You’re not in the information delivery business

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Prospective clients visit your website and dig through your articles or posts. They watch your videos or listen to your podcasts. They consume your FAQs.

They have questions. You have answers. And I’m sure you do a good job of providing valuable information.

There’s just one thing.

If all you do is give people information and answer their questions, you’re dropping the marketing ball.

Prospective clients want information, it’s true. They visit your site, read your article, or watch your presentation because they’re curious about the law, their rights, their risks, and the solutions that are available to them.

If you satisfy their curiosity, however, by explaining the law and telling them everything they need to know, you’re not giving them a reason to hire you or take the next step in that direction.

Basic information? Sure. General guidelines? Of course. But anything you do beyond that is antithetical to the purpose of your marketing.

Which is to convert prospects into clients.

Look at your website. Look at your email sequences, brochures, ads, and other marketing communications. Are you satisfying curiosity by telling people everything, or building curiosity and inspiring them to call or write?

You’re not in the information delivery business. You use information to attract people who are looking for solutions, tell them enough to show them they’ve come to the right place, and persuade them to contact you.

Because if they don’t do that, they don’t get the help they need, and you don’t get the clients you want.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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Oh the pain, the pain

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If you ever watched the campy 1960’s TV series Lost in Space, you may recall one of Dr. Smith’s signature expressions.

If not, perhaps you recall the old Verizon TV commercials where the spokesman walked around town, speaking on the phone, repeatedly asking the other party, “Can you hear me now?”

What do these two have in common? Right, the pain.

The Verizon spots dramatized the biggest pain point for customers of other carriers, poor signal quality and dropped calls.

We all literally said, “Can you hear me now?” as we moved to find a better spot.

This demonstration set the stage for Verizon’s promise of better coverage and clearer signals, which landed them a lot of new customers.

In your marketing, you should do what Verizon did: market to the biggest frustration felt by your prospective clients.

Find your prospective client’s pain point, about their legal situation or their current attorney, and build your marketing message around this.

What makes them angry or keeps them up at night? What troubles them most about their legal issue? What is their biggest complaint about their current attorney?

Talk about that, and promise they won’t have that problem when they hire you.

Make the pain, and the relief you promise to deliver, specific to your practice area and market, because not everyone is frustrated by the same things. But if you need an idea, consider the nearly universal pain point for clients, “My lawyer never calls me back”.

Build your marketing around your prospective clients’ pain and promise to take away that pain. You can’t go wrong with that formula.

By the way, you may have noticed that the actor who portrayed the spokesman in the Verizon ads is now the spokesman for Sprint.

Oh the pain, the pain.

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How to use clickbait to instantly get dozens of new clients

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If you’re reading this, my evil plan is working. I wrote something that made you curious and you wanted to know more.

Despite the obvious clickbait-y headline.

But my point isn’t to use trickery to fool people into reading your message. It is to illustrate the power of curiosity for getting attention.

When it comes to marketing, copywriting legend Gary Halbert said curiosity is even more powerful than self-interest.

Done right, your reader or audience “has to” know more.

How do you arouse curiosity? How do you compel the reader to open your email, play your video, or read your article?

You do it, ironically, by hinting at something that plays to their self-interest.

Mention something they care about, need or want. Give them a taste of something that will help them avoid pain or achieve gain. Add a touch of specificity that let’s them know “this is for them”.

For extra oomph, hint at something that sounds impossible or too good to be true. Make the reader “torture” themselves trying to figure out how this is done.

Example? Sure. Let’s say you’re a personal injury attorney writing a post or ad that offers a free report about increasing the settlement value of a case. You could make prospective clients curious with a headline like this:

“Injured? Free report reveals 5 easy ways to increase the value of your case (and ONE common mistake that can destroy it)”

What are those 5 easy ways? What is the one common mistake? Yep, they have to read the report to find out.

Of course, when they read the report, you make them curious to know if they have a good case (and how much it’s worth).

Yep, they have to hire you to find out.

Want to get more referrals without asking for referrals? Here’s how

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The headline goes here

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I got a postcard in the mail, with this headline:

“The highest compliment we can receive is the referral of friends and family.”

Me: “I don’t know who you are or what you do and you’re talking about referrals?”

Into the trash. . .

But wait, I could use this as an example of really bad advertising, so. . . I keep reading. . .

Under the “headline” is a series of bullet points. See if you can figure out what this outfit does:

  • 9 Years in Business
  • 6 Months Federal Relief Program
  • Up to 60% Lower Payments
  • 4.7% Rating on Social Media
  • “A” Rating on BBB
  • Seriously Delinquent O.K.

Sounds like they do some kind of re-financing or workouts, but what do I know?

Next line: Visit Now [a website url that says nothing about the company or what they do]

Then: “Thank You for Your Trust, [Company Name].

