Who do you know?

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You want to promote your services, seminar, or offer. You want podcasters, bloggers, or writers to know about you, mention you, or interview you. You want information about a new market or the key people in it.

Research and direct outreach are your friend. But you may have an even better friend in someone you already know.

You might know someone who knows the host of the podcast that’s perfect for you. You might have a client who has worked with the expert you want to interview for your blog. You might know a consultant, executive, or industry insider who can introduce you to the person who can answer your questions.

Whatever it is you want or need, it might be as close as a phone call, email, or social media post.

The people in your warm market are a resource for you and they should be the first place you turn when you need something. Much better than contacting strangers, which I’m guessing isn’t one of your favorite things to do.

The people you know can provide information, introductions, and referrals. And because they know you, and presumably trust and like you, it shouldn’t be difficult to get their help.

If they can’t help, they might know someone who can.

No matter what’s on your current “want” list, ask yourself, “Who’s in my network who might be able to help?”

Who do I know? Who do they know?

One more thing.

You may not need anything right now, but now would be a good time to connect with people in your network and ask what they need. Information? Introductions? Recommendations? A second opinion?

Let them know you’re available if and when they need help.

It gives you a great excuse to reconnect with your network and paves the way for a future time when you might need something from them.

Email marketing for attorneys

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When you don’t have time for deep work

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Schedule large blocks of time for deep work, we’re told. An hour or 90 minutes a day to work on our most important projects and do things that require focus and concentration.

But our work doesn’t always allow us to schedule large blocks of time. Not consistently, anyway. Our days are often fragmented with appointments and calls and other work that needs to be done as and when it needs to be done.

The good news is that you can get a lot of work done in the spaces between calls and appointments.

Throughout the day, as you go from one task to another, there are many unused chunks of time. We often waste that time, telling ourselves there isn’t enough of it to do something meaningful.

Sure, you need breaks. Time to clear your mind, think, or get another cuppa. But don’t assume you can’t also do something valuable when you only have a few minutes.

You’ve got ten minutes until the next appointment? Make a few calls and leave messages (since most people don’t pick up these days). Write the first draft of an important email, or bang out one or two-word replies to several emails. Highlight key paragraphs in a pdf or organize your notes from a recent meeting.

You’ve got five minutes? How about brainstorming a few ideas for your next article or post, or doing a quick edit of your last one?

In five minutes, you might review a file you haven’t looked at in a while and dictate instructions to your staff. Check your email and clear out the spam. Or skim a few saved articles and decide which ones to read next, when you have another five minutes.

Five minutes here, ten minutes there, and you might get a lot done. Maybe enough to let you block out time for deep work.

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Getting traffic old school style

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You want more prospective clients to visit your website, to see what you do and how you can help them. The more who visit, the more clients you get.

You can improve your SEO. You can advertise. Or you can get more traffic with some old school tactics.

Here’s the plan:

Step One: Create Content.

Create 10 or 20 articles that talk about the things prospective clients want to know—their problems, their risks, the law, the procedure, timing, options, and what you can do to help them.

The kinds of things they search for when they are online, or ask you about when they talk to you.

Each article should mention one or more of your services and link to a page that provides more information. That page should tell them how to get their questions answered or get started.

Create an “index” or directory page that links to these articles and post that page throughout your site. You want to help visitors find your content and, once they’ve consumed one article, to see what else you have available.

Step Two: Promote Your Content

Copy your index page, add your website address and contact information, and distribute this in print and digitally:

  • Email it to your clients, ask them to forward it to anyone who might like to see this information
  • Mail it or hand a print copy to clients and former clients (for them and/or to hand out)
  • Send it to referral sources, to give to their friends and clients
  • Put copies in your waiting room; if you have business clients, ask them to put copies in their waiting room
  • Pass them out at your speaking engagements
  • Put it in your new client kit
  • Offer it on your social channels
  • Offer it at the bottom of articles you publish elsewhere
  • Offer it to listeners/viewers when you are interviewed

And so on.

