I told you so: email marketing is better than social media

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I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: email is better than social media.

Want proof? Okay, feast your eyes on this article which shows that “Email marketing has a ROI of 4,300%,” and is “way more effective than social media marketing. It has greater effectiveness, better ROI, and higher CLV [customer lifetime value].”

The results are based on a survey conducted of owners of ecommerce sites to determine where they got their customers. In terms of customer acquisition percentages, paid and organic search came in first and second, but email had a much higher ROI. Social media wasn’t even in the running.

The conclusion: “Spend more time and money on email marketing than on social media marketing.”

So there.

Okay, but how do you get traffic to your site so you can build your list?

Search, of course. Paid and organic search is still number one for driving traffic.

And. . . social media also works. Hey, I never said it didn’t.

The article has some interesting social media metrics, if you are curious. For example, did you know that YouTube has the “highest engagement and lowest bounce rate”? If you want more traffic, take some of your content and re-purpose it with videos.

Anyway, whatever you do online, if you’re not also building an email list, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. My online marketing course will help you. And here are a few resources I use and recommend.

What do you think, do you feel better about not being a social media stud? Are you going to (finally) build your email list? Or is all of this too much to think about and you’re going to call it a day and catch a movie?

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How to get more clients from your newsletter

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When I launched my new ebook on Kindle recently I set up an email list for purchasers. If they subscribe, they get tips and other goodies from me related to the subject matter of the book (network marketing recruiting). They get value from me by being on the list. I get a mechanism for promoting my books.

It’s a small list right now, and that’s fine. Sure, I want lots of subscribers, but more than quantity, I want quality.

You should, too.

If you have a large list that’s not producing many inquires for your services (or buying anything else you’re selling or promoting), it’s because you’re focusing on building a list instead of building relationships. Relationships come from delivering value and engaging the people on your list. By finding out what they want to know or do and finding ways to help them.

A list of 50 people who love your content, and you, is worth far more than a list of thousands who barely know who you are.

When I say list I mean email list, not social media connections. On social media, your messages are fleeting. Most people won’t see them. They are public, so anyone might see them, and that makes your posts less intimate and special.

Email, on the other hand, is personal. Even though the same message is sent to many, that message isn’t out in the open for all to see. If someone wants to comment on a social media post, they have to consider that everyone else can see what they say (and who they are). With email, they can remain anonymous to everyone but you.

And with email, you are in control. Your list is yours. Facebook doesn’t determine who does or does not see what you write.

Yesterday, I sent my first email to the new list. I thanked them again for purchasing and told them the price would be going up in a few days, in case they want to let other people know. I encouraged them to leave a review. And then I shared a tip.

I’m starting to build a relationship with my list.

Note that everyone on your list may not be a prospective client for your services. They may have hired you before and not need you again, or never hired you because the crisis has passed. Or they might be a fellow professional who likes what you do. But everyone on your list is a potential referral source.

My list isn’t going to buy my book again, but they can tell many others about it. I’m pretty sure that if I continue to build a relationship with them, that’s exactly what they will do.

If you want to get more clients from your newsletter, get this

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Send your clients to client school

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Wouldn’t it be great if there was such a thing as client school? A place where clients would learn about the law and procedure, so they would understand what’s going on with their case and not have to ask you so many questions.

They would also get schooled on how to work with you: how to help you do a better job for them, how to contact you, what to send you, what is expected of them, and what to avoid. Client school would teach them about other services you offer and how they can benefit. They could learn about fees and billing, costs and retainers, and everything else a client needs to know.

No client school would be compete without a course on how to provide referrals. Clients would learn why sending you referrals helps them (i.e., it keeps your marketing costs low and you can pass the saving onto them, you don’t have to spend as much time marketing so you can give your clients more attention, etc.) and how it helps the people they refer (i.e., they get high quality help, they don’t have to spend time finding someone, they don’t take a risk of making a bad choice, etc.)

