Useful Idiots


You have people on your email list(s) who have never hired you, hired you and fired you, or hired you one time ages ago and you’ve never heard from them since. 

They are dead weight—just taking up space. 

Keep them on your list.  

They are useful, because one day they may realize they need help, find one of your emails and contact you. 

Email is cheap. Don’t delete anyone. They are useful, even if their usefulness isn’t presently clear. 

Even if they never hire you (again), they might forward your link to someone who does hire you, or who forwards that link to someone else who does. They may tell someone about your upcoming webinar, your book, or your article, or share something you’ve said or done.

Keep everyone. Old clients, prospects, leads, and business contacts who couldn’t pick you out of a lineup. 

And, unless you have very large lists, I wouldn’t bother sending out a “Click here if you want to continue receiving email from me” message, or reminding anyone they can unsubscribe.

Keep everyone. Because anyone may become your next client or lead them to you.

Are there exceptions? Subscribers you might want to delete? 

If someone is a complete jerk and you never want to work with them or hear from them again, you might think about sending them to digital hell.

Think twice. 

They may be idiots, but they are still useful. 

They may never realize they are the problem, apologize, and change their ways, but they can still send you referrals. And traffic that turns into new business. Unless they’re completely in your face and making you miserable, keep them on your list. Forever.

Besides, if you delete them, what’s keeping them from signing up again with a new email (and IP address)? 

Jerks do that, you know. Just to mess with you. 

Don’t worry your pretty little head about the jerks and the idiots. Don’t try to figure them out, don’t engage them. 

Ignore them and go do some work. 

Email Marketing for Attorneys


Build your email list offline


It’s probably not the best way to get subscribers, but there are a couple of advantages. For one, it’s free. You don’t have to pay for leads or traffic or anything else. Just the paper on which the information about your newsletter (or whatever list you want to build), plus postage if you decide to mail them. 

Another advantage is you’re not competing with everyone else who is promoting or advertising their offer online. Thus, your message and offer will be more likely to stand out. 

Finally, depending on how and where your offer appears, it will inherit the implied endorsement of the person or place where prospects see it. 

For example, when a local business or professional puts your flyer, brochure, or card in their waiting room, it suggests to their customers or clients who see it that they know you and think you’re okay, resulting in more sign-ups than would occur without that implied endorsement. 

You can distribute your brochure, report, or flyer in the back of the room where you are speaking or networking, or on the table at trade shows and events in your target market. 

To start, put your flyers or brochure or flyer in your own waiting room. You have a captive audience who already know, like, and trust you (or soon will) and are more likely to sign up for your list with no additional prompting from you. You can also give extras to new clients, along with your business cards or regular brochures, and mail them to existing and former clients and business contacts.

One key to making this work is to offer a bonus to anyone who signs up for your newsletter or event. A free report, your ebook, a free consultation, or other bonus often results in a higher rate of response, just as it does online.

Offline isn’t likely to result in a flood of sign-ups compared to what you might see online, because it’s not as easy to scale. But if your flyer or brochure is well written and distributed through the right people, it certainly might.

It also might stimulate immediate inquires about your services from people who see your flyer and want to talk to you about their legal issue. Or referrals from folks who see your offer and pass it along to friends.

How to get more referrals without asking for referrals


More leads or better leads? 


It’s complicated. You might get more leads, but pay so much for them (and this includes the cost of your time) they don’t seem worth it. But before you say, “I’ll take better leads for $200,” there’s something else to consider. 

Actually, two things.

The first is the “back end”. 

A lead may turn into a small case or client, providing barely enough revenue to cover the cost of acquiring them, but bring you enough work after that (on the back end) to make them exceedingly profitable. 

You need to consider the lifetime value of a new client. That includes all the work they hire you to do, all the direct referrals they send you, and all the leads they send you.

The second thing to consider is what you do (and don’t do) with your leads. 

Two lawyers. Lawyer number one gets a lead, sends out information, talks to the prospect, shows them some dogs and some ponies, and the prospect signs up. Or they don’t.  

Lawyer number two goes through a similar process, but when the prospect doesn’t sign up, follows up with them, and continues to follow-up with them until they do sign up. 

As a result, lawyer number two converts more leads into clients. 

Lawyer number two does something else lawyer number one doesn’t do. He follows up with leads that do sign up. He stays in touch with them, generating repeat business, referrals, traffic to his website, attendees at his presentations, and subscribers to his newsletter.

All of which generate more revenue and more profit.

The number and quality of your leads are important. But just as important, and often more so, is what you do with those leads.

How to use email to get more leads and convert them to clients


Soft call-to-action 


When you tell your readers, audience, subscribers, or website visitors to do something you want them to do, e.g., Call to schedule an appointment, you’re using a call-to-action. And you should because the more you tell people what to do, the more likely it is that they’ll do it. 

Clearly, not everyone is ready to do what you ask when you ask it, which is why you should ask again. Put calls-to-action in most or all of your marketing communications. Remind them (often) to call, sign-up, or download something. And tell them why—the benefits they get or the problems this can help them solve. 

