A proven way to get more newsletter subscribers and seminar attendees

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The theory is that people sign up for your newsletter or attend your seminar or other event because they want to learn your wisdom, ideas, and advice. Or they want to know more about what you do and how you can help them. 

That’s the theory but, unfortunately, they don’t always take the time to do that. That’s why most professionals who write a newsletter or conduct seminars, etc., offer an incentive or bonus, aka “lead magnet” to entice more people to sign-up. 

And it works. In fact, more often than you might think, people sign up primarily (or solely) to get the bonus.  

But only if they believe that said bonus offers sufficient value in return for giving you their email. 

And so, if you want more sign-ups, make sure you create an effective lead magnet. 

How do you do that? You work just as hard (or harder) on the report or other bonus as you do on your newsletter or event. 

Because if they don’t sign up, it won’t matter how good your newsletter or seminar might be, prospects won’t see or hear it. 

The key to an effective lead magnet is the headline or title. It must instantly get the reader’s attention and persuade them to read or listen. Tell them what they will learn or get or be able to do as a result of reading or consuming the report.

Your report should help them solve a (painful) problem, one they know they have and want to get rid of. Or it should help them achieve a meaningful objective they ardently desire. 

Something they want or something they need. 

Ideally, your description of the report should say or imply that they can’t (easily) get this information anywhere else. One way to do that is to point out that your report is based on your years of experience working with clients with the same problems or desires as your reader, or it is a form or checklist you use regularly in your practice. 

The length of the report isn’t important. As long as it does what it says it does, and is something the reader wants or needs, you’ll get more sign ups. But since the ultimate goal is to get more clients, consider giving them a lot of high quality information. 

The more value, the better. 

You want them to think, “If she provides this much value in a free report, she must truly know what she’s doing and can afford to be this generous. I can’t wait to see how much value she gives paying clients.”

This gives you great posture—and a lot more sign-ups. 

How to create an effective newsletter, get more subscribers and more clients

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Create content about what you do

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Your clients, prospective clients, subscribers, friends and followers, and even your business and professional contacts, want to know about you and your work. 

Even more than they want to know about the law. 

In fact, unless someone currently has a specific legal issue or question, or has a client or friend who does, they probably don’t want to hear you talking about the law.  

It’s boring. 

It’s people who are interesting. And you are one of those people. 

Tell them about your typical day, the kinds of clients and cases you handle, your staff, how you stay productive, and even the software you use. 

Tell them how you do research, the forms and docs you depend on, and how you get new business. (Perfect opportunity to talk about all the referrals you get—and plant a few seeds for your readers). 

They want to hear what you like about your work, and what you don’t. They want to know about your favorite case, and about your “client from hell”.  

You may think what you do is dry and uninteresting, but you’re too close to it. What you find humdrum is fascinating to others. 

However… don’t make your content all about you.

You also need to talk about the law. Because some people find you by searching for a legal topic, and when they do, they want to know everything you can tell them. 

But more than you or the law, your content should be about your reader. 

Their issues, their industry, their market, and the people in their industry or market.  

Yep, talk about clients and prospects and the people in their world. Because there is nothing more interesting to your readers than reading about themselves. 

Email marketing for attorneys

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Running out of ideas?

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If you ever have a difficult time coming up with ideas for your newsletter or blog or social media posts, I have a very simple solution for you. Not the only solution, of course. There are many sources of ideas. But when it’s crunch time and you’re looking at a blank page and a deadline, this should be your “go to”:

Find something you wrote (or said) before and write it (or say it) again. 

You may notice that I do this all the time. In fact, the subject of this post is something I’ve written about more than a few times. I don’t feel guilty about that and (if you do it) neither should you. Because not only is it good for us to be able to repeat ourselves, it’s also good for our readers. 

Here are 4 reasons:

  1. Repetition is the mother of learning. Hearing an idea more than once helps the reader or listener understand and remember that idea.  
  2. Hearing that idea again may prompt the reader to actually do what they have learned but aren’t doing, or stopped doing.
  3. Many subscribers or followers may not read what we have written. They were busy, didn’t think they needed the information, or didn’t open the email or visit your blog.
  4. Many subscribers are new and never saw your article or post. 

One more reason: the preeminence of fundamentals. 

