24. Joe Zarzaur, Zarzaur Law – Multi-Channel Marketing, Candid Conversations, and Healthy Employees

subscribe NOW

Joe Zarzaur is the founder of Zarzaur Law, a personal injury firm based in Pensacola, Florida. Joe is a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer, a distinction that only 1% of Florida attorneys can claim. Throughout his career in the courtroom, Joe has won record jury verdicts for injury cases in both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. In addition to his Board Certification, Joe has also been awarded an AV rating and a 10 out of 10 on AVVO.com.

Transcript

Joe Zarzaur

They’re going to do some kind of search and ideally you want them to see your ad on Google and say, Oh, that’s the TV ad I saw yesterday, or that’s the billboard I saw yesterday.

Chris Dreyer

Any financial manager will tell you that the key to steady returns is a diversified portfolio. The same is true for marketing.

Joe Zarzaur

The more you can put the seed in their head. So when they go to look. After an event, because it’s almost like they have amnesia when the event happens and then they personal injury lawyer and like, Oh wait, why didn’t I think of that guy? That’s the guy that I see all the time in the billboard. That’s the guy I see on the television.

Chris Dreyer

You’re listening to the rankings podcast, the show where top marketers and elite personal injury attorneys share their stories about getting to the top and what keeps them there. Not many people have had the success of Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law, a personal injury firm in Pensacola, Florida. Joe is a member of the million dollar advocates forum and is a board certified civil trial lawyer. A distinction that only 1% of Florida attorneys can claim. We talked about the compound effect of having multiple marketing channels and how one quality case can be worth a handful of bad fits. I’m your host, Chris Dreyer, founder and CEO of Rankings.io. We help elite personal injury attorneys dominate first page rankings with search engine optimization. SEO is all about the first page and that’s also where we’d like to start our show. Here’s Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law.

Joe Zarzaur

No, I think everybody. That works for a company thinks fantasizes, I think about having their own business, right. At some point in time, and sometimes it’s a fleeting fantasy. Sometimes you’re better off not having your own company. Right. But I think there are personalities that are better on their own kind of, kind of thing. I just w I had that kind of personality where I was like, okay, mean I was, I think I was a decent obedient employee as a lawyer. Um, but at the same time, I’m opinionated. Right. And I think, uh, I have, uh, I don’t know. I have a, um, I guess unlike a lot of lawyers, I like business stuff. So I think a lot of lawyers and doctors and other professionals, accountants, they like their craft. And then the business is sort of second. I like my craft. Okay. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. Right. But I like being a businessman too, an entrepreneur, an advertiser or a marketer. So I enjoy that aspect of this too. And I think what, what gave me the idea of thinking this was the right move for me, was wanting to make all the decisions. For the business and not be questioned about it, not have to go through layers of other people. I wanted to make this decision this way and why don’t we market it this way? I won’t have to ask somebody permission to do that. I wanted to just do it. So I think that’s really what made the decision for me.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. And I think that’s great. So you wanted to drive, you wanted to be innovative and explore unique opportunities too, that you probably saw weren’t being applied to the firm you’re at previously and you want it a little bit more control. No. So what were, what were those early days of the firm? Like how were you, how were you hustling to get those clients in the early days?

Joe Zarzaur

Uh, well, they’re scary, right? You’re scared to death. Um, you’re, you know, you look back at bills that used to make you like cringe. And you’re thinking, geez, my gosh, I wish I had that kind of American express business bill bill now. Right. It’s like, I was like worried about $3,000 a month on my American express business card. So, um, but yeah, I remember being scared of death. I remember thinking to myself, uh, how am I going to make it? I think it helped me when I went out on my own that I didn’t have a, I wasn’t married at the time. I didn’t have a child, uh, at the time. And so it was less scary. I didn’t have a ton of student loan debt at the time I had retired. Most of that. I didn’t have a lot of other debt. So I think that is, that makes it a lot easier for people when they go out on their own to not have personal debt and personal concerns or as many. Uh, as, as a lot of people have, right? So it makes the decision and basically makes the risk a lot less. You’re not just risking, you’re only risking you, right? You’re not risking people at home that are counting on you, creditors that are counting on you to pay your bills. Um, if you have a bunch of debt already, you know, it made it a lot easier for me to branch out and just go.

