Sixty-second marketing

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What are you doing for the next sixty seconds? Okay, after you finish reading this?

You could be using that minute to market your practice.

I just watched a one-minute video by a guy walking and talking into his phone. No intro, he just started talking. He shared his thoughts on a subject and the video ended.

No promotion, no request to Like or subscribe or hit the bell. Sixty seconds and he could get on with his day.

It wasn’t scripted, and it wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t boring, either. He gave me something to think about.

The next time one of his videos comes up in my feed, I’ll probably watch it. If he continues to share something interesting, I may subscribe.

That’s how you build a following.

You could do the same thing. Just you and your phone, or you and your computer screen. Press record and talk for one minute.

You could record audio only, convert it to text and post that on social.

Or use that text in your email newsletter.

In sixty seconds, you would probably push out 150-180 words, and yes, that’s enough for a short email newsletter. If you have more to say, speak for two minutes instead of one.

What do you think? Do you have a minute to talk about something your audience or subscribers would find interesting or valuable?

If so, go record something. Like I did. Right here.

How to build your law practice with email

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Solved: The chicken came first

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If you spend enough time online, you wind up seeing things like this:

“Scientists finally concluded that the chicken came first, not the egg because the protein which makes eggshells is only produced by hens.”

I always wanted to know that, didn’t you?

Full disclosure (because this is dangerous information): I didn’t do any research to see if this is true so if you share this at a networking event or in a blog post and it turns out to be fake news, you could wind up with egg on your face (ahem).

But that’s a risk I’m willing to take, as evidenced by the fact that I’m using this nugget (ahem) in the title of this post.

Which leads me to something else I saw online–a question about blogging: “Do you write the headline first, as you go, or after you’ve finished writing the blog? Does it matter?”

Having written more than a few blog posts and articles and emails and books and ads and other things requiring a title or headline, including the all-important “Re:” in letters, I think I’m qualified to weigh in on this.

But it will be a lawyer-like answer: sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. And no, it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes I start with an idea, sometimes I start with a headline/title. Sometimes I keep the original headline/title, sometimes I change it.

So there.

It doesn’t matter because what’s important isn’t where you start, it’s where you finish. Use whatever you have to get the idea out of your head and onto “paper” and then fix it.

Unless it doesn’t need fixing.

Sometimes, the headline you start with is just right. Like the one I used here. I could have made it a question and not answered it until the body of the message but I thought this was just click-baity enough to make you want to read it.

If you’ve read this far, I guessed right.

Yes, I guessed. Writing isn’t like chicken eggshell protein analysis. It’s art, not science.

I’m off to ponder that while I eat some hard-boiled eggs and toast. (In case you’re wondering, the bread came before the toast.)

More of my writing brilliance (and snarkiness) right here

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What’s the wrong way to write an email?

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I found this question posted on a forum: “What’s the wrong way to write an email?”

The answer, according to someone with a sense of humor as warped as my own: “With paper and a pen.”

Actually, writing an email with paper and a pen isn’t a bad idea. It might result in a more authentic, thoughtful message since writing by hand accesses a different part of the brain.

Recent research concludes that taking notes by hand increases comprehension and memory, so there’s probably something to it.

Years ago, I wrote in a spiral notebook every morning for 15 or 20 minutes. I wrote non-stop, to suppress my “inner editor”. I became a better writer as a result.

Anyway, I thought I’d take a crack at a serious answer to the question, “What’s the wrong way to write an email?”

My first thought is that there isn’t a wrong way, there are 100 ways.

Too much information, lack of clarity or specificity, talking endlessly about yourself instead of writing about the person you’re writing to, not telling the reader what you want them to know or do, poor grammar and spelling, and the list goes on.

The answer would fill a book (or a course).

For now, I’ll limit my answer to two of the biggest mistakes I see with respect to email.

First up:

(1) Not writing one.

Whether we’re talking about a personal email or a newsletter, email is the easiest way to keep people informed, connect with them, and remind them that you’re (still) available to help them and the people they know.

If you’re not regularly using email to stay in touch with clients and prospects, you’re missing out on a simple and effective way to build relationships, provide value to clients and prospects, and grow your practice.

(2) Writing instead of calling.

Yes, email is quick and easy but there are times when it’s better to call.

When you have bad news to deliver, it’s usually better to speak to the client. The same goes for delivering good news.

And, email (or a printed letter) can never take the place of a conversation for building a relationship.