And, finally, “Call Now” followed by a phone number.

And. . . that’s it.

So, no headline, no information, no benefits, no offer, no testimonials, no examples of before and after (e.g., lower payments). . . and no reason to keep this out of the trash.

Hold on, it’s a postcard. There has to be something on the back.

Ah, there it is. It says, “ARE YOU DROWNING IN STUDENT LOAN DEBT?”

Finally, something specific. A “sorting” question and a hint at a benefit. If you see this side of the postcard first and you have a lot of student debt, you might be interested enough to turn the card over to find out what this is all about.

But, when you do, you’re scratching your head, wondering what they do and why you should bother to call or visit.

To think, this company paid to have this printed and mailed. (I’m going to assume they DIDN’T pay a copywriter to write it.)

Anyway, if you want to know how to write an ad or directory listing, keep this handy and do the opposite of what they did. Or show it to your copywriter or agency and say, “Don’t do this.”

If you want a second opinion on your ad or sales copy, let me know

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The TRUTH about practicing law

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One of the simplest ways to get more people reading and sharing your posts, especially on social, is to make them controversial.

Challenge them, shock them, anger them–because everyone loves a good fight.

They most popular TV shows and online videos feature emotional content: anger and outrage, sex and love, pleasant surprises and massive disappointments.

People love conflict. And the algorithms promote posts and videos that feature it.

Platforms like Twitter have their entire business model built around people being angry at something. Or someone.

If you want to get more eyeballs and engagement and shares, write posts that “expose” the truth about something, including your practice area (especially your practice area).

Write about issues you know people disagree with, and tell them why YOU disagree with what other lawyers say or do: “Why I don’t agree with. . .” or “Why I don’t like/use/do. . .”

“Force” prospective clients who are searching for a lawyer to read your post with a title like, “Is [legal service] worth it?” or “What most [practice area] lawyers get wrong.”

Cruise through social media and record the titles of videos and posts that are being promoted or shared or that catch your eye, and adapt those titles and themes to your posts.

Throw some raw meat to the lions and watch them stick around for more.

There are more ways to attract and engage clients and prospects. In Email Marketing for Attorneys, I break these down and show you what to do.

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What are your prospective clients thinking?

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Prospective clients see your ad or your website, read your article, or hear you speak.

What do you suppose is going through their minds?

No, they’re not thinking about how knowledgeable or experienced you are. They’re thinking about themselves and their problems.

They don’t care about you. They don’t care about what you want them to see or know or do.

They only care about themselves.

When you’re trying to sell them your services, opt in to your list, follow your posts, share your content, or do anything else, their default response is “no”.

Because, why?

You have to show them why, and that starts by getting their attention.

Common ways to do that are to ask a question, make a bold statement or prediction, share an interesting fact or statistic, or tell a story.

In other words, use a headline or subject line that makes them curious or offers a benefit that relates to their situation.

Then, once they’re reading your article or email, watching your video, or listening to your voice, get them interested in what you’re selling. You do that by telling them how you can help them, solve their problems, or help them get something they want.

Next, tell them more. More about the relief they will experience when they hire you, how they will be better off, and how easy it is to get started. Give them reasons to trust you; tell about other clients like them you have helped.

You do this to help them transition from merely listening to your message to desiring your help.

But you’re not done.

The final step is to get them to take action. To make the call, fill out the form, sign up for your webinar, or otherwise do something that eventually leads to their becoming a client.

Four steps. Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Otherwise known in marketing circles as AIDA.

All four steps are necessary to take the prospective client from “I don’t care about you” to where you want them to go, and where they need to go to get what they want or need.

The next time you create an email, blog post, article, or anything else that’s designed to attract prospects and convert them to clients, go through this checklist and make sure you have all four elements.

If you need help with that, let me know.

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Pretend I’m 12

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I watched some videos on a powerful piece of software that interested me. The problem was, the guy doing the videos is the guy who developed the software and he flies through his demos, assuming we’re able to follow.

But I couldn’t follow.

I was impressed with what I thought his software could do but decided it wasn’t for me.

Because it looked too complicated to learn and use.

It might be worth learning, it’s true, but I shouldn’t have to invest a lot of time to find that out.

It’s the developer’s job to show me.

He should have slowed down. Assumed I needed everything explained. And showed me all the whats, whys, and hows.

When you’re trying to get someone to buy your product, your services, or your ideas, you need to meet them where they are, take them by the hand, and walk them over to where you want them to go.

If they like where you’ve taken them, you’ve got a chance at a sale.

This is not always easy to do. You have some serious balancing to do.

You don’t want things to fly over the heads of the people you’re trying to persuade but you don’t want to dumb things down so much that they are bored or feel like you’re talking down to them.

You also shouldn’t “tell” so much as “show”. Yes, even with abstract ideas, selling your services, or persuading a trier of fact to your client’s cause.