Chris Dreyer

So it would be fair to say Dave Ramsey would be, would be a really, uh, it’s kind of the Dave Ramsey approach. He didn’t carry a lot of debt. You got to make moves and make your cash work for you. I don’t know that I agree

Joe Zarzaur

with everything Dave Ramsey says, but

Chris Dreyer

I don’t think we all do,

Joe Zarzaur

but the whole debt thing, I think the less debt you have in general in the world, the more, uh, free you are to make

Chris Dreyer

decisions. Yeah, absolutely. I a hundred percent agree. So, you know, taking it to the next level, you started acquiring cases, you started building your brand. Is there a, is there a big turning point, maybe a case settled or a marketing initiative that you did that really took it to the next level?

Joe Zarzaur

Absolutely. Uh, and this business and the trial lawyer business, you really don’t know for sure. You’re good at this until you get a big verdict, you can settle a thousand cases, right? And you can settle in for millions and millions of dollars, but until a jury after hearing you present your case, gives your client millions and millions and millions of dollars. I don’t know that you know, that you’ve made it in this profession until that happens. And until that happens over and over again, you may think it’s an anomaly, right? So. That is what gave me confirmation until that time, even though I loved what I did. And even though I felt like I did it better than average, I didn’t have that validation that a jury had awarded my clients millions and millions of dollars. And until that happened, I didn’t feel like I had validation. So I would constantly be thinking, I like doing this and I feel like I can make some money. And I feel like I’m really good. And I feel like I’m better than average. But maybe I should do something else, like sports marketing or sports agency, or do this, do that. And until you really get that verdict that says, no, no, no, no, no dude. Only 0.2% of lawyers in this business get this kind of number verdict you are doing what you’re supposed to do. Right. So, um, that’s that gave validation.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, absolutely validation and confidence. I’m sure there is this a ton of confidence and momentum that build from that. And then you can, I guess, leverage that, that giant case result for marketing, you know, marketing and referral potentials. So. You know, very few success, successful business owners, get to where they are without making some mistakes. Are there any mistakes that come to mind that you’ve learned from

Joe Zarzaur

Daily. I’m a professional mistake maker? Actually, um, I just try to make less mistakes than, than, uh, than, uh, than I don’t. And then I also try to fix them when I do right. Um, mistake wise, um, My God, there’s so many, um, let, let’s just take, maybe the biggest mistakes I’ve made is joining up with firms along the way, without making sure I had an ironclad understanding and writing about how we were going to split fees. So if you want prosecutor with firms and everybody’s buddies and whatever, everybody’s happy, and in this business, you know, it’s very. Everything’s contingency related. Right? So nobody gets paid until the case is over. Everybody’s working towards the same goal. Nobody realizes there’s money until there’s money. And what happens is we all are working towards that recovery. And then when it happens, everybody’s like, well, everybody’s got an inflated impression of what they did to get the money, right. Including me. So. When the money’s, there is not the time to try to figure out how much you should get and how much you should get, whether this is a fair deal or not. Right. So if I learned anything from the biggest mistake I made the ones that has cost me the most is that when I have co-counsel in cases that I feel like are not pulling their weight, so to speak. And I feel like I’m giving more to the mix than they are. Then I need to immediately address that before the recovery happens so that when, and if the recovery does happen, there’s not this big fight over it.

Chris Dreyer

So those candid conversations, right, when you see him or hard

Joe Zarzaur

conversations to have, but there are a lot harder to have when the money is sitting in a trust account and we’re all fighting up. You know what I mean?

Chris Dreyer

That makes sense. And that’s, that’s something I haven’t heard before, but, but I totally understand. And. That’s something just now that you’ve experienced that pain. Now you can, you know, you’ve learned from that situation, I’m sure that you’re, you’re establishing those boundaries, those, those situations. Now I’m a

Joe Zarzaur

little militant about it now. Like a little over, I overdo it too much. Like. First phone call with somebody to refer in a case I’m very diligent about making sure everything’s clear in an email. As soon as we get off the phone. Here’s what we decided right here are the percentages. Here’s what we decided, put it in writing done. Right? And then if something changes, I immediately address it as uncomfortable as it may be. I may say, listen, you know, I’m starting to take a lot more depositions than I thought. I think we should revisit these numbers.

Chris Dreyer

Another potentially uncomfortable decision that Joe says is critical has to do with personnel, especially at a small company. The people you hire will be operating a huge portion of your business. What do you do if someone isn’t performing? I asked him how he conceptualizes these difficult staffing decisions.

