It’s not how big it is. . .

I’m talking about your list, of course. Having a big one is important to many people but, like other things in life, it’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it.

If you have a small email list but you get a lot of new clients each month from it, you’re a stud. If you’ve got a huge list but nobody signs up, well, don’t go bragging about the size of your list.

Okay, I’ve milked that analogy enough. Oops, maybe not.

Anyway, it’s a valid point. It’s not the size of your list that’s paramount, it’s how responsive it is.

You want your subscribers to read what you write, not ignore your emails because you give them too much to read or your message isn’t relevant to them.

You want a list that looks forward to hearing from you because your emails are interesting or fun to read and never boring.

You want a list that engages with you, by replying to your questions and responding to your offers.

You want a list of people who like and trust you so that when they need you (or know someone who does), they don’t hesitate to contact you or refer you.

So yeah, grow your list. But don’t obsess over size and don’t worry about having a small one.

If you want to know how to build a responsive list and get more clients with email without spending a lot of time or money, that’s what my email marketing course is all about.

Details here

Inbox zero problem–solved

I’ve been pretty good about maintaining inbox zero, that is, cleaning out my email inbox every day (or two).

Things I can do quickly, I do. Things that require more time or I want to save I forward to Evernote. Everything else gets trashed or archived.

Lately, I found myself getting behind. A lot. To the point that I didn’t want to look at my inbox anymore.

Last night, I took action. I added a label to 415 emails (from one guy) and archived them, leaving me with just 39 emails that I’ll handle today.

Yes, that’s a lot of emails from one guy. He writes seven days a week, more when he’s promoting something. I didn’t want to delete them because I get a lot of value from his emails and I want to be able to read them.

Never met the guy but I feel like I know him and I welcome his counsel.

Maybe you feel the same about my emails. You like them, you get information and ideas from them, but you can’t always keep up with me.

You might want to do what I did: label and archive (or put them in a folder) so you can read them later.

You won’t hurt my feelings.

And, if you write a newsletter, you might suggest this to your subscribers, in case they find themselves falling behind.

They can read you later, when they need your help, or when they see the boring dreck written by your competition and miss hearing your “voice”.

It’s not important that your subscribers read everything you write. What’s important is that they see you are still writing to them. See that you’re still helping clients, and still available to them when they need your help.

So, go ahead and write often. Just don’t write dreck.

My email marketing course shows you how to write emails your clients and prospects want to read.

Small and frequent

If you play online games, you know the developers of those games tend to reward you with tokens and banners and prizes of some sort. They give you small rewards frequently, rather than a big reward less often.

And you like it that way.

Each time you get something–a prize or acknowledgment of your progress–you get a small hit of dopamine. It feels good. The more often that hit is triggered, the more likely you are to continue to play that game.

You like getting to the next level in the game. You like the anticipation and the sense of accomplishment. You keep playing because there is always a next level.

But you also like it when the app gives you something unexpected.

If you don’t play online games, you may find other ways to get small and frequent reinforcement in your life. Checking off done tasks on your todo list, for example.

Knowing this, you might want to do something similar with your clients and prospects.

That is, give them reasons to feel good about you and what you’re doing for them more often.

What could you do between the start of the case or engagement and the time you settle or present the deliverables?

What could send them? How could you engage them? How could you recognize or reward them?

Each time you call your clients or send them something, assuming you’re not delivering bad news, they get a hit of dopamine. In part, because you didn’t deliver bad news, but also because your communication reminds them that they made a good decision when they chose you as their attorney.

Put on your thinking cap and brainstorm ways to touch the lives of your clients more often. Do the same thing for your prospective clients and business contacts.

A good place to start is with information. Instead of sending “everything” all at once, break it up into smaller pieces and send them more often.

Don’t make clients wait until the end of the case to hear from you. Don’t make prospective clients wait weeks or months to hear from you.

Contact your clients and prospects more often. You’ll probably find them getting hooked on you.

A simple way to connect is with an email newsletter

The ten-second newsletter

How long does it take to write a newsletter? Not long. A few minutes or even a few seconds.

A few seconds? How is that possible?

It’s possible if you re-define the meaning and purpose of a newsletter.

Your newsletter doesn’t need to be all about news or about the law. It can be a few sentences you think might prove interesting or of value to your readers.

A thought, a tip, a link to a helpful resource, a quick story, or a few words about what’s going on in your life. That’s all you need because your newsletter is merely a mechanism for staying in touch, reminding people that you’re still around and still care about them.

If your readers need more information, direct them to your website or tell them to contact you. Like I do every time you hear from me.

If you want to see examples of ten-second newsletters, and a lot more, head on over to my email marketing course so you can start using email to build your practice.

