THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 224
Interview on 10.20.2022

Hosted By
Kevin Daisey

Featuring Attorney

Melissa Dixon



Managing Partner of
Dixon Law Offices, PLLC

About Melissa Dixon

Melissa Dixon is the Managing Partner at Dixon Law Offices, PLLC in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.

Melissa awarded as Super Lawyers 2019-2021 Rising Stars in Real Estate Law. She is part of this following organizations: North Carolina Judicial District 6A Bar, North Carolina Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Halifax County Bar Organization.

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

Kevin Daisey:
All right. Hello everyone. Welcome to another live recording of the Managing Partners Podcast. My name’s Kevin Daisey and I’ll be your host. Also the founder of Array Digital, where we help law firms grow through digital marketing.

Kevin Daisey:
Today, I got a guest coming out of North Carolina, Roanoke Rapids. So Melissa, thanks so much for joining me and look forward to hearing your story.

Melissa Dixon:
Good morning. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Kevin Daisey:
Oh, absolutely. So Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. So not too far away from us here in Virginia, but tell us a little bit about yourself. What got started? Why’d you become an attorney? And we’ll talk a little bit more about what you focus on.

Melissa Dixon:
Sure. Yeah, you said it. We’re in Roanoke Rapids. We’re not too far from the Virginia border. The Roanoke Valley, a lot of people affectionate call us. And I actually grew up in a smaller town called Elizabeth City, which is a few hours east of here towards the coast of North Carolina. And I guess I’ve always kind of been a small town girl. Southern born and bred. And for me, living in a smaller town community as a younger girl growing up, I was always pretty smart growing up, and I always looked at the people in our town who were lawyers. And for a smaller town, we probably had 10 lawyers in the whole county, and they were kind of famous to us.

Kevin Daisey:
They stood out.

Melissa Dixon:
[inaudible 00:01:38] there’s that lawyer. And that was pretty informative to me as a young girl growing up. And when I went off to college, I went to UNC Charlotte, where I graduated, and I majored in business and marketing actually. And then I didn’t actually plan to necessarily be an attorney, but as I was going to decide where I wanted to work and what I wanted to do, I actually followed that path myself. And then when I got married, my husband actually, I met him in law school as well, and he was from Eastern North Carolina. He’s from Roanoke Rapids. So we ended up coming back here and starting our own firm together.

Melissa Dixon:
And it’s kind of come full circle for me. We live in a smaller community, and we are now one of the 10 lawyers in the town. No, I’m just kidding. There’s more than that here, but it’s really wonderful. We love it here. We like small town practice, and it’s been really fulfilling for us. We’re not necessarily a full service law firm. Real estate is my primary focus. We also do some estate planning and criminal defense. We don’t really do civil litigation, but we do a wide range of different practice areas, and we try to do as much as we can for our clients and our community, and we’ve been really successful. We’ve been in practice for about 10 years now.

Kevin Daisey:
Okay, excellent. Wow. Congratulations.

Melissa Dixon:
Thank you.

Kevin Daisey:
That’s a big milestone to hit, and if you can get past the first year, fifth year that’s a pretty good sign that you’re going to be around for a while. So that’s good.

Melissa Dixon:
It is.

Kevin Daisey:
I know Elizabeth City pretty well. My stepfather’s from there. Used to visit there as a kid for family reunions, and it’s not too far away from me here in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Melissa Dixon:
Oh, great. Beautiful area.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah. Nice little spot. Very small, for sure.

Melissa Dixon:
Yeah, that’s growing, but it’s nice.

Kevin Daisey:
Wasn’t there a famous baseball player from Elizabeth City? There’s like a billboard.

Melissa Dixon:
Yeah, I think it’s Edenton, actually, North Carolina.

Kevin Daisey:
Oh, is it Edenton?

Melissa Dixon:
I can’t remember the name right now and I’m sure there are people screaming at the screen.

Kevin Daisey:
If you’re watching now from Elizabeth City, you know what I’m talking about.

Melissa Dixon:
Yeah. My brother was really big into baseball. He’s going to disown me from not remembering this.

