about this episode

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

episode transcribed

Todd Burnham 0:00
Hi, this is Todd Burnham. I am a licensed practicing attorney. But just because you're listening to me doesn't mean that I represent you. This is for informational purposes only if you're good with that, then let's roll.

Chris Braden 0:23
What do you do when you move to a new state during a recession with no contacts, no job, no money, little experience and a family to support you lean on what you know you continue to learn grind every day and you keep getting better join Todd Burnham as he outlines how he started, Burnham Law in his basement grew to seven offices relying only on his experiences and inspirations from being a college athlete. His unique style of motivation and raw sense of humor are a welcome change from the business advice you're used to hearing. Whether you're a new or seasoned attorney trying to grow your practice or an entrepreneur in any service industry, Todd's story is sure to inspire you to take action and follow your instincts. This is Deep Bench with Todd Burnham.

Hey, Todd, how's it going, buddy?

Todd Burnham 1:12
Good, man. Let's do this.

Chris Braden 1:14
In this episode, I want to talk a little bit about marketing and kind of like designing the playing field because do you want to start at the bankruptcy? Or do we want to start at the Family Law? Where do you want to begin?

Todd Burnham 1:27
Family law.

Chris Braden 1:28

Todd Burnham 1:28
Because, and it's the same concept. But it's a difference between having passion for something and having urgency for something.

Chris Braden 1:34
That's true.

Todd Burnham 1:35
So urgency was I need to make money. I believe in myself, I'm not going to go get a job and work for somebody else. I'm going to go build a bankruptcy website.

Chris Braden 1:44

Todd Burnham 1:44
It's the first thing you do. So you've got to find a website that is informative. And in speaks to you. You want to be authentic with it. I've changed my website for Burnham Law. So many times. You're like chuckling over there. You're like, yeah, yeah, I've worked with you, Todd. I know what you're like.

Chris Braden 2:02
I'm gonna tell you, though, I think you're tweaking the right things.

Todd Burnham 2:05

Chris Braden 2:05
I wouldn't say you redid it, it's kind of an evolution of what it is.

Todd Burnham 2:08
I'm always honing. The message to everybody in our firm is 5%. Okay, 5% more than anybody else. It's not a lot. But even if you if you look, you'll find things differently. If when you have quitting points, dig, five more percent. That's all you need. Because it'll come to you. It's honest. It's, I look at my website. And I'm like, I don't like the feel of my face on that website.

Chris Braden 2:41
I look a little bit too rough. I'm mean!

Todd Burnham 2:43
Right. And that was where it was at before. Right. And so you've got to evolve. And so that is my first impression. That is the

Chris Braden 2:51
Can I say one thing about that?

Todd Burnham 2:52

Chris Braden 2:52
Because I think this is important.

Todd Burnham 2:53

Chris Braden 2:54
That's being self aware. And I would say that most people don't have that. Like, for me, I have a rough edge to me.

Todd Burnham 3:01

Chris Braden 3:01
But nobody really knows that unless they know me really well. I am the gregarious smiling nice guy all the time, because that's what I aspire to be.

Todd Burnham 3:12
Well, in the beginning, you're probably faking it till you made it.

Chris Braden 3:14
Yeah? I don't know. I don't think I was faking it. But yeah, I see what you're saying. I make sure I temper those parts of my personality.

Todd Burnham 3:22
Well, one of the things that I put in as we progress with the episodes, one of the things that I think is really most important.

Chris Braden 3:29

Todd Burnham 3:29
That I did that allows me to kind of look at that. And I appreciate you saying, you know, referencing me as self aware. That is through hours and hours of therapy.

Chris Braden 3:40
There you go.

Todd Burnham 3:41
There you go. Therapy is when we'll talk about it. It's a I love it, because it's morphed. Also, it's no longer mommy daddy stuff. It's how do I inspire? If I'm not feeling a certain way? How do I try to be a better inspiration to people, but also be strong in our conviction of what the culture is? All those things matter.

Chris Braden 4:04
I think all those things matter, too. And I think we mentioned it in the first couple of episodes, your offices have rock posters and stuff like that. I talked to people all the time about image, I go image is everything, but image has to be authentic as well. Don't put on airs. Don't be something that you're not the right people will come to you if you engage with them.

