Thinking is hard but it pays well


If you have multiple practice areas or offer a variety of different services, which one or ones do you promote?

Your best sellers? Your weakest? Your most profitable?

Do you lead with a low priced “entry level” service, seeking to create a new client, and then offer additional services through upsells and on the back end? Or do you lay out all of your wares up front and let the client choose?

If you advertise, which service(s) do you feature? Or do you offer information to build your list and talk about specific services only after they subscribe or inquire?

What do you highlight on your website? When you speak or write, what examples do you use? When someone asks you about your work, what do you say?

If you are a family law attorney, handling divorce and adoptions, but you’re not getting much adoption work, do you double your efforts and promote that or do you continue to advertise and promote divorce? Or do you do both?

Even if you have one practice area and offer one service such as plaintiff’s personal injury, you still need to decide where you will focus. Do you list a variety of different injuries, types of torts, or causes of action, or just one?

These are things you need to think about because they are fundamental to your “brand” and to how you conduct your marketing activities and spend your marketing dollars.

They are, of course, also an argument in favor of specializing. It’s a lot easier to make decisions about where to advertise or network or speak when you offer fewer services to a smaller segment of the market.

But I’m not going to bust your chops about that today. I’m just going to remind you to spend some time pondering these things and making some decisions.

You thought I was going to give you the answers? Sorry. No can do. It’s too complicated. There are too many variables. You have to answer these questions yourself.

All I can do is ask the questions and encourage you to explore your options.

I can also point out that the ultimate way to answer these questions is to test and measure your results.

Run ads for two different practice areas or services and see which one brings in the most inquiries or leads, which one converts to the most dollars on the front end, and which one results in more profits long term.

So you advertise your divorce services and your adoption services and see.

Testing allows you to make a decision based on hard evidence. That’s the “science” of marketing.

Of course marketing is also an art. Don’t ignore your instincts or your heart. If you think your market is ready to learn more about adoption, or you’re passionate about the subject, go for it. Even if the numbers don’t add up.

For help sorting things out, get this


How to get your clients to advertise your firm


Would you spend $30 on a client who agrees to advertise your firm?

If so, how about giving your new clients a collared polo or golf shirt, with your firm’s name and website on the breast, as a welcome gift?

If you hand out 100 shirts this year, that’s 100 people walking around town advertising your firm. Your clients aren’t a passive billboard, however, they are interactive. People will ask them about the name on their shirt and your clients will say nice things about you.

If you get one or two new clients this way, you’ll cover your investment. The rest is pure profit.

Of course, that’s just for this year. Most people continue to wear clothing after one year, especially if it still looks good on them. And every year they wear it is more “free” advertising for you.

Yes, you could buy $10 t-shirts instead, but some people don’t wear t-shirts and t-shirts are unlikely to hold up as well. But t-shirts can work, too.

Make sure you give shirts to your staff. If you have casual Fridays, office parties, or other firm events, everyone should wear them. You too.

You can give shirts to former clients, networking friends, and people in your office building you’re friendly with, especially if they work in an office that targets clients and customers who would be suitable for your practice.

You could also order a smaller quantity of more expensive “Tommy Bahama” style shirts and use those for special clients or special occasions (e.g., awards, milestones).

Have fun with this. Take pictures of people wearing your shirt and put them on your website. Hold drawings or contests and offer a shirt as one of the prizes.

Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering. . . I take an XL.


A simple plan for quickly bringing in new clients


There are lots of ways to bring in new clients. Referrals, writing, speaking, networking, and other “reaching out” methods all work. But nothing is quicker than advertising.

Done right, an ad can pull in new clients within minutes after it appears.

Not only that, in the online world especially, advertising gives you unprecedented control over your message–where it appears, how often it runs, and who sees it.

You can test different headlines, copy, and offers, to find out what works best. You can start out with inexpensive PPC and classified ads, and when your ads are working, increase your budget to maximize your return.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of advertising. I understand. But don’t hang up the phone until you hear what I propose., because what I propose could be your ticket to quickly growing your practice.

Many lawyers who reject the idea of advertising do so because they think it’s unprofessional or inconsistent with the image they want to portray. Or they believe it “won’t work” for their type of practice or their target market.

I’m not going to debate any of that right now. Instead, I’m going to propose a different idea.

Instead of advertising your firm or your services, what if you advertised a book or a report?

The spotlight wouldn’t be on you, it would be on the report.

Many attorneys write books and other information-based “products”. What’s wrong with advertising them, either for sale or as a free giveaway?

Nothing. Nothing is wrong with that.

Okay, so you have to write a book or report. But you could do that in a weekend.

“The 30 Day Referral Blitz” shows you everything you need to know to quickly write a “Special Report” you can advertise, and use for other marketing purposes.