In my case, it’s much more important to remind you why you should prioritize referrals in your marketing, and tell you (again) how to get them, for example, than to tell you my latest strategy for keeping notes.

Okay, repetition for the win. But… a few guidelines:

  1. Spread it out. Don’t write about the same idea 3 times this month, write about it 3 times this year. 
  2. Use (different) stories and examples to make your points, to keep it interesting and give your readers something different they might relate to and remember. 
  3. Vary the style and length of your articles and posts. One time, you might have a lengthy and comprehensive article, the next time you might rhapsodize about a portion of the same, or simply refer to the idea parenthetically as part of another article or post. 

Finally, if you’re really in a pinch, it’s perfectly fine to write nothing new but simply copy and paste your old article as though it is new. (You may find this especially handy when you’re going on vacation).

Most readers won’t notice and those who do won’t care.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Does quantity lead to quality?

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In the old days, when we sent out our newsletter via the postal service, every subscriber cost money. There was good reason to do our best to control the size of our “mailing” list by removing bad addresses and troublesome subscribers.  

Today, in the digital world, there is virtually no such thing as “too big” or “too many”. 

Almost. 

There is still a cost to acquire and maintain our list, and while this is usually not prohibitive, we need to consider the cost of our time answering questions and building engagement, plus any additional costs for providing incentives for signing up e.g., a copy of your book, a free consultation. 

Since we don’t sell chewing gum, for most lawyers, the added cost of maintaining a bigger list is usually worth it.

If you have 5000 subscribers, and it turns out that only 500 are good prospects and eventually hire you or refer a client, it doesn’t matter if 4500 aren’t interested, don’t have a case, can’t pay you, refer no one, or don’t even read your newsletter. 

The cost of maintaining your newsletter is relatively insignificant compared to your potential return. 

Besides, you never know when a “bad” prospect might become a good prospect, or meet someone who is. 

Which is why, unless your list is extremely large and the costs of maintaining it are prohibitive, don’t worry about how much “dead wood” is on your list, or invest a lot of time or money to remove them.   

However, if you want to “clean your list” and eliminate subscribers who are unlikely to become a client, here are a few ways to do that: 

  1. Narrow your focus. Don’t make your newsletter (blog, etc.) about “the law,” make it about your practice area(s). Don’t target “business owners,” target specific industries or professions. 
  2. Offer fewer freebies. Many, perhaps most, subscribers sign up primarily to get the bonuses you offer as an enticement to subscribe. Offer fewer bonuses, or tone down your rhetoric about the benefits thereof, and you’ll get fewer subscribers. 
  3. Make them “qualify”. Ask questions about their industry, problems, needs, or interests as part of the sign-up process. The more you ask, the fewer will subscribe. 
  4. Tell them how often they’ll hear from you. If you email once a week or daily and they think that’s too often, you’ll get fewer subscribers.  
  5. Periodically ask subscribers if they still want to continue getting your newsletter. Make them reply in the affirmative to continue getting it. Or, track your “opens” for a few weeks and remove the ones who aren’t reading your messages.   

Conversely, and more importantly, if you want more folks on your list, do the opposite. Build your list as big as possible. Quantity does lead to quality.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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How to get subscribers for your new newsletter

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You’re thinking abut starting a newsletter for your law practice, but wonder if it will be difficult getting people to sign up.

It won’t.

If you have something to say that people want to know, and you make it easy for them to subscribe, they will. 

Use an autoresponder to manage the mechanics for you. Add an opt-in form on your website or blog or on a landing page. And write a “welcome” email that will be automatically sent to your new subscribers, thanking them for signing up and telling them what to expect, e.g., how often they’ll hear from you and what they will learn or get.

You can do all of that in a weekend.

The next step is to tell people about your newsletter. 

Ask your current and former clients, your prospects and leads, your social media followers, and your friends to sign up and tell them why they should. Tell them the benefits they get—what they’ll learn, how it will make their business or life easier or better—and tell them they can opt-out (unsubscribe) at any time. 

Sweeten the pot by telling them they’ll also get a report or checklist or form as a bonus for signing up. 

Depending on the size of your list and your relationships with the people on it, this might be all you need to do to get your first 100 or 500 subscribers. 

And that’s a great start. 

It may be enough to get a new client, repeat client, referral or inquiry.

