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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Survey says. . .

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What’s a simple way to engage your subscribers, friends, and followers?

If you said “asking questions” you’re right.

Questions make people think, and whether they respond to you with answers to those questions, or respond mentally, you’ve connected with them in a deeper way than you would if you merely told them something.

You can ask questions parenthetically, like I did here, or with something a bit more formal via a questionnaire, survey, or quiz.

Quizzes, in particular, are almost irresistible. People love to test themselves, to see how much they know.

If you handle real estate closings, for example, you might ask your readers a handful of questions about the mechanics and costs of closings, about the law, or best practices for homeowners planning to sell.

Your readers get to see how “smart” they are; you get them thinking about closings and about you as the go-to expert.

You also get to report the results of your quiz or survey in another blog post or article. Survey results tend to get a lot of readership as people check to see how they did compared to others.

You can also reprint those results and offer them as a lead magnet for future subscribers.

Suppose I asked you to respond to a survey about how many times you took the bar exam before you passed. Wouldn’t you be curious to find out what other lawyers said?

If you were on the fence about subscribing to my newsletter, offering a report summarizing those survey results might make you curious enough to pull the trigger.

Want more ways to build your list? Here

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Your best source of referrals?

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Many people say clients are your best source of referrals. They know, like, and trust you and can share their experiences with your firm with their friends and business contacts.

True, but they might not know that their friend or contact has a problem or needs to talk to an attorney. They might not know about all the services you offer or how to recognize when someone needs your help. They might not think of you when someone they know has a problem, or know what to do to refer them.

Which is why you need to educate your clients, equip them to make referrals, and stay in touch with them.

Some say other attorneys are your best source of referrals because they know when their client or contact needs the help you provide and can influence them to talk to you.

That’s true, too, but those attorneys might have other attorneys they work with and refer to, or they might not know you well enough to trust you to properly handle their client’s matter.

Which is why you need to build relationships with other attorneys, make them aware of what you have done for your clients, and stay in touch with them, before you can expect them to send you referrals.

Some say your best source of referrals are people who have previously referred clients to you. That’s also true, but only if those previous referrals were happy with you.

Which is why you have to provide your clients with great results and great service, properly thank the referral-giver, stay in touch with them, and continue to build your relationship with them.

Your best source of referrals? I don’t know who might be yours, but I can tell you one thing. It will be people with whom you have a good relationship.

Which is why you need to stay in touch with people, instead of assuming they know who you are and will contact you if they need you.

I’ve never found an easier way to do that than an email newsletter.

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If you do this, you’ll get more clients

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If you’d like a mind-numbingly simple way to get more clients, read on my fellow legal peep. I think you’re going to like this idea.

It will work for just about any type of practice or practice area and you can start using it immediately.

And, did I mention it was simple?

All you need to do is create a one-page letter, form, card, web page or email that says:

“Please send me free information on:”

Under this, put a list of subjects that might interest a prospective client.

For example:

  • “How to hire a good xyz attorney without losing your shirt”
  • “The least you need to know about X”
  • “An easy way to protect your [family/business/estate, etc.]
  • “How to [benefit] in 30 days or less”

Anything a prospective prospective client (and the people who can refer them) might want to know.

These can be old blog posts, reports, articles, videos, presentations, or anything else you’ve created (or can create). You can start with a few options and add more later.

Provide check boxes or links and explain what to do to request the information. Include a paragraph about you and your practice, so they know who you are and how you can help them. And tell them there is no cost or obligation.

When someone requests information, you learn who they are and what they’re interested in. You can follow up with them, offer more information, offer a free consultation or other incentive, and stay in touch with them until they’re ready to take the next step.

Your report tells them something they want to know, and shows them why they should hire you or contact you to get more information.

But, here’s the thing.

Even if they don’t read your report, they have your contact information. If and when they decide they need to talk to a lawyer, the odds are that you’ll get the call.

Once you have created you “information request form,” put it in your new client kit, send it to former clients (a good excuse to re-connect with them), and encourage everyone to share it with their friends and contacts.

See, I told you this was simple.

