Be brief

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At a time of diminished attention spans and lists of things to do as long as their arm, most people don’t have time to watch your lengthy presentation or read your lengthy article, blog post, or email. If you want more people reading more of your content (and you do), keep it brief. 

As short as necessary and no longer. 

In your core work as advocate, advisor, or draftsman, say as much as you need to say to do your job. For marketing and client relations, say less. 

This doesn’t mean writing less often. Actually, if you’re trying to build and strengthen relationships with clients and prospects and professional contacts, you should write more often. 

Once or twice a year or “once in a while” isn’t enough to keep your name in front of people. 

Good news. Shorter content is quicker to write so you can write more often. 

Yes, SEO favors longer articles and posts, and longer sales letters and pages tend to pull higher response, but for a busy lawyer, your top priority should be to get something out the door and into the hands of readers and followers. 

As often as possible. 

You can also write longer articles and reports, do longer videos and presentation, but make those extra. 

Shorter content, published more often, should be your thing.

If you’re using email (and you should), here’s everything you need to know

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The fortune is in the follow-up

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In marketing, many lawyers prioritize getting new leads and attracting new prospects when they should prioritize following-up with the ones they already have.

Anyone who expressed interest is far more valuable to you than someone you’ve never spoken to, doesn’t recognize your name, and may or may not have any interest in hearing how you can help them.

And since you’ve already invested your time or money to acquire those leads or attract those inquires, why wouldn’t you follow up?  

Some attorneys never follow-up. They meet someone, give them their card, and leave it up to the would-be client to take the next step. Or someone visits their website and downloads their report or asks a question and once they deliver the report or answer the question, that’s it. No additional follow-up.  

They justify this by saying, “If they want to know more, they know where to find me.”

This may be true, but it is beside the point. They showed interest but may not be ready to take the next step or ask for more information. If you don’t follow up with them, by the time they are ready to hire you or talk to you, they may not recall your name or know where to find you.

Or they hire another lawyer who did follow-up.

How long should you follow up? Days? Weeks? Months? Years?

Forever. Until they “buy or die”. 

Actually, don’t stop after they buy. They might buy again. Or need an update. Or tell someone about you. Or provide a review or testimonial. Or share your content. Or ask a question that gives you a great idea for your newsletter.

Don’t stop when they die, either. Their surviving spouse or children or partner may need your services, or know someone who does. 

So never stop. Once someone is on your list, don’t stop emailing or remove them unless they tell you to. 

“But I don’t want to annoy them?” 

Annoy them. You might email them precisely when they need you and be very glad you did.

It’s better to contact someone too often than not often enough. They can delete or ignore your emails, click the link to remove themselves from your list, or tell you to do it for them. 

How often should you contact them? At the beginning, just after you’ve met them or spoken to them or they signed up for your report, more often. They are more likely to hire you or take the next step with they are “fresh”.

Make your initial follow-ups more personal and do them more often. Strike while the iron is hot. 

After a suitable period, stay in touch with them more generally and (perhaps) less often, via a newsletter. You might choose to supplement that with something more personal: a card, a call, a reminder of something they told you or asked you about, but you don’t have to. You can let your newsletter do the heavy lifting, and it will.

How to use an email newsletter to follow-up with prospects and clients

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The best way to improve your content

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Content means information, right? About the law, how to recognize a problem, what to do and not do, what an attorney can do to help them (and why it should be you).

All good, but not necessarily compelling. 

You want readers to take action: click and visit your pages, read your articles, download your reports, view your presentation, and especially to contact you and hire you (or refer you). 

There are several ways to use your content to accomplish that. 

You can overtly disagree with what other lawyers say, to show the reader you’re different, i.e., better. Don’t just tell them what’s available, give them the pros and cons of various solutions, provide more nuanced comments about the risks, and follow with a well-reasoned recommendation. 

Tell them what and why. 

If you’re hesitant to do that without first speaking to the reader about their specific situation, use “if/then” writing to cover yourself and provide additional context. 

