3 simple ways to grow your email list

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“The money is in the list” is a classic marketing truism.

Ignore it to your peril.

Because without a list, and regularly staying in touch with it, you’re relying on “one-step” marketing, which is more difficult, more expensive, and slower.

How do you build a list? How do you get people to give you their email and permission to stay in touch?

There are many ways. Here are 3 of the simplest.

Start a blog

High-quality content will establish your authority and attract traffic from search engines and social sharing. Prospective clients come, see that you know what you’re doing and that you offer a newsletter with more valuable content, and an incentive to sign up.

NB: It is the incentive that will get the most sign-ups.

Make sure you add a prompt to fill out your opt-in form on every post and page.

Leverage OPL

One of the quickest and most effective ways to build your list is to leverage other people’s lists.

You know people who know people. People with friends and followers and subscribers who are a good match for you. When your friend mentions your newsletter or free report and provides a link to it, some of their subscribers will follow that link and join your list.

Your contact will tell their list about your information because you’ve shown them said information will benefit their clients and subscribers. They’ll also tell them because they like you. And because they would like you to tell your list about something they offer.

You can also leverage other people’s lists by publishing guest posts and doing interviews on blogs and podcasts that target your market.

At the end of the post or interview, you get to mention your free report.

Tell everyone

Wherever you go, whatever you do, make sure people know you offer free information that can help them, their friends, or their clients or customers.

Mention your free report in the footer of your emails. Mention it when someone you meet asks you a legal question. Promote it at your speaking engagements. Add a link on your social media bios, groups, and posts.

Promote your information and let your information promote your services.

Bonus

You can promote your newsletter with ads.

You may not be allowed to advertise your services, or want to, but if you can (and want to) advertise your free report, ebook, or checklist, you can drive a lot of targeted traffic to your newsletter incentive offer.

Promote your information (with ads) and let your information promote your services.

The key to making everything work? Good content. Valuable information that helps people.

And the willingness to tell people about that information.

How to start and promote an email list

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Can you give me some advice?

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When asked this question, most attorneys reply with, “Visa or Mastercard,“ because they’re not in the advice-giving business, they’re in the advice-selling business.

Free consultations are no exception.

You don’t charge the would-be client for a free consultation, but since a preponderance wind up hiring you, you still get paid.

What about free information you provide via a blog or newsletter, video or podcast?

You don’t speak to the viewer or listener about their situation, but they still get your valuable information and opinions. And many who consume said information will hire you or refer business to you.

So you still get paid.

We’re lawyers. We always get paid.

Free advice and free information are effective ways to market legal services. But are they right for you?

Some attorneys want to get paid for their advice and information, besides getting paid for their services. And many attorneys do.

Many attorneys don’t offer free consultations. If you want their advice, you write a check. Some attorneys don’t offer free content. You want to know what they know, you buy their book or course. Or hire them.

What’s the right way to go?

Do the math.

If you get more clients by offering free consultations and/or free information than you would if you didn’t, there’s your answer.

But not always.

It depends on how much time you need to invest to give those consultations or create that information. And it depends on the quality of the clients that result from your efforts.

Some clients are worth more. Bigger cases, more work, repeat business, more referrals, more contacts they can introduce you to, more opportunities they can help you find and exploit.

It’s complicated.

And then there’s the matter of your marketing.

If you have a big back end, you can afford to spend more on the front end. It’s an investment. If you know the value of building a list and staying in touch with it, you’ll be inclined to create more free information, not less.

And then there’s the matter of your gut. What does it tell you?

You shouldn’t do anything just because all the cool kids are doing it, or not do it because they aren’t.

Hey, just some things to think about. And talk to your people about.

If you want to talk to me about it, I take Visa and Mastercard.

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Ask me anything

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A Chicago law firm encourages visitors to their website to fill out a contact form, or call their office, to ask questions about any legal matter, which a lawyer at the firm will answer free. Questions and answers are then posted on the firm’s blog.

“We get so many good legal questions that aren’t worthy of a full blog. So every few months I like to group the “best of the rest” in to one post.  Here are some great questions we’ve received recently:“

They do answer these questions. But I see a problem with their approach.

They say they answer questions, “Every few months”. But when someone has a legal issue, the clock is often ticking and they need immediate answers. Even if they could wait a few months for an answer, most people don’t want to. They’ll go find another lawyer who won’t make them wait.

So I hope the lawyers review these questions every few days and reach out to the people who need immediate answers.

Help the folks now; post your answers for others to see later.

Besides, what do they (the lawyers) do when they can’t answer a question without getting additional information?

They need to talk to the folks. I hope they do that.

On the other hand, there’s a lot to like about this strategy and it might and it might be something other lawyers should consider:

  • It’s easy to do. And you can do research if you need to and edit your answers before posting.
  • It gives you new content for your blog, newsletter, and socials.
  • It might bring in new clients or cases. Probably not a lot, but even one new client a year could be worth it.
  • It’s free to the public and might generate publicity and positive word-of-mouth for your firm.
  • It can bring traffic from people with questions, helping you grow your email list and social media following.
  • It can bring you prospects you can refer to lawyers in other fields, earning their good will and reciprocal referrals.
  • It can help you promote your other services to visitors. There may be nothing that can be done about their immediate problem, but they might remember you favorably when they have another issue.
  • It gives you something to promote when you speak or network. Tell folks what you’re doing. They might send people your way, or want to know more about you and your services.