You could also hire someone to write the report, or help you write it, but don’t overthink this. If you can pass the bar exam, you can write a report that prospective clients will want to read.

Once your report is written, you advertise it and give it to prospects who visit your website (or a separate website dedicated to the report, if you want) in return for signing up on your email list. Your website can handle the sign-ups and delivering your report, automatically.

Then what?

Your report provides your prospective clients with valuable information on a subject that interests them. It also shows them how you can help them. If they like what they see, and they’re ready to hire an attorney, you’ll probably get the call.

And this can happen immediately. Some prospects will request your report, see what you do, and call you even before they read the report.

Others will read the report, follow links to your (other) website where they can learn more, and then hire you.

Some won’t be ready to hire you, but they’ll be on your email list and you can send them additional information about what you do and how you can help them. When they’re ready to hire an attorney, there you will be–in their minds and their (e)mail boxes.

It doesn’t get simpler–or quicker–than that.

The 30 Day Referral Blitz shows you how to write and deliver your report


Why should I hire you? Really, tell me why?


You make some big promises in your marketing. At least I hope you do. I hope you tell prospective clients that you offer something that’s different and better than what other lawyers offer.

I also hope you explain the “reason why” you are able to do that.

I heard a radio commercial the other day for a Toyota dealer. The copy said that they have lower prices than other dealers. Okay, fine. But a lot of dealers claim they have the lowest prices. So hearing “lowest prices” usually goes in one ear and out the other.

But then the ad explained why they are able to offer the lowest prices. They said, “We sell more Toyotas than other dealers in [the market], so we get more Toyotas allocated to us, and that’s why we can sell them to you for less than other dealers”.

It’s not brilliant, but it does explain WHY this dealer can sell you a car for less. They back up their assertion with a fact that makes their claim to lower prices more credible.

You need to do the same.

In your ads and on your website, in your presentations and on all of your marketing documents, give prospective clients the “reason why” you are able to do what you say you do. Your assertion is more believable and powerful when it is backed up with facts or logic or with a story that illustrates its veracity.

If you say you have a lot of experience in your field, tell them how many years, how many cases, or how many clients. Or tell them some of your accomplishments or accolades that are consistent with a lawyer who has a lot of experience. You teach CLE or serve as an arbitrator or Judge Pro Tem? Wow, you must have a lot of experience.

If you say you work hard for your clients, tell a story about a case that was thought lost and how you burned the midnight oil, hired another investigator or expert, talked to witnesses again, or reviewed your research or notes, and found something that allowed you to win the case.

In other words, don’t just make empty promises, say something that proves what you say.

Your “reason why” needn’t be remarkable or unique, however. In a world where most attorneys offer no reasons why, stating that you can call up every single state and federal decision published in your field of practice since 1892, right from the iPad you carry in your briefcase, may be enough to “prove” that you are the better choice.

So tell me again, Why should I hire you?

For help in formulating your “reason why,” get The Formula


I’ve got a list, her name is Sal. 15 miles on the Erie Canal


A personal injury attorney friend sent me an email. He said, “I have a list of about 500 auto repair facilities. I want to approach them via letter, include a copy of my book [for auto accident clients], and ask for referrals.”

He wanted my opinion, particularly about what he could say that might motivate them to send him business. He said he can’t promise to send them referrals.

“I don’t think you’ll get too far sending a letter,” I said, “unless you enclose a blank check.”

These are body shop owners. You might as well be negotiating with the mob.

Many (most?) body shops have lawyers they “work with” (meaning they pay them for referrals). If not the owner themselves, the manager or someone who deals with customers is getting kickbacks from lawyers for their referrals.

They don’t care how good you are as an attorney. They care about “how much?”

At least that’s what you have to assume.

Not all of them. But enough to make the proposed project more than a bit challenging for someone who isn’t willing to offer illegal kickbacks.

Okay, let’s assume that 40% don’t take kickbacks. I know that’s probably crazy but hey, I’m feeling magnanimous today. Out of a list of 500, that means you might have a shot with 200.

But, some already have lawyers (in your area) they send business to. No cash changes hands, but they do get some referrals from those lawyers, not necessarily on a quid pro quo basis, but because they do good work or provide those lawyers’ clients with additional service and value.

So now, still guessing here, let’s say that leaves 20 body shops who might be open to sending you referrals. How do you find out which ones? You have to talk to them and feel them out. And you probably have to do this yourself since they need to feel you out, too. And the best way to do this is to do it in person.

So. . . how about if we look at another idea?

What if, instead of asking for referrals you contact the shop owners and ask them if they accept advertising. Your letter (or a phone call) will weed out a lot of them and that’s exactly what you want. Some will be open to advertising, probably those who don’t accept kickbacks and aren’t already committed to other lawyers, and you can talk to them and negotiate a deal.