Joe Zarzaur

No doubt. Yeah. Staffing is by far. I think the number one challenge of any business owner is getting good staff, keeping them. And weeding out the ones that are aren’t going to ever make it a lot of businesses. I think hire people and they’re mediocre, but mediocrity is it doesn’t ever push anybody to make any big decisions, you know, one way or the other. They don’t piss you off enough to get fired. They don’t impress you enough to give them big bonuses. So they just sort of wallow around and mediocrity for years. Meanwhile, there’s a candidate out there that could be taking that position to a whole nother level. Right. And you’re not doing that. And I know that’s grass is greener on the other side kind of thing, but I’m a firm believer in that, in the professional setting. Maybe it doesn’t working in personal relationships, always looking for maybe a bigger, brighter, shiny object. But I do feel like there, if you, if you don’t want your staff to be mediocre, you don’t want your brand to be mediocre. Everybody in your facility needs to be doing their best to be better than that every day. And if they’re not bye-bye.

Chris Dreyer

I, I totally agree. And the longer someone’s with your company, the harder it is to have those conversations. So just addressing it early too, makes it makes it even easier from a personal feeling type of situation. So let’s talk about the good, what, what’s a proud moment that really stands out for you.

Joe Zarzaur

Uh, well, uh, of course opening your own office is a big deal, right? Um, Getting those verdicts are big, are a big deal. I think being recognized as a board certified civil trial specialist by the Florida bar, um, is a big deal because you don’t get that. It doesn’t come along easy. Um, there’s like 90,000 lawyers in Florida and 1% of those have the certification. And I think that was a big deal. Um, Being recognized, uh, in the community as someone that cares about, uh, the community, uh, with awards, uh, that, that, that applaud their, the, the amount of work we do in the community, helping people is important to us also. Um, you know, I think I’ve gotten a lot of employees that have worked out and that ended up going elsewhere. Bigger and brighter things have written some really I’ve kept them over the years. Really nice notes that said to me, you helped me grow into a better worker, human blah, blah, blah. I think those are things that matter. And then of course, clients that are thankful about their cases and that’s a weekly thing when they, it makes me like a calf to catch my breath every time that happens. Because when I read these things, I forget and I’m like, Oh my God. You know, I am having an impact on people’s lives right. In a positive way. And of course I’m not out here saving lives, you know, with my hands, but at the same time, I’m making lives a little bit better. That had been pretty much destroyed right. Or wrong or messed up pretty bad. So, um, th those things mean a lot.

Chris Dreyer

In any given day, a customer might see hundreds of ads across a dozen different platforms. No single ad can tip the scales of an environment. And even if you’re omitting a channel, you might be missing out on a whole customer base. I asked Joe why having a multi-channel approach to marketing is crucial for a PI law firm.

Joe Zarzaur

Uh, personal injury lawyers is what I can really speak to. And I can tell you this, that, uh, I don’t think you can just invest in one medium. You have to be sort of like a shotgun approach. You’ve got to, if you’re going to be on TV, you almost have to be in billboards. If you’re going to be in billboards, you gotta being Google ad words or some other internet search thing. Right? I think everybody wants to use their phone to contact everybody, including lawyers. And if you’re not accessible on your phone and your phone, right. They may know who you are. They may know your name. They may remember your name, but when they go through a traumatic event, they’re going to forget for a second. Right. And what they need to do is to be reminded who you are again, and the best way to do that, fortunately, or unfortunately is SEO and Google ad words. Because they’re going to search Google, they’re going to do some kind of search and ideally you want them to see your ad on Google and say, Oh, that’s the TV ad I saw yesterday. Or that’s the billboard I saw yesterday. The more you can put the seed in their head. So when they go to look. After an event, because it’s almost like they have amnesia when the event happens and then they personal injury lawyer and like, Oh wait, why didn’t I think of that guy? That’s the guy that I see all the time in the billboard. That’s the guy I see on the television. They use Google as a way of looking it up. Right. And I hate to say, but Google controls a lot of that business. And unless your website is like, top-notch, would you. Daily deal like daily, you have to update the content and make sure you’re the algorithm is, is the same. Hadn’t changed, whatever, tweak it here and there, you can’t guarantee SEO is going to be at the top every time. So you got to do something else to make sure you’re at the top. That’s why Google ad words I think is, you know, they’ve got a, they’ve got a, sort of a monopoly going in a way. Um,

Chris Dreyer

I a hundred percent agree, you know? So you’ve got your, your, your top of the funnel, whether you call that the no, no is no like trust or awareness, engagement, consideration, wherever you talk about it, your TV billboards are that awareness, but then that’s, that’s the brand equity play. So then when someone does type it in Google, you gotta be able to show up for them to be able to convert.

