Minimalist marketing

Share

What did you do yesterday that’s could be considered marketing?

I’ll give you a minute.

Some lawyers might say they posted a new article or sent out their newsletter. Some might say they let their ads continue to run. Some might say they worked on a new presentation, updated their LinkedIn profile or About page or shared something on social media.

Most lawyers, I’m afraid, would have to admit they did nothing.

Just a fact, Jack.

If you find yourself in that category, I understand. You were busy doing some actual work. But if you want the actual work to continue to come in, you might want to make a point of doing something marketing-related on a regular basis.

Here’s what I suggest might be your baseline:

Every day, you either call someone or email someone (your choice). It could be a former client, a prospective client, a lawyer friend, a professional you’d like to know, a blogger or podcaster who is influential in your target market, anyone—again, you’re choice.

You make one call or send one email and your marketing is done for the day.

It can’t be that simple, but it is.

Do that every workday and you’ll see things happen.

Someone will want to hire you, refer to you, or ask you if you can help them. Someone will tell someone about you, share your page or presentation, or ask to interview you. Someone will visit your website to see if you have some information about their situation or to find out more about what you do.

You’ll see more traffic and more leads, build your email list, get more people hearing about what you do and how you can help them or their clients, and yes, get more new clients and repeat business.

I promise.

Sure, you can continue to do whatever else you do that’s marketing-related. But if you embrace the idea of sending one email or making one call a day, and you do it consistently, you may find yourself not needing to do much else.

What do you say when you email or call? Ah, that’s a subject for another day. But I’m glad you asked. It means you’re thinking about doing this and that’s a good sign.

For now, you might start making a list of people to call or people to email. Or, you might just pick up the phone and call someone, or open your email and write to someone, just to say hello. Because that counts.

One more thing. Open your calendar or task app and add a new recurring task. Because if you’re going to do this, you might want to be reminded to do it, at least until it is a habit.

More ideas in The Attorney Marketing Formula

Share

Someone needs your help

Share

Imagine you have a lawyer friend who asks for your advice.

Not about legal matters, about marketing.

They are in the same practice area as you and want your advice about getting more clients and increasing their income.

What would you say to them? What would you tell them to do?

You would probably start by asking questions.

What do you do now to bring in business? How well does this work? What have you tried before? Why did you stop? What other strategies have you considered?

You’d want to know what’s working for them and what isn’t, what they like and what they’re good at.

And then, you’d probably tell your friend to continue doing what’s working and look for ways to improve his results. And you’d suggest some additional strategies to consider.

Yes?

Okay.

You’ve probably figured out that this other lawyer we’re talking about is you. You’re having this conversation with yourself.

And you should because it’s often easier to see answers for others than for yourself.

If I asked you those questions, your answers would help clarify where you’re at and where you want to go, and we would then talk about what to do to get there.

You can have that same discussion with yourself, because you already know many of the questions—and the answers.

Questions, answers, marketing plan: The Attorney Marketing Formula

Share

Plan 9 from Mars

Share

We often do it. Spend too much time planning, too little time doing.

We want something, it’s important, and our fear of failure makes our inner perfectionist raise his fussy head and insist that we iron out all the kinks before we start.

It’s usually better to just start.

Because it’s not the plan that gets us there, it’s the work.

The plan gives us a place to start. A first step, maybe two or three. It gives us something to work towards, but we still have to do the work.

Nothing happens until you do.

The best way to achieve your goals: Start before you’re ready.

Write something, call someone, or ask someone for something. Take the first step, then the second, and see where it takes you.

You’ll make mistakes, spend too much money, get sidetracked with other things, but in the end, you’ll go further, faster, because you took action instead of trying to figure it all out.

If you want more clients, your plan should be to choose a marketing strategy and get busy.

You don’t need to learn everything you can about that strategy; you don’t need to figure out what you’ll do next week or next month, or even tomorrow, you need to take the first step right now.

Any step will do.

A simple plan for marketing your legal services

Share

Build a simple system first and improve it over time

Share

Your marketing plan, or any plan for that matter, should be as simple as possible. So simple it can be written on the back of a napkin. So simple you (and your team) can easily understand it, remember it, and follow it.

If your plan is simple, you’ll be more likely to follow it. If it is both simple and well thought out, it will (eventually) allow you to build an empire.

Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA tells us:

“Gall’s Law states that all complex systems that work evolved from simpler systems that worked. If you want to build a complex system that works, build a simpler system first, and then improve it over time.”

A law practice has many systems—marketing, HR, continuing education, training, compliance, client onboarding, risk management, and on and on. For the practice to succeed, each of these systems must be successful and you need a plan for each system.

Start with marketing. Because if you don’t get and keep good clients, you won’t have a practice to manage. And because marketing drives revenue and revenue will help you build the other systems.

Your plan won’t be perfect, just something you can do and you want to do. A flawed plan relentlessly and enthusiastically implemented will always beat a complicated plan that sits on your hard drive and never sees the light of day.

And you can improve your plan over time.

What’s in a (simple) marketing plan?

