Inbound Marketing Tips for Lawyers: Interview with Stewart J. Guss

| November 27, 2013

logo_sjg_enStewart J. GussStewart J. Guss (a Houston personal injury attorney) shares his unique approach to inbound marketing with Attorney Rankings.  By using creativity and having a genuine passion for helping his clients, he has built a practice that he can be proud of.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your practice.

I am a personal injury lawyer in North Houston. That is to say, I spend my time representing clients who have been injured because of the fault of another. This can be because they were in a car accident, or because they slipped and fell at a business location that was not maintained or cleaned properly. I do other types of work as well, but mostly I spend my time pursuing claims on behalf of my clients and seeking compensation when another has done wrong. I’ve been practicing in Houston, Texas for almost 20 years.

car-accidentI see you publish a lot about traffic safety. How would you characterize your position in the market and why?

I’ve lived in Houston my whole life, and I’ve been driving in this city for thirty years. This is a very scary city in which to drive, and in this city – EVERYBODY drives! I’ve been seeing the terrible consequences of traffic accidents for 20 years, and remember, my clients are my neighbors. I’ve earned the reputation of being very caring and approachable with my clients, and very tough on the insurance companies. My results have earned me a very busy practice and thousands of satisfied clients. This is why I’ve spent considerable time and attention analysing my 20 years of traffic accident data and building such tools as the Houston Interactive Accident Map to help make Houston a safer place in which to drive. People have asked me, “Doesn’t that hurt your business?” Frankly, I’d rather have less work to do and have my neighbors drive in a safer Houston.

Your practice attracted a lot of attention with the Houston Accident map. How has this helped your practice and your marketing objectives, differentiation from the competition?

There are plenty of good personal injury lawyers in Houston. By taking a good chunk of my time and attention to my various public safety projects, particularly the Houston Accident Map, I’m able to clearly establish in the minds of the community that I’m not just a lawyer, I’m a neighbor that cares about their safety. I’m willing to put my 20 years of experience in traffic accidents to work, and leverage my knowledge to the benefit of my fellow Houstonians. Once you are willing to put your passion to work to the benefit of your community, you elevate yourself in the perception of those that may be seeking your services. This is why the Houston Accident Map is only one of the many ways that I try to give back to the community.

guss-quoteOnline marketing is constantly changing. How has your approach changed over the past 2 years?

I’ve learned that it is utter folly to rely on only one or two types of internet marketing. While you can’t ignore PPC and traditional SEO, you really need to have an integrated organic approach to succeed in such a competitive marketplace. People aren’t looking to be “sold” an attorney, they are looking for a solution to their problem or an answer to their question. Because I approach my marketing strategy from that perspective, I’m able to build my practice as well as offer help where needed at the same time. That means I can build a successful practice AND feel good about what I’m doing for my community.

What are Lawyers doing wrong and what can be done about it?

I think many lawyers try to “sell” themselves too much. Many lawyers do this by stressing how smart they are, how good they are, etc. Unfortunately, this approach can be really off-putting to a prospective client. As I’ve mentioned, people don’t want to be “sold” on an attorney, they want to build a relationship. That relationship MUST start on trust, and build salesmanfrom there. If you want to build a successful personal injury practice, make sure you don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t EVER think for a minute that you are “above” your clients. It will never be enough to merely appear to care about your clients and their cases. If you want to succeed, you must really and genuinely care about your clients, and that care must show through in everything you do for them. Billboards, print ads, and other forms of “push” advertising are a thing of the past. The future of marketing will depend on first establishing a relationship with your community, and then with your individual clients.

Being active in the Houston community seems to be important to you. Tell us about your activities and why?

I’ve had the pleasure of being an avid supporter of Reach Unlimited, a local Houston non-profit providing educational, vocational, and housing services for developmentally disabled adults. The team at Reach Unlimited is amazing, and one of the best “stress relievers” in my life is spending time and hanging out with the clients. There is nothing so grounding as spending time with folks who like and accept you for who you are and expect nothing less in return. My law firm also sponsors a riding team in the annual MS-150, a two day bicycle ride from Houston to Austin to raise funds to fight multiple sclerosis. This is a great way for us to give back to the community and stay in shape at the same time. I was raised with the understanding that it is better to give than to receive. My community has given me so much over the years, I’m constantly looking for ways to give back.

We would like to thank Mr. Guss for being an awesome interview candidate.