Soft call-to-action 


When you tell your readers, audience, subscribers, or website visitors to do something you want them to do, e.g., Call to schedule an appointment, you’re using a call-to-action. And you should because the more you tell people what to do, the more likely it is that they’ll do it. 

Clearly, not everyone is ready to do what you ask when you ask it, which is why you should ask again. Put calls-to-action in most or all of your marketing communications. Remind them (often) to call, sign-up, or download something. And tell them why—the benefits they get or the problems this can help them solve. 

When (if) they’re ready, they will respond. Your job is to stay in touch with them and continually make the case for taking action by repeating your call-to-action, providing additional arguments and examples, reminding them about the benefits, and otherwise “selling” them on doing what you ask.  

Telling them to call for an appointment is a ‘hard’ call to action. If they call, there is an expectation that this will lead to them signing up for something and paying something, and this may not be easy for them because it requires a commitment they might not be willing (yet) to make.

Which is why you should also use the ‘soft call-to-action’. Asking (telling) them to do something that doesn’t require a big commitment. Something relatively easy for them to do:

  • Like, share, comment
  • Download this report
  • Fill out our survey
  • Hit reply and ask your question
  • Sign up for our free seminar
  • Watch this video, listen to this podcast, read this article
  • And others. 

Why use these? First, because they help you build a list, which gives you permission to follow-up and send additional information. 

And second, because the more often you ask them to do something, and they do it, the more likely it is that they will do something else you ask.  

Get a visitor to your website to give you their email address and download your report today. Tomorrow, it will be easier to get them to sign up for your seminar or listen to your replay. Eventually, it will be easier to get them to schedule that appointment. 

What’s interesting is that even if they don’t do the things you ask, the more you ask, the more they become conditioned to hearing you ask and the less resistant they become to (eventually) doing something you ask. 

The lesson? Ask visitors and readers and prospects to do things and never stop asking. 

Each time they hear you ask, they take a step closer to becoming your next client.

Marketing legal services is easier when you know The Formula


Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman


Wouldn’t it be great if the first time you talked to a prospective client about your services they said, “Where do I sign up?” 

It would, but they don’t. 

They usually want more information. Maybe a lot more. And they want you to explain things in enough detail that they not only understand it, they see that your solution is their best solution. 

Because they don’t want to make a mistake.  

They will have questions. As you answer those questions, they’ll often think of more. 

Getting them from not knowing to knowing, and from knowing to doing (hiring you) is a process, and it usually takes time.

The prospective client needs you to explain things again, in different want, so they can understand everything. 

And, no matter how good you are at explaining, not everyone “gets” it as quickly as others. Especially with something complicated (like the law) and scary (like the law) and expensive (like the law). 

When you’re sitting with the prospect, you can take your time explaining things properly, ask questions to make sure they understand, show them the paperwork, read their body language, and answer all of their questions. You can take as long as they need.

And you no doubt do all that. But it’s a different story when you’re communicating with them online. 

Putting up more FAQ’s, videos, and other information can help. But sometimes, all that information overwhelms or confused them, leading them to conclude they’re not ready to do anything.  

What can you do?

The answer isn’t to wait until their problem gets worse and they’re in enough pain to finally call. The answer is to stay in touch with them, via email. 

Send more information. Send them the same information stated in different ways. Send them more examples, use cases, and stories about others who had what they have and found relief by hiring you, or found relief by speaking with you (and then hiring you).

Don’t do this once or twice. Do it over and over again, for as long as it takes, because you don’t know when (or if) they will be ready.

Let your newsletter do the heavy lifting. Until they’re ready for you to get on your white horse and save the day.

Email marketing for attorneys


What’s important to you?


I was interviewed recently by the vendor of one of the marketing tools I use in my business. They wanted to know what I do, how I work, and especially how I use their product. 

As we talked, I realized that what was most important to me about this tool, or any tool, was how easy it is to use. 

The same goes for my process. I don’t like complicated workflows. Sometimes, they are necessary, but I like to keep things as simple as possible. 

