JUPITER, Florida—Josh Konigsberg, Partner and Co-Founder of Law Firm Marketing Pros, an award-winning digital marketing agency, recently welcomed Josh Nelson, founder of Plumbing & HVAC SEO, to the Behind the Bench Podcast. Nelson, who has had a passion for internet marketing from an early age, established his digital marketing agency more than 10 years ago, with a focus on helping plumbing and HVAC contractors grow their businesses through SEO and other online marketing strategies. Nelson’s agency has grown into a multi-million dollar business, making the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies four years in a row. They now proudly serve hundreds of plumbing and HVAC businesses across the country.
In addition to his role at Plumbing & HVAC SEO, Nelson is also the founder of Seven Figure Agency, a coaching and mentoring company dedicated to helping digital marketing agencies reach seven figures in revenue. Through customized plans, training, and ongoing support, Seven Figure Agency shares the unique methodology Nelson and his team developed to quickly grow and scale their own agency. Having benefited from industry mentors early on, Nelson launched Seven Figure Agency to pay it forward and provide the same valuable guidance to others.
But it wasn’t always easy. Nelson’s first two agencies failed.
“Initially starting the agency was a real struggle,” he recalled. In those early years, Nelson had to learn many hard lessons through trial and error. “I faced a lot of failures trying different marketing tactics that just didn’t work for our clients.”
It took time to develop strategies that produced results. Nelson emphasized he “went through the ups and downs of figuring out what our clients truly needed.” There were many setbacks along the way. But he was determined to succeed no matter the obstacles.
Through two difficult years of overcoming failures and struggling to gain traction, Nelson eventually got Plumbing & HVAC SEO to the point of reaching seven figures in revenue. However, the path was far from easy. He wanted to help others avoid facing similar struggles if possible. This desire led Nelson to start Seven Figure Agency with the goal of mentoring just a few other agencies. But over time, as word spread of the real value he provided in teaching hard-earned lessons from his struggles, the program exploded in popularity. Now, Nelson is able to give back far more by paying forward the guidance he wished he had in Plumbing & HVAC SEO’s early days.
By openly sharing both his successes and failures, Nelson ensures others can shortcut the learning curve, saving them valuable time and money in the process. His willingness to be vulnerable about the challenges he faced has truly helped hundreds of agencies avoid pitfalls.
When asked about trends in successful digital marketing agencies, Josh Nelson said “I think at the forefront is agencies willing to be industry specific, rather than generalists.” He cited the value of specializing in a particular vertical like law firms.
Nelson also highlighted the shift toward being a “multi-channel provider” that offers “a comprehensive solution that actually moves the needle.” Agencies are moving “from just generating rankings or just generating leads to really thinking about how do we generate revenue?”
The conversation then turned to what attorneys should look for in an agency. Nelson stated the first thing is “someone that understands your industry, somebody that specializes in your space.” He also emphasized wanting “somebody that not only says hey, I specialize in working with law firms,” but an agency that has a proven track record of success. Nelson stressed the importance of an agency having a plan. They need to be able to “reverse engineer the outcomes that you’re after” and provide projections.
Nelson stressed the importance of an integrated marketing “plan” combining all channels into a “synergistic” strategy to maximize results. He explained the need for SEO, paid ads, reputation management, and conversion optimization like website design to all work together “interconnectedly.”
As for red flags, Nelson warned that agencies being “slow to come off the blocks” is a bad sign. He said “if they don’t have a plan, that’s a really big red flag.” The discussion also addressed concerns around white label services, with Nelson agreeing specialized in-house expertise is preferable over outsourced work. He stated “no one is going to be able to provide the laser attention and focus” that is necessary other than “an agency that actually has a team.”
However, finding top talent is also a challenge, according to Nelson. He noted “it’s not easy” to locate digital marketing experts, even for large agencies with “full time recruiting processes” dedicated to searching for top performers with skills like SEO and PPC. This emphasizes the value of niche agencies that can more easily attract and retain specialists in their industry.
Most people are under the impression that the larger a company is, the more likely they are to deliver results and uphold their promises. However, when it comes to large marketing agencies, Nelson warns that clients may get lost in layers of corporate management structures. Due to acquisitions and venture capital pressures, big agencies have to meet benchmarks that could come at the expense of individual account performance.
The conversation then shifted toward the future. Looking ahead, Nelson predicted short-form video will continue growing massively on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram reels. He stated modern consumers prefer quick bites of information and “it’s all moving in that direction,” necessitating that law firms build their brands through compelling yet brief video content.
When prioritizing activities, Nelson listed driving targeted leads, refining the client experience to boost conversions, and optimizing spending using ROI metrics as essential components of any legal marketing plan. He emphasized establishing expertise and trust through organic results as well as paid efforts in order to successfully convert inquiries into clients or cases. Nelson also highlighted agencies’ need to stay on “the cutting edge” of evolving marketing technologies.
As has become tradition in the Behind the Bench Podcast, Josh Kongisberg concluded the interview with some personal questions in the segment known as “The Lighting Round.”
When asked about the best compliment he ever received, Nelson fondly recalled being told he has “a special way of making complicated things seem simple.” He elaborated that this praise was especially meaningful to him because his goal is to demystify sophisticated digital marketing concepts and explain them in straightforward, practical terms that are easy for anyone to understand.
Given the chance to trade places with anyone for a day, Nelson selected billionaire inventor Elon Musk as his choice. He admiringly referred to Musk as “the richest man in the world right now” who is continually on “the cutting edge of everything” through pioneering ventures in sectors like electric vehicles, space exploration, and artificial intelligence. Nelson admitted he enjoys Musk’s vast success and innovative projects but wouldn’t want to permanently take his place.
When asked about guilty pleasures, Nelson acknowledged a weakness for indulging in “chips and salsa with a nice movie on Netflix” as a way to relax after long workdays. He took pride in the biggest risk he’s undertaken—founding his first agency specializing in search engine optimization during the infancy of the industry, which he understood meant risking failure due to his lack of prior business ownership experience. This gamble paid off for Nelson and helped many clients achieve their goals, as well.
Nelson reflected on receiving the “worst piece of advice” from a family member discouraging him from entrepreneurship after a previously failed attempt. Thankfully, he ignored their counsel and thrived as a small business owner instead. He also expressed a desire to better handle losing clients from time to time, as it is an inevitable reality in the services industry that still elicits an emotional response.
On a personal note, Nelson shared his little-known upbringing in Haiti before immigrating to the U.S. as a young boy, and affirmed his passion for empowering companies and individuals to accomplish ambitious aims through strategic digital marketing guidance. Overall, Nelson praised the podcast for its engaging questions and recommended that others seize similar opportunities.
Click below to watch the full interview.
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