have an in-house, on-site SEO team because we haven’t found anyone that can really do it as well as us.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 9:28)

When it comes to the core parts of SEO are you following any processes?

We have precise processes that we follow for every task at the agency. We are trying to dominate a market so we have to be precise.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 18:58)

What kind of upsells you have for your clients?

Our initial diagnostic is almost perfect so our upselling opportunities are limited. Our upsells happen when the client opens in a new location or we send referrals to PPC agencies etc.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 20:18)

When you say open a new location you mean you will set up an office for them and get it verified?

Yeah, exactly. For local one of the main local SEO ranking factors is proximity so we have our clients open another location 15-20 miles away and since the relevancy is already there they grab a substantial amount of market share by opening another office.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 21:15)

How you arrived and the niche of a niche and how others can do the same?

Every agency needs a unique selling proposition and unique selling propositions are rare for SEO agencies. For us, though it was a niche within a niche.

Tons of people do law firm SEO but we specialized in PI and made this our unique selling proposition.

We were primarily in SEO, PPC, and design. By looking at our P&L records, I realized that design and PPC are not bringing in a ton of revenue.

So I just took that step off the cliff kind of approach and started referring it all out and just focused on SEO for law firms.

That was a big success because then we could make strategic partners with people that only did PPC so then there’s no threat of poaching.

Then I looked at my data and broke it down by practice area. Over 70% of revenue was being generated by personal injury firms, so it was like a no-brainer for us and we just referred the other 30% out.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 22:46)

How long did it take your business to pick up the revenue that you might have lost?

We’ve grown over 100% almost every year. Every time we niched down our revenue grew. The first year we were full-service then we dropped PPC for a year and then we dropped design after we looked at our data again.

It took about five years but every single year we made adjustments and niched down further till we were doing only PI.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 25:17)

Are you doing sales outreach?

Yeah, we’re taking the giftology approach—highly customized strategic gifting like coffee mugs with custom quotes or a loom video that had a URL on it or a custom picture etc.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 29:24)

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