How to simplify your marketing

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If you have ever assembled a piece of furniture from Ikea, you know that some items are more complicated than others. Even with detailed instructions and proper tools, it’s easy to mess these up, or take much longer than you were led to believe.

The same is true of any task or project. The more complicated it is, the more moving parts or steps, the more likely it is that you’ll get it wrong.

Some tasks and projects are so complicated we put off doing them. Or we make the effort, get flummoxed and frustrated and swear we’ll “never do that again!”

Marketing legal services is like that. Do yourself a favor and make it simpler.

On the macro side of the equation, that means using fewer strategies, and for each strategy, fewer techniques.

Try lots of things, and then settle in with a few things that work best for you. That’s what I do, and that’s what I recommend.

On the micro side, you simplify your marketing by using fewer apps and targeting fewer markets. You use forms, checklists, and “scripts”. You memorialize your process, in writing, to make it easier to train new hires and temps and so that you can continually examine your process and improve it.

When marketing is simpler, it is easier and takes less time. You get better at it and get better results.

It’s the 80/20 principle. Figure out what works best for you and do more of it.

Simplify your marketing by doing more of fewer things.

Referral marketing is one strategy every lawyer should use. Find out how

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My biggest shortcut to success

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Think about someone you know, or know about, who has accomplished something you would like to accomplish. A lawyer, perhaps, who has the kind of practice you would like to build.

It might be someone you know, someone you met, or someone you’ve read about. It could even be an historical figure.

Find out all you can about them. Read what they have written and what has been written about them. Talk to people who know them or who have studied them. Immerse yourself in information about them–how they got started, their daily habits, the tools and resources they used, their philosophies, their priorities, and how they spend their time.

If you could talk to them and explain your situation and your goals, what advice do you imagine they would give you? If you know them or can meet them, ask them this yourself.

Study them and then reverse-engineer their accomplishments. Identify the steps they took to achieve their success. Then, use those steps to create a plan of action for yourself.

You may not do as well as they did. Talent, timing, and a host of other factors might see to that. But you might do better than you would if you didn’t follow their path, for one simple reason. They’ve shown you what’s possible.

When I wrote my first marketing course I knew about marketing and building a law practice but I didn’t know how to package and sell that knowledge. I’d never written a course before. How big should it be? What should it look like? How much should I charge?

I was fortunate to find a course that someone else was marketing to financial professionals and I used that as a model for my own.

I studied how he packaged his information, how he priced his course, and how he marketed it. I conscripted many of his ideas and my course finally began to take shape.

More than anything, what helped me get it done and (finally) up for sale, after three years of work, was being able to hold his course in my hands and know that I could create something like it, or, as it turned out, something better.

Without that course to model, who knows what I would have come up with. Who knows if I would have had the courage to come up with anything.

My biggest shortcut to success? Find people who have done what you want to do and model them. Let them show you the path, and let them show you what’s possible.

Need a marketing plan? Want to earn more without working more? Go here

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You can do more than you think, in less time than you think

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This is embarrassing. When I was in college I had a class that I never attended. Oh, maybe I went a few times, but I didn’t crack open the textbook. The semester came to a close and it was time for the exam.

I wasn’t ready. How could I be? I hadn’t gone to class or read the textbook. But that’s not the embarrassing part.

With only a couple of days left until the exam, I realized that if I didn’t do something, I would fail the class. So I did what many misguided college students do, I prepared a set of cheat notes.

I went through the textbook and took detailed notes. I had to skim the book, but the bullet points at the end of each chapter told me what was important. I wrote many pages of notes, referring back to the text to fill in the blanks. I then re-wrote my notes several times, each time condensing them.

The night before the exam, I had reduced an entire semester to two pages of notes.

I folded those two pages and put them in my shirt pocket for easy access. I hoped they would at least keep me from flunking.

The exam was in it an auditorium which seated hundreds of test-takers. I purposely chose a middle seat in a middle row so the proctors would have a harder time seeing me using my notes. They passed out the exam, I took a deep breath, and began.

When it was over, I felt pretty good about what I had written. I felt even better because I never did look at my notes.

I didn’t have to. I knew the material. I learned it in two days. What I thought would be a cheat sheet turned out to be a study guide and it helped me to get a B.

