THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 148
Interview on 12.15.2021

Hosted By
Erik J. Olson

Featuring Attorney

Erin Elliott



Managing Partner of
Elliott Immigration Law

About Erin Elliott

Erin Elliott is the Managing Partner of Elliott Immigration Law LLC in Atlanta, Georgia.

Erin focuses her practice 100% on immigration law. After attending Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, she continued her education at Loyola Law School in New Orleans. Upon her graduation from law school, she returned to Atlanta and began her career at a national law firm where she specialized in business and corporate law for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small start-ups.

Erin is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and volunteers for Catholic Charities of Atlanta- Immigration Legal Services, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and as a Guardian Ad Litem in Fulton County, Georgia.

Learn from her expertise and what trends are helping grow her firm on this episode of The Managing Partners Podcast!

Watch the Episode

Episode Transcript

Erik Olson:
Hey everybody, it’s Erik J Olson for another episode of the Managing Partners Podcast. I’m your host today and the Managing Partners Podcast is where we interview America’s top managing partners to find out what they’re doing to grow their law firms and to keep their case pipeline full. And today I have with me Erin Elliot. Hey Erin,

Erin Elliott:
Hello.

Erik Olson:
Thanks for joining us. I appreciate you making the time.

Erin Elliott:
Thanks for having me.

Erik Olson:
You got it. I’m going to tell the audience a little bit about you. Erin Elliot is the founding attorney of Elliot Immigration Law and has been practicing solely immigration for over 10 years. She assists businesses and individuals in navigating this complex field so that her clients may engage top-notch talent for their businesses and reunite with family members. Her office is located in Atlanta, Georgia, but she specializes in working with startups, entrepreneurs and investors all over the world. Welcome to the show Erin.

Erin Elliott:
Thank you. Thanks.

Erik Olson:
Besides what I just read, can you tell us a little bit more about you, how you started your firm and a little bit more about the firm?

Erin Elliott:
Yeah. So I guess I initially started practicing in business law and really loved working with entrepreneurs and helping them get started. And then kind of at the same time, married my husband who’s Turkish, and so was interested more in immigration and decided that was really my passion. But now, thankfully, I’m able to combine both of those interests with doing a lot of investor visas and working with companies here in the US. So I started about 10 years ago. Right now we’ve got a managing attorney that I work with who handles more of the family practice whereas I handle the business immigration practice. And our location is in Atlanta and Buckhead, and we only do immigration. I think that’s the best way to do it well.

Erik Olson:
Very cool. Now, are you focused mostly with working with businesses?

Erin Elliott:
Yeah, so I do both, but I would say primarily I work with businesses. And I mean, I feel like you have to know both just because there’s a lot of overlap. But the one area we don’t handle is removal. So any client that’s in removal, we would refer them out.

Erik Olson:
I gotcha. Okay. So it’s all about people immigrating.

Erin Elliott:
Right.

Erik Olson:
I think that’s that word, in, right? Okay, cool. So businesses come to you when they want someone to come in or they need lots of people to come in. Is that kind of the need?

Erin Elliott:
Yep, exactly. So we work with different types of clients in that it could be a US business that’s already established and they’re trying to hire. For example, like in the tech field, they can’t find any US workers here and they need to hire a bunch of people from abroad. Or maybe they’ve got a company abroad and they’re trying to bring those workers over for a period. And then the other scenario is an entrepreneur. There’s a lot of out of the box options for entrepreneurs that we’re able to kind of strategize with them. So it means maybe somebodies got a business abroad and they want to open something here, or they’ve never had a business, but they want to explore that opportunity in the US.

Erik Olson:
Gotcha. Okay, great. What are some different ways that you go about getting clients?

Erin Elliott:
So it’s definitely changed over the years. I would say initially when I first opened the practice, we did a lot of pay per click marketing, and that was really how I started the practice. But then I feel like we priced out of that. So, meaning that, initially I didn’t charge for consults, our fees were lower. And now that we’ve been in practice longer, I don’t know what it is, but I feel like that’s just not where the business is coming or it’s a lot of calls for free consults. So, we’ve got two separate practice areas, one being the family immigration and the business immigration. So family immigration is a very different marketing strategy than the business immigration.

