The attorney marketing triad

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There are lots of ways to build a law practice, but if I had to name just three, here’s what I’d choose:

(1) A content-rich website that attracts traffic and persuades visitors to contact me to make an appointment or ask questions and subscribe to my list so I can stay in touch with them.

That website would educate prospective clients about legal problems and solutions, tell them what I do and how I can help them, and prove to them I can deliver what they need and want.

The website would be a digital hub for my practice and my primary presence on the Internet. It would attract prospective clients via search and referral, and it would do most of the “convincing” for me.

(2) Build a list and stay in touch. Most people don’t hire an attorney the first time they visit their website or otherwise encounter them. It may be weeks or months or years before they’re ready to take the next step.

When you have a list, you can stay in touch with prospective clients, remind them of the solutions and benefits you offer, provide additional proof and encouragement, and be in their minds and mailboxes when they’re ready to take the next step.

Your list can also stimulate them to provide referrals (actual clients, traffic to your site, followers on social), and provide reviews and testimonials.

Your list will also generate more repeat business and referrals.

(3) Build relationships. I’d serve my clients’ legal needs and help them with other aspects of their business or personal life. I’d also do that with professional contacts and other centers of influence in my niche or local market.

I’d provide information, introductions, and referrals. I’d promote their business, practice or cause. I’d get to know them on a personal level and help them get to know me.

Because we’re in the people business and the quality of our relationships is a major factor in our success.

If you get these three things right, you may not have to do anything else.

How to build a website that makes your phone ring

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Small and specific

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My ideal client is a sole practitioner, partner or associate in a small firm, who primarily represents consumers or small businesses, handles much of their own marketing, wants more referrals, and wants to start or grow an email list.

I don’t turn away lawyers who don’t fit the profile, nor other types of professionals or small business owners who want to get more clients and increase their income. I just don’t target them.

How about you? Who is your ideal client?

If you don’t know, it’s time to choose one. It will make your marketing more effective and your practice more profitable and satisfying.

Start with a few key characteristics that are meaningful to you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Describe their industry, niche or market, where they live or are domiciled, their occupation, clients or customers, friends and/or business contacts.

List the types of legal matters they tend to have, and how much work they may have for you. Do they have ongoing or recurring needs? When they need legal help, how urgently do they need it?

Where do they tend to look to find an attorney? What social media platforms do they favor? What groups or associations do they belong to?

What publications or podcasts do they read or listen to (so you can create content or ads therefor?)

A good place to start is by examining your existing and former clients. Choose ten or twenty of the “best” and create a composite profile.

Include details like how they found you and why you consider them ideal, e.g., they pay well and on time, they don’t micro-manage, they know a lot of people in their industry or local market (referrals, introductions), they have the potential to bring you lots of business, why you like working with them, and so on.

The smaller and more specific your profile, the easier it will be to find and attract your ideal client. You’ll save time and money and get more of the kinds of clients you want.

Later, you can expand the profile or add additional profiles.

I suggest you start (or revise) your ideal client profile immediately, so you can get next year off to a good start.

The Attorney Marketing Formula will help you do that

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What about next year?

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Quite a year wasn’t it? As you think about next year and beyond, what will you change?

Virtual meetings are here to stay and no doubt you’ve adapted. But what else will you do?

Take some time this month to explore your options.

Think about the long term. Where do you want your practice to be next year at this time? How about 5 years down the road? You may not know, yet, but ask the questions and let your subconscious mind start working on the answers.

Also ask yourself what you can do in the short term. What can you start working on or investigating right now?

What you can do to adapt your services and/or the ways you deliver them to the changing needs of your clients and target market? What can you do to accommodate people working from home, for example? How could you stand out by tailoring your marketing to first responders or health care workers?

What can you do to attract different types of clients or get a foothold in different niche markets? What business owners or professionals could you introduce yourself to? What new content could you create to attract a new crop of prospective clients?

Explore new marketing methods, or go back to ones you abandoned. If you don’t have a newsletter, start one. If you use email, look into postal mail. If you don’t advertise or do social media, find out what it would take to start.

Take a few hours to explore the future. Read, listen, think, and write down your ideas and questions.

You don’t have to make radical changes but by considering all of your options and asking lots of questions, you may find ways to nuance what you currently do and open doors to new opportunities for growth.

Which is something you should do every year.

Have you read The Attorney Marketing Formula?

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What’s the best marketing strategy?

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A busy sole practitioner asks, “Of all the possible marketing [strategies]. . . how would you rank them in order of effectiveness or “bang for the buck”?

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I’m going to put referrals at the top of the list. If I could only do one thing, that’s what I’d do.

That’s what I did to build my practice. That’s what I recommend for every lawyer.

You should also know my second recommendation: email.

Stay in touch with clients and prospects and professional contacts via email. Do it consistently and it will bring you new business, repeat business and. . . referrals.

My third recommendation: write a book. It’s one of the best marketing tools for a professional.

Fourth, advertising. Done right, there’s almost nothing that will allow you to scale faster.

After that? It depends. Ask yourself questions like these:

  • What’s working for me now? What’s worked in the past?
  • Where does my target market hang out? What do they read? Who do they follow?
  • What am I good at? What do I enjoy? Speaking, networking, writing?
  • How much time can I dedicate to marketing?
  • How much money am I prepared to invest?
  • What could I outsource?

He asked about direct mail. Depends on your target market. It can be extremely profitable (like advertising) but you have to get a lot of things right.

He asked whether adding additional content to an already decent website makes sense? It might. How much traffic are you getting now? Are you dominating organic search for your keywords? If you’re doing well, you might work on increasing opt-ins and conversions.

So yeah, it depends.

Look at your numbers and look at what your gut is telling you.

Don’t do something merely because it’s worked for someone else or it looks like it could be profitable. Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t want to do.

Choose something that feels good to you when you think about it and focus on that.

This can help you sort things out

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How to make marketing a habit

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A lawyer wrote and said the things he’s learned from me “really work and I see results in a very short time.”

That’s good.

He mentioned his email newsletter and said, “unfortunately, it is not yet a habit.”

I told him to commit to writing once a week and put it on his calendar.

Simple. But does it solve his problem?

Note, he didn’t say he doesn’t have time or he’s not a good writer or he doesn’t know what to write about. Those are different problems, with different solutions.

As for habits, there are countless books, articles, videos, and courses that explain the psychology and present strategies and much of it is useful.

But no strategy works if you don’t use it.

And keep using it.

Which means making it a habit, which leads us back to where we started.

My advice?

You either want to write a weekly newsletter (or create any other habit) or you don’t.

If you don’t want to do it, you won’t do it. You’ll never start or you’ll start and stop. Or force yourself to do it, be miserable, and then stop.

If you want to do it, however, you’ll do it, and you won’t have to depend on strategies or tricks or willpower.

Much better, yes?

There are many strategies that can help you start, and starting is the most important part. I encourage you to do that. You might find you like it after all.

Try lots of things. And variations. If you don’t want to write a weekly newsletter, write one every other week. Or don’t write a newsletter the way others write newsletters, share your thoughts in a few paragraphs and call it a day.

Give things a reasonable tryout. If they don’t make the cut, bench them and try something else.

The good news is you only need one. You can build a massively successful practice with just one marketing strategy.

Don’t listen to all the goo-roos who say otherwise. Just listen to yourself.

How to build a successful email newsletter

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Does your marketing plan need a tune-up?

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Repeat clients and referrals are your most profitable clients. Your marketing plan should include strategies for:

  • Retention (keeping clients happy, getting more of them to stick with you, and what to do to get them back if they leave)
  • Repeat business (getting existing/former clients to hire you again and/or more often)
  • Up-selling (getting more clients to “buy” your bigger packages/services)
  • Cross-selling (getting clients and prospects to buy your other services (yours and your partner’s)
  • Referrals (getting more clients, prospects, and professional contacts to refer new clients, and getting them to do it more often)

This is where you should focus most of your time and resources.

To a lesser extent, your plan should also include strategies for getting more prospective clients into your pipeline:

  • Traffic (getting more people to visit your web site/blog)
  • Opt-ins (getting more visitors to sign up for your newsletter, etc.)
  • Leads (getting more prospects to call or write or fill out a form
  • Conversions (getting more prospects to take the next step, i.e., ask questions, make an appointment, sign up)
  • Other (e.g., strategies for getting positive reviews and testimonials)

There are lots of things you can do to get more clients and increase your income.

How many of these are in your marketing plan?

If you don’t have a marketing plan, start here

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Questions are the answer

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When we have a problem, we’re told not to focus on that problem but to focus on possible solutions. But we can’t do that without spending time thinking about the problem.

More specifically, asking ourself questions.

Questions like, What happened, Why did it happen, Who caused it, Who can help fix it, and especially, What can I do about it?

If the problem is a drop in business and you ask why it happened, right now your answer would no doubt include the shutdown. Many people aren’t doing anything about their legal problems now because they don’t have the money or the presence of mind to deal with them.

Is that a problem you can do something about? I don’t know, but asking THAT question might lead you to some ideas.

Asking the right questions helps us to focus on what we can do, instead of what we can’t do.

Questions like, What can I do to bring in new clients right now? What can I do to lower my expenses or increase my revenue? What can I do to set the stage for the future once things return to a semblance of normalcy?

More.

What can I do or offer that other lawyers can’t or won’t? How can I position myself as the better solution? What can I do beyond my core services to attract and engage my ideal client? How can I become better known to my target market? How can I get more traffic and build my list? Where can I get more marketing ideas?

What if you don’t like the answers? Ask more questions.

Because questions are the answer. And because asking questions is better than stewing in negative thoughts.

Where do you go to find “next level” marketing strategies? Here

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Yesterday is a canceled check

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We’ve all been told it’s important to plan our week and month and year. Maybe our quarter, too.

The problems is, we don’t live our lives weekly or monthly, we live them one day at a time.

Author Kay Lyons Stockham said, “Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely.”

Planning your day is simple. Think about your goals and plan activities that move you closer to those goals.

If one of your goals is to increase your income, your plan for the day should include income producing activities.

If you want to grow your network, connect with one new contact every day.

If you want to get more repeat business and referrals, call or email or message three current or former clients each day.

If you want to get more traffic to your blog, write or edit or share new content every day.

Pick a goal you want to accomplish, then break it down into daily activities.

Because how you live your day is how you live your life.

This will help you plan your marketing

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Your post-pandemic plan

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Soon. That’s when the world will return to a semblance of order. The fear and restrictions holding us hostage will subside, the economy will recover, and we will carry on.

But there will be changes.

Changes to what we do and how we do them. So, I suggest the need for a plan.

To create your plan, start by asking yourself a series of questions, to help you think about what you need to do.

Some questions to help you get started:

Your office and staff

  • What do you need to do to make the office germ-free and help clients and staff feel safe? What procedures will you follow? What supplies will you keep in stock?
  • Will you let (require) any employees to continue working from home? How will you equip them? How will you supervise them?
  • What will you do to accommodate clients who still aren’t comfortable coming to your office?
  • What will you do to bring on new employees, or let go of existing ones? What will you outsource?
  • Will you change any of your billing and collection practices?
  • What expenses will you cut?
  • What changes to your office/employee manual will you make?

Your marketing

  • How will you lesson dependence on face-to-face meetings?
  • What changes will you make to your warm market marketing systems (Newsletter, client appreciation, referrals, etc.)?
  • What changes will you make to your cold market marketing efforts (advertising, social media, websites, networking, speaking, etc.)?
  • What changes to your marketing budget do you need to consider?
  • Which practice areas do you want to ramp up? What new practice areas will you add? Which practice areas will you curtail or phase out?
  • Will you run any kind of promotions to celebrate the re-opening of your office?

You should also ask questions and create a plan for your personal life.

As you consider your options, you should also consider that the world, and your practice, won’t return to business as usual overnight. It will likely be many months before we’re fully up to speed and there will no doubt be permanent changes.

So, be prepared to regularly update your plan with new questions and new answers.

Whatever you do, don’t fret about anything. Yes, the world has changed but the fundamentals have not.

And good things are on the horizon.

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3 marketing fundamentals for every attorney

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Marketing can get complicated. Metrics, meta-data, KPIs, keyword strategies, and so much more.

If you’re just starting to market your practice, or you like keeping things simple, there are three essential concepts you need to know:

(1) Your ideal client

Who are your ideal clients? What do they look like, where do they live or work, what are their problems (legal and otherwise), and what solutions or benefits do they need or want?

Where do you find them? How will you communicate with them? How do they typically find an attorney who does what you do?

You need to know this and be able to articulate this, especially since one of the hallmarks of an ideal client is the tendency to refer business.

(2) Why you?

Why should a client choose you instead of any other attorney?

This is your “value proposition” or Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

What do you do or offer that’s different or better? How are clients better off when they choose you?

What’s the “one thing” you want people to know and remember about you?

(3) Professional relationships

One of the best ways to grow your practice is to develop new alliances with centers of influence in your niche.

What strategic relationships do you you need to develop–for referrals, joint ventures, endorsements, introductions and information?

Look at your existing contacts. What do they do, who do they know, how do they–or can they–help you and your clients, and how can you help them?

Knowing these 3 fundamentals, and focusing on them, can go a long way towards helping you grow your practice.

The Attorney Marketing Formula shows you what to do.

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