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What would you like me to change? How often would you like to hear from me? What topics would you like me to cover?

Just a few of the questions you can ask the readers of your blog or newsletter via a survey or poll.

You can find out if they think you publish too often or not often enough. If they like the topics you write about or want to you write about other subjects. If they have questions about the subject or any other subject.

And they’ll tell you.

You’ll get valuable feedback about what you’re doing, ideas for future content, and learn how often your readers want you to post or publish.

Maybe you need to make some improvements. Or maybe you’re doing things just right.

But be careful. You won’t always get the truth.

Readers often say things they think they should say (or they think you want to hear) rather than what they really think or want. So take everything with a grain of salt and look for patterns.

If a significant percentage want you to write shorter pieces or publish less often, or they want you to write a follow-up to your last post, you should at least consider it.

The goal is to find out what they want so you can give it to them, get more engagement with your content, grow your following, and ultimately, get more clients.

You can do this with surveys or polls or by simply asking readers to reply to your email or add a comment to your blog post. You can use Google Forms, plugins provided by your web host or newsletter service provider or by WordPress.

You can ask simple yes or no questions, multiple-choice questions, or fill in the blank questions.

When they reply, you’ll learn more about what your audience wants in terms of your legal services, get ideas for future content, and grow your subscriber list as readers share your content with others.

And yes, you can do that without using additional software. Just ask readers to reply to your email or add a comment to your blog.

Even if only a few readers reply to your questions, everyone will read them and your replies or follow-up posts where you report the results of your poll (if you do that), all of which makes it more likely that your readers will respond to a future poll, or decide they need to contact you about their issue because your poll prompted them to do that.

Make sense?

If it does, reply to this post and tell me you’re going to ask your readers a question or two in your next post.

See, as easy as that.

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When should you publish (and how often)?

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What are the best days for you to publish blog posts or other content? Which days get the most “opens,” sign ups, forms filled out, clicks and engagement? 

Check your stats. 

You might find that Tuesday gets far more opens than other days of the week, in which case you should consider making Tuesday your publication day. 

But, there’s a problem. You typically need enough subscribers to see enough of a statistical variation to matter, and most lawyers don’t. 

If your list is relatively small, other factors besides the day(s) of the week can affect opens and other metrics. So which day(s) you publish might not be important.

How often you publish is another story. 

Publishing once a week will bring better results than publishing once a month. The more often you show up in their inbox, the more your subscribers will get to know you. If they like what you write, they will read most of your messages, look forward to them, and act on them. 

So, publish as often as possible.

Once a week is good. Depending on your market and practice area, two or three times a week, or even every weekday as I do, is (usually) better. 

It allows you to build a relationship with your readers, and that can make all the difference. It’s better to have 100 subscribers who like and trust you than 10,000 who aren’t sure who you are. 

Won’t you get more opt-outs if you publish more often? Probably. But you’re not writing a newsletter for everyone who happens to be on your list. You’re writing for the ones who love you and can’t get enough of you. 

The ones who read you because you teach them things they need or want to know. Because you inspire them, give them ideas, make them laugh, and otherwise lighten their burdens and make their life better.

You don’t have to write brilliant or lengthy articles or posts, or give away the store. You simply need to provide value and publish often enough to stay in your subscribers minds and hearts.

How to write an email newsletter that builds relationships

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My 3 favorite sources of ideas for blog posts and articles

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My goal is to write something people need to or want to read, aka “quality and value,” and do it quickly so I can get on with the day. 

If that works for you, consider using one of these 3 sources of ideas:

(1) Respond to questions (from readers, subscribers, clients, etc.) 

Don’t underestimate the value of simply answering questions about your area of expertise. You have plenty of information and relevant examples from your practice to write about, and if one person is asking about a subject, you know others want to know the same thing. 

Check your email, questions and comments posted on social, and you might have enough ideas to last for months.

(2) Write what other lawyers (bloggers, experts, etc.) are writing about. 

I get a lot of ideas this way. It’s easy to adapt a business consultant’s article about marketing or customer relations or productivity, for example, to something appropriate for my market (that means you). 

When you’re fresh out of ideas, these articles are a good place to refill your tank.

I might use some of their ideas and add my own, or none of their ideas except the basic concept that caught my attention. I’ll change the headline, add my own irreverent style, and have an article or post that is completely different from the original.  

