Why we don’t do things we know we should


My dad always told his business clients not to sign any contracts without showing them to him first. More often than not, they didn’t listen, usually because they didn’t want to spend the money. 

No doubt you’ve seen the same thing in your practice.

Why don’t clients listen? 

For the same reasons you don’t do things you know you should.  

You’ve repeatedly heard from me and others about the value of staying in touch with your clients and prospects. You’ve heard that you should delegate more of your work and not try to do everything yourself. You’ve heard about the value of improving your writing, speaking, and interpersonal skills.

You know these things, but don’t always do them.

Maybe you don’t want to spend the money, or the time. Maybe you’re busy. Maybe you intend to do them but forget.

But the biggest reason you don’t do these things, and others, is that you don’t believe they are important. Or important enough. Because if you did, you would.

Think about it, if you truly believed that staying in touch with your clients and contacts via a weekly email (for example) could help you double your practice in less than a year, you would do it, wouldn’t you? 

If your clients truly believed that calling you before they sign a contract would save them a lot of money and a lot of grief, they would do it. 

Reminders help. Accountability helps. But if you want to change your clients’ behavior, or your own, work on their (and your) belief.

Show clients and prospects what happened to other clients who didn’t follow your advice. Show them testimonials and positive reviews and success stories of people who did.

Because if you say it, they can doubt it. If your other clients say it, it must be true.

Build your practice with a weekly email newsletter


Ad Nauseum


Why do I tell you things I’ve told you before? While will I tell you again?

And why should you do the same with your subscribers, followers, clients, and prospects?

Because people don’t always hear us the first time. They might not get our email, or read it. They might read it but not believe they need to do anything, now or ever. They may have other things on their mind and can’t deal with anything else.

Maybe they see the need but don’t have the money. Maybe they need to get someone else’s okay. Or maybe the problem isn’t that bad and they think they can live with it or it will resolve by itself.

And then, things change. The problem worsens. The threats increase. Their desire grows. Or they finally have more time to take care of something you’ve been telling about but had forgotten until you mention it again.

You’ve heard me talk about the value of having a newsletter so many times, I’m sure you could write that message yourself. But you haven’t started a newsletter (or improved the one you have) because you were busy as hell last year and didn’t see the need. Or have the time to do it.

But this year, business has slowed, and you realize that it’s time.

Sometimes, people hear your message, need what you offer, have the money, but still hesitate. Then they hear the same message or advice from someone else. Or they hear about someone who did what you’re telling them to and were very glad they did.

And, let’s not forget that every day, new people find you, join your list, and hear your message for the first time. Some people call you and make an appointment immediately. Others might not do that for years.  

Stay in their mailbox or feed, keep reminding them, and when they’re ready, they’ll give you a holler. 

People are ready when they’re ready, not before. 

How to use a newsletter to build your practice


How-to articles for lawyers are good. This is better.  


Lawyers write a lot of blog posts and other content that explains how to do things. That’s good because “how to” is a very popular search term for people with legal issues. 

But prospective clients also want to know “why”.

You tell them to do something, or avoid doing something, but your advice is much more persuasive and valuable to them if you tell them why. 

If you handle personal injury cases, don’t just tell people what to say to the other driver, and what to avoid saying. Tell them why. 

In fact, it’s a good idea to write blog posts and articles with a headline or title that features the word “why”. When someone sees that word, they become curious. “Why should I do that?” “Why is that a mistake?” and they read the article to find out. 

You should also use the word “why” in your calls-to-action. 

You want them to call and make an appointment? Tell them why. What do they get if they do? What are the benefits? What will that appointment help them do or avoid?

You want them to download your report? Fill out a form? Sign up for your webinar? Hire you (instead of any other lawyer)?

Tell them why. 

Don’t stop writing how-to articles. They always have and always will be effective. But they are more effective when you also tell people why. 


If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium


If you write a blog or a newsletter, have a podcast or channel, write articles or post content on social media, I bet there are times when you don’t know what to write. So you skip this week or this month but, unfortunately, before you know it, you’re not producing anything. 

You know you should, and you want to, but life (and work) get in the way. 

You’ve tried setting up a schedule. You want to write a weekly blog post or newsletter, for example, and have calendared Thursdays for doing that. But Thursday rolls around and you still don’t do it.