It can be done and it’s your job to do it.

Just because you’re good at the legal work (or writing software) doesn’t mean anybody will buy it. It’s your job (or your copywriter’s) to convince them.

Slow your pace. Explain everything. And make sure they understand what you’ve just told them before you move on to the next subject.

If you want to persuade me, pretend I’m 12.

The marketing course for attorneys who want to get big, fast

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P.S. I love you

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The other day, I mentioned TV detective Colombo and how, when he was finished speaking to a witness or suspect, when they thought they were off the hook, Coolumbo would turn to them and say, “One more thing. . .”

When he did that, everyone in the room paid attention.

Because people notice things after a break in the conversation.

The same goes for email. People almost always read the P.S. in your email, even if they only skimmed the rest of what you wrote.

Many people read the P.S. first, because they think important things reside there, and they’re usually right.

You can use the P.S. to include more information you want the reader to know, to remind them of something you said in the body of the email, including your offer, or to mention something new but relevant to the subject of the email or the reader’s interests.

If the body of your email is about the need to have a certain issue evaluated and you have offered of a free consultation, for example, your P.S. might remind them to call to schedule it. It could also point out that you’re only accepting a limited number of appointments this week or that time is of the essence regarding their issue.

You could also provide a link to your “contact” page, or to a FAQ page that talks about what to expect during a consultation.

In a follow-up email, you might use the P.S. to recall something they told you, or something you noted about their business or family, or about something you have in common, as a way to strengthen your relationship.

Your P.S. is valuable real estate in your emails (and letters). Give some thought to how you can make full use of it.

To learn how to write an effective P.S. in your email newsletter, slide on over to my email marketing course

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Use this checklist for better headlines, titles, and email subject lines

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A friend of mine uses a checklist to double-check his titles and headlines. It can be used for emails, blog posts, articles, book titles, presentations, ads, and more.

He calls it the “ABCD” Formula:

A – Attention
B – Believable
C – Care
D – Different

[A] The first job of your headline is to get attention. It needs to make people curious or promise a benefit, to flag them down and get them to read the headline. The headline should then compel them to read your email, blog post, or sales copy.

[B] If the headline isn’t believable, if it promises too much (and isn’t obviously tongue-in-check), the reader is likely to turn the page (or tune out of your presentation).

[C] Your headline or title has to be relevant to the reader or prospective client and their problem or desire They have to care about what you’re saying.

[D] Finally, in the age of massive competition for eyeballs and dollars, your headline or title needs to be different from the competition’s. Why should they read your article or ad when it appears to say the the same thing as a dozen others?

When a prospective client sees your ad or post, they’re asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” You need to tell them that, and the telling begins with your headline, tile, or email subject line.

Because if it doesn’t start there, it doesn’t matter how good your sales page or email or presentation is, nobody is going to see it.

To learn more about writing effective headlines, titles, and subject lines, especially for your newsletter, check out my Email Marketing For Attorneys course.

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Vaccinating clients and prospects

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I watched a CLE video on what to do when you have “bad facts”. The evidence is weak, the client is a bad mamma jamma, the witnesses have a history of making things up.

Your case or client has issues; what do you do?

The presenter talked about inoculating the jury by bringing out the negatives of your case yourself because they’ll be better received when they come from you instead of opposing counsel.

The presenter told a story about Domino’s Pizza that took this to an extreme.

They ran a series of ads in displaying negative comments they’d received about their pizza. “The crust is cardboard, the sauce is thin and tasteless, it’s not real cheese,” and so on.

Can you imagine running ads telling the world things like this?

Domino’s did it. And then they said that most companies would never admit things like this, they’d try to cover it up or excuse it, but Domino’s took this seriously and have made dramatic improvements.

They said that the crust, the sauce, the cheese, the whole product is better, and we think you’ll like it. Come try it and see.

Within six months, sales were up 17% company-wide, which is an extraordinary increase for a company of that size.

Domino’s admitted their flaws, fixed them, and won the day.

Which reminds me to remind you to do the same with your practice.

If you’ve been criticized for not doing something other lawyers do, for example, inoculate clients and prospects by admitting this “flaw”.

And then, turn it into a strength.

I don’t handle X, I only handle Y. By specializing (focusing), I’ve been able to develop expertise many other lawyers don’t have. . .

If your competition does a lot of advertising and some prospective clients wonder why they’ve “never heard of you,” explain that you get most of your business by referrals and don’t “need” to advertise.

If clients think your fees are high, make it a selling point: “You can find lawyers who charge less but you get what you pay for. . .”

Inoculate your clients and prospects (and juries) by admitting your flaws before someone else points them out.

Careful, though. If your crust tastes like cardboard, change your recipe before you tell anyone.

Marketing strategies that can help your practice take a quantum leap

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