Milk it

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You like the idea of writing shorter emails and articles and using them to stay in touch with your subscribers and followers. You like being able to get your blog post or newsletter done in less than an hour.

You have time to do that. But what if you need to or want to write longer pieces?

Some content can take hours to write. Or days. You can’t do that every day or every week.

You don’t have to.

You can use all the research and writing you do to create a 5000 word article, report, podcast, or presentation to create additional content, the kind of content you can create in minutes because you’ve already done the heavy lifting.

The research is done. The writing is done. Go back to your original material and create new content:

  • A summary of the key issues or arguments
  • Profiles of the parties or stakeholders
  • Additional issues or cases related to your subject
  • A list of resources
  • Answers to FAQs
  • Additional comments by you or others
  • Additional cases or examples you didn’t use
  • Recommendations for readers in different niches
  • A PDF collection of your slides, notes, or case summaries
  • Transcripts of interviews from your research
  • And on and on

Each of these ancillary bits of content shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to put together.

You might get a month or two of additional posts out your original post or presentation.

Each post gives you another opportunity to stay in touch with and provide value to your readers and followers. Each post gives you another opportunity to be found through search and social.

And, when you think you’ve milked your original content dry and there’s nothing left to write, write one more post summarizing and linking to all of your posts, for the people who came late to your party, and for those who will come next month and next year.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Plagiarizing for fun and profit

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Yesterday, I talked about finding blog posts and articles written by other lawyers and rewriting them, as an easy and effective way to create your content.

Today, I have an even easier method.

No, I’m not going to tell you to plagiarize their content—copy it and call it your own.

You can’t do that. But you can plagiarize your own content.

You can re-post or re-send something you’ve shared in the past.

Take one of your old posts and post it again. Without changing a word.

Can you really do that?

It’s your content. You can do whatever you want with it.

But should you?

Yes. Here’s why.

You’ve got new subscribers who didn’t see your article before. You’ve got readers who saw it months or years ago and won’t remember. You’ve got readers who read it before weren’t ready to do anything with the information. And readers who did something but need to be reminded to do it again.

Do you do everything I tell you to do? No, you don’t. Which is why you’ll hear me say it again.

Sometimes I re-write, update, shorten or lengthen my old posts. Sometimes, I write a new post on the same idea. But you don’t have to do any of that and if you don’t want to or you don’t have time, don’t bother.

Click and send that puppy and get on with your day.

Now for the best part.

You can take some of your better articles or posts, load them into your autoresponder, and schedule them to go out over the course of the next few weeks or months. When the cycle ends, you can reset it and let your best stuff get sent all over again.

Automate your self-plagiarism. For the win.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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How to remove the starch from your writing

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A newsletter is not the place for formal writing. Even if your readers are academics or others steeped in formality, they’re people before they are lawyers or professors and unless you have a good reason not to, write to them the way you would speak to them—informally.

Are you picking up what I’m laying down?

“Oh, I could never write like that,” says many a lawyer. They don’t want to appear un-lawyerlike.

You don’t have to go as far as I go sometimes. You don’t have to write completely informally to write less formally. (But you have to admit, it might be fun. Guess what? It’s fun for your readers, too.)

What you have to do is make clarity and simplicity your top priority.

When you do, not only will your readers be able to quickly understand your message, they will appreciate you for lightening their cognitive load.

(Sorry, some old starch found its way onto my keyboard.)

The simplest way to keep things simple, as I mentioned in a recent post, is to write an email, not an article.

If you need a little help to do that, follow the advice of writer Laura Belgray, who uses what she calls the Email From a Bestie (EFAB) technique:

“I write each email as if I am writing to a good friend, one who happens to have the needs of my target audience.”

Try it. Write a salutation. Write to your bestie (and leave out the starch). Close.

Then, remove or modify the salutation and close to suit.

When you do this, your readers feel there is a real person behind your words, and you’re speaking just to them.

That’s when they connect to you. That’s when they feel you’re the one.

When you’re done with your first draft, you may feel a little naked and self-conscious and want to add back some of the starch.

A little starch is okay. Because lawyer. Just don’t overdo it.

Ya feel me?

If you want to know how to do it right, with lots of examples, templates, and sample language, get my Email Marketing for Attorneys course

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Do you make this mistake in your newsletter?

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When you set up a new newsletter, one of the first things you’ll do is add one or more emails to the auto responder. These emails go out automatically as new subscribers sign up.

Typically, the first email will welcome them, tell them how often they can expect to receive your newsletter, provide a link to download the report or other incentive you promised, and a few other housekeeping matters.

But if that’s all it does, it’s missing the most important element.

Most people subscribe because they want the information you offer in your report. But they found your site or page because they were looking for an attorney to help them with a problem.

So, make sure your first email, and every email, tells them what to do to get your help.

Your contact information, sure, but more than that—tell them what to do and why.

Tell them to call or fill out a form. Tell them what happens when they do.

No, it’s not too soon to do that. No, you don’t need to send more information first, to warm them up and build value before you sell them on taking the next step.

They need help. They might be ready to talk to you and hire you today. So, tell them what to do.

If you don’t, their problem might get worse, or. . . they might call someone else.

You don’t have to hard sell. You don’t have to go into a lot of detail. But you should tell them what to do and why.

Show them the pathway to getting the help they need and want.

In every email.

Not everyone is ready to talk to you or hire immediately, of course, so deliver the information, too. Tell them about the law, their risks, their options.

But do that in addition to telling them to contact you, and why.

You might not need more than a sentence or two, with a phone number or a link. Sometimes, you’ll do more. But never do less.

How to build your practice with an email newsletter

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Better than free

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GetResponse, the company I use to manage my email marketing, recently announced a “forever free” plan.

Which is good news if you want to try email marketing or see if they’re better than what you currently use.

I’ve used them for many years and recommend them, and you can check them out here.

Yes, that’s an affiliate link.

Something else.

If you like what you see, you can continue to use the free plan “forever” and everything is included. But if you want to upgrade to a paid plan, which gives you more room to grow, they’re running a Black Friday promotion, which will save up up to 40% for life.

I signed up under one of their promotions years ago and still pay less than a lot of customers.

A limited quantity of discounted plans will be available, so if this sounds good, don’t dawdle.

Check it out, set up a free account, and take a look around. Let me know if you have any questions.

Here’s the link again

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How to write an article or blog post in 10 minutes

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One reason lawyers tell me they don’t write a newsletter or blog (or don’t do it more often) is that they don’t have enough time.

I understand. But I disagree.

No matter how busy you are, you can write something once a week and post it on a blog or email it to a list.

You know that but you don’t do that, you say, because you don’t know what to write.

But you do.

You talk to people every day, about the law, procedure, issues, risks, problems and solutions. People ask questions, you answer them. People tell you about their situation, you tell them their options and what you can do to help them.

You’ve got so much to say, you don’t know where to start.

Start anywhere. With anything.

Make up a question prospective clients or new clients ask and answer it.

In a few minutes, you’ll have the first draft of an article.

If you can talk, you can write.

Actually, you could do that literally. Instead of writing, dictate. Speak, record and have someone else transcribe it, or use the speech-to-text function on your computer or phone.

“Yes, but writing is more difficult than speaking. Writing needs to be more structured and polished,” you say.

To some extent, that’s true. But not to the extent you think.

When you write an email to a client or a friend, how much structure and polish do you give it? My guess, not that much. Just enough to ensure your message is clear and relatively typo-free and out the door it goes.

You’re not writing an appellate brief, you’re writing an email.

And that’s precisely how you should write your newsletter or blog post.

Write (or dictate) an email, not an article. You’ll thank me later.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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You don’t need to be a great writer to write great emails

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You’ll never be able to write an email newsletter that brings in new clients because you aren’t a great writer.

Is that what you believe?

Sorry to bust your bubble, but it’s not true.

You don’t need to be a great writer. You also don’t need complex tools, fancy graphics, or anything else you don’t already know or do when you send an email.

You don’t need to be sales-y or push people to do things they don’t want to do.

And you don’t need a lot of time.

All you need is an hour a week and the willingness to share some information about your field of law or your services.

Not kidding.

Most of my emails are only a few hundred words of plan text. I copy and paste my words into a form supplied by my email service provider. I edit and proofread and click a button to send that email to my list.

Can you do that?

Just like that, your newsletter is out the door and in the mailboxes of people who can hire you and/or refer you, reminding them about what you do and how you can help them.

Send them a weekly tip. Tell them a story about an interesting client or case you had (or read about). Give them the link to a video or website you suggest they check out.

Can it really be that simple?

It can.

If you want your list to grow, you’ll also want to do things like adding a sign-up form to your website, creating a report or other incentive to encourage visitors to sign up, and promoting your offer anywhere prospective clients might see it.

And you should, because the bigger your list, the more opportunities you have to bring in more business.

Here’s the thing.

Even if you’re terrible at all of this, you’ll get more clients, simply because you stayed in touch with people who can hire you, send traffic to your website, and tell others about you.

They’ll do that even if you’re not a great writer.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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How to get more clients when you don’t have a big list

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Email marketing is one of the best ways to drive the growth of a law practice. And I recommend building your list immediately, if not sooner (as my grandfather used to say).

Building a list organically can take time, so while you’re doing that, there’s another way to use email to bring in clients, promote your events, or get more readers or listeners for your blog or channel.

You can leverage other people’s lists.

Get influential people in your niche to tell their subscribers about you, your seminar, your website, your book, your newsletter, or your services.

Think about this.. . .

One of the biggest reasons people hire a lawyer is because someone they know recommended them.

If you can get influential folks with a large audience (or even a small but well-targeted audience) to recommend you or something you offer, they do the selling for you.

And they’ll usually do it better than you could. . . because they’re not you.

How do you get in on this? How do you get others to promote you?

Unless they’re a personal friend, it usually takes more than just emailing and asking pretty please. You have to offer something in return.

What do you have to offer?

Well, if (when) you did have an email list or newsletter, or a robust social media following, you could offer to promote their products or services or events in exchange for them promoting yours.

But I’m assuming you don’t (yet).

Do you have a blog? You could invite other professionals to publish a “guest post”. Or you could interview them and publish that on the blog, where your readers can learn all about them.

This sounds simple, because it is. It’s also do-able.

If I was a professional, business owner, or blogger in your niche, and you offered this to me, I’d jump at the chance.

These other professionals might also be open to interviewing you or inviting you to write a guest post for their blog or newsletter. They’ll do that if they believe you have something to say their readers would like to hear.

You do, don’t you?

Talk to other professionals in your niche and see what you can work out. Immediately, if not sooner.

Okay. One more thing. Maybe I should have started with this.

You say you don’t have a prospect list (yet), a blog, or a following worth mentioning. Something you can use to promote other professionals, in exchange for their promoting you.

Ah, but you do.

You have a client list.

People who know, like, and trust you and will listen to you when you recommend something.

It might not be a big list, but it is better list than a list of prospects. Everyone on your client list knows you personally, has given you permission to contact them, and will open and read your email.

Your client list is extremely valuable.

If you write and tell them about an accountant who is conducting a seminar or has some great videos, and you recommend they check it out, they probably will.

Which means this accountant should be willing to write to his list and recommend you.

Can I get an Amen?

Email Marketing for Attorneys


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Say it again

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One of the most important principles in marketing is repetition. If you want to put more butts in seats at your events, get more people reading and sharing your content, and more people hiring or recommending you, once is not enough.

Because the first time you say it, offer it, or ask for it, the odds are nothing will happen.

Why?

Maybe they didn’t get your message. Maybe they didn’t read it. Maybe they weren’t ready to take the next step.

For a lot of reasons:

  • They didn’t have the money
  • They didn’t want to spend the money
  • Their problem wasn’t yet painful enough
  • They didn’t understand you, believe you or trust you
  • They needed to get someone else’s buy-in
  • They have another attorney and feel bad about switching
  • They didn’t want what you offered
  • They had more pressing issues

So, you say it again.

You send the same message, or a different message. You repeat your arguments, examples, and stories, or you use different ones.

But they still may not be ready. So you follow-up with them again. And again. And again. And when they’re ready to take the next step, they will.

But that’s not the end of the story.

You continue to stay in touch with them, even after they hire you, because they may have other legal matters that need addressing (and may not realize they do), or they might not need your services right now but know someone that does.

Each time they hear from you, each time they find your message in their inbox, you remind them about what you do and how you can help them.

And people need to be reminded.

On the other hand, guess what happens if you only send one message, or even two or three?

A year, two years, three years later, when they need you and are ready to take the next step, you will be a long-forgotten memory and some other lawyer will get the call.

So, two rules for your rulebook:

  1. Don’t rely on one message to close the deal, and
  2. Stay in touch with people repeatedly, over time.

When they’re ready, willing, and able to hire you (or refer you), there you will be, in their minds and in their mailboxes.

The easiest way to do this? Yes, email.

Hey, have you noticed that I’ve said this before? Many times, in fact?

Just practicing what I’m preaching.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Let’s talk

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Well, we’ve done “like” and “trust“. How about ‘know”? How do you get more people to know you, so you can get them to like and trust you (and eventually hire and refer you?)

The simplest way is to “talk” to more people. But I’m not just talking about actual conversations.

When I say “talk,” I mean getting your name in front of your target market by publishing content (and advertising, if that’s something you do), anywhere and everywhere they are likely to see it, and inviting them to contact you or visit your website or do something else to get more information.

You publish on your blog, newsletter, and social media. And you publish on other people’s blogs, magazines, newsletters, podcasts, and video channels, or you speak at local or online events.

Wherever your target market is, you get your name and ideas in front of them, and invite them to contact you. .

That’s marketing at its simplest. And it works. But there’s something that works better.

Since it often takes more than one “conversation” before someone knows you or trusts you enough to contact you, you also invite them to sign up for your newsletter or download your report or ebook, and provide their email address so you can deliver it.

When they do that, you can continue the conversation by sending them more information. They learn about the law, their options, and what you can do to help them, and hear stories about how you’ve helped others.

Eventually, they get to know, like, and trust you enough to hire you.

Which they may never have done if the conversation hadn’t continued.

Email marketing for attorneys

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