Sixty-second marketing

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What are you doing for the next sixty seconds? Okay, after you finish reading this?

You could be using that minute to market your practice.

I just watched a one-minute video by a guy walking and talking into his phone. No intro, he just started talking. He shared his thoughts on a subject and the video ended.

No promotion, no request to Like or subscribe or hit the bell. Sixty seconds and he could get on with his day.

It wasn’t scripted, and it wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t boring, either. He gave me something to think about.

The next time one of his videos comes up in my feed, I’ll probably watch it. If he continues to share something interesting, I may subscribe.

That’s how you build a following.

You could do the same thing. Just you and your phone, or you and your computer screen. Press record and talk for one minute.

You could record audio only, convert it to text and post that on social.

Or use that text in your email newsletter.

In sixty seconds, you would probably push out 150-180 words, and yes, that’s enough for a short email newsletter. If you have more to say, speak for two minutes instead of one.

What do you think? Do you have a minute to talk about something your audience or subscribers would find interesting or valuable?

If so, go record something. Like I did. Right here.

How to build your law practice with email

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Dealing with social media marketing overwhelm

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I read an article recently about what it takes to get started on YouTube. The article provided a list of things you need to do or skills you need to learn:

  • Editing videos
  • Speaking in front of a camera
  • Mastering camera settings
  • Lighting
  • Graphic design or photography for thumbnails
  • Learning how to optimize YouTube videos for Search
  • Posting “best practices” on Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms
  • Researching trends and topics
  • Understanding and using YouTube analytics data (to rank higher, get more traffic, etc.)

You know, the basics.

You may have some or all of these skills (and equipment), or be willing to acquire them, but if not, you may look at this list and say, screw it.

Because you don’t have time to do all that. Or you don’t want to do all that. Or you don’t want to be in front of the camera.

You want to build your practice and everyone says that social media is the place to go so you look at doing podcasts. Gotta be easier, right? No camera.

You do some research and find that there’s nearly as much to learn and do.

You look at Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other platforms and find them nearly as complicated or time-consuming.

How about blogging? To do that the way “everyone” says you should do it also requires a serious commitment of time and effort.

It’s all too much, you say. But don’t give up.

You don’t have to learn everything or do everything from day one.

You can start by posting screen-capture videos on YouTube–just you talking and showing the front page of your website and providing a few minutes of valuable information.

You can post content on a WordPress blog without worrying about SEO or keyword research or any of the other things bloggers do.

You can set up social media accounts and post or re-post anything, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

You can dip your toe in the social media waters, using what you already know and the skills you already have, and not give a flying fig about everything else.

Start where you are, with what you have. You can learn about keywords later.

I do most of my marketing with email

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My dinner with Bob

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A few years back my wife and I went to dinner with our old friends Bob and Lou Ann. During dinner, Bob mentioned something I’d recently written on my blog.

I was surprised since Bob isn’t a lawyer. And he’s retired. And I figured he probably has better things to do than to read my utterances.

But apparently, we’re connected on LinkedIn where my blog posts are re-posted and he reads them there.

You never know who is following you, reading you, keeping tabs on what you’re doing. And you never know the reach of your network.

Your connections have connections, and while a personal friend may not need your services, he may know someone who does.

Bob was in business for a long time. He knows other lawyers. If one of them mentions that they were looking for help with something in my wheelhouse, I’m sure Bob would tell them about me. Or forward something I’d written to them.

The lesson: you may not depend on social media for marketing, but don’t ignore it.

Connect with people you know and people you want to know. Clients, former clients, professionals, and personal friends. People who know people who might need your help. Or know people who know people.

Because marketing isn’t just about who you know. It’s about who they know.

Build your list and stay in touch with it

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What makes content shareable?

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You’re ready to write a blog post, article, or social media post and you want your subscribers and followers to share it. What should you write that will make that more likely to occur?

We know that sex and scandal and other tabloid-esq topics sell, but that’s off the table. Humor and human interest (kittens, babies, sports, games) are highly shareable, and you can write about those things occasionally, but only occasionally.

What then? News? Opinion? World events?

Sometimes. But your best bet is also the simplest. Write about your area of expertise.