It takes time to do this so you might consider an alternative: periodic “call-in” days.

You talk to the folks and get additional information that allows you to provide more complete answers. They immediately know what they can or can’t do. And you know if they have something you can help them with (or refer).

Nobody has to wait months. Except readers of your blog who don’t care when the questions were asked or answered.

Your blog can make your phone ring

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Online marketing for attorneys made stupidly simple

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You can complicate it, and many do, but marketing legal services online comes down to just 3 things:

  1. Creating a list
  2. Growing the list
  3. Marketing to the list

“Creating a list” means setting up an autoresponder to capture email addresses of prospective clients who need a lawyer or are seeking information about a legal situation.

Why email? Because it’s the simplest and most cost effective way to build a list and it is incredibly profitable.

Michael Hyatt, bestseller author, and speaker said,

“I have literally built a million dollar business on the strength of my email list. 90% of my income comes from it. Even today, my email list is still my number one business priority-and asset.”

I’ll tell you the same thing about my business.

“Growing the list” is anything and everything you do to get people to visit your sign-up page and opt into your list.

And all of your marketing efforts should be focused on doing that.

People hear you speak, read your blog or article, hear about you from a friend, see your ad, or find you through social media or a search engine, and visit your page to learn more about you or what you offer.

At this point, many attorneys try to persuade prospects to call to schedule an appointment or ask questions. But most prospects aren’t ready to do that and want more information. You can direct them to your website to get that information, and that can work, but it is often better to do that after they join your list.

You want them on your list so you can stay in touch with them and continue to market to them.

Which is step three.

If you don’t have a list, all of your marketing is “one shot”. Prospects either contact you or they don’t. You can’t send them more information because you don’t know who they are.

When they are on your list, you can send more information about their legal situation, their risks and options, and what you can do to help them, and you can continue to do that until they’re ready to take the next step.

That might be months or even years down the road, but when they’re ready, they know who you, what you do, and have your contact information.

Staying in touch with your list can triple response to your marketing. It can also stimulate a lot of referrals.

Which is why you need to make email a cornerstone of your marketing.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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6 things I learned from writing 2,853 blog posts

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I’ve written a lot of blog posts and thought I’d share some things I’ve learned along the way, to encourage you to either start or re-start your blog:

  1. It gets easier. The more you write, the easier it becomes to write—to find ideas, get the words down, edit, and publish. And the more you write, the better you get at writing, which helps with your other writing and speaking.
  2. It gets faster. The more you write, the faster you get at writing. You can write and post something in less than 30 minutes and get on with your day.
  3. Ideas are everywhere. Everything I read, everywhere I go, everyone I talk to provides me with ideas to write about. The idea for this post came from reading a similar post by a guy who started a blog to build his business.
  4. You can write whatever you want and have fun with it. You don’t have to use your formal lawyer voice if you don’t want to, or spend time finding images, formatting, responding to comments, adding citations or links. Your blog, your rules.
  5. Marketing gets easier. People find you—not just clients and customers, but people who want to interview you for their blog or podcast or present other opportunities (to speak, network, etc.).
  6. It works. My blog brings me a steady stream of (free) traffic, subscribers, clients, and customers. Each post gets indexed and brings more of the same.

And, having a blog means you can also have a newsletter—just copy and paste your blog posts and email them to your list.

You can add a blog to your website or on a separate domain. You can start by posting a handful of articles or anything you’ve written in the past, or answer 5 or 10 frequently asked questions you get from prospective clients (or new clients).

The technology is easy. You can set up a blog in a matter of minutes. And your blog can help you Make the Phone Ring

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Getting traffic old school style

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You want more prospective clients to visit your website, to see what you do and how you can help them. The more who visit, the more clients you get.

You can improve your SEO. You can advertise. Or you can get more traffic with some old school tactics.

Here’s the plan:

Step One: Create Content.

Create 10 or 20 articles that talk about the things prospective clients want to know—their problems, their risks, the law, the procedure, timing, options, and what you can do to help them.

The kinds of things they search for when they are online, or ask you about when they talk to you.

Each article should mention one or more of your services and link to a page that provides more information. That page should tell them how to get their questions answered or get started.

Create an “index” or directory page that links to these articles and post that page throughout your site. You want to help visitors find your content and, once they’ve consumed one article, to see what else you have available.

Step Two: Promote Your Content

Copy your index page, add your website address and contact information, and distribute this in print and digitally:

  • Email it to your clients, ask them to forward it to anyone who might like to see this information
  • Mail it or hand a print copy to clients and former clients (for them and/or to hand out)
  • Send it to referral sources, to give to their friends and clients
  • Put copies in your waiting room; if you have business clients, ask them to put copies in their waiting room
  • Pass them out at your speaking engagements
  • Put it in your new client kit
  • Offer it on your social channels
  • Offer it at the bottom of articles you publish elsewhere
  • Offer it to listeners/viewers when you are interviewed

And so on.

You can also gather up your articles, or the ‘best of’, into a booklet or report, and distribute that. You might offer it as a lead magnet to anyone who opts in to your newsletter, for example.

Old school. Easy to do, zero cost, and highly effective for driving traffic to your site and prospective clients into your loving arms.

More

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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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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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