Don’t know what to write about? Here’s what to do

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When you’re out of ideas to write about in your blog or newsletter, there’s no need to panic.

You can write about almost anything.

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new computer. You’ve looked at the options, compared brands, found answers to lots of questions, and made some decisions. You may have ruled out certain brands or operating systems or options. You may have chosen your next machine.

Why not write about that?

Share the story of your quest–what you went through, what you discovered, what you decided and why. And. . .

. . .use that story as an analogy for hiring an attorney.

Tell readers what to look for in an attorney, the questions to ask and the answers they should hear.

Tell them the pros and cons of different types of attorneys or different services; explain the must-haves and the nice-to-haves.

Tell them what they need to know and do to make a good “purchase” and the problems they may have if they don’t.

Show readers you understand what they want and guide them to taking the next step.

You might end your post by telling them you’re happy with your choice of computer and relieved the hunt is over and you can get back to work, because that’s what readers want in their hunt for an attorney.

Look at what’s happening in your practice or personal life. The odds are there’s something you can use in your next post.

I’ve written posts about my cats, shopping with my wife, hiring service people for our home, stories about cases and clients, things I see online, things I see on my walk, and much more.

You can, too.

You don’t need to write more than a few sentences about your experience, a question someone asked you, a video you saw, or a thought that crossed your mind.

You can write about almost anything.

How to write emails that bring in repeat business and referrals

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Do more of what’s working

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Franklin Roosevelt said, “Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.”

Splendid advice.

Too often, we try to fix what’s not working. Too often, that’s not the best use of our time.

So, ask yourself, What’s working for me right now? What am I doing well?

And do more of it.

Because what’s working well will probably continue to do so. Because the more you do something, the better you get at it, and the better your results.

Look at your calendar and your “done” list. Look at the things you do each day to run your practice and put a star next to things you want to do more of.

Things that make money, improve your skills, and help you grow. Things that help you work more effectively and efficiently. Things that make what you do more gratifying.

Keep a list of these “keepers” in front of you, to remind yourself to do more of them–because what you focus on grows.

Where do you find the time to do more of what’s working? By eliminating or cutting down on things that aren’t.

Do more of what’s working, less of what isn’t.

How to get more referrals from your clients

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Do you enjoy marketing?

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For many lawyers, marketing is something they have to do, so they do it. But they don’t like it.

If you’re among them, imagine what it would be like if you loved marketing and didn’t have to force yourself to do it.

You’d do more of it, wouldn’t you? You’d get better at it. You’d be able to do it more quickly. And you’d get better results.

Sound like a plan?

Okay, a few thoughts on how to make marketing your jam.

First, it’s okay to start by not enjoying it. It’s probably best not to hate it with every fiber of your being but it’s okay if it’s not your favorite thing.

Give yourself time to try different strategies and methods, learn the ropes, and experiment.

Start small. Write one email, call one business contact, get your feet wet and see how it feels. Can you see yourself doing more of this or that? Good. Keep doing it and see if you really can.

What comes natural to you? If you like to write, do that. If you don’t like speaking or networking, don’t do those.

If you don’t like anything, or you have more money than time, delegate or hire an outside firm, or advertise. And don’t forget, “internal marketing” (great client relations leading to repeat business and referrals) is marketing and it’s okay to focus on that.

Take notes about what you did and how you felt while you did it. What worked, what didn’t, what did you enjoy, what did you want to put up against a wall and murder?

Finally, take comfort in knowing that you don’t have to do everything or be great at anything. You need to find one thing you don’t hate and do it regularly. Eventually, as you get better at it (and see better results), it may become your bff.

The Attorney Marketing Formula is a good place to start

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How to write an effective follow-up email

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“Follow-up to our call,” is not the most effective subject line in a follow-up email to someone you just met or spoke to. You want them to open the email immediately, if not sooner as my grandfather used to say.

The subject line should make them curious and/or promise a benefit, or otherwise get their attention.

