Can attorneys outsource all of their marketing?

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Can you outsource all of your marketing? Yes, you can.

But that doesn’t mean you should.

Because there will always be things you can do others can’t do for you, or do as well.

They can’t build relationships with your clients and business contacts like you can. They can’t network for you. They can’t serve as your proxy in interviews or presentations and get the same results you can.

And they will never be able to get the quantity and quality of referrals you can.

When it comes to traditional “warm market” marketing, they can’t do what you can do.

They can advise you. Help you create marketing collateral. Give you ideas and strategies you can use. Hear them out. Read their books. Sign up for their courses. Consult with them on strategy and execution.

Just don’t turn it all over to them to do for you.

Capice?

It’s a different story with “cold market” marketing.

There are firms that have expertise and resources you (probably) don’t have. Go ahead, hire them to do your advertising, build your websites, and develop and implement other “outside” marketing campaigns.

But don’t turn everything over to them, either.

You need to stay involved, make the big decisions, and approve everything before you write the checks.

Which means you need to educate yourself, so you know the questions to ask, the metrics you need to hit, and how everything is supposed to work.

(And to make sure they’re not screwing up or taking advantage of you.)

Outsourcing some of your marketing might be a great investment. Just make sure you (and your accountants) stay on top of everything.

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Your practice-building prime directive

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We usually do it when we’re speaking to a prospective client or interviewing a new one. We rarely do it at any other time.

But we should. Because it’s the simplest and most effective way to develop new business and build stronger relationships, which are the essence of building a successful law practice.

Which leads to the prime directive:

Find out what people want, so you can help them get it.

I’m not just talking about their legal needs. I’m talking about everything they might want or need in other areas of their life, because there’s a lot you can do to help people beyond performing your services.

The most obvious is to refer them to other attorneys who handle things you don’t. But you can also:

  • Refer clients or customers to them or promote their business, practice, or cause
  • Provide information—legal, business, consumer, and about their niche or local market
  • Introduce them to people who have information or can help them understand something or do something
  • Recommend tools, books, websites, or ideas
  • Encourage them and give them a shoulder to cry on when things go wrong

Be there for them, for whatever they might need.

If you have a client who needs a recommendation for a job or a loan, help them. If you have a client who is interviewing job candidates, tell them about the book you just read that made this easier for you.

But don’t just wait until they ask for your help. Take the lead and find out.

You do that by observing, listening, and asking questions. What are their goals? What (or who) is stopping them? What do they want to get fixed, avoid, or do better?

You may not be able to help them directly, but you might know someone who can, or. . . know someone who knows someone who can.

Be a matchmaker. When you do that, you help 2 people and get credit for making the match.

You won’t always be able to help people, but you will always get points for trying. When folks hear you ask questions about their situation and what they want or need, when they see you pay attention to what they say, ask follow-up questions, and take notes, they’ll know you really want to help them.

Most lawyers don’t do that. You’ll be “the one” when you do.

Yes, you have time to do it. Because this is the stuff of relationship building and the benefits always exceed the cost.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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Thinking out of the (gift) box

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You want to show your clients some love. Give them something extra, to reward them for being loyal to your firm and motivate them to stick around. You want them to see that you’re not like other lawyers who quid pro quo everything, you’re generous and looking out for them.

At least you should. Because it’s good for business.

Does that mean sending them gifts? Giving them free services? Discounts?

Not something you want to do?

No problem. You don’t have to give away the store to show clients your amazingness. You can give away someone else’s store.

Crazy? Not crazy.

Talk to a business owner or (non-competitive) professional you know who has products or services your clients might want or need (and that you recommend). Ask said business owner or professional if they will provide a special offer of some kind to your clients.

Could be a discount. A free service. A free consultation. Even information that solves a problem or helps your clients make better decisions.

You tell your clients you negotiated this deal for them.

Your clients get a nice deal.

The business or professional gets their wares in front of your clients, along with your recommendation. They may buy something or refer someone, or sign up for the business owner’s list and buy something down the road.