Call your best clients and professional contacts from time to time, to say hello, ask how they’re doing, and find out how you can help them.

Call and connect with on a personal level with the most important people in your life.

What’s the wrong way to make a phone call? Yep, not making it.

If you want to know the right way to write an email, go here

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Reading this could be a waste of time

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Most people aren’t that interested in learning the bulk of what you could teach them about the law. If you’re trying to build a following by pushing out as much information as possible, no matter how good that information might be, you’re probably wasting your time.

In the beginning, prospective clients read what you write in a blog or newsletter because they’re looking for information–about their problems or interests and about your ability to help them.

Once they’ve satisfied themselves that you can help them, they won’t continue to read what you write or watch your videos or listen to your podcast unless you give them a reason to do that.

And you want them to do that.

You want them to continue to read or listen to you until they’re ready to take the next step. You want to build a relationship with them because that relationship will mean that if they hire any attorney, they will be more likely to choose you.

That relationship can also help bring more traffic to your website, build your following on social media, and generate more referrals.

That’s one reason why I put a lot of “me” into my content, and why you should do the same. We are a lot more interesting to our readers and followers than the information we provide them.

Building a following isn’t just about showing people what you know. It’s as much about showing people who you are.

Let people get to know you; liking and trusting and hiring won’t be far behind.

To learn how to build a following with email, go here

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Are you sure about that?

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“I don’t know. I can’t recall. I’d be guessing.”

We like to hear things like this (sometimes) when our client is testifying but what about when we hear ourselves saying them?

They make us sound weak, don’t they?

No. They make us sound smart.

According to Jeff Bezos, “The smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.”

Just when we think we’ve got this “law practice” thing working smoothly. . . that’s when we need to stop and re-assess.

What if we don’t know? What if we’re wrong? What if there’s a better way?

But do we do that?

Unfortunately, we often think we know better. We think we’re good at what we do and that’s enough. “If it ain’t broke. . .” we tell ourselves.

Sure, we take CLE, we read the journals, we keep up with the latest in our field. But all that knowledge can’t help us if we’re afraid to be wrong.

It takes courage to admit you’re not as good as should be, and courage to do something about it.

How do you develop that courage? A good place to start is to surround ourselves with people who challenge us and are willing to be honest with us and being willing to listen to them.

Early in my practice, I had people working for me who knew more than I knew and were better at their job than I was at mine. I got better at my job because I was willing to admit I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Today, I’d like to think I would be willing to do the same.

Would I? Would you?

If we’re as smart as we think we are, the right answer is “I don’t know”.

Is your email marketing as good as it could be?

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Write or get off the “can”

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Once a year my CPA sends me an inch-thick stack of forms and instructions and important tax information. I’m sure it is very good information but I’ve never read it.

It’s too much. It’s fine print. And it’s about as dry as unbuttered toast.

Maybe your CPA sends something like this to you. Maybe they send you the identical package of information, purchased from the same service (I’m sure) my CPA buys it from.

Maybe your dentist, insurance agent, or financial planner sends you an outsourced or “canned” newsletter. Maybe you send something like this to your clients.

It’s better than not sending anything to clients, but let’s face it, most people don’t read it.

There’s a better way. Send your clients something you wrote and put some of “you” into it.

Share an idea and tell them what you think about it. Tell them about one of your clients who used that idea and benefited from it. Put some personality into your message and you’ll get more people to read it.

Why is that important? Because when people read what you send them, they are reminded that you’re still around, still helping clients, still available to help them or someone they know.

And when they read your message, they learn something that can benefit them. They appreciate you for that and look forward to your next message.

Be brief. A few paragraphs in an email is enough. You’re not in the “information delivery business,” after all.

Don’t buy it from a service. And don’t send it once a year.

An email newsletter is one of the easiest ways to provide value to your clients and one of the best ways to build your practice.

You can learn everything you need to know in my new Email Marketing for Attorneys course.

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Who you know or ‘who knows you’?

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Who you know is important. But just as important is who knows you.

How many people (in your niche or market) know your name?

Or, more pointedly, how many people know someone who knows you?

Your network isn’t limited to people you know. It encompasses the people THEY know. If you know 250 people and each of them knows 250 people, you can potentially reach 62,500 people.

Whatever the size of your network, one thing is certain.

Your network is only as good as your ability to communicate with it.