Depending on the circumstances, you might use something akin to one of these:

  • “You asked for a copy of my xyz report–here it is”
  • “This [form, app, site, idea, etc.] has saved my bacon more times than I can count”
  • “I won’t be able to sleep tonight unless you do this”
  • “I was surprised when you told me this. . .”

Use humor if appropriate. And funny. (If you’re not sure, talk to my wife.)

For the body of the email, reference your conversation, thank them, and be yourself. Not your lawyer self if you can help it, your real person self.

More.

  • Keep it simple–one thought or question.
  • Keep it brief. The longer the email, the less likely they’ll be to read it.
  • Lots of white space. Short paragraphs and sentences, bullet points, and a smattering of bold and ALL CAPS, so they can skim or read it quickly.
  • Informal. You know them, now, so write like a friend or colleague.
  • Tell them what you want them to do. Ask for the sale, invite them to take the next step. Or tell them what you’re going to do next.
  • Consider using a P.S., to remind them what to do or to add something personal, eg., “Say hello to Jack from me,” or to say thank you (again).

Save your best messages as templates. Make sure to change the name of the recipient before you hit send, however. [Smiley-face goes here.]

How to market your practice with email

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5-Minute Marketing

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Most professional services marketing is done a few minutes at a time. We make a call, we write an email, we jot down notes for our next article.

Sure, we also spend hours writing articles, delivering presentations, and meeting prospective clients and referral sources, but in the aggregate, most of our marketing is done in small snippets of time.

Which means we could do a lot more of it.

Between appointments, meetings, court appearances, drafting documents and everything else we do, we have access to snippets of time we could use for marketing.

What could you accomplish by adding several 5-minute marketing activities to your day?

The key to doing that is to keep a running list of things you could do between appointments, in the car, or while you’re drinking your third cup of coffee.

Things that don’t require you to schedule time on your calendar or do a lot of heavy lifting. Things you can do in the moment.

You grab your list and call a former client and say hello. You open your notes app and choose a idea for your next blog post. You watch a video on a skill you want to improve or a subject you could write about in your newsletter.

You can build your practice 5-minutes at a time.

If you don’t know where to start, visit my blog. You’ll find lots of marketing ideas, many of which can be done in 5-minute increments.

And hey, since it only took you only a minute or two to read this, you’ve got time to do something else before your next appointment.

Marketing is simple when you know The Formula

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Who’s on your “hot list”?

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You have contacts you want to stay in touch with. Clients, former clients, referral sources, prospective clients, centers of influence in your niche, and so on.

When you first met them or connected with them, you may have scheduled follow-up dates and stayed in touch. But you got busy, you forgot about them, or you ran out of things to talk about.

What can you do?

First, create a “hot list” of no more than 30 people you want to focus on right now–your “Focus 30” list.

Schedule time each week to look at this list. Choose one or two people and contact them.

Call, write, message them. Ask about their business, their family, their health, their latest project or their next one.

Keep notes about them and your conversations and emails. Keep a list of their websites and social platforms so you can see what they’re up to.

Keep another list of generic ideas or conversation starters, questions you can ask anyone on your list, things you can offer, things you can tell them about or invite them to.

NB: When you regularly create new content you always have something new to tell people about or offer.

Keep your list up to date. Remove people who aren’t responsive and add new ones when you find them.

Give your personal attention to your “Focus 30” and stay in touch with everyone else via your newsletter.

Here’s how to do that

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Patience

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You didn’t sign up any new clients today. You didn’t settle any cases or close any deals. You didn’t deposit any money.

Bad day? Not necessarily.

Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

What did you do to connect with clients or prospects today? How much content did you create? What did you do to get your name in front of bloggers, podcasters, editors or publishers?

How many professionals in your niche did you introduce yourself to? How many new contacts did you make on social? How many new subscribers signed up for your newsletter?

How many people did you call or write to? How much time did you spend improving your knowledge or skills? How many words did you write for you book?

Marketing is like farming. You have to sow the seeds, water them, nurture them, and wait for harvest time.

