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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Survey says. . .

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What’s a simple way to engage your subscribers, friends, and followers?

If you said “asking questions” you’re right.

Questions make people think, and whether they respond to you with answers to those questions, or respond mentally, you’ve connected with them in a deeper way than you would if you merely told them something.

You can ask questions parenthetically, like I did here, or with something a bit more formal via a questionnaire, survey, or quiz.

Quizzes, in particular, are almost irresistible. People love to test themselves, to see how much they know.

If you handle real estate closings, for example, you might ask your readers a handful of questions about the mechanics and costs of closings, about the law, or best practices for homeowners planning to sell.

Your readers get to see how “smart” they are; you get them thinking about closings and about you as the go-to expert.

You also get to report the results of your quiz or survey in another blog post or article. Survey results tend to get a lot of readership as people check to see how they did compared to others.

You can also reprint those results and offer them as a lead magnet for future subscribers.

Suppose I asked you to respond to a survey about how many times you took the bar exam before you passed. Wouldn’t you be curious to find out what other lawyers said?

If you were on the fence about subscribing to my newsletter, offering a report summarizing those survey results might make you curious enough to pull the trigger.

Want more ways to build your list? Here

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Content marketing when you don’t know what to say

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Content marketing is a simple and effective way to market legal services. You create content, your target market consumes it, they learn something interesting or useful, and come back for more.

You build a following who come to know, like, and trust you. When they have a legal problem, they come to you for help.

You know this. But you resist doing it because:

(1) It takes a lot of time.

How much is “a lot”? Would you invest one hour a week if it meant bringing in one new client per week?

I’ll let you do the math.

You can also outsource or delegate a lot of the work. (Don’t outsource all of it, though. Your content needs to speak with your voice

(2) It’s not right for my market.

My clients don’t read, don’t watch videos, and don’t want to hear from me because it reminds them of bad times.

Fair enough. But your professional contacts can read and don’t mind hearing from you, and they can send you more business and introduce you to other professionals who can do the same

(3) I don’t know what to say.

You know a lot more than you think. And if you’ve been reading my daily word-bombs, you know you can write about almost anything.

And you can improve.

Start by reading (and watching videos, podcasts) outside your field of expertise. You’ll get more ideas than you can ever use.

Read about things that interest you. You’ll find that your audience is interested in a lot of things that interest you, too. Are you thinking about getting a new iPad or phone? Guess what? So are a good percentage of your readers and followers.

Read about your target market. You can’t go wrong talking about the people, the issues, and the news that’s a part of their world.

If you have business clients, read (and write) about business and marketing and other issues your clients deal with daily.

If you represent consumers, read and write about things consumers want and need to know (investing, debt, credit, insurance, etc.).

Read, learn new ideas and stories, and share this with your readers, along with your comments, experiences, and suggestions.

And yes, you can also talk about your kids, friends, hobbies, sports, games, and anything else that strikes your fancy.

That’s how your readers get to know and like and trust you.

How to build your practice with email content

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A stupidly simple source of content ideas

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You need ideas for your blog or newsletter. No worries. Just check out your competition’s websites and see what they’re writing about.

Their sites are a potential goldmine of content ideas, written from the perspective of a lawyer speaking to prospective clients.

Read through their blogs, see if they’ve covered any topics you haven’t covered. . . and. . . cover them.

You can also look for articles on subjects you have covered and see what they did differently. You might get ideas for new posts or updates on the subject.

You might agree with a post, write a similar post, and provide your own examples or client success stories.

You might disagree with a post and explain why.

If a lawyer wrote a short post, you might write a longer one and explain things they didn’t talk about.

If they wrote a lengthy post, you might write a shorter post, or a series of short posts on each of their sub-topics.

If they are in a state or country with different laws or procedures, you might write an opinion piece on why your jurisdiction should follow suit.

While you’re on their site, check out their blog comments. See what their visitors like and the questions they ask. The odds are your visitors have the same questions.