They would then learn what to do to make the referrals, i.e., what to say to their referrals, and/or what to email them or what page to send them to.

Client school would be great, wouldn’t it? Fewer questions, happier clients, more referrals.

So, why not start one?

All you have to do is put all of this information in writing, or record videos, and post everything on your website. You can put some or all of it in a password protected “clients only” area, or make it public so prospective clients can see all that you do for your clients. You can print transcripts and mail these to clients who prefer this, or put everything on DVD’s and give them to every new client.

You could have some of your staff record a video or two. Directions, where to park, office hours, and so on, or more substantive matters. They could do a walking tour of your office, or demonstrate the process for opening a new file. If appropriate, ask some articulate clients to record something.

More ideas? How about quizzes and a diploma for those who take all of the classes? How about things for kids, like legally themed pictures they can print and color, word search, crosswords, and so on?

Start with basic information. Add what you already have: articles, blog posts, recorded webinars or speeches, forms and checklists, reports and ebooks. Then, make a list of other areas you want to cover. Record one or two five minute videos each week. Don’t get fancy. Just talk into your webcam. Or put up a few slides and narrate them.

If you make some or all of this public, every time you do an update, notify your email list and your social media followers.

So, what do you think? Would you give this idea a passing grade?

For more ideas for your website, get this

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The quickest way to grow your law practice

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We’ve been talking about social media marketing lately. If you embrace it, and it’s working for you, I’m all for it. But there are two things you need to know.

First, social media may do everything it’s supposed to do for you, i.e., build your list, improve your reputation, bring you leads and clients, but it usually won’t do it quickly. It can take months or years to bring in meaningful results.

Second, you have no control over what happens. Yes, you can see that you’re getting more results on Twitter than LinkedIn and direct more energy to Twitter (and if that’s what’s happening, you should), but whatever is going to happen on a given platform, or all platforms, is going to happen. You can’t make it do more or do it faster.

The same is true of other marketing techniques lawyers typically use–networking, articles, speaking, blogging, publicity, and referral marketing. They all work, but slowly, and you have very little control.

True, you might get lucky. You might meet and sign a huge client at a networking or speaking event. Your blog post may get noticed and linked to by a major publication, sending you a swarm of traffic. And while these things do happen, they are unpredictable. They may happen next month, five years from now, or never.

One marketing technique is different. It gives you tremendous control. You can try it on a small scale and if works, leverage your results into sequentially bigger results with nearly scientific accuracy.

You can also get results much quicker. In fact, I know of no quicker way to bring in business.

Oh, and there’s another advantage: you don’t need to spend time on this marketing technique. You can just write a check.

By now you may have figured out that I’m talking about paid advertising. But I’m not talking about any kind of advertising, I’m talking about direct response advertising.

Most attorneys who advertise don’t use direct response. They use “general awareness” or “branding” style ads, and they are often a giant cash sinkhole. They might work just enough to keep running them (e.g., yellow pages), but not enough to make a difference in your bottom line.

Plus, there’s almost no control. You can ask new clients, “where did you see our ad?” (and you should), but this doesn’t give you the degree of control I’m talking about.

Direct response advertising is different. You include a response mechanism in the ad (call this number, fill out this form) and measure the response. If you get enough response, if the ad is profitable, you run it again. If it continues to pull in sufficient response, you continue to run it, and in more publications or websites.

So, you start with a small, inexpensive ad. If it works you buy more ads, and perhaps bigger ads, and you continue your campaign. If the ad isn’t profitable, you pull it and try something else.

You don’t risk big money unless and until you know you have something that’s working. And then you test some of the variables (e.g., headline, offer, list, copy) to see if you can make it work even better.

Lead generation ads are direct response, and often work better than “one step” advertising (i.e., “Call for an appointment”). In a lead generation ad you offer something other than your services, in order to get people to identify themselves to you so you can add them to a list. You might offer a free report, a book, a “planning kit,” a checklist or a set of forms. The quality of your free information “sells” the recipient on hiring you.

