When we want someone to do something we usually tell them what they will get if they do. We tell the prospective client the benefits for hiring us, the visitor to our website what our newsletter will help them learn and be able to do, and this is often enough to get them to take the next step. 

But there is something that is often more persuasive than telling people the benefits they get for doing what we’re asking them to do.

More powerful than telling people what they gain if they do something–telling them what they lose if they don’t. 

We tell the prospective client what might happen if they don’t have a lawyer protecting them from the insurance company, or they don’t choose us as that attorney. We tell the client what might happen if they don’t settle, or what might happen if they do.

We invoke their innate “fear of loss” (or Fear of Missing Out) and it often seals the deal. 

Because humans fear losing something already in their possession.

Fear of loss is often much more motivating than the desire for gain and you should use it in your marketing and in working with your clients. 

When you do, don’t limit your message to the big things they might lose (or gain). Sometimes, it’s the little things that close the deal.

For example, some prospective clients might choose your firm instead of another not because you’re demonstrably the best choice but because the picture of what it’s like working with you appeals to them. 

They like your personality, the way you write your articles, the causes you’ve talked about, or even the great Christmas parties you throw. 

And they don’t want to miss out on that. 

Make sure you show prospective clients the whole package that is you. Because if you don’t, they might not see the one thing that tips the balance in your favor. 

And hire someone else. 


How-to articles for lawyers are good. This is better.  


Lawyers write a lot of blog posts and other content that explains how to do things. That’s good because “how to” is a very popular search term for people with legal issues. 

But prospective clients also want to know “why”.

You tell them to do something, or avoid doing something, but your advice is much more persuasive and valuable to them if you tell them why. 

If you handle personal injury cases, don’t just tell people what to say to the other driver, and what to avoid saying. Tell them why. 

In fact, it’s a good idea to write blog posts and articles with a headline or title that features the word “why”. When someone sees that word, they become curious. “Why should I do that?” “Why is that a mistake?” and they read the article to find out. 

You should also use the word “why” in your calls-to-action. 

You want them to call and make an appointment? Tell them why. What do they get if they do? What are the benefits? What will that appointment help them do or avoid?

You want them to download your report? Fill out a form? Sign up for your webinar? Hire you (instead of any other lawyer)?

Tell them why. 

Don’t stop writing how-to articles. They always have and always will be effective. But they are more effective when you also tell people why. 


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


Quick, grab this headline for your next blog post


It’s called “fear of loss” and it’s powerful. More powerful than the desire for gain. People want to protect what’s already theirs, their money, for example, and will take action to do that, more than they’re willing to take action to get more of it. 

Watch what’s happening in the financial markets right now to see “fear of loss” in action. 

So, when you write a blog post or article, do a presentation, run an ad, or create any message to prospective clients, et al., and you can point out what your reader or listener might lose if they DON’T hire you, accept your offer, follow your advice, etc., you would do well to mention that. 

Sure, tell people what they can get if they hire you, talk to you, etc. and what they might lose if they don’t. 

Which leads to the headline I promised to give you in my headline. 

A headline that gets your prospective clients’ attention and motivates them to read your article, which is what a headline is supposed to do. 

The headline: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a [type/specialty] Lawyer

Because anyone who is looking for a lawyer who does what you do, surely doesn’t want to make those mistakes. 

You could spice this up with words like “deadly” or “costly” or “exceedingly painful” to amplify the word “mistakes” and give it even more emotional firepower. Depends on your market, the tone of your article, and your style. 

But “mistakes” will often be all you need, particularly if your headline is seen by someone who is decidedly afraid of making a mistake. 

Once your reader reads your article, they find out what those mistakes are (and how to avoid them). They also learn what could happen if they do nothing. 

And their fear of loss motivates them to take the next step, i.e., respond to your call to action. 

In your article, make sure you explain why these are mistakes. This gives you the opportunity to show them you know what you’re doing and differentiate yourself from the crowd. You might tell them about one or more of your clients who made that mistake prior to finding and hiring you, and how you helped them out of that mess. 

How to use a blog to make your phone ring


Leverage distrust


The punchline: “Their lips are moving.” You know the joke.

But humor is rooted in truth, or at least beliefs about what is true and, right or wrong, many people believe lawyers can’t be trusted.

At the very leasts, they’re skeptical. They don’t understand what we do, we’re expensive, and they have a lot to lose.