(3) Write about something you saw, or that happened in your work or personal life. 

Yes, you should write about your latest case or one you heard about from a colleague. But don’t ignore your personal experiences, which can be a fertile source of material.

For example, you might take your kid to a doctor’s appointment and be asked to supply information you know they don’t need and shouldn’t ask. You could write about HIPAA, or use that experience as the lead to an article about how you go out of the way in your practice to protect your clients’ privacy and rights. 

Or, you might be out shopping and hear someone accuse someone of hate speech. In the US, you might use that to explain the meaning of free speech and the US Constitution.

Do you live in a city with potholes gone wild? You might write about what to do if your reader sustains property damage or bodily injury by driving over one.

Ideas are everywhere. If you pay attention, you will never run out. 

More ideas for content

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How often should you email your newsletter list? 

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More often than you think. Because you (probably) think that if you email “too often,” you’ll annoy them and they’ll unsubscribe. 

That’s true for some people. But not all. 

In fact, the people who need your help the most, and are arguably more likely to hire you, typically want to hear from you more often, not less. 

On the other hand, people who signed up to get your free report and aren’t really interested in your newsletter (or your services) might not like it if you email often and may leave. 

That’s okay. They weren’t a prospective client. Just a subscriber. And subscribers come and go. 

But things aren’t always black and white. 

Many subscribers are interested in your services, but aren’t ready to hire you and may not be for a very long time. You don’t want to push them away; you want them to stay on your list until they eventually hire you or refer you. 

But I wouldn’t worry about it. If you provide valuable and interesting information in your newsletter, things usually take care of themselves. 

So, choose the frequency that feels right to you. 

Consider your market (business or consumer) and the length and complexity of your newsletter. Does it require research or are you having a chat with the folks?

Most of all, consider how often you can comfortably publish so you can keep doing it. 

For most attorneys, a short email once a week is about right.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Why social media marketing doesn’t work

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Many attorneys do extremely well with social media marketing. It doesn’t work for me, however, because I don’t like and don’t do it. 

I could learn. Force myself. But life is too short to do things we don’t enjoy, and if you don’t enjoy something, you won’t get good results. 

Couldn’t you hire people to help you or do it for you? Sure, that’s an option. But since there are other things you can do, why not do something you like? 

For me, that’s email. My newsletter has an insanely good ROI. It’s low overhead, doesn’t take a lot of time, and I enjoy writing it. 

It works for me, but if you don’t want to write a newsletter, it might not work for you. If you want the benefits it offers, however, before you write it off, make sure you’re doing it correctly. 

  • Make sure you’re sending it to the right people. People who need or want what you offer, and who have told you to send it to them (opted-in). 
  • Make sure you use a subject line that promises a benefit or makes subscribers curious, so they open and read your email.  
  • Make sure your email is interesting, well-written, and easy to read. 
  • Make sure you tell your readers to call or write, to make an appointment or ask questions, and tell them why. Tell them the benefits of hiring you or taking the next step. 
  • And make sure you email often. Once a month is probably not often enough. 

Some lawyers say “email doesn’t work”. They really mean it doesn’t work for them. But it can, if they use it currently.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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No, it’s not cheating

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Yesterday, I was busy with (something) and didn’t have time to write a new blog post/newsletter article. So, I re-posted an article I originally wrote ten years ago. I changed the headline, did some minor editing, done. 

Did you notice?

No, you didn’t. Because you weren’t a subscriber ten years ago. Or didn’t see it. Or can’t remember. 

That’s good news for content creators like you and me. Re-posting gives us another way to create content, especially when we’re busy with other things.

Yes, you can re-publish old posts. No, they don’t have to be ten years old. And no, you don’t have to change the headline. It’s your blog, your newsletter, your content, and you can do what you want. 

I hope this encourages you to do that.

I wouldn’t do it too often. Uncle G might object. But it’s better to be spanked occasionally by The Masters of the Universe than to deny your new subscribers the opportunity to learn something valuable or interesting because they weren’t around a few months (or years) ago and never had the opportunity to see it.

Besides reposting, you can also update old posts with new information, statistics, cases, or trends. You can re-post and offer a different opinion, because your thinking has changed. You can add new resources, ideas, or quotes from other experts, or stories about cases you’ve had since you first wrote about the subject.