Instead of giving away your book or kit, you could sell it. Everyone who buys your book or paid seminar is likely to be an even better prospect for your services, and their purchases help you pay for your advertising and fulfillment.

Advertising isn’t easy. It requires expertise and some money to start. But unless you are precluded from doing so (by your bar or firm), if you want to grow your law practice quickly, I suggest you consider adding direct response advertising to your marketing mix.

Because there’s no faster way to grow your law practice.

If you’re getting started in marketing, start with this.

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Social media marketing isn’t the only way to market legal services

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When you read yesterday’s post about social media marketing, there’s a very good chance you had one of two reactions:

  1. Wow, this is amazing. I can’t wait to do this!
  2. Wow, this is amazing. But it’s not for me.

If you’re in the first group, you recognize that if a busy and successful trial lawyer can bring in lots of business through social media, you can too. You see how one article or update can be re-purposed for a variety of platforms, allowing you to attract prospective clients from a variety of directions.

You also understand the value of a good model, that is, you can see that by studying what Mr. Jackson does, you can emulate it.

You may have been a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, but you realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day and you don’t have to do everything all at once. You can start with a few accounts and a few posts and work your way up.

Now, if you’re in the second group, if you read the post and immediately thought, “I’m not doing all that,” I understand.

I understand because that was my reaction.

Social media marketing aint my thang. I do it, but sparingly. I don’t doubt the power of social media, I just don’t like it. And if you don’t like something, forcing yourself to do it is unlikely to lead to good results. And, why make yourself miserable doing something you don’t enjoy?

Mitch said he gets the most engagement, traffic, shares, and so on, with his personal posts. That makes sense. But Mitch is an extrovert (or he does a very good impression of one) and I’m not. I’m not antisocial, but don’t invite me to your party, I’d rather stay home and read. (Wait, will there be food?)

What about the expurts and goo-roos who say you have to jump on board the social media train?

They’re wrong. Don’t listen to them.

You don’t have to do anything. Social media marketing isn’t the only way to market legal services, or anything else.

For the record, I do think every lawyer should have a website with a fair amount of content, to showcase their knowledge and expertise and help people get to know, like, and trust them. And that website should have social media integration so that your (extroverted) visitors can share your content through their social media channels.

But that’s easy. And not the same thing.

Of course there is a third group. You think social media is fine. You like it. You might not plan to go all out with it, but you would like to do more than you’re doing now.

I think that’s great.

There’s room for all us folk.

In my father’s day, some lawyers networked, some didn’t. Some did it a lot, some did it “whenever”. Now that we can network online, we have more options. But they are options, not laws, rules, or mandates.

To see  how I build my business online, go here

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10 Ways for Lawyers to Share and Re-purpose Firm News on Social Media

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DW: I invite you to read and study this comprehensive guest post by my friend, Mitch Jackson. Mitch is a successful trial lawyer who has used social media extensively to build his practice.

Social media is all about sharing good content and helping others. Results come from engaging, caring and providing value. My general rule is that only 20% of my posts on the various platforms are about me or my firm. The other 80% are focused on sharing tips and curating good third party content that helps others.

This article is about the 20%.

Overview

You’ve just settled an interesting case or obtained a favorable verdict. Maybe you’ve even made new case law. Here are 10 ways to share this news or update with your tribe (current and past clients, family, friends, and other followers on social media).

Before we get started, remember that in today’s digital world, we’re all media companies. Producing and sharing good content is now, in my humble opinion, mandatory. It’s also important to understand and appreciate the fact that while content is king, context is everything. Each platform is different (some more than others) so care must be taken to post to your tribe the right way on each platform.

Also make sure to start with a good profile on each social media platform. On the internet, you only have about the average attention span of a goldfish (9 seconds) to capture someone’s attention. Make sure to complete each profile with your picture (not a firm logo) and short interesting bio (not a boring lawyer bio).