You can also gather up your articles, or the ‘best of’, into a booklet or report, and distribute that. You might offer it as a lead magnet to anyone who opts in to your newsletter, for example.

Old school. Easy to do, zero cost, and highly effective for driving traffic to your site and prospective clients into your loving arms.

More

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Work-work balance?

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The world is coming to realize that working too many hours is counterproductive. You can’t do your best work if you’re always exhausted, or win friends and influence people if you’re always grumpy.

We all need time off. Which is why folks are talking about and starting to implement a shorter work-week.

That might be a problem for those who bill by the hour, which is why I stopped doing that years ago and have urged you to do the same. A lawyer’s value is (should be) measured by the value you create for your clients, not the time it takes you to create it. If you can create that value in a four-day week instead of five (or more), why wouldn’t you?

But there’s more to work-life balance than the number of hours worked. Creating balance can also be achieved by changing how you do what you do.

The CEO of Doist, creator of the Todoist app, manages his time a bit differently:

Amir Salihefendic, CEO of Doist, prides himself on having a nearly empty calendar. “Being in meetings all day long, resolving things via meetings, that’s not really an effective way to scale and grow,” he said. Instead, he’s become a loud evangelist over the last year of the idea that remote and asynchronous work — or async — are the future. Async boils down to this, Salihefendic said: “When you send a message, you don’t expect a response right away.”

So what does a truly async day look like? For Salihefendic:

A couple of hours with his kids in the morning before walking over to a co-working space.

He tries to do deep work all morning, take time in the middle of the day to recharge and then spends the afternoon catching up on messages and the rest.

If there’s something hugely time-sensitive — which Salihefendic bets is true less often than you think — he turns to Telegram, or (gasp) a phone call.

Since nobody expects Salihefendic to be around every second, he said, nothing bad happens when he’s not.

Source: https://www.protocol.com/newsletters/protocol-workplace/remote-work-wars?rebelltitem=6#rebelltitem6

A non-traditional approach may work for some (enlightened) corporations, but would it work for lawyers?

Show of hands: Who wants to find out?

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The practice of practicing law

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You want to get better at what you do, so you take CLE courses, watch videos, read books, and otherwise consume information that can help you improve your skills.

But reading and listening aren’t enough. You need to practice.

Let’s say you want to get better at networking. The best way to do that is by practicing your skills “in the field,” but you can also practice on your own.

You can rehearse starting a conversation, introducing one attendee to others, questions to ask to find out more about a new contact, and what you’ll say when they ask what you do.

You can improve your presentation skills by recording and listening to yourself, or by asking a friend to listen and provide feedback.

You can get better at being interviewed by podcasters, bloggers, and reporters, by working on questions to give them to ask you, and a bio they can use to introduce you.

Make a list of the skills and habits and processes you want to improve regarding your core work, your marketing, and the management of your practice.

Examples:

  • Writing more persuasive demand letters
  • Writing blog posts and articles in less time
  • Asking for help from your list, contacts
  • Getting booked for podcast interviews
  • Improving your Linkedin profile
  • Improving your public speaking skills
  • Becoming a better listener
  • Talking about referrals
  • Giving feedback to staff
  • Improving the new client interview process
  • Interpreting medical reports/records
  • Writing thank-you notes
  • Explaining fees, costs, and retainers
  • Learning a new app
  • Delegating more effectively and more often
  • Deposing medical experts
  • Being more patient with difficult clients
  • Taking effective notes
  • Streamlining oral arguments
  • Creating better daily and weekly task lists
  • Overcoming objections and closing prospective clients
  • Body language: mirroring and matching, smiling, eye contact
  • What to say or do when you follow-up with a new contact
  • Creating form letters and templates
  • Answering “What do you do?”

Keep a running list of things you want to improve (or start doing) and schedule time to work on them.

Because building a successful practice requires practice.

What to say when someone asks, “What do you do?”

