Need more ideas? Start with this one

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If you want (need) more ideas–for building your practice or anything else–including ideas for articles and blog posts and other content–you might want to follow author James Altucher’s recommendation.

And that is: Write down 10 ideas a day.

He says that if you do this for 30 days, you’ll not only have a heap of ideas to choose from, you will also train your brain to become an idea finding machine.

You’ll become more creative, seeing ideas everywhere. And you’ll become more prolific because when you have more ideas than you could possibly use, you’ll be able to easily push out new content.

Where do you find these ideas?

Everywhere.

Read blogs and articles for lawyers and by lawyers, in your field and allied fields.

Read things written by and for people in your client’s industry or market.

Read books and watch videos on any subject that interest you.

And write down everything that comes into your head.

Good ideas and bad ideas, and everything in between.

You won’t get usable ideas from everything your read. But you will stimulate your brain to make connections between seemingly disconnected ideas and formulate new ones.

Can you do this for 30 days? Altucher says he does it every day. It’s been a part of his routine for years and allowed him to turn out a plethora of articles and blog posts and best-selling books.

If you’re ready to try this for 30 days, you can start you list with the idea you just read.

One down, only nine to go.

More ways to get ideas for emails and blog posts

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How to find a good attorney. . . according to an attorney

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If you were looking for a good auto mechanic, podiatrist, accountant, or therapist, you’d want to know what someone in that field recommends about how to find them, wouldn’t you?

That’s why you should write an article that shows people how to find an attorney in your field.

Include your practice area in the title. “How to find a good personal injury attorney. . . according to a personal injury attorney,” for example.

Then, to save time, search online for similar articles or blog posts, and use the information as prompts to write your own. You should see ideas about who to ask for referrals, places to find “candidates,” questions to ask, things to watch out for, and so on.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Who to ask for a referral. (Friends, other professionals they know.) What should they tell the person about their case or situation? What should they ask them about the attorney they recommend?
  • Should they look at ads or lawyer directories? If so, what they should look for? If not, why not?
  • What to look for on the candidate attorney’s website. What kind of experience or qualifications? What else they should note (Testimonials, reviews, endorsements; types of clients they represent; cases or issues they emphasize. Are they a certified specialist? Fees and billing, free consultations, etc.)
  • Where to get more information. (Review sites, Bar website, websites where the attorney has published articles or been interviewed, etc.)
  • Questions to ask the attorney when they speak to them. What should they look for in their answers?

Include examples and stories from your practice. These make your article more interesting to read and allow readers to see you “in action,” talking to people like them, handling issues similar to their own.

You might talk about the questions a new client asked you, for example, and how you responded.

Valuable insights from an industry insider like these should be easy to get published on websites or blogs that target your market. You can also feature it on your website, turn it into a video, or use it to get interviewed by blogs and podcasts.

You could also turn it into a “free report” and advertise it to build your email list.

People want to know how to find a good attorney (like you). Now’s your chance to tell them.

How to write a report and use it to build your list

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Face time with your target market

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Want a simple way to stand out from your competition? Get in front of clients and prospects for some old-fashioned, real-world interaction.

Speak, network, play golf, do coffee. Meet people, press the flesh, get belly-to-belly with clients and prospects and fellow professionals.

In an ever-increasing digital world, real “face time” is a simple but effective way to gain a competitive edge.

It’s also a great way to get your message heard and understood.

In digital land, you can reach a lot more people but the value of each interaction is far lower than what you can accomplish in person.

In person, you can find out if they understand, if they want to know more, and if they’re ready to take the next step. You can answer questions and read their body language to see if your message is getting through.

In person meetings also help people get to know you.

They can listen to your words, ask questions, read your body language and get a sense of what it would be like to work with you.

Politicians call it retail politics. They know that that if you want to win hearts and minds, nothing beats shaking hands, kissing babies, and breaking bread.

Ready to take your practice to the next level? Here’s how

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Grok and grow rich

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If you wanted to attract Martian clients, you’d learn to speak Martian or hire someone who does. The same goes for any group of clients.

But I’m not talking about translating a foreign language. I’m talking about speaking to prospective clients in ways they will not only understand but relate to.

That means using examples, idioms, and market-specific references that resonate with them. It means using the words they use to describe their world and making statements they agree with.

If you target blue-collar workers, you would talk about long hours, coming home tired and sweaty, bosses who take advantage of them, union issues, and so on.