Your clients love you and think you’re handsome and want to tell everyone about you.

Not too shabby.

Oh, one more thing. The business owner or professional may see the wisdom of this arrangement and ask if you have something they can offer to their clients or customers.

Which means some of their clients or customers get to find out all about your greatness and become one of your happy clients.

Working with other lawyers can be very profitable

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What’s your thing?

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What’s your thing? Figure that out and build your marketing (and practice) around it.

Are you a decent writer? Blog posts, articles and newsletters might be your jam. Do you have a book in you? Write it (or hire a ghostwriter) and get it done. It could become the centerpiece of your marketing, firmly entrenching you as an authority in your field.

Are you active in social media? Would you like to be? Millions of people are available to “talk to” and some of them need your help or know people who do.

Networking might be your thing, but which type? Some lawyers network at business and professional functions. Some do charitable work and meet people who know people. Some do business on the golf course. Some ask people they know to introduce them to people in their niche. What sounds right to you?

How about speaking? Many a lawyer has built their career standing on a stage. Many others do well sitting behind a microphone and teaching something or answering interviewers’ questions.

Advertising works. Can you do that in your state or country? Is it appropriate for your practice area? Do you have deep enough pockets to hold your own against better financed competition?

Let’s not forget referrals. Do you get a steady stream of referrals from your clients? From other professionals? Would you be happy getting more?

What do you do? What would you like to do?

If one of these strategies is your thing, keep doing it, get better at it, and leverage it for all it’s worth. You can also do other things, but consider making one thing your main thing.

It might be the only thing you need to build a massively successful practice.

If you want to get more referrals from your clients, this shows you what to do

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Marketing without social media

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Let’s say you’re like me and you don’t like social media, or you don’t like it enough to make it a mainstay of your marketing.

If you do like it, or don’t want to ignore it completely, there are a lot of benefits, but it’s not the only game in town.

You can get traffic to your website or blog without selling your soul to the master of the universe, through:

(1) Search.

People looking for information (about legal issues and/or lawyers who can help them) will find your content if the search engines deem it worthy of the same. So, make it worthy.

No clickbait. Good information. Published more often than “once in a while.”

(2) Sharing.

If your content is good, visitors to your blog or website will share it. Make it easy for them to do that by providing share buttons that allow them to link to or post your content on their social media platforms.

(3) Posting.

Sign up for accounts on the major social media platforms and, when you write new content, post a link to it on those platforms. You can also post in groups that cater to your niche market, besides posting in your timeline.

(4) Advertising.

You can do pay-per-click advertising, ironically through social media companies, or display advertising, or even offline advertising. Advertise your content, your services, or both.

(5) Everything else.

When you speak or write articles or give interviews, promote your blog or other content properties. When you meet people, via networking, or socially, and you think they might benefit from your recent article or video, tell them about it.

And don’t forget to share your content via your newsletter and invite (ask) your readers to share it.

Tell folks what they’ll find and how to get there, and they will come.

Social media is free marketing, but it can take up a lot of time. Optimizing posts for SEO, guest blogging, commenting, and especially, consuming other people’s and content and engaging with them. You could easily spend an hour or more per day.

For some, that is time well spent. For others, like me and perhaps you, the time factor is a big reason for not making social media a big part of your marketing.

If you want to do something, choose one social media platform used by the people in your target market, and spend your time there instead of everywhere. And limit yourself to ten minutes a day.

But you don’t have to do that, either.

If social media just isn’t your thing, you can still benefit from its power and reach without a formal social media marketing plan or hiring people to run it for you.

Make it “something else” you do, in support of your primary marketing activities, and spend your time on those.

My primary marketing activity is email

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Marketing shouldn’t hurt

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Let me guess, marketing isn’t your favorite thing and if you were being honest, you would admit you’d prefer not to do it.

Ask me how I know.

It’s marketing’s fault, not yours. You can’t be blamed for wanting to “just do your work” and not be smothered by mountains of information and endless lists of things you have to do.

