Another way to stand out and get noticed


Yesterday I talked about making your ad look like an article or feature story and thus get noticed and read.

Because people tend to ignore ads.

If your ad looks like an article, more people will read it. More readers eventually means more clients.

Are there any other ways to make your ad get noticed?

I’m glad you asked.

Another way is to get noticed is to make your ad. . . what’s the word?. . . oh yeah, UGLY.

Lost of copy, tiny print, random layout, “noisy” messages—-anything but pretty, anything but normal.

Why? Because in a sea of normality and prettiness, ugly stands out. People will notice your ad because it looks different.

When all the other ads look like they were designed by a slick graphic artist, your ugly ad gets noticed.

You still want the ad to be easy to scan and read. White space, short sentences and paragraphs, bullet points and sub-heads. But it should look different.

The same goes for your website and emails.

Show people that you’re not “advertising” you are telling them something they need to know. Put the magic into the words, not the photos and design.

When other lawyers use html emails, make yours plain text. When other lawyer’s websites use the same templates and layouts used by every other lawyer, along with stock photos of The Scales of Justice, law books, and courthouse steps, make yours look anything but the same.

Be different.

Of course you don’t want to be so different that you scare people off. Clients have definite expectations about what a lawyer does and what they look like and you need to give them what they expect.

When you use a photo of yourself you should be wearing business attire. If you use a photo of your office, it needs to look like a law office.

Be different, but not weird.

Do you know what to put on your website? Find out here


Advertising legal services Gary Halbert style


Suppose a reporter for a decent sized publication contacts you for an interview. They heard about something you did and they want to do a story.


They write the story and run it. They mention some of your accomplishments, quote you several times, and generally make you look like a stud.

Very cool.

Your phone starts ringing. A lot of people saw the article and want to talk to you about their case or legal situation. You sign up some new clients.

Awesome sauce.

The article includes a link to your website and your website heats up with traffic. You see a big bump in email subscribers and social media followers.

Who knew?

As a result of that interview, your practice starts to take off. You have your best month ever.

What do you do next?

You want the momentum to continue, so you take that article and run it as a paid ad in other publications in your niche market. You’ll probably have to add the words “paid advertisement” somewhere on the page but that’s no big deal.

Every time you run the ad you get more business. So you keep running it, bringing in more clients, making more money.

One reason the ad works so well is that it doesn’t look like an ad. It looks like a feature article or news. More people read articles than read ads and more readers translates to more business.

There’s just one problem. The odds of a reporter contacting you to interview you are pretty slim. If they did, the odds that they would do a puff piece that makes you look like the best lawyer in town are almost non-existent.

So don’t hold your breath.

Instead of waiting for the reporter who will never call. . .

. . .write the article yourself. Or hire someone to write it. Make sure it looks and reads like a newspaper article, and then run it as an ad.

Legendary copy writer, Gary Halbert, was a master of editorial style advertising. He sold me on the idea of running ads that don’t look like ads. When I was advertised my first marketing course in bar journals, all of my ads looked like articles.

Newspaper style headline. No graphics or photos. Quotes from me, talking about the benefits, as though I had been interviewed by the author of the “article”.

And they worked. Those ads brought in millions of dollars in sales.

Editorial style ads (“advertorials”) will also work for advertising legal services.


Superbowl commercials: spending millions and getting pennies


Last night, I watched almost all of the Superbowl commercials back to back. I had heard that they were mostly a poor lot, with a handful of standouts, and that’s pretty much what I found.

But I didn’t watch merely for entertainment value. I wanted to see if any of these multi-million dollar creations did something that is essential in advertising. On this, they all failed miserably.

Toyota ran a good ad, about a man driving his daughter to the airport. Visually and emotionally effective. If they asked for my opinion before they ran it, here’s what I would have said:

Okay, Toyota, this ad is going to be seen by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Many viewers will associate your name and brand with a positive message (what it means to be a father), and that’s good.

In addition to that, how would you like to have the names and email addresses (and zip codes) of a million future car buyers who saw that spot and wanted more information about your vehicles?

That would be cool, wouldn’t it? You could send them an online brochure, more videos, and an invitation to come in to their local dealer for a test drive.

You could also notify them when their dealer is having a sale, remind them when the new models are in, and send them special offers on maintenance and accessories.

On holiday weekends, you could invite them to come get free hot dogs and hamburgers and balloons for the kids. While they are in your dealer’s parking lot, they can get a free assessment of the trade-in value of their current vehicle, and take a test drive of the new model.