I was proud of myself, because I didn’t cheat and because I discovered that I was capable of doing some pretty amazing things. If I could learn an entire semester’s worth of material in two days, what else could I do?

(Don’t bust my chops; I realize I cheated myself by not going to class. I’m making a point here, Mom.)

Having a deadline helped. So did the looming potential of a failing grade. But when the chips were down, I found that I could more than I thought, in less time than I thought.

Oh yeah, I got something else out of the experience.

Years later, when I was studying for the Bar exam, even though I had gone to class and done the homework and taken mid-terms and gotten good grades, even though I was well-prepared for the Bar exam, I used my “cheat sheet” idea to create study guides for each subject. I took my all of my notes, and all of the bar review manuals, and everything else I had, and distilled them down to a few pages per subject, and finally, to a single page per subject.

I still wasn’t done. I took those seven or eight pages and reduced them to one. Three years of law school on a one page study guide.

Call me crazy, but there was no way I was going to take the Bar exam again. I didn’t have to, but decades later, I still have dreams about the damn thing.

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How to create passive income in your law practice

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I love passive income. You hear me talk about it all the time. Passive income allowed me to retire from the practice of law. Passive income allows me to do what I want with my time because the income comes in whether I work or not.

I enjoy consulting but don’t do much anymore because there’s nothing passive about it. Instead of spending hours each week speaking with lawyers and getting paid once, I’d rather invest my time in creating more passive income.

I built a business years ago that provides me with passive income. It still pays me, month after month, year after year. I also get passive income from my books and courses.

Why earn $500 from consulting when I could spend that time creating a new book or course that pays me $500 per month, every month?

Do it once, get paid over and over again.

Set it and forget it.

Okay, so hurray for me. What about you?

Well, you could create passive income by building a side business like I did (contact me if you want me to show you how), and you could create books and courses or other products that sell over and over again. Or you could invest in income-producing assets.

But maybe none of that is right for you.

Can you use your law practice to build assets that provide you with passive income?

In a way, yes.

Instead of creating intellectual property, you can create relationships.

Find clients who have lots of legal work you can do, instead of one time clients. Find referral sources who can send you new business every month.

You have to spend time nurturing those relationships, and you still have to do the legal work (or supervise the people who do), but once you have a new referral source or client with ongoing work, the work will come to you without you having to do much more.

Not quite true passive income, but close. The next best thing.

Each relationship is an asset that provides cash flow. Each relationship gives you access to everyone in that person’s network.

Robert Kiyosaki said, “The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.”

This week, how will you build your network?

How to get more referrals from lawyers

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Two six-month vacations per year

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Hey there. I’ve got something to share with you. But it will have to wait. I’ll be back in an hour. . .

Okay, I’m back.

Where did I go? What did I do? I didn’t go anywhere, and I didn’t do anything. I took the hour off because I wanted to prove a point.

My point is that we can all choose how we spend our time. If we want to take an hour off, we can. If we want to take the rest of the day off, we can. If we want to take Friday’s off, we can.

Who says you can’t? Your boss? Your spouse? Your clients? Your creditors? Okay, so you have obligations. I’m not suggesting you shirk them, just that you don’t have to be enslaved by them.

You have free will.

So the question isn’t, “Why can’t you?” it’s “How can you?” How can you take off Friday afternoons if you want to, and still meet your responsibilities?

Come in a little early? Work a little later on Thursdays? Do some work on the weekends?

Think. There are solutions. You can find them.

Once you’ve mastered taking off Friday afternoons, you can work towards taking off every Friday, if that’s what you want to do.

There are solutions and you can find them.

I know professionals who take off an entire week every month of the year. Why couldn’t you?

I know some who take two months vacation every year (and they’re not European). Are you interested?

I know people who have the ultimate goal of taking two six-month vacations every year. Yes, it’s a joke, but for some people, it’s a very real goal. If you have enough cash or income-generating assets or passive income, it can be done.

Start with the end in mind (the goal) and work backwards. What would I have to have? What would I have to do first?

You may have a tough time right now accepting the idea of taking even an hour off in the middle of the day, but you can. Once you get used to it, you can go for two.

It’s your life and you can live it on your terms.

You may have some ‘splainin to do to the people in your life, and you should probably start small and not announce you’re taking the rest of the year off just yet, but you can (eventually) spend your days on Earth any way you choose.