Then, if you deliver decent content, your subscriber count will grow organically as people talk about you and your website or blog gets more traffic.

If you want to grow further or faster, there’s plenty you can do to make that happen.

But for now, just start. 

Check out my course on building your practice with a newsletter

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Does your newsletter have to contain news? 

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Mine doesn’t. Because there isn’t a lot of news related to marketing legal services, at least anything I want to talk about, and when there is, readers can find it from a lot of sources. 

You don’t have to write about the news, either. But as a practicing lawyer, it’s probably a good idea. 

Whether it’s a major court decision, new legislation, or new rules that affect your practice area and the markets you serve, write about it. It’s a great way to keep your market informed and buttress your position as an authority. 

Mention the news, explain what it means, offer your opinion, offer related ideas, and tell your readers what they need to know and do. 

It’s all good. 

Depending on your readers and market, however, you might not want to do a deep dive on the subject. That might be too much. (The technical term is “Boring A. F.”)

Provide appropriate news in appropriate quantities and make it interesting. Because if it isn’t interesting, they won’t stick around to read it. 

Spend most of your words writing “around” the news. Write about the people and situations it affects, not (just) the facts. 

Most of all, tell them what to do about the news.

You know, your opinion and advice. 

Your readers can get the news from a lot of sources. But they can only get your opinion and advice from you. 

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Ideas? Where we’re going, we don’t need ideas

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Many attorneys do no content marketing. No blog, no newsletter, no articles or videos or podcasts. The two primary reasons they give are (1) They don’t have enough time, and (2) They don’t have enough to write about.

As someone who initially resisted creating content for those same reasons, I do have something to say about this subject.

“No time” does not compute. If writing a blog or newsletter brought you twice as much new business as you get now, and it could, or brought you bigger cases or better clients, and it could, you’d find the time. Or hire someone. Or both.

Content marketing works—if you work at it.

Besides, if you follow my “system,” you can write something people want to read in under an hour. 

One hour a week to double your client intake? Even if it “only” brought you one additional client or case a month, would that be worth it? 

Now if you don’t want to do it, fine. But if you do want to, you do have enough time.  

What about not having enough to write about? 

That’s also a non-starter. As long as you’re practicing, you’ll never run out of things to write about. 

Write about your practice. Your cases, your clients, the laws you work with every day, problems, solutions, questions and answers. Write about what you say when you give a presentation, what you tell people who ask about what you do and how you can help them.  

You want ideas? Go through your email. Think about the last case you settled, the last brief you wrote, or something opposing counsel said or did that made you roll your eyes. It’s all fair game. It’s all something your clients and prospects, readers and followers, want to know.

Besides, there is a never-ending parade of new people finding and following you who haven’t seen anything you wrote before. That means you can write about something you wrote before.

You might have noticed that I do that, in spades. 

I use different words and different examples, at least I think I do—I can’t remember what I wrote months or years ago, can you? New subscribers don’t know, old subscribers don’t remember (because if I can’t, they can’t), but even if they can, good ideas are worth repeating. 

Good ideas are worth repeating. (See?)

So, re-read your old blog posts or articles and update them, re-write them, or say something different about the same subject. 

Now, if by some miracle you really are fresh out of ideas, the Internet is your friend. Go see what other attorneys have written about in their blog or newsletter and steal their idea. (The idea, not the words).

Yes, but what I run out of attorneys? Are you serious? Okay, you can do the same thing with business blogs or consumer blogs and anyone else who said something that might interest your readers. 

The world is awash with ideas you can write about. Too bad you don’t have enough time. 

Ideas

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Content marketing for lawyers who target consumers

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If you handle criminal defense, immigration, personal injury, estate planning, family law, or other practice areas in the consumer realm, you may have found (or believe) that prospective clients aren’t interested in your blog or newsletter or other content until they realize they need your services.  

So why bother with a newsletter or blog or other content? 

Because when they do need your services, they’ll read everything on your blog and consume all of your content, and you want to have content for them that isn’t just bullet points about your services but content that lets you connect with them that nothing short of actually speaking with you and getting to know you can do.

You want them to hear your stories and get a sense of what it would be like to know you and work with you, so they can get to know, like, and trust you.

Which they can do through your content. 

