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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How to make it easier for readers to grok your content

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Yesterday, I talked about the importance of making it easier for folks to access your content. Today, I want to elaborate on this subject, and share a few ways to make the content they read more readable.

But not just readable, effective. Meaning readers (and listeners) not only understand your message, they relate to it, and to you.

This isn’t difficult. Just different from what most people do. And that’s what makes it effective.

  • Come to them, don’t make them come to you. Unless you have a good reason to do otherwise, send your email or article to them, so they can read it immediately, instead of asking them to click and come to your website to do that.
  • Don’t send “a newsletter,” send an email. It’s more personal and conversational, and more inviting to read.
  • Keep it simple: one subject, one “lesson,” one offer, one call to action.
  • Keep it short. They’ll give you a minute or two. If you have more to say, save it for next time (as I’m doing here).
  • Make it LOOK easy to read. Short paragraphs and sentences, bullet points, CAPS and bold and other visual elements.
  • Help them or entertain them. Tell them something they can use, and/or tell them something interesting.
  • Facts tell, stories sell. More stories make your content more readable, relatable, and persuasive.
  • Lighten up. Use warnings and cautionary tales sparingly. You want to inspire readers and give them hope for a better future, not crush them with despair.
  • Don’t tell them everything. Tell them enough to frame the problem and possible solutions. Make them come to you to find out more.
  • Talk to your readers, not at them. Ask them questions to get them thinking or to make your point, and ask them to reply and/or ask you questions.

I see a lot of lawyers’ content that does a great job of “posturing,” that is, showing readers they know what they’re doing and they are very busy doing it. We all need to do that to some extent.

But there’s something to be said for showing readers that besides being “hard to get,” we are also “good to know”.

How to use email to build your law practice

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Why your readers aren’t reading

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You work hard to produce good content. Intelligent, thoughtful, interesting articles and posts. You share valuable ideas in your newsletter or your website or content management system.

Maybe you do videos, podcasts, or webinars. Maybe you regularly interview experts and authors and other smart people with something valuable to offer.

Unfortunately, your numbers tell you the folks aren’t reading or watching. Let alone contacting you to find out more about how you can help them.

Is content marketing a failed idea?

No.

Do you need to upgrade your research, writing, and content production skills? Get a better camera, microphone, or lighting set-up?

No.

Your subscribers and followers may not be reading or watching your content simply because you make it difficult for them to do that.

I get a lot of newsletters I’d like to read but don’t because I’d have to follow a link to a website, maybe log-in, maybe download something.

Sorry, I don’t want to bother.

Almost daily, I get emails that don’t share any ideas or information, but invite me to register for yet another webinar or “summit”.

Looks like it might be great, but I don’t have time for that.

I get sent links to a lot of videos. Five minutes, I might be your boy. 20 minutes, sorry, maybe another time.

I might like to read your pdf or ebook, but I’m in the middle of something else right now. Okay, I’ll download it and read it later, but let’s face it, later usually never happens.

And hey, I don’t want to give you my email address again. I’ve been your subscriber for years. And now I’m going to get two of everything from you? Thanks, but no thanks.

Like most folks, I decide to read or watch something in a second or two. If the next step is to start reading or watching, I might do it. If the next step requires me to register for something, put something on my calendar, invest an hour or two of my time, the odds are I won’t.

Sometimes I will. But not every time.

Bottom line: if I have to spend a lot of time to get to your content before I can consume it, on most days, the answer will be a hard no.

Love ya, but I’m busy and have to move on. You set up too many hoops for me to jump through, and I’m not in the mood.

So I never see much of your best content.

My advice to anyone who wants to build their business or practice with content of any kind: make it easy for people to access that content.

More readers, more leads. More leads, more clients.

How to use a simple email newsletter to build a law practice

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Build your network with email follow-ups

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You meet someone new, in person or online. You get their email address (because if you don’t, why bother meeting anyone?) You’re all set to follow up with your new professional contact or prospective client.

What’s next?

You need to decide that, in advance.

What will you do? When? What will you say, what will you send them, what will you ask them?

Put on your thinking cap, figure that out, and write it down.

What you do will depend on many factors, including where you meet them, your practice areas and services, what they do, what you’re looking for, and more.

But you can sketch out a few typical scenarios to start and modify them as you go along.

For example, here’s a 5-step follow-up sequence you might adapt and use when you meet a new professional contact:

  1. Email No. 1—sent immediately: Nice to talk to you, (mention something I liked/thought was interesting); “here’s the (information/report/link) I promised to send you.”
  2. Email No. 2—sent X days after No. 1: Did you get it? Have any questions?
  3. Email No. 3—sent X days after No. 2: BTW—here’s something else you (your clients) might find useful.
  4. Email No. 4—sent X days after No 3: “I saw your website/read your article and liked X”, and/or ask them to tell you more about what they do
  5. Email No. 5—sent X days after No 4: Invite them to coffee/talk on phone (to see how we might work together)

You might also keep a list of optional or additional questions or comments to use in different situations. For example, what will you say or do if you didn’t promise to send them something?

The point is, follow-up is the key to building a new relationship and playing it by ear is not a good plan.

Get ready. You’re going to meet someone soon.

Are you ready to take a quantum leap in your practice?

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Tell ’em what you did, not what you’re going to do

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If you want an easier way to create content, a good rule of thumb is to share stories about what you’ve done rather than what you plan to do.

Two reasons.

The first reason is pragmatic. When you predict something or share your plans for the future, there’s too much pressure on you to perform.