Todd Burnham 4:26
And the right people are the ones that are going to be attracted to the right message.

Chris Braden 4:31
Yes, bingo.

Todd Burnham 4:31
And that's your website. So if you have a message out there that we are the most, you know, we're aggressive and we're gonna fight and that's all we do. Then you're going to attract people that are angry.

Chris Braden 4:43

Todd Burnham 4:43
Fearful, victims that feel victimized by the situation that aren't owning their shit. All of those things are reflected in your website. And your website is a reflection of your firm your culture, what is important to you and the message that you want to get across about your authority in this certain area.

Chris Braden 5:04
All right, Todd, we got the website up. So where'd you get? Did you make this thing?

Todd Burnham 5:09
No, God, no, that's not my

Chris Braden 5:10
You didn't go on GoDaddy and do a theme, the lawyer theme.

Todd Burnham 5:13
No, man. I did initially. I did.

Chris Braden 5:17
You hate the gavels.

Todd Burnham 5:18
Well, no, because that's just not who we are like you, you've got to get your message has to be authentic. I'm not just a lawyer. It's my vocation. But that's not what we're about. So you get your website, you figure out, I would look around and find 20 websites and then go on to freelancer.com.

Chris Braden 5:35
That's an amazing website, by the way.

Todd Burnham 5:36
Back then it was rent decoder. That was 10 years ago. So now it's freelancer.com. You go there, you put your bid out there. And people will literally bid and create a website for you.

Chris Braden 5:48
Amazing people too.

Todd Burnham 5:49
Absolutely. And a lot of them are in India, I have a guy right now that works with me continuously for the past decade. freelancer.com.

Chris Braden 5:56
My guy's in the Philippines. There you go.

Todd Burnham 5:58
I mean, you don't need to be spending money on these agencies. Now. Just don't it's a waste of money. You're not there yet. And you will see, by the time we're done with this, that you're going to be able to do it anyway. Why would you have somebody else get your message across when you can do it yourself? So when you do have a website, you can be having good long game short game.

Chris Braden 6:18

Todd Burnham 6:19
Long game is organic search engine rankings, search engine optimization

Chris Braden 6:23
The ever evolving Google machine.

Todd Burnham 6:24

Chris Braden 6:25
Never the same

Todd Burnham 6:26
Short game immediate clients immediate contacts, at least depending on your ad spend is going to be AdWords go by those clicks. Google ads? Yes. So everything about it has to be reflective of what you're trying to get across. In the beginning, mine was aggressive representation. And now it's it's more of,

That fits though.


Chris Braden 6:48

Todd Burnham 6:48
It's not always.

Chris Braden 6:50
Like your first ad was I solve problems?

Todd Burnham 6:52
I solve problems. That's it, you know, the more it's become full circle, because really, what I was talking about then is I was talking about something I probably didn't have enough of, which is emotional intelligence, and less fear.

Chris Braden 7:05

Todd Burnham 7:05
So you're looking at all these things, and you start the website, you don't want flash on there, and you want it to be clean and get your message across. And make sure that you have an easy way for people to contact you. That's it.

Chris Braden 7:16
Rule number one call to action. How can I get a hold of you? Yeah. A lot of people miss that. I gotta be honest with you.

Todd Burnham 7:23
I see it. So you this isn't personal to and this isn't like all about you. When you're creating a website. It's not like what do you want to say? It's how do you say what you want to say in a way that is going to be receptive to the people, you're trying to say it to

Chris Braden 7:39
User experience.

Todd Burnham 7:41
Much better? See, I'm not a marketing person.

Chris Braden 7:44
Oh, but you said the right way. Like, most people, when they put something up like a website, or whether it's an ad or website, they think about themselves, they got to think about the other end? Because that's all that matters. All I want to know is, who are you? Are you any good? How do I get a hold of you?

Todd Burnham 8:00
Right? And you don't want hero ball. I started there. And you have to start when you're an expert. You're the only hero in that office? Sure. You're answering the phones, you're doing everything. You are working more now that you've created your own business.

