It’s not just the information


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


Useful Idiots


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


A short course in getting your emails opened


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


It takes a lot of emails to get a new client


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 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. 


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


Everyone tells you this is important, but is it?


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


The key to getting new subscribers to take the next step


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


Why we don’t do things we know we should


My dad always told his business clients not to sign any contracts without showing them to him first. More often than not, they didn’t listen, usually because they didn’t want to spend the money. 

No doubt you’ve seen the same thing in your practice.

Why don’t clients listen? 

For the same reasons you don’t do things you know you should.  

You’ve repeatedly heard from me and others about the value of staying in touch with your clients and prospects. You’ve heard that you should delegate more of your work and not try to do everything yourself. You’ve heard about the value of improving your writing, speaking, and interpersonal skills.

You know these things, but don’t always do them.

Maybe you don’t want to spend the money, or the time. Maybe you’re busy. Maybe you intend to do them but forget.

But the biggest reason you don’t do these things, and others, is that you don’t believe they are important. Or important enough. Because if you did, you would.

Think about it, if you truly believed that staying in touch with your clients and contacts via a weekly email (for example) could help you double your practice in less than a year, you would do it, wouldn’t you? 

If your clients truly believed that calling you before they sign a contract would save them a lot of money and a lot of grief, they would do it. 

Reminders help. Accountability helps. But if you want to change your clients’ behavior, or your own, work on their (and your) belief.

Show clients and prospects what happened to other clients who didn’t follow your advice. Show them testimonials and positive reviews and success stories of people who did.

Because if you say it, they can doubt it. If your other clients say it, it must be true.

Build your practice with a weekly email newsletter


When you have nothing new to say


Do you ever feel like you’re repeating yourself? Saying the same things again and again in your newsletter, blog, or on social media? Talking about the same services, the same problems and solutions? Making the same offer? Promoting the same event? 

You want to stay in touch with your list (and you should), but if you keep saying the same things, they’re going to tune out. 

Or will they? 

They tuned in because they’re interested in the things you know and share. So don’t change your message. Change the way you present your message. 

As a friend of mine puts it, “Change the wrapping paper around your core idea and you can repeat the same message every time you connect. . . but it will feel new and different”. 

The simplest and often the most potent way to do that is to tell a different story. 

It can be something simple—something your client or another party said or did, a question they asked, how you met them, or something you thought about the facts or the law. 

You can write about almost anything and make your blog post or article interesting. . . and different. 

You can even write about your pets.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you may recall that I used to have cats and wrote about them from time to time. I’d talk about things they did or about a recent trip to the vet and how long they kept us waiting before they saw us, and use this as an example of how not to treat your clients in your waiting room. 

You can use things that happen to you personally or in your practice to add color and interest to your message, without changing your message.  

Change the wrapping paper and you can keep readers interested and engaged no matter how often you deliver your message. 

How to use an email newsletter to build your practice


Speaking of mistakes. . . 


I’m subscribed to an email list and every time this company writes to me, they make the same mistake. They change the name of the “sender”. 

One week it’s Mary, the next week Sally and Melinda, people I don’t know. The only way to tell that the email is from the company I know is to open it.

Why make people do that? Why take the chance of confusing people, getting people to delete the email unopened, or sent to spam.

Not good. And completely unnecessary.

If you’re smart, and I know you are, you put your name in the sender field, not your firm’s name, not your administrator’s name, your name—first and last—because the email is from you. 

You want people to recognize your name and read your email because it is from you. Even if the subject doesn’t promise a benefit or make them curious.

Even if it’s click-bait-y or goofy like many of mine. 

Your email isn’t just a conveyer of information and offers. It is also a means by which to build relationships with people who can hire you or refer you.

Which they will do if they know it is you who is writing to them.

Email Marketing for Attorneys


Start with what, not how


I’m guilty of this myself. Trying to figure out how to do something or improve something when that’s the wrong question to start with.

The right question is, “What do I want?“

Because when you know what you want (to be, do, or have), you can almost always figure out how.

Asking “how“ before you know “what“, often leads to wasting time on less important projects or goals.

Finding solutions without a problem.

Example? You’re trying to figure out how to set up a new website. All your energy is dedicated to looking for ways to do that, or finding people who can do it for you.

If you had first asked, “What do I want?” you might have realized that you want more opt-ins to your email list, and while a new and improved website might help, there are other things you can do to get what you want that don’t require a new website.

“What” is more important than “how”.

If you’re not sure of what you want, or even if you are, a good follow-up question to ask yourself is “why?” Why do I want that? Why is it important to me?

The answer to that question will confirm that what you said you want is indeed important and valuable to you, (or it isn’t), and provide you with the motivation to move forward.

Why do you want more opt-ins? Because this is a simple way to get what I want: more clients from the visitors to my website.

First, figure out WHAT you want (and why). Then, figure out HOW to get it.

Email marketing for attorneys