I don’t know if my marketing is working

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You’re spending money and time engaging in marketing activities, but you don’t know which of those activities are working or to what extent. You’re thinking you’re spending too much on advertising or wasting time on ineffective strategies and you’re thinking about cashing in your chips and looking for a Plan B.

Before you do that, here are some things to think about.

If you’re spending serious money on advertising, you need to track keywords, clicks, leads, clients, and revenue. Software can do most of that for you and you shouldn’t advertise without it. If you don’t know how to interpret the tea leaves, hire someone who does.

You should also ask everyone who calls or comes to see you where they heard about you, which keywords they used to search, and/or who referred them, or you won’t know if what you’re doing is working, or how well.

You need to know if that $1000 ad is showing a profit. If it isn’t, change it or pull it. But before you decide, you need to consider your back end—the lifetime value of a new client.

If you’re good at getting repeat business and referrals, you can actually come out ahead on ads that break even or lose money.

If you’re not doing a lot of advertising, or decide to cut down or move away from that, focus on other marketing strategies that don’t require a lot of money: referrals, networking, blogging, interviews, presentations, and other forms of content marketing.

You have to include the cost of your time, and/or the time of the people you hire to do that or help you do that, but if you do it right, you should see a significant return on that investment.

If you’re still not clear on what’s working and what isn’t, you might stop relying exclusively on bottom line numbers like the number of new clients and the amount of revenue, and consider “leading edge” metrics like email and/or channel subscribers, video views, leads, and appointments.

Because if those numbers are growing, your practice is probably growing—or soon will be.

Yes, who is on your list is important. But all things being equal, if you’re seeing more people watching your videos or listening to your podcast, if your email list is bigger today than it was six months ago, if you’re taking more calls and talking to more prospective clients, you’re doing something right—and you should continue doing it.

But don’t stop looking for ways to do it better.

Quantum Leap Marketing System—when you’re ready to get big, fast

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Will it work?

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How do you know if your marketing strategy will be effective? Will your article get calls, will your newsletter get subscribers, will your ads bring in leads?

How do you know? You don’t. You don’t know anything until you try it.

So you try lots of things and lots of different versions and you see what works and what doesn’t.

It’s called, “Plan, Do, Review”.

But with so many options available, how do you know what to try?

You read and watch videos. You observe what other lawyers are doing (that’s working), and what other professionals and small business owners do, too. You soak up a lot of ideas and choose one (just one), that you can see yourself doing, and you try it.

You might not stick with that idea and that’s okay. Everything you try has value. You might learn that you have zero aptitude or interest in doing (something) and either cross that off your list, delegate it to someone on your staff or hire someone else and pay them to do it for you.

Maybe you still like the idea, but you need help. You could hire a consultant to guide you, or outsource the entire project.

You could get a “workout partner,“ another lawyer or business contact or friend who is good at what you’re trying to do, or who is on the same path as you—trying to learn and implement the idea, and help each other.

Maybe you’re doing it, but you need accountability to keep you on course. That workout partner might serve that function, or you might hire a coach.

Maybe you’re doing it, but you want to get better results. You keep reading, take a class or course, and keep at it. In time, you get better and so do your results.

Or maybe you’re not getting any results to speak of but want to keep at it. How do you do that? How do you find the motivation to continue when nothing is happening?

You think about other things you’ve done in your life that were successful but had less than auspicious beginnings. Or think about your goals and why it’s important that you do this.

Or call your mom and cry on her shoulder.

Finally, maybe you’re doing it and getting decent results, but what you’re doing is taking time away from other things you’d like to try. Other things that might get better results or be a better match for you.

What do you do?

You either slow down or pause what you’re doing, to give you time to try the other idea, or you dedicate more time to marketing. Instead of one hour a week, for a while, you do two hours, do both, and find out what works best.

These are your options. This is how you find out if something will work.

This will help you create a simple but effective marketing plan

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Daily commitments for growing your practice

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If marketing is important to you, you might want to create a list of core activities you are committed to doing every day. 3 is a good number. If you get your 3 done for the day, it’s a good day.

Daily is better than weekly because when you do it every day, it’s easier to form a habit.

Now, here’s the key: make them small. Because if they’re not, you won’t have time to do them (or want to do them) and that defeats the purpose.

Put pen to paper and brainstorm small tasks you could do every workday to grow your practice. Keep them general, at least for now, until you see the value of being more specific.

For example, your list might look like this:

  1. Something to get more traffic and grow my list
  2. Work on my current marketing project
  3. Reach out to a client or contact

Traffic and growing your list might mean leaving a comment on an authority blog or submitting a query for a guest post. You might ask your current subscribers or social media contacts to forward your article or the link to your site to someone who might need that information.

Working on your current marketing project might be continuing to write your book, create your presentation, or outline a new podcast episode. You might work on a new lead magnet, a new ad, or updates to your website.

Reaching out to a client or contact could be as simple as sending an email, asking how they are doing or what they’re working on.

It’s not the size of the activity, it’s that you do something every day.

A minute or two, a call or two, a page or two. But every day. Make them a part of your daily routine and see where they take you.

How to use email to do most of your marketing

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Getting traffic old school style

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You want more prospective clients to visit your website, to see what you do and how you can help them. The more who visit, the more clients you get.

You can improve your SEO. You can advertise. Or you can get more traffic with some old school tactics.

Here’s the plan:

Step One: Create Content.

Create 10 or 20 articles that talk about the things prospective clients want to know—their problems, their risks, the law, the procedure, timing, options, and what you can do to help them.

The kinds of things they search for when they are online, or ask you about when they talk to you.

Each article should mention one or more of your services and link to a page that provides more information. That page should tell them how to get their questions answered or get started.

Create an “index” or directory page that links to these articles and post that page throughout your site. You want to help visitors find your content and, once they’ve consumed one article, to see what else you have available.

Step Two: Promote Your Content

Copy your index page, add your website address and contact information, and distribute this in print and digitally:

  • Email it to your clients, ask them to forward it to anyone who might like to see this information
  • Mail it or hand a print copy to clients and former clients (for them and/or to hand out)
  • Send it to referral sources, to give to their friends and clients
  • Put copies in your waiting room; if you have business clients, ask them to put copies in their waiting room
  • Pass them out at your speaking engagements
  • Put it in your new client kit
  • Offer it on your social channels
  • Offer it at the bottom of articles you publish elsewhere
  • Offer it to listeners/viewers when you are interviewed

And so on.

You can also gather up your articles, or the ‘best of’, into a booklet or report, and distribute that. You might offer it as a lead magnet to anyone who opts in to your newsletter, for example.

Old school. Easy to do, zero cost, and highly effective for driving traffic to your site and prospective clients into your loving arms.

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It takes as long as it takes

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You’re writing a blog or a newsletter. You’re doing interviews, podcasts, videos, or presentations. You’re regularly posting on social, making new contacts, or advertising..

And it’s just not happening.

You’re not seeing a significant bump in clients. Nothing is happening, so why bother?

Well, maybe you shouldn’t bother. Maybe you should pull back on some of your “external” marketing, or stop doing it completely.

Or maybe the breakthrough is right around the corner.

Someone hears or reads you and becomes your next big client. Someone likes your face and your voice and starts referring their clients to you. Someone shares your blog post with someone with a big following and your subscriber list blows up, followed by your client list.

You never know what might happen, or when. One big case or client or opportunity might make everything you’ve done more than worth it.

So, think of this as a long-term investment. Because that’s what it is.

Along the way, in the short term, you might make enough money to cover your costs and your time. Maybe even earn a nice profit.

Or you might not. Let that be okay. It’s an investment.

Keep going, but don’t do it blindly. Look for ways to do it better or make your investment go further.

Keep going. As you become more skilled, more knowledgeable, and more confident, you’ll get better results. Things will happen more quickly.

Keep going, even though you may not see a lot of growth in the client or revenue department just yet, because those aren’t the only results that count.

There is tremendous value in the lists and relationships you’re building. Those lists and those relationships are your as yet unrealized future.

And they could be worth a fortune.

How to create a simple marketing plan that works for you

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The best way to build your law practice

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There are many strategies you can use to bring in new clients and increase your income. Which strategies are best for you?

I like to break down the options into two broad categories: internal and external.

INTERNAL MARKETING

Internal marketing generally focuses on client relations, to generate repeat business, the sale of additional services, and referrals.

It also includes staying in touch with existing business and professional contacts who can provide referrals, introductions, and cross-marketing opportunities.

Advantages:

  • Low or no cost
  • You already have a list and permission to contact
  • Existing trust means clients and their referrals are easier and quicker to close
  • Clients are usually willing to refer, introduce you, share your content, and provide positive reviews and testimonials
  • A client newsletter is a simple way to stay in touch with clients (and prospects and professional contacts)
  • You don’t need a lot of marketing experience
  • You don’t need to spend a lot of time
  • Repeat business and referrals are more profitable

Disadvantages:

  • Can be slower to scale
  • Your clients may not need repeat or additional services, and/or might have limited ability to refer

EXTERNAL MARKETING

External marketing involves lead generation, through advertising, direct mail, networking and speaking, blogging, articles, and other means, and following up with and closing those leads.

Advantages:

  • You can target any market or markets
  • You may be able to scale quickly
  • Some strategies (eg, advertising) don’t require a lot of time
  • Some strategies (e.g., networking, speaking, blogging) don’t require a lot of money
  • You can hire/outsource many activities

Disadvantages:

  • Some strategies (e.g., networking) may take a long time to bear fruit
  • Advertising requires money, expertise, and the risk of loss
  • Advertising requires a lot of testing to find the right (profitable) approach
  • Competition can be fierce in some markets and/or for some services
  • Longer closing process; leads are more price-resistant
  • Additional overhead (to work with leads)
  • Some strategies may be inappropriate for your image, style, or practice area
  • Bar rules are usually more restrictive

WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU?

Choosing the best strategies for you requires you to consider

  • The time and/or money you are willing to invest/risk
  • Your type of practice/clients/market
  • Restrictions (bar rules, your firm)
  • Your marketing experience and competitive factors
  • Your current staff and/or ability to hire more

MY ADVICE

Every lawyer should start with internal marketing and continue doing it as long as they are practicing.

Who doesn’t want repeat business and referrals?

For many lawyers, internal marketing strategies will be all they ever need.

Some lawyers or firms who want to grow bigger and faster should also consider external marketing strategies, when they have the resources and temperament to do so. But only after they have solid internal marketing strategies in place.

Are you ready to take a quantum leap in your practice?

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Minimalist marketing

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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

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Someone needs your help

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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

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Plan 9 from Mars

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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

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Build a simple system first and improve it over time

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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

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