When you SHOULDN’T do email marketing

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Email marketing rocks, for reasons I’ve spoken about many a time. But it’s not for everyone.

There are a few situations where a lawyer in private practice probably shouldn’t do email marketing.

Such as. . .

(1) Your firm or jurisdiction doesn’t allow it

There’s a difference between cold email, sent to strangers, and permission-based email sent to clients, business contacts, subscribers, and others who have opted in to a list or otherwise want to hear from you.

If you want to use email to build your practice, make sure your firm understands the difference. If they don’t and you can’t convince them or find exceptions (and you like your job), email marketing isn’t for you.

(2) You don’t need or want more business

You’ve got all the work you can handle, earn more than you can possibly spend, and are reasonably certain that this will continue. You don’t have a reason to do email marketing, or any marketing at all.

(3) You don’t believe it works for your practice

Why wouldn’t staying in touch with clients and business contacts result in repeat business and referrals?

I’ll give you a minute.

But hey, if you really believe it’s not right for you, you shouldn’t do it. Your heart won’t be in it and, frankly, you’ll find a way to mess it up to prove that what you believe is true.

(4) You don’t want to do it

That’s legitimate. There are a lot of marketing strategies that work incredibly well for a lot of lawyers I don’t want to do, and I don’t.

To each his or her own.

And that’s all I can think of.

Note, I didn’t mention “not enough time” or “don’t know how”. I don’t buy either of these. Any more than I accept “I tried it and it didn’t work.”

Like anything, it works if you want it to. It doesn’t if you don’t.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Lede, follow, or go home

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If you want more people to read what you write, write a headline that flags them down as they go sailing by and “forces” them to pay attention.

Because if you don’t, they’ll won’t, and they will (probably) move on and read something else.

One way to get their attention is to write something unusual, as I did with the archaic, journalistic spelling of “lead” in the headline of this post. It makes you stop and wonder if I misspelled the word or I mean something else.

For a second or two, you’re reading and, therefore, a bit more likely to continue reading.

Remember, you can’t bore people into reading. So do something different, interesting, or fun.

But that’s not the only way to do it. You can’t go wrong promising benefits, asking a thought-provoking question, or sharing a surprising fact, statistic, or quote.

You can also win friends and influence readers by leading with a story.

People want to hear what happened to your client, your friend, your friend’s client, or you.

Your headline should be simple, make the reader curious, and give them a reason to read your first sentence. Of course, that first sentence has to be good enough to get them to read the second sentence.

You can also get attention with images and other visual elements: charts, lists, color, bullet points, sub-heads, unusual typography, and a P.S. (in a letter or email).

But while all the above is true, it’s also situational. If you’re writing to someone who knows you personally, or to your list of regular readers, to some extent, you can assume you have their attention and can get away with being clever, mysterious or weird. People who know you are probably going to read what you write because they know you and want to hear what you say.

Which is why you will find more than a few of my headlines make you question my sanity and want to see my bar card.

Just having fun. Because if it’s not fun for me, I’m pretty sure it won’t be fun for you.

And if it’s not fun, why bother?

How to write something people want to read

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Some people are weird

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Some prospective clients just don’t get it. They hear the reasons, want the benefits, understand the urgency, have the resources, and still say no.

What’s up with that?

Why don’t they see the value of saying yes?

Don’t get your panties in a festival trying to figure it out.

Yes, examine all of your marketing collateral and look for ways you can make things clearer or more compelling. See if you can find stronger testimonials or more relevant success stories. Do what you can to improve your services and offers.

And stay in touch with them.

Stay in touch with them until they buy or die. And when they die, stay in touch with their heirs until they buy or die. And when they buy, stay in touch with them until they buy again or buy something else you offer, or send you referrals.

Never stop marketing to anyone. Unless someone’s a jerk and you don’t want them, or their referrals..

But if you want them and you’ve done everything you can do to get them to say yes, and the answer is still no, move on.

Again, don’t stop emailing. Keep them on the list. When I say “move on” I mean focus your time and emotional energy on other people.

Because some people will never “get it” no matter how compelling their need, or how clearly or how often you communicate.

Some people are weird.

Just the way it is.

You’re a problem solver, not a miracle worker. Go find some other people who want you to solve their problems in this lifetime.

Email marketing for attorneys

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Online marketing for attorneys made stupidly simple

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You can complicate it, and many do, but marketing legal services online comes down to just 3 things:

  1. Creating a list
  2. Growing the list
  3. Marketing to the list

“Creating a list” means setting up an autoresponder to capture email addresses of prospective clients who need a lawyer or are seeking information about a legal situation.

Why email? Because it’s the simplest and most cost effective way to build a list and it is incredibly profitable.

Michael Hyatt, bestseller author, and speaker said,

“I have literally built a million dollar business on the strength of my email list. 90% of my income comes from it. Even today, my email list is still my number one business priority-and asset.”

