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


A little pain goes a long way


People buy legal services to solve a problem. The bigger the problem (or potential problem they’re trying to prevent), the more motivated they are to do something about it.

They’re in pain and want relief. It’s your job to remind them about that.

In your presentations, articles, posts, videos, reports, and other marketing documents, the best thing you can do for your reader and prospective client is to remind them that they are in pain, or will be if they don’t take action, and tell them why their pain is unlikely to go away by itself.

Tell them what their problem is costing them—or will cost if they do nothing.

Tell them about ancillary problems this might cause and what those might cost.

Tell them about how bad things can get if they ignore the problem or wait too long to do anything about it.

And then present the solution you offer and tell them how to get it.

But don’t just “mention” their pain, dramatize it. Make sure they feel it in their gut. Get them to imagine the worst-case scenario and feel the urgency of their situation.

But (and this is important) don’t overdo it.

You don’t want to come off as an alarmist or make them think you’re trying too hard to get their business.

Easy on the drama queenery.

The other reason for not overdoing it is that you don’t want to scare them off.

If you frighten them too much, pile on the urgent talk, rail at them to do something immediately, they might put their head under the covers and do nothing.

Or run into the welcoming arms of another lawyer who sounds more sympathetic and hopeful.

State the problem. Agitate the problem and the pain it is causing or could cause. Present the solution. And close by talking about the benefits of that solution.

Always offer hope.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to do all of the above is to tell them about one or more of your other clients who were in the same situation before they came to you—and how they’re doing now.

A little pain goes a long way, but only if you also offer hope.

The Attorney Marketing Formula


One word you usually won’t hear me say


I write about marketing and productivity. What to do, how to do it, how to do it better, at lower cost, in less time, and with better results.

You usually hear me describe these ideas as strategies, techniques, methods, advice, best practices, and the like, but I don’t call them “tips”.

To my ear, “tips” are like candy—tasty but lacking nutritional value. The word implies the information is commonplace, light-weight, and for a general audience. I associate “tips” with the content of articles in pop culture magazines and consumer-oriented blogs and channels.

Not the kind of information I want to convey to you or, I would think, you want to deliver to your readers.

Yes, it’s just a word, but it lacks gravitas. It’s not the type of word we expect to hear in content created by experts, professionals, and other serious-minded people.

At times, you may think me a wild and crazy guy, but I hope you never think of my ideas that way.

We all read articles that contain tips because we think we can quickly skim the article and find one or two interesting facts or nuggets we can use. That’s not a bad thing.

What’s bad is when we avoid reading the article entirely because we’re busy, we think we know most of the tips already, and we prefer to invest our precious time consuming content we think will be more valuable.

Speaking of tips, may I offer you one? Yeah, so can everyone else.


The most powerful word in marketing


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