How to loosen your marketing sphincter

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Many attorneys are uptight about marketing. So they put forth a token effort and see poor results, or they don’t do it all.

If you’re in there somewhere, this is for you. Marketing can become your best friend if you let it.

Start by letting go of bad memories–ads that bombed, speeches that flopped, networking that left you cold. Let go of all the time you wasted and the money you flushed down the drain.

Also let go of negative feelings you may have about about marketing making you uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to. And it won’t, once you realize that marketing is merely a conversation you have with people you know or people who have expressed interest in what you can do for them.

Marketing doesn’t mean shoving anything down anyone’s throat. Marketing is answering questions, something we both know you’re good at. It’s sharing information, something you no doubt you have plenty of. It’s providing examples about other people you helped, and letting their stories persuade people that you can help them, too.

You like helping people, right? Marketing lets you do more of that. It helps the people who read or listen to your words to better understand their situation and find their way to a better outcome. Without this, their pain might continue, or they might choose the wrong attorney, making things worse.

You don’t have be great at marketing to be effective. In fact, a little clumsiness can be a good thing. People don’t want “slick,” they want “real” and down to earth.

You don’t have to do all kinds of marketing. You can focus on what you like and what you’re good at.

I like writing. I like doing interviews. I like advertising. I really like email. So, that’s what I do.

How about you?

You have a lot of options. Find one that feels good and start there.

If you’re not sure, I suggest starting with your website or blog. Post some information about the law, about your services, and what you can do for someone who visits your site and needs your help.

You know, the kinds of information you already share with people who ask what you do.

My course, Make the Phone Ring, shows you what to do.

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Timeless or Timely?

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If you produce content for a blog, a newsletter, a podcast, or anywhere else, one question you need to answer is how much of that content should be evergreen.

Evergreen content is important because that’s what first-time visitors to your blog and new subscribers to your newsletter are looking for. They have questions or a problem and they’re looking for answers.

If you’re starting a new blog, make sure you have at least 10 or 15 evergreen posts to start out.

Talk about the kinds of things clients typically ask you about. Talk about problems and solutions, risks and benefits, frequently asked questions about your services, and the like.

These serve as the foundation of your blog, attracting visitors though search and sharing, and helping them to understand their situation and learn what you do and how you can help them.

Once you have some evergreen content posted, you can write about anything else, whether timeless or timely.

Write about your interesting cases or clients, news in your target market’s industry or niche, trends, ideas, and more.

Yes?

One more thing.

On a blog, you have the option to indicate the date each post was published, something I’ve done since I started and still do today. Some visitors, however, see an older date and conclude that the information is out of date, even if it’s not.

Omitting the date, on the other hand, as many bloggers do, may cause visitors to wonder how current the information is, and reject it if no date can be found.

If you’re wondering what you should do, take a gander at what Darren Rowse of Problogger.com says about the pros and cons of timestamping blog posts.

And, for more about the kinds of content to include on your blog or website–what to write about, where to get ideas–check out my course on online marketing.

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If you want more clients, don’t use your thesaurus

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Yeah, we’re smart folks. We can research the hell out of a subject, wrangle all the facts, present cogent arguments, and persuade other smart people to change their minds.

When you visit many lawyer’s blogs, read their articles, or hear them speak, you have to be impressed by their acumen. And their vocabulary.

The problem is, when a lawyer does this in their marketing, they usually shoot themselves in the foot.

If you want to get more clients and increase your income, keep things simple and short. Focus on the basics, not the minutia.

On the web, people tend to search for general information about their legal situation. If you try to impress them, they often wind up leaving. If you give them what they’re looking for, you get more traffic, more leads, more subscribers, and more clients.

In addition, when you write simply, you don’t have to do much research or spend a lot of time crafting fine prose. You already know this stuff and you can spit it out in a few minutes.

When you stick with the basics, more people will read and understand you. You’re helping them get to know, like, and trust you.

Finally, your goal in marketing is to make people curious, not satisfy their curiosity. So don’t tell them everything. Stick to the basics and if they want more, they have to hire you.

Which is kind of the point.

If you want to make your phone ring, here’s what to put on your website

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The most important page on your website or blog

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When someone visits your website for the first time, statistics tell us they’ll probably click on and read your “About” page. What they see, or don’t see, often determines whether they stay on your site, or leave and never return.

That’s why your About (“About me,” “About us”) page is the most important page on your site.