Do the work and give it time.

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How much, how often?

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Information overload is clearly a thing.

According to a 2014 study by UC San Diego, each day we spend an average of 11.8 hours consuming media on our devices, the equivalent of 174 full newspaper’s worth of information.

That’s approximately 113,000 words per day, and this is increasing 2.4% each year.

So it’s not surprising to hear many people tell those of us who write a blog or a newsletter or produce videos or other content to cut back.

But I’m not cutting back and neither should you.

Because we have people with problems that need solving or goals they wish to achieve, and the information we send them helps begin the process.

So, let other people cut back. Not us.

When you send out valuable and/or interesting information that educates clients and prospects about their problems and the available solutions, you give them hope for a better future.

And you can’t do that too much or too often.

Where many marketers go wrong, however, is by sending out information that’s not helpful or interesting, so people stop reading it and forget your name.

Which doesn’t help anyone.

The message is simple. Write something people want to read and send it often, because you don’t know how many times they need to be reminded that you have the solutions they seek, or when they’ll be ready to take the next step.

How to write content people want to read

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Super simple way to create your next article or post

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I see you. You’re sitting in front of your computer trying to come up with something to write for your blog or newsletter.

And you’re stumped.

The well is dry, you’ve got other things to do, and you don’t want to spend all day staring at the ceiling.

No, I’m not going to lecture you about keeping a running list of ideas. Instead, I’m going to come to your rescue and give you your next idea.

All you need to do is identify a book or article you read, or video you watched recently, and tell your subscribers or readers about it.

What it was about, what you agreed with or liked, or what you found lacking.

You could write about the article about taxes or retirement or insurance you just read. Tell them what you think, what you agree with and recommend, and what you plan to do with the information yourself.

If you read an article about a productivity app, you could tell them about your experiences with that app, or why you like something else better.

If you just read a bar journal article or watched a CLE video, you could mention a few salient points and tell them how you will use this in your practice.

What is your local paper writing about your community? Crime, fires, store closings? You can write about those, too.

You could write about anything. Even the post you’re reading right now.

If you represent business clients or anyone who writes a blog or newsletter or posts on social media, you could pass along your thoughts about the idea in this very article. It’s something they can use when they’re fresh out of ideas.

So, what will you write about next?

Want more article ideas? Here

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On-boarding new clients

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Remember your first day of school? You were scared, you didn’t know anybody, and you didn’t know what was going to happen or what was expected of you.

You may have wanted to go home.

To some extent, your new clients feel the same way. They’re nervous about their case, they don’t know you, and they don’t know what’s going to happen.

Part of your job is to alleviate their fears and doubts and make them feel good about their decision to hire you.

You want them to understand what’s about to happen, what to expect from you, and what you expect from them. You want to equip them to work with you, to help you achieve a good outcome for them.

And you want to set the stage for repeat business and referrals.

You need an on-boarding checklist that spells out what you will do, and when, with links to forms, emails, and lists of things you need to do or tell the new client.

Things like:

  • Introduce yourself, your staff, and your partners
  • Learn about their family, their employees, their other advisers
  • Inquire about other possible legal issues
  • Provide information about their case–the law, the procedure, the timetable, and the process you follow
  • Answer their FAQs
  • Orient them to the tools and processes you use to communicate with your clients (and ask them which apps or methods they prefer)
  • Give them a “tour” of your office and/or a virtual tour of your website and the resources available to them
  • Educate them about “what else” you do, ie., other services, practice areas
  • Provide reports, referral cards, etc., they can hand out
  • Provide exemplars of positive reviews you’ve received and links to sites where they can leave one if they’re happy with your work
  • Give them homework, to get them involved in the process
  • Send a thank you note, a welcome gift, and add their birthday to your card list

Your checklist should encompass what you will say and do at their first appointment and thereafter.

Your clients are your most valuable asset. A checklist can ensure you continue to invest in them.

How to create “referral devices” that bring in new business

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