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It doesn’t get any niche-ier than this

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“F-F-F space, J-J-J space” — I can still hear the sound of my high school typing teacher called out the cadence for us as we learned the home row keys on our manual Remington machines.

I used typewriters for many years, in school and beyond, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Too much fussing with the paper and ribbon, keys getting stuck and, oh, those damn corrections.

But some people like typing on typewriters, even today. I just saw a few minutes of a video by a guy who is clearly a typewriter nerd. He types on them, he collects them and fixes them, and he talks about them on his channel with folks who share his passion.

Suppose there was a lawyer who belonged to that group, or who regularly networked with the people in it? What if the group had meetings and invited speakers and the lawyer was a regular? What if the group had their own publication and the lawyer wrote for it?

Most of the people in that group would know the name of that lawyer.

When someone in the group needs a lawyer, do you think they would talk to him? If someone has a friend who needs a lawyer, do you think they would tell that friend about their typewriter-loving lawyer buddy?

Yes and yes.

That lawyer could be the “go to” lawyer in that group. He would probably own that niche and get the lion’s share of the legal work in it.

Word of mouth is strong in a niche market, and there is less competition. Which makes it easier to stand out. Which is one reason niche marketing is so powerful.

Ideally, you want to find a niche that’s small, but not too small. You want to be the big fish in a small pond, not a whale in a one-gallon fishbowl.

Some would say that the typewriter-loving niche is too small, too niche-y to be worth a lawyer’s time.

But here’s the thing about niche markets: passion trumps size.

Everyone in a niche also belongs to other niches. When you are well-known by the members of one niche, you potentially have access to everyone else they know in other niches.

Typewriter-man may be the retired CEO of a big company in your target market, and have a list of contacts as long as your arm. If he knows, likes, and trusts you, because you connected via your shared interest, you may be in like Flynn.

How to choose the right niche for you

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Your better-than-ideal client

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If you’re writing or updating the description of your ideal client, you might want to add an additional factor that might make your ideal client even better.

That factor: they’ve hired or worked with attorneys in the past.

People who have hired attorneys usually understand the need and the cost, as well as the process that ensues after they hire them. You don’t have to work hard to persuade them to hire an attorney, you only need to persuade them to choose you.

Okay, but:

  1. How do you find them?
  2. How do you persuade them to choose you?

I’ve covered the second question before and will do so again. Right now, a few thoughts about the first question.

One way to find people who have likely hired attorneys before is to network and speak to groups whose members or clients typically use attorneys. Rental property owners, retailers with collection accounts, homeowners associations, hospital boards, to name a tiny few.

Look at the groups your (ideal) clients belong to. Do they have local events you can attend? Are they looking for speakers? Do they have publications or blogs you can write for or advertise in?

You could also do PPC ads with keywords (and copy) slanted to appeal to members of those types of groups. If you do direct mail, you can rent lists of people who belong to those groups.

You could also rent lists of litigants, gleaned from public records. People who have sued or been sued are statistically more likely to sue or be sued again.

A great way to find prospective clients who have experience working with attorneys is via referrals.

Attorneys who don’t do what you do, or do but have a conflict, can be an excellent source. They can identify clients who are “between” firms and actively looking for a new one, and clients who have legal issues that are a good match for you. When they introduce and recommend them to you, those clients are more likely to trust you and less likely to keep looking.

Accountants, business consultants, and financial professionals have clients and contacts who have worked with attorneys and are also a good source of referrals.

Start by identifying attorneys by practice area who are likely to have clients or contacts who have worked with attorneys (or otherwise quality as “ideal clients” for you). Find out what you can about them and approach them to see if you can work together.

What’s the best way to find these attorneys and other professionals? What’s the best way to approach them? And, most importantly, how do you get them to send you referrals?

I’ve laid out the entire process in my course, Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals.

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Get to the point

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The best presenters don’t begin their presentation by welcoming the audience or telling them they’re going to get a lot out the presentation. They start their presentation.

That’s what people came to hear and they let them hear it.

They start by saying something important or remarkable. Or they tell a story or ask a question. In the first few seconds, they get the audience involved.