Joe Zarzaur

Now I do think this, I do think. That there is a way to get a mass volume of cases, which I just described. And there’s also a way to get quality cases with people that are going to take time to hire a lawyer. They’re not going to just put a Google search in and, and say, well, that guy’s name, they’re going to want to say, w let’s compare his credentials. To her credentials and let’s see, who’s actually better suited for our case. I want to have, frankly, I’d rather have three quality cases than 30 my neck hurt cases. Right. So. Not only are those going to provide the internal satisfaction for the firm and for the client. And for me, for actually helping somebody, that’s your really bad situation and helping the community by making a wrong. Right. Right. But it’s more valuable. Right. Three of those cases is, is, would have, would take 40 neck, my neck or Casey’s right. So, um, and I’m not making fun of our little of people’s neck because neck injuries are bad things. But what I am saying is non herniated disc cases, cases where you can’t show, uh, something in an objective film. Uh, but the person has soft tissue injuries for certain injuries, perhaps. Um, those cases are just not as valuable as a neck surgery case. Right. Um, you gotta be doing both. You gotta be, you gotta be appealing to the, to the folks who may not research you very much, because there are good cases there too, but you also have to be making sure the people that are going to be, um, smart about the process. That you’re providing them the content. They need to make intelligent decisions. And so that you appear and sound as different as you are.

Chris Dreyer

I a hundred percent agree. I, you know, the multi-channel approach is first of all, how you’re getting your name out there, but it also compliments each other TV and, and billboards compliment the SEO because then you capture those clicks.
And then the other thing, you know, the higher your brand perception and expertise raises, the more likely you are to get those great cases through a referral, to just an another different Avenue. Uh, not only from directly from the consumer. So I, I, a hundred percent agree and I, I think the multi-channel approach is what you have to do nowadays to, to capture attention.

Joe Zarzaur

Right? Yep. I can’t agree with that more.

Chris Dreyer

So next let’s shift to let’s shift to kind of like a personal development. What’s one book that comes to mind that you would recommend.

Joe Zarzaur

Yeah, that’s a good, that’s a tough question. I try to read a lot of current events, uh, non like non-fiction, um, for business purposes, shoe dog, uh, the long road shoe dog. Cause he didn’t have found her Nike. I thought that was a great book. I read it about a year ago, but it sticks out from a business standpoint as, as one that I enjoyed a lot. Um, Richard Haass just wrote a book called the world. Um, it’s brand new. Uh, just started it a couple of nights ago, but it seems like it’s a really, he basically calls an introduction to the world and it’s almost like everybody is coming through a school should be required to read it because it basically introduces you to every part of the work and what their interests are. Right. And how they’re different than ours and how we can use that. Uh, knowledge of everybody’s differences to get along better, um, and to understand why people do things. Right. So, um, I think that would be those two books that stick out or for purposes of this conversation.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. I’m going to have to read the world. You said, and then shoe dog. I did read shoe dog and it was kind of nice because it exposed the good and the bad. Kind of Nike’s journey. So it was nice to see them like at a human level. Uh, what about mentors or influences or is there a specific mentor that comes to mind that helped you develop, uh, your, your expertise?

Joe Zarzaur

I don’t know that I have any one particular person, but there are lawyers in Florida that are older than me, that I sort of, you know, through my trade groups, the Florida justice association. We get together two or three times a year. And you just sorta, you put your eyes on somebody you’re like, Hmm, that dude’s got it, got to figure it out. Right. Or that lady’s got to figure it out. And so I’ve quietly watched people that, you know, I don’t really care to name and I don’t know that they would care to name them, but, and I’ve admired them from afar and thought to myself, maybe I can build my practice to be what theirs is. Right. Um, and this is the level of respect they command from their peers is so impressive. That, you know, it means more than any verdict, actually. You know, the idea that your peers think that much of you, um, is really success, right? If you, in any particular industry, if your peers respect your abilities to do that job, you’ve really succeeded, right? Regardless of how much money you have, or how many boats and cars and planes you have. If you’ve got their respect, you’ve done something because there’s a ton of people that make money in this business that have no respect. I mean, there’s a lot of people that advertise and they get a lot of volume cases who I wouldn’t hire to handle a speeding ticket, literally a speeding ticket charge. Like they have no clue what they’re doing. Right. But they’re great marketers and they’re great business. But that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to this betrayed being a trial lawyer. So,

Chris Dreyer

yeah. And when you, when you, when you congregate with those people that are successful, it’s kind of, you, you kind of immerse yourself, you get ideas that maybe, you know, you, it leads to innovation. And I’ve seen that myself and our digital agency masterminds you. I work with a different, uh, digital marketing company and I I’m like, well, that’s, that’s a great idea. I need to implement that. Um, Joe wa one final question. Is there anything you wanted to talk about? We haven’t discussed?