Another way to stand out and get readers to see you as the better lawyer is to explain how things work in the “real world”. Take them “behind the curtain” and show them why things are done one way and not another.

Or, when other lawyers provide “just the facts” and are serious and boring, you might take a lighter approach (if appropriate) and make your content more interesting and maybe even fun. 

The best thing you can do? Provide client success stories, to illustrate your points and show readers there are solutions to their problems—here’s proof. 

Give them hope while you educate them. 

But many attorneys tell client success stories. If you want to be more effective, don’t just tell the stories, make them personal. Tell the reader what the client told you, what you thought, how you felt, and what you did (and why).

Personal stories, for the win. 

You want readers to see you in their mind’s eye, asking questions, feeling what the client felt, considering the facts, weighing the options, and then being an advocate for or advisor to your clients. 

Why get personal? Because prospective clients not only want to know about their risks and options, they want to know what it would be like having you as their attorney. 

If you want to demonstrate your knowledge and experience, write about the law. If you want to build a following and get people to choose you as their attorney, write about your personal experiences.

How to write a newsletter that brings in more clients

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A simple tool for getting more referrals

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It’s extremely effective, costs little or nothing to use, and doesn’t take a lot of time. You can start using it today and start getting referrals almost immediately. 

Without talking to anyone. 

Yes, I’m talking about email marketing. Which means using email to stay in touch with people you know—clients, prospects, business contacts, even other attorneys. 

When you do, you’ll get more referrals. 

In this context, a referral can occur when someone forwards your email to someone they know who might need your help. Or know someone who does.

To start, ask people if you can contact them from time to time via email, with a newsletter, announcements, or special offers. That’s your initial list. (Don’t assume you can do this; ask).

Then, send them valuable or interesting information once a week (or at least once a month) and include a link to a page on your website about what you do and how you help your clients.  

When you email your list, ask your readers to forward your emails to their contacts. If the content is good, they will. And their contacts will find out what you do and how you can help them. 

Your list will grow and so will your referrals. 

If you want to grow faster, add a sign-up form on your website or blog for visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. Offer an incentive such as a report, ebook, checklist, or form for signing up. 

Your list will grow and so will your referrals. Which is why email marketing is one of your best tools for getting more referrals. 

Not everyone can hire you. But EVERYONE can send you referrals. 

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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It’s not just the information

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To be effective, your blog or newsletter, podcast or channel, needs more than good information. It also needs a healthy dose of your personality. 

Because no matter good the information in your articles and posts might be, people read and recommend content that gives them a sense of who you are—a real person with a business and personal life and a specific style. 

So, put yourself in your content.

Your content also needs to be easy to read. No matter how sophisticated your audience might be, they don’t want to slog through academic or boring prose. Give them something they can skim when they’re short of time (and they’re always short of time), or they can chew on and digest if they need more. . 

Your readers and listeners also want you to engage them by asking (rhetorical) questions, providing if/then statements, and illustrating your points with relevant and relatable examples and stories about people like them.

Want to know what else they want? A bit of fun. Something light or amusing, and certainly interesting, and sometimes surprising. Things they don’t expect. And things they usually don’t get from your competition. 

Variety is also welcome. Mix up your topics and how you present them. Today, tell them what you think. Tomorrow, interview an expert. Next week, recommend a book or blog you think they will enjoy. Mix up the length of your posts, too—long this week and a few paragraphs the next.

This is what makes your content valuable and keeps people reading and sharing it. This is what builds a relationship with your readers and subscribers and gets them to take the next step when they’re ready to talk to you about their situation.

It’s not the depth of your knowledge or the quality of your prose. It’s you, talking to them as you would a client or friend, not trying to impress anyone but simply sharing some ideas they can use or will enjoy hearing.

You know the blogs and newsletters you enjoy reading? Yeah, like those. 

How to build your practice with a newsletter

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Useful Idiots

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You have people on your email list(s) who have never hired you, hired you and fired you, or hired you one time ages ago and you’ve never heard from them since. 

They are dead weight—just taking up space. 

Keep them on your list.  