Sure, collect ideas throughout the week, so you have more than enough for next Thursday. But there’s something else you can do. 

What’s that? 

First, choose 4 or 5 areas in your niche your subscribers and followers are interested in. One of those areas would obviously be your core practice area. 

If you handle personal injury, this would include writing about the law, procedure, insurance, negotiation, settlement, litigation, trial, appeals, and so on. If you have other practice areas, they would be one of your other subjects. You could also create content about debt, investing, credit, and other consumer-oriented matters. 

Once you have chosen your broad content areas, make a list of subjects related to each. Then, calendar one of those areas or subjects per week (for a weekly newsletter, etc.). Dedicate that week to that subject and rotate through these areas on a recurring basis. 

The first week of the month, you might write about the law in your field. The second week, you might provide consumer (or business) tips. The third week, you might share stories about interesting cases or clients you’ve had or heard about, or something law-related in the news. The fourth week, you might write about how you do what you do (interviewing clients, opening and closing files, research, investigation, etc.)

Next month, you do it again. 

This way, you keep things fresh and interesting for your readers and never run out of things to talk about. 

Newsletter marketing for attorneys


When you have nothing new to say


Do you ever feel like you’re repeating yourself? Saying the same things again and again in your newsletter, blog, or on social media? Talking about the same services, the same problems and solutions? Making the same offer? Promoting the same event? 

You want to stay in touch with your list (and you should), but if you keep saying the same things, they’re going to tune out. 

Or will they? 

They tuned in because they’re interested in the things you know and share. So don’t change your message. Change the way you present your message. 

As a friend of mine puts it, “Change the wrapping paper around your core idea and you can repeat the same message every time you connect. . . but it will feel new and different”. 

The simplest and often the most potent way to do that is to tell a different story. 

It can be something simple—something your client or another party said or did, a question they asked, how you met them, or something you thought about the facts or the law. 

You can write about almost anything and make your blog post or article interesting. . . and different. 

You can even write about your pets.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you may recall that I used to have cats and wrote about them from time to time. I’d talk about things they did or about a recent trip to the vet and how long they kept us waiting before they saw us, and use this as an example of how not to treat your clients in your waiting room. 

You can use things that happen to you personally or in your practice to add color and interest to your message, without changing your message.  

Change the wrapping paper and you can keep readers interested and engaged no matter how often you deliver your message. 

How to use an email newsletter to build your practice


Speaking of mistakes. . . 


I’m subscribed to an email list and every time this company writes to me, they make the same mistake. They change the name of the “sender”. 

One week it’s Mary, the next week Sally and Melinda, people I don’t know. The only way to tell that the email is from the company I know is to open it.

Why make people do that? Why take the chance of confusing people, getting people to delete the email unopened, or sent to spam.

Not good. And completely unnecessary.

If you’re smart, and I know you are, you put your name in the sender field, not your firm’s name, not your administrator’s name, your name—first and last—because the email is from you. 

You want people to recognize your name and read your email because it is from you. Even if the subject doesn’t promise a benefit or make them curious.

Even if it’s click-bait-y or goofy like many of mine. 

Your email isn’t just a conveyer of information and offers. It is also a means by which to build relationships with people who can hire you or refer you.

Which they will do if they know it is you who is writing to them.

Email Marketing for Attorneys


Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman


Wouldn’t it be great if the first time you talked to a prospective client about your services they said, “Where do I sign up?” 

It would, but they don’t. 

They usually want more information. Maybe a lot more. And they want you to explain things in enough detail that they not only understand it, they see that your solution is their best solution. 

Because they don’t want to make a mistake.  

They will have questions. As you answer those questions, they’ll often think of more. 

Getting them from not knowing to knowing, and from knowing to doing (hiring you) is a process, and it usually takes time.

The prospective client needs you to explain things again, in different want, so they can understand everything. 

And, no matter how good you are at explaining, not everyone “gets” it as quickly as others. Especially with something complicated (like the law) and scary (like the law) and expensive (like the law). 

When you’re sitting with the prospect, you can take your time explaining things properly, ask questions to make sure they understand, show them the paperwork, read their body language, and answer all of their questions. You can take as long as they need.

And you no doubt do all that. But it’s a different story when you’re communicating with them online. 