This is an opportunity for you because you can leverage that distrust in your marketing.

Bring up the subject. Talk about why people often don’t trust lawyers. And what they can do to protect themselves.

In your next article or ad or presentation, you might use something like this as your headline or opening:

Is your lawyer lying to you? Here’s how to tell.

No, don’t use the punchline from the joke. Okay, use it if you can’t help yourself. But then teach your audience what to look for, questions to ask, and other information they can use to protect themselves from being taken advantage of.

Talk about the Rules of Professional Conduct. Malpractice insurance. Your state bar’s fund to reimburse aggrieved clients.

Talk about fees and billing—what to expect and what to do if something doesn’t add up.

Talk about your personal commitment to openness and fairness. You might share your firm’s pledge or your “Clients’ Bill of Rights”.

Explain the steps you take to in your practice to keep your clients informed about everything, and what your clients can do if they have questions.

Explain that while you handle the day-to-day management of their case, they make the big decisions, why this is so, and why this is better for them.

And provide a fair amount of social proof attesting to your trustworthiness: testimonials, endorsements, and success stories that speak to the subject.

They still might not trust lawyers in general, but they might feel better about you.

But. . . don’t overdo it.

Because if you talk about the subject incessantly, some people will think you have something to hide.

On this subject, a little bit can go a long way.

Because most lawyers don’t talk about it at all.

How to create an invoice clients’ trust


Turn your writing into a client magnet


One of your best marketing tools is your writing. Not just what you write about, but how you write it.

Yes, how you write it.

You might provide great information via how-to articles and posts. You might show prospective clients how you can help them solve a problem or achieve a goal. You might tell prospects what you offer, how you work with your clients, and why they should choose you.

And you should.

But other lawyers will say a lot of the things you say. So, unless you write in a way that makes readers feel an emotional attachment to you, you might struggle to close the deal.

There are many strategies for improving the effectiveness of your writing. Ways to make it more inviting, easier to read, and more persuasive. Study these strategies. Practice these techniques. They will help you get more new clients and repeat clients, more referrals, and more subscribers and followers.

But if you want readers to feel there’s something special about you, there’s something else you should do.

It goes beyond technique and better writing. It’s actually a marketing superpower. An elixir that will comple prospective clients to make an appointment, sign up for your list, or otherwise take the next step.

How do you acquire this superpower?


Find out what your market is interested in, what they know, and how they think.

Learn what frustrates them and keeps them up at night. Get conversant with the issues that abound in their industry or market. Be familiar with the words they use to describe their problems and desires.

When you do this, you can show prospects you understand them better than other lawyers who cross their path and talk about the law, but not about them.

Which is why you need to target a niche market and study it and the people in it.

When you write about an issue in that market and reference or quote someone prominent in that market, for example, someone your readers know about (or actually know) and trust, or when you’re able to talk about little details that only someone with a lot of experience in their market would know, your readers will see that you aren’t like other lawyers, you’re one of them.

Choose a niche market and study it. Your knowledge will allow you to write in a way that resonates with prospects on a deep level. You’ll be able to write in a way that makes their Spidey-sense tingle as they realize they’ve found the lawyer they’ve been looking for.

How to choose the right niche market for you


May I have your attention?


In marketing, your most important job is to get noticed. Because no matter how compelling the message in your article, post, ad or other message, you won’t get any response if nobody reads or hears that message.

Just a fact, Jack.

The best way to get attention is with an effective headline.

The words at the top of your article, ad, letter, or email, the title of your book or report, are critical. If you want to sell more legal services, get more subscribers, or put more prospective clients’ butts in seats, if you want anyone to buy anything or do anything, a good headline is critical.

In the annals of marketing history, this has always been true.

David Oglivy, one of the top copywriters of his generation, said:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

The importance of the headline is even more true today when peoples’ attention spans are so short. According to one report, only 9% of all digital ads are viewed longer than one second.

Not a lot of time to tell them what you want to tell them.

You can get attention with graphics, charts, photos, and other visual elements, but a good headline is the best way because it is larger and more prominent in the article or ad, and because it can tell the reader what’s in it for them if they read the article.

Note, it’s not just the main headline that does this. People scan articles and ads before deciding if they want to read them, and so your sub-heads, bullet points, and your conclusion or P.S. are also important ways to get attention.

The context in which your article or ad or email is seen also plays a part.