Visitors are looking for information about you and your firm. They want to know what do you and for whom you do it. They want to know how you can help them and get a sense for what it would be like to work with you.

They also want to know something about you, the person.

Your About page is the portal visitors take into your world, and the first step towards getting to know, like, and trust you.

Your About page doesn’t need to be brilliant. It just has to present the important information visitors want to know, in a clear and compelling way.

If you want to see what a good About page looks like, check out this blog post: 29 Best About Us & About Me Pages (+ Why They’re So Good)

Use these examples for ideas and inspiration and then create or re-create your About page.

Learn more about the elements of an effective website here

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The 5 pillars of digital marketing

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Once or twice a year, it’s a good idea to review and update your digital marketing plan. This will help you get more leads (and convert them), stay in touch with clients and contacts, stimulate repeat business and referrals, and build your “brand”.

Here’s a brief checklist of things to consider:

  1. Your website(s)
    • Home page layout, first impressions, navigation
    • “About” you page
    • Images
    • Contact information/forms
    • Content about legal problems and solutions
    • Content about your services/offers
    • Keywords/focus
    • FAQs
    • Landing pages
    • Mobile friendly
  2. Social media presence
    • Which platforms?
    • Your bio/links
    • Promote your website and other content
    • Promote your clients’ businesses/causes
    • Promote other professional, bloggers content, events
    • Engagement (if that’s your thing)
    • Posting schedule
  3. Content marketing strategy
    • Blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, interviews, reports, ebooks, brochures and handouts
    • Valuable and/or interesting information
    • Tailored to prospective clients and referral sources in your target market
    • Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise
    • Educate about legal problems and solutions
    • Help people get to know, like, and trust you
    • Testimonials, endorsements, success stories
    • Easy to read and understand
  4. Traffic
    • Guest posts on other blogs, sites
    • Social sharing
    • Advertising
    • Social media posts
    • Speaking/presentations/networking
    • Marketing alliances with other professionals
  5. Newsletter/email
    • Stay in touch with clients, prospects; stimulate repeat business, referrals, social sharing, reviews
    • Sign-up forms on website/landing pages
    • Lead magnets/incentives (to build your list)
    • Schedule (weekly, daily, other)
    • Content ideas
    • Building engagement/fans
    • Stimulate feedback, questions

You don’t have to go “all in” on all of these strategies. I don’t. But you shouldn’t ignore any of them.

Get to together with your team to review your current digital footprint and consider what you need to add or update.

This will help you sort out your website

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The TRUTH about practicing law

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One of the simplest ways to get more people reading and sharing your posts, especially on social, is to make them controversial.

Challenge them, shock them, anger them–because everyone loves a good fight.

They most popular TV shows and online videos feature emotional content: anger and outrage, sex and love, pleasant surprises and massive disappointments.

People love conflict. And the algorithms promote posts and videos that feature it.

Platforms like Twitter have their entire business model built around people being angry at something. Or someone.

If you want to get more eyeballs and engagement and shares, write posts that “expose” the truth about something, including your practice area (especially your practice area).

Write about issues you know people disagree with, and tell them why YOU disagree with what other lawyers say or do: “Why I don’t agree with. . .” or “Why I don’t like/use/do. . .”

“Force” prospective clients who are searching for a lawyer to read your post with a title like, “Is [legal service] worth it?” or “What most [practice area] lawyers get wrong.”

Cruise through social media and record the titles of videos and posts that are being promoted or shared or that catch your eye, and adapt those titles and themes to your posts.

Throw some raw meat to the lions and watch them stick around for more.

There are more ways to attract and engage clients and prospects. In Email Marketing for Attorneys, I break these down and show you what to do.

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A simple way to grow your email list

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Everyone loves free stuff and that includes people you would like to have as subscribers to your newsletter.

Which is why one of the easiest ways to get more subscribers is to conduct a giveaway.

Here are the steps:

(1) Choose a prize.

Your prize could be one of your legal services, e.g., an hour of your time. That’s likely to lead to higher quality leads because few people will sign up for your list unless they’re interested in your services.

If you want more subscribers, you might offer a gift card or book, something that will appeal to people who don’t need your services immediately but might in the future.

Another idea is to offer a product or service from another professional or business. A financial planner’s start-up package, for example, or dinner for two at a local restaurant (coming soon).

Better yet, see if the professional or business will donate the product or service.