Simplicity is one of my values. 

I told the interviewer how important this is for what I do, and for the tools I use to do it. Some of their competitors have more features, but they are overkill for me. 

So, if you’re trying to sell me your product or service, show me how easy it is to use. Because if it’s too complicated, it’s probably going to be a no for me. 

You may have different values, and you should explore them. It helps to know what’s important to you, before you buy something you may never use or hire someone who might be good at their job but otherwise not a good fit for you. (Been there, done that; lesson learned.)

It’s also important to find out what’s important to your prospective clients, so that when you talk to them about how you can help them, you’re telling them what they want to hear.

It makes a difference if a client wants to “crush” the other party and is willing to spend big money to accomplish that, or they want a reasonably amicable resolution at modest expense. 

Find out what’s important to them so you can show them how they can get it. 


You had one job


You had one job. You still do, and you always will.

I’m talking about persuading prospective clients who need your help to choose you as their lawyer and to sign up. Now, not someday/maybe.

If you don’t do that job, you’re letting them go their way without getting the help they need (and want, but may hesitate to get).

If you don’t persuade them to take action, their problems might worsen. Become more painful, more difficult to solve, and more expensive. They might also lead to secondary problems.

Yeah, a mess.

If you don’t do everything you can to make the case, create urgency, and make it easy to say “yes,” you’re doing them a disservice. (You’re not doing yourself any good, either).

Don’t wait for them to figure it out. Tell them. Give it all you’ve got. Tell them how it is and how it might be, without sugarcoating or equivocating. They need to hear this from you and hear it often.

They need to hear it in your posts and articles. They need to hear it in your presentations. They need to hear it when you speak with them and write to them.

Give them the facts, tell them what to do, and why.

That doesn’t mean being obnoxious or sounding like a broken record. You should talk to them as you would a friend who is in trouble, or might be, and needs your advice and help.

It also doesn’t mean showering them with nothing but doom and gloom. A litany of what might happen if they don’t act, try to fix it themselves, hire the wrong attorney, or wait too long.

Important points, but nobody wants to listen to a never-ending stream of awfulness. Too much of that and people shut down. And unsubscribe.

So make sure you also give them a healthy dose of benefits and happy endings. The good things that happen when take the action you recommend.

The trick is to know how much of each and how often. The answer to that is a big fat “it depends”.

But you need both. The bad and the good, the warnings and the solutions.

And you need to keep at it until they hire you.

Their future (and yours) depends on it.


Getting to “yes”


Do you have any clients or prospective clients who need one or more of your services but can’t seem to pull the trigger?

Of course you do.

They might have legitimate reasons for waiting and one day surprise you with the go ahead.

They didn’t have the funds, and now they do. They didn’t trust you (enough) and now they know you better. They needed approval from someone and finally got their blessing.

On the other hand, they might want to do it, plan to do it, but never get around to doing it.

Because they don’t feel the urgency to do it.

They might never feel that urgency. Unless you tell them something that tips the scale in favor of “now”.

Which is why you drip on them, via your newsletter or other mechanisms, providing them with reasons and social proof, and reminding them of the need to do it by continuing to show up in their mailbox.

Drip, drip, drip, and one day, they’re ready.

That’s a great plan. But there’s something else you can do to help them reach the tipping point.

And it’s pretty darn simple.

If they don’t yet feel the urgency, you can create that urgency through the use of scarcity.

Find a way to trigger their innate FOMO, their fear of missing out, by limiting the quantity of your offer or the dates when it is available.

Even something as simple as “There’s only one appointment left this week” can work.

Now before you say, “that’s manipulate and I won’t do it,” remember, these folks need what you’re offering, want to say yes, and plan to say yes, but have been dragging their feet.

You’re doing them a favor by giving them a reason to do what they want (and need) to do sooner rather than (possibly) never.

You and your little friend, FOMO.