If you send an email to someone who knows you, an existing client or subscriber, for example, you don’t have to work as hard to capture their attention. They’ll read your email because it is from you as much as or more than because of a great headline.

The headline for this post is a good example. It promises no benefits and perhaps made you only mildly curious, and yet here you are reading this post.

If you want to get better at writing effective headlines, and/or working with copywriters and marketing folks who do that for you, start paying attention to the headlines you see each day. Especially the ones that capture your attention and compel you to read the article or ad or listen to the audio.

Write down those headlines and ask yourself why you think you noticed it and why it convinced you to read more. Put these headlines (sub-heads, bullets, etc.) in a “swipe” file you can use (or re-write and use) in future articles and posts and ads.

Yes, this is only a first step towards writing better headlines, but it is an important step because it will help train you to notice what’s working.


This isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you


I came across this line in an email. I wrote it down to share with you because it’s a great way to sell legal services (or anything else).

  • It gets attention and makes the reader curious about what “it” is
  • It adds credulity by “admitting” it isn’t for everyone (and not trying to persuade everyone)
  • It suggests exclusivity, which creates desire; people want things that are for a select group, especially if they are told they might not qualify to be in that group
  • It imbues the writer or advertiser with strength and confidence, which are attractive traits (especially in a lawyer)
  • It almost forces the reader to continue reading, to find out more

Of course “it” isn’t for everyone; few things are. But including a line like this in your headline or the body of your message might make your reader “hope” that it is for them, making it more likely they will look for a reason it is.

Look for a way to include a message like this in your marketing. It isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you.


The options paradox


People say they want a lot of options. But they don’t. Experiments prove this, including a famous one labeled “The Jam Study”.

Researchers set up two tables with fruit jams for purchase. One table had 24 different flavors of jam. The other table had 6.

The table with 24 flavors got 50% more shoppers to visit. But. . . the table with 6 flavors got more sales.

3% of shoppers bought something from the table with 24 options; 30% bought something from the table with just 6 options.

The reason is simple. When confronted with too many choices, people find it difficult to choose. Our brains prefer fewer options because it is easier to decide.

When you’re speaking to a client or prospect about the services you offer, don’t give them too many options. You’ll get fewer sign-ups.

In the calls-to-action in your emails and web pages, don’t include several “asks”. Don’t ask them to download something and share something, fill out a form and Like your post.

Too many options usually gets fewer people to do anything.

So, how many is too many?

You have to test that and find out, but, as a general rule, one or two options is usually best.

One option, “Fill out this form” gives them a choice between getting your report or other incentive (by filling out the form) or getting nothing. They either want the report or they don’t.

Two options, “Service A or Service B” or “Relief from your problem (by hiring you) or continuing to have that problem (by not hiring you)”. Much less to think about.

In marketing, less is (usually) more.

Here’s the formula for getting more clients and increasing your income


How to convert more prospects into clients


Between you and a new client is your website. And your articles and blog posts, sales pages and other content. It’s the same on social media, in your presentations and interviews.

And if you do what many lawyers do, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

What do they do? They publish a lot of long-winded, heavy-handed, technical, and otherwise boring content.

And you can’t bore someone into becoming your client.

The solution is simple. Leave out the boring parts.

Edit, cut, simplify. Make your content and copy interesting and easier to read.

And make sure people want to read it by telegraphing your message.

When someone comes across something you wrote (or recorded), they should immediately know that your article or video is for them. Put benefits in the title or headline. Let them see what they’ll learn or get or be able to do if they invest a few minutes reading.

And I do mean a few minutes.

Long articles and copy have their place. But that place isn’t at the entrance to your website or sales funnel.

Up front, keep it brief. You want them to read or watch, not save it for later.

Ever see a movie that took waaay too long to get to the action? You got bored, maybe you fell asleep, maybe you didn’t stick around to watch the whole thing.

Cut those scenes out of your movie.

Get their attention. Tell them what’s in it for them. Get them nodding their head and telling themselves they’ve found someone they need to talk to.

Okay, you get it. Cut out the boring parts and lead with benefits. What else?

There isn’t anything else. Because if people don’t read or listen, they’re not going to hire you.

Assume your readers are impatient, distracted, distressed, and have many other options.

Because all of that is true.

Don’t bury the lead. And don’t expect them to watch your movie if they can’t stay awake

Email Marketing for Attorneys