“Okay, got it. But how do I get them to visit my website or blog, watch my videos, read my articles and sign up for my newsletter so I can build a relationship with them before they need my legal services?”

Good question, Grasshopper.  

Since most people aren’t interested in your “legal” content until they need your services, and only then look for it and consume it, you need to give them something else they are interested in. Another subject you can write about or talk about. 

Like the kinds of subjects consumers are interested in—taxes, insurance, credit, consumer protection, social security, and so on.

When your would-be clients find and read your articles about retirement planning, for example, they learn what you do in your day job, sign up for your newsletter, and you stay in touch with them. When they need legal services, they contact you (instead of looking for someone from scratch) because they already know you. 

And guess what? You can accomplish the same thing without writing about insurance and credit if that’s not your thing. You can write about other subjects that interest you and are likely to interest a segment of the consumer population. 

Some lawyers write about technology. Some write about productivity. Some write about writing and other creative pursuits. They talk about apps or books or websites they recommend, and build up a following that way.  

They might do that on a separate blog or channel rather than the blog for their law practice, but they link to it and mention it. 

You know what that means, don’t you? It means you can write about a lot of things that interest you, your hobbies and outside interests, and have fun creating content about those subjects. 

You know what else that means? It means you can do the same thing if you handle business law instead of or in addition to consumer law, because your clients are consumers, too.

Write what you want to write to write about. People who share your interest will find you, follow you and eventually hire you. Or. . . tell someone they know about you.

How to build an effective newsletter for your practice

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“What should I write about?”

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You want ideas for subjects to write about in your blog or newsletter. You want to show readers what you do, how you can help them, and why they should choose you as their lawyer. 

And you want it to be interesting.

Okay, here you go: 

  • FAQ’s: About the law, procedure, how long it takes to X, what should I expect when Y happens, what are my risks, what are my options, how much is my case worth?
  • News: Cases, legislation, trends, changes at your firm, news about your business clients’ industry
  • DIY: How to research, prepare (simple) documents, file, negotiate, go to small claims court, check my credit, refinance my loan, find a good deal on insurance 
  • Announcements: Seminars, upcoming events, new hires, new office, special offers from your business clients or professionals you work with
  • Interviews You, your clients, other professionals or centers of influence in your market 
  • Profiles and bios: Your employees, partners, vendors, business clients, and families
  • Client success stories
  • Downloadable content: Reports, forms, checklists, sample letters, glossaries, lists of recommended resources
  • Recommended: Books, videos, channels, podcasts, websites, blogs or individual posts
  • Why you? What do you (your firm) do differently or better than others? Features, benefits, notable testimonials, reviews, endorsements, awards.

Use this list to brainstorm ideas and keep them for a rainy day. Or, you can ask your favorite ai to come up with ideas for you.

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It’s not just the information

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To be effective, your blog or newsletter, podcast or channel, needs more than good information. It also needs a healthy dose of your personality. 

Because no matter good the information in your articles and posts might be, people read and recommend content that gives them a sense of who you are—a real person with a business and personal life and a specific style. 

So, put yourself in your content.

Your content also needs to be easy to read. No matter how sophisticated your audience might be, they don’t want to slog through academic or boring prose. Give them something they can skim when they’re short of time (and they’re always short of time), or they can chew on and digest if they need more. . 

Your readers and listeners also want you to engage them by asking (rhetorical) questions, providing if/then statements, and illustrating your points with relevant and relatable examples and stories about people like them.

Want to know what else they want? A bit of fun. Something light or amusing, and certainly interesting, and sometimes surprising. Things they don’t expect. And things they usually don’t get from your competition. 

Variety is also welcome. Mix up your topics and how you present them. Today, tell them what you think. Tomorrow, interview an expert. Next week, recommend a book or blog you think they will enjoy. Mix up the length of your posts, too—long this week and a few paragraphs the next.

This is what makes your content valuable and keeps people reading and sharing it. This is what builds a relationship with your readers and subscribers and gets them to take the next step when they’re ready to talk to you about their situation.

It’s not the depth of your knowledge or the quality of your prose. It’s you, talking to them as you would a client or friend, not trying to impress anyone but simply sharing some ideas they can use or will enjoy hearing.

You know the blogs and newsletters you enjoy reading? Yeah, like those. 

How to build your practice with a newsletter

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