Let’s talk

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Well, we’ve done “like” and “trust“. How about ‘know”? How do you get more people to know you, so you can get them to like and trust you (and eventually hire and refer you?)

The simplest way is to “talk” to more people. But I’m not just talking about actual conversations.

When I say “talk,” I mean getting your name in front of your target market by publishing content (and advertising, if that’s something you do), anywhere and everywhere they are likely to see it, and inviting them to contact you or visit your website or do something else to get more information.

You publish on your blog, newsletter, and social media. And you publish on other people’s blogs, magazines, newsletters, podcasts, and video channels, or you speak at local or online events.

Wherever your target market is, you get your name and ideas in front of them, and invite them to contact you. .

That’s marketing at its simplest. And it works. But there’s something that works better.

Since it often takes more than one “conversation” before someone knows you or trusts you enough to contact you, you also invite them to sign up for your newsletter or download your report or ebook, and provide their email address so you can deliver it.

When they do that, you can continue the conversation by sending them more information. They learn about the law, their options, and what you can do to help them, and hear stories about how you’ve helped others.

Eventually, they get to know, like, and trust you enough to hire you.

Which they may never have done if the conversation hadn’t continued.

Email marketing for attorneys

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Trust me, I’m a lawyer

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Yesterday, we talked about likability, one of the key factors in why a client tends to choose the lawyer they choose.

All things being equal, they choose the lawyer they “know, like and trust”.

Trust is the most important of the 3. A client will hire and stay with a lawyer they don’t particularly like, if that lawyer does a good job for them, but if they don’t trust that lawyer, they’re probably not going to hire them, let alone stay with them.

Building trust takes time. Referred clients come to trust you sooner because, to a great extent, they “borrow” some of the trust that exists in the person making the referral.

Note to self: focus on referrals.

But what about leads and other prospective clients who come your way other than by referral? Is there anything you can do to build trust and make it more likely they will hire you?

Perhaps the easiest way to do that is with your newsletter, blog, podcast, or other content.

It’s easy because all you need to do is show up.

If you publish once a week, show up once a week. Like clockwork.

Stick to the schedule and let your audience see you do what you said you would do.

They’ll see that they can count on you to give them what you promised. They’ll see that you are organized and disciplined about your work, and that you are generous in sharing some of your knowledge and experience.

Even if it’s a few paragraphs every Wednesday.

Keeping your promises is one of the pillars of trust. So is consistsency

You don’t need to be brilliant or chart new territory. You don’t need to give away the store.

You just need to show up.

Email and newsletter marketing for attorneys

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Why you should tell people about your sick cat

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I spoke with an attorney over the weekend about marketing his practice. We were scheduled to talk last week, but he was at the vet with a sick cat who didn’t want to take his pill and we rescheduled.

I’ve had cats and told him we used to swaddle our fur babies in towels when they didn’t want to take their pills. He told me he saw a video about that, something about making a “cat burrito”.

So, when we spoke, before we talked marketing, we talked about his little one, who is doing better.

And now, I’m telling you about it, to remind you to talk about things like this, not just with clients and others you speak to, but in your newsletter.

Yes, it’s okay to write about things like this in a newsletter, even though they are “off topic”. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s recommended.

It’s recommended because it shows your readers that you’re like them. Human, vulnerable, busy taking care of sick cats or kids or cars that need to be taken to the shop.

And similarity is one of the key factors in likability.

When your readers and followers learn something about your personal life and recognize things they have in common with you, they are more likely to see you favorably, that is, to like you.

Which means they’re more likely to hire you and tell others about you. You’re not just an arm’s length professional they read, you’ve taken a step closer to being a friend.

If you’re making notes right now, you might want to add “me too” as a way to remember this concept.

This doesn’t mean you need to open up your entire personal life to your readers or followers. I’m sure you don’t want to do that and frankly, nobody wants you to.

Share bits and pieces here and there, like a color commentator on a baseball broadcast. Just enough, but not too much.