Step #1: Website and Blog

Share your good news or update in a properly written blog post. Use effective headings and appropriate keywords. Use a story format and write in your own voice and in a non-legal way. Make the post interesting and easy to read. Increase interaction by always including a picture, graphic or video in your post.

If you’re writing your blog posts like all the other lawyers out there, then you’re probably doing things wrong. Be yourself and unique. Share your art.

If you don’t have a website or blog, this is your first high priority step. Everything is going mobile (smartphones and tablets) so make sure your site is mobile responsive (no exceptions). I’m a big fan of WordPress with Studio Press hosted on WPEngine.

Click here to see how we’ve setup our firm website and communication tips blog.

Step #2: Twitter

Share the catchy heading of your blog post, together with a short description sentence on Twitter. Include the link back to your post. Use a hashtag. Although Twitter allows for 140 characters, try and keep your post to about 120 characters to leave room for people to retweet with comments.

Because pictures attract more attention, add the picture you used in your post to your tweet. If you don’t have a picture, use one of the free or paid online services to grab an image that relates to your story (I like Fotolia). One of my favorite techniques is to download and use the free screenshot service called “Jing” by TechSmith to capture a picture of the top portion of my blog post to use later for posting on the other social platforms.

While you’re thinking of Twitter, take your blog post and break it down into 5-10 snapshots addressing key points and topics contained within your blog. Each snapshot or tweet is worded in its own unique and eye catching way. I use a Word or Google document and keep a list of these mini snapshot tweets for future use.

Sit down at night or early in the morning and use Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule these additional tweets once or twice a day, over the next 5-10 days. Each tweet links back to your original blog post.

Click here to see how I’m using Twitter.

Step #3: Linkedin

Take one or more of the tweets that you have listed in your Word document and share it on Linkedin, linking back to your blog post. Normally I do this in the above step by telling Hootsuite to send out the tweets I schedule to both Twitter and Linkedin.

Click here to see how I’m using Linkedin.

Step #4: Facebook

Again, I take one or more of the tweets I’ve listed in my Word or Google document and re-purpose the language for Facebook. Unlike Twitter, Facebook posts can be longer so I usually add a bit more information in Word before posting with the link back to my blog post.

Images are powerful attention grabbing magnets on Facebook and will result in more interaction, shares and comments. Because of this, make sure to include an image with your post. Rather than allowing the link to my blog post to automatically pull an image back into my Facebook feed, I prefer to upload my own image from the blog post. Doing this will display a larger image in your Facebook post.

I have a personal and business Facebook profile and depending on the nature of the content, I post to each once or twice a day.Click here to see how we’re using Facebook for the firm or here for my personal page.

Step #5: Pinterest

If you’re not using this platform then you’re missing out. Upload the picture or screen shot relating to your blog post and add it to one or more of your Pinterest Boards. Several boards you may want to set up include current news, verdicts and settlements, legal tips, testimonials, videos, photos, podcasts, newsletter, and community service, just to name a few.

After using the content in your Word document to complete the description in Pinterest, make sure to add 3-4 relevant hashtags at the end and also include your blog post link in the source link box. This way, when someone clicks on the picture they will be taken to your linked blog post.

I have both personal and law firm Pinterest sites. Feel free to click on the links to see how I’m using them.

Step #6: Youtube

Video is huge on social media. Within a year of posting our first video (it wasn’t very good but it was a start), we received hundreds of new client inquires and dozens of new cases. I was also featured in various high profile websites, blogs, and even the ABA Journal. Talk about good publicity!

If you haven’t already done so, setup your Youtube channel and start making and posting short 1-3 minute long videos. Also share other interesting videos about your activities and events on your channel. People will relate to you when they learn more about your interests, passions, and even your family.

You don’t need a fancy camera and the process is pretty simple. There are plenty of “how to” resources out there but I think you’ll figure things out once you complete and upload your first couple of videos. Using a lapel mic is key to getting good audio.

