Spotlight Branding - March 2020

MAR. 2020 (800)-406-7229

SO, I TOOK 6 WEEKS OFF ... And the Company Didn’t Burn Down

About two months ago, I realized that my mindset had reached a crisis point. It had been about 10 years since I’d started Spotlight Branding, and in that time, I’d hardly taken any time off. Now, that’s pretty typical of small- business owners. Burning the midnight oil, taking work home with you, skipping family dinners in favor of the office — odds are you’ve done all that, just like me. But another thing happening to me at that point wasn’t normal or healthy: I couldn’t sleep. When I’d get home fromwork and lay down in the quiet of my bedroom, all I could think about was my business. It turns out that if you’re not careful, instead of owning your business, it can end up owning you. So, I took some time off because I realized that I needed to create some mental space, step back, and get myself into a better place. I missed loving my business and had almost forgotten what it was like when Spotlight Branding didn’t feel like a heavy sack of potatoes I was carrying around 24/7. Now that I’m back, I have to say that taking the time off just might be the best thing I’ve done. Not only did the world keep turning, but Spotlight Branding kept killing it even while I was sleeping in, visiting friends, and having long dinners out with my wife. Here are the three most valuable lessons I learned during my six- week sabbatical. 1. DISTANCE CREATES PERSPECTIVE. When I left, I really left. I turned over my email account to a colleague and left strict instructions to not call me unless it was an emergency. Not having to worry about constant calls and emails turned out to be really therapeutic and liberating.

Without emails weighing me down, I was free to think bigger thoughts. 2. IT’S VITAL TO STAY (MENTALLY) FED. Consuming content from other business leaders through podcasts and books motivates me, inspires me, and reminds me of what matters. When I was bogged down in the day-to-day slog of running Spotlight Branding, I lost sight of that big picture. During my time off, I let those positive influences back in and went back to work buzzing with new ideas. 3. THERE’S NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN HAVING A GREAT TEAM. Simply by being there to answer questions and take on the toughest projects, I was holding my team back. When I left, they had free reign, and wow did they run with it! First, December (the month I was pretty much gone for) turned out to be our best sales month of the year. Second, my team implemented a new flex schedule (without even running it by me!) that made everyone happier and more productive. And third, I came back to find that while I was gone, my team had done what I’d meant to do for years: published a book. (Read more about that on Pg. 3.) If your business is well-established and you’re thinking of taking a similar step back, here’s my advice: Start planning it today. If your sabbatical goes anything like mine, it will benefit you, your team, and your business. Trust me: Sometimes, to really act like a business owner, you need to work on your business rather than in it! When you come back full of ideas and goals for taking your firm to the next level, give me a call. –Marc Cerniglia

Dinner with my wife

Visiting friends in Atlanta

Giving grandfather a gift on Christmas




When it comes to social media, 99% of users — businesses or otherwise — try to play an engagement game. They think likes, comments, and shares are currency and that they can only win by chasing them. While this might be true for celebrities, food bloggers, and Nike, in our experience, lawyers won’t convert social media leads by aiming for engagements. The best thing for a lawyer to do is abandon the social media “influencer” dream and reach for a new archetype: social media resource. There are three big problems with aiming for influencer status.

media are pretty, sexy, or shocking. None of those things will help bring you clients that are educated, informed, and ready to work with you.

This isn’t an absolute rule, but in general, social media posts that grab the eye and generate engagements aren’t the most informative ones out there. Most posts that get likes on social


You don’t want your potential clients to see you as an attention-grabber or an alarmist — you want them to trust you and view you as competent, confident, and experienced. If you’re constantly pedaling irrelevant stories or begging for likes, you’ll build wariness, not trust. So, what should a smart lawyer do? The law firms we’ve seen succeed on social media are the ones who use it as a tool to educate their audiences, reinforce their expertise, and stay top of mind. By filling their feeds with relevant, well-researched, expert content, they build trust with their followers, convert them to clients, and inspire referrals. If you’re ready to refresh your social media presence and become a resource, call our team today. We can put together a marketing campaign that will take your firm to the next level.


Do you think a guy looking for a divorce is going to like a divorce lawyer’s post? What about a woman facing bankruptcy — is she going to share her secret with all of her friends? Of course not. Lawyers solve problems, and often these problems are personal, embarrassing, and unshareable. This makes becoming an influencer nearly impossible, and you’ll waste your time trying.


Chris Clark opened Clark.Law in September 2016, and it has been growing ever since. When his old firm didn’t have much of an online presence, Chris made sure that having a premium online brand was at the top of his priority list. After doing his research, he chose us. He started as a true solo, with his wife working as a part-time paralegal. (As a side note, Chris’s wife has since gone on to win a seat in the North Carolina House!) But even as a solo, Chris wanted to convey to current and potential clients that he had over 15 years of sophisticated business and intellectual property

experience, including experience with entrepreneurs, major universities, and Fortune 500 companies. He had a clear vision, and Spotlight Branding helped him bring it to life with a website, e-newsletter, blog, and social media services. Since working with us, Chris’s firm has grown to a seven-person team and seen continuous revenue increases each year since the firm opened.