By the way, I told my wife about the “cat burrito” video and she agreed it was an apt description for what we used to go through.

Coincidentally, she made burritos for dinner last night. Call me crazy, but they were a bit spicier than usual.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Don’t want to blog? Do this.

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If you don’t want to set up a blog but you’d like to use your knowledge to bring traffic to your website, guest blogging is a viable alternative.

Basically, that means offering your content to blogs that target your niche or market in return for a link to your website.

This allows you to write content when and if you feel like it, instead of sticking to a schedule.

But the biggest benefit is that this gives you the ability to leverage the traffic that visits those blogs.

And, by appearing on authority blogs, you also gain their implied endorsement; sometimes, their actual endorsement if they add some kind words about you.

You get traffic, build your authority, and get a lot of eyeballs looking at what you do when they arrive at your website.

If your website includes an opt-in feature, you can also build your email list this way.

You can even this with just a one-page website.

Start by searching for blogs in your niche that accept guest posts. Review their guidelines. Read several posts to get a sense of what they publish (subjects, length, slant). If some posts have a lot of comments or shares, see if you can figure out why.

And then, contact the publisher to offer your first post.

Blogs like to publish content written by authorities, and as an attorney, you certainly tick that box. You need to show the publisher or editor a subject they think is appropriate for and of interest to their readers, and you need to show them you can write.

As for your writing chops, link to articles you’ve published online, or send a sample or two.

Note, most blogs that publish guest posts will link to your website (or social media), but some may not be willing to do that. I once wrote a post for the ABA and they wouldn’t provide a link to my site. I wrote it anyway because it’s a nice credit, but I probably wouldn’t do that for other publications.

If you know anyone in your niche that runs a blog or other publication, start by querying them. If your practice area isn’t right for their audience, they can point you to other blogs that may be better suited, and possibly recommend you to them. They might also offer general advice about how to approach publishers.

Finally, if you know a blog that would be a good match for you but they don’t publish guest posts, contact them anyway. Yours may be their first.

How to use a blog to build your law practice

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How to make it easier for readers to grok your content

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Yesterday, I talked about the importance of making it easier for folks to access your content. Today, I want to elaborate on this subject, and share a few ways to make the content they read more readable.

But not just readable, effective. Meaning readers (and listeners) not only understand your message, they relate to it, and to you.

This isn’t difficult. Just different from what most people do. And that’s what makes it effective.

  • Come to them, don’t make them come to you. Unless you have a good reason to do otherwise, send your email or article to them, so they can read it immediately, instead of asking them to click and come to your website to do that.
  • Don’t send “a newsletter,” send an email. It’s more personal and conversational, and more inviting to read.
  • Keep it simple: one subject, one “lesson,” one offer, one call to action.
  • Keep it short. They’ll give you a minute or two. If you have more to say, save it for next time (as I’m doing here).
  • Make it LOOK easy to read. Short paragraphs and sentences, bullet points, CAPS and bold and other visual elements.
  • Help them or entertain them. Tell them something they can use, and/or tell them something interesting.
  • Facts tell, stories sell. More stories make your content more readable, relatable, and persuasive.
  • Lighten up. Use warnings and cautionary tales sparingly. You want to inspire readers and give them hope for a better future, not crush them with despair.
  • Don’t tell them everything. Tell them enough to frame the problem and possible solutions. Make them come to you to find out more.
  • Talk to your readers, not at them. Ask them questions to get them thinking or to make your point, and ask them to reply and/or ask you questions.

I see a lot of lawyers’ content that does a great job of “posturing,” that is, showing readers they know what they’re doing and they are very busy doing it. We all need to do that to some extent.

But there’s something to be said for showing readers that besides being “hard to get,” we are also “good to know”.

How to use email to build your law practice

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Why your readers aren’t reading

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You work hard to produce good content. Intelligent, thoughtful, interesting articles and posts. You share valuable ideas in your newsletter or your website or content management system.