And thus, turn an old post into a new one, without spending a lot of time.  

Another way to save time is to do no writing. Invite another lawyer or professional to write a guest post for you. Or, interview them, which can be as simple as sending some questions via email and posting their answers. 

A “listicle” is another way to create a blog post or article without doing a lot of research or writing. A listicle is a list of resources, tips, ideas, or quotes,often just a few sentences on related topics. For example, you could write a listicle about important new laws in your field, or changes to old ones.

So, there you go. Alternate ways to get new content, without slaving away at the keyboard. 

For more ways to get more content, see my course, Email Marketing for Attorneys

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How can I increase my email open rates?

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We’re not talking about emails sent to clients who (one hopes) open everything from you because it might be important. We’re talking about your newsletter or promotional emails, because, let’s face it, a significant percentage of your subscribers don’t open these.

Guess what? It’s okay if they don’t. What’s important is that they regularly see your name in their email inbox because each time they do, it reminds them you’re still available to help them if they need help (or know someone who does). 

When they do need help, they’ll go find an email from you, get your contact information, and call or write (or pass it along to someone who needs help). 

Sure, it’s better if they do open and read your email. That’s how you build value with readers, engage with them, and get them to learn more about what you do and how you can help them. But seeing your name regularly, consistently, is most important. 

Unfortunately, many of your subscribers won’t see your name in their inbox. And that’s a problem. 

If you send your newsletter from your computer’s email software, your IP address can get blacklisted for sending too many identical emails. If you use a commercial email provider (with a good reputation), however, you shouldn’t have that problem. 

But, even if you do use a trusted email provider, your messages can still wind up in SPAM (or, in some cases, never delivered) if you use certain words in the email subject line typically used by spammers, or include too many images or links in the body of your messages, which can also trigger spam filters. 

Note to self: use a commercial email provider to deliver my newsletter. Don’t include too many images or links.

Hold on. Even if your message doesn’t land in your subscribers spam folder, if they use Gmail, it might wind up in their “promotions” folder, which they might rarely open. It’s a common problem. Make sure you tell your new subscribers to add your email address to their contact list and this will minimize that problem. 

Okay, a few best practices (and some common sense) should help you get more subscribers to see your message. And while that should be your top priority, you also want them to open and read your messages. That’s how you deliver value, show them what you do and how you can help them, engage with them, and present a call to action (e.g., contact you, fill out a form, share your content, etc.) which they probably won’t do unless you ask. 

Okay, you’ve got those emails delivered. How do you get them opened and read?

The simplest way to is to use better subject lines. Motivate recipients to open your message by offering a benefit for doing that. Promise (or imply) they will learn something interesting or useful—how to solve a problem (or avoid it), for example. 

Or make them curious about what’s inside your message. 

You can also get more opens by keeping your promises. Deliver the information or other benefits mentioned in the subject line in this week’s email and your subscribers will be more likely to open next week’s. 

For more about getting your emails open and read, check out my course on email marketing for attorneys

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Make it personal (even if it’s not)

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Thousands of people are reading these words right now, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s just you. When I say something or ask a question, I’m not asking or speaking to everyone. 

Just you. 

If you want to get more people listening and reading, more people responding, sharing, and liking what you write (and ultimately hiring or referring you), you should do the same.

When you write, write to one person. Not “everyone”.

Even if you’re writing a blog post or newsletter article, or speaking from the stage—even on social media. Write or talk to one person. Don’t call for a show of hands, don’t address everyone in the aggregate, don’t say, “I’m wondering what y’all think about this?” And whatever you do, don’t say “Hey gang!” (my personal pet peeve). 

As far as your listener is concerned, there’s nobody else there. Don’t bust that bubble, however fictive it might be.

They’re sitting in their office chair or propped up in bed, reading your words or listening to your voice, and for a moment, hearing a personal message from a friend. When you speak in the collective, it puts distance between you and the reader. Communication is most effective when it is personal. 

So, make it personal. 

That also means writing from your perspective, not “for the firm”. Tell the reader what you think about the subject, what you did yesterday, what you plan to do later today. Tell them to call you, not “the office”. 

“Talk” to them as though you were sitting together, having a chat. Because, virtually speaking, you are. 

How to write an effective blog

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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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