More Referrals. Better Clients. Higher ROI.



While Marc was taking his well-deserved break from the office this winter, our teamwas hard at work on a project five years in themaking: Our very own book! The over 100-page resource, compiled by our own administrative director andmarketingmanager John Hinson, is a comprehensive guide for lawyers looking to turn their marketing campaigns around. “ The Ultimate Solo Lawyer’s Guide to More Referrals and Better Clients is just what it sounds like,” John says. “It’s a good starting point for an attorney who is either relatively new to owning a firmor who has been in business for a while and is really frustrated with how their marketing has been going.” With over 13 chapters, the book provides strategies and philosophies for growing your practice without spending a ton of money on Google and has a big focus on referral-building and staying top of mind. It starts with tips for establishing a referral-based mindset, then transitions into the individual pieces of a good internet marketing strategy — your website, blog, videos, andmore.

John is the author of more than a dozen books, so he was right at home sorting through content from the brightest minds in our company and compiling it into a guide complete with action items for readers. The end result is a book that will not only inspire you but alsomotivate you to take your marketing to the next level. “Honestly, I feel like from the very first page it really challenges readers,” John says. “The first four chapters tackle preconceived notions about how an attorney shouldmarket their law firm, and turn them on their head.” We’re so excited about sharing this new resource that we’ve decided to give copies of The Ultimate Solo Lawyer’s Guide to More Referrals and Better Clients away for free for a limited time. To score your free copy, all you have to do is go to SpotlightBranding. com/Free-Book and put in a request. When you’re finished reading, feel free to call our office and let us knowwhat you think —we’d love to hear your feedback and help you level up your marketing, too!



SAFELY (AND CONVENIENTLY) STORE YOUR PASSWORDS FREE UP SPACE IN YOUR MIND FOR MORE! If you find yourself constantly forgetting passwords, it may be time to employ the use of a password storage program that automatically logs you in with nothing more than a couple of clicks. You might be thinking that it seems like a pretty big security risk to put all the passwords to your most sensitive and confidential material in one app, but these companies prioritize your security, and we have yet to see an instance when any of our data was compromised because of a password storing company. Plus, you have several options, including LastPass, Keeper, and more. Even Google Chrome has an option to store passwords for you. At Spotlight Branding, we’re always looking for ways to be more efficient around the office, and the 15–20 seconds it takes to type out a username and password can add up if you have several things to log into each day. Make your life easier by using that brain space for something other than remembering your password, which better be something more complex than “password!”

If you’re looking for more great resources to drive your business forward, take a look at this episode from our industry-leading podcast: The Law FirmMarketing Minute. SHOULD YOU DO YOUR OWN MARKETING? – LFMM 289 Should you — the solo or small firm attorney — spend time doing your own marketing when you could be doing legal work (or even better, relaxing)? Of course you can , but this episode highlights a few reasons why it isn’t the best decision. If you want more referrals, better clients, and higher ROI on all your marketing, call us today at 800-406-7229 to schedule a consultation!

Listen to this episode and find even more at and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


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The Science Behind Gut Feelings

HEADS OR TAILS? The Scientifically Smarter Way to Make Business Decisions

You have two options in front of you. They both sound great, are backed by research, and could transform your business for the better, but you can only choose one. Which do you commit to? When you’re faced with two equally worthwhile options, science says the best way to make a decision is to flip a coin. When you flip a coin, you’re not really leaving the decision up to chance; you’re actually calling on your intuition to guide you. The practice is often regarded as unscientific, but there’s a lot of research to support making intuitive decisions. Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann, authors of “The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier,” explain how we develop that “gut feeling.”

Intuitive decisions are driven by two structures in your brain: the basal ganglia and the insula. The basal ganglia are connected to movement and building habits. The insula, part of the cerebral cortex, becomes engaged when you experience pain, feel love, listen to music, or even enjoy a piece of chocolate. Neuroscientists believe the insula is responsible for self-awareness, particularly for recognizing changes in your body. When you have to solve a problem, your basal ganglia start working on a solution, even if you aren’t consciously thinking about it. If you make a conscious decision that agrees with the subconscious solution of your basal ganglia, your brain gives off a subtle reward. The decision doesn’t have to be logical to feel right — that’s your gut feeling. However, if the conscious and subconscious parts of

your brain don’t agree, your insula detects the discrepancy and registers a threat. It’s the “I have a bad feeling about this” response. Fabritius and Hagemann note that gut feelings “represent the most efficient use of your accumulated experience.” According to the authors, flipping a coin is the best way to really listen to your basal ganglia and insula. Your subconscious brain has already made a decision; flipping a coin helps you test your intuition about each option. If the coin lands on heads and you feel relieved, then heads is the right choice. However, if the coin lands on tails and you’re uncertain or want to flip again, then that’s your intuition saying the other option is the better choice. So, the next time you’re caught in a pickle, grab the nearest quarter and put your intuition to the test.

More Referrals. Better Clients. Higher ROI.


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