What you’re really selling as an attorney

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I hate to break it to you, but nobody wants to buy your legal services.

Ultimately, clients buy emotional states. They buy relief from pain and problems; they buy safety and security; they buy a path to a more prosperous future.

They hire you because they believe you can transform them from where they are to where they want to be.

Your services are merely the tools you use to do that.

They could get the results they seek from many other attorneys. They choose you because they believe you can deliver what they want.

Their belief comes from what they see on your website, what they read about you (or by you), and what others say about you.

If they’ve read your articles and posts, you showed them you understand their problem or desire and have the knowledge and experience needed to deliver what they want. If they met you, either casually or for a consultation, you said or did something that made them feel good about you and convinced them you were the right choice.

Your clients chose you and future clients will, too, because of the overall package you present; your services are important, but not the only element in that package.

Before you write any kind of marketing message or meet a prospective client or potential referral source, consider the experience you’re offering and make your message about that.

Start by understanding what your clients want and how they will feel when they get it. Show them you know what they want and then show them how you can help them get it.

Marketing is easy when you know The Formula

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The one thing your first-time website visitors look for

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Someone finds your website and sees a lot to look at and read. Articles and blog posts about the law, about their legal situation, about the services you offer, and about you.

But that’s not what they’re looking for. If they’re like you and and me and everyone else on the net, they’re looking for a reason to leave.

Something that tells them, “This isn’t for me.”

It’s survival instinct. There’s too much to read online and too little time to read it. So while you may provide a lot of great information and reasons to hire you, if you don’t give them a reason to stay and read it, most people won’t.

Your website needs a hook. Something that catches the reader’s attention and compels them to keep reading.

Usually, that will be a headline that promises something they want or makes them curious about something that interests them.

It might be a sub-heading, a bullet point, or a callout box. It might be a chart, a checklist, or a few words of bold text.

But you need something to stop them in their tracks and give you a few seconds of their time.

Once you have that, once they decide they won’t leave (yet), you need to give them more reasons to stay and learn about what you do and how you can help them.

But they’re still not ready to read everything, top to bottom. People scan and scroll, so give them something that allows them to do that.

If you do, they might read more. If you don’t, they won’t get to read all of your amazing insights, hear about your glorious victories, or convince themselves to take the next step.

So you (and your team) have your work cut out for you.

You may get it right, or you may get close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. That’s why, statistically, the vast majority of first-time visitors leave and never return.

So you need one more hook.

You need to offer them the opportunity to receive something they want—a report or ebook, checklist or form—something that ties in directly with whatever brought them to your website in the first place.

Something that makes them say “I want that” and be willing to give you their email address to get it.

If they do, you can stay in touch with them and continue to persuade them to take that next step.

Here’s how to do that

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10 tips for better blog post titles

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Good blog post titles attract search traffic and social traffic and get more people reading your posts (and newsletters).

So how do you write a good title?

These10 tips should help:

  1. Write a lot of bad titles. The more bad titles you write, the more likely you are to write some good ones. Keep an idea file, mix and match phrases to create new (and better) titles.
  2. Check your stats. If one of your posts did well before, it will probably do well again. Update an old post with new information, change your opinion, show a different side of the issue, and write a new title to reflect this. Or just use the same title again.
  3. Read what other lawyers write. Agree with them, disagree, point out what they missed, use your own examples. Emulate their best titles (and subjects) and use them as prompts for your own.
  4. Numbers work well. People are drawn to specificity and order. They’re curious and want to know the “10 tips” or “7 Steps” or “5 Secrets”.
  5. Explanations and predictions work well. Readers want to know what happened and discover what’s going to happen.
  6. You can go wrong with “How to”. People use search engines to learn how to do something or find something or someone (a lawyer). A title that promises to deliver what they’re searching for is likely to draw more readers. Also good: What, When, or Why.
  7. Pain and promises. Talk about your readers’ pain, show them you understand their situation, their industry, their problems, their desires, and promise solutions and benefits,
  8. Use cultural references. Movie, song, TV and book titles, news stories, famous people, hot products, trends—things people are already thinking about, talking about, and will recognize.
  9. Mix it up. When someone visits your blog, you want them to see some variety. Use short titles and long titles, “normal” titles and “strange” titles, intriguing questions and surprising statements. Show readers you’re not like other (boring) lawyers.
  10. Have fun with it. Don’t (always) be so serious, don’t contort the title for SEO purposes, or try finding the perfect title. Write what comes into your head, play with it, twist it, kick it in the arse, be irreverent and bold. If a title makes you smile or laugh or cry, chances are it will do the same for your readers who will want to read your post to find out more.

Sometimes, the content of your post will drive your title. Sometimes, it works the other way around. I’ve written many posts with nothing more than a title.