Write about legal problems and solutions. Write about the law and procedure, the timeline and processes, the benefits of taking action and the risks of waiting too long. Describe your services and the pros and cons of each.

Answer the questions prospective clients and new clients frequently ask you. And write about the questions they should ask you but often don’t.

Show people what it’s like to work with you by describing what you do and how you do it.

Write about your clients and how you have helped them. Write about people you know who didn’t get help and are now paying the price.

Educate people about what they can do themselves. Teach them when they should talk to a lawyer and what questions they should ask them.

Write about solving problems, preventing problems and mitigating consequences when problems occur.

If you have a consumer-oriented practice, you can also write consumer-related topics such as buying the right insurance, saving money, retirement, taxes, etc. You can also write about issues and developments in your local community.

For a business-oriented practice, write about marketing, management, productivity, and issues and developments in your target market’s industry or niche.

No matter what type of practice you have, you can also write about personal development because everyone reading what you write is, unarguably, a person.

This is the kind of content that people will share with friends and colleagues and co-workers and family, because they know they need it or they know they would benefit from it.

And that’s all any of us could ask.

More ideas for creating shareable content that will make your phone ring

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Marketing legal services: let other people do it for you

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You don’t want to blog or do a podcast but other people in your niche do. They need people to interview and people to write guest posts.

You, for example.

Find blogs and podcasts and video channels in your niche and introduce yourself to the head guy or gal. Compliment their work. Promote their content to your lists. Comment on their posts. Get on their Hangouts and contribute to the conversation.

Stay on their radar and eventually they will ask if they can interview you. In fact, once they know who you are, let them know that you are available and you’ll probably move to the front of their list.

By helping them, you help yourself. Your interviews and posts will get your name and contact information in front of people who need your services or who know someone who does. You’ll get more traffic to your website, more followers on social media, and more subscribers for your list. New clients will be next.

Remember, they need content and they can only create so much themselves. They need people like you to help them. As you help them, you help yourself.

The more you get your name out there, the more other bloggers and podcasters will seek you out. Marketing will get easier for you. Instead of doing one interview this month you’ll have three interviews this week.

Soon, your target market will see you “everywhere” and they will know that when they need a lawyer who does what you do, you are the one they want. Other professionals will see that you are in demand and choose you for their referrals.

Help others with their marketing and they will help you with yours.

Learn more about marketing legal services online, here

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Use your outside interests to build your law practice

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There’s a novelist who blogs about my favorite writing tool, Scrivener. I read one of his posts this morning and noticed one of his novels in his sidebar. I thought, “With all the novelists reading his posts, I’ll bet he’s selling more books.”

Because a lot of novelists use Scrivener, and because a lot of novelists like to discover new authors.

You can use your outside interests to do the same thing, that is, to get more people finding you and learning about your legal services.

Right now, I’m watching a lot of videos and reading blogs about the voice to text tool, Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I know that a lot of lawyers use DNS, or are interested in doing so. If I started a youtube channel on “Voice Dictation for Lawyers,” I’ll bet I could build a list of subscribers who would also be interested in my products and services.

You might be interested in classic films or travel or Apple products. Many of your prospective clients share your interest. They may not want to hear about legal matters right now, but they would love to read about your mutual interest.

If you write a blog, participate in online forums, start a group on social media, or post videos on a channel related to your interest, people will find you. Most won’t need your services right now, but some will. Over time, as you continue to post information or ideas or resources, more and more people will find you and tell their friends about your videos or posts.

As your blog or channel grows, you will also build your law practice.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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Successful lawyers don’t have time for Facebook

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Busy, successful lawyers don’t have a lot of time for Facebook. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use social media in your marketing if you want to. It means you need to be careful that you don’t look like you have an abundance of free time to do it, especially during work hours.

And yet, that’s what many attorneys do.

They might actually be extremely busy and only log in once or twice a day. They might re-post or share others’ posts and not create any of their own. They might use software to automate everything and spend only five or ten minutes a day on social.

It doesn’t matter. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

Don’t be a duck.

Watch what you post, and when. Post about weekend things on the weekends. During the workday, be careful. Share your law firm blog post, but don’t invite people to play a game.