Maybe you do videos, podcasts, or webinars. Maybe you regularly interview experts and authors and other smart people with something valuable to offer.

Unfortunately, your numbers tell you the folks aren’t reading or watching. Let alone contacting you to find out more about how you can help them.

Is content marketing a failed idea?

No.

Do you need to upgrade your research, writing, and content production skills? Get a better camera, microphone, or lighting set-up?

No.

Your subscribers and followers may not be reading or watching your content simply because you make it difficult for them to do that.

I get a lot of newsletters I’d like to read but don’t because I’d have to follow a link to a website, maybe log-in, maybe download something.

Sorry, I don’t want to bother.

Almost daily, I get emails that don’t share any ideas or information, but invite me to register for yet another webinar or “summit”.

Looks like it might be great, but I don’t have time for that.

I get sent links to a lot of videos. Five minutes, I might be your boy. 20 minutes, sorry, maybe another time.

I might like to read your pdf or ebook, but I’m in the middle of something else right now. Okay, I’ll download it and read it later, but let’s face it, later usually never happens.

And hey, I don’t want to give you my email address again. I’ve been your subscriber for years. And now I’m going to get two of everything from you? Thanks, but no thanks.

Like most folks, I decide to read or watch something in a second or two. If the next step is to start reading or watching, I might do it. If the next step requires me to register for something, put something on my calendar, invest an hour or two of my time, the odds are I won’t.

Sometimes I will. But not every time.

Bottom line: if I have to spend a lot of time to get to your content before I can consume it, on most days, the answer will be a hard no.

Love ya, but I’m busy and have to move on. You set up too many hoops for me to jump through, and I’m not in the mood.

So I never see much of your best content.

My advice to anyone who wants to build their business or practice with content of any kind: make it easy for people to access that content.

More readers, more leads. More leads, more clients.

How to use a simple email newsletter to build a law practice

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Tell ’em what you did, not what you’re going to do

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If you want an easier way to create content, a good rule of thumb is to share stories about what you’ve done rather than what you plan to do.

Two reasons.

The first reason is pragmatic. When you predict something or share your plans for the future, there’s too much pressure on you to perform.

You might describe a case you’re working on, for example, and talk about the possible outcome. A lot of things can go wrong, however, and if they do, you’ll be left having to explain.

Which might make you look less formidable.

Why not make it easy on yourself? Wait until the case is done, share the results, and then talk about why things turned out the way they did.

And, if you didn’t get the results you wanted or predicted, or did something that hurt the case, you don’t have to write about the case at all.

CYA, my friend.

The second reason to talk about what you did instead of what you’re going to do is that it makes for a better story.

Telling your readers you’re going to deliver a presentation next week is okay. It’s also a good idea if you’re trying to fill seats. But it’s an announcement, and not terribly exciting.

Telling them about the presentation you delivered last week, on the other hand, is a story and it might be a good one. You can describe what happened—the size of the crowd, anecdotes about how you were introduced, some people you met, questions you were asked, and so on.

Much more interesting.

(Yes, do both. Promote the presentation and do a recap.)

That’s all I have for you today. What will I talk about tomorrow? C’mon, if you’ve read this far, you know I don’t want to tell you what I’m going to do. . . okay, okay, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I guess we’ll both find out tomorrow.

Build your practice with an email newsletter

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What’s the best lead magnet?

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What’s the best freebie to offer people as an incentive for signing up for your email list?

A report? Ebook? Checklist? Form? Webinar?

The format isn’t that important. What’s important is that you offer your target market something they want enough to get them to give you their email.

So, what do they want?

They want to solve a problem, learn about the process, understand their options, get their questions answered, make a better decision. . .

Offer them that and they’ll sign-up.

But don’t spend days or weeks creating the perfect lead magnet. You can create something that’s “good enough” in just a few minutes.

