Have fun with this

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If marketing was fun, would you do it more? Get better at it? Get better results?

No doubt. 

So, how can you make it fun? 

First, by believing that it can be fun. Not drudgery, something you enjoy and are good at. Because if you don’t believe that this is possible, you’re always going to have a rough time. 

And then, you draw a line in the sand and do only those things you like doing and delegate or outsource or ignore everything else. 

You don’t have to do paid advertising or social media. Not one bit. You don’t have to go to formal networking events and talk to strangers. You don’t have to get on stage or in front of a camera and do presentations. 

Unless you want to. 

Do what you enjoy or find a way to make what you do enjoyable. 

Yeah, but what if I don’t like any of it? Not. One. Stickin. Bit?

Really? You don’t enjoy doing good work for your clients and treating them with kindness?

That’s marketing. The best kind there is. 

You don’t like staying in touch with the people who put food on your table? That’s marketing, too.

You don’t like providing information about your practice area and your services with people who tell you they want to know? 

C’mon now. 

Anyway, do yourself a favor and make having fun a priority. “If it’s not fun, I won’t do it” would be a good mantra. 

If you don’t want to write a 500-word newsletter every week, write 150 words whenever you feel like it. 

No rules. Do what you have time to do and want to do, and don’t worry about anything else. 

If it’s not fun, don’t do it. 

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Start with what, not how

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I’m guilty of this myself. Trying to figure out how to do something or improve something when that’s the wrong question to start with.

The right question is, “What do I want?“

Because when you know what you want (to be, do, or have), you can almost always figure out how.

Asking “how“ before you know “what“, often leads to wasting time on less important projects or goals.

Finding solutions without a problem.

Example? You’re trying to figure out how to set up a new website. All your energy is dedicated to looking for ways to do that, or finding people who can do it for you.

If you had first asked, “What do I want?” you might have realized that you want more opt-ins to your email list, and while a new and improved website might help, there are other things you can do to get what you want that don’t require a new website.

“What” is more important than “how”.

If you’re not sure of what you want, or even if you are, a good follow-up question to ask yourself is “why?” Why do I want that? Why is it important to me?

The answer to that question will confirm that what you said you want is indeed important and valuable to you, (or it isn’t), and provide you with the motivation to move forward.

Why do you want more opt-ins? Because this is a simple way to get what I want: more clients from the visitors to my website.

First, figure out WHAT you want (and why). Then, figure out HOW to get it.

Email marketing for attorneys

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Run

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Building a business or law practice, especially from scratch, is best done quickly.

If you want to build yours, run, don’t walk. Sprint, don’t jog.

Here’s why:

  • Building fast gives you less time to think and more time to do. Once you have some sound marketing strategies in place, spend most of your time executing those strategies, not refining your plans or making new ones.
  • Building quickly means you’ll talk to more people, create more content, get more subscribers, do more presentations, and so on. You’ll have more opportunities to find things that work and get better at doing them.
  • Building quickly allows you to compress time, that is, to do in minutes what might otherwise take hours, by finding ways to do things faster and by productively using the spaces between activities that are often wasted.
  • Moving quickly forces you to adopt routines and simple daily activities, which are the building blocks for success.
  • Whether you are new or seasoned, the faster you move, the sooner you find bigger cases and/or better clients and referral sources (and employees), which lead to compound growth as first time clients become repeat clients and referrals lead to more referrals.
  • Moving quickly allows you to create personal momentum. You get faster (and better) at what you do, delivering more outcomes to more clients and bringing in more revenue and more success stories, which leads to more of the same.
  • Moving quickly allows you to discover flaws and eliminate them, make mistakes and fix them, and get better at what you do.
  • Fast is exciting, and excitement is contagious. You’ll be perceived in the marketplace as someone who is going places and doing things and attract people who recognize your pace and energy and want to work with you.

Don’t confuse “fast” with “busy”. They aren’t the same thing. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean being productive.

You can build quickly even if you aren’t particularly busy. But only if when you work, you run.

How to build your practice bigger, faster

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Don’t start with why

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In his book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek says that most companies today focus their marketing on their product and how it works when instead they should share why they do what they do.