And whatever you do, don’t post too much or too often.

In some businesses, an easy lifestyle with lots of free time are part of the sales pitch. You want people to see (or think) that you don’t work that hard and have lots of time for sports, working on your classic car, and trying out new restaurants.

But people think successful lawyers are busy and work hard, and even if that’s not true of you, that’s what you want the world to think.

Want to know how I use social media for marketing? Get this

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Viral videos for marketing a law firm

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You may have seen a video depicting an unhappy, soon-to-be ex-husband who took the household furniture and cut everything in half.

I didn’t see it until today but apparently, a lot of people did. At last count the video is up to five million views.

The video wasn’t produced by an unhappy husband, however. It was a prank or advertising gimmick (call it what you will) commissioned by a German law firm. That firm recently came clean, admitted their skulduggery and apologized.

But why? It was clever and got a lot of attention. You could say that it made a valuable point, that in a divorce, if you don’t have proper counsel, you could lose half your possessions.

Was it misleading? Yeah, but so what? They could have “signed” the video with the firm name, but it wouldn’t have nearly as many views.

Is the whole idea tacky? Unbecoming for a law firm? You could make that case, but I say, lighten up. Nobody got hurt, a lot of people got a chuckle or two, and the firm got some attention that will, I’m sure, convert into new business.

Do you agree? Disagree? Have you use viral videos for marketing? Are you smacking your forehead and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

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Want to sell more legal services? Stop trying so hard.

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According to a study by Twitter, tweets that don’t include a #hashtag or @ mention generate 23% more clicks than tweets that do.

Read that again. It’s important. Even if you don’t use Twitter for marketing.

“After missing Wall Street revenue estimates, Twitter released a study advising people on how to use one of its new ad units — direct response ads. While this study is geared towards advertisers, it may also prove to be good practical advice when posting any kind of tweet that’s designed to drive a specific result, such as clicking on a link to your website or sales page.”

The theory is that other clickable parts of a tweet are distracting users from clicking on the link you want them to click. Twitter’s Anne Mercogliano says this doesn’t mean you should avoid using hashtags completely, however:

“If you’re trying to join a conversation, you should absolutely use a hashtag… But for driving for a specific click that you’re looking for off Twitter, the less noise that you put in between [the better].”

Why is this an important lesson even if you don’t use Twitter? Two reasons.

First, I agree that giving people too many choices can lower overall click-through rate–in your tweets, ads, emails, on your web pages, or any other form of marketing. If you give prospective clients in your office too many options for hiring you, for example, you may increase the odds of them choosing not to hire you at all.

(Or they might make a poor choice due to “decision fatigue”.)

The other reason for lower click-throughs is that prospects respond better to advertising that doesn’t look like advertising. If your tweet looks like an ad, a commercial effort rather than a friendly sharing of information, people are more likely to ignore it or see it as less trustworthy.

In other words, you’ll get fewer click-throughs if it looks like you’re trying too hard to get people to do something.

I’m not suggesting you avoid a call to action in your content. Not at all. You need to tell people what to do. But be aware that if you try too hard, especially on social media which has been traditionally been ad-free, you may get fewer people doing what you want them to do.

Sell more legal services online. Go here

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Networking: how to make a great second impression

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You’ve met someone new, through networking in person or online. You’ve done the card exchange, traded links, and said, “let’s keep in touch”. What now? How do you bridge the gap between first contact and the next step in your budding relationship?

The answer is to pay attention to them and make sure they know it. This will distinguish you from the majority of first time contacts they never hear from again.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Subscribe to their newsletter, blog, and social media channels. Comment on things they post. Share them with your social channels and subscribers.
  2. Set up Google Alerts for their business name and for their name. Congratulate them when others quote them or say something nice about their work.
  3. Track their industry. When you see a relevant blog post or article, share it with them.
  4. Engage them. Invite them to write a guest post for your blog or ask if you can interview them. Offer to write a guest post for them. Send them your content (but don’t subscribe them to your newsletter without their permission).
  5. Introduce them to someone they should know. A prospective client or referral source, a colleague of theirs, a blogger in their industry.

Do this with one or two new contacts each month and watch your business grow.

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