If I were starting my law practice today, here’s what I would do to bring in clients


If I were opening a law practice today, my “marketing plan” would be very different than it was when I opened my office thirty-plus years ago.

The Internet changes everything.

So. . . here’s what I would do:

I would start by setting up a web site to showcase what I do. It would be my online brochure as well as a mechanism for networking and lead generation. It would be an information hub, the center of all of my marketing activities.

My web site would be a self-hosted WordPress blog so I could update it without depending on anyone else. I would spend less than $10/yr. for a domain, and less than $10/mo. for hosting.

I would keep things simple, with a clean, professional look. I would favor quality content over bells and whistles. The look would say, “competent, confident, accomplished and approachable,” because that’s what I would want if I was looking for an attorney.

I would add articles and other content to the site, to provide value to visitors and generate search engine traffic. I would continue to add content, seeking to make my site the most comprehensive in my practice area. When someone needed an answer, everyone would point them to my site.

I would make it easy for visitors to contact me through the site and I would encourage this. I want people to ask questions. My answers bring me one step closer to an appointment and a new client. Their questions and my answers would also give me fodder for new content.

I would add testminonials and success stories to the site, providing social proof of my capabilities and add a dramatic aspect to otherwise dry material.

I would set up a lead capture system, using an autoresponder to deliver an online newsletter. I would encourage visitors to subscribe so I could stay in touch with them. Over time, I know they will become clients, provide referrals, and generate even more traffic to my site through their social media channels.

Once my hub was set up, my focus would be to drive traffic to the site and grow my list. I would start by leveraging my existing contacts, telling them about my site and the benefits of visiting. I would ask them to spread the word to the people they know.

Every piece of printed collateral, including my business cards, would include a link to my web site. Every email I sent would link to the site. Every article I wrote would include a resource box and a link to my site.

I would become active in forums and on social media. I would do some networking and speaking to meet new contacts and to stay up to date with the news in my target market.

I would look for other professionals who target my market and propose writing for each other’s blogs and newsletters. If they were physically near me, I would meet them for coffee and explore other ways we could help each other.

I would regularly email to my list, notifying them of new content on the site and sending them other content I found that I thought they might like to see. I would stay in touch with them so that I would be “in their minds and their mailboxes” when they needed my services or encountered someone who did.

I would let people know I appreciate their referrals and thank those who have provided them in the past. I would suggest other ways they could help me, i.e., forwarding my emails to their friends and contacts, promoting my seminar or other event, or introducing me to people they know that I should meet.

I would look for ways to provide added value to my list and even more so to my clients. I would give them information and advice, but not necessarily in my practice area or even anything legal.

I would smother my clients with attention, exceeding their expectations in every way possible, because I know the best way to build a law practice is with referrals from satisfied clients and other people who know, like, and trust me.

Wait. . .  the Internet doesn’t change everything. Marketing is the same today as it was thirty years ago. The Internet just makes it easier, quicker, and less expensive.


Why some attorneys shouldn’t blog (and most attorneys never will)


The evidence is clear: content is still king and blogging does work. The more (quality) content you have on your web site, the more traffic and leads and clients you get.

The August issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, reports that, “sites that have 401 to 1000 pages get nine times more visitors than sites with 51 to 100 pages”. Hubspot reports that consistent bloggers saw a 4.2x increase in the number of leads without four months, and reduced their lead costs by 60 percent.

The reasons are equally clear. Search engines like fresh content and so do readers who use those search engines to find that content. When someone has a legal issue, they’re not looking for an attorney’s “about” page, they want information that will help them understand their problem and their options for solving it. The attorney who provides that information is the attorney who gets more traffic, more leads, and more clients.

But it takes time to write good content and doing it consistently is hard work. That’s why so many people who start a blog don’t keep it up. (95 percent of blogs are abandoned, according to Technorati, long before they see an appreciable return on their investment.)

But you’re not like other people, are you?

“If you knew you could earn an extra $20,000 per month by blogging, and it would take you an hour a day, five days a week, would you do it?”

Let me ask a question: “If you knew you could earn an extra $20,000 per month by blogging, and it would take you an hour a day, five days a week, would you do it?”

If the answer is “no,” stop reading.

Of course I don’t know how much you will earn by blogging any more than I know how much the attorney-bloggers in the top 5% earn through their blogs. I’m pretty sure they are happy with their “top 5% results,” however.

And here’s some good news: you don’t have to spend an hour a day on your blog for it to be effective. An hour or two a week will probably be enough. That’s because:

  • You’re already reading in your field; you don’t have to invest a lot of extra time for blogging purposes.
  • You can write. If you can pass the essay portion of a bar exam,  you probably write well enough to write a blog (although you might want to have someone edit out the legalease).
  • You can get help. Your staff can do research, find articles you can incorporate into your blog, write first drafts and even write finished posts. If you don’t have staff, you can outsource.
  • You don’t have to post every day; once or twice a week, done consistently, is enough to put you in the top 5%. Even once or twice a month can bring you more business.

What are you doing now to market your practice? Could you use some of that time for blogging? If you’re not doing anything right now to market your practice, don’t you think you should?

In the past, my blogging has been sporadic. Stretches of consistency followed by stretches of “I’m busy with other projects and I’ll get back to blogging when I can”. Recently, I decided to take my own medicine. Not only have I started posting consistently again, at my wife’s urging I’ve been doing it every day. Even though it’s only been a couple of weeks, I’m already seeing a lot more traffic, subscribers, and new business.

Is blogging for every attorney? No. If you have other ways to build your practice and they are working, you don’t need a blog. It is hard work and it is a commitment. (Actually, the writing really isn’t hard, what’s hard is the commitment.) But if you’re looking for something to bring in more business, if you have more time than money or you’re willing to make the time because you can see why it would be worth it, if you like to write or have someone on staff who does, then blogging is a great way to rise above the competition and get into the top 5%.


What do SEO and client relations for lawyers have in common?


“I’m a busy lawyer. I don’t have a lot of time to write a newsletter or blog.”

Good. If you have time to write a lot, your clients and prospects might not read what you send them.

While frequency of contact is important, quality is far more important. Instead of writing low-quality weekly messages, you’ll do far more to strengthen your relationships and build your reputation by sending a high-quality missive once a month.

I am subscribed to hundreds of blogs and email newsletters. My email inbox and RSS feed reader are inundated. Several times a day I peruse these offerings. I spend most of that time skimming the headlines and deleting or archiving nearly every article. I may scroll through ten or twenty percent but I probably read no more than two percent. The ones I read (and, often save) are where the real value for me lies.

I stay subscribed to this multitude of newsletters and blogs because they give me a sense of what’s trending in my areas of interest. I also find articles I can share with my Twitter and Facebook companions. And, I do find articles worth reading. If I don’t have time to read them on the spot, I save them to read later. Many of the publications I follow publish several times per week; some of the bigger publications publish twenty or thirty articles per day.

I filter through a large quantity of articles looking for the few of high quality. Sometimes they come from the multitude. More often, they come from the handful of sources that consistently provide high quality material. They may not post frequently and not everything they post is golden, but the most useful material (for me) usually comes from the same sources. Those are the ones I look forward to and make sure I read.

So, if you write a newsletter or blog, you don’t have to write every day or three times a week or even weekly. Write when you can but make it worth reading. Your clients and prospects will appreciate it.

Apparently, uncle Google agrees. Carolyn Elefant writes that while in the past, quantity of keywords and links to a web site determined primacy in search engine ranking, Google has modified its algorithm to better reflect the quality of those keywords and links. You don’t need everyone linking to your site, so long as you have the right ones.