Chris Braden 8:14

Todd Burnham 8:15
And you have less financial stability, but you're going for it.

Chris Braden 8:19
So bringing it back to pay per click that has a lot to do with how much you can pay for a click because these attorney clicks in these niches are not cheap.

Todd Burnham 8:30
No they're not. They're not. And so you have to then think about different ways of marketing that are effective, that reflect your values and your core principles of your business, and that aren't going to require a second mortgage.

Chris Braden 8:45
So how did you set your budget for that? Because I think that's important to know. Because when you put an advertisement out, the ultimate goal is ROI.

Todd Burnham 8:52
Return on investment.

Chris Braden 8:53
And when you really turn on investment, yeah, what you really want is two 3x, that investment at the minimum. So you spend 100, you get 300 back, like how do you set that kind of budget and strategy in place?

Todd Burnham 9:07
It's funny that you say that I never have a budget. I've never had a budget. I won't have a budget, I have a feel I have a general idea of what's in the bank. Right. I have a general feel of what payroll is and what our expenses are. I know those numbers.

Chris Braden 9:22

Todd Burnham 9:22
I know what's going out. I know what's coming in. And I know that because I'm reinvesting almost all of it back into the business, if you're going to grow. If you're not going to grow, then funnel it out.

Chris Braden 9:34
Yeah, go buy your job.

Todd Burnham 9:35
Go buy it. But that's not where I wanted to be. And I've just inherently wanted to grow it. So I've always reinvested when you're budgeting. You got to think to yourself, what is going to get my message across in the most effective way and compare apples to apples.

Chris Braden 9:52

Todd Burnham 9:53
So AdWords is one thing you're going to start with AdWords or Google ads, your organic search engine optimization. Big you know, these marketing companies will say, 'Well, we're going to do organic search and all that.'

Chris Braden 10:03
'We're only going to charge you five grand a month, dawg.'

Todd Burnham 10:05
Yeah. And what they end up doing typically, in my experience is they'll spend the first three hours of lining it up, and they'll, quote, monitor it, which means that you've got to be busting your ass to monitor your own stuff. Because no one's gonna care about it as much as you do. No. And you have to pay attention to details when there's a space missing between the end before or before the, no one cares, except you and me, if I'm looking at that website, and I see that there's a lack of attention to detail that's reflective of the person who is trying to sell to me and I move on. And so my shit is tight. I want it to be tighter than everybody else. Because remember, with me, I'm competing, right? I'm competing against everyone else. And now that I'm marketing, it's out there, right? Todd Burnham, Burnham Law is competing against this firm, for doing this, this for doing that.

Chris Braden 11:00
In college, it's recruiting and when your competitors are out there, and they're breaking it down, you don't want to give them much to use. And if they can go like you know what you go to his website, the grammar is even, it's not that great. You can't even like allow that.

Todd Burnham 11:11
There was a time when I was playing lacrosse, and it stuck with me. We were playing Syracuse, and they were like the number one ranked lacrosse team in the country. There's a friend of mine, Charlie Lockwood is called the laser Lockwood, he played on the World Team.

Chris Braden 11:24
Oh, that's cool.

Todd Burnham 11:25
High end athletes. And these guys were just crushing it. And so I was there. And I'm like, Come on, guys, we're gonna be playing, you know, Lockwood. And, you know, and I'm focusing on them so much. And my coach stopped the practice, Burnham Shut up. But what it's like, worry about yourself. And that's the thing, don't worry about what your competitors are doing. You've got blinders on, you've got to know what's happening out there.

Chris Braden 11:25

Todd Burnham 11:27
But you also don't want to be focused so much on what they're doing. Because you're just gonna that's the that's your ceiling, then. I want to be great. That means that I'm challenging myself every day to get better. And I'm focused on what can we do better? Can I get a spacing in this website today that looks better.

Chris Braden 12:10

Todd Burnham 12:11
Like that's little details like that this person has in our firm has a weakness with X. Let's get that person into a CLE. That's the 5%. It's little things. If you think that your firm is good enough, great, cuz I'm competing with you, and I'm not good enough is like cancerous to me. It's, you're looking for growth. I'm looking for people that want to grow, that want to work hard and get better. And if I can do that, and keep getting better at those things, then you can't compete with me, because I won't fail. My last dying breath is I'm competing. Are you willing to do that? You know?