If you had this list and did these things, do you think you might sell more cars?

I think so, too.

So, here’s what I suggest. Instead of ending the ad on an emotional note and hoping for the best, put an offer in the ad. Offer viewers something they might want, like a 0 discount coupon on their next Toyota, and tell them how to get it. Tell them to go to a specific page on your site, provide their name and email and you’ll send it to them.

You’ll easily spend 0 per head on newspaper and TV ads to bring in prospective customers, but that’s money down the drain if they don’t buy. With a coupon offer like this, it costs you nothing unless someone buys a car.

Alas, they didn’t hire me and there was no offer in the ad. They missed out on a prime opportunity, and so did all of the other advertisers.

Many ads had a website, but in small letters at the bottom of the screen, almost as an afterthought. None had an offer. No incentive to visit the website and no call to action telling viewers what to do, and why. I watched the Victoria’s Secret spot several times, just to make sure I didn’t miss it, but no dice.

A few ads came close. They said things like, “To see more. . .”, and directed viewers to a specific page, but didn’t provide enough specifics or incentives to get anyone to take action.

I saw a lot of hashtags. Great. More people who know your name but don’t go to your website or sign up on your list.

These are billion dollar companies who spend millions on ads that don’t accomplish a fraction of what they could.

Why? Is it because they don’t know what they could do? In many cases, yes. They are so caught up in image and brand, and so far removed from actually selling anything, they are clueless about how to increase their bottom line. Others know but think that direct response advertising is beneath them.


The lesson is simple. In every ad, in every piece of marketing collateral you circulate, offer something prospective clients or customers would want enough to identify themselves to you, and tell them what to do to get it.

It’s okay to use puppies and beautiful women to get their attention, but once you have it, get them to your site and onto your list so you can stay in touch with them and actually sell them something.


If my dentist managed your law practice


My dentist send me an email that said:



Introduce friends, family and co-workers to our office, and when they come in for their appointment between now and February 19th, you will be entered into a drawing to win a 0 NORDSTROM Giftcard!

The rest of the message said when the drawing would take place and that the “New patient must complete routine exam, cleaning and x-rays to qualify for drawing entry. One entry per person seen in the office.”

Not bad. Get more referrals, total cost: $100.

Two things come to mind:

(1) You could use something like this in your law practice, and

(2) If you do, you can get more bang for your buck than my dentist

First, let’s put aside the notion that you can’t do something like this in a litigation practice. You can. Not necessarily to get clients immediately, although you might, but to build your email list, which will eventually lead to new clients.

Now, how could you get bigger results than my dentist?

For starters, how about something obvious like having the drawing for the referring parties instead of (or in addition to) the new clients?

Hello. . . ?

Yes, it’s nice that you’re going to enter my friend in a drawing if I refer him, but how about something for me? Give me a reason to think about this for more than the three seconds it takes me to delete your email. . . let me imagine that I might win this thing. . . let me get excited and start thinking about who I could refer. . .

Okay, what else?

How about not requiring the referral to actually hire you?

It should be enough if they only have a free consultation, or even if they just schedule one. Or only opt into your list.

The name of the game is getting people to know about you and how you can help them. It’s about building your list.

Get more people on your list and you’ll get more clients.

The prize doesn’t need to be won by someone who referred a client (or became a client). So what if the “winner” is someone who refers ten people, none of whom become an immediate client? As long as your list is growing, your practice will be growing.

What else?

Well, you might offer a bigger prize.

Assuming your margins are higher than a dentists (arguable, I know), you can afford to offer the winner more than $100. You may not have to, it’s true, because winning anything is exciting. But a $250 prize sounds much more exciting, especially at Nordstrom where $100 would only buy you one shoe. For another $150, you might get a lot more participation.

You could also offer more prizes, e.g., three or five winners. Or you could offer a big first prize and lesser value second, third, and fourth place prizes.

NB: if you’re thinking of awarding prizes based on the number of referrals, i.e., the winner being the one who refers the most clients, do your homework re possible legal and ethical issues.

One more thing.

How about promoting your drawing to people who aren’t your clients? Contact other professionals you know (and ones you don’t know) and offer the same deal. Why not offer this to anyone in town (through your blog, social media, ads or mailings, or word of mouth)?

Would it be okay if you got referrals from strangers, people who have themselves never hired you, people who only send referrals so they can get a shot at winning a prize?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.


