The biggest sin in marketing legal services

Share

There are a lot of ways to go wrong in your marketing. Here are just a few:

  • Wasting time or money on strategies that aren’t working
  • Shotgun marketing: trying to sell everything, e.g., all of your services, to everyone at the same time
  • Not pre-qualifying prospective clients
  • Chasing instead of attracting
  • Not using a “call-to-action” (telling prospects what to do)
  • Not differentiating yourself from other lawyers
  • Not following up with prospects
  • Not building a list
  • Not staying in touch with former clients

These can all cost you clients and hurt your bottom line.

The biggest sin in marketing, however, is being boring.

People won’t read boring articles. They won’t watch boring videos or listen to boring podcasts. They won’t follow boring people on social media.

You might get your marketing message in front of a lot of people who need your help or who can refer people who do, and get nowhere because they never read or relate to your message.

If you want people to hire you or build a relationship with you, you’ve got to get and keep their interest.

Fortunately, this isn’t difficult to do.

It starts with researching the people you want to attract.

Study their market or industry, their problems and desires, so you can show them you understand them and what they want or need, and are uniquely qualified to help them get it.

How to research your target market and ideal client

Share

My election predictions

Share

I predict my side will win and this will be good for our country. If I’m wrong and the other side wins, I predict bad things will happen.

I predict everything is about to get even messier and we are unlikely to know the results any time soon.

I predict that some polling firms and media outlets are going to radically change their methods, but most won’t, at least until enough people stop listening to them.

Pretty lame predictions, huh? No specifics about who or what I favor or why.

Because if I did that, it would likely alienate half of my readers, and why do that?

Unless you regularly write or speak about political issues, you’re trying to build a following of people on one side of the spectrum, or you’re running for office, I suggest you stay away from politics, especially when things are as polarized and emotionally charged as they are in the current election.

But don’t stay away from predictions.

Predictions appeal to your reader’s curiosity. They get lots of clicks and engagement.

You’ll get more readers reading, commenting or asking questions. You’ll get more shares. And people will continue to read or listen to you and look forward to your next prediction.

People want to know what smart people like you think will happen, and why. They want you to explain what happened and what it means.

So share your predictions and explanations. Just make sure you choose the right subject.

How to build your practice with a newsletter

Share

2 things you need to know before your next paper or presentation

Share

You’re working on a presentation, paper, article, brief or book. You’re about to have a conversation with a client or prospect, negotiate a contract or address a jury. You’re writing an email for your newsletter or to someone you’d like to meet.

Any time you have a message to communicate, there are two things you need to know first:

  1. Your audience.

Who are they and what do you know about them and their situation? What’s important to them? What do they already know about you and your subject? How will they benefit from reading or listening to your message?

  1. Your purpose.

Why are you writing to or speaking with them? What do you want them to know? Why is this important? What do you want them to do after they read or listen to your message?

Give this some thought, make some notes, and then distill this information into a single sentence:

“As a result of my [talk, paper, email, etc.], they will understand [this] and respond by doing [this].”

For example:

“After reading my [email/blog post/article], they will understand the benefits for [updating their estate planning/corporate documents and the problems that can occur if they don’t], and respond by [making an appointment].”

Answering these questions before you write or speak will help you create a more effective message and make it more likely you’ll get the response you want.

[Based on this article about writing a better speech]

How to build your practice with email

Share

Timeless or Timely?

Share

If you produce content for a blog, a newsletter, a podcast, or anywhere else, one question you need to answer is how much of that content should be evergreen.

Evergreen content is important because that’s what first-time visitors to your blog and new subscribers to your newsletter are looking for. They have questions or a problem and they’re looking for answers.

If you’re starting a new blog, make sure you have at least 10 or 15 evergreen posts to start out.

Talk about the kinds of things clients typically ask you about. Talk about problems and solutions, risks and benefits, frequently asked questions about your services, and the like.

These serve as the foundation of your blog, attracting visitors though search and sharing, and helping them to understand their situation and learn what you do and how you can help them.

Once you have some evergreen content posted, you can write about anything else, whether timeless or timely.

Write about your interesting cases or clients, news in your target market’s industry or niche, trends, ideas, and more.

Yes?

One more thing.

On a blog, you have the option to indicate the date each post was published, something I’ve done since I started and still do today. Some visitors, however, see an older date and conclude that the information is out of date, even if it’s not.

Omitting the date, on the other hand, as many bloggers do, may cause visitors to wonder how current the information is, and reject it if no date can be found.