If you target medical professionals, you would talk about escalating costs and regulations, declining revenue, legal issues, risks, stress, and the like.

In other words, the kinds of things they talk about among themselves (and to themselves).

Most people are attracted to people with whom they have something in common and to people who understand them. You may have nothing in common with your target market but you can show them you know what it’s like to walk in their shoes.

Read what your target market reads. Pay attention to what they talk about, especially the things that irk and frustrate them.

If you want more Martian clients, learn to speak Martian.

My email marketing course helps you learn to speak Martian

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How to use Fortnite to build your law practice

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What do you like to do when you’re not working or spending time with family? Do you have any outside interests or hobbies? Do you play video games? Write novels? Watch sports?

Whatever it is that floats your boat, suppose you had a list of people who love the same thing– a social media group you moderate or an email list.

You could use that group or list to hang out with a bunch of like-minded people. Chat, share your thoughts, exchange ideas and stories and resources.

“Hey, have you seen this website? Have you tried this app?”

You could sound off about the recent game and how your team blew it, or predict what will happen next week.

You know, like you might do in the real world.

You’d talk about your hobby, not your practice. You’re not selling anything or asking anyone to do something. Just hanging out with some friends.

Why would you want to do this?

Because it could be a lot of fun.

And because some of your online friends might be curious about your day job. They’ll ask you what you do, or scroll up (or sideways) and find a sentence or two that tells them what you do and provides a link to your website.

They may need your legal help at some point, or know someone who does.

Wait, am I saying “marketing” could be as simple as hanging out with people who share your interest in bug collecting, gourmet cooking, or yoga? That you can build your practice by making new friends and only casually mentioning what you do for a living?

Sure sounds like it.

And yes, you can do this offline. Find a group, join a club, or start one.

Go make some new friends, have some fun, and wait for someone to ask, “What do you do?”

My book can help you answer that question.

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How will attorneys fare in 2020 and beyond?

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The economy is good. Prosperity is predicted to continue next year. Is that good or bad for attorneys?

A growing economy is certainly a good thing if you handle business start-ups. Maybe not so good if you handle bankruptcy.

What about litigation? Collection? Foreclosures? Evictions? Will there be less work ahead? If fewer people are arguing about money, will there be fewer divorces?

Will there be less work for criminal defense lawyers?

With higher incomes, record growth in the stock market, and an aging population, we should see more work for estate planners, right?

On the other hand, some say we’re due for a recession. What then?

I don’t know what the future holds. What I do know is that it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter which way the economy goes or the outlook for the legal profession or any specific practice area. What matters is how you do.

And you can thrive no matter what the economy is doing.

Work may be down for your practice area but there will always be enough work to keep you busy.

Providing you stay one step ahead of your competition.

You don’t have to be the best in your field, you just need to do a good job of marketing.

But, if you happen to be in a practice area where there is more work than before, you shouldn’t take it for granted. Don’t assume you can ignore marketing.

You may earn more in a thriving economy but not nearly as much as you could if you also put some effort into marketing.

Next year, make marketing your jam and you won’t have to worry about the economy, nor have to depend on it.

Here’s a good place to start.

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Get more clients by making it easier to get more clients

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‘Twas a big year in Amazon land. One big reason is that they make it so damn easy to buy from them.

It’s something we all need to do.

In the new year, I encourage you to make it easier for people to hire you and refer clients to you.

On your website, make it easy to find information about the law, your services, and you. Make it easy to find your contact information and the sign-up form for your newsletter.

Make it easy for clients to hire you by offering different services or “packages” for different budgets, and different payment options.

Make it easy to say “yes” to you by offering more social proof–reviews, testimonials, success stories, endorsements, awards.

Make it easy for people to send you referrals by describing your target market and ideal client, and explaining the best (and easiest) ways to make referrals.

Make it easy to stay in touch with clients and prospects and referral sources by instituting a routine process for updating your files with their latest contact information.

For more ways to get more clients and increase your income, get my latest: The Encyclopedia of Attorney Marketing book series.

Amazon has made this easier by posting pages for the entire 5-volume series:

Print version

Ebook version (with “easy” one-click buy button).

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Video killed the radio star

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Video marketing is big and will no doubt get bigger. But it’s not the only way to get your message in front of prospective clients and, as I’ve said before, it’s not necessarily the best way.