If they have announcements or promotions, if they want to introduce themselves, they save it for later—after they’ve got people listening and nodding their heads, glad they showed up.

Because if they don’t, the audience will tune out. And think about the work they need to finish or the errand they need to run on their way home.

Good speakers get to the point.

The same is true of good writers.

One of the best writing tips I’ve ever heard was to get rid of the “throat clearing”–the filler at the start of your article, post, report or email.

The purpose of the first sentence is to get them to read the second sentence. If that first sentence doesn’t hook ’em, like the audience at a presentation, the reader will tune out.

Yes, there are exceptions. Occasions where a little warm up or background is appropriate. But those are exceptions.

The default: get to the point.

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Strategic alliances, masterminds, and workout partners

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Strategic alliance is a ten-dollar word for a simple idea: teaming up with one or more individuals for your mutual benefit. These other folks might be lawyers, business owners, or others who are influential in your niche or local market, or folks who are successful in completely different fields.

The purpose: to help each other achieve your individual goals.

You might team up with another lawyer who targets the same market you do and become workout partners, or form a mastermind group of four or five other folks with complementary skills and resources. Each of you might contribute your specific skills, e.g., editing, graphics, copywriting, videography, etc., or contribute ideas, feedback, and encouragement to other members of the group.

Strategic alliances are often marketing-focused, with each member of the group agreeing to promote the content and services of the other members.

But there are no rules besides the ones you agree to. You might use an alliance or group to

  • share ideas and resources
  • critique content
  • make introductions and referrals
  • promote each other’s services
  • share each other’s content, links, pages
  • celebrate each other’s wins
  • help each other through difficult situations
  • hold each other accountable

What do you need and want? What do they need and want? How can you help each other?

Set up a regular meeting schedule and some rules for attendance and contribution.

Some members will drop out. Replace them with others. You may go through quite a few before you find a core group that sticks.

Whatever happens, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and how others see you, about your target market, and what others are doing to build their practice or business that you can adapt to building yours.

Other people know people you don’t know and how to do things you don’t know how to do. You do, too.

Combine forces, leverage each other’s talents and resources, and help each other grow.

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The most powerful word in marketing

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In the app store is a relatively new productivity app for iPad that’s that’s getting rave reviews. Judging by their comments, people love what it can do, especially compared to the competition, but what they really love is that it’s free.

They gush. They praise. They can’t believe their good fortune in finding an app that does everything the competition does, arguably better, and doesn’t cost a cent.

By the way, the competition cost less than $10.

Some people said they don’t want to pay for an app. Some said the competition is too expensive. Some said they were broke and can’t afford it.

I don’t care how broke you are, you can afford $10.

Let me put it this way, if you can afford an iPad, you can afford to buy a $10 app. Especially one you just said is ‘perfect’ for you.

Alas, people get hypnotized by the word ‘free”. It’s almost irresistible, as in, “I have to have it.”

I’ll bet someone reading this right now wants me to identify this app so they can get it post haste; some of them don’t even own an iPad. (The app is CollaNote. Check it out if you like to take handwritten notes).

The lesson is that “free” is a powerful word (and concept) and you should use it in your marketing. Find or create something your target market wants and give it away. And use the word liberally in your content.

You’ll get more traffic, more subscribers and followers, more leads, and more clients.

But a word of warning.

There are people who won’t hire you or do anything that’s not free, no matter how much they need your help.

Don’t worry about them. They don’t take up a lot of space. And who knows, maybe things will change for them someday, or maybe they’ll tell people about you and they’ll hire you.

But there are also those who can pay you but have been conditioned to wait for the free (or discounted) offer.

You can’t play that game. You can’t give away too much, or do it too often, and expect people to pay full retail.

A good rule of thumb is to give away content (unless you sell this) but not your time. (If you offer free consultations, or entry level free services, put limits on them).

Yeah, that’s free advice. Don’t get used to it.

The Attorney Marketing Formula isn’t free, but it’s worth it

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