If you’re wondering what you should do, take a gander at what Darren Rowse of Problogger.com says about the pros and cons of timestamping blog posts.

And, for more about the kinds of content to include on your blog or website–what to write about, where to get ideas–check out my course on online marketing.

Share

If you want more clients, don’t use your thesaurus

Share

Yeah, we’re smart folks. We can research the hell out of a subject, wrangle all the facts, present cogent arguments, and persuade other smart people to change their minds.

When you visit many lawyer’s blogs, read their articles, or hear them speak, you have to be impressed by their acumen. And their vocabulary.

The problem is, when a lawyer does this in their marketing, they usually shoot themselves in the foot.

If you want to get more clients and increase your income, keep things simple and short. Focus on the basics, not the minutia.

On the web, people tend to search for general information about their legal situation. If you try to impress them, they often wind up leaving. If you give them what they’re looking for, you get more traffic, more leads, more subscribers, and more clients.

In addition, when you write simply, you don’t have to do much research or spend a lot of time crafting fine prose. You already know this stuff and you can spit it out in a few minutes.

When you stick with the basics, more people will read and understand you. You’re helping them get to know, like, and trust you.

Finally, your goal in marketing is to make people curious, not satisfy their curiosity. So don’t tell them everything. Stick to the basics and if they want more, they have to hire you.

Which is kind of the point.

If you want to make your phone ring, here’s what to put on your website

Share

If they don’t understand, they won’t click

Share

William Howard Taft said, “Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood.”

Clarity is key to effective writing. That’s true for legal documents, demand letters, presentations, articles, and just about everything else we write.

When you write a blog post, email, or ad, the headline or subject line must instantly communicate what your article or ad is all about. If you want them to open your email or read your blog post, you have to give them a reason why.

How do you know you’ve done it right?

One idea is to use “The Blank Sheet of Paper Test”. Ask yourself, “If you wrote this text on a piece of paper and showed it to a stranger, would they understand the meaning?”

You need a bit of room for creative license, however, or you might turn out clear and accurate but utterly boring prose. So use this idea as a place to start, not the be-all-and-end-all.

Note that the rule applies to strangers–visitors to your blog, readers of your articles, networking emails–where people don’t know you from Adam (or Eve). You don’t need to use it when writing to clients or subscribers to your newsletter. They’ll open and read your message because they recognize your name.

So, have I made myself clear? If not, that’s okay. No doubt you’ll open my next email or read my next post anyway, to see what stuff and nonsense I have for you.

How to write email subject lines that get clicks

Share

Maybe you should teach a class

Share

CLE presenters don’t teach classes for the money. Why do they do it? Why should you?

Here are 6 reasons you should consider teaching a continuing education course:

  1. It will make you a better lawyer. You’ll necessarily stay current with the cutting edge aspects of your subject.
  2. It will make you a better presenter. You’ll learn how to craft an interesting and persuasive presentation.
  3. It will expose you to other lawyers who take your class. This can lead to referrals, associating on cases, and other networking opportunities.
  4. It looks great on your bio. Just being able to say you teach other lawyers in your field gives you an edge over other lawyers who don’t.
  5. You’ll have more content for your blog, newsletter, guest posts, videos, podcasts, and seminars.
  6. It can lead to book deals, invitations to speak on panels or sit on committees, and other opportunities to get more exposure and elevate your reputation.

So, what are you waiting for? Sharpen your pencil, and your tongue, and outline your first CLE class.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

Share

Stop marketing

Share

You’ve created content that isn’t bringing in much business. People aren’t following your links or answering your call to action.

What are you doing wrong?

It could be a lot of things, but I’m going to go with one I see a lot of lawyers (and others) do.

You’re “marketing” instead of communicating.

Your content is too promotional. All about you. Trying too hard to get the reader to act.

And they can see you coming.

Yes, you want them to act. But there’s a better way to do that than pushing out promotional content. Let go of the self-promotion and create content that connects with people on an emotional level.

Offer helpful information or advice or share an emotional client story.

Talk to people about what they’re already thinking. Engage them. Show them you understand them. Build a relationship with them.

You want them to like and trust you. And not lump you together with all the other lawyers who are flogging their services and talking all about themselves.

Yes, they want to know about you, but before they’ll listen, they want to know you’re worth listening to.

So, talk about your reader. His life, his problems, his pain.

Then you can let him know you have solutions and invite him to read more or contact you about his situation.

If you do it right, your reader will listen to you and take the next step.

My email marketing course shows you how to do it right

Share