Which means there are no rules, except one:

If you’re getting traffic, opt-ins, appointments and new business, you’re doing it right.

More ways to find and create good blog post titles

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Read this immediately

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Clients, prospects, anyone who reads or listens to your words, need to be told what to do.

You should tell them because you’ll get more people signing up, calling, engaging, sharing your content, and hiring you when you do.

They’ll do it because it’s good for them, but they’ll do it more often when you tell them to do it.

So, you add a call-to-action to your blog posts and articles and web pages and presentations. You tell people to call, visit, download, sign up, and so on, and why—to get valuable information, to learn more about their case, to help their friends, to find out their options, to get your advice or help.

Yes?

You also add a call-to-action to your networking conversations (“Call me,” “Give me your card,” “Go to my website to get that article,” “Give me your wallet”).

Tell them what to do and why. You’ll get better results when you do.

But you can get even better results by adding one more element: urgency.

Tell them to do it now.

Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month—NOW.

Tell them why it is in their best interest to act immediately. Forthwith. Without delay. Right this minute. Before they do anything else.

Because you’ll get more people doing it when you tell them to do it now. And why.

What benefits do they gain by doing it immediately?

What could they lose if they don’t?

If they might incur additional damages, for example, make sure you point this out. If they can solve their problem quickly, at a lower cost, make sure they know this.

Limited quantity and limited time are other ways to create urgency. But you can also do it by saying something as simple as “So you don’t forget”.

Because if the action you’re asking them to take will bring them an important benefit, surely they don’t want to miss out.

Go through your content, think about your conversations, and ask yourself if you have included urgency in your call-to-action.

If you haven’t, you have work to do.

Do it now so you don’t forget.

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I smashed a Like button and had to go to the ER

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Clicking isn’t good enough, it seems. Everyone wants you to smash the “Like” button. They also want you to subscribe, hit the notification bell, and share the link to their post or channel with everyone you know or have ever met.

Sorry, Charlie, I’ve got other things to do.

Besides, you haven’t told me why I should do any of those things.

What’s in it for me?

Science tells us people are more likely to do what you ask of them if you give them a reason. It doesn’t have to be a good reason, any reason will do.

Tell people it helps your channel or it helps other people looking for this type of content to find it or, simply tell them you appreciate their support.

But while any reason works better than no reason, telling people the benefits they get for doing what you ask works even better.

Click the button so I know you want to see more free content like this.

Download this report, watch this presentation, go to this page, and you’ll learn (some valuable things).

Call to schedule an appointment so you can find out if you have a case and get your questions answered.

Tell people why.

Something else. Don’t ask for everything under the sun. Ask for one thing, maybe two. But not everything.

Ask them to Like (and tell them why) and you might get more Likes. Ask them to Like and subscribe and share and you might get none of the above.

Ask a visitor to your website to download your report (and tell them why) and you might get more downloads (and subscribers). Asking them to also share your post, read another article and sign up for your seminar, and many visitors will simply leave.

The same goes for your services. Talk about one of your services, offers, or packages, don’t give them a menu of everything you do.

Because when you ask people to do too much, or you give them too many options, they get confused and a confused mind usually says no.

Telling people what to do is good marketing and you should do it. But if you want more people to do what you ask, ask for one thing at a time (and tell them why).

Like this:

Please forward this post to a lawyer you know who might want to get more clients. They’ll appreciate you for thinking of them, and so will I.

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The most important word in marketing

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You go to my website and read all about me and the services I offer. You like what you see.

I tell you to call to make an appointment. I tell you the number to call, the best time to call, who to ask for and what to say.

What’s missing?

I haven’t told you why.

Why should you make an appointment? What are the benefits? What will you learn or get? How will you be better off?

You shouldn’t assume a prospect knows this, even if it is obvious. You need to tell them.

Tell them you’ll review the facts and explain the law. Tell them they’ll learn their options and what you recommend. Tell them they can ask as many questions as they want and you’ll answer all of them. Tell them that at the end of the appointment, they’ll know what you can do to help them and what happens next.

Because that’s what they want. That’s the benefit. That’s why they will call.

Other lawyers tell people to call but don’t say why. They might say “to talk to a lawyer” but that’s not what people want. They want solutions, relief from their pain or worry, a plan for moving forward.

That’s why they will call. That’s what you need to tell them.

Whatever you’re offering, tell people why they should accept your offer or do what you’re asking them to do. You want them to sign up for your newsletter? Tell them why. What will they learn, what will they get, how will they better off?

When you tell people the benefits, when you tell them what’s in it for them, more people will call or sign up or accept your offer.

You get more subscribers, set more appointments, sign up more clients, and increase your income.

That’s why you tell people why.

Marketing is easier when you have a plan

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It’s not about your services, it’s about your solutions

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You offer services. You want happy clients. One doesn’t necessarily lead to the other.