If they have a newsletter, sign up for it. They may offer additional content to subscribers that you can’t access on the website.

In short, a visit to some of your competitor’s sites is a simple way to get content ideas. Probably more ideas than you can shake a stick at.

More ways to find ideas for content: here

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Not too hot, not too cold

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When it comes to communicating with your list(s), whether through a newsletter, blog, social media or any other mechanism, you have to ask yourself, “How much is enough?” and “How much is too much?”

How often should I contact them? What is a good length or word count for my articles or posts or videos?

Because if you send them too much or too often, you might overwhelm them and lose them. They might unsubscribe or they might stop reading or listening and responding.

But the same can happen if you give them too little.

If they don’t see value in what you send them, or they don’t hear from you often enough and forget who you are, they will leave or tune you out.

That’s not necessarily fatal, however. The only metric that really counts is the amount of business you get from your articles or posts.

How many new clients, repeat clients, up-sells and cross-sells, and referrals is the only thing that matters. Everything else is nice to have but not essential, even if you could track it.

Opens? Clicks? Shares? Engagement? Hard to track, and if you have a small list, usually not worth the effort.

Capice?

Still, you don’t want to overwhelm people with too much information, any more than you want them to stop following or listening to you because you send them too little.

You also don’t want to make more work for yourself than necessary.

You want to build a “relationship” with them, so that they come to know, like and trust you, and eventually hire or refer you. You do that by providing valuable and interesting information, and making it good enough that they look forward to getting your next.

What makes it good enough? It doesn’t need to be brilliant or exhaustive. It simply needs to be interesting and relevant to your readers.

As for quantity, when it comes to a newsletter or blog post, I suggest you publish or post once a week. Often enough to keep your name in front of your list, but not so often that anyone tunes out or you can’t keep it up.

And keeping it up is important because you never know when someone will be ready to hire an attorney or has a friend who needs one.

You can publish more often than once a week. Whether or not you should do that depends on your practice area, your market, and you.

You need to find a happy middle ground, one which keeps people reading and responding, and allows you to publish regularly, without taking up too much of your time.

As for length, a few paragraphs or a few hundred words are enough, and certainly not too much. You’ll never overwhelm anyone by sending them something they can consume in 2 or 3 minutes.

Shorter posts are easier to write and take less time. You can do everything in less than an hour a week.

Not too hot, not too cold. It’s just about right.

How to build your practice with a weekly newsletter

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Did I ever tell you about the time I messed up a case?

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Success stories are valuable tools for marketing professional services. They show prospective clients that you’ve helped others solve the same or similar problems, implying that you can do the same for them.

Talk about the problems people brought to you, the pain this caused them, and the hard work you did to deliver them from misfortune.

And don’t forget the happy ending.

On the other hand, don’t make everything look too easy.

You’ll be more believable and relatable if you tell people about cases that didn’t have a happy ending.

The client didn’t listen to you or the case had problems you couldn’t solve.

You might also tell stories about times when you messed up.

Talk about a case you lost and how this affected you. Talk about your struggles to “save” people and your guilt or sadness when you couldn’t. Talk about a mistake you made and what it cost you to fix it.

Show people the human you, the imperfect you, because people know you’re not perfect and they’ll love you for being honest with them.

But be careful. You need a deft hand to do this.

It’s best to talk about failure in the past tense. Talk about what you learned from the experience and how it made you better at what you do.

You’ll hear me talk about things I did when I first started practicing, how I struggled, what I learned, and how I changed and became successful.

A failure story with a happy ending.

You also need to be selective about the issues you talk about.

If you messed up a case because you got hooked on pain meds after surgery a few years ago and finally kicked the habit, I don’t think anyone would look down on you. If you abused recreational drugs for many years, however, and only recently got clean, you might find some people worrying about you relapsing.