They are useful, because one day they may realize they need help, find one of your emails and contact you. 

Email is cheap. Don’t delete anyone. They are useful, even if their usefulness isn’t presently clear. 

Even if they never hire you (again), they might forward your link to someone who does hire you, or who forwards that link to someone else who does. They may tell someone about your upcoming webinar, your book, or your article, or share something you’ve said or done.

Keep everyone. Old clients, prospects, leads, and business contacts who couldn’t pick you out of a lineup. 

And, unless you have very large lists, I wouldn’t bother sending out a “Click here if you want to continue receiving email from me” message, or reminding anyone they can unsubscribe.

Keep everyone. Because anyone may become your next client or lead them to you.

Are there exceptions? Subscribers you might want to delete? 

If someone is a complete jerk and you never want to work with them or hear from them again, you might think about sending them to digital hell.

Think twice. 

They may be idiots, but they are still useful. 

They may never realize they are the problem, apologize, and change their ways, but they can still send you referrals. And traffic that turns into new business. Unless they’re completely in your face and making you miserable, keep them on your list. Forever.

Besides, if you delete them, what’s keeping them from signing up again with a new email (and IP address)? 

Jerks do that, you know. Just to mess with you. 

Don’t worry your pretty little head about the jerks and the idiots. Don’t try to figure them out, don’t engage them. 

Ignore them and go do some work. 

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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A short course in getting your emails opened

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Whether you’re writing to clients or business contacts, a newsletter or a solo email, or any other email to anyone, getting your message opened is your first and more important task.

Because if they don’t open it, they won’t read it and if they don’t open and read it, they won’t learn anything or do anything. 

Before you write your next email, ask yourself, “What can I do to get the people I send this to open it?”

My advice:

For starters, send that email to people who know you (or at least know your name), preferably people who like and trust you. They’ll open the email simply because they recognize your name. Job one complete. 

Failing that, or in addition to that (because just because someone knows, likes, and trust you doesn’t mean they will open everything you send them), make your subject line show them the email is relevant to them.

To them personally, their group or their business, or something that interests them. Because if it does none of that, why should they bother?

Still, even if it is relevant, many people will pass it up, unless you do something else to compel them to click. The simplest way to do that is to say something in the subject that makes them curious.

Curious to see what “this” is all about, what’s next, or what they need to know. 

Our brains hate unanswered questions. Make them curious enough to open your email, to find the answer to a question you pose, or they think about as soon as they see your subject.  

You want them to feel a little tug of discomfort at the thought that they’ll miss out on something they need or want to know, but won’t find out unless they open your message.

Curiosity isn’t the only way to get clicks, but it is one of the best. It’s why ‘click bait’ is so effective, even when said bait borders on the ridiculous. 

How to build your practice with email

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It takes a lot of emails to get a new client

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Yes, some new subscribers will hire you immediately, or at least soon. Or call and ask questions and then hire you. 

Of course, this depends on the urgency of their issue. If someone was just sued or arrested, they don’t have a lot of time to choose a lawyer. 

But you shouldn’t assume that, either. Because you don’t know who is on your list. 

Some subscribers need you but can’t afford you. They’ll try to fix their problem themselves, or hire someone cheap, and hire you later when they realize their mistake. 

Some subscribers aren’t in a hurry. They’re going to take their time. 

Some subscribers will never hire you (or any lawyer) but, if they like your emails, tell people about you.  

And some subscribers are already your clients and don’t need anything else. But reading your emails reminds them they made a good choice in hiring you, making it less likely they’ll leave, and more likely they will hire you again when they need your help.  

And no matter who they are, or where they came from, everyone on your list is busy. They might not see your message or read it. They might not be ready to take the next step. 

All you can do is keep mailing until they’re ready. 

And that might be a while. Weeks, months, or years. 

And? 

And until that happens, you should mail often.  

If it takes you 25, 50, or 100 emails before some subscribers are ready to sign up, and you email only once a week, it might be a couple of years before that happens. If you email once a month, it could take forever. 

Don’t be shy. Email as often as possible. 