You put up a sign in their waiting room, buy space on their invoices or on their paper floor mats, a banner on their website, and so on. You pay them $X dollars per month and see what happens.

You can also provide them with a display rack for your books which they can put on their counter and sell your books to their customers at a discounted price. They keep 80-100% of the sales price as their advertising fee. You’ll probably have to offer them an additional fee on top of that for putting your rack in a prominent place, like food companies do with grocery stores.

Another option: you provide free copies of your book which they can give to their customers as a way to provide extra value to them and distinguish themselves from other lawyers who don’t. You might have to pay them a monthly fee in addition, but everything is negotiable, right?

How to get referrals without paying for referrals 


You are advertising, whether you know it or not


I was looking at an email from an attorney. At the bottom, after his signature, it said, “Attorney at Law”. He provided contact information but said nothing about his services.

He’s advertising, but doing it badly.

Why badly? Because an attorney is what he is, not what he does.

Telling people you’re an attorney tells them almost nothing. Do you handle car accidents and help people get compensation for their injuries? Do you help people get amicably divorced? Do you represent big businesses on environmental matters, or small start-ups take their first steps?

His email, and everything else he puts out into the world, should tell people what he does.

How about you? When someone asks, “What do you do?” what do you say? Do you tell them what you are or what you do? Do you tell them the services you offer? Do you at least tell them what kind of law you practice?

Because you’re advertising, whether you know it or not.

On your business cards, your stationery, your website, and the sign outside your office, don’t just say you are an attorney or that you offer legal services, tell people what you do.

What services do you offer? What benefits do they get when they hire you? What kinds of clients do you represent?

Don’t make people ask you what you do or how you can help them. Don’t make them visit your website to find out.

Tell them, right up front, “This is what I do and this is how I can help you”. You’ll get more people clicking, calling, visiting, and saying, “Tell me more”.

Want a website that gets clients? Here’s how


Another example of email done wrong


I got an email yesterday that said “Hey David, I just came across your LinkedIn profile and decided to reach out.”

Alrighty, but he didn’t send the email to the email address I have with LinkedIn. Lying in the first sentence? I don’t know, but we’re not off to a good start.

Oh, and addressing me by first name instead of waiting for permission? Manners, please.

He introduced himself: “I’m with [company]–we connect entrepreneurs like you with the marketing talent that can grow your business.”

A sales pitch already? That didn’t take long. And, did he even read my profile or go to my website? If he had, he might have noticed that I’m in the marketing game myself.


“I hope you don’t mind the cold outreach, but I thought you’d be interested and decided to go for it. Here is the link” and he provided a link to his website.

Interested in what? He didn’t say. He didn’t give me a reason to click the link.

I wouldn’t necessarily mind a cold email, but not done this way. How about earning my trust, first? How about giving me a reason to pay attention? How about a little finesse?

He closed the email and “signed” it with his first name as the CTO of his company. Again, he thinks we’re on a first name basis. And, you want me to trust you but you haven’t told me your full name.

Sup wit dat?

More bad vibes: There’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email, which means he went ahead and subscribed me to his list without my permission. A one-time cold email is something I can live with. A subscription without permission and you’re going straight to Internet jail (spam).

Look, it’s okay to send email to people you don’t know. But don’t lie to them or pitch them right out of the box. Say something that lets them know you are a real person who wants to introduce themselves and that you are someone who might be worth knowing.

The recipient knows you’ve got an agenda of some sort. Everyone does. Put it in your back pocket for now and take the time to turn a cold name and email into a warm prospect.

As a lawyer, you might think that you would never send a cold email to someone you don’t know, particularly someone you would like to have as a client. I wouldn’t contact consumers unless I had been invited to do so, but you can contact professionals you’d like to know. You could also contact potential business clients, if you do it right.

Start by showing them you know something about them and what they do and that you’re not sending spam to the masses. Compliment them on something you like, tell them how you are similar in your interests or your work, or ask them a question.

Your motto: “friends first”.

Then, offer something they might find valuable and relevant. A blog post, video, report, or something else that’s free and easy to access. Don’t make them go to your website to see if you have anything interesting, tell me what it is, how it would benefit them, and where to get it.

But maybe you should save that for your next email.

For more on email marketing, get Make the Phone Ring


A simple way to increase your income you’re probably not doing


Your ad is bringing in clients. Your website is making your phone ring. Your seminar results in client appointments every time you run it.

Your marketing is working, and that’s good, but what if it could work better?

What if a different web page would bring you 20% more traffic? What if a different ad would bring in 50% more clients? What if a different offer at the end of your seminar resulted in 18% more appointments?

They might.