Chris Braden 12:52
Right. So we're doing the cursory overview of marketing. We know, we're deep into it. Now. We got your website, pay per click, we got some organic SEO. I think this is one that not just attorneys, but all businesses struggle with. And I think within your industry, this is important reviews. Oh, yeah. I just real quick.

Todd Burnham 13:14

Chris Braden 13:15
Number one, how do you handle reviews? internally? Because there's sometimes there'll be critical ones?

Todd Burnham 13:21

Chris Braden 13:22
And externally, that's all I want to know.

Todd Burnham 13:24
Okay. It depends on the review. Okay. So we're going to talk later on about defending the home turf?

Chris Braden 13:29

Todd Burnham 13:29
So reviews are is how you build a practice. You're an expert. Once you're an expert, then you're starting to look at marketing. And the only way that you're going to grow if that's your intention is to get word of mouth.

Chris Braden 13:43
Yeah, absolutely.

Todd Burnham 13:44
And no one's gonna tell you necessarily if a restaurant is great, because it's like a secret.

Chris Braden 13:49
Sure, yeah. I don't want to tell them, I want to tell him for me and tell me but let me

Todd Burnham 13:53
tell you, if your food was cold, and the service sucked, the first thing that you're thinking of is like, I'm going to tell everyone.

Chris Braden 13:59
I'm going to Yelp review the crap out of this bad boy.

Todd Burnham 14:01
Hey, this smells like shit salad. Right? You know, like, kids don't eat the right split. Smell this, this is awful. When you're dealing with reviews, it's a learning experience, you've got to look at it as growth. So if someone says that they didn't respond like I'm anal about communication.

Chris Braden 14:02

Todd Burnham 14:13
So I think they didn't get back to me in three days or so. And so I'll own it.

Chris Braden 14:23

Todd Burnham 14:24
Own it. Because you're getting better. No fear in reviews. I have so many reviews on Apple and Google My Business for the firm. And there are negative ones, and you have to own it. And if they are inaccurate, then you have to defend it. And it just means being professional. Right? These are human beings that are going through a really bad time. Presumably if you're dealing with a lawyer.


And you want to be you want to respect that. But also don't let people disrespect you. And there's a fine balance.

Chris Braden 14:54
Let's keep it real. Have you ever turned one do you mean a turn like cuz I can see where I'm trying to get a hold have an attorney. And maybe that my timeframe wasn't the timeframe that they had. I would never do that. But I mean, some people would have you ever turned a negative review into just a really great customer?

Todd Burnham 15:11
Nothing comes to mind that says to me, like, oh, this person didn't have a good experience with us. But he's now or she's now like, really fond of us.

Chris Braden 15:21

Todd Burnham 15:21
No, but what I've done is I've turned all those things. You're talking about lemonade here. Sure. This is my jam. This is all about the mind. And so if I'm getting a bunch of lemons, and you've got to turn that around, the way that you turn it around, is to just be professional.

Chris Braden 15:35

Todd Burnham 15:36
I'm not trying to get that person. I'm trying to build authority in the brand. And if I'm building authority, that means I'm also being honest and say, Yes, I could have done better, we could have done better here. That's how you turn it. You're not trying to get say,

Chris Braden 15:50
If I had a negative comment, and someone said that to me. I'd feel so much better about it. Just recognize.

Todd Burnham 15:56
Here it is. You're right, we dropped the ball there. And if you can do that, there's you've got to ditch the ego. This isn't about you. It's the experience. I regularly tell people nowadays, I'm like, I'm not angry with you. I'm angry at the situation.

Chris Braden 16:12

Todd Burnham 16:13
And that's true. So as we talk later, therapy, all that stuff helps. But that's how you get started in marketing is is looking at it from the big picture and making sure that you're adding value to the consumer.

Chris Braden 16:26
Good stuff, Todd.

Todd Burnham 16:27
Right on catch you next time. Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe, and until next time, keep getting better.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai