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The only lawyer for the job

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Instead of targeting niche markets, the average lawyer holds themselves out to “everyone” who has a legal issue they’re qualified to handle.

That’s why they’re average.

Unless they’re in a small town and are literally the only lawyer for the job, this is a poor strategy because they wind up being one of thousands of lawyers who say the same things and offer the same services.

They have no leverage. No edge. They spend way too much time and money getting their message out into the world and have a difficult time standing out.

Why do they do it? Fear. They’re afraid that if they hold themselves out as “specializing” in one type of client or target market, they won’t appeal to anyone else.

It gets them every time.

So, if you’re taking notes, write this down: it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a minnow in the ocean.

When you target a niche market, you can own that market. Be seen as the only lawyer for the job.

One reason:

You can immerse yourself in the niche, learning the issues, studying the culture and networking with the centers of influence. Your subconscious mind will synthesize this information and provide you with laser-focused ideas for articles, blog posts, videos, ads, reports, emails, presentations, and other content.

In your content, you can use examples of people in the market whom you have helped. When prospective clients and referral sources consume your content, they see you as someone who truly understands their market and is uniquely qualified to help them.

You can’t do that when you try to appeal to “everyone”.

Just saying.

This will help you choose the right niche market(s) for your practice

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Is your list getting stale?

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Does your marketing currently look something like this?

YOU: “Here’s what I do and how I can help you”
SOMEONE: “Yeah, I know. You told me that three years ago.”

YOU: “Check out my new article”
SOMEONE: “Just read it. Kinda like the article you did on the subject last year.”

YOU: “Come to my free seminar.”
SOMEONE: “Is it any different than the one you did last month?”

Your list is getting stale.

Sending the same offers and content to the same people can eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. The simple solution is to get your existing content and offers in front of some new people.

AKA, building your list.

When you do, the conversation will look something like this:

YOU: “Here’s what I do and how I can help you”
SOMEONE: “I need to talk to you” or, “I know someone who could use your help”

YOU: “Check out my new article”
SOMEONE: “Wow, I never knew this. Could I ask you a question?”

YOU: “Come to my free seminar”
SOMEONE: “What time does it start?”

Your existing list can be a rich source of repeat business and referrals. Never stop communicating with it. But new people, who don’t know what you do and have never heard what you have to say, provide you with a very profitable lake for you to fish in.

In fact, most of your “external” marketing should be designed to get new people to opt-in to your list. If you have new people signing up every day, you’ll never run out of fresh fish.

Build your list so you can make the phone ring

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Don’t sell the service, sell the appointment

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Many lawyers promulgate a marketing message (ad, email, web page, article, etc.) with a call to action that says little more than “hire us”.

That’s okay if you’re talking to people who are ready, willing, and able to hire an attorney. But most people who see that message aren’t.

Some aren’t sure they have a legal problem. Some aren’t sure they need an attorney. Some think they can wait. And just about everyone doesn’t yet know, like, and trust you.

What’s the answer? Don’t try to close the sale with your first impression. Use that to get them to the next step.

Don’t sell your service, sell the appointment. Get them into the office so you can diagnose their problem, show them their options, build trust and persuade them to hire you.

But selling the appointment at stage one may also be too heavy a burden. You’ll probably be more effective selling your report or ebook or seminar, to get them to opt-in to your list. From there, you can sell the appointment.

But wait. You have to get their attention, first. Offer them some free content, on your website, on youtube, or on others’ blogs (as guest posts or interviews). Let your free content sell the report you give them when they opt-in. Let that report and the accompanying emails you send them sell the appointment.

It’s called a marketing funnel. You start broad (with free content) and sell them on taking the next step. And so on. Until they’re sitting in your office and handing you a check.

Some prospects will skip steps. Some will speed through the steps and hire you the first day they hear your name. All good. But most will need to go through the process, so make sure you have a process for them to go through.

Marketing is easier when you know the formula

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What? You STILL don’t want to do it?

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Yesterday, I talked about coming to grips with doing things you don’t want to do. Like marketing.

Basically, I talked about sneaking up on a task and giving it a big hug, until it feels familiar and you can give it a go. But there’s another way to do things you don’t want to do.

Do them anyway.

Who says you have to feel like it? Who says you have to like it? You have work to do so do it.

You may have legal work you don’t “feel” like doing. You do it anyway because if you don’t, your clients leave you, sue you, and complain about you. You can’t pay your bills. You lose your license. Your home. Your spouse.

There’s no choice here, you do the work.

With marketing, it’s different. Or so we tell ourselves. If we don’t do the work, we don’t lose, we just don’t gain.

Of course, that’s not true. If you don’t do any marketing, eventually you will lose everything.

Fear of loss is powerful. That’s why we do our legal work even when we might not want to. The desire for gain doesn’t motivate us in the same way.

That’s why we have to create habits and routines for marketing, why we have to hold ourselves accountable to others, why we have to block out time on our calendar for marketing (even five minutes a day), and why we have to force ourselves to do it.

But not forever. Eventually, we see that marketing isn’t that bad and it really does work. Eventually, we come to like it.

Or we don’t. But we do it anyway.

Your clients want to send you referrals

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When you don’t want to do something, try this

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Let’s rap about the stuff you’re “supposed” to do but don’t want to. Okay, too many things. Let’s limit it to marketing.

Actually, I’d like you to make a list. Write down all of the marketing tasks you can think of that are currently in your no-go zone.

You don’t want to do networking? Write that down. Social media sucks? Add that to the list. Blogging, asking for referrals, webinars, public speaking, email, direct mail, advertising, cross-promotions, convention booths, sponsoring sports teams. . . and the list goes on.

Look at the items on your list, one by one, and write down the reasons you don’t want to do them. What is it about each strategy that gives you heartburn? Or, is it that you don’t think you’re any good at it or you’re convinced it won’t work for you?

Don’t skip this part. Write down why you don’t want to do it.

Next, write down the answer to this question: “If I DID like this [was good at this/got results with this], what are the possible benefits?”

If you liked networking, for example, what could it do for your practice or career?

Write this down, too.

The purpose of this exercise is to get you to confront the things you don’t want to do in a rational manner. The goal is to take something you don’t do now and find a way you can do it.

Pick one strategy on your list and learn more about it. Read, watch videos, and explore the different ways people (lawyers) are using these strategies and getting results.

See if you can find someone who will let you see their content creation process–what they do to write and publish an article, for example. See if you can find someone who will let you tag along to their next networking event.

We all talk ourselves out of doing things we don’t want to do. This exercise is meant to help you talk yourself into giving it a try.

There’s a big world of possibilities out there you’re currently not doing. How might your life be different if you could find one possibility and make it work for you?

Marketing 101

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What if you’re not better?

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Many lawyers have a marketing message that says, “choose me, I’m better”.

If you are better, and you can prove it, bravo. Go with that.

If you’re not better, or you can’t prove it, I suggest you tell the world how you are different.

What do you do that other lawyers don’t do? What do you do differently?

You’ll be giving prospective clients a way to notice and remember you. “Oh, she’s the lawyer who rides a motorcycle to the office.”

Ideally, whatever difference you promote will also contain a benefit for clients. It will show them why they should choose you.

Yes, while showing them how you are different you will also show them how you are better.

But the “difference” you promote doesn’t have to make you better. It might just help them remember you.

If you ride a motorcycle and you handle PI cases, specializing in motorcycle collisions, you’ve both different and better. If you’re a corporate lawyer who rides a motorcycle to the office, people will remember you because most corporate lawyers don’t do that.

If you’re not better, be different.

This will help you figure out how

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Talent is overrated

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Sia is one of my favorite singers and songwriters. She is amazingly talented. I’ve heard that she will often write a song in a matter of minutes. Not just any song, a chart-topping song, for her or for one of many A-list performers.

Talent on loan from God.

So yeah, the chick is good. How can anyone, songwriter or performer, hope to compete with her?

In my opinion, they can’t. She’s too good.

They have to do what lawyers have to do when they are surrounded by bigger firms and more talented lawyers.

Jim Rohn had the answer. He said, “You make up in effort what you lack in skill.”

Outwork them.

There’s something else you can do. You can work smarter. Do things others can’t or won’t do.

Target niche markets and dominate them. Associate with smart people or people with great connections. Use leverage to get more done with less effort. Find the next big thing, get in early, and ride the wave.

Work hard or work smart. Because you can’t compete with talent on loan from God.

The plan

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A simple way to cut your marketing costs

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When you’ve heard advertising spots on the radio or TV and even online, you’ve probably noticed that after a new ad has run for awhile, you start hearing a shorter version of it. The original spot may have been 30 seconds or one minute; the shorter version might be ten seconds.

The shorter version has the same message and offer but leaves out a lot of details. Advertisers will often run the long version for several weeks, followed by the shorter version for a period of time. They might then run the long version again, or run a mix of short and long ads.

Obviously, advertisers do this to save money. But aren’t the shorter ads less effective?

To some extent, yes. People who haven’t heard the longer version won’t hear all the details and thus won’t be persuaded to take the next step. But regular viewers/listeners have heard the longer version, and for them, the shorter version serves as a reminder to do what they “almost” did when they heard the original ads.

The shorter ads also prompt listeners to pay attention to the longer ads the next time they run.

If you don’t advertise (and never plan to), note that this concept can be applied to other kinds of marketing.

All marketing comes at a cost: money, time, or both. If you create content, for example, you either take some of your time to do that or you pay others to do it for you. Creating (or ordering) a mix of long and short content can reduce your costs without a commensurate reduction in effectiveness.

If you invest a total of four hours a month at networking events or engaging on social media, you might be able to get the same results (or close to them) by cutting out an hour or two.

Instead of writing 750 words once a week for your newsletter, you might get just as much engagement and results by writing 750 words (or 500 words) once a month, and 250 words the rest of the time.

This idea can be applied to direct mail (e.g., letters vs. postcards), printing brochures (e.g., full color vs. two-color or black and white), and any other marketing where your target market will hear from you more than once. Take the savings and spend it, or re-invest it in more ads, content, and so on.

Need more traffic? Subscribers? New clients? This will help

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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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