Why newsletters don’t work

You say you’ve tried a newsletter but it didn’t work. It didn’t bring in business, it took too much time, or you ran out of things to write.

Or, you’ve thought about starting a newsletter but are worried about the aforesaid.

I see a lot of lawyer’s newsletters and there are three primary reasons why they don’t work:

(1) Too much information.

If your inbox is like my inbox, you have no shortage of things to read. Your clients and prospects are no different. So, if you send them a newsletter filled to the brim with information and articles, most people won’t read it.

And, let’s face it, you don’t the time to write a newsletter like that so you procrastinate and before long, your newsletter is “out of business”.

What if your newsletter consisted of just a few paragraphs? Something you could write in a few minutes and your clients could read in a few minutes?

Kinda like what you’re reading right now.

(2) Too infrequent/too irregular.

A monthly newsletter isn’t often enough to gain traction with your readers. By the time your next issue arrives, they’ve forgotten what you said last time. Or worse, they’ve forgotten who you are and send your message to spam.

This is a simple fix. Rather than sending a big newsletter infrequently, break it up into smaller messages and send more often. And on a regular schedule.

When you stick to a regular schedule and people only need a few minutes to read your latest message, you get more people reading your messages. Which means more people hire you (again) and send you referrals.

Which is the point.

(3) Uninteresting.

Most lawyers’ newsletters are boring. And I’m a lawyer. If I’m not interested in what you say, you can bet most of your clients and prospects aren’t either.

You have to give people something interesting to read. To do that, you have to understand your clients and prospects beyond their legal problems.

Who are they? What do they do? What are their problems? What do they want in their business or personal life?

When you understand them, you can write about them, and they’ll read every word.

When I write to you, I talk about issues that are familiar and interesting to you. I use examples from my life or practice or from other lawyers I work with or have known.

I write about things you care about and present them in an interesting way.

I can do that because I understand you. Hell, I am you. But if I wasn’t, I’d make sure I studied you.

Which is what you need to do if you want to make your newsletter interesting for your clients and prospects.

It’s not difficult. You can learn a lot about your clients by reading what they read.

When you do, you’ll never run out of things to write about.

My email marketing course shows you everything you need to know. For all the details, go to

Email Marketing for Attorneys

Study: email 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined

I’ve been yapping about how email is more effective than social media and this study proves it. If email isn’t at least a part of your marketing mix, you’re missing out.

I know, it seems too complicated. So much to learn, so much to do.

But it isn’t. Unless you make it that way.

In case you have your doubts, let me give you a very simple way to start.

You have a database of clients, right? You have their email addresses on file?

Okay, fire up whatever you use to send emails and send your clients an email that says something like this:

“I’m updating my records and I want to make sure I have your current (and best) email address. Please hit reply and let me know you got this. Thank you.”

Simple, right? What’s next?

Send them one of the following:

  • Information: a link to an article you found online (or wrote): “I thought you might find this interesting.”
  • News: something your firm has done recently or is about to do
  • A legal tip: how to do something or avoid something
  • A consumer tip: how to save money or time or get better results
  • A reminder: to contact you to update their [document], to file their [document], or to call you if they have a question about [whatever]
  • A story: tell them a success story about one of your clients
  • An invitation: to your event, to watch your new video or read your new blog post, or to contact you for a free consultation
  • A thank you: thanks for being my client, thank you for all the comments on my last post, thank you for all the kind words when I broke my leg. . .

Before you know it, the holidays will be here. Not too difficult to send an email wishing them well.

Want to know the one email that gets the highest open rate (according to other studies)? Happy birthday, emails, of course. So add this to your list.

Here’s the key: send anything. It doesn’t really matter what. What matters is that you’re staying in touch with the people who put food on your table.

When you’re ready to take things to the next level, get my Email Marketing for Attorneys course.

Getting referrals from people you don’t know well

Yesterday, we talked about using email to reach out to strangers, to see if there’s a basis for initiating a relationship.

But don’t forget the people you already know.

Friends, clients, colleagues, people you’ve worked with–your close contacts can and will send you business, so stay in touch with them, too. An email newsletter is a simple way to do that.

And. . . don’t ignore your casual contacts. Professionals you’ve met once or twice, vendors, consultants, bloggers, and others who sell to or advise people in your target market, can open a lot of doors for you.

These so-called “weak ties” may be a great source of referrals and other opportunities.

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, said:

“In fact, in landing a job, Granovetter discovered, weak-tie acquaintances were often more important than strong-tie friends because weak ties give us access to social networks where we don’t otherwise belong. Many of the people Granovetter studied had learned about new job opportunities through weak ties, rather than from close friends, which makes sense because we talk to our closest friends all the time, or work alongside them or read the same blogs. By the time they have heard about a new opportunity, we probably know about it, as well. On the other hand, our weak-tie acquaintances— the people we bump into every six months— are the ones who tell us about jobs we would otherwise never hear about.”