How to get more clients

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Marketing deliverables

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Marketing deliverables are printed and/or digital materials you give to prospective clients, to educate them about their problems and available solutions, and/or to provide an incentive to or reward for doing something, e.g., making an appointment, subscribing to your list, following you on social, sharing your link, etc.

Things you can hand out, mail, or make available for download.

They are used to build your list, get more appointments, get more sign-ups for your event, and stimulate referrals as people share them with friends, clients, or colleagues.

You can also use them as an “excuse” to re-connect with prospects, former clients and professional contacts, e.g., “Just checking to see if you need more. . .”

I’m not talking about brochures or business cards. They’re certainly useful, but they don’t have any inherent value.

I’m talking about things like

  • Reports
  • Tip sheets
  • Checklists
  • Planning guides
  • Resource lists
  • Referral cards
  • Coupons
  • Free consultation certificates
  • Case studies
  • Ebooks
  • Print books
  • Courses/videos/audios
  • Invitations to “limited seating” events
  • Private website/page or channel
  • And so on

Some are used to educate prospective clients, some are pure incentives, and some have elements of both.

You don’t need to use all of these; one or two may be enough.

But they need to be good.

They should have high perceived value, something a prospective client might be willing to pay for. You want them to be so good, when a prospect for your services sees what it is and what it can do for them, they immediately say, “I want one” or “I know someone who needs that”.

You can use these for a multitude of marketing purposes, so make sure you keep them in inventory, and get them into the hands of people who might need your help or know someone who does.

Marketing legal services made simple

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Nobody wants to join your email list

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You write an email newsletter and you want more subscribers. More subscribers leads to more clients, more repeat business, more referrals, and other benefits you don’t get if you don’t have a way to stay in touch with people.

When I started my newsletter 20 years ago, I said something like, “If you like the information on this site [my blog], subscribe to my newsletter to get more tips, ideas, and resources. . .”

And I got a lot of subscribers.

Today, that wouldn’t be good enough.

Everyone is overwhelmed with email and nobody wants to join your list. They have enough to read, they don’t care about you staying in touch, they don’t want to hear you pitch your services.

So, if you want more subscribers, don’t make it about your list or newsletter.

Offer them an incentive.

Something of value. Something that allows them to obtain a benefit or avoid a loss:

  • Information that helps them solve a specific problem.
  • A form or checklist that makes something easier, better or faster.
  • A video that explains how to do something they want to do.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t have to give away the store. A report or short ebook is fine.

Tell them what to do to get it, ie., fill out the form, and how they will benefit once they do.

Subscribers are precious. You have to earn their subscription.

If you’re building a law practice, it’s one of the smartest things you can do.

My email marketing course shows you what to do and how to do it

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No list, no problem

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What can you do if you want to get your name in front of prospective clients but you don’t have a list?

What can you do if you want to start a newsletter, blog, or video channel but you don’t have a list?

What can you do if you want to speak to groups of prospective clients but you don’t have a list?

The answer is simple. Find people who have a list and align yourself with them.

Ask yourself, “Who has access to the community I want to get in front of?” Find out what they do, what they want, and how you can help them.

You might:

  • Offer to write a guest post for their blog or newsletter
  • Offer to speak to their group
  • Offer a free workshop for their members
  • Offer to send your report or ebook to their readers or listeners
  • Offer a free consultation to their clients
  • Introduce them to other influential people in your niche
  • Share their content, promote their event or offers
  • Ask to interview them for your newsletter, blog or podcast

Help them and/or their clients; in time, they’ll help you.

They’ll share your content and byline and a link to your site. They’ll introduce you to their clients and counterparts. They’ll help you get in front of the people on their list, some of whom will sign up for yours.

But don’t try to figure it all out. Find them, meet them, help them, and good things will happen.

This will help

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You only need a few

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You can’t serve thousands of clients. That’s okay because you only need a few. A few good clients will lead you to more good clients; soon, you’ll have all you can handle.

If you don’t have a few good clients right now, or you want to speed up the process, you need more new people coming into your world.

You need new leads, new subscribers, new referral sources, new prospective clients, to help fill your pipeline.

But, once again, you don’t need massive numbers. You only need a few.

In marketing your professional services, seek quality, not quantity.

How do you do that?