Before you tell anyone about your services or create any new marketing documents, ask yourself this question:

“What problems am I qualified to solve?”

Because your services (knowledge, skills, experience, etc.) are merely tools you use to solve problems, which is what your clients really want.

So, make a list. What solutions and benefits are you capable of delivering?

Look through your closed client files and take inventory of what you’ve done for your clients. What problems did you solve? What benefits did you help them get?

Clients don’t care about your services. They don’t really need to know how you do what you do.

They want to know what you can do for them.

Okay. Once you know what you can do to help people, make a list of people (businesses, entities) who need what you do.

Who is your ideal client? What are their problems? What do they want?

Once you have answered these questions, you can talk about your services and offers.

More importantly, you’ll know who to target with your marketing message, and what to talk about in that message.

How to quickly grow a big practice

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Just the facts, ma’am

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In the pantheon of bad marketing advice, is the notion that telling prospective clients about your experience and your services is enough to persuade people to choose you.

Because it’s not.

They’re important. A client wants to know what you offer and what you can do for them, and you need to tell them, but if that’s all you tell them, if you give them just the facts, you’re not giving them enough to make a buying decision, that is, to hire you.

Because people “buy” for emotional reasons and then justify their “purchase” with the facts.

Your job is to trigger an emotional response to your words, to make them feel something that compels them to act.

The simplest and most effective way to do that is by telling stories.

Stories are the juice of marketing. They lubricate your message, give it context, and show the need for and benefits of what you offer. Stories convey importance and urgency and persuade people to act.

Seth Godin said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Stories are especially important when you sell something abstract like legal services.

Stories work because they’re about people. Prospects pay attention to your stories to find out what happened to them.

Oh boy, look at that. Here I am trying to convince you to use stories in your marketing and I haven’t used any. I made an important point, but that point would be more effective and memorable had I told you about these two lawyers in the same market who offer the same services, but who use a slightly different marketing strategy.

Lawyer Moe’s marketing primarily consists of brochures, and a website filled with facts. He describes his practice areas, his experience, and his services, and it’s impressive.

Lawyer Larry also tells the facts, but includes stories from his practice to illustrate what he does for his clients. His stories are usually no more than a few paragraphs, but like any story, they have a beginning (a problem), a middle (complications), and a resolution (problem solved by Larry, our hero).

Moe has more experience than Larry, but Larry earns three times what Moe earns, primarily because his stories “show” instead of “tell”.

Facts tell, but stories sell. Use stories in your marketing.

Put stories in your newsletter

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The Bandwagon Effect

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Psychologists tell us most people tend to think or act a certain way when they believe others are doing the same. They don’t want to make a mistake or miss out so they usually follow the crowd.

The “Bandwagon Effect” is a cognitive bias that causes people to buy a certain product or act a certain way because it is the more popular option.

Prospective clients often choose the attorney who appears busier for the same reason.

You can use this innate cognitive bias in your conversations and presentations with prospective clients.

When you present two or more options to a prospective client, e.g., Package A (your “starter” service) and Package B (your bigger service), for example, before you ask what they’d like to do or which option they prefer, tell them which option is more popular: “Most of my clients prefer Package B” (if that’s true) and tell them why.

You can do something similar in your articles and blog posts, and in your sales materials.

“Most of the people I talk to about [issue] tell me they don’t want to wait, they want to take care of this immediately because. . .”

Most people want to follow the ostensibly safer and better path chosen by others, so make sure you tell people what most people usually do.

Ready to make this year your best year ever? This will help

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What ancient Egyptian sounded like and how we know

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Last night I watched a video with the above title. I don’t have a particular interest in the subject; the title caught my eye and made me curious.

Like you would be if you were about to witness the opening of a pyramid for the first time.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you anything about the subject because it was late and I fell asleep a few minutes after the video began. I woke up and trundled off to bed, but not before recording the title on my phone.

I did this because I collect good titles and headlines. You should, too.

They provide a template of sorts that we can use to write headlines and titles for our blog posts, articles, emails, and books.

Headlines that make people curious to read more.

If you’re a PI lawyer, for example, the title of this video might prompt you to write a blog post with the title, “How much is my case worth and how do you know?”

That’s something clients and prospects frequently ask, isn’t it?

Hopefully, people won’t fall asleep once they start reading your post, or turn the page because you failed to deliver on the promise of your title.

In other words, don’t write clickbait-y titles. That’s a surefire way to alienate people.

So, while you obviously can’t tell anyone what their case is worth in advance, make sure you provide enough information in your post so the reader feels like you didn’t lie to them.

And, when a clickbait-y title gets your attention and makes you curious, add it to your collection. It may prompt you to write a headline that promises something you can actually deliver.

How to write headlines and titles that get more referrals

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