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You can expect what you inspect

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In marketing legal services, you need to know your numbers. You need to know where prospects and new clients and website traffic are coming from so you can do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.

Knowing your numbers allows you to cut expenses (time, money) and increase profits.

For starters, ask your new clients how they heard about you. If they found you through a search engine, ask which one, and which keywords they used. If they saw one of your articles or blog posts or videos, on your site or elsewhere, ask them to identify it. If someone shared one of your blog posts or social media posts, which one?

Do the same for prospects who call to ask questions or schedule a consultation.

If the client or prospect was referred to you, you need to know the source of the referral. Was it a client? Another lawyer or other professional?

Who was it? What did they say about you?

You need to know so you can thank the referral source, even if the referral doesn’t become a client. When you show people that you appreciate what they have done, they are more likely to do it again.

What you recognize, grows.

Of course you also want to know which of your referral sources deserves more of your thanks and your attention. You may know 100 lawyers, but if four or five are sending you more referrals (or better referrals) than the rest, you’ll want to send your referrals to them.

When someone calls your office, they should routinely be asked where they heard about you. Your intake form should ask this question.

Because you need to know.

You can track referrals and other metrics with a simple text document, a spread sheet, or on a legal pad.

Once a month, examine your global numbers, i.e., how much new business (traffic, opt-ins, etc.) you got for the month, and from what sources. If one of your articles is drawing lots of traffic to your site, you need to know this so you can write more articles like it. If you’re getting more business from referrals and less business from social media, knowing this will help you know where to invest your time.

In addition, once a month, look at your numbers for each individual source of business–each ad, your blog, speaking, individual referral sources, etc.

Know your numbers, because you can expect what you inspect.

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Getting the right things done

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Venture capitalist Mark Suster has a rule he lives by that helps him be more productive and successful. The rule: “Do Less. More.” It means doing fewer things overall, and getting the right things done. “Success often comes from doing a few things extraordinarily well and noticeably better than the competition,” he says.

Richard Koch, author of The 80/20 Principle, says, “Everyone can achieve something significant. The key is not effort, but finding the right thing to achieve. You are hugely more productive at some things than at others, but dilute the effectiveness of this by doing too many things where your comparative skill is nowhere near as good.”

Koch also says, “Few people take objectives really seriously. They put average effort into too many things, rather than superior thought and effort into a few important things. People who achieve the most are selective as well as determined.”

So, what do you do better than most? What should you focus on? I asked this question in an earlier post:

Look at your practice and tell me what you see.

  • Practice areas: Are you a Jack or Jill of all trades or a master of one? Are you good at many things or outstanding at one or two?
  • Clients: Do you target anyone who needs what you do or a very specifically defined “ideal client” who can hire you more often, pay higher fees, and refer others like themselves who can do the same?
  • Services: Do you offer low fee/low margin services because they contribute something to overhead or do you keep your overhead low and maximize profits?
  • Fees: Do you trade your time for dollars or do you get paid commensurate with the value you deliver?
  • Marketing: Do you do too many things that produce no results, or modest results, or one or two things that bring in the bulk of your new business?
  • Time: Do you do too much yourself, or do you delegate as much as possible and do “only that which only you can do”?
  • Work: Do you do everything from scratch or do you save time, reduce errors, and increase speed by using forms, checklists, and templates?

Leverage is the key to the 80/20 principle. It is the key to getting more done with less effort and to earning more without working more.

Take some time to examine your practice, and yourself. Make a short list of the things you do better than most and focus on them. Eliminate or delegate the rest.

Do Less. More.

This will help with getting the right things done

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Marketing is NOT just a numbers game

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Attorney Bruce Stachenfeld writes that marketing is unpredictable and random. You don’t know who will respond to anything you do so the best thing to do is to have more interactions with more people.

Spend more time “out and about,” he says, interacting with more people, and let the results come as they may.

He’s right, but only to a point. You don’t know who will hire you, provide referrals or introductions, or otherwise help you, so the more interactions you have, the more chances you have to “make rain”.

He doesn’t mention interactions with people via other methods–social media, speaking, articles, blogging, advertising, direct mail, and so on, but I assume he would agree that those count. Get yourself and your message in front of more people and you’ll get more business.