Some reasons:

  • The user needs to take time to watch a video that’s longer than a couple of minutes and many people won’t do that.
  • Not everyone has the ability to watch a video; even if they have their phone with them, they may not have privacy or a good signal.
  • While you can fast-forward (or “scrub”) through a video, it still takes time to watch it and the user may miss something. A document, on the other hand, can be scanned and your message received and understood (an impression) in a few seconds.
  • Viewers may be spoiled by the production value of the videos they usually watch. If you’re not good on camera or don’t want to spend time on editing, etc., if your videos aren’t first-class, prospective clients may conclude that your legal services aren’t, either.
  • It will usually take you more time to produce a video than a written message.

Video do offer advantages in marketing. For one, they give you the ability to help prospective clients get to know and like you before they speak to you.

Videos can play a role on your website and/or social media channels. You can answer FAQs, explain how you work with clients, show visitors where to find articles and resources on your site, and re-purpose or share content from you blog or newsletter.

If you use videos, however, I suggest you also supply a transcript so people can scan your message if they can’t or don’t want to watch your entire production.

Okay, that’s marketing. Videos can also play a role in improving your client relations.

When someone becomes a client, they are more likely to spend time watching a video from you, and more forgiving if your efforts aren’t up to Cecil B. DeMille standards.

How could you use videos to improve client relations? Some ideas:

  • A general video “welcome letter”–welcome to your practice, introduce them to staff, show them your library, conference room, etc.
  • A “personal welcome letter”–use their name, tell them you’ve started on their case, hold up a copy of their file, show them a screen cap of their name in your calendar system, etc.
  • FAQ’s–answer questions new clients typically have about how things work, the steps, what happens when something (bad) happens, etc.
  • Testimonials from other clients. Yes, you’re showing this to clients but testimonials from other happy clients can help attenuate “buyer’s remorse”. (This might be a way you can use testimonials if you are otherwise not allowed to do that in your marketing.)
  • Client ‘training’–getting ready for a depo or court appearance, etc.
  • Updates–here’s what’s happened so far, here’s what’s next.
  • Videos of you speaking (or on a podcast), so they can see they hired the right attorney for the job.

Some things to think about and work on, yes?

Now, I could have recorded this post in a video for you. But would you have watched it?

You would if you had hired me and paid me thousands of dollars.

If you’d like to do that, let me know and I’ll be happy to record it for you.

More ideas for your website

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The one hour workday

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Many years ago, when I was making appearances for other attorneys, I was hired by the wife of an attorney who had become ill and couldn’t work for the better part of a year.

He could talk to clients on the phone but couldn’t leave home. During his convalescence, I handled his court appearances, depos and arbitrations.

I thought about that recently when I read a question posed by James Clear in his newsletter:

“If you were forced to work for just one hour per day, what would you work on during that hour to be most effective?”

It’s a good question, no matter our state of health.

What if you could only work one hour a day? What would you do?

You can probably guess my answer. Assuming I had competent help, I’d spend that hour on marketing.

I wouldn’t do the legal work. Why do something that’s worth hundreds of dollars when you could do something that could be worth many thousands?

One hour of focused marketing activity each day could bring in enough new business (and repeat business) to earn you a fortune.

My point? Why not do that now?

Take an hour a day and make some rain. You can spend the rest of the day doing legal work or supervising others who do the legal work, or a combination of both.

Or, you could take the rest of the day and do anything else that floats your boat.

If an hour of marketing is too much to comprehend, start with 15 minutes. You can make a lot of calls in 15 minutes.

Just something to think about as you get ready to plan the upcoming year.

Want help? Get The Formula

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Last day!

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The deluge (of emails and ads) is almost over. At least until later this month when they pick up again.

‘Tis the season.

And there’s something to be learned from watching it all.

In particular, the power of deadlines.

When you know there are only a few hours left before you “lose” a discount, or there are only a few widgets left before they are all gone, it plays to our innate “fear of loss”.

Psychologically, we already “own” the discount or the widget, and it’s about to be taken away from us.

So we click the button, make the call, or get in our car and face the long lines, to get what’s ours.

Fear of loss is much more powerful than desire for gain.

And it’s something I suggest you use in your marketing.

You have to be creative to do that since (I presume) you don’t usually offer discounts or have a sale. But there are ways to do it.

So, look for them. They are powerful. Just don’t overuse them.

Which is why I don’t offer discounts often. And when I do, I put strict limits on them.

And. . . today really is the last day you can get my courses at a discount.

Specifically, these two:

Email Marketing for Attorneys and The Quantum Leap Marketing System.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, check your email for the discount codes.

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