Promote your practice with a tasty holiday promotion


A local real estate agent sent me a card for Thanksgiving. It says, “Thanksgiving is the perfect time to remember special clients and friends like you. . .” It closes by saying, “Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving!”

I don’t know this agent and I assume she sent this card to many of my neighbors. If she’s like most real estate agents, she has a “farm” of 300 or 500 contiguous homes she targets. She advertises to us, mails cards and note pads or calendars and such, and otherwise keeps her name in front of us so that when we’re ready to sell, we’ll think of her.

Anyway, what made this card different is the offer. It says, “Email to order your complimentary FRESH APPLE or PUMPKIN PIE by Monday November 17, 2014” followed by her email address. It continues, “Delivery is Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 2:00 to 6:00 PM”.

Now, what does this accomplish? Well, I assume she will drop off the pies herself and get to meet the homeowners, give them her card, and possibly offer a free home evaluation. If they’re not home, she’ll drop off the pie with her card or note attached, and follow up with a call to make sure they got the pie.

But it’s not about the pies, or meeting homeowners. It’s about creating an impression. It’s about standing out amongst all of the other agents in the area. It’s about anchoring her name with the pie promotion and being remembered for it.

That’s why you create a farm, and that’s why you build a list. So that when the client is ready, your name will be in their “minds and mailboxes”.

My guess is that no more than 25 out of 500 homeowners will request a pie. She’ll pay perhaps $3 per pie, plus the cost of the mailing, so maybe $300. She may get a couple of homeowners who want the free home evaluation, and that may turn into a listing. Or not. But more than a few homeowners who aren’t ready to sell will remember her when they are.

In addition, some of the people who got her offer but didn’t request a pie might be interested in a home evaluation. They may also know people who aren’t on the agent’s list but who are looking for an agent, so she could also get some referrals.

Anyway, could you use an idea like this in your practice? Next month for Christmas or next year? Or any other time?

What could you offer? Who would you mail to?

If you do something like this, I have a suggestion. Instead of asking people to send you an email to accept your offer, tell them to go to a page on your website with a form to fill in their name and email address. This way, they will subscribe themselves to your email list, allowing you to send them more information, offers, and invitations.

The other things this will do is get them to your website, where they can read your articles, offers (i.e., free consultation, download your report, etc.) and begin the process of getting to “know, like, and trust” you.

Okay, gotta go. All this talk about pie is making me hungry.


The three quickest ways to get new clients


You want (need?) new clients and you want them fast. You want them today. Next week at the latest.

I understand and I can help.

Here are three quickest ways to get new clients:

1. Referrals

Not only can you get clients quickly through referrals, those clients tend to be better clients. Because they trust the person making the referral, they are more likely to hire you, more likely to follow your instructions, and less likely to complain or argue about fees. They are also more likely to refer other clients.

The simplest way to get referrals is to ask for them. Contact your clients and former clients and professional contacts and social media contacts and ask for referrals. You can do this in an email, letter, post, or phone call. Say, “Who do you know. . .[who fits the description of your ideal client/might have a specific legal need]. Ask them to have these people call your office to schedule a free consultation or visit a page on your web site to learn all about how you can help them.

Instead of asking for referrals directly, you can ask indirectly. You do this by offering a copy of your free report, ebook, planning guide, checklist, coupon, or other goody, and telling your contacts they can forward your email or share you post with anyone they know who might want one. Give them a download link to make it easy. For step-by-step instructions, get The 30 Day Referral Blitz.

You’ll get referrals, build your email list (which will lead to more new clients and more referrals), and self-referrals, i.e., people who hear about your request or offer and contact you with their own legal matter.

2. Advertising

If you get it right, advertising is an incredibly quick way to bring in new business. You can place an ad today and have new clients calling within minutes.

The key is to test different headlines, offers, and media/lists, until you find a combination that works. When you do, repeat those ads, and run them more often and in more media.

You can offer your services directly, or offer a free consultation or other incentive for new clients. You can also offer your free report, planning guide, etc. Which leads me to the third method of getting clients quickly.

3. Special offer to your list

If you don’t have a list, you need to build one immediately. Include prospects, friends of the firm, people who have attended a seminar, newsletter subscribers, former clients, and other people in your target market. People who know who you are and what you do.

If you have a list, you know you can make things happen with the click of a button.

Send your list an email and remind your subscribers about what you do. Some of them need your services right now and will contact you. Others will know people who need your services and refer them.