By far, the best videos we’ve shared are the ones that do not look like they are professionally shot. For example, one involved me stopping while riding my mountain bike and using my smartphone to shoot a selfie video about why staying healthy will help you be a better trial lawyer. It received a great deal of favorable traction and feedback once shared on all the platforms.

Putting the camera up on a tripod at the office and sharing my take on a breaking news event (called newsjacking) has also resulted in articles on Lawyers.com, national interviews, speaking engagements, and even being mentioned or profiled in more than one book. One bit of advice is to remember to pay attention to your background and how you look, and keep your video short and sweet.

Tip: Here’s a secret most people overlook. There are many services and programs that will allow you get the audio of your video transcribed so that you can use it for a future blog post. Others will allow you to rip the audio from the video which you can then use as a podcast more fully described below.

The key is to keep things interesting and snappy. Don’t be a boring lawyer. Don’t sit behind your desk and sound like bla, bla, bla. When I look back, I’m embarrassed to watch my first dozen videos. But guess what, it was a learning process and in the long run, it’s all good.

Here’s our Youtube channel if you’d like to see the bad and the good.

Step #7: SlideShare

This often overlooked platform is well respected and used successfully by marking pros around the globe. I’ve been neglecting this platform for far too long. This past weekend, I uploaded a new SlideShare about negotiation and within the first 24 hours it had more than 900 views and trended on Twitter and SlideShare. The response was so good that this presentation was then profiled on the SlideShare home page. Two days later, we’re over 2,000 views. The exposure for my firm was huge!

You can and should do the same thing. Think about this for a moment. Everything you do as a lawyer is based upon steps and checklists. Take the material you already have that can help consumers (“10 Things to Know and Do If You’re Arrested” or “6 Steps to a Successful Patent”), create compelling and easy to read PowerPoint slides and then upload them to SlideShare. Take the blog post we’ve been talking about and break it down to a 15-20 slide presentation. Link back to your original blog post.

Here’s how we’re using SlideShare.

Step #8: Podcasts

Podcasts are very popular because mobile technology now allows us to easily listen to podcasts anytime and anyplace. Take your blog post and turn the content into a short 10-20 minute podcast. Start with a snappy and attention grabbing intro and then share your information using your own voice. Use your post as an outline and just share your message from your heart. Close with a call to action referring back to your website or blog.

Interviews are also a great way to expand your sphere of influence. Once you’re up and running, reach out and interview other people who your listeners might find interesting. When you’re done, share the link with your interviewee and he or she will almost always share the interview with their audience. This is a great way to expand your sphere of influence and increase the number of eyeballs to your website, blog and podcasts platforms.

There are plenty of resources our there to help get you started but my one stop “how to” podcast site is Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcast Answer Man.

Once we add and upload a podcast to our host (we use Libsysn), we share the podcast link back at our original post. We also upload and link to Stitcher, iTunes, and Soundcloud.

Note, once my podcasts are completed and uploaded, I share the unique links of these three platforms to most of the above-mentioned social platforms. The heading and short description is changed from the earlier descriptions and posts. Links are also shared on the original blog post or website page, just in case a visitor would rather listen to the material.

Step #9: Spreecast and Google Hangouts

These live video platforms allow you to have your own internet television station. For me, Spreecast has been an awesome platform that has connected me with interesting and well known people from all around the world. I even had the chance to chat with Katie Couric and later that day, we both made TMZ. How cool is that!

Some of the people I’ve interviewed are New York Times best selling authors and celebrities with 250,000 to 1,000,000 Twitter followers. What do you think happens when they tweet out that they’re going to be on my Spreecast?

You can use these platforms to interview guests about legal topics or approaches. I’d also recommend that you do what I do and, depending on your passion, reach out and interview people associated with your unique interest. Your show may not have anything to do with the law but it will highlight the real you to your audience. This allows people to connect with you and that’s a good thing!

