In marketing legal services, we typically show people something they didn’t know or confirm something they thought they knew. We educate them about the law, the risks, the penalties, the options, and the benefits of taking action, i.e., hiring us. 

Besides “telling,” we also persuade them by dramatizing what they know (or what we’ve just told them) by making the risks and penalties more formidable and urgent, and/or the benefits and relief more enticing. 

We do the latter by providing more information, arguments, or examples, or agitating what we’ve told them by adding more fuel to the fire. Some copywriters call this “twisting the knife”. 

We want them to feel more emotions, enough to tip the balance in favor of taking the next step. If they’re scared, that means scaring them more, but not so much that they shut down.

A little can go a long way. 

The key is to talk about things they care about and make the threat or promise more likeable and believable. 

The most important place to do that is in your headline or title. Show them you understand them and have something important for them, and they will be more likely to notice, click, and read your message. 

In the body of your message, you continue to twist the knife. 

Enough to make them cry ‘Uncle,’ but not enough to kill them. 


Simple habits that will fix 97% of your problems


I stole the title of this post from a video that caught my attention. I’m sharing the headline with you as an example of a headline or title that works. 

It works because it is bold and promises a valuable, albeit impossible sounding benefit. But even if I’m dubious about the headline’s promise, I’d still like to know what those habits are, wouldn’t you?

I’d like to know if I’m doing them and, if not, what it would take to start. And, if I already do them, is there a way I might do them better?

Effective titles promise a desirable benefit or make the reader curious about something that interests them. This headline does both. 

But you don’t need to analyze every headline that makes you stop to get something out of them. Just note when something catches your eye, for whatever reason, because if it attracted you, it’s likely to do the same for others. 

Sometimes, with modifications; sometimes, “as is”.

A headline that said, “3 simple habits that can fix up to one-third of your legal marketing problems” for example, would get your attention, wouldn’t it?

Pay attention to headlines and titles that speak to you. Collect them, learn from them, and repurpose them in your content. 

Because the right headline, in the right context, will fix 97% of your legal marketing problems.


Compelling reasons to hire you


They need you. They want you. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready to hire you. A lot of things can get in the way between “interested” and “take my money”. It’s up to you to convince them to take the next step. Or more accurately, to provide them with sufficient facts and emotional appeals to enable them to convince themself. 

For starters, that requires understanding their problem and how it affects them. Where is their pain? What do they fear? What is their objective and, if they don’t achieve it, what it will cost them and how will they feel? 

If they don’t know this, you need to tell them. And provide examples of what happened to other people in their situation. 

If they do know what can happen, tell them anyway, and invoke their emotions.

Remind them of the consequences and how bad things can get. And remind them that all is not lost, there are things you can do.

This may take a while. You should be prepared to tell them these things not once but repeatedly until they’re ready to act. 

Vary your approach. One time, give them good news. Rainbows and furry animals. Next time, remind them that war is hell and paint a picture of the bloodshed that may ensure. 

Use different examples and arguments. Bullet points and essays. The Yin and the Yang. If before you dispassionately told them “just the facts,” now you might get in their face with urgency and alarm. 

And don’t stop. You can’t just send them a memo and expect that this will do the trick. You need to stay in touch with prospects (and clients), alternatively poking them and hugging them, and all the while, letting them know you’re ready to talk to them.

The words you use, your copywriting strategy, your tone, are all important. But nothing is as important as continually being “in their minds and mailboxes”. 

This is where you hold an edge over your competitors. They may have a better track record or other reasons why someone should hire them, but most don’t stay in touch. 

They don’t understand that marketing legal services is a process, not an event. 

But you do. And that’s how you win.


Too long; didn’t read


Lawyers tend to write articles and documents and memos and cover letters and emails… that are too long. They seek completeness and accuracy and to persuade someone of something, but often wind up doing anything but. Their writing is often long-winded, repetitive, boring, and ultimately persuades no one. 

Search engines favor longer articles. But to be effective, they have to be well written. If they are, in terms of sales, long copy usually pulls better than short copy.

What can you do? Learn how to write long copy effectively or hire someone to do it for you. One takes time and practice, the other takes money and the good sense to invest it. 

But that’s not the end of the story.

Yes, write long when you’re selling something (your services) or want to make love to Miss Google. But it’s okay to write short copy in your blog or newsletter, on social, in email, and for other purposes. In fact, it is often the best thing you can do.  

