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No, you don’t have to do everything

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Marketing. Not your cup of tea. And yet you know you have to do something to bring in business.

If you’re holding back because you think there’s too much to do, you can relax. You don’t have to do it all.

In fact, you just need to do one thing.

Pick something you’re not terrible at and focus on it. Do it regularly. Invest time and resources in it. Study it and get better at it. Make it your thing.

Because if you’re good enough at it, it may be all you need. For now, anyway. Later, you may add something to the mix.

So, what shall it be?

Writing a newsletter? Speaking at luncheons? Networking with prospective clients? Networking with other professionals?

How about webinars? Youtube videos? Pay-per-click ads?

Maybe you’d like to write a book and use that to build your reputation and get more traffic to your website.

Maybe you’re good at working with clients and earning their trust and loyalty. Great. Do more of that. Be the best lawyer in town at making clients fall in love with you.

Yep, that’s marketing.

Because marketing is everything we do to get and keep good clients.

Short and sweet attorney marketing plan

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Are you bludgeoning prospective clients?

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I saw this headline yesterday: “5 Privacy Apps You Need to Install IMMEDIATELY”. I wondered what would happen if I didn’t install all 5 apps immediately. Or ever.

I didn’t install any of them. I didn’t even read the article.

What I can say, I like living dangerously.

Actually, I get “imperative fatigue” with all the articles and posts and emails mandating what I need to buy, do, or read.

32 must-have extensions, 27 must-see websites, 21 essential books to read right now. . .

Enough. I can’t keep up. I don’t want to keep up.

If this kinda thing annoys you like it does me, if your eyes glaze over when everyone tells you all the bad things that will happen if you don’t fall into lockstep with everyone else, if you find yourself avoiding articles like these, well, guess what? Your clients do, too.

So don’t do this to them.

In your marketing, presentations, and conversations, don’t smother them with too many problems, too many options, or too many things they MUST do (immediately), OR ELSE.

They’ll shut down. Stop listening to anything you say.

Slow your roll. Be different. Instead of clubbing them over the head, seduce them.

When everyone else tries to force-feed them a complete meal, give them a tasty appetizer. Instead of showing them your entire menu, talk to them about one of your signature dishes.

Invite them to take a bite and see what they think. If they like it, you can show them the rest of your menu.

In marketing, your number one task is getting the prospective client’s attention. Because if they don’t read what you wrote or listen to what you said, they’ll never become a regular at your restaurant.

Marketing made simple

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Don’t show all your cards to prospective clients

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You have an appointment with a prospective client. You plan to tell them everything you will do to help them with their problem. You’ll describe all of your services and give them a list of the many deliverables they can expect.

Before you tell them everything, you might want to hold something back.

Instead of telling them about A, B, and C, maybe only tell them about A and B. Because if you spill your guts the first time you speak with prospective clients, you won’t have anything left to offer them later.

  • To offer as a bonus for signing up TODAY (e.g., at your seminar, this week only, etc.) instead of waiting
  • To get them off the fence when they want to think about it, talk to someone, or otherwise put it off
  • As an incentive: buy A and B, get C, at no additional cost
  • As an upsell (an optional service they can also “buy”)
  • As an unannounced bonus, to surprise them with after they sign up

You hold things back when you negotiate on behalf of clients, right? Same concept.

If you don’t have anything you can hold back, create something. A voucher they can use on another matter or a service provided by another professional.

Hold something back. You never know when you might need it.

Marketing is easier when you know the formula

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Want to see me take the hot pepper challenge?

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My wife showed me a video of a guy taking the hot pepper challenge. Seeing if he can ingest some of the hottest peppers in the world. The kind that burn your guts and makes you feel like you’re dying. The kind that sometimes leads to a trip to the emergency room.

It turns out there are a lot of people taking this challenge, including people like Kelly Clarkson.

So, what do you think? Would you like to see me do a video taking the hot pepper challenge? Watch me puke my guts out and regret the day I was born?

Thanks for asking but, uh, nope. Not me. Not in a million years.

Anyway, it appears that the hot pepper challenge is trending and we can leverage that trend without ever having to participate in it.

Lawyers can write, post, tweet, link, share, etc., about potential liability for manufacturing and selling products that can send a customer to the hospital. Or getting a friend to take a dare.

But you can leverage this trend (and just about any other) without talking about legal issues.