Here’s how:

  1. Write down 5 or 10 questions prospective clients typically ask you before they hire you. You know the drill: questions about the law, procedure, their risks, their options, your services, how you can help them, how to get started.
  2. Grab your phone and dictate answers to these questions.

You can also spend a minute or so telling them about yourself, how you work with your clients, and what to do if someone wants more information or is ready to take the next step.

No hard sell. Just information.

And you’re done.

Yep, you can copy that recording and make it your lead magnet.

Or transcribe the recording, edit it, and use that.

Give it a title that promises the benefit they want. And start offering it.

Remember, good enough is good enough. You can improve it later.

The point is, you need to create something today so you can offer it on your website tomorrow.

Because every visitor to your site who doesn’t opt-in is, you must assume, not coming back.

Email marketing for attorneys

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Hmm, what shall I write about today?

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Continuing my quest to equip you with a never-ending supply of ideas for your blog or newsletter or other content, or rather strategies for finding ideas, comes something so simple, you might kick yourself for not thinking of it.

To wit: Amazon’s best sellers lists.

The non-fiction best sellers lists are updated daily or hourly and are an accurate indication of what people are buying and reading.

Which means, if you write about those subjects, they’ll want to read that, too. Not only that, if you post your article online, you will help readers to find your article (and you) via search engines.

Instead of trying to guess what people want to read, let Amazon (and other bookstores) tell you exactly what they want to read.

Start by looking at books about legal subjects, of course. But also look at books on subjects that might interest your target market.

For business clients, that would include topics specific to their industry or niche and the people in them. But also general business books, because every business wants to know about marketing, productivity, leadership, sales, and a ‘ho bunch more.

Consumers are interested in a long list of subjects: insurance, debt, credit, investing, and the list goes on.

You’re in business, and you are a consumer. Find something that interests you and you’ll probably have something that will interest your readers.

You can browse by category or use the search box to search by keyword. You can stick with best sellers or drill down into niche topics, but either way, look for books that are selling well.

What then?

No, you don’t have to buy the books. Or download them via Kindle Unlimited. You don’t have to read any of the books, unless you want to. You can get plenty of ideas to write about by looking at:

  • The title. What solutions does the book promise? What will the reader learn or be better able to do as a result of reading the book? You might even use a variation of the book’s title as the title of your post or article.
  • The sales page. In particular, look at the headline and the bullet points. They should supply you with a plethora of ideas and might also be suitable for the title of your post.
  • The table of contents. Use the “look inside” feature to read the chapter titles and sub-titles.
  • The introduction. You can also “look inside” and read the first few pages of the book, to see how the author approaches the topic.
  • Reviews and comments. See what readers and reviewers liked about the contents of the book, what they didn’t like, and what they wanted to know that might not have been addressed.

In a few minutes, you should have enough content ideas to keep you busy for a long time. Hell, you might even have enough ideas to write your own book.

How to write an email newsletter that brings in new business

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Quality or quantity? Yes.

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When it comes to writing a newsletter or blog, posting on social media, or otherwise connecting with prospective clients and the people who can refer them, what’s better, frequency or length?

Should you write longer posts and publish less often, or post shorter pieces more often?

Let’s think this through.

You need quality, because that’s why folks subscribe and follow you, and because you want them to see that you know what you’re doing.

You also need quantity (frequency), because you want to keep your name in front of people.

But you’re busy and can’t afford to spend all day crafting brilliant prose, and even if you have the time, you don’t want your readers and followers to think you do.

So, how about a comprise?

You might write a “longer” post, at least a few paragraphs of original thought, once a week. On other days, as you can, you fill in with brief comments, observations, quotes, and links to other people’s posts.

Quality and quantity, for the win.

If you’re not doing anything now, or you don’t publish consistently, start small. Post an inspiring quote once or twice a week, for example, to create the habit of posting; after a few weeks, you can do more.

Whatever you decide to do, put it on your calendar and/or in your task management app, because trust me, you won’t remember.

How to build a law practice with email

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