Promote your show on all the platforms well before the event and also afterwards (they’re recorded). Share the event links and embed the video of your interview at your blog and platforms. Many of my Spreecasts will have 1,000 unique views within the first hour or so and several thousand in the first 24 hours. Lifelong friends have been made simply from using this single platform.

As I mentioned in the Youtube section, you may also want to have your interviews transcribed or audio ripped for future use on blogs and podcast. Rarely is there a need to duplicate your efforts!

Here’s my Spreecast page to give you an idea about what I’m talking about.

Step #10: Vine, Instagram and Snapchat

Whether you “get it” or not, young adults are using these platforms and they’re becoming more and more relevant in the business world. Several high profile marketing experts are very keen on the future of these platforms. This in and of itself is good reason to get involved on these channels. Setup accounts and start using these platforms to share legal tips in a fun way.

Take the screenshot image of the blog post and share it on Instagram with a link or reference back to your website or blog. Instagram will not allow you to hyperlink, so that’s why we setup a fun and easy to remember domain we direct viewers to. We tell viewers to visit MyLawyerRocks.com for more informaton 🙂

As an example, here is our Vine account  and you can view our Instagram here.  As of this post, Snapchat does not have a web based browser, so connect with me on the platform to see how we’re using it.

Final Thoughts

The above approach is working very well for me. A single blog post can be shared using the above method over several days or weeks. Whatever works for you is fine. Just take action and get started.

Keep in mind that what’s important on social is the 80% part of the equation. That is, engaging and helping others. However, when I do jump over to the 20% side of things, this is exactly how I do it.

Without a doubt, the best increase in influence and engagement I’ve experienced on the digital platforms have come from my efforts relating to other interests that complement the practice of law. When I blog about a legal theory or explain new statutes or case law, all I usually hear are digital crickets. But when I share a blog or social media post about my passions, family, youth sports, or family trips, the interaction and feedback explodes.

For example, I have a communication tips blog where I share a weekly communication tip. This blog is my passion and I enjoy providing useful ideas to help everyday people communicate more effectively. Over time, trust and rapport is established with people (my tribe) who share a common interest. When my tribe has a legal question or someone needs a lawyer, who do you think they call? Here’s my communication tips blog if you’d like to see what I’m talking about.

Along the same lines, I enjoy trying cases and sharing trial tips. My Google Plus Trial Lawyer Tips Community is one of the platforms I use to expand this interest. Over the past year, the community has grown to over 1,500 members (mostly lawyers) sharing hundreds of outstanding trial tips. Click here to visit or join this community.

Conclusion

Today, smart lawyers use social media to inspire, inform, educate and build new relationships. Hopefully you will use some or all of these ideas to do the same thing. I encourage you to use the different approaches in this article and start incorporating social media into your daily activity to expand your sphere of influence.

But remember one thing. Social is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Be patient and consistent in your efforts. Be transparent, share your unique art, and good things will happen.

I hope you found this article useful and I look forward to seeing you on the digital platforms!

——-
Mitch Jackson has been a trial lawyer for 28 years and is the 2013 California Litigation Lawyer of the Year (CLAY Award) and 2009 Orange County Trial Lawyer of the Year. When he’s not trying cases, Mitch uses social media to help good attorneys become great trial lawyers and to show everyone (not just lawyers) how to communicate more effectively. His law firm website is JacksonandWilson.com and his communication tips blog is MitchJackson.com

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Make better decisions by making fewer decisions

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I’ve heard it said that successful people make decisions quickly and change their mind slowly, if at all. One advantage this confers is that it helps the decision-maker avoid “decision fatigue,” a phenomenon that refers to the “deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.”

One study of judges reviewing parole applications found that judges were more lenient earlier in the day than they were after a long session of decision making:

What the researchers found was that at the beginning of the day, a judge was likely to give a favorable ruling about 65 percent of the time. However, as the morning wore on and the judge became drained from making more and more decisions, the likelihood of a criminal getting a favorable ruling steadily dropped to zero.