Mention the trend on social media. Offer your opinion. Link to a video or article. Put keywords in your posts so you’ll get picked up by search engines.

A few years ago, I wrote a post that featured Steve Jobs in the title. I think it was shortly after he died and everyone was talking about him, praising his accomplishments, and so on. His name was trending big time. Not surprisingly, my post (with his name in the title) got more traffic than anything I’d ever posted before.

What was the post about? I don’t remember and it doesn’t matter. His name was trending and a lot of folks came to my site to read what I had written.

Obviously, trends don’t last. They come and then they are gone. But while trends don’t last, some of the people who subscribe, follow and connect with you do.

Earning more without working more: not a trend

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Have I got a deal for you!

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It’s Memorial Day weekend and everybody and his brother is having a sale. Everyone except lawyers. But that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on all the fun.

Do you have any clients or business contacts who are having a sale? Why not email your other clients and contacts and tell them about it.

Wait. Maybe your business clients are willing to offer a little extra to people who mention your name.

How ’bout them apples.

Your clients will appreciate you for tipping them off (and arranging the extra discount). Your business clients will appreciate you for sending business their way.

Could it get any easier?

What’s that? You don’t have any (or many) business clients or contacts who are having a sale?

No problem. Go knock on some doors.

Talk to some local business owners and ask them if they’re planning to (or willing to) put anything on sale. Tell them you’re sending an email to all your clients and you’d be happy to mention them.

Hold on. You’re not done. Ask if they know other merchants (businesses, professionals, etc.) you might talk to. Betcha they do.

This is a simple way to meet and introduce yourself to business owners, get on their radar and in their good graces.

Who knows, they might mention you in their newsletter. Or let you put some brochures on their counter or in their waiting room. Or send you some referrals. Because no other lawyers in town are promoting their business.

Leverage is a wonderful thing

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Online or off?

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The question is, should I build my practice on the Internet or offline?

The answer, of course, is “yes”.

Do both. Each offers advantages over the other.

Offline, you get to talk to people face to face or on the phone. You can meet with them, eat with them, play golf with them, and build relationships with them.

Online, you can find people who never show up at events, learn something about them, and help them (or solicit their help) before you speak to them. But it takes some skill and some time to find people on social media, et. al., and engage them.

In the “real world,” all you need to do is show up at an event and introduce yourself to anyone who walks by.

Offline, when you speak to a group, you get introduced by a host who sings your praises and helps the audience see you as a superstar (okay, trusted advisor). You get to meet and shake hands with people, hand out cards, get theirs, and invite them to ask you questions. You can do some of that online, but not as effectively.

An email newsletter costs pennies. You can send two paragraphs once a week or once a day and keep your name in front of prospects until they’re ready to hire you or send you business.

An offline newsletter is comparatively expensive and time-consuming to produce. To justify that expense, you’ll want to wait until you have enough to say to fill several pages. People who don’t hear from you often tend to forget about you and hire someone else, especially when they’re in trouble or ready to do something about their legal situation.

Email gets lost and/or is easily ignored. Regular mail subscribers are more apt to receive and read your paper missive.

So yeah, online and offline are different. Do both.

You can get referrals online, over the phone, and in person. Here’s how

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If it’s free, it’s me!

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This weekend I went to a free “shredding” event in our neighborhood. I brought three file boxes of old tax and financial files and had them torn limb-from-limb by a monster truck.

Quick, easy, and free.

In addition to shredding, you could drop off old electronic devices for safe disposal.

The event was sponsored by a local real estate agent, husband and wife team. They set up a barbecue and served hot dogs and bratwursts (I had two) and said hello to the people in line.

What’s the point? No, not that I only ate two brats, although that is remarkable. The point is that this was a simple and inexpensive promotion, so simple, even a lawyer could do it.

And shredding old documents is a natural promotion for a lawyer, no matter what your practice area.

I’m guessing it cost them a few hundred dollars to pay for the shredding company to send a truck for three hours and a couple hundred for dogs and cookies and drinks. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they got the electronic pick-up truck at no cost because the raw materials can be profitably recycled.

It looked like their “team” was there, helping out, so no labor costs. The city promoted it in their newsletters and website. The real estate brokers put up signs directing traffic to the event.

What did the brokers get out of it? Maybe a few people asking to talk to them about selling their home. And some goodwill and name recognition.