You may recall hearing this idea if you saw Sinek’s popular TED Talk that first explained it.

The rationale is that if your market knows the intention behind your business, and they relate to it, you’ll be better able to connect with prospects and win them over.

I don’t have a problem with that. Telling your market (consumers, prospective clients, influencers, referral sources) your “why” is a great way to differentiate yourself in a crowded market. Where I have an issue is with the idea of starting with it.

You and I and our partners need to know why we do what we do. Our why gets us out of bed in the morning and drives us to work hard to achieve our goals. Our clients might like to know why we do what we do but it’s not the best way to get their attention.

The way to do that is to start with benefits.

Prospective clients want to know how you can help them. How you can solve their problem or help them achieve a desired objective. Until you tell them this, they’re unlikely to be interested in your story.

Start by telling people what’s in it for them when they hire you. The benefits. Once you have their attention and they’re interested, you can tell them why you do what you do.

It’s true that some companies successful reverse this. They begin with a branding message that identifies their mission, how they intend to change the world in an important way. But this requires a lot of capital and expertise and they have to get a lot of things right to make it work.

It’s much easier for you and I to start with benefits.

Your story might ultimately get prospective clients to choose you instead of other lawyers who don’t have one. But first you have to get them to pay attention.

The Attorney Marketing Formula

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The perfect marketing plan

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Okay, you got me. There’s no such thing as a perfect plan. So stop looking for it. Or waiting to implement a strategy or idea until you’ve done more research and worked out all the bugs.

Or until you feel motivated to do it.

Psychologists tell us that motivation follows action, not the other way around. So do something. And then you’ll be motivated to continue.

It doesn’t matter what it is. Doing something will lead to doing something else. Before you know it, you’ve actually done a lot and you’re starting to see results.

But you have to take that first step.

Don’t believe me? Try it and see for yourself.

  • Outline an article or blog post.
  • Call a client and say hello.
  • Email a professional contact and say hello.
  • Join an online group.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Brainstorm ideas for YouTube videos.
  • Draft a letter you can send to your clients for the holidays.
  • Check out another attorney’s blog for ideas you can use on yours.
  • Ask a web-savvy friend for suggestions for improving your website.

If you need more ideas, park your carcass and read through some of my blog posts or unread emails sitting in your inbox.

Before the day is over, take one of those ideas and start. Tomorrow, do it again or do something else.

Every day, do something marketing-related and in a week or a month, and sometimes in a few hours, you’ll get some results.

When that happens, you might think about how you read this post and took that first step, and realize that it was the perfect marketing plan.

How to improve your website or blog

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DMO or WMO?

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If marketing (or anything) is important to your success, you need to do it regularly and the best way to do that is to create a “Daily Method of Operation (DMO)“ meaning a checklist of tasks or a routine you follow every day.

Even if it’s just a few minutes.

And if not a “DMO” at least a “Weekly Method of Operation (WMO)“. Or a combination thereof.

NB: start with a DMO. It’s easier to make it a habit when you do it every day.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a handful of simple tasks you do, like a few calls or emails, writing a half-page of content for your blog or newsletter, or working on a new presentation.

Anything marketing related that you are comfortable doing.

If you would like to be interviewed by podcasters or bloggers, for example, your DMO might be researching candidates and sending an email to introduce yourself.

Simple as pie. But if you do this every day, you may soon find yourself being interviewed by other professionals or bloggers with an audience that’s perfect for your practice.

Whatever the tasks you do during your DMO, schedule the time to do them on your calendar. Today is Monday, it’s 3pm (for example) and your calendar says you have a 15-minute appointment with yourself to work on your marketing.

You would be surprised how much you can do in 15 minutes, or even 5 or 10 minutes a day.

Here’s the thing. You already have a marketing DMO or WMO. You always have. You always will.

The time comes and goes every day and every week and you either use that time doing something productive and aligned with your goals or you don’t.

It will be 3pm soon. How will you use your time?

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Sorry, you don’t qualify to hire me

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Wouldn’t it be great to be able to pick and choose who can (and can’t) hire you?