Kevin Daisey:
I should know that too. Anyway, for the rest of the country listening, you probably don’t know where Elizabeth City is, but also for Melissa’s firm, if you want to take a look, learn more about her, connect with her, maybe you’re from that area, maybe you’re an attorney in North Carolina that doesn’t do real estate. So maybe this is a good referral source. But Dixonlawfirm.com. I love a nice short domain. That’s really nice. And so go take a look, connect with her, as we’re talking more about her on the show here.

Kevin Daisey:
So you primarily focus on real estate. Do some estate planning, which I think has a lot of cross over there. As far as your clientele, some of clients you are helping through different things, or is it a separate kind of approach when it comes to your clients there? Because there’s some crossover?

Melissa Dixon:
Well, it’s interesting that you ask it that way, because that’s one of our primary marketing strategies. Because one of the most vital assets that we have is our relationship with our clients. And one of the most interesting things to me, as far as a marketing perspective, is the way that things are changing in terms of consumer behavior, and how people make decisions about who they hire, what they want out of their attorneys. And when someone’s going to hire an attorney, what are they thinking about, what are they doing? And I believe strongly in developing that relationship with your client. Having all of their information, for example, in our database makes it very convenient for them to hire us for one matter and another. And the key thing for me is that they trust us, they know us. So there are a lot of crossover there.

Melissa Dixon:
So I might handle their real estate purchase when they get married and buy their first house. And then they get a speeding ticket. And then another partner in our firm might do something like that. Or they go to think about creating a will after they have their first child, and they come back to us because they know us. They’ve got all our information already, so it’s easy. That kind of thing. For me, that’s a big key point in the marketing and staying in the forefront of their minds through things like email campaigns, brand awareness, that type of thing.

Kevin Daisey:
No, I think you make a great point there. And from a sales side too, it’s a lot easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to try to sell someone that doesn’t know who you are.

Melissa Dixon:
Absolutely.

Kevin Daisey:
Not that we’re thinking about them as a sales opportunity necessarily, but we run businesses and we need clients to serve.

Melissa Dixon:
Oh definitely.

Kevin Daisey:
But that’s a great point. So I’ve seen a lot of law firms start in like a protocol or a niche that they’re really focused on, and naturally it seems, especially in your case, that it makes sense to service some of those other areas and fill all those gaps. So that makes a lot of sense. And I think that’s just a natural progression-

Melissa Dixon:
Exactly.

Kevin Daisey:
Of a firm. And you’re 10 years in, so obviously you’ve seen those opportunities come about.

Melissa Dixon:
Right.

Kevin Daisey:
Well, excellent. So from a marketing standpoint, I saw you have a Facebook that you guys keep up the date, and you have the website. Email, newsletters, and things like that, email blast. Anything else you’re doing marketing wise that’s different or that stood out or that’s worked well for you?

Melissa Dixon:
Yeah, for me personally, a large part of my business is going to be business to business marketing. So especially in the real estate sector, we do have a large part of our business coming from referrals. So we have real estate agents, lenders, there might be surveyors, all different parts of the pipeline that are going to be involved in the real estate process. And each of these people are going to be a major source of referrals and networking with these people, and keeping good relationships with them, that’s one of the main sources for me of marketing for my business, and referring out to them as well is always going to be huge for me.

Melissa Dixon:
So maintaining those relationships, business to business marketing, and then since it’s a small town, one of the general marketing strategies for us other than your internet SEO, is going to be just visual. Physical, old school tactics like billboards, radio ads. Because people still do listen to the local radio stations here and do things like that. One campaign that we actually had that was really successful pre-COVID was a movie theater ad.

Kevin Daisey:
Oh really?

Melissa Dixon:
So we made a little movie theater spot. And before the movie comes on or before the previews start, they have little blurbs and jingles with the videos and pictures of us on the screen. And that was actually really cool.

Kevin Daisey:
That is pretty cool.

Melissa Dixon:
Because I had young kids coming up to me saying, “I saw you on the movies.” I felt like a rock star for a couple of months. So that was pretty effective though.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah. I think all forms of marketing have their place, and can be effective when used properly. And I think in a smaller town, for sure, those kinds of things do the job and work very well.