You might describe a case you’re working on, for example, and talk about the possible outcome. A lot of things can go wrong, however, and if they do, you’ll be left having to explain.

Which might make you look less formidable.

Why not make it easy on yourself? Wait until the case is done, share the results, and then talk about why things turned out the way they did.

And, if you didn’t get the results you wanted or predicted, or did something that hurt the case, you don’t have to write about the case at all.

CYA, my friend.

The second reason to talk about what you did instead of what you’re going to do is that it makes for a better story.

Telling your readers you’re going to deliver a presentation next week is okay. It’s also a good idea if you’re trying to fill seats. But it’s an announcement, and not terribly exciting.

Telling them about the presentation you delivered last week, on the other hand, is a story and it might be a good one. You can describe what happened—the size of the crowd, anecdotes about how you were introduced, some people you met, questions you were asked, and so on.

Much more interesting.

(Yes, do both. Promote the presentation and do a recap.)

That’s all I have for you today. What will I talk about tomorrow? C’mon, if you’ve read this far, you know I don’t want to tell you what I’m going to do. . . okay, okay, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I guess we’ll both find out tomorrow.

Build your practice with an email newsletter

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What’s the best lead magnet?

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What’s the best freebie to offer people as an incentive for signing up for your email list?

A report? Ebook? Checklist? Form? Webinar?

The format isn’t that important. What’s important is that you offer your target market something they want enough to get them to give you their email.

So, what do they want?

They want to solve a problem, learn about the process, understand their options, get their questions answered, make a better decision. . .

Offer them that and they’ll sign-up.

But don’t spend days or weeks creating the perfect lead magnet. You can create something that’s “good enough” in just a few minutes.

Here’s how:

  1. Write down 5 or 10 questions prospective clients typically ask you before they hire you. You know the drill: questions about the law, procedure, their risks, their options, your services, how you can help them, how to get started.
  2. Grab your phone and dictate answers to these questions.

You can also spend a minute or so telling them about yourself, how you work with your clients, and what to do if someone wants more information or is ready to take the next step.

No hard sell. Just information.

And you’re done.

Yep, you can copy that recording and make it your lead magnet.

Or transcribe the recording, edit it, and use that.

Give it a title that promises the benefit they want. And start offering it.

Remember, good enough is good enough. You can improve it later.

The point is, you need to create something today so you can offer it on your website tomorrow.

Because every visitor to your site who doesn’t opt-in is, you must assume, not coming back.

Email marketing for attorneys

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Hmm, what shall I write about today?

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Continuing my quest to equip you with a never-ending supply of ideas for your blog or newsletter or other content, or rather strategies for finding ideas, comes something so simple, you might kick yourself for not thinking of it.

To wit: Amazon’s best sellers lists.

The non-fiction best sellers lists are updated daily or hourly and are an accurate indication of what people are buying and reading.

Which means, if you write about those subjects, they’ll want to read that, too. Not only that, if you post your article online, you will help readers to find your article (and you) via search engines.

Instead of trying to guess what people want to read, let Amazon (and other bookstores) tell you exactly what they want to read.

Start by looking at books about legal subjects, of course. But also look at books on subjects that might interest your target market.

For business clients, that would include topics specific to their industry or niche and the people in them. But also general business books, because every business wants to know about marketing, productivity, leadership, sales, and a ‘ho bunch more.

Consumers are interested in a long list of subjects: insurance, debt, credit, investing, and the list goes on.

You’re in business, and you are a consumer. Find something that interests you and you’ll probably have something that will interest your readers.

You can browse by category or use the search box to search by keyword. You can stick with best sellers or drill down into niche topics, but either way, look for books that are selling well.

What then?

No, you don’t have to buy the books. Or download them via Kindle Unlimited. You don’t have to read any of the books, unless you want to. You can get plenty of ideas to write about by looking at:

  • The title. What solutions does the book promise? What will the reader learn or be better able to do as a result of reading the book? You might even use a variation of the book’s title as the title of your post or article.
  • The sales page. In particular, look at the headline and the bullet points. They should supply you with a plethora of ideas and might also be suitable for the title of your post.
  • The table of contents. Use the “look inside” feature to read the chapter titles and sub-titles.
  • The introduction. You can also “look inside” and read the first few pages of the book, to see how the author approaches the topic.
  • Reviews and comments. See what readers and reviewers liked about the contents of the book, what they didn’t like, and what they wanted to know that might not have been addressed.

In a few minutes, you should have enough content ideas to keep you busy for a long time. Hell, you might even have enough ideas to write your own book.

How to write an email newsletter that brings in new business

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Quality or quantity? Yes.

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When it comes to writing a newsletter or blog, posting on social media, or otherwise connecting with prospective clients and the people who can refer them, what’s better, frequency or length?

Should you write longer posts and publish less often, or post shorter pieces more often?

Let’s think this through.

You need quality, because that’s why folks subscribe and follow you, and because you want them to see that you know what you’re doing.

You also need quantity (frequency), because you want to keep your name in front of people.

But you’re busy and can’t afford to spend all day crafting brilliant prose, and even if you have the time, you don’t want your readers and followers to think you do.

So, how about a comprise?

You might write a “longer” post, at least a few paragraphs of original thought, once a week. On other days, as you can, you fill in with brief comments, observations, quotes, and links to other people’s posts.

Quality and quantity, for the win.

If you’re not doing anything now, or you don’t publish consistently, start small. Post an inspiring quote once or twice a week, for example, to create the habit of posting; after a few weeks, you can do more.

Whatever you decide to do, put it on your calendar and/or in your task management app, because trust me, you won’t remember.

How to build a law practice with email

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