It would and you can start doing it immediately.

Decide who you want as a client in terms of demographics, industry or market, and other factors, and don’t accept anyone else. Or, accept them if you want to, but don’t target them.

Invest your time and resources attracting your “ideal” client.

This will necessarily be a small segment of the entire market of people who might need your services. Why limit yourself?

Because it will make your marketing much more effective and your practice more profitable and enjoyable.

You’ll bring in better clients, the kinds you have determined you want to work with, and eliminate ones you don’t.

Many prospective clients will seek you out because they’ve heard about you from people they know and trust. They’ll be pre-sold on you and your services and won’t need a lot of persuading to sign up.

These clients will be able to pay you and will have a lot of work for you (because you targeted clients who do). They’ll also have more referrals for you, people like themselves who are a good fit for you.

Professionals and businesses in your target market will more readily steer people your way, because they’ve also heard about you from people they trust, some of whom will be their existing clients.

Is this starting to sound too good to be true?

Maybe it is. Maybe your message won’t resonate, your reputation won’t precede you, or people won’t trust you or want you anywhere near their clients and contacts.

But maybe they will.

How about finding out?

Start by understanding that “not everyone is your customer” and that you get to choose.

Choose well, my friend. You might be pleasantly surprised and handsomely rewarded.

If not, you can always go back to marketing to everyone and taking what you get.

Here’s how to choose your niche market and ideal client

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The chicken AND the egg

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Most lawyers don’t think about it. They present what they do to the world and see who’s interested.

“Here’s some information about the law and about me and my services. If you have this problem or that desire, here’s what I can do to help you.“

When someone shows interest, they talk to them and show them more.

In time, these lawyers get to know more about their clients and their markets and are better able to serve them and more easily market to them.

This works.

But there’s another way.

The other way is to build your audience first and tailor what you do and how you present it to appeal to that audience.

You find a niche that has a need (and the ability to pay a lawyer). You study the niche and learn all about it. And you create marketing materials, websites, and approaches that speak to that audience.

With the first approach, the market is bigger, but there is more competition. It is harder to stand out, and marketing is less effective and more expensive.

The second approach has less competition, marketing is less expensive and more effective, but by definition, the chosen niche is smaller than the broader market.

Both approaches work; which approach is right for you?

Maybe both.

Offer your services broadly and see who finds you. Learn about them and their market and build relationships with them and the people they know.

At the same time, choose a niche market, study it and target it.

I used both approaches in my practice. I started broadly, learned how to practice law and how to pay my bills.

And then I settled in on a couple of niche markets, which allowed me to grow bigger, faster.

Sometimes, the easiest way to find a niche that’s right for you is to look for it among your existing clients.

How to find the right niche for your practice

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Marketing. Me no likey.

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“I hate marketing. I’m not good at it. I don’t know what I’m doing.“

Can you relate?

Lot of lawyers do.

How do I find prospects? Get them to visit my website? Get them to make an appointment?

How do I convince anyone to hire me when there are so many other lawyers who do what I do?

Everyone tells you to read books and blogs and take courses or watch videos and you’ll learn what to do.

Which is true. But it’s only part of the answer.

And if you do nothing but reading, you might make things worse because the more you read, the more you start thinking there’s too much to do and you don’t want to do any of it.

Instead of “learn, then do,“ I suggest you “do, then learn.“

You don’t learn and get motivated and then do it. You do it, and that gives you the motivation and teaches you what you need to know to get better at doing it.

And forget about trying to do “marketing”. Forget making a plan. Put your spreadsheets away. Just do something.

Write an article or an email. Or a list of bullet points for a presentation or for your bio.

It doesn’t have to be long. Or good. You don’t have to show it to anyone yet. Or ever.

This is what I did when I first embarked on this journey. I started small and gave myself permission to do a terrible job.

And found out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was actually pretty good.

And then I did something else, and that wasn’t terrible, either.

One foot in front of the other. Before you know it, you get some results. Positive feedback. Clicks. Sign-ups. Clients. Repeat business. Referrals.

Forget marketing. Just bring in some clients.

A good place to start

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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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