Melissa Dixon:
Exactly.

Kevin Daisey:
So yeah. Side note, I had a client of ours that was looking for a family to be on a commercial that they were getting shot by the TV station, and they talked me into it and I had my wife and kids on this commercial. And now if we’re out about anywhere, people will just come up and be like, “I feel like I know you somewhere.” My wife mainly because she got a speaking part, which she was kind of mad about. But we had someone staring at us the day. We were at the restaurant and someone’s just … She’s just looking at them like, “What do you want?” And they couldn’t place it. And she’s like, “Well, did you see this commercial?” And they’re like, “Oh yeah, I think we did.” But it’s kind of funny.

Kevin Daisey:
So that’s great that you’re doing those things and thinking outside of the box and figuring out what’s working for you, and you said something really important. Understanding what the customer or clients are looking for, what they’re searching for, how they’re looking, what they need to see in you in order for them to make a decision, to give you a call or to go with you. And I think that can change. And so what you’re saying is that’s not always the same. I think it’s important to understand that. Understand what your customers are doing, how they search. And that’s something that we’re always trying to do, because we help market for law firms. And so sometimes the attorneys will be like, “Well, we need to come up on Google for this search term.” And you’re like, “That is so technical. No one’s ever going to search for that.”

Melissa Dixon:
Yeah.

Kevin Daisey:
And if they did they know too much, to where they probably have somebody anyway. So we need to bring it back to what would they actually search for when they’re in need of help. So, very important.

Kevin Daisey:
Excellent. Well, so what are some of the goals? You’re at 10 years, and you guys have been doing [inaudible 00:11:43]. What’s goals for growth, other practice areas, things that you’d like to accomplish in the next couple years? What’s on your agenda for that.

Melissa Dixon:
Yeah. So we’re at 10 years, and for us that is a big milestone. We actually just bought a new building here in town and-

Kevin Daisey:
Excellent.

Melissa Dixon:
We’re looking to expand. We actually just posted a position for another associate attorney. So if anyone out there’s looking for a job, we are a very family friendly firm, and we would love to have you join our team if you’re interested in small town practice. And we actually are looking to expand to another location. So we’re thinking of opening another location towards Elizabeth City, or possibly even the Outer Banks in the next year or two.

Kevin Daisey:
That’s awesome.

Melissa Dixon:
So we’ve a lot of success with the small town format, and I think we would like to keep it in that realm, but we would love to have another location. So that’s where we’re going in the next year or two, we think.

Kevin Daisey:
That’s excellent. So if you do just know someone, or you potentially are someone listening, Dixon Law Firm, I assume you probably will have something up on there, or up on your Facebook or something like that. So if you know someone in that area in North Carolina, a young attorney, reach out to them and see if they can be a fit.

Kevin Daisey:
No, I think that’s a great idea. And we have large law firms and we have small law firms as clients, but some of the bigger ones, they don’t try to necessarily go after the big markets and their estate all the time. It’s what’s the smaller areas that make sense to move into, that they can actually make some impact, and it’s not too competitive and challenging. Outer Banks? Great. Real estate obviously always booming there. So many vacation rentals and that market’s massive. I think one of the densest areas of vacation rentals in the country.

Melissa Dixon:
It is. Yes, it definitely is.

Kevin Daisey:
Yep. And about an hour and a half from me.

Melissa Dixon:
Oh, great.

Kevin Daisey:
So, I’m happy to come to your grand opening a-

Melissa Dixon:
Oh wonderful!

Kevin Daisey:
Elizabeth City or Outer Banks.

Melissa Dixon:
Okay, great. We will reach out. That’d be wonderful.

Kevin Daisey:
Absolutely. That’s awesome. So I think it’s a great strategy. So good growth, and it sounds calculated and you have your goals. I think that makes sense. And especially Elizabeth City and places that you know people, you already have relationships. It makes a lot of sense for you to look at those areas to grow into.

Melissa Dixon:
Exactly.

Kevin Daisey:
Excellent. Well, I think that’s a great idea, and it sounds like you guys are on the right track.