Marketing is vitally important, and it can be challenging, but it shouldn’t hurt.

You should be able to be easy about it, do what you want to do, and do it at a comfortable pace.

Marketing should be an extension of who you are and what you do. It should feel natural, easy almost, and never be something you dread.

And it can be if you focus on the basics.

The basics?

Internally, that means serving your clients well, making sure they know what else you do, and staying in touch with them. It means building relationships and getting to know the people they know.

Repeat business and referrals. Just like Dad used to do it.

What about externally? With people who don’t yet know, like, and trust you?

Also the basics.

Get your name in front of people. It doesn’t matter whether you do that via ads, blogs, networking, public relations, producing content, social media, or anything else—it’s all good.

But whatever you do to get your name in front of people, build a list so you can keep your name in front of them.

You don’t have to do everything. One or two “reaching out” strategies can be enough. Find something you’re good at and enjoy and do that.

And do yourself a favor. Don’t worry about everything the experts tell you is a “must do”. In a perfect world, they might be right, but in the real world, a lot of what they say will simply distract you from the basics.

Unless you want to do more, stick to the basics and keep it simple.

And do something every day.

Make a call, write an article, send an email, learn something, meet someone.

Do what feels right for you. Don’t force yourself to do anything that doesn’t.

And don’t worry about getting everything perfect.

You can be “sloppy” and build a big practice. As long as you get the basics right.

The basics

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Some people are weird

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Some prospective clients just don’t get it. They hear the reasons, want the benefits, understand the urgency, have the resources, and still say no.

What’s up with that?

Why don’t they see the value of saying yes?

Don’t get your panties in a festival trying to figure it out.

Yes, examine all of your marketing collateral and look for ways you can make things clearer or more compelling. See if you can find stronger testimonials or more relevant success stories. Do what you can to improve your services and offers.

And stay in touch with them.

Stay in touch with them until they buy or die. And when they die, stay in touch with their heirs until they buy or die. And when they buy, stay in touch with them until they buy again or buy something else you offer, or send you referrals.

Never stop marketing to anyone. Unless someone’s a jerk and you don’t want them, or their referrals..

But if you want them and you’ve done everything you can do to get them to say yes, and the answer is still no, move on.

Again, don’t stop emailing. Keep them on the list. When I say “move on” I mean focus your time and emotional energy on other people.

Because some people will never “get it” no matter how compelling their need, or how clearly or how often you communicate.

Some people are weird.

Just the way it is.

You’re a problem solver, not a miracle worker. Go find some other people who want you to solve their problems in this lifetime.

Email marketing for attorneys

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Getting to “yes”

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Do you have any clients or prospective clients who need one or more of your services but can’t seem to pull the trigger?

Of course you do.

They might have legitimate reasons for waiting and one day surprise you with the go ahead.

They didn’t have the funds, and now they do. They didn’t trust you (enough) and now they know you better. They needed approval from someone and finally got their blessing.

On the other hand, they might want to do it, plan to do it, but never get around to doing it.

Because they don’t feel the urgency to do it.

They might never feel that urgency. Unless you tell them something that tips the scale in favor of “now”.

Which is why you drip on them, via your newsletter or other mechanisms, providing them with reasons and social proof, and reminding them of the need to do it by continuing to show up in their mailbox.

Drip, drip, drip, and one day, they’re ready.

That’s a great plan. But there’s something else you can do to help them reach the tipping point.

And it’s pretty darn simple.

If they don’t yet feel the urgency, you can create that urgency through the use of scarcity.

Find a way to trigger their innate FOMO, their fear of missing out, by limiting the quantity of your offer or the dates when it is available.

Even something as simple as “There’s only one appointment left this week” can work.

Now before you say, “that’s manipulate and I won’t do it,” remember, these folks need what you’re offering, want to say yes, and plan to say yes, but have been dragging their feet.

You’re doing them a favor by giving them a reason to do what they want (and need) to do sooner rather than (possibly) never.