I’ll tell you the same thing about my business.

“Growing the list” is anything and everything you do to get people to visit your sign-up page and opt into your list.

And all of your marketing efforts should be focused on doing that.

People hear you speak, read your blog or article, hear about you from a friend, see your ad, or find you through social media or a search engine, and visit your page to learn more about you or what you offer.

At this point, many attorneys try to persuade prospects to call to schedule an appointment or ask questions. But most prospects aren’t ready to do that and want more information. You can direct them to your website to get that information, and that can work, but it is often better to do that after they join your list.

You want them on your list so you can stay in touch with them and continue to market to them.

Which is step three.

If you don’t have a list, all of your marketing is “one shot”. Prospects either contact you or they don’t. You can’t send them more information because you don’t know who they are.

When they are on your list, you can send more information about their legal situation, their risks and options, and what you can do to help them, and you can continue to do that until they’re ready to take the next step.

That might be months or even years down the road, but when they’re ready, they know who you, what you do, and have your contact information.

Staying in touch with your list can triple response to your marketing. It can also stimulate a lot of referrals.

Which is why you need to make email a cornerstone of your marketing.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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The simplest path to loyal clients

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How much is a loyal client worth to you? I’m talking about the client who hires you for all their legal work, regularly sends you referrals, shares your content, promotes your events, provides a positive review, and otherwise toots your horn so you don’t have to.

Yeah, they’re worth a fortune.

It makes sense to do everything you can to cement your relationship with all of your clients, because you don’t know who might become your next champion.

Yes?

This week, we talked about doing things that make clients fall in love with you, and avoiding things that push them away. You also know, because I talk about it often, that there are other things you can do for your clients to win their hearts, things that go beyond your legal services.

Like sending them referrals and promoting their business or practice, providing a character reference when they apply for a job, and offering a shoulder to cry on when they suffer a loss.

Because when you give your clients more than they expect (and deserve) you surprise and delight them and show them why you deserve their loyalty.

But there’s something else you can do that’s even easier. Yes, you’ve heard me talk about this before, too. I think the word is “incessantly.”

Stay in touch with them. Because familiarity builds trust and trust is the key component to loyalty.

Keep your name “in their minds and their mailboxes” so they are continually reminded that you’re still doing what you do and can still help them and the people they know.

Send them an article you think they’ll like; it doesn’t have to be written by you.

Send them a pdf of a form or checklist they might find helpful.

Send them answers to questions you are frequently asked by clients and prospects, or people who attend your events.

Recommend a video, website, or app you think they might use.

Send them anything they might find interesting or helpful (or amusing). It almost doesn’t matter what it is, but send them something regularly, so that when they need help or have a question, they think of you and call you (or hit reply), and there you are.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Not many lawyers own their niche

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Wouldn’t it be nice to be the top dog in your niche? The lawyer clients listen to and want to hire above all others?

If you do, you should set your sights on doing something most lawyers never do.

Most lawyers are content with positioning themselves as an expert in their field. But every lawyer is an “expert,“ aren’t they?

The trouble is, people follow leaders, not experts. If you want to dominate your field, you need to lead your field.

How do you do that?

You do things leaders do. You speak and write and serve on boards and panels. You teach other lawyers (CLE) and are on a first name basis with influential people in your field and in your market.

And you build a reputation that attracts lots of referrals from lawyers and other professionals who know your name even if you don’t know theirs.

You should be working towards this, but it might take a minute. If you want to shortcut the process and be seen as a leader before the twilight of your career, there is something else you can do.

You can engage with your market and get them to know your name and what you can do to help them.

Email isn’t the only way to do that, but it is the simplest. It makes it easy to connect with prospective clients and professionals in your niche, and do it often.

When you are frequently “in the minds and mailboxes” of the people in your market, they get to know you and see you as a leader. Maybe ‘the’ leader.

Most lawyers are afraid to do this. They don’t email often because they don’t want to annoy their list or get spam complaints, or they’re afraid they’ll run out of things to say.

But those are just excuses.

You may say there are many lawyers at the top of their field who don’t communicate regularly with their market, and that’s true. But what did they do to get there? And how long did it take?

If you don’t have some of the advantages they had, or you don’t want to take as long as they did, start thinking about how you can get in front of your market as often as possible to establish your leadership immediately.

Email Marketing for Attorneys makes it easy

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New clients need TLC

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They may be sharp. Sophisticated. Tough as nails. But new clients don’t yet know your wicked ways and could benefit from a little hand holding.

That goes double for clients who aren’t all of the above.

So, you give new clients lots of information, about you and how you work,and about their case and what to expect.

You tell them what’s going to happen, explain what happened, and spell out what will happen next.

And you encourage them to ask lots of questions. But you don’t wait for that, you contact them often and keep them informed.

You show them you’ve done this before and will take good care of them.

But while you want them to know everything they need to know, you don’t want to overwhelm them.