You might think you don’t need to. You might not want to. But the more often you do, the more new clients and repeat clients you’ll get and the more you will earn. 

Is there such a thing as emailing too often? No. 

No? 

There will always be subscribers who think you’re emailing too often, and they will unsubscribe. 

Let them go. 

If your emails are valuable and/or interesting, as they should be, and they want to leave, they were probably never going to hire you.

At least you should assume that and focus on the ones who like hearing from you often because they are the ones who will help you build your practice.

Email marketing for attorneys

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Everyone tells you this is important, but is it?

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You have an email list, for your newsletter, podcast, or seminars, or a list of your clients and prospects and professional contacts. You mail to that list regularly, or plan to, because you know that the more you stay in touch with people, the more clients and revenue you get. 

Everyone tells you to segment your list, to separate people by status (client, prospect, professional, blogger), or profile (consumer or business, big or small, type of services they need or want), because doing that lets you send targeted emails to each segment, thus increasing your conversion rate. 

Segmented lists allow you to speak more directly and specifically to each segment, addressing their needs in the context of their background and experience. You’re able to use more relevant examples and success stories for each segment, and speak to them in ways they relate to. You get more people accepting your offers, and fewer people opting out because your message doesn’t apply to or interest them.

Maybe you do this now. “Why send a newsletter about the benefits of a living trust to people who’ve already hired me to do that?” 

It makes sense. And it doesn’t. Let’s look at the math.

Let’s say you identify 100 people on your list who have not hired you to prepare a living trust. By writing just to them, let’s say you get 20% of these subscribers to hire you. On the other hand, if you write the same message to your entire list of 2000, and get only 2% to sign up, you get 40 new clients, double what you get from the smaller but more targeted list. 

You might also get other business by writing to everyone. 

Your message might prompt someone who has already hired you to do X to update X. Or it might prompt them to ask you about your other services, or refer a friend. Business clients need consumer legal services; consumer clients have friends who own a business, or want to. 

And so, segmenting your list and mailing to fewer people might be very costly.  

Are there exceptions where segmenting your list is warranted? Sure. But these are usually best addressed by using autoresponder messages that go out to specific segments of your list, in addition to your newsletter. Prospects who inquired about a living trust, for example, would receive follow-up messages about that subject. 

Send your newsletter to everyone, because you never know what might interest them or someone they know. 

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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The key to getting new subscribers to take the next step

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They came (to your website), they saw (what you do), are interested in hearing more, and subscribed to your newsletter. But they’re not ready to make an appointment or contact you with questions. 

What should you do? 

As soon as they subscribe, you should send them your “Welcome Sequence”–a series of emails that tells them who you are and how you can help them, invites them to learn more, and tells them what to do if they have questions or want to speak to you. 

A “Welcome Sequence” is a series of 5-7 emails (but it could be more, or less), that everyone gets as soon as they sign up for your newsletter, sent automatically by your email service provider via an autoresponder. 

Your welcome sequence acknowledges their problems and your solutions, provides information about you and your services, and tells them what to do to learn more.

And it’s important. It’s their second (third, fourth, fifth, etc. impression of you, the first being when they visited your website or blog, and it is the key to getting them to take the next step. 

More than providing information, your welcome sequence needs to make the new subscriber feel a sense of relief about finding you. It should make them feel good about you and be hopeful about getting the soluton to their problem. 

You do that by talking about them and their problem more than you talk about yourself. You also talk about your other clients who are like them or have had similar problems. 

The good news is that you don’t need brilliant sales copy to do that. In fact, the best thing you can do is to “be normal”–talk to them the way you would if they were sitting in your office or talking to you on the phone. 

Normal is vastly underrated.

Don’t try to impress them. Don’t make your messages all about you. Ask them questions about them and their situation and give them general guidelines about what’s possible via “If/Then” statements. 

Tell them what to expect about your newsletter—what you’ll be sending them, how often, where to go to get more information, and what to do if they want to speak to you. 

Tell them enough, but not too much. Whet their appetite to learn more. 

You know, be normal.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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