Kevin Daisey:
Melissa, is there anything else you want to share other than what we’ve covered today? Anything you want to announce or that you’re working on now, anything like that?

Melissa Dixon:
In the next month or two, we’ve had a lot of people wanting estate planning. The real estate has just been so busy in the last year or two. I think everybody’s aware how blown up the real estate market has been. And so we’ve had a lot of people just wanting wills and estates. So we are going to announce two days in the next month or so, we’ll put it on our Facebook and on our website, but we’re going to have set days where we are going to do wills for first responders.

Kevin Daisey:
Oh, wow.

Melissa Dixon:
In the spring we’re going to have two days where we just do them at a really, really low rate. And then we’re going to do it again in the fall for teachers. So we’ll post that on our Facebook page and our website soon, because we really want to make sure that we get those done for … Especially the people who need them the most, the first responders. So we’ll have that up as soon as possible.

Kevin Daisey:
That’s excellent. Well, that’s great. So you’re doing almost a like a workshop?

Melissa Dixon:
Yeah. We’re calling it a will clinic. We’ll do it-

Kevin Daisey:
Oh, a clinic. Okay.

Melissa Dixon:
Yep.

Kevin Daisey:
Awesome. I’ve not heard of that before. I think that’s an awesome idea for you to give back and help.

Melissa Dixon:
Exactly.

Kevin Daisey:
And inadvertently, it’s good for marketing and exposure as well.

Melissa Dixon:
It is. We’re always really grateful for our community. That’s one of the strongest things for us about being in a small town. I like to call it the attitude of gratitude. That’s what gets me through everything that we could go through. Good or bad.

Kevin Daisey:
That’s awesome.

Melissa Dixon:
Really thankful.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah. I’m from a small town too. Chincoteague Island, Virginia.

Melissa Dixon:
Okay. I know where that is.

Kevin Daisey:
About 2300 people. I might be up there this weekend, actually. I have a property up there. But yeah, small town. I know everyone there. I take some friends there from here. Virginia Beach is kind of a populated area.

Melissa Dixon:
Yeah.

Kevin Daisey:
I take them there with me, they feel like I’m the mayor there. But everyone there is like that though. It’s not just me.

Melissa Dixon:
Right.

Kevin Daisey:
Anybody can walk into a sandwich shop and you know 20 people in there. So yeah, that’s a cool feeling, for sure.

Kevin Daisey:
Well Melissa, thanks so much for sharing. I love what you’re doing.

Melissa Dixon:
Thank you.

Kevin Daisey:
And sounds like you guys are on a great path. Tell your husband the same, and look forward to see where you guys go over the next year or two, and what we’ll be in touch. And thanks for coming on the show to share that.

Melissa Dixon:
Thank you. That sounds great. I appreciate it.

Kevin Daisey:
Well, stay on with me for just a second.

Melissa Dixon:
Sure.

Kevin Daisey:
We’ll chat backstage after this. Give me any feedback. Everyone listening, again, thank you so much for tuning in and listening to our show and learning from attorneys. Great points by Melissa here. Understand your customer, but keep a tabs on that. It’s not always going to be the same. See what’s changing in the market, how you can market yourself and put yourself out there, but really understand what your customer wants, what they need. [inaudible 00:17:35].

Kevin Daisey:
If you want to see this episode or any more, we had about 200 plus last year, you can go to arraylaw.com/podcast. For Melissa’s episode in the future you can search by states, so North Carolina, and/or practice area, estate planning, or real estate, and you can find her episode and many more, of course.

Kevin Daisey:
And if you’re looking for any help, marketing, SEO, websites for a law firm, that’s all we do. Go to arraylaw.com. Happy to help you with any questions. Doesn’t have to be a client situation. Happy to point you in the right direction. Even for small startups, I help all the time and just give them guidance. Maybe they can’t afford to hire someone or bring an agency on, but I’m happy just to help point in the right direction and give you some tips. Melissa, anything else before we go?

Melissa Dixon:
No, I think that’s it. I appreciate it.

Kevin Daisey:
All right everyone. Thank you so much, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Melissa Dixon:
All right.

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