After taking a lunch break, however, the judge would return to the courtroom refreshed and the likelihood of a favorable ruling would immediately jump back up to 65 percent. And then, as the hours moved on, the percentage of favorable rulings would fall back down to zero by the end of the day.

Apparently, our willpower becomes weaker after we have made a lot of decisions or we are otherwise fatigued.

To make better decisions:

  • Make fewer decisions. Once you decide on something, stick with it, unless there is a very good reason to change your mind.
  • Make important decisions earlier in the day. Similarly, save less important decisions for later in the day, to avoid impulsive decisions.
  • If you have to make important decisions later in the day, eat something first.
  • Schedule important tasks for earlier in the day. When decisions come up, you will be more likely to make better ones.
  • Sleep on it. Before making important decisions, make sure you have had a good night’s sleep.
  • Take breaks throughout the day. Even a few minutes of rest can help you avoid making impulsive decisions.
  • When making important financial decisions, such as for a major purchase, decide as much as possible in advance. For example, when buying a car, decide on as many variables before going to the dealer and speaking to a sales person.
  • Turn off distractions (email, Internet, social media) when working. Constant decision making (e.g., should I check my email?) is wearing and inefficient.

Of the lot, making fewer decisions will probably give you the biggest bang for your decision-making buck. Lawyers have the most difficultly with this, don’t we, what with all that “one the one hand” and “one the other hand” conditioning? Life is easier, however, when you can get some things off your decision-making plate and be done with them.

For example, let’s say you are undecided about the use of social media in your marketing. You hear everyone and his brother saying “you must” and you hear me and a handful of others saying “not necessarily.” Then you hear about the different platforms you can use and how best to use them. Every day, you are bombarded with information and advice.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what you will and won’t do?

Spend enough time researching the subject and make up your mind. Then, move on.

If you’re not going to do anything on Pinterest, you never have to read about Pinterest or think about it again. If you don’t like social media and don’t want to use it, don’t beat yourself up about it. Done. Next subject. If you are convinced that Facebook is essential for building traffic and engagement and meeting prospective clients and referral sources, then get busy with it.

The word “decide” comes from the Latin meaning “to kill the alternative”. Go forth and slay some alternative dragons, young warrior. You’ll sleep better knowing they are dead and buried.

How I use social media in my business. Click here.

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And another thing about social media marketing. . .

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I have an addendum to yesterday’s “enough-with-the-social-media-blitzkrieg” rant.

One of the keys to social media marketing, we are told, is engagement. “It’s a conversation, not a speech,” they say. We are told not to simply push out information, but to engage people, befriend them, earn their trust, and eventually invite them to see what we do.

But what if we don’t want to have a conversation? What if we don’t want to engage? What if we want to use social media to make a speech, for fun, or not at all?

Will we be visited by the social media police? Will our Facebook privileges be revoked? We we be remonstrated by a 26 year old billionaire and told we’re not worthy of being online?

The truth is, engaging on social media is only one way to bring clients to your tent. It’s not the only way.

I just hired a new accountant and a new dentist. Neither one engaged with me before I hired them, on social media or otherwise. One was a referral, the other was found through search. In both cases, I looked at online reviews posted by other clients and patients. It don’t think the CPA or the dentist engaged with them, either.

Could they bring in even more clients by engaging on social media? I’m sure they could. I know a lot of professionals who bring in a lot of traffic and clients with social media marketing. They chat and share throughout the day, and they love it. They are successful, no doubt, because they love it.

If I were to guess, I would say there are many more professionals who use social media sparingly, like I do, or don’t use it at all. Are we missing out on something big? My friends who bring in a lot of business through social would say absolutely, and urge us to get on the bandwagon. So, should we force ourselves to do something we don’t want to do? If we don’t love it, like they do, should we do it anyway?

No.

