When should you publish (and how often)?

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What are the best days for you to publish blog posts or other content? Which days get the most “opens,” sign ups, forms filled out, clicks and engagement? 

Check your stats. 

You might find that Tuesday gets far more opens than other days of the week, in which case you should consider making Tuesday your publication day. 

But, there’s a problem. You typically need enough subscribers to see enough of a statistical variation to matter, and most lawyers don’t. 

If your list is relatively small, other factors besides the day(s) of the week can affect opens and other metrics. So which day(s) you publish might not be important.

How often you publish is another story. 

Publishing once a week will bring better results than publishing once a month. The more often you show up in their inbox, the more your subscribers will get to know you. If they like what you write, they will read most of your messages, look forward to them, and act on them. 

So, publish as often as possible.

Once a week is good. Depending on your market and practice area, two or three times a week, or even every weekday as I do, is (usually) better. 

It allows you to build a relationship with your readers, and that can make all the difference. It’s better to have 100 subscribers who like and trust you than 10,000 who aren’t sure who you are. 

Won’t you get more opt-outs if you publish more often? Probably. But you’re not writing a newsletter for everyone who happens to be on your list. You’re writing for the ones who love you and can’t get enough of you. 

The ones who read you because you teach them things they need or want to know. Because you inspire them, give them ideas, make them laugh, and otherwise lighten their burdens and make their life better.

You don’t have to write brilliant or lengthy articles or posts, or give away the store. You simply need to provide value and publish often enough to stay in your subscribers minds and hearts.

How to write an email newsletter that builds relationships

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Common sense email marketing

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Everyone gets unsolicited email and I’m no exception. It’s usually from complete strangers but sometimes it’s from people I know (or knew), who apparently believe that because I know them, or subscribed to their list at some point or bought something from them in the past, it’s okay to continue to send me offers even though I opted out or never opted in.

It’s not okay. It’s annoying, and doesn’t make me want to do business with them. No matter how attractive their offers might be. 

Why do they go to the bother? Because they get enough response to their offers to be profitable and not enough complaints to deter them. 

Word to the wise. Don’t be that guy. Don’t send unsolicited commercial email, even if it works. 

For one thing, it may violate the rules of professional conduct and anti-spam laws in some countries. 

It’s okay to send a personal email to someone you don’t know, inquiring about or inviting them to something you have reason to believe might interest them, but don’t sign them up for your newsletter or put them on an email list. 

But also don’t be that guy who refuses to offer free information (or services) because you don’t want to be tarnished with the same brush as those spammers. Offering free information or services to people who ask for it is not only a respectable way to market your services, it’s a great way to market your services.

It can help you get more inquires or leads, more sign-ups for your seminar or followers for your channel, help you build a bigger and more responsive mailing list, and bring you a lot of new clients. 

Just use a little common sense. And treat people the way you’d like to be treated. 

Always tell people what you will do with their email when they sign up, e.g., subscribe them to your newsletter or send them your report, and also what you won’t do, e.g., spam them or sell their email address to third parties. Tell them you respect their privacy and they can opt out at any time. 

Your prospects and clients will respect you for respecting them, and reward you for it.

Email marketing for attorneys

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How often should you email your newsletter list? 

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More often than you think. Because you (probably) think that if you email “too often,” you’ll annoy them and they’ll unsubscribe. 

That’s true for some people. But not all. 

In fact, the people who need your help the most, and are arguably more likely to hire you, typically want to hear from you more often, not less. 

On the other hand, people who signed up to get your free report and aren’t really interested in your newsletter (or your services) might not like it if you email often and may leave. 

That’s okay. They weren’t a prospective client. Just a subscriber. And subscribers come and go. 

But things aren’t always black and white. 

Many subscribers are interested in your services, but aren’t ready to hire you and may not be for a very long time. You don’t want to push them away; you want them to stay on your list until they eventually hire you or refer you. 

But I wouldn’t worry about it. If you provide valuable and interesting information in your newsletter, things usually take care of themselves. 

So, choose the frequency that feels right to you. 

Consider your market (business or consumer) and the length and complexity of your newsletter. Does it require research or are you having a chat with the folks?

Most of all, consider how often you can comfortably publish so you can keep doing it. 

For most attorneys, a short email once a week is about right.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Why social media marketing doesn’t work

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Many attorneys do extremely well with social media marketing. It doesn’t work for me, however, because I don’t like and don’t do it. 

I could learn. Force myself. But life is too short to do things we don’t enjoy, and if you don’t enjoy something, you won’t get good results. 