Writing shorter pieces allows you to write more often. Your audience hears from you more frequently and is more likely to read what you wrote. That gives you more opportunities to “speak” to them and remind them about what you do and how you can help them. 

You’re able to be in their minds and mailboxes more often, leading to more new clients and legal work for you.

This is a short message. If you got this far, it means you read it. We connected. That’s good.

Something else. Not only does writing longer articles mean you connect with your audience less frequently, your readers often save those longer articles to “read later” and we all know that later often never comes.  

Yes, they do see that you emailed them again or published another post and that has value even if they don’t read your message. But it’s better if they do. 

Ultimately, the best thing to do is to write both long and short articles, posts, and emails, and let each do their job. 

How to start and write an effective email newsletter


Tell ‘em about the client who said no


Or waited too long to say yes and got burned. Or hired a lawyer with less experience and lost the case. Or didn’t follow your advice and had to spend thousands more to have you fix it.

Your words of warning or advice might go in one ear and out the other. So don’t just tell them, show them. Paint a picture in their mind, visually depicting what happened to other clients. 

For example, if you have a client or prospect who says, “I need to think it over,” you might respond with something like this: 

“I had a client say the same thing to me, but unfortunately, he didn’t ‘think it over’. Now, every time he opens his mailbox, a pile of collection letters falls out. Two weeks ago, Sherrif’s deputies knocked on his door and served him another lawsuit, and last week, his car was repossessed. Now, he has to ask his brother-in-law to drive him to work.”

Word pictures show people what’s at stake and give them a mental image that won’t let them forget it. 


You can’t sell your services without answering three 3 questions


Prospective clients (and the people who refer them) won’t hire (or recommend) you unless you answer some fundamental questions about yourself and what you offer. 

(1) Why should I give you any of my time?  

I’m busy, I have problems and a life or business. Why should I download your report, watch your video, visit your website, or sign up for your webinar? Why should I listen to you or talk to you?

What will I learn? How will I be better off?

(2) Why should I hire you (now)? 

What can an attorney do for me I can’t do myself? 

What problems do you solve? What risks will you help me reduce? Why should I hire you now instead of waiting?

Will you save me money? Time? What other benefits will you help me get?

There are lots of attorneys who would like my business—why should I choose you? What do you do other attorneys don’t do? What do you do better or faster? 

(3) Why should I trust you?

I don’t know you. I’ve been burned by attorneys in the past. Can you prove what you’re telling me? 

What are your capabilities and experience? What resources do you have? What is your track record?

Do you have testimonials, reviews, endorsements, or awards attesting to your abilities and “service”? 

When you address these questions in advance, you clarify need, increase trust, reduce objections, and get more prospective clients to hire you or take the next step.

Think of these questions as the agenda for all of your marketing and you won’t go wrong.


Hope and opportunity


That’s really what you sell. Your legal services are merely a means to an end. 

Clients want their problems to be fixed. They want to recover their losses and be protected against future harm. They want their pain to stop and the pleasure they seek to start. 

And they want to know they have you by their side, fighting for them, defending them, advising them, and helping them achieve their goals.

Hope and opportunity. That’s why they hire you. And your presentations, articles, and conversations should feature these. 

Clients aren’t especially interested in how you do what you do. They want to know that you can and will help them feel better and sleep better and be more prosperous. Clients choose you because of how you make them feel. They stay with you and tell others about you because of how you continue to make them feel.

In your marketing, talk mostly about the big picture, the benefits, and not so much about how you do what you do. 

Other lawyers may point to their impressive track record, but clients will choose you because you did something those other lawyers didn’t do. 

You made them feel good about themselves and their future.


A simple formula 


According to Wikipedia, “Copywriting is the process of creating persuasive marketing and promotional materials that motivate people to take some form of action, such as making a purchase, clicking on a link, donating to a cause, or scheduling a consultation.” 

There are several copywriting formulas, starting with the most well known AIDA, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. 

You can’t convince anyone to do something unless you first have their attention. That’s your headline or lead. 

Once you have their attention, you present information that builds interest for your product or service or solution. 

You then build desire for your product or solution by showing them how they will be better off when they buy it. 

Finally, you prompt them to take action to get what you offer. 

It works for most products or services, including legal services, but I use a somewhat different formula: PASBA. 

PASBA stands for Problem, Agitation, Solution, Benefits, and (call to) Action. 