Spice up your email with a time-sensitive special offer, something that gets the maybes off the fence. Your special offer could be a bonus service for new clients who come in this week, a one-time discount for new clients, something extra for returning clients, or you can get creative. For example, you could enter all new clients into a drawing for free tickets to the World Series or dinner for two at a good restaurant.

You wanted quick, you got quick. Go forth and slay ye some new clients.

Create a referral blitz in your practice with this


Build trust by admitting a flaw


A well-known copy writing principle for making an ad or offer more believable is to admit a flaw. When you admit that your restaurant often has a two hour wait to get seated, or that it takes 23 minutes of bicycling to burn off the calories in a can of coke, as a recent Coke ad declares, you appear more trustworthy.

Sometimes, your admitted flaws are benefits in disguise. The two hour wait for a table suggests that you have great food and that it’s worth the wait. The Coke ad was thought to be an attempt to counter a film in which, “a health advocate states that a child would have to bike for an hour and 15 minutes to burn off the calories in a 20-ounce Coke.” By comparison, 23 minutes doesn’t seem so much.

For lawyers, admitting a flaw may be a good strategy in a trial, in a negotiation, or in speaking with a prospective client. The trick is to find something about you, your client, or your position, that shows a vulnerability, but doesn’t go too far.

Telling a prospective client you don’t have a lot of experience with his particular matter, for example, may be admitting to a flaw that causes the client to look elsewhere. On the other hand, your honesty may be exactly what the client needs to hear for him to decide that you’re the lawyer he wants.

Admitting that clients may have to wait up to thirty minutes after their scheduled appointment time to see you, because you’re so busy, may be an effective strategy. But maybe you better start serving great food.

Want more ways to build trust? Get this.


The quickest way to grow your law practice


We’ve been talking about social media marketing lately. If you embrace it, and it’s working for you, I’m all for it. But there are two things you need to know.

First, social media may do everything it’s supposed to do for you, i.e., build your list, improve your reputation, bring you leads and clients, but it usually won’t do it quickly. It can take months or years to bring in meaningful results.

Second, you have no control over what happens. Yes, you can see that you’re getting more results on Twitter than LinkedIn and direct more energy to Twitter (and if that’s what’s happening, you should), but whatever is going to happen on a given platform, or all platforms, is going to happen. You can’t make it do more or do it faster.

The same is true of other marketing techniques lawyers typically use–networking, articles, speaking, blogging, publicity, and referral marketing. They all work, but slowly, and you have very little control.

True, you might get lucky. You might meet and sign a huge client at a networking or speaking event. Your blog post may get noticed and linked to by a major publication, sending you a swarm of traffic. And while these things do happen, they are unpredictable. They may happen next month, five years from now, or never.

One marketing technique is different. It gives you tremendous control. You can try it on a small scale and if works, leverage your results into sequentially bigger results with nearly scientific accuracy.

You can also get results much quicker. In fact, I know of no quicker way to bring in business.

Oh, and there’s another advantage: you don’t need to spend time on this marketing technique. You can just write a check.

By now you may have figured out that I’m talking about paid advertising. But I’m not talking about any kind of advertising, I’m talking about direct response advertising.

Most attorneys who advertise don’t use direct response. They use “general awareness” or “branding” style ads, and they are often a giant cash sinkhole. They might work just enough to keep running them (e.g., yellow pages), but not enough to make a difference in your bottom line.

Plus, there’s almost no control. You can ask new clients, “where did you see our ad?” (and you should), but this doesn’t give you the degree of control I’m talking about.

Direct response advertising is different. You include a response mechanism in the ad (call this number, fill out this form) and measure the response. If you get enough response, if the ad is profitable, you run it again. If it continues to pull in sufficient response, you continue to run it, and in more publications or websites.

So, you start with a small, inexpensive ad. If it works you buy more ads, and perhaps bigger ads, and you continue your campaign. If the ad isn’t profitable, you pull it and try something else.

You don’t risk big money unless and until you know you have something that’s working. And then you test some of the variables (e.g., headline, offer, list, copy) to see if you can make it work even better.

Lead generation ads are direct response, and often work better than “one step” advertising (i.e., “Call for an appointment”). In a lead generation ad you offer something other than your services, in order to get people to identify themselves to you so you can add them to a list. You might offer a free report, a book, a “planning kit,” a checklist or a set of forms. The quality of your free information “sells” the recipient on hiring you.

Instead of giving away your book or kit, you could sell it. Everyone who buys your book or paid seminar is likely to be an even better prospect for your services, and their purchases help you pay for your advertising and fulfillment.