Couldn’t you hire people to help you or do it for you? Sure, that’s an option. But since there are other things you can do, why not do something you like? 

For me, that’s email. My newsletter has an insanely good ROI. It’s low overhead, doesn’t take a lot of time, and I enjoy writing it. 

It works for me, but if you don’t want to write a newsletter, it might not work for you. If you want the benefits it offers, however, before you write it off, make sure you’re doing it correctly. 

  • Make sure you’re sending it to the right people. People who need or want what you offer, and who have told you to send it to them (opted-in). 
  • Make sure you use a subject line that promises a benefit or makes subscribers curious, so they open and read your email.  
  • Make sure your email is interesting, well-written, and easy to read. 
  • Make sure you tell your readers to call or write, to make an appointment or ask questions, and tell them why. Tell them the benefits of hiring you or taking the next step. 
  • And make sure you email often. Once a month is probably not often enough. 

Some lawyers say “email doesn’t work”. They really mean it doesn’t work for them. But it can, if they use it currently.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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How can I increase my email open rates?

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We’re not talking about emails sent to clients who (one hopes) open everything from you because it might be important. We’re talking about your newsletter or promotional emails, because, let’s face it, a significant percentage of your subscribers don’t open these.

Guess what? It’s okay if they don’t. What’s important is that they regularly see your name in their email inbox because each time they do, it reminds them you’re still available to help them if they need help (or know someone who does). 

When they do need help, they’ll go find an email from you, get your contact information, and call or write (or pass it along to someone who needs help). 

Sure, it’s better if they do open and read your email. That’s how you build value with readers, engage with them, and get them to learn more about what you do and how you can help them. But seeing your name regularly, consistently, is most important. 

Unfortunately, many of your subscribers won’t see your name in their inbox. And that’s a problem. 

If you send your newsletter from your computer’s email software, your IP address can get blacklisted for sending too many identical emails. If you use a commercial email provider (with a good reputation), however, you shouldn’t have that problem. 

But, even if you do use a trusted email provider, your messages can still wind up in SPAM (or, in some cases, never delivered) if you use certain words in the email subject line typically used by spammers, or include too many images or links in the body of your messages, which can also trigger spam filters. 

Note to self: use a commercial email provider to deliver my newsletter. Don’t include too many images or links.

Hold on. Even if your message doesn’t land in your subscribers spam folder, if they use Gmail, it might wind up in their “promotions” folder, which they might rarely open. It’s a common problem. Make sure you tell your new subscribers to add your email address to their contact list and this will minimize that problem. 

Okay, a few best practices (and some common sense) should help you get more subscribers to see your message. And while that should be your top priority, you also want them to open and read your messages. That’s how you deliver value, show them what you do and how you can help them, engage with them, and present a call to action (e.g., contact you, fill out a form, share your content, etc.) which they probably won’t do unless you ask. 

Okay, you’ve got those emails delivered. How do you get them opened and read?

The simplest way to is to use better subject lines. Motivate recipients to open your message by offering a benefit for doing that. Promise (or imply) they will learn something interesting or useful—how to solve a problem (or avoid it), for example. 

Or make them curious about what’s inside your message. 

You can also get more opens by keeping your promises. Deliver the information or other benefits mentioned in the subject line in this week’s email and your subscribers will be more likely to open next week’s. 

For more about getting your emails open and read, check out my course on email marketing for attorneys

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Make it personal (even if it’s not)

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Thousands of people are reading these words right now, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s just you. When I say something or ask a question, I’m not asking or speaking to everyone. 

Just you. 

If you want to get more people listening and reading, more people responding, sharing, and liking what you write (and ultimately hiring or referring you), you should do the same.

When you write, write to one person. Not “everyone”.

Even if you’re writing a blog post or newsletter article, or speaking from the stage—even on social media. Write or talk to one person. Don’t call for a show of hands, don’t address everyone in the aggregate, don’t say, “I’m wondering what y’all think about this?” And whatever you do, don’t say “Hey gang!” (my personal pet peeve). 

As far as your listener is concerned, there’s nobody else there. Don’t bust that bubble, however fictive it might be.

They’re sitting in their office chair or propped up in bed, reading your words or listening to your voice, and for a moment, hearing a personal message from a friend. When you speak in the collective, it puts distance between you and the reader. Communication is most effective when it is personal. 

So, make it personal. 

That also means writing from your perspective, not “for the firm”. Tell the reader what you think about the subject, what you did yesterday, what you plan to do later today. Tell them to call you, not “the office”. 

“Talk” to them as though you were sitting together, having a chat. Because, virtually speaking, you are. 

How to write an effective blog

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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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