  1. The services and benefits you offer
  2. Your target market and ideal client
  3. How you will help prospective clients find you
  4. What you will say and do to persuade them to hire you
  5. What you will do to keep them and get them to send you referrals

Answer these questions and you’ll have your plan. Execute that plan and you’ll be on your way to building your empire.

How to write a simple marketing plan

Share

Implementation intention

Share

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear describes a British study about building better exercise habits. The participants were divided into 3 groups.

The first group (the control) was asked to track how often they exercised. The second group (the “motivation” group) was asked to track their exercise and given information about the benefits of exercise for reducing the risk of heart disease and improving health.

In addition to the above, the third group was asked to form a plan as to when and where they would exercise over the coming weeks. They were asked to write their plan in the following form: “During the next week, I will exercise at least 20 minutes on (DAYS) at (TIME) IN (LOCATION)”.

The results were remarkable. In the first and second group, roughly 35% exercised at least once per week. In the third group, 91% exercised at least once per week.

What explains the dramatic difference? The third group had a plan.

A plan about what they will do, when and where they will do it. Scientists call this an “implementation intention”.

Clear says that hundreds of studies show that “people who make a specific plan for when and where they would perform a new habit are more likely to follow through.”

“When situation X arises, I will perform response Y,” he says.

Trigger and response.

He says that time and location are keys to using an implementation intention to create a new habit, ostensibly because time and location are effective triggers.

Your mind recognizes, for example, that when it’s 6am and you’re in your den, it is your intention to meditate for 15 minutes, and so you do.

An implementation intention can help you achieve other goals besides starting a new habit.

You want to bring in more clients? What’s your plan? What will do, when and where will you do it?

Write down your plan and look at it often.

“Each weekday at 1pm, I will email 3 clients or professional contacts”. “Every Tuesday, when I’m at my desk, I will write for 30 minutes.” “Each time I close a case, I will call the client the next day to see if they have additional questions and ask them to sign up for my newsletter.”

What do you want? What will you do to get it? When and where will you do it?

How to create a simple marketing plan for your law practice

Share

Choose one thing as your main thing

Share

Legal marketing agency executive Jay Harrington recently said, “You don’t need to be on more than one social media platform, nor do you have to do all forms of marketing”. He says, “the more you diversify your approach to marketing, the less effective your marketing may be.”

I agree.

The reason? Focus. You can’t be good at everything and it’s better to be good at one thing than so-so at a lot of things.

The other reason? Time. Many attorneys spend no more a few minutes a day on marketing. Trying to conquer more than one platform or marketing strategy means spreading themselves too thin.

Think of it this way: it’s better to have a good conversation with one person you’d like to know than to broadcast a message to thousands, most of whom aren’t listening.

Even if you have a lot of help and/or a big marketing budget, you should should still concentrate on one or two things, not everything.

Choose one social media platform. Study it and the people who are good at it, learn all you can about it, and then work that platform.

Show up there every day. Add quality content. Engage with key people in your niche. Get your name known, build your list, and use that to build your practice.

It’s far more effective for you to invest a few minutes a day on one platform than to use staff or automation to post links and comments across many.

The same is true for any kind of marketing.

Don’t diversify. Focus. Get good at blogging or advertising, speaking or writing articles, referrals or SEO, social media or podcasting.

One thing, not everything.

You can diversify later, if you want to, but if you focus and get good enough at one thing, you might not have to.

Harrington says the starting point is to ask, “Where is my audience?” Where do they hang out, what do they read, how do they spend their time?

Go where they are, get to know them, and let them get to know you.

Effective marketing starts with a plan. Here’s how to create yours.

Share

Building a law practice without feeling sleazy

Share

Many attorneys say they hate the idea of convincing people to hire them. They don’t like being pushy, which is ironic coming from professionals who make their living being pushy.

They can be mighty persuasive when they’re arguing on behalf of a client, but persuading clients to hire them makes them uncomfortable.

And this is completely understandable.

But it misses an important point.

Your job isn’t to convince people to hire you, it is to show them what you can do to help them, and let them decide if they want to hire you.

You don’t convince them, they convince themselves.

You don’t persuade, you show.

If they want and need what you offer, great. If they don’t, you move on. (But stay in touch with them because things change.)

That doesn’t mean you just hang out your shingle and let people figure out how you can help them. It takes more than just saying, “Here’s what I do, sign here.”

You must provide them with effective marketing collateral that makes the case for you.

You let your website show people what you can do for them. You let your blog or articles or newsletter answer their questions and persuade them to take the next step.

Your job isn’t to convince people to hire you. Nobody wants that job. Your job is to find ways to get more people who need your help to find you, and give them everything they need to convince themselves to ask you to take their money.

The next time you feel uncomfortable doing anything in the marketing arena ask yourself, “Am I trying to convince people to do something they don’t want to do?”

If you are, stop doing that. Because that’s not your job.

How to build a website that does the selling for you

Share

The attorney marketing triad

Share

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

Share

Small and specific

Share

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

Share

What about next year?

Share

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?

Share