Email is the best way to drip


Stop talking and sign me up


You’re sitting with a prospective client, discussing their situation. You describe the options, risks, and benefits of each solution and answer their questions. You can tell they’re interested, but when it comes time to do the paperwork, they tell you they want to think about it.

What went wrong?

It could be a lot of things. But sometimes, it’s because you kept talking.

They were interested and ready to go, but instead of handing them a pen and showing them where to sign, you kept giving them more information. You gave them more to think about and they got confused or frightened and backed away.

It happens. We have an obligation to make sure they know everything they need to know so they can make an informed decision.. And we don’t want to pressure them.

But when the client is ready, we have to STFU and hand them a pen.

Yesterday, my wife and I went to a phone store to get some information about one of their plans. We walked out with a new plan and two new phones.

In part, because the salesman knew when to stop talking.

At one point, he told us about the cameras in the different models. When I told him this wasn’t important to us, he stopped talking about them. When he told us about the extended care option and I shook my head, he moved on.

He didn’t push. He didn’t tell us what he wanted us to know, he listened and told us what we wanted to know. And when we were ready, he handed us a pen. (A stylus, actually).

The client tells you what you need to know and what you need to say to make the sale. We just have to listen.

Sometimes, that’s hard to do for people who earn their living explaining and persuading, but that’s the challenge.

Get it right and we get a new client. Get it wrong and they say they want to think about it.

Here’s the formula for building a successful practice


The easiest way to sell legal services


It’s funny, you’re in the persuasion business, but you don’t like persuading people to hire you.

You can “sell” a jury on finding for your client, negotiate a better deal for them, or write an article advocating for a social cause, but you are reluctant to use your persuasive abilities to get anyone to choose you as their attorney.

Seems like a waste of talent, doesn’t it?

But I get it. You don’t want to look like you’re bragging or desperate for work. You think it’s better for clients to choose you because someone else said you have a lot of experience, keep your promises, and deliver great results.

And you would be right to think this.

It is better to have someone else say those things. Because if you say it, people can doubt it; if someone else says it, it must be true.

Praise from third parties is the best and easiest way to sell your services.

What could be easier than getting some good reviews and quoting them or linking to them?

What could be easier than getting testimonials from satisfied clients along with permission to share them?

What could be easier than quoting other attorneys who speak about your good character, work ethic, and track record?

The answer is “nothing”.

Nothing is easier. Or better.

So, if you’re not doing this already, make it a priority to collect and use the positive things people say about you. Post them on your website, put them in your brochures and marketing materials, put them in your bio, and let other people sing your praises.

These aren’t difficult to get. But people are busy, so you need to prompt them.

When a client sends you an email thanking you for (something), tell them you appreciate their saying so and ask for permission to quote them. Disguise their name if need be, but showcase their words.

Send new clients a survey at the end of the case and ask them how you did. If they thought you were the bees’ knees, yep, ask to quote them. Or ask them to post a review online.

The next time you get a referral from a fellow professional, thank them and ask them why they chose you. When they say nice things about you, ask if you may quote them in your marketing.

If you already do this, do it more. Build a portfolio of praise from clients and professionals and put it front and center.

When you do, you should notice two things happening.

First, you should see more clients and business contacts willing to provide testimonials and positive reviews. It’s the bandwagon effect. The more praise you get, the more people want to jump on board.

Second, you should see a higher percentage of prospective clients signing up. When they see how much your clients like you and the work you did for them, they will be more likely to see you as the best option for them.

Because, while most attorneys have happy clients, they don’t have clients who are happy enough to put it in writing.

The Attorney Marketing Formula: it’s a formula, so you know it works


How to get ‘em to sign up


You don’t need to be salesy to get clients to sign up. But you do need to close the sale.

For the client’s sake and for yours.

You don’t need to follow a formal process to get there, however. You can do it organically, by asking questions.

No doubt you know the power of asking questions and use them every day in your work. You know that questions allow you to control the conversation and find out what you need to know.

