Pay-per-ouch!

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I read an article about the options available to lawyers for marketing their services. One of the options was pay-per-click ads.

But, it’s expensive, the article says. To wit: “The search term “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer” can cost as much as $140 per click.”

Not for a lead. Just for the click.

If ten people click on your ad, you’re in the hole for over $1,000 before you talk to anyone to find out if they have a case and can show them your dog and your pony.

That’s crazy, right?

Not necessarily.

There’s a reason PPC ads for PI lawyers in Los Angeles are expensive. They’re expensive because there are a lot of lawyers competing for those clicks, and they do that despite the high cost per click because they’re still able to make a profit.

If they weren’t, they wouldn’t bid so much for those clicks and the price would come down. Supply and demand.

The seemingly high price is proof that “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer” is a profitable keyword. At least for some lawyers.

If you’re a PI lawyer in LA, it is precisely the kind of keyword you should consider.

If you have the money. And you’ve got your act together and can convert enough of those clicks into clients, and those clients back into dollars.

Lawyer #1 thinks:

“If I spend $10,000 for 100 clicks and sign up just one case that earns me a $20,000 fee, I double my investment. Plus, I might get an a smaller case or two out of those clicks. Plus, I can build my list and generate some referrals. Sure, I might not bring in any business the first few months doing this, but eventually, I could bring in one or two massive cases.”

Lawyer #2 thinks:

“Yeah, but I might not get any cases. Or the cases I get might not be any good. I could lose my shirt.”

Both lawyers are right, of course.

There are other options. Other keywords to bid on, other forms of advertising, and other forms of marketing.

Be thankful you have options. And don’t rule out anything just because it’s expensive. It might be expensive for a reason.

If you’re ready to take a quantum leap in your practice

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No, really, why should I hire you?

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If a prospective client asks you why they should choose you as their lawyer instead of any other lawyer in your field, what would you say?

Most lawyers would point to their experience and track record. Some will mention well-known clients they represent. Others will point out their positive reviews or testimonials.

And all of that is good.

What’s even better is being able to show prospective clients the added value you bring to your clients that other lawyers don’t offer.

Something that benefits your clients in a material way.

What might that be?

It will be different for different client niches.

Most lawyers don’t target niches. They offer their services to “anyone” with a given legal issue or “anyone” who is interested in a given legal service.

It’s hard to stand out that way.

It’s better to choose a niche market and “specialize” in it.

A niche is defined by industry or culture, type of business or occupation, or other socio-economic or demographic factors. Specializing in a niche means dedicating yourself to it.

Immerse yourself in the niche, study it, and learn everything you can about it. Learn what they do, what they want, their problems, their pains, what’s important to them. Build relationships with the people in that niche and the professionals who advise them.

That’s how you find the added value you can offer prospective clients.

Example time.

Let’s say you choose “start ups” in a certain field as a niche market. You’ll no doubt discover that these companies need investors.

Because you have built relationships with people in that niche, you will have access to investors.

The added value you bring to your clients in this niche is your ability to introduce them to investors.

Your clients benefit when they choose you as their lawyer because you do something for them other lawyers don’t do, or don’t do as well because they don’t specialize in that niche and don’t have the relationships you do.

You also add value to your relationships with the investors and their advisors in the niche, because you’re the lawyer who can bring them the deals they’re looking to invest in.

You build a reputation in that niche which helps you attract more clients.

Choose a niche and dedicate yourself to it. When a prospective client wants to know why they should choose you, you’ll have the perfect answer.

Want help in choosing a niche? Here you go

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Who knows what danger lurks in your legal marketing?

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In the 1960s, Los Angeles based Adee plumbing began running TV ads featuring an actor who asked, “Who knows what danger lurks in your plumbing?” It was a play on the 1930s radio show, The Shadow, that opened with an announcer asking, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”

In the TV commercial, the answer was “Adee do”. That ad, and others using the same concept and catch phrase, ran well into the 1980s.

Two things.

First, in your marketing, look for ways to piggyback on ideas and themes that are already in your market’s consciousness. It’s a simple and effective way to help your message be understood and remembered.

DUI defense lawyer Myles L. Berman does this in his long-running commercials that use the tag, “Because ‘Friends don’t let friends plead guilty(TM),” playing off the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) slogan, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”.

There’s an added bonus here because of the obvious tie-in with drinking and driving, but you could use this idea no matter what your practice area.

A family law attorney, for example, could use, “Because friends don’t let friends get married without a prenup.” Okay, maybe not the best, but you get the idea.

Second point: when you have something that’s working–a tag, a commercial, a presentation, or any kind of marketing message, resist the urge to change it.

Yes, even after thirty years.

You may be tired of hearing or seeing the same thing, but that doesn’t mean your market is tired of it. It makes no sense to throw away something that’s been working well for a long time.

Test other messages or ideas, headlines, and offers against it, to see if something else works better, but make sure it does before you change it.

Who knows what danger lurks in your legal marketing? That would be me.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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The market is boss

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It doesn’t matter how good your services are, how much value you deliver to clients, or how good you are at marketing. . . if there’s no demand for your services, you’re not going to sell any.

The good news is that the converse is also true.

If you offer services your market wants and is willing to pay for, you don’t need to do a lot of selling. You just need to get your message in front of the right people.

In One More Customer, football great turned mega-entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton said, “Look, if your big idea needs super-salesmanship. . . it’s not so big after all. Steven Jobs didn’t sell the iPad; he announced it. If you’ve got a truly great idea, you’ll only have to announce it and inform people about it.”

When you offer legal services people want and need, your job is to identify the people who need those services (or know people who do) and keep your name and message in front of them.

As a business partner of mine used to put it, “You don’t have to be good, you just need to be busy”.

Tell prospective clients how you can help them. Give them ways to learn more, e.g., information, seminars, consultations, etc. And stay in touch with them.

That doesn’t mean you don’t need to improve your skills, your “customer service,” and your marketing. You do, because your competition is doing all of the above and you need to stay out ahead of them.

You will always need to work on personal and professional development. But if you offer something people want, you don’t need to obsess about it.

The easiest way to stay in touch is with email

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Are you sure about that?

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“I don’t know. I can’t recall. I’d be guessing.”

We like to hear things like this (sometimes) when our client is testifying but what about when we hear ourselves saying them?

They make us sound weak, don’t they?

No. They make us sound smart.

According to Jeff Bezos, “The smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.”

Just when we think we’ve got this “law practice” thing working smoothly. . . that’s when we need to stop and re-assess.

What if we don’t know? What if we’re wrong? What if there’s a better way?

But do we do that?

Unfortunately, we often think we know better. We think we’re good at what we do and that’s enough. “If it ain’t broke. . .” we tell ourselves.

Sure, we take CLE, we read the journals, we keep up with the latest in our field. But all that knowledge can’t help us if we’re afraid to be wrong.

It takes courage to admit you’re not as good as should be, and courage to do something about it.

How do you develop that courage? A good place to start is to surround ourselves with people who challenge us and are willing to be honest with us and being willing to listen to them.

Early in my practice, I had people working for me who knew more than I knew and were better at their job than I was at mine. I got better at my job because I was willing to admit I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Today, I’d like to think I would be willing to do the same.

Would I? Would you?

If we’re as smart as we think we are, the right answer is “I don’t know”.

Is your email marketing as good as it could be?

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Multiple streams of clients

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Some preach the wisdom of multiple streams of income. “Don’t rely on your law practice,” they might tell you. “Diversify”.

Not so fast.

Building a successful law practice takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and if you want to make it, you have to give it everything you’ve got.

Mark Twain, among others, counseled, “Put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket”.

I agree.

Once you’ve built a successful practice, you can consider other ventures. But don’t try to do two things at once.

On the other hand, you should diversify your sources of clients. Don’t rely on just one marketing source or method.

No matter how well something is working for you, something else might work better.

And, things change. A strategy that’s worked for you for years may cease to work or may cease to be available. I used to do a fair amount of yellow pages advertising. Need I say more?

Besides, why limit yourself? If you can bring in clients from a variety of sources, without burning out or exhausting your budget, why wouldn’t you?

Jeff Bezos says, “Be stubborn on vision, but flexible on details.”

Take some time to find some new strategies to your marketing mix.

I’ll give you one: marketing joint ventures with other lawyers and other professionals.

This will help.

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Your clothes, give them to me. Now.

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No, I’m not getting frisky with you. Just quoting a line from The Terminator, which YouTube is offering in their new “free with commercials” program.

If you’ve never seen the original, or haven’t seen it in a long time, you might want to check this out.

But hold on. There are two versions. Which one is right for you?

The first is the TV version. It comes in at 1:29 and change. Next to it in the carousel is the theatrical version that runs 1:47.

Different versions for different audiences. Just like lawyers offer different versions of their services to different clients.

Wait, you don’t do that? You offer the same services to everyone? Same services, same fees, same marketing?

Who says you have to offer the same services to everyone?

Who says you have to charge all clients the same fees?

Okay, okay, you may not be able to offer different services or charge different fees (or want to) but you could create different marketing collateral for different niches.

Talk about issues people in that niche relate to. Use different buzzwords and examples. Share stories about their colleagues you’ve represented.

Physicians and entrepreneurs and accountants are different niches. High-tech, blue collar and “mom and pop” are different niches.

If you want more people in a niche market to see you as the best lawyer for them, you should market to them differently.

That’s all for me today. But. . . wait for it. . . I’ll be back.

This will help you find your niche

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Is marketing boring (and does it matter)?

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Are you bored with your marketing? Are you doing the same things over and over again, lost in the routine, feeling like you don’t want to do it anymore?

Yeah, that sounds boring.

But we all do things we don’t enjoy, don’t we? We do them because we have responsibilities, or because we like the results we get more than we dislike the routine.

If your marketing is boring but you’re making a fortune or you’re accomplishing worthwhile goals, does it matter?

On the other hand, who says our marketing has to be boring? What if you loved marketing and looked forward to doing it–wouldn’t you get even better results?

Indeed.

But how? How do you un-borify marketing?

The answer is different for everyone, of course, but here are a few thoughts.

First, your routine may be boring but people can be interesting. Maybe you don’t need to change your routine, you need to change your people.

Find a different crowd to network with. Target a new niche market. Get rid of the clients with boring problems and replace them with clients with exciting problems.

Second, it might not be what you do, it might be how you do it. What if you improve your skills?

Maybe you find networking boring because you come home with a bunch of business cards and not much happens after that. What if you got better at making things happen?

Third, maybe it’s as simple as trying something different.

Make a list of all of the things you do or have done in the past that could be considered marketing. Make another list of things you’ve never done, or did before and gave up.

What if you could find a strategy that wasn’t boring?

All you need is one.

This will help

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No jail can hold our clients

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I saw an article today about why folks may want to create a family motto, something that fosters unity and inspires the kids. Of course, I immediately thought about how this could apply to a law firm.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two mottos for law firms, both DUI defense lawyers who have done a lot of advertising: “No Cuffs” and “Friends don’t let friends plead guilty.”

So, how about your firm?

Hmmm, for a family law firm: “When you can’t take it anymore, call us”. Hey, not bad.

How about immigration: “They’re here. We can help them stay.” I think that might actually work.

Landlord/tenant (evictions): “30 days means 30 days.” I like it.

I’m on a roll.

Insurance defense: “Our JDs can increase your ROI”.

PI: “Insurance companies hate us.”

Anyway, even if you don’t advertise, give some thought to creating a motto or slogan for your firm. It can help you conceptualize a key benefit you want to convey to prospective clients.

Or, create one for internal use only. C’mon, it’ll be fun.

I’ll start.

Litigation: “Will sue for food.”

Start ups: “Legal obstetricians: We help you give birth to your great idea”

IP: “We help you ‘Ink and Grow Rich'”

Okay, that’s enough from me. Your turn.

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How?

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I saw a quote today that provides a valuable lesson to everyone who markets professional services:

“Don’t just sell the thing you do. Sell the way you do the thing you do.

“Why is this so valuable? Because services are intangible. People can’t see what they get when they hire you.

Of course, you must tell prospective clients what will happen when they hire you. Tell them how their situation will be improved, how their problems and pain and risks will lesson, how they will be able to sleep better at night.

Clients don’t hire you to write documents and talk to other lawyers–they hire you to get results.

But since other lawyers do what you do, if you want to stand out, you should also tell people how you do what you do.

Show them a picture.

Tell them about the information you collect, the questions you ask, the steps you take to move things from point A to point B and beyond.

Show them what it will be like having you as their attorney.

Your competition does essentially the same things you do but they’re not you. Your style, your habits, your personality, are all a part of what you do. Show people what that looks like.

Don’t just sell the thing you do. Sell the way you do the thing you do.

This will help

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