Advertising isn’t easy. It requires expertise and some money to start. But unless you are precluded from doing so (by your bar or firm), if you want to grow your law practice quickly, I suggest you consider adding direct response advertising to your marketing mix.

Because there’s no faster way to grow your law practice.

If you’re getting started in marketing, start with this.


Attorney marketing plan: time vs. money


I talked to an attorney yesterday who wanted to drive more traffic to his website. A plan to get more traffic to your website, like any attorney marketing plan, comes down to a choice between time and money.

Here is a list of the more common (and acceptable) marketing options for attorneys who want to get more traffic:


  • Advertising (PPC, display, offline, direct mail, radio, etc.)
  • Hire a PR firm to get you coverage, interviews
  • Self-hosted seminars
  • Hire people to ghost write content or assist you in writing content


  • Writing a blog
  • Guest posts and comments on other people’s blogs
  • Writing articles for article directories, offline publications
  • Webinars/teleconferences
  • Public speaking, seminars
  • Write reports, ebooks, articles, audios, courses
  • Build an email list
  • Staying in touch with former clients
  • Social media networking
  • Youtube videos
  • Networking
  • Marketing joint ventures
  • Podcasts/webcasts/hangouts/interviewing experts
  • Interviews, panel discussions

Most attorneys can’t or don’t want to advertise. Or, they don’t have a big enough budget to compete with some of the bigger advertisers.

The problem is, most attorneys have even less time than money. At least that’s what they tell themselves. They could invest more time in marketing. They often don’t because (a) they don’t know how and/or (b) they don’t think they’ll see a return on their investment.

What if I could prove that one hour invested in marketing (the right way) would bring a three-fold return? In other words, if you’re time is worth $300 an hour, and I proved to you that investing one hour in writing a blog post would bring you $900 in revenue, would you invest that hour?

Of course you would. Yo mama didn’t raise no fool.

But here’s the thing. That blog post might bring you a three-fold return this month, and then again next month. And every month. There will always be new people searching for your content and your solutions.

No guarantees, of course. Your results may vary.

My point is that many time-oriented marketing activities have a long tail, whereas advertising generally doesn’t.

Your website content can bring you traffic and new clients for months or years to come. Networking and building relationships with new referral sources and joint venture partners can do the same. Building lists and staying in touch with people can provide you with a long term source of new business.

When you look at it this way, instead of worrying about how much time marketing is “costing” you, you’ll realize that every hour you AREN’T marketing is costing you.

As Wayne Dyer puts it, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

If you want more traffic to your website, get my Internet marketing course for attorneys


Marketing legal services: And now, for something completely different


Differentiating yourself from other lawyers in your niche market or community is an ongoing challenge. How are you different or better? Why should anyone hire you instead?

I provided many ways to address this in The Attorney Marketing Formula, but today, I want to give you an idea that very few attorneys have ever used. As used to be said on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “And now, for something completely different. . .”:

Gift certificates.

And why not? They work in retail. I’m sitting here looking at an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas that’s I’m itching to use. Why not utilize the same concept for marketing legal services?

You’re an estate planner. You create a gift certificate or card for the preparation of A/B Living Trusts, or a gift card for a $2500 estate planning package, or a $500 gift card that can be used towards any of your services.

You’re an immigration attorney. You create a gift card so family members can help their loved ones get here, or get legal.

You’re a family law attorney. You create a pre-paid divorce card fathers can give to their daughters as a wedding gift. (Don’t laugh. You’d sell a boatload of these in Hollywood.)

Anyway, you get the idea.

If you’re the only lawyer (or the first lawyer) to offer gift certificates or gift cards, people will notice. And write about you. And pay you money.

But it almost doesn’t matter if anyone buys one. You’ll get some great publicity and have something to promote in your newsletter, blog, speaking, or advertising.

Yes, I know there are some thorny ethical issues to contend with. But you’re a lawyer. You’ll figure it out.

Put on your thinking cap transactional attorneys. Small business attorneys, IP attorneys, this is a natural for you.

If you aren’t able to do something like this, there is something you can do instead. Find an attorney who can do this and promote his or her gift cards to your clients and contacts. What do you get out of it? No, not a piece of the action, although that’s not necessarily out of the question. You get a very happy fellow lawyer who will undoubtedly be inclined to reciprocate by recommending your services to their clients. Even though you don’t offer gift certificates.

For more traditional ways to differentiate yourself, get “The Formula”