Putting up more FAQ’s, videos, and other information can help. But sometimes, all that information overwhelms or confused them, leading them to conclude they’re not ready to do anything.  

What can you do?

The answer isn’t to wait until their problem gets worse and they’re in enough pain to finally call. The answer is to stay in touch with them, via email. 

Send more information. Send them the same information stated in different ways. Send them more examples, use cases, and stories about others who had what they have and found relief by hiring you, or found relief by speaking with you (and then hiring you).

Don’t do this once or twice. Do it over and over again, for as long as it takes, because you don’t know when (or if) they will be ready.

Let your newsletter do the heavy lifting. Until they’re ready for you to get on your white horse and save the day.

Email marketing for attorneys


Information is overrated


The people who regularly follow you on social, subscribe to your newsletter or blog, watch or listen to your videos or podcasts, don’t do it solely to get information. No doubt they get plenty of that from you already, and they know they can get more by asking you or doing a quick search. 

They read or watch your posts or messages for information, but also because your words provide them a brief mental vacation. For a few minutes, they don’t have to think about work or their troubles. They can hear something interesting or encouraging or entertaining. 

Information is important. But it’s not everything. 

When you spend time with people you know (or want to meet), at a networking event or socially, you don’t fire up your brain and start firing off information. You don’t deliver a lecture. You chat, you catch up, you share interesting things you’ve heard. 

Your subscriber is that friend.  

If you want them to look forward to hearing from you, consume everything you write, share your content and links, and think of you first when they have a legal issue (or know someone who does), give them more than just information. Help them take a mental vacation. 

Email marketing for attorneys


Superman’s hemorrhoids


We all know we shouldn’t talk about sex, religion, and politic in polite company (or in our newsletter).

Unless sex, religion, or politics are your primary business, nothing good can come of it.

I’d like to add a fourth subject to the list. Our personal health.

Too many people talk about that subject and while some of their clients or readers will sympathize and wish them well, on balance, this is a subject that is usually best avoided.

I’m not suggesting a complete ban. But if you talk about your health or an injury or condition, don’t do it too often and, whatever you do, avoid the gory details.

Because most people don’t want to hear it.

Some people are hypochondriacs and will get all hinky thinking they have what you have or will be its next victim. Some people have weak stomachs and don’t want to hear about things that ooze, severe pain, or chronic conditions.

But perhaps the most important reason is that people want to think of their lawyer as a superhero—strong, impervious to illness and pain, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Don’t spoil the movie in their mind.

They know you’re human. They like hearing some things about your personal life. But they don’t want to think about you as someone who might not be able to protect them from monsters.

So, if you have a choice, and you almost always do, think twice about discussing your illness, injury, or condition.

When in doubt, leave it out. Find another way to illustrate your point or tell your story.

There are some health-related subjects that are relatively safe. You can speak about taking vitamins, getting in your reps, or going for your annual checkup.

You can even talk about an occasional headache, bump, or bruise.

But if you do, it’s probably best to talk about that in the past tense. Because when a superhero gets blasted by a death ray, they’re back on the job long before the third act.


It’s just a letter. From a friend.


Content marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Or take a lot of time. You don’t need to invest in a lot of paraphernalia or time learning how to use it.

In particular, you can start a newsletter using your regular email and add recipients as bcc’s. Once you have several hundred emails, and are convinced you want to continue, you can use a service to automate everything.

So, no excuses. Write an email, as you would write a letter to a friend or client or business contact, and share something—an idea, some news, something interesting you saw online or heard around the water cooler, or just say hello and hope they are well, and click send.

Don’t promise to send another letter. Don’t commit to a schedule. The purpose of writing is for you to see how easy it is and how nice it is when people respond and tell you they like what you said or thank you or ask a question.

It’s about staying in touch with the people who are important to you. It’s about the relationship.

A newsletter is the best way to build relationships with hundreds of people simultaneously.

And while some of the people you write to might write back and tell you they want to talk to you about another legal matter, or have a friend who needs to talk to you, don’t expect anything like that to happen.

But don’t be surprised if it does.

Don’t make this transactional. Don’t offer anything or ask for anything. Plenty of time to do that later. If you decide to continue.

Right now, it’s about putting your toe in the water, not jumping in the deep end.

Right now, it’s about writing a letter to a friend.

If you’re ready to do more, this shows you everything you need to know