When (if) they’re ready, they will respond. Your job is to stay in touch with them and continually make the case for taking action by repeating your call-to-action, providing additional arguments and examples, reminding them about the benefits, and otherwise “selling” them on doing what you ask.  

Telling them to call for an appointment is a ‘hard’ call to action. If they call, there is an expectation that this will lead to them signing up for something and paying something, and this may not be easy for them because it requires a commitment they might not be willing (yet) to make.

Which is why you should also use the ‘soft call-to-action’. Asking (telling) them to do something that doesn’t require a big commitment. Something relatively easy for them to do:

  • Like, share, comment
  • Download this report
  • Fill out our survey
  • Hit reply and ask your question
  • Sign up for our free seminar
  • Watch this video, listen to this podcast, read this article
  • And others. 

Why use these? First, because they help you build a list, which gives you permission to follow-up and send additional information. 

And second, because the more often you ask them to do something, and they do it, the more likely it is that they will do something else you ask.  

Get a visitor to your website to give you their email address and download your report today. Tomorrow, it will be easier to get them to sign up for your seminar or listen to your replay. Eventually, it will be easier to get them to schedule that appointment. 

What’s interesting is that even if they don’t do the things you ask, the more you ask, the more they become conditioned to hearing you ask and the less resistant they become to (eventually) doing something you ask. 

The lesson? Ask visitors and readers and prospects to do things and never stop asking. 

Each time they hear you ask, they take a step closer to becoming your next client.

Marketing legal services is easier when you know The Formula


How to build a law practice without social media


Extremely successful, perpetually cranky copywriter Ben Settle, who I have followed for a long time, famously built his list, top-shelf newsletter and businesses without social media. 

He was recently asked how he does it. 

By doing things people did to build their lists before social media.
It’s okay to use it, if you want to.
But only amateurs buy into “needing” social media for list-building.“

Ah, a man after my own heart. 

What did people do before social media? About what you think:   

Advertising, networking, public speaking, interviews, joint ventures, seminars, sponsorships, writing articles/books. . . and mentioning their offer (website, newsletter, services, etc.) to people connected with their target market. 

Things that work just as well today, and arguably better. For building a business, a newsletter, or a law practice.

There’s also SEO and publicity and direct mail and handouts. Some work better than others. Some require money but very little time. And some are incredibly labor intensive and not a lot of fun. But work.

What you should do depends on your field, your niche, what you offer, your budget (and tolerance for risk) and what you like and are good at. 

I know, too many choices. Pick something that’s not social media and run with it. 

On the other hand, if you’re okay with social media but find it challenging to find time to do it, your best bet might be advertising on social media.

Could be the best of both worlds.


To know me is to love me


Know, like, trust. Key components for building relationships. A well-known process for creating clients out of strangers, based on the premise that “all things being equal, clients tend to hire the attorney they know, like, and trust”. 

So, job one is getting people to know you. Because they can’t like or trust you before that. 

But that’s not entirely true.

While they can’t “know, like, and trust” you before they meet you, to some extent, they can know, like, and trust you by reputation. 

Which is why you want to get your name and story in front of them, as often as possible.

When prospective clients are familiar with your name and reputation, it invokes the “mere-exposure effect,” a psychological phenomenon (cognitive bias) characterized by people preferring things (people, objects, concepts) with which they are familiar.

And that, bucko, is why I repeatedly tell you to make lists and stay in touch with the people on those lists.

The more often they hear from you, the more familiar you become, and the more likely it is that they will prefer you.

It’s better if you write about things that are important to them, or things they find interesting or helpful. But not nearly as important as continually getting something into their inbox. 

So don’t worry about your “open rate”.

When they see your name each week, they are continually reminded that you still exist and are still available to help them (or people they know). And that happens even if they don’t open and read your message. 

Because of this, if and when they need your help, they will find your email, get your contact information, and contact you. 

I love it when a plan comes together, don’t you?

Email is the simplest way to stay in touch with your lists


Bribing clients for fun and profit


You can’t pay for referrals, but you can do the next best thing. You can “pay” people to refer subscribers to your newsletter or blog or channel.

One way to do that is to offer an incentive. Everyone who refers a new subscriber gets a mug or t-shirt or book. Or a special “invitation only” seminar you will conduct for their group.

You might combine this with a drawing. Everyone who refers a new subscriber gets entered, as does the new subscriber. You might structure it so anyone who refers 3 new subscribers gets a second entry. Or whoever refers the most new subscribers gets some other prize (assuming this is legal and ethical in your jurisdiction.)

Make it fun and you will get more subscribers, some of whom will hire you or refer you or otherwise help your practice grow.

What’s that? You don’t want to do that?

No problem. Just ask everyone on your list to share your content, forward your email, or promote the link to your sign-up page. Some people will do it without a prize or incentive, simply because they like you and want to help you (and their friends) and because you asked.

What’s that? You don’t want to do that, either?

No problem. You don’t have to ask anyone to do anything. Just make your content so good people will share it because it is good.

Provide value and your list will grow organically, and so will your practice.

But you might want to offer a mug just in case.

How to create a newsletter that brings in new clients


3 simple ways to grow your email list


“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.


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


Can you give me some advice?


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.


Ask me anything


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