Questions also allow you to guide the client towards signing up. They do that by helping you to:

  • Assess the problem and/or what the client needs and wants
  • Assess their personal urgency and readiness to do something
  • Give you key points you can repeat back to them, to show them you listened and understood, and to let them hear, in their own words, why they need your help
  • Make sure they understand their options
  • Make sure they understand the risks of waiting or not taking action
  • Find out about their ability to pay and/or if anyone else needs to approve hiring you
  • Find out if they’re ready to sign up, need more information, or have any objections

All of which helps you to move them forward, from problem to solution, from first meeting to new client.

If you do it right, the client might signify they want to get started, or at least ask the kinds of questions someone would ask if they are ready to do that. If they don’t, or if you’re not sure, ask more questions.

Closing questions don’t have to be complicated. You can ask

  • Are you ready to get started?
  • Is there anything else you need to know before we get started?
  • Would you like me to start today or next week?

Or, simply, “What do you think?”

You find out what they think and what they want to do. You sign them up, continue the conversation, or, if they’re not ready, schedule a follow-up.

You can also “assume the sale”—hand them the paperwork and a pen and see what happens.

If you’ve asked the right questions, and answered theirs, that’s often all it takes.


You don’t have to read this if you don’t want to


FBI hostage negotiators supposedly use a strategy that makes hostage-takers more likely to cooperate. The idea is that people are more apt to agree with something we propose when we affirmatively give them permission to say ‘no’.

You can use this when negotiating with another party or with your clients.

You might be talking to a client about the opposition’s offer and say, “I know you wanted more and if you don’t want to accept the offer, just tell me; I’ll understand.”

They might give you a hard no, but they also might soften their position and be willing to discuss it.

Or, instead of using an “alternative choice” close, e.g., “Do you want to get started today or is next week better for you?” you might say, “Are you ready to get started? If you want to wait, that’s fine.”

However you word it, you give them an out. They know they can say no, but telling them they can do that apparently makes it more likely they won’t.

Why does giving someone permission to say no make it more likely they’ll say yes?

Because people like to buy but don’t like to be sold.

Nobody likes to be pushed or told what to do. When you move forward towards them, they move back. When you back off and let them make the call, however, it empowers them. They relax and open to other options.

I’m not saying this is always the way to go. But it’s nice to have another tool in the toolbox.

Of course, you don’t have to use this approach if you don’t want to.


Why should anyone hire you?


On your website, in your marketing materials, when you speak with a prospective client, your top priority is to tell people why they should hire you.

(1) Tell them why they need a lawyer.

If you haven’t spoken to them, use if/then language. Ask rhetorical questions, tell them their risks and their options, and make the case for hiring an attorney instead of doing nothing or trying to fix the problem themselves.

If you are speaking to them, find out what they want (don’t assume it), and explain how an attorney can help them get what they want.

(2) Tell them why that lawyer should be you.

Spell out your qualifications, explain why you are a better choice than other attorneys, tell them about your solutions/services and the pros and cons and costs of each.

Of course it’s not just what you say, it’s also how you say it and how you make them feel, so make sure you:

  • Build rapport, to help them relax, feel your strength and self-confidence, and build likeability and trust
  • Get the client to talk about themselves—what they think, how they feel, what they want to happen, and why. What’s at stake for them? The more they talk, the more they are likely to sell themselves on taking the next step
  • Ask appropriate questions, to show them you have experience with their problem, and show you care about helping them
  • Share stories of clients you’ve represented in the same or similar situation, to illustrate how an attorney can help them and show them how you have helped others
  • Confirm their understanding of each point before you go on to the next one, to eliminate potential misunderstandings and show them your thoroughness and patience
  • Answer their questions and handle their objections before they raise them, and invite them to ask you more

And then, when they have no more questions, ask them what they want to do.

Yes, you can assume the sale and hand them (or send them) the paperwork to sign, but it’s much better when they tell you they want to get started. They’ll be more likely to do that when you show them they need you rather than telling them.

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