  1. Problem. What does your reader want and what’s stopping him from getting it? Sometimes, especially with an abstract like legal services, they don’t even realize they have a problem until you point it out. 
  2. Agitate. What can happen if they don’t fix the problem or get what they want? What can they lose? How bad can it get? What pain and secondary problems might occur? Show them examples, stories, statistics, or other factors to illustrate and build desire for a solution.  
  3. Solution. What you can do to solve, mitigate, or prevent the problem, or help them achieve their goal? Tell them about your services and options. 
  4. Benefits. What do they get when they hire you? Will they feel relief? Be safer, happier, or otherwise better off? 
  5. Call to action. Tell them what to do to get your solution and benefits. Tell them how to get started, encourage them to take the first step, and create urgency for doing that with a deadline or by reminding them about the risks of delay or inaction.   

You can use variations of this formula in sales copy, emails, web pages, from the stage, in person, or any time you want to convince people to do something you want them to do. 

Make sure they know the nature and extent of their problem, what you can do to help them, how they will be better off, and what to do to get started. 

If you do, you’ll get more clients and help more people. If you don’t. . . 


Do this and you’ll get more leads, subscribers, and clients


Notice I didn’t tell you what “this” is. You want to know what it is, don’t you? So you started reading. And thus, illustrate the power of this principle—curiosity.

Humans are curious creatures. And you can use their curiosity to get them to do what you want them to do.

Prospective clients want information. They want answers. They want to know what can be done to solve their problem and achieve their goal. Which is why they visit your website, read your posts, sign up for your newsletter, watch your videos, and sign up for your seminar. 

It’s also why they contact you, make an appointment, and keep it.   

But hold on. You can’t rely on their innate “desire to know” to get them to do what you want them to do. You have to build on their curiosity. Make them hungry enough to take action. 

How? By not telling them everything they want to know. 

Hold back. Tell them some of the basics, but don’t tell them everything. 

Most lawyers know that but don’t always do it. They want to impress the prospective client with their knowledge and experience and wind up telling them too much. Too much information, too many answers to frequently asked questions, too much detail.

They don’t have to take the next step if you’ve already told them everything.

Many lawyers do the opposite. They don’t tell them enough. They tell them their practice areas and accomplishments (in an ad or directory listing or website) and nothing else. They assume this is enough to compel prospective clients to call or write or fill out a form. 

But it’s not. They want more. 

Your challenge is to tell them enough so they see you have the information and solutions they need and want, but not so much that they don’t need to take the next step.

Make them curious. Don’t satisfy their curiosity. 


Are you better than your competition?


Maybe. But the average lawyer is, by definition, average and unless you can delineate what you do better than other lawyers, you can’t call yourself better. Just average. 

Do you get better outcomes for your clients? Give them more value? Help them in ways that go beyond your core legal services? 

What. Exactly. Do. You. Do. Better? 

I know that’s a tough call. Start by noting what you do differently, meaning that your competition doesn’t regularly do. 

I know, that’s also tough, because many attorneys do what you do and you do what they do. Same laws, same procedures, same basic process, and very much the same outcomes and deliverables. 

It’s true. 

Still, if you want to stand out and show prospective clients an advantage to hiring you (instead of them), you need to give them reasons. 

Why should they hire you “instead”?

You need to figure that out. Don’t worry. It’s not as difficult as you think. Because in marketing, “different” is often seen as “better”. 

So, what do you do that’s different? 

It doesn’t have to be big and amazing. It could be as simple as your process for investigating a new case and setting up a new file (for example). 

What’s so special about that? Maybe nothing. Probably nothing. Your competition probably does the same things you do (questions, research, investigation, forms, first steps, etc.)

But while you (and your competition) see how you open a new file as small and commonplace and not worth mentioning, it can be a big deal to your clients who don’t know what you do and why it’s important.

By providing a few details about what you do, and why, something small and commonplace can be a big deal.  

Clients don’t know all the steps you take, the forms you use, the procedures you follow, and the benefits these confer. 

So, tell them. When you do, what’s commonplace and boring to you (and your competition) becomes important. 

And gives you an advantage. 

And, if you describe what you do when you open a new file and your competition doesn’t (because they assume everyone does it and it’s not worth mentioning), in the eyes of your prospective clients, you “own” that advantage. 

Which is why you start by researching your competition, to see what they do (and don’t do), and what they say (and don’t say) about it.