I was late for court once and my case was dismissed. I had to file a motion and pay sanctions to save it. I can tell that story because people understand “being late” and because I saved the case. If I lost because I blew a statute and the client sued me and won, I probably wouldn’t tell that story.

Tell success stories, mostly, but occasionally talk about things that didn’t go so well. If it was your fault, be careful. It’s easy to go too far.

If you’re not sure, have a friend look at your story before you publish it.

Because friends don’t let friends publish drunk.

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10 tips for better blog post titles

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Good blog post titles attract search traffic and social traffic and get more people reading your posts (and newsletters).

So how do you write a good title?

These10 tips should help:

  1. Write a lot of bad titles. The more bad titles you write, the more likely you are to write some good ones. Keep an idea file, mix and match phrases to create new (and better) titles.
  2. Check your stats. If one of your posts did well before, it will probably do well again. Update an old post with new information, change your opinion, show a different side of the issue, and write a new title to reflect this. Or just use the same title again.
  3. Read what other lawyers write. Agree with them, disagree, point out what they missed, use your own examples. Emulate their best titles (and subjects) and use them as prompts for your own.
  4. Numbers work well. People are drawn to specificity and order. They’re curious and want to know the “10 tips” or “7 Steps” or “5 Secrets”.
  5. Explanations and predictions work well. Readers want to know what happened and discover what’s going to happen.
  6. You can go wrong with “How to”. People use search engines to learn how to do something or find something or someone (a lawyer). A title that promises to deliver what they’re searching for is likely to draw more readers. Also good: What, When, or Why.
  7. Pain and promises. Talk about your readers’ pain, show them you understand their situation, their industry, their problems, their desires, and promise solutions and benefits,
  8. Use cultural references. Movie, song, TV and book titles, news stories, famous people, hot products, trends—things people are already thinking about, talking about, and will recognize.
  9. Mix it up. When someone visits your blog, you want them to see some variety. Use short titles and long titles, “normal” titles and “strange” titles, intriguing questions and surprising statements. Show readers you’re not like other (boring) lawyers.
  10. Have fun with it. Don’t (always) be so serious, don’t contort the title for SEO purposes, or try finding the perfect title. Write what comes into your head, play with it, twist it, kick it in the arse, be irreverent and bold. If a title makes you smile or laugh or cry, chances are it will do the same for your readers who will want to read your post to find out more.

Sometimes, the content of your post will drive your title. Sometimes, it works the other way around. I’ve written many posts with nothing more than a title.

Which means there are no rules, except one:

If you’re getting traffic, opt-ins, appointments and new business, you’re doing it right.

More ways to find and create good blog post titles

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Another day, another newsletter alternative

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Yesterday, I suggested sending an occasional “client alert” as a less-demanding alternative to the usual newsletter.

It takes less time and can bring you a lot of repeat business and referrals.

Today, another idea:

News and information for professionals and other referral sources.

You send occasional alerts or bulletins to other lawyers, business owners, and anyone else on your contact list who might like to know what’s going on in the legal world you inhabit.

You can do this for:

  • Other lawyers in your practice area
  • Lawyers in other practice areas
  • Business owners, executives, community leaders
  • Anyone you know who might send you referrals, and/or introduce you to other professionals who can.

Yes, you can include professional contacts who are themselves prospective clients, and anyone else with whom you would like to stay in touch.

One difference between this and the alert you send to clients, however.

With the client alert, I said adding your comments is recommended but not essential. With a bulletin sent to lawyers and other professionals, I suggest always including your comments.

Why? Because with clients, the alert is about staying in touch and building the relationship. That’s also true with professional contacts, but with the latter, you also want to position yourself as a thought leader in your field.

Thus, the necessity of including your thoughts.

Tell them what you think, what you’re doing with the information, and what you think they might want to do with their clients, practice or business.

Of course there are no absolutes here. Do what feels right for you and your practice.

But do something.

Repeat business and referrals are waiting for you.

How to build your law practice with newsletters

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