You and your little friend, FOMO.

Email is the best way to drip

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Your best market

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Of all the possible markets you could target, one is better than the rest. It’s easier and less expensive to reach this market, and likely to produce the most new business and profits.

People in this market require little or no persuading about the need for your solutions or your ability to deliver them. They are easier to work with, more likely to hire you for other legal matters, and more likely to send you referrals.

What’s more, the names and contact information of everyone in this market are readily available to you.

In fact, you already have them.

Yes, we’re talking about your warm market. People who know you and trust you. They’ve hired you before or know you professionally or personally. If you email, call, or knock on their door, they’ll answer and greet you by name, because they know you.

We should also include the people on your newsletter list, subscribers to your blog, and your social media connections, because while you might not know their name, many of them know yours.

It’s called your warm market, in contrast to your cold market, which includes everyone who doesn’t know you.

It’s much more difficult and expensive to market to the cold market. Yes, the cold market is bigger than your warm market, but that is its only advantage.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop marketing to the cold market and only market to your warm market. Some attorneys can and should do that. Some shouldn’t.

Some should market to both.

The question is, if you do market to both the warm and cold markets, how much of your time and resources should you dedicate to each?

Talk to your partners, accountant, and marketing people. Take a good look at your numbers, market trends, and your goals.

And don’t be afraid of change. Don’t stick with something because you’ve always done it that way or because most of your competition does it that way.

And ask yourself some questions:

If I could get most of my business through repeat business and referrals, would I want to? Or would I always want to keep a hand in the cold market?

Is this the time for me to go all out and build this thing as big as I can as fast as I can? Or am I happy where I am and satisfied with my current rate of growth?

What’s my plan for the next two years? Ten years? What does my gut tell me is right for me now?

I don’t know your numbers or goals or anything else about you but I can offer one piece of advice that worked well for me and countless others.

Focus on your warm market first.

Give your practice a solid foundation of repeat business and referrals before you venture into or expand efforts in the cold market.

Then, no matter what happens in the cold market, you will always have that foundation.

Unless you’re brand new, in which case, all bets are off.

Here’s The Formula

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The attorney marketing paradox

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You want to stand out from other attorneys. Get noticed so you can show people an advantage to choosing you.

But you don’t want to be so different that you scare off prospective clients.

So, you need to fit in. Look like a lawyer who does lawyer things. But if you only do that, if there’s nothing to differentiate you, you become a commodity. Just another option among many.

You give people no reason to notice you or choose you.

You want to stand out, but you also want to fit in. Look like an attorney, not an anomaly.

How do you achieve that balance? How do you stand out and at the same time fit in?

That’s what you need to figure out.

If you do anything different in your practice, make sure people know about it. Tell the world what you do that other lawyers don’t do.

And if you do nothing different, you can make it appear that you do.

How’s that?

If you do what everyone else in your field does, but the other citizens of lawyer-town don’t talk about that subject, when you talk about it, you own it.

For example, if you handle plaintiff’s personal injury claims and your competition doesn’t talk about all the things they do to investigate a case, and you do, the world will see that you are different and better.

Even if you’re not.

When you are the (only) lawyer who uses a 12-point checklist to ensure all the facts and evidence are collected and documented, you appear to offer your clients an advantage.

Yes or yes?

But there’s another way to stand out and also fit in.

When you look at your competition, you probably notice that not only do most of them appear to do the same things, they also tend to look and sound the same.

Like identical cousins, Patty and Cathy Lane. You can lose your mind.

But they’re not identical. One likes the ballet, the other rock and roll.

All of us were humans before we went to law school, and most of us still are. We can use our humanness to stand out and also fit in.

And it’s easy to do.

Don’t hide your personality or personal interests from the market. Let the market see that you like the ballet or rock and roll, and that while you do the same work other lawyers do, you are different individuals.

Market yourself first, your services second, and your firm a distant third.

Because people buy you before they buy your services.

How to stand out and fit in

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