If you want to notify your list of 250 people about your upcoming seminar or a new document you’ve added to your website, if you want to remind clients and prospects that you can help them (or someone they know) with their legal matter, how do you do that?

You can’t call everyone. Regular mail gets expensive. Social media limits who sees your messages.

The best way to connect with your list is email.

You own the list. You control the messages that get sent to it.

One click and your message goes to their mailbox. From there, your network can act on that message and share it with their network.

Email allows you to stay “in the minds and mailboxes” of the people who know you, until they’re ready to hire you (or hire you again) or send you a referral.

My new course, Email Marketing for Attorneys shows you how to use email to build your law practice.

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3 simple ways to quickly create content

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You need more content for your blog or newsletter or channel. You don’t have a lot of time. What do you do?

Here are 3 ideas:

(1) The simplest source of new content is old content. Find something you’ve written before and re-use it. Convert a blog post into a video or vice versa.

Or, re-write it. Add some new information or examples.

Done.

(2) Almost as simple is to re-write something written by someone else.

Find a blog post or article by someone in your niche, put it into your own words and add your own examples or stories. Or, summarize the other person’s article and comment on it–what you agree with, what you don’t, and why.

Done.

One more.

(3) Respond to comments or questions posted on your social media, blog, or in your email inbox.

You can get some of your best content this way because you’re responding to real people with real questions about things you’re already thinking about or talking about.

And, done.

Wait, what? You don’t have any comments or questions you can respond to?

No problem. Go find someone else’s blog or social media and answer one of their questions.

Now, since you don’t have a lot of time, I’ll shut up and let you get to work.

More ideas here

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Dancing with lawyers

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You know a lot of lawyers in different practice areas, don’t you? Great. Look through your list and choose a lawyer with a complementary practice to your own.

That means you target the same types of markets or clients–business or consumers, but you don’t compete with each other. You do PI, they handle divorce. You handle small business transactions, they do IP litigation. You do estate planning, they do consumer bankruptcy.

If you don’t have more than a few on your list, you’ll want to find some because you need a dance partner.

And by dance, I mean work together for your mutual benefit.

That means finding out about each other’s practices and promoting each other’s services to your respective clients and contacts.

The simplest way to do that is for both of you to email your clients and prospects and tell them about your dance partner, while they do the same for you.

Simple? Yes. And massively effective.

With a single click, hundreds or thousands of people find out about another lawyer and what they do. They also hear someone they know, like, and trust recommending them.

What will happen? Maybe nothing. Maybe a lot.

Safe to say that eventually, each dance partner will get some new clients. They’ll also get new newsletter subscribers and social media contacts, leading to more business down the road.

You and your dance partner can do webinars or video chats together. You can promote each other’s content (videos, articles, blogs, seminars). You can interview each other or do guest posts for each other.

All of which will lead to more business for both of you.

And. . .

You’re not limited to lawyers. You can also dance with CPAs, insurance brokers, real estate brokers, financial planners–anyone with a client base that complements your own.

You can also dance with business owners, salespeople, consultants, vendors, and others who sell to or advise the kinds of people you represent.

This one strategy could provide you with more business than you can handle. 

Even if you have three left legs and can’t dance to save your life.

More on how to do this

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“Do Not Commit Crimes With Checks”

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On the NBA on TNT Thursday night, Charles Barkley had some advice for Jussie Smollett, causing Shaq to convulse in laughter and spit out his coffee. The crew joined in, posting a mock-up of a fake check for $3,500 made out to “Muggers” with “Mugging Supplies” penned in the memo.

Everyone’s talking about the hoax and the future of the actor’s career.

Are you?

Are you using this story (the basic story or the Barkley version) in your speaking, writing, newsletter or blog?

You could. And should. Because when you talk about what everyone is talking about, people notice.

You can leverage the story without getting into politics or racism.

How?

You could review the legal issues for your readers, tell them what happened and what could happen next.

You could mention the story and then talk about one of your clients who did something stupid, got into trouble (civil or criminal) and hired you to help them.

You could quote Barkley and then talk about something else he once said (funny, pithy, strange, or otherwise) and use that other quote to segue into a story related to your practice.

Or you could do what I just did, tell your readers what Sir Charles said and then tell them what you think, e.g., it’s funny, not funny, premature, etc.

For the record: I laughed. Out loud. Especially when I saw the mock up of the check.

Good thing I wasn’t drinking coffee at the time.

How to use your website or blog to bring in more business

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