The most powerful word in marketing

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In the app store is a relatively new productivity app for iPad that’s that’s getting rave reviews. Judging by their comments, people love what it can do, especially compared to the competition, but what they really love is that it’s free.

They gush. They praise. They can’t believe their good fortune in finding an app that does everything the competition does, arguably better, and doesn’t cost a cent.

By the way, the competition cost less than $10.

Some people said they don’t want to pay for an app. Some said the competition is too expensive. Some said they were broke and can’t afford it.

I don’t care how broke you are, you can afford $10.

Let me put it this way, if you can afford an iPad, you can afford to buy a $10 app. Especially one you just said is ‘perfect’ for you.

Alas, people get hypnotized by the word ‘free”. It’s almost irresistible, as in, “I have to have it.”

I’ll bet someone reading this right now wants me to identify this app so they can get it post haste; some of them don’t even own an iPad. (The app is CollaNote. Check it out if you like to take handwritten notes).

The lesson is that “free” is a powerful word (and concept) and you should use it in your marketing. Find or create something your target market wants and give it away. And use the word liberally in your content.

You’ll get more traffic, more subscribers and followers, more leads, and more clients.

But a word of warning.

There are people who won’t hire you or do anything that’s not free, no matter how much they need your help.

Don’t worry about them. They don’t take up a lot of space. And who knows, maybe things will change for them someday, or maybe they’ll tell people about you and they’ll hire you.

But there are also those who can pay you but have been conditioned to wait for the free (or discounted) offer.

You can’t play that game. You can’t give away too much, or do it too often, and expect people to pay full retail.

A good rule of thumb is to give away content (unless you sell this) but not your time. (If you offer free consultations, or entry level free services, put limits on them).

Yeah, that’s free advice. Don’t get used to it.

The Attorney Marketing Formula isn’t free, but it’s worth it

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I don’t need the practice

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I’ve done a lot of interviews and I’m looking forward to doing more. They are easy to do, bring high quality traffic to my site, and I enjoy doing them. If you’re looking for a simple and effective marketing method, interviews with bloggers and podcasters, authors and other influencers, gets my highest recommendation.

Anyway, I recently received an invitation to a one hour interview about “marketing strategies in the legal profession.”

Right up my alley, right? So why haven’t I replied to this invitation, or to the follow-up email seeking to schedule a date?

Because the person conducting the interview said she is “working with a client outside the legal profession. . . to increase our clients’ understanding of the often complex legal industry.”

That’s nice and everything, but. . . what’s in it for me?

Seriously. Why should I help you with this research project?

Will the interview be published anywhere lawyers might see it? Will I be quoted and get a link to my site? Will you compensate me in any way for my time and expertise?

Anything? Bueller?

Alrighty then. Imma need to sit this one out.

Actually, I did get something out of this. I got the opportunity to remind you that in your marketing, always tell people what’s in it for them.

Tell people why they should hire you (or let you interview them). Tell them the benefits. Tell them how will they be better off.

Even if it’s obvious.

Because what’s obvious to you may not be obvious to them. And because if you don’t tell them, or you aren’t persuasive enough, your message (like the one I just told you about) will probably wind up in the digital dumpster.

Why should anyone hire you?

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Say it again

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One of the most important principles in marketing is repetition. If you want to put more butts in seats at your events, get more people reading and sharing your content, and more people hiring or recommending you, once is not enough.

Because the first time you say it, offer it, or ask for it, the odds are nothing will happen.

Why?

Maybe they didn’t get your message. Maybe they didn’t read it. Maybe they weren’t ready to take the next step.

For a lot of reasons:

  • They didn’t have the money
  • They didn’t want to spend the money
  • Their problem wasn’t yet painful enough
  • They didn’t understand you, believe you or trust you
  • They needed to get someone else’s buy-in
  • They have another attorney and feel bad about switching
  • They didn’t want what you offered
  • They had more pressing issues

So, you say it again.

You send the same message, or a different message. You repeat your arguments, examples, and stories, or you use different ones.

But they still may not be ready. So you follow-up with them again. And again. And again. And when they’re ready to take the next step, they will.

But that’s not the end of the story.

You continue to stay in touch with them, even after they hire you, because they may have other legal matters that need addressing (and may not realize they do), or they might not need your services right now but know someone that does.

Each time they hear from you, each time they find your message in their inbox, you remind them about what you do and how you can help them.

And people need to be reminded.

On the other hand, guess what happens if you only send one message, or even two or three?

A year, two years, three years later, when they need you and are ready to take the next step, you will be a long-forgotten memory and some other lawyer will get the call.

So, two rules for your rulebook:

  1. Don’t rely on one message to close the deal, and
  2. Stay in touch with people repeatedly, over time.

When they’re ready, willing, and able to hire you (or refer you), there you will be, in their minds and in their mailboxes.

The easiest way to do this? Yes, email.

Hey, have you noticed that I’ve said this before? Many times, in fact?

Just practicing what I’m preaching.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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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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