A different ad, a different headline, a different offer, and other variables, can result in dramatic differences in results. A few simple changes might bring in double or triple the number of clients, without any added expense.

It’s called testing and it is the essence of direct response marketing.

Author Tim Ferris invested $200 on pay-per-click ads testing different titles for his book. “The 4-Hour Workweek” got more clicks than any other title by a huge margin.

Keep running the ad that’s working and also run a different one. Don’t change anything on your webpage but send some traffic to a different page and see if you get better results.

You’ve probably heard about the value of testing. If you’re like most people, however, you’re probably not doing it, at least as much as you could. When things are working, it’s natural to want to leave them alone and focus on other things.

But test you must.

Talk to your marketing or web people about running some test ads, pages or offers. When you find something that works better than what you’re doing now, make that your “control”. Then, test additional changes against it, because no matter how well things are working, you never know if something else could work better.

Get more clients and increase your income with your web site, here


Will you REALLY fight for me?


A personal injury lawyer used to (still does?) run TV ads which ended with him pointing at the viewer and saying, “I’ll fight for you!”

But will he?

It depends.

Is it a good case? Are there enough damages? Does the other party have insurance?

If he were being honest, when asked if he would fight for the client, he would say, “We’ll see”.

“We’ll see” is a lawyer-like answer. But it won’t get the client to call.

Clients want more commitment. They do want you to fight for them. They don’t necessarily expect that you will win every time, or bring in a massive settlement, but they expect you to try.

“We’ll see” doesn’t cut it, so although you might be thinking it, don’t say that to a client.

Most lawyers recognize that their clients expect (and their oath demands) that they provide “best efforts” and they will tell the client something along the lines of, “I’ll do my best”.

That’s much better, but what if their best isn’t good enough? What if they don’t have enough experience? What if the case needs resources they don’t have? What if. . .

Your clients don’t want to hear that you’ll do your best, they want to hear that you’ll do “whatever it takes”. And that’s the message you should convey in your marketing.

This is also true for non-litigation matters. Clients want to know that you’ll do whatever it takes to help them achieve a good outcome. If you’re negotiating a contact, or drafting documents for them, they want to hear that you’ll do whatever it takes to protect them, deliver value, and make them happy.

“I’ll do my best” isn’t good enough. Tell them you’ll do “whatever it takes”.

If you want to earn more, make sure you have The Attorney Marketing Formula


Free advertising for your legal services


Great news! I just scored you 50 free 30-second radio spots on a top-rated drive time radio show! You don’t have to pay a dime. (Not really.)

You can run a commercial for your law practice and bring in lots of new clients. It doesn’t matter what kind of practice you have, or if you’ve never advertised and can’t imagine doing so, this is free advertising, so say thank you and use it! (I’m just playin, but I have a point.)

There’s just one catch. (My fantasy, my rules.) You have to write the commercial yourself. (Horrors!)

The point of this exercise is to help you better understand what you offer your clients, and why they should hire you. Work with me, k?

I’ll help you get started. Here are some guidelines for creating your commercial:


Start with what you want the listener to do. Call your office to make an appointment? Call to ask questions? Call to request your free report? Go to your website to download your free report? Sign up for your seminar? A combination of the above? Something else?

Start with the end in mind. Writing your commercial will be easier because you know what you want to accomplish.


What’s the first thing the actor who reads the spot (or you, if you record this yourself) will say to listeners to get their attention? Will they/you promise a benefit? Ask a question? Make a provocative statement?

Your headline is the most important part of your commercial, so make it great. If you don’t get the listener’s attention and make them want to listen, the rest of your ad won’t matter.


You only have 30 seconds, and yet that’s plenty of time to tell listeners what you want them to know about you and your services, about your report, or about something else that causes them to take action.

Will you tell a story about one of your recent clients? Will you talk about recent or pending changes in the law that will affect them? Will you warm them about something, or promise to help them get something they want and need?

A classic ad formula:

  1. State the problem. What is the listener facing, or what might happen in the future?
  2. Agitate the problem. What will happen if they ignore it, etc. How bad could it get?
  3. Present the solution. Your offer, your services, your report, your seminar, etc.
  4. State the benefits of this solution. What will they learn, gain, stop, prevent, etc?
  5. Tell them what to do to get the solution and benefits. This is your call to action.

Make notes about what to include in your ad. Then, start typing or recording, and don’t stop until you run out of things to say. Pretend you’re talking to a roomful of prospective clients. What do you want to tell them?

Now what? Now, throw this away. You’re not a copy writer and I didn’t score you any free advertising.

Okay, don’t throw it away. Hang onto it, so that when you decide you do want to advertise, you’ll have a place to start, or something to give to the copy writer you hire. You can also use your notes as fodder for creating other marketing documents.

That’s all for today. Fantasy over. Get back to work.