First, define your ideal client.

  • What’s their background? What type of business or industry?
  • What’s their legal situation?
  • How much work might they have for you?
  • What’s their timetable?
  • Do they need anyone’s approval?
  • How much do they already know about their legal situation?
  • What do they need or expect from a lawyer like you?
  • What’s important to them
  • Etc.

See The Attorney Marketing Formula for help defining your ideal client.

Second, what’s the source of the lead or prospect or subscriber?

Search leads are better than leads from a directory or rented list because they are actively looking for the solutions you offer.

Leads that come via your book or report or by hearing you speak are better than search leads because they know more about what you do and how you can help them.

Referred leads are better still because someone they trust is recommending your content or endorsing your services.

Third, what’s your message?

Tailor your content to appeal to the types of leads you want to attract. Use buzzwords they use in their industry. Talk about benefits that are important to them. Use examples and stories of people like them.

Talk about what they’re talking about. Show them you understand them and can help them, as you have done for other clients like them.

That’s how.

50 of the right people, brought to you with the right message, from the right sources, are worth more to you than 5,000 people who are wrong for you.

That’s why you only need a few.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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Why subscribers leave, and how to get them back

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If you want to drive yourself crazy, look at the number of email “unsubscribes” you get each week.

Yeah, don’t do that. People come and people go. Don’t obsess over your numbers.

People leave for all kinds of reasons:

  • They satisfied their legal need or their problem went away
  • They thought you did X and didn’t know you really did Y
  • They forgot who you were or that they signed up, (probably because you mail too infrequently)
  • They think you email too often (NB: you probably don’t)
  • They only signed up to get your “freebie”
  • They don’t see the value in your newsletter or posts
  • You said something they didn’t like

Who knows?

Sure, you’d prefer them to stay. They may hire you someday or refer someone. They may share your content or promote your events. They may provide you with useful questions, feedback, and ideas for content.

The best way to keep people from leaving is to write things people want to read. Something valuable and interesting.

But people will still leave.

Can you get them back? Maybe.

Continue writing valuable content and encouraging your subscribers to share it. They may share it with someone who used to be on your list.

Keep promoting your sign-up page. Some lapsed subscribers may see it.

Keep doing what you’ve been doing and some of your subscribers will come back.

They may have a new legal problem. they see your name somewhere and realize they miss your pithy missives.

But let’s face it. It’s much easier to get new subscribers than to figure out how to get lapsed subscribers to return.

Here’s how to do that

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A simple way to grow your email list

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Everyone loves free stuff and that includes people you would like to have as subscribers to your newsletter.

Which is why one of the easiest ways to get more subscribers is to conduct a giveaway.

Here are the steps:

(1) Choose a prize.

Your prize could be one of your legal services, e.g., an hour of your time. That’s likely to lead to higher quality leads because few people will sign up for your list unless they’re interested in your services.

If you want more subscribers, you might offer a gift card or book, something that will appeal to people who don’t need your services immediately but might in the future.

Another idea is to offer a product or service from another professional or business. A financial planner’s start-up package, for example, or dinner for two at a local restaurant (coming soon).

Better yet, see if the professional or business will donate the product or service.

(2) Set up a landing page for your giveaway, on your website or free-standing.

Describe the prize details and the rules, (e.g., enter once, when the contest ends, how to enter).

You can identify new subscribers by tagging them on the landing page or having them added to second list.

(3) Promote your giveaway. Some options:

  • Email your existing list and ask them share.
  • Ask the prize creator or donor to share the contest. They get additional exposure that way.
  • Promote the giveaway on social media. You can do this with your personal connections and to groups you belong to.
  • Ask your personal and professional friends to promote the contest to their lists and on social media.
  • Mention the giveaway on your blog, podcast, interviews, videos, etc.
  • Add additional emails to your autoresponder asking new subscribers to share the contest on social media.
  • Advertise the giveaway.

(4) Pick a winner.

Export your list of new subscribers and choose the winner. You can do that manually or you can use a free randomizer tool.

All that’s left is to announce the winner, deliver the prize, and start planning your next promotion.

For more ways to build your list, see my Email Marketing for Attorneys course.

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