Schedule time each week to check-in with a few casual contacts. Send an email, ask what they’re working on, give them some news, or share an article or video you found that might interest them.

Some of these casual contacts will bear fruit, merely because they heard from you and were reminded about what you do and how you can help them or their clients.

But don’t leave it at that.

When the time is right, tell them what you’re looking for. Ask for information or an introduction. Or ask for advice.

Because your casual contacts can open a lot of doors for you, some of which you didn’t know even existed.

Email marketing for attorneys

Facebook vs. email: the verdict

Many studies confirm the supremacy of email over social media for marketing, including one I saw the other day.

Sumo sent a Facebook post to 74,000 fans and, they said, they got 10 clicks. They sent the same message to 81,000 email subscribers and got 4,203 clicks.

“In 10 hours, the email had 420x more clicks. Plus, with email you OWN the list. Not Facebook,” they said.

One reason for this disparity: many people simply don’t see your social media posts, due to filtering (censoring), and because many people don’t check social media as often as they check email.

But that’s not the entire story.

Even if you got the same number of clicks from social, email will almost always outperform social where it counts–new clients, repeat business, referrals, engagement, and relationship building.

Because email is more intimate than social media.

With social, unless you PM someone, everyone sees the same message. Most people, therefore, liken social media posts to ads or commercial messages.

But email is perceived as a personal message.

Even though you might send your message to hundreds or thousands of people, if you do it right, each recipient reads it as though it was sent just to them.

Doing it right starts with sending an email, not an ad or commercial message, or an article they can find anywhere online.

Email is the killer app.

This is why I (and others) tell you to build an email list. It’s why we say you can get big results with a small list. It’s why many of us build successful practices and businesses without spending a lot of time (or money) on other forms of marketing.

Build a list and stay in touch with it. By email.

If you want to learn how to do it right, go here

Spoilers

I love a good hamburger and one of my favorite hamburger joints is In-N-Out Burger.

This morning, a video presented itself to me with the title, “BRITISH Try IN-N-OUT BURGER for the FIRST TIME!” so naturally, I read the description: “This is probably our most requested video EVER! We FINALLY GOT TO TRY IN-N-OUT and we LOVED it!”

Color me surprised.

Videos like these usually don’t tell you the verdict. You have to watch the thing to find out. Now I don’t have to.

For the record, even if they hadn’t revealed their opinion, I wouldn’t have invested 11:50 to find out.

Okay. I don’t know if posting “we LOVED it!” in the description was done intentionally, but in marketing, we do our best to come up with irresistible headlines and clickbait-y titles, to draw in readers and listeners to our content.

So, you have to wonder, is there anything to be gained by revealing the takeaway in advance?

The answer is, “maybe”.

If you’re a fan of the couple who made the video, if you’re one of the many who requested it, you watch it because it’s your thing.

If you’re crazy about IN-N-OUT and are curious to see what they ordered or to hear what they liked best or you want to know what they thought about the crowds or the service or the decor, or you’re bored and looking for something new to watch. . . maybe you watch even though you know how the movie ends.

Different strokes.

But this raises another question.

When you’re making videos, writing blog posts, or creating other content and hoping to get more eyes and ears on your creations, how do you know when (or if) you should provide spoilers?

You don’t.

But when you know your market well, eventually, you develop your Spidey Sense and know when it’s okay to break the rules.

Which is why you need to research your target market and make sure you know it inside and out (In-N-Out).

You can learn how to do that in my Email Marketing for Attorneys course.

Sixty-second marketing

What are you doing for the next sixty seconds? Okay, after you finish reading this?

You could be using that minute to market your practice.

I just watched a one-minute video by a guy walking and talking into his phone. No intro, he just started talking. He shared his thoughts on a subject and the video ended.

No promotion, no request to Like or subscribe or hit the bell. Sixty seconds and he could get on with his day.

It wasn’t scripted, and it wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t boring, either. He gave me something to think about.

The next time one of his videos comes up in my feed, I’ll probably watch it. If he continues to share something interesting, I may subscribe.

That’s how you build a following.

You could do the same thing. Just you and your phone, or you and your computer screen. Press record and talk for one minute.

You could record audio only, convert it to text and post that on social.

Or use that text in your email newsletter.

In sixty seconds, you would probably push out 150-180 words, and yes, that’s enough for a short email newsletter. If you have more to say, speak for two minutes instead of one.

What do you think? Do you have a minute to talk about something your audience or subscribers would find interesting or valuable?

If so, go record something. Like I did. Right here.

How to build your law practice with email