(2) Set up a landing page for your giveaway, on your website or free-standing.

Describe the prize details and the rules, (e.g., enter once, when the contest ends, how to enter).

You can identify new subscribers by tagging them on the landing page or having them added to second list.

(3) Promote your giveaway. Some options:

  • Email your existing list and ask them share.
  • Ask the prize creator or donor to share the contest. They get additional exposure that way.
  • Promote the giveaway on social media. You can do this with your personal connections and to groups you belong to.
  • Ask your personal and professional friends to promote the contest to their lists and on social media.
  • Mention the giveaway on your blog, podcast, interviews, videos, etc.
  • Add additional emails to your autoresponder asking new subscribers to share the contest on social media.
  • Advertise the giveaway.

(4) Pick a winner.

Export your list of new subscribers and choose the winner. You can do that manually or you can use a free randomizer tool.

All that’s left is to announce the winner, deliver the prize, and start planning your next promotion.

For more ways to build your list, see my Email Marketing for Attorneys course.

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How often should you blog?

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How often should you publish a new blog post? Often.

According to this infographic, “82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly”.

A few reasons:

  • The more you post, the more opportunities you have to get found by search engines or shared by visitors. 
  • Uncle Google tends to see frequent publishers as authorities. Prospective clients who visit your blog are likely to do the same.
  • More content gives you more chances to keep visitors reading your content. The more time they spend on your blog, the more likely they are to take the next step. 
  • More content and a more frequent publishing schedule helps others bloggers and influential sites see you as an authority, making them more likely to link to you
  • Once published, your content lives forever. Something you wrote two years ago can continue to create leads and produce clients for you. 
  • Inbound marketing is more personalized in the sense that you can tailor your content to the interests and needs of your target market. 

The infographic also shows that leads produced via inbound marketing have higher conversion rates. One reason is that prospective clients are more likely to trust you (because they found you). 

Inbound marketing also has a lower cost-per-lead.

You don’t have to publish daily to realize most of these benefits. Just more often than once a month or once in a while.

Start with once a week. As you find yourself getting more leads and more new clients, you may suddenly find the time to publish more often. 

How to use a blog to make the phone ring

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Use this checklist for better headlines, titles, and email subject lines

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A friend of mine uses a checklist to double-check his titles and headlines. It can be used for emails, blog posts, articles, book titles, presentations, ads, and more.

He calls it the “ABCD” Formula:

A – Attention
B – Believable
C – Care
D – Different

[A] The first job of your headline is to get attention. It needs to make people curious or promise a benefit, to flag them down and get them to read the headline. The headline should then compel them to read your email, blog post, or sales copy.

[B] If the headline isn’t believable, if it promises too much (and isn’t obviously tongue-in-check), the reader is likely to turn the page (or tune out of your presentation).

[C] Your headline or title has to be relevant to the reader or prospective client and their problem or desire They have to care about what you’re saying.

[D] Finally, in the age of massive competition for eyeballs and dollars, your headline or title needs to be different from the competition’s. Why should they read your article or ad when it appears to say the the same thing as a dozen others?

When a prospective client sees your ad or post, they’re asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” You need to tell them that, and the telling begins with your headline, tile, or email subject line.

Because if it doesn’t start there, it doesn’t matter how good your sales page or email or presentation is, nobody is going to see it.

To learn more about writing effective headlines, titles, and subject lines, especially for your newsletter, check out my Email Marketing For Attorneys course.

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Small favors lead to referrals

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You want referrals but you may not be comfortable asking for them.

Try this instead:

Instead of asking for referrals, ask your list for a small favor.

Something easy to do.

Like forwarding your email or sharing your link. Or replying to your email and telling you which title (for your next article, for example) they like best. Or, asking your list to recommend a good hotel or restaurant in a city you’ll be visiting for the first time.

Why is this a good idea?

When you ask for a small favor, you invoke the psychological principle of ‘consistency’ which says that people tend to act consistently with how they’ve acted before.

If they’ve done a favor for you, they begin to think of themselves as someone who does favors for you.

Which can eventually lead to referrals.

Try it. Send your list a short email and ask for a favor. Then, thank the people who helped out or sent suggestions or voted for their favorite, and tell everyone what happened, e.g., how you enjoyed the restaurant.

An engaged list is a responsive list, and a good source of referrals.

Engaging your list is a valuable part of email marketing

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