Don’t let anyone tell you how you must use social media in your practice, or that you must use it at all.

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Take your LinkedIn marketing webinar and shove it

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Enough already!

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest. . . it never stops. Every day I am inundated with invitations and solicitations to webinars, courses, videos, books, reports, plug-ins, consulting offers. I don’t even have time to read the emails or web pages, let alone watch the videos or read the pdfs, let alone buy anything, let alone implement any of the stuff I bought.

And I’m in the marketing business. How on earth are you supposed to keep up with this stuff and still have time to practice law?

(Do I get an amen?)

Look, I love the Internet. I must love it. I spend all day in front of it. I can’t begin to enumerate the ways it has enhanced my life and I would never want to go back to the days before you could carry the world in your pocket. But there are times when you have to step away, take a breath, and put things in perspective.

You know you cannot ignore Internet marketing (even if it’s not your favorite thing), but you can’t keep up with everything everyone tells you is a “must do”. To maintain your sanity (is that an oxymoron–I’m talking to lawyers, right?) you have to be selective.

You need your own website. Not a page on your firm’s site or on M-H or a legal directory, your own hosted website that you control. Yourname.com

You can put it up yourself (it’s not difficult) or you can hire someone to set it up for you and show you how to update it yourself. I suggest a self-hosted wordpress site (not wordpress.com). You could set this up in about an hour, and that includes watching a couple of youtube videos that show you how.

You need some content that shows visitors what you do and why they should choose you. Add some articles you’ve written, a list of your practice areas, and an “about” page.

And that’s it. You can start with that. This is the most important part.

Now, you have something to show people who want to know about what you do.

Traffic? Don’t worry about it right now. There are lots of ways to get it. You can start by contacting your clients and everyone you know and tell them to “come see my new website!” Okay, you can leave out the exclamation point. They’ll come, they’ll read, they’ll share.

What about social media? What about it? It’ll drive you crazy, if you let it. Don’t let it. Set up accounts with the majors (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and G+), tell your clients and contacts, and when you post new content on your site, post a link to that content on your accounts.

That’s pretty much all I do, when I’m not deleting emails about the latest Facebook or LinkedIn marketing webinar.

Okay, that’s enough marketing for the day. Get back to work.

Make the Phone Ring is the Internet marketing bible for attorneys. Check it out here.

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Social media marketing for lawyers: the truth shall set you free

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Uh oh, Facebook changed security settings again. Twitter has a new design. LinkedIn has a group you haven’t joined.

Does all the fuss and bother about social media drive you nuts? Me too.

You’ve got to update your page (again), you’ve got to hire a team, you’ve got to buy this tool and that course and have a master plan.

No, you don’t. You don’t have to do anything on social media if you don’t want to. So relax. Don’t buy all the hype. Or any software, courses, or services.

Let’s think this through.

There are three things you can do with social media: Network with prospective (existing, former) clients, Network with prospective (existing, former) referral sources, and advertising.

ADVERTISING

Let’s start with the easiest one: advertising. Either you do it or you don’t. If you don’t do it, move on. Nothing to see here. If you do advertise, or want to, hire a firm to design ads, make media buys, and manage your campaigns. Educate yourself, as time permits, so you know how to work with the pros. Nuff said.

NETWORKING WITH CLIENTS

If you have a consumer oriented practice, the odds are you’re not inclined to network with prospective clients. And let’s face it, most clients don’t want to network with you. Attorneys are, in their minds, a necessary evil, not bff’s. When and if they need us, they will either go to a search engine or ask their contacts for recommendations or referrals.

If you have a business oriented practice, networking with prospective clients is more likely to bear fruit. In this case, you would add prospective clients in your target market, promote their business interests, and share your content with them. This may or may not be worth the effort on your part. Your call.

If it’s all too much for you, if you’re worried about the implications of networking with your best client’s competition, or you simply don’t want to spend your valuable time online, don’t. The marketing gods absolve you. