“I thought I was being considerate”

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David Gaughran is an author and I’m on his email list. His latest newsletter issues a warning to those of us who write a newsletter, and those who want to.

He tells how he made a pact with his readers, telling them that if they signed up for his list, he would promise not to email them until he had a new book coming out.

“I thought I being considerate. I thought it would attract more people to my list. . . I thought most readers wouldn’t really care to hear from me in-between releases, and that I’d run out of things to say. . . I was wrong–so very, very wrong.”

What happened?

“People forgot who I was. Open rates fell. . . fewer and fewer were clicking and less again were buying. Reviews were dropping. Sales were increasingly tepid. It was a cascading clusterfudge of exponential fail.”

Emailing your list occasionally, e.g, only when you have an announcement or something “important” to say, is not the way to build a responsive list.

What is a responsive list?

A list that looks forward to hearing from you and reading what you write.

A list that comes to know, like, and trust you because of what you write, and then hires you or re-hires you.

A list of people who may never need your services (or need them again) but know people who do and refer them to you.

A list of people who tell others about your events, your videos, your articles, and your newsletter, and thus help you build your list.

Not a list of people who forget who you are or that they signed up on your list.

Gaughran has seen the error of his ways and is changing his approach. If your list isn’t responsive, or isn’t as responsive as you’d like, you might do the same.

It’s not difficult. Write something your list wants to read and send it to them often.

If you’d like to learn how to do that effectively, and why it’s a lot easier than you might think, head on over to this page to learn more.

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Video killed the radio star

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Video marketing is big and will no doubt get bigger. But it’s not the only way to get your message in front of prospective clients and, as I’ve said before, it’s not necessarily the best way.

Some reasons:

  • The user needs to take time to watch a video that’s longer than a couple of minutes and many people won’t do that.
  • Not everyone has the ability to watch a video; even if they have their phone with them, they may not have privacy or a good signal.
  • While you can fast-forward (or “scrub”) through a video, it still takes time to watch it and the user may miss something. A document, on the other hand, can be scanned and your message received and understood (an impression) in a few seconds.
  • Viewers may be spoiled by the production value of the videos they usually watch. If you’re not good on camera or don’t want to spend time on editing, etc., if your videos aren’t first-class, prospective clients may conclude that your legal services aren’t, either.
  • It will usually take you more time to produce a video than a written message.

Video do offer advantages in marketing. For one, they give you the ability to help prospective clients get to know and like you before they speak to you.

Videos can play a role on your website and/or social media channels. You can answer FAQs, explain how you work with clients, show visitors where to find articles and resources on your site, and re-purpose or share content from you blog or newsletter.

If you use videos, however, I suggest you also supply a transcript so people can scan your message if they can’t or don’t want to watch your entire production.

Okay, that’s marketing. Videos can also play a role in improving your client relations.

When someone becomes a client, they are more likely to spend time watching a video from you, and more forgiving if your efforts aren’t up to Cecil B. DeMille standards.

How could you use videos to improve client relations? Some ideas:

  • A general video “welcome letter”–welcome to your practice, introduce them to staff, show them your library, conference room, etc.
  • A “personal welcome letter”–use their name, tell them you’ve started on their case, hold up a copy of their file, show them a screen cap of their name in your calendar system, etc.
  • FAQ’s–answer questions new clients typically have about how things work, the steps, what happens when something (bad) happens, etc.
  • Testimonials from other clients. Yes, you’re showing this to clients but testimonials from other happy clients can help attenuate “buyer’s remorse”. (This might be a way you can use testimonials if you are otherwise not allowed to do that in your marketing.)
  • Client ‘training’–getting ready for a depo or court appearance, etc.
  • Updates–here’s what’s happened so far, here’s what’s next.
  • Videos of you speaking (or on a podcast), so they can see they hired the right attorney for the job.

Some things to think about and work on, yes?

Now, I could have recorded this post in a video for you. But would you have watched it?

You would if you had hired me and paid me thousands of dollars.

If you’d like to do that, let me know and I’ll be happy to record it for you.

More ideas for your website

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White space. The final frontier.

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Yesterday, I encouraged you to put more white space in your life. Don’t try to fill every minute with activities–give yourself room to breathe and think and recharge.

Today, I’m encouraging you to do the same thing for your clients.

Especially clients with a stressful legal situation or who aren’t used to working with attorneys.

What can you do to give them more white space?

A few ideas:

When you send documents, don’t weigh them down with everything all at once. Dole it out. A little to start, a little more on another day. Let them know there’s more, but give them time to digest what you’ve already sent.

Preface your message with an executive summary–a few paragraphs that tell them the bottom line–so they don’t have to wade through everything to find out what happened or what you recommend.

Make your documents and correspondence easier to read by using, yes, lots of white space. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, and bullet points, so they can scan and get the gist of the document without having to read every word.

Consider highlighting key words or phrases, with bold or CAPITAL LETTERS, or other visual cues.

Instead of a monthly newsletter covering everything under the sun, break it up and send a shorter newsletter once a week.

You can also add white space in meetings and phone calls. Keep them short, get to the point quickly, and only tell them what’s essential for them to know. Then, tell them where to get additional information if they want it and invite them to ask questions.

In your writing, conversations, and presentations, number your points. Then, as you begin, tell them how many points you’re going to cover.

When you begin with, “There are five reasons I’m recommending you take the offer,” the client knows what to expect and is better able to absorb your message.

When you speak to a client, you can help them relax and feel more confident by letting them hear that you are relaxed and confident. If you’re in person, use body language (eye contact, smiling, relaxed posture).

Give your clients more white space and you will make it easier for them to hear you, trust you, and follow your advice. When you make it easier for them to work with you, they’ll make it easier for you to do a good job for them.

How to write an effective email newsletter

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Does your life need more white space?

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A writer was describing her quest to simplify her hectic life, to reduce her stress and manage her energy. She wanted more quiet time, time to reflect and recharge.

She said, “My life needed white space,” and I immediately understood what she meant.

Most of us are ridiculously busy. We run from appointment to appointment, from task to task.

Our plates are full and yet we continually look for more to heap on them.

We may break for lunch but we often work through it. After work we have errands and chores. Family time? Me time? We never have enough.

And the next day we do it all again.

No wonder we’re exhausted. No wonder we’re stressed.

We’re building these great lives but are we enjoying the lives we’re building?

The solution isn’t all that difficult. We don’t need to radically change our lives. All we need to do is put some space between the different parts of it.

Take a few minutes between appointments. Remove the clutter from your desktop. Work on one file at a time.

Do something unplanned. Make your next project something that feels good instead of whatever’s next on the list.

From time to time, come in to the office a little later or go home a little earlier. Take a long lunch. Go window shopping, go to the ocean, go for a walk.

Take more vacations. Stay a few days longer. Or take a stay-cation and pamper yourself.

And prepare yourself for the days ahead when you might feel pressured or overwhelmed or find yourself falling behind. Make an agreement with yourself that when that happens, you won’t fret or give in to the pressure.

You won’t work harder. You’ll take a break.

You’ll rest and recharge and reflect, even for a few hours or a few days, because that might be all you need.

And because knowing you can do that, in advance, might provide enough white space in your life that you’ll never have to.

Billing is stressful for many lawyers. This will help

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How to advertise without advertising

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You open your mail and see an envelope filled with coupons and ads for restaurants, dry cleaners, contractors, insurance agents, and other local businesses.

You think, “I’d love to get my name in front of hundreds or thousands of prospective clients like this but I can’t do it.”

Your bar rules (or firm) don’t allow advertising.

Or, maybe you’re allowed to advertise but you don’t want to do it (for whatever reason).

Are you out of luck?

Not at all.

All you need to do is find people who sell to or advise your target market and let them advertise for you.

What? How is that possible?

Not only is it possible, lawyers have been doing this since the first lawyer hung out the first shingle.

You can do it, too.

Find a publication (magazine, blog, newsletter, etc.) and write an article for them. They advertise or promote their publication, their readers see your article and find out what you do and how you can help them. They see your phone number or website and offer at the bottom of the article, just like they would if you ran your own ad.

Or, you find a group that has events with speakers and get yourself invited to speak. The organization promotes the event to their members and/or to the community. People come, hear your pearls of wisdom, ask for your card.

Okay, one more.

You ask a lawyer friend or other professional to tell their clients, subscribers and social media connections about you or your upcoming seminar or your free ebook offer. In return, you offer to tell your clients and subscribers about them.

Yes?

You’re not advertising but you get the benefits of advertising. You get people who don’t know you from Adam to find out what you do and how you can help them.

And someone else pays for it.

Wait. It gets better.

You also get the implied endorsement of the publication that runs your article, the group that promotes your talk, or the professional who tells his clients about your seminar.

Something you wouldn’t get if you ran your own paid ads.

Is this starting to make sense?

Good. Now go use it to make some dollars.

More ways to get more clients and increase your income: click here

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Do two things every day

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The practice of law is complex. Lots of people to please, things to do, rules to follow. If you want to succeed, you have to get a lot of things right.

But clearly, some things are more important than others.

Some cases are bigger. Some clients are more valuable.

Make sure that every day, you work on your biggest case or you do something for your most valuable client.

Make this your priority. Do it first, if possible, and no matter what else occurs the rest of the day, your day will be a success.

Your practice is also a business, however, and you need to work on that, too.

Your business continually needs new clients. New people learning what you do and how you can help them or their friends or readers or clients.

So, every day, you should do your most important business-building activity.

That’s the plan. Do two things every day, one for your clients, one for your practice.

And yes, you need both. Because a professional practice doesn’t build itself.

In his Masterclass, David Mamet tells aspiring screenwriters, “You’ve got to do one thing for your art every day, and you’ve got to do one thing for your business every day.”

What “one thing” will you do today to build your business?

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Piggybacking on the news

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Wisconsin now allows “service of discovery notices, motions, judgment offers, and documents by email,” according to a report from the Wisconsin Bar, “if the recipient consents [thereto] in writing.”

If you like this idea and want to see something similar implemented in your state, why not take the lead on it?

No, not because you would like to see this implemented in your state–that would be a bonus. Take the lead because it gives you another way to build your practice.

How’s that?

It gives you an “excuse” to reach out to connected people in your state–legislators, big-firm law partners, well-regarded writers and editors, and so on. People who might otherwise not give you the time of day.

Pick up the phone and call someone. Write some letters. Join a Bar committee. And start talking about the issue.

Some people will share your interest. They may introduce you to others who are already talking about it.

You’ll make some new contacts. You might get invited to submit an editorial or asked to speak at an event.

You could start by contacting the folks in Wisconsin who took the lead in getting this passed. Ask for information and advice about doing something similar in your state.

Taking the lead on this, or any issue, gives you a way to stand out from the crowd and create something out of nothing.

Want some new clients? New referral sources? New places to write or speak or network? Want to get your name in the news?

Find something already in the news and start talking about it.

More ways to connect with other professionals

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The one hour workday

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Many years ago, when I was making appearances for other attorneys, I was hired by the wife of an attorney who had become ill and couldn’t work for the better part of a year.

He could talk to clients on the phone but couldn’t leave home. During his convalescence, I handled his court appearances, depos and arbitrations.

I thought about that recently when I read a question posed by James Clear in his newsletter:

“If you were forced to work for just one hour per day, what would you work on during that hour to be most effective?”

It’s a good question, no matter our state of health.

What if you could only work one hour a day? What would you do?

You can probably guess my answer. Assuming I had competent help, I’d spend that hour on marketing.

I wouldn’t do the legal work. Why do something that’s worth hundreds of dollars when you could do something that could be worth many thousands?

One hour of focused marketing activity each day could bring in enough new business (and repeat business) to earn you a fortune.

My point? Why not do that now?

Take an hour a day and make some rain. You can spend the rest of the day doing legal work or supervising others who do the legal work, or a combination of both.

Or, you could take the rest of the day and do anything else that floats your boat.

If an hour of marketing is too much to comprehend, start with 15 minutes. You can make a lot of calls in 15 minutes.

Just something to think about as you get ready to plan the upcoming year.

Want help? Get The Formula

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Last day!

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The deluge (of emails and ads) is almost over. At least until later this month when they pick up again.

‘Tis the season.

And there’s something to be learned from watching it all.

In particular, the power of deadlines.

When you know there are only a few hours left before you “lose” a discount, or there are only a few widgets left before they are all gone, it plays to our innate “fear of loss”.

Psychologically, we already “own” the discount or the widget, and it’s about to be taken away from us.

So we click the button, make the call, or get in our car and face the long lines, to get what’s ours.

Fear of loss is much more powerful than desire for gain.

And it’s something I suggest you use in your marketing.

You have to be creative to do that since (I presume) you don’t usually offer discounts or have a sale. But there are ways to do it.

So, look for them. They are powerful. Just don’t overuse them.

Which is why I don’t offer discounts often. And when I do, I put strict limits on them.

And. . . today really is the last day you can get my courses at a discount.

Specifically, these two:

Email Marketing for Attorneys and The Quantum Leap Marketing System.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, check your email for the discount codes.

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The easiest way to grow your practice

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There are many elements that go into an effective marketing campaign. And by campaign, I mean all of things you do to bring in new clients and repeat business and otherwise build your practice.

All of it.

Headlines and email subject lines, offers, building trust, building relationships, stimulating referrals, client relations, SEO, effective website navigation, content marketing, engagement, copywriting, and the list goes on.

Some factors are much more important than others. But there is one factor that is MOST important.

What is it? Frequency of communication.

How often your prospective clients, current clients, former clients, referral sources, and everyone else who can hire you or refer you or promote you hears from you.

If they rarely hear from you, you can’t expect much from them. If they hear from you often, all things being equal, you can expect to see more new business, repeat business, referrals and other goodness.

So, if you do anything different in the new year, let it be to connect with people more often.

The simplest way to do that is by email.

Which just happens to be the subject of my Email Marketing for Attorneys course.

It shows you what to say and how to say it for maximum effect. And it shows you how to do everything you need to do in one hour per week or less.

Go here for all the details.

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