Don’t send them everything all at once.

No firehoses allowed.

One way to slow your roll is to space out your onboarding email sequence so they don’t get everything on day one.

You might send them an introductory email that thanks and welcomes them, gives them some basic information, and makes them feel good about their decision to hire you.

A follow-up email sent in a day or two can provide them with more information, a checklist or timeline, and links to articles on your website they might want to see.

Subsequent emails, over the ensuing days or weeks, can supply more details and resources, and lots of encouragement.

You might want to number the first few emails. If you plan to send them four emails in the first few days or the first week, for example, number them “1 of 4,” “2 of 4, “and so on, so they know what to expect.

Make sure the final email in your initial onboarding sequence explains when they will hear from you again about (a) their case, and (b) other information—about the law, other legal matters they need to know about, how to’s, recommended resources, and more.

You know, your newsletter.

How to use an email newsletter to build a more successful law practice

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Information vs. sales

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You have a newsletter, blog, or channel. You regularly give your clients and prospects information about the law, about their market or industry, and about your services.

If you do it right, that’s about all the selling you need to do.

That’s not selling, is it? Yes, it is.

Your readers or listeners see what you do and how you can help them. They understand why they might need why they should find out if they do. And they see, via your examples and stories, that you’ve helped other people like them solve problems and accomplish goals, effectively proving to your readers that you can do the same for them.

Your newsletter educates them, so they know more about their risks and options. It shows them the benefits they get by hiring a lawyer and shows them why that lawyer should be you. It prompts them to contact you to learn more about their specific situation, get their questions answered, and hire you to get the solutions and benefits they want and need.

And it makes it easier for them to do that by telling them what to do next.

If that’s not selling, I don’t know what is.

Do you need to “hard sell”? Use any “urgent” language, scarcity, fear of loss, of do anything else to get people to take action?

No. But if it is appropriate and you want to, you can.

Mostly, you just point. You tell them what to do, e.g., call, email, fill out a form, visit a page, etc., and point to a link or phone number. And usually, that’s enough.

Because your readers or listeners, having read or listened to you, know what you want them to know and what you suggest they do, and when they’re ready, they do it.

How to write an email newsletter that does your marketing for you

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When you don’t feel like writing anything, do this

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What do you do when you don’t feel like writing anything on your blog or in your newsletter?

Most people will tell you to suck it up and write it anyway, because you made a commitment to your subscribers or followers and they’re expecting to hear from you, and because you don’t want to break the chain.

“Figure it out,“ they tell you. So you scramble to find an idea and force yourself to get it done.

And all is right with the world.

But sometimes, you just can’t. You’re fresh out of ideas, you’re ill or recovering from surgery, you’re slammed with work, or you’re having a sad and need a day off.

Take it. Take the day off.

It’s your blog. Your newsletter. Your channel. The world won’t end if you miss a day.

If you don’t feel like writing or have nothing to say, say nothing. That’s why God created sick days and snow days and bad hair days. If you need some personal time, take it.

Or. . . go to Plan B.

Plan B is to write a very short post. Instead of hundreds of words, you write a paragraph or two.

Yes, you can.

Seth Godin does it. So do many others. Why not you?

Something else. If you still can’t think of anything to say, go ahead and post something someone else said.

You can do that, too.

A passage from a book or article. A pithy quote. Or an intriguing question you saw that’s got you thinking.

Note to self: set up a file and start collecting this kind of stuff.

If you don’t feel well, you can post this “as is” and go back to bed.

But you might find, as I often do, that a short passage or quote you dig out of your notes gets your juices flowing and you find yourself writing a “regular-sized” post.

Many of my posts start that way. I grab something I found interesting and see what I have to say about it.

In fact, that’s how I wrote this post.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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A simple way to sell more legal services

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Prospective clients need your help but may hesitate to take the next step. There are things you can do to nudge them in the right direction.

Start by prompting them to take action of any kind. Ask them to do something easy—like your post, share your link, or forward your email. Easy to do and when they do it, they’re more likely to do it again.

You might ask a question. What do they want you to write about in your next post? What did they like best about your last one? Which do they prefer, X or Y?

Maybe you ask them to subscribe to your podcast or watch your video and leave a comment. Sign up for your webinar and tell their friends, or reply and tell you if they have any questions.

You ask for little things and they do them. They get used to responding and interacting with you, which helps build familiarity and trust, and prepares them to take a bigger step.

When you ask them to call to ask questions or schedule a free consultation, or to fill out a questionnaire and tell you about their legal situation, they’ll be that more likely to do that.

But here’s the thing. When you ask, not everyone will respond.

People do what they do.

So, you need to ask again. And again. And again.

Never stop asking.

Be nice about it. Ask in different ways and at different times. But keep asking—until they buy or die.

If you keep asking, eventually they’ll take the next step.

And then you can ask them to do something else.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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