Joe Zarzaur

I think it’s important for people to be physically, uh, healthy. Um, one of the big things here at the firm is we do the firm does a required yoga session every week. Um, I pay for their wild memberships. I encourage people in the wash and it’s like right across the street from us, a brand new sparkling, beautiful YMCA um, And I encourage people to take an extra, uh, pay for them to take an extra long lunch if they’re working out. Um, so I don’t, the women want to take a shower afterwards. They get an, I give them an hour and a half instead of an hour. Um, you know, I personally have to work out every day or I don’t feel like I’m, uh, I’m ready to work. And I feel like the healthier people are physically. The more productive. They’re going to be the happier they’re going to be, the more mentally healthy they’re going to be. It’s just the better they’re gonna be with their family. The better they’re going to be with themselves. I mean, it’s just, it’s a priority. And I feel like businesses that don’t put that as a priority for their staff are making huge miscalculations because if you work them to death, right. And then you reward them with like, Beer wine and food, and you’re not paying attention to and promoting their health and wellbeing. They’re just gonna crash and burn. Like you are at some point right now, of course, I’m not saying I’m gonna live forever, but you know, I’m going to be living until I drop. Right. And so it may be a sudden kind of drop, but it ain’t going to be one of those long extended sickness kind of drops. You get my drift.

Chris Dreyer

I, I think that’s a great piece of advice. And I know that my wife, if she’s listening to this episode is going to push me more on it. Um, yeah. So I, I, a hundred percent agree and I, I applaud you for that. I think that’s tremendous. That’s a way better benefit than, uh, you know, many of these other. The types of benefits you can provide as a business owner, besides this, the standard health, health insurance, and all those types of things. Uh, guys, we’ve been talking to Joe elite, personal attorney at Zarzaur Law, Joe, where can we learn more about you?

Joe Zarzaur

Uh, zarzaurlaw.com. If you want to read my website or read about me, joezarzaur.com and um, one of the first big verdicts I got, uh, I saw a lawyer out at, uh, Um, a retail store and he said, man, you beat that lawyer. And the lawyer works for Johnson and Johnson. Um, and that lawyer hates your guts. And I was like, what are you talking about? And that lawyer had. I’d been litigating against him for 10 years. And we went to trial and the most he had offered was like $200,000. And the verdict was like 9.3 million or something. And I, and the first, the guy was pissed off. He had all his Ivy league, you know, crew in the courtroom and he was talking down to everybody, including the jury, the whole trial, you know, using words that nobody understood. He had to look up. And, um, at the end of the case, he, he was telling people that he hated me. Like he hates me for the verdict. Right. And so I took that statement and I made it into an advertising campaign. ihatejoezarzaur.com. And so I put that all around town and do it like, what the heck? What is that? ihatejoezarzaur.com. And you go to the website and it explains that whole story about why this lawyer hates to me. Cause I beat his, you know, he and his client oblivion in back. And, um, and so in any event, um, I hate georgia.com is also a way to get, get my story.

Chris Dreyer

That’s great. We’ll, we’ll share that to our audience and I’m going to have to check that out right after this. Hey Joe, it’s been awesome having you on the show. Thanks so much.

Joe Zarzaur

Right. Enjoy, Chris, you all take care. Thanks for having me. Thank you

Chris Dreyer

I love what Joe had to say about not only finding clients, but finding the right clients. I think having great SEO and marketing in general can give the flexibility to choose your customers and work with those that serve your business best. I’d like to think Joe Zarzaur for sharing his thoughts and his story with us. And I hope you gained some valuable insights from this conversation. You’ve been listening to the rankings podcast. I’m Chris Dreyer. If you’d like to see episode or have an idea for a future guests, whose story you’d love to hear leaver of you and tell me more, I’ll catch you next week with another inspiring story and some SEO tips and tricks all with page one in mind.

 

Get Our Best Personal Injury
Marketing Tips

Delivered straight to your inbox
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Comments Below

Let us know your thoughts

More Episodes