But it’s not that simple. It’s not just a numbers game. Not even close. Who you interact with, either personally or via another medium, is often more important than how many.

Dance with the wrong people and you’ll forever spin your wheels. Dance with the right people and you not only increase the odds of something happening, you increase the odds that when it does, it can happen on a much bigger scale.

If you are an estate planning lawyer and you want high income clients, doesn’t it make more sense to network with financial advisers who have well-to-do clients, rather than school teachers?

And then there is your methodology. The strength of your marketing materials, how your offer is packaged, how well your message is articulated and delivered, your follow-up sequence, your salesmanship, and many other factors, all affect your outcomes.

When you meet people, your interpersonal skills, grooming, likability, and other factors, are also key.

Stachenfeld, who has a math background, says,

“Mathematically, spending twenty-four working hours writing an article may not be as useful as spending those twenty-four hours doing other things, like contacting people to talk about ideas, getting together with them, calling others or even playing a round of golf.”

Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe you aren’t that good at networking. Maybe you hate golf. And maybe the article you spent extra time crafting hits all the right buttons and you get ten new clients from it within a few days.

Marketing is a numbers game. Math is a part of it. But so is art.

How to get better results from your marketing

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Marketing metrics for attorneys

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When it comes to marketing, I don’t obsess over the numbers. But I don’t ignore them, either. Neither should you.

Tracking numbers allows you to see trends in the growth of your practice. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Tracking also allows you to test new ideas and make better decisions about where to spend your time and money. If something isn’t working, you can take steps to fix it. Or abandon it in favor of something else. If something is working, you can look for ways to make it work better.

Every practice is different, of course, but here are the types of marketing metrics you should consider tracking:

  • Traffic to your website(s)–unique visitors, page views, bounce rate,
  • Traffic sources (social, search, keywords, page referrers)
  • Email subscribers-new, total
  • Leads–inquiries, requests for consultation, questions
  • New clients (quantity, fees, source)
  • Source of new clients (ads, referrals, website, individuals)
  • Revenue–first time clients, repeat clients, total
  • Revenue–compared to previous month/quarter/year
  • Revenue per practice area, service
  • Expenses–overhead, variable (e.g., advertising, etc.)
  • Net profit (after draw)
  • Retention–how many clients return/hire you for something else
  • Referrals–quantity, source (from clients, from lawyers, from others)

Some things you track daily. Some weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Some you look at once in awhile.

You probably don’t need to track all of these. You also don’t need to get into the minutia of things like open rates and click through rates. I know I don’t.

I mostly pay attention to two things: the number of new subscribers to my email list and monthly revenue. As long as both are growing, I know I’m doing okay.

How about you? Which of these metrics do you track? What else do you track and why?

Marketing online for attorneys: go here

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How to find the time to grow your law practice

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On my walk yesterday, I listened to an interview with Michael Hyatt on The Smart Passive Income podcast (episode 163). One thing he talked about was how he hired his first outside assistant after he had resisted doing so for a long time.

He told a story about an entrepreneur he knows who had also resisted hiring help. A friend showed him the light.

First, his friend asked how much his time was worth. He estimated $250 an hour. Then the friend asked him to name a task he did in his business that he wasn’t particularly good at. “Updating my website,” he said. The friend asked, “If you did hire someone to update your website for you, would you pay them $250 an hour?”

The entrepreneur said no, of course not. “But that’s exactly what you’re paying now,” his friend said.

Hyatt said that when he realized that a virtual assistant  could free up his time to do the work that he does best, he decided to give it a try. He started slowly and hired someone for just five hours a week.

He quickly realized how much more high-value work this allowed him to do and increased it to ten hours a week. Because he was doing more of what he does best, his business really took off. He now has a stable of employees and virtual assistants who do the work that they do best, allowing him to focus on his strengths.

I thought about that and realized that all of us could find enough tasks in our week to keep a virtual assistant busy for five hours. If the assistant costs $10 an hour, that’s only $50 a week.

Who wouldn’t pay $50 to free up five hours?

What if that allowed you to bill an additional five hours a week? What if you used that time to bring in more clients?

If you want to grow your law practice, this is a place to start. Make a list of things you do that you’re not good at or don’t enjoy and find an assistant who can do them for you.

What will you do with all that extra time?

Learn more ways to leverage your time. Click here

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