But I’ll tell you one thing they didn’t get. They didn’t get any propaganda (brochures, etc.) or notepads or pens into the hands of the folks. Which surprised me. I would have given everyone something, anything, with my name and contact information on it, along with an offer, e.g., free appraisal, free “get your home ready to sell” booklet, etc.

Anyway, summer is coming and it’s a good time to fire up the bar-b-que and hold your own event. Let me know when and where and what you’re cooking.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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Marketing defined

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I found it on Flakebook. A one-sentence statement that sums up the essence of marketing (selling, advertising, presenting, arguing a motion, summation, convincing your kids to do their homework, etc.)

It said: “When pitching, answer “Why” a lot.”

Yep. That’s it.

Tell people why they need a lawyer. Tell them why they should choose you instead of anyone else. Tell them why they can trust you.

Tell them why they should sign up for your newsletter, come to your event, or read your latest post.

What is good. How can help. But unless you tell them why, that is, spell out the benefits they get for doing what you’re asking them to do, the rest doesn’t matter.

(Note, telling your kids, “Because I said so” isn’t a good option. Just saying.)

Why is telling them why so important?

Because it’s not always obvious. Or because they may not believe it. Or because they knew it but forgot.

Tell them why because they may be in denial about their situation or because they’re not (yet) in enough pain.

Tell them why so they will spend the money, provide you with their email, or show up at your event and get the benefits (protection, results, information) they need.

That’s why.

This will help you get more clients and increase your income

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How to get better prospects

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If you produce content (blog posts, articles, videos, etc.) that bring a preponderance of poor quality prospects–freebie-seekers, broke people, people who need “convincing” or hand-holding, and so on–I have a suggestion.

A way to bring in higher quality prospects. People with money. People who know they have a problem. People who clearly see that you can help them and who want that help.

Sound good?

Here it is: Convert some of your free content into paid content.

Instead of free webinars, for example, offer a low-cost webinar, perhaps in the $20 to $50 neighborhood, something that doesn’t require a big decision but does require a commitment.

You’ll get fewer participants but the ones who show up will be serious prospects.

Here’s the catch. Since they’re paying, you have to deliver somewhat more value and tone down the sales pitch. People are tired of having to sit through twenty minutes of pitching in a one-hour webinar but they’ve been conditioned to expect it so they often sign up and don’t show up.

When they pay, they show up.

And when they show up, they pay attention and get to see that you really know your stuff. Which means some of them will hire you on the spot.

You’ll have lower costs, too, because you won’t need to maintain a high capacity webinar system or expensive funnel system to maximize your numbers.

You can do the same thing with live seminars. Instead of renting a room in a hotel, maybe you can do seminars in your office conference room.

While you’re pondering the possibilities, also consider creating some paid videos, reports, ebooks, and other content. A paid newsletter, perhaps.

Free content works. But sometimes, paid content works even better.

Marketing is easier when you know the formula

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Your passion is more valuable than you think

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Following on yesterday’s post about making a career out of your passion (if possible), attorney John R. writes to lament that despite his best efforts, he cannot find a way he can do that with his passions: woodworking and golf.

If you find yourself singing a similar song, I have a suggestion I think you’ll like.

Take one of your passions and make it your target market.

Use your knowledge, experience, and love for the subject, to market your legal services to prospective clients and referral sources who inhabit that market.

I don’t know a lot about woodworking but I’m sure it is composed of a wide variety of individuals and businesses: vendors, machine and tool manufacturers, raw materials suppliers, distributors, and retailers.

People who sell wood furniture and art. People who run conventions, write books and blogs and sell instructional videos.

There are insurance brokers, real estate brokers, accountants, and financial planners, who sell to or advise wood mills, hardware and furniture stores, and others in the chain of distribution.

And many others who share your passion.

It’s a big niche, or rather a collection of related niches, and it’s yours for the taking. Focus your marketing efforts on this niche. No matter what your practice area, there are people in it who need your services or can refer people who do.

Speak and network at their events. Write for their publications. Let them know you’re “one of them”.

Soon, you will dominate that market, or at least carve out (sorry) a large enough chunk to keep you busy many times over.

You may not make your living turning a lathe or sanding shelves but you’ll do the next best thing. You’ll get to spend time talking to and helping other people who share your passion.

This will help you find the right target market for you

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