Erin Elliott:
For a family, it’s more about social media, Facebook, Instagram, going to the actual community and marketing that way and giving speeches to different groups, like a Turkish group or Hispanic group. Going to churches, stuff like that. In immigration, usually once you’re in one community and you do well, then that’s your best marketing. It’s everyone that you’ve done work for previously. So we tend to have pockets of areas where that group we’ll just refer out.

Erin Elliott:
But on the family side, it’s definitely more social media, online, answering kind of questions that everybody has. We’ve started doing more videos during COVID, which is not my thing, but I try to get used to it. Everybody’s doing videos now. That seems like a huge thing. Yeah. So, and then on the business side, at this point, it’s really, it’s been referrals, but I’m trying to do more of industry specific marketing. So, we have a lot of clients that are in the tech field, so it’s reaching out to different magazines or publications, speaking about immigration conferences, stuff like that. And that seems to be a better avenue for that side.

Erik Olson:
That’s really interesting how you’ve segmented your marketing strategy based on the different practice areas within immigration. So with family law, and I would imagine, this is an assumption, is this correct? That with family law, it’s more localized clients, whereas with the business it’s more general and not necessarily just Atlanta. Is that…

Erin Elliott:
Yeah, I definitely agree. I mean, that’s true. The family clients, sometimes we’re the first interaction they’ve had in the US with a professional. Or, they’re looking for somebody they can go into the office and speak to and look you in the eye and say, are you going to help me? So that’s a very different case type than the employer side where, I mean, it’s very rare that they come into the office, they don’t want to be in person. It’s more just about, and they could have multiple locations too. So, maybe they’ve got a location in Atlanta, but maybe not.

Erik Olson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. That’s pretty interesting. I’m sure it took you a little while to kind of figure out the different strategies for the different segmentations.

Erin Elliott:
Yeah, definitely. I think, I mean, I’m still figuring it out. So I’m still changing everything and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Erik Olson:
That’s good. Aren’t we all though? I think it’s important to continue to question and tweak. So that seems to be, I mean, that’s certainly a strategy for getting clients. So, one of our questions is what’s working well, what’s not? It sounds like the segmentation is probably working well. Is there something that hasn’t worked well? I mean, you mentioned like pay per click, but that was possibly 8, 9, 10 years ago.

Erin Elliott:
A while ago.

Erik Olson:
Yeah. What about more recently, like something that you realize is not really working for you guys and you just stopped doing.

Erin Elliott:
I mean, some have not worked for us and to determine why they haven’t worked is kind of a different question. Some of it is time. I think there’s some types of social media marketing that I don’t see a lot of interest in, Instagram for example, or Twitter. But then if I think about, okay, who am I competing with? I’m competing with an attorney that’s writing every day on Twitter. They wake up in the morning and they’re writing something. They go to bed, they’re writing something. That’s just not me.

Erin Elliott:
So we still do Instagram marketing and I think that’s something that we’re intending to explore more in the new year, but I know that it requires more from me. It’s not just posting a generic question about immigration. I think you have to connect with the audience more, which means that I’m doing a video or that I’m giving a little bit more personalized information. So I’m trying to get other people in my office to be involved in that more, so it’s not just me.

Erik Olson:
Always a challenge. Yeah.

Erin Elliott:
Yeah.

Erik Olson:
So, yeah, it seems to me like with Instagram, especially for law firms, video goes a long, long way. Personalized testimonials, pictures of the managing partner and lawyers go a long way, but yeah. You mentioned before videos, everyone seems to be doing it. That’s Instagram for sure. Twitter, you know, I used to be a big fan of Twitter. I used to be really into it. But I’ve really kind of recently given up on it and moved over to Instagram begrudgingly.

Erin Elliott:
Well, now it’s Tik Tok too. I don’t even know. I’ve seen attorneys on Tik Tok or at least I’ve heard about them. So I’m behind on that. My daughter watches Tik Tok, but not me. I think that’s hard for me because I don’t use social media personally, so it’s really, I have to force myself to do it professionally. And it’s not that I don’t want to connect with prospective clients. It’s just, I’m much better in person or having a real conversation.

Erik Olson:
Yeah. It’s one of those things you have to either change your mindset and your activities around it, like you said, write in the morning, write in the evening. Or frankly hire someone to do it or get an agency like us, but it requires dedication for sure. And especially if you want to do social media the right way, it requires a lot of resources.

Erin Elliott:
Yeah. Yeah.

Erik Olson:
Well, okay, cool. What about your growth plan? So you’ve been in business for 10 years. Where do you see yourself in say two to five years from now?

Erin Elliott:
So right before COVID, we had expanded the office and were really seeing a lot of momentum as far as growth. And then COVID hit and I just became very conservative about let’s just see what’s going to happen here. Thankfully for us, there was a moment where things slowed. I think everybody was kind of in shock and then thankfully our business has continued to grow. So my goal is January 1st that we are just focusing on marketing 100%. And so right now we’re in the process of just making sure everything is ready to take on hopefully additional clients in a higher degree than previously.

Erin Elliott:
So that means getting all of our processes in place. I think I read every business book written during COVID, so I’m ready. But so we’re just trying to get all of that organized and everything so that hopefully we can take in a lot more and then be able to just have the same client experience that our current clients have. I don’t know if that exactly answers the question, but I guess initially I started it when we had two small kids, so I wasn’t really looking at growth at that time. But now my kids are older, they don’t want to hang out with me. So I’m all in.

Erik Olson:
Good for you. You mentioned reading a bunch of business books. What are some that kind of stand out for you? Which ones did you like?

Erin Elliott:
Well, Traction was huge for me. What’s funny is I started reading Traction during COVID. My husband’s also an entrepreneur, so I gave it to him and said, you have to read this book. And he’s like, Erin, you gave this to me five years ago and you read it and told me to read it. So apparently I wasn’t ready at the time, but yeah, that’s a great book. I think something I read at the beginning, but I’ve re-read is the E Myth Attorney, which they’ve got different, depending on what your industry is, it’s E-Myth whatever. Yeah. But that is essential, I think. But yeah, just, I mean, I’ve got a whole slew of them, but those are probably two big ones.

Erik Olson:
Good for you. It’s I would say a small percentage of the managing partners that come on to this podcast and we’ve had probably close to 150 at this point, a small percentage, maybe 10% actually kind of dive into things like Traction and business books, business podcasts. So it seems to me like it’s certainly an advantage for anyone who’s running a business to really kind of geek out at some point in those kinds of things.

Erin Elliott:
Oh yeah.

Erik Olson:
Traction’s amazing. We believe in it here. We’ve implemented a lot of it, but not full fledged traction shop, but we have KPI dashboards and whatnot. I haven’t read E-Myth. I meant to check that one out. That’s a good one?

Erin Elliott:
I mean, it’s so good. It was really good for me initially. And like I said, I re-read it. Yeah. I won’t get into the whole thing, but yeah, it’s a great book.

Erik Olson:
Wonderful.

Erin Elliott:
More basic than Traction. Traction can be intense, but it’s good.

Erik Olson:
Yeah. It can be very prescriptive. Like here’s what your KPI dashboard should look like. And I kind of like that. It’s kind of a relief sometimes when you consume this content, whether it’s a book or something else and they say, nope, here’s how it’s done. Okay. All you have to do is just follow the steps.

Erin Elliott:
Exactly. It’s implementing it that’s the problem. That’s the hard part.

Erik Olson:
I’m with you. Yeah. So when you get a prospect, whether it’s for the family immigration side or the business immigration side, there’s usually a period of time between when you find out about this opportunity and when they become a client. How do you go about tracking all of these potential clients and then do you do anything special to nurture them along the way?

Erin Elliott:
Yes. So this is kind of one thing I’m bugging everybody in my office about. This is my focus right now, actually, because when we were in the office, we had someone in our office answering all the calls and we had kind of an overflow if they weren’t able to answer them. And then when we went to remote, we started using a call center service. They’re great, but I feel like we were missing a lot of opportunities. So we do track all of the calls that come in and determine whether they’re a legitimate lead, whether they’re not, or, whether potential. We listen to the call. So we record the calls. We don’t actually record them, but through Google, I think it’s Google local-

Erik Olson:
Voice.

Erin Elliott:
Yeah. Well, it’s not Google voice. It’s, we don’t do pay per click, but we do the Google local where we’re at the top. So with those, they record the calls. And so we’ll go over those once a week now. But as far as following up with them, anybody that looks like it was a lead, we have an in-house person answering calls, but the overflow still goes to the call center. So anybody that looks like a lead, we have a template email that we send out. Sometimes we’ll call them back just to make sure that maybe they did want to schedule something if they didn’t initially schedule a consult. And I would say about 20% of those have then turned into a client or at least turned into the rest of the process. And now we just try to track everything as far as what is the actual percentage of conversion from a call becoming a consult, becoming a client.

Erik Olson:
That’s good.

Erin Elliott:
And we do it through a couple of things. We use Streak. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that, but-

Erik Olson:
I have. I haven’t seen it in action though.

Erin Elliott:
Okay. But I mean, we were using HubSpot just a CRM to track that kind of stuff. So yeah, that’s what we’re doing now.

Erik Olson:
Cool. Does Streak, I mean just based on the name, does it give you insight into how long it’s been since you’ve contacted a person and some threshold has been exceeded so you need to reach out to them?

Erin Elliott:
So yes and no. So we were using HubSpot. I can talk about this forever, by the way. So I won’t.

Erik Olson:
We us HubSpot. I know it well.

Erin Elliott:
Okay. So HubSpot got, I just felt like it was too expensive. It’s a great, it’s the best, right? It’s the best system I feel like. And my husband, again, entrepreneur, he’s the one that said use this. But for us, it just, to get all the add-ons and the things that we wanted, it was just a lot. So Streak is something you just, it’s just an add on to your Gmail. So it’s not as robust as HubSpot, but while we’re in this kind of ramp up stage, it’s doing I feel like enough. So you can categorize contacts in different categories. You can set up reminders for them. You can set up the drip emails and it’s all included in a basic plan. So that’s why we’re using that now until when we get so big, then we’ll switch to HubSpot.

Erik Olson:
Yeah. And that’s pretty amazing that it does all those things as a Gmail add on. And again, it does it for the team?

Erin Elliott:
For the whole team. I mean, the best thing for us is it groups all of the emails for every client. Which HubSpot does too, but it’s in your email account. So you don’t even have to go to another program to see it.

Erik Olson:
Yeah. Yeah. When I’m doing business development, I’ll go into HubSpot to the website and I’ll stay there for hours. But I’d rather do it in Gmail because that’s the other place that I spend hours in.

Erin Elliott:
Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. It’s great.

Erik Olson:
Cool. That’s awesome. Well, great. I appreciate you sharing that and I appreciate you making time to be on the show. If someone would like to get in touch with you, what is a good way for them to reach out?

Erin Elliott:
The best way is our website, which is ElliottImmigrationLaw.com. We’ve got all sorts of ways to contact us on the website or you could just give us a call at (404) 890-0372.

Erik Olson:
Thanks so much, Erin. All right everybody, if you would like to check out more episodes like this, you can see our entire backlog at Arraylaw.com/podcast. And if you are looking to improve your digital marketing, then check out my company, Array Digital. We are a digital marketing agency specializing in law firm digital marketing. We are at Arraylaw.com. You can find out more about our services like websites, search engine optimization, online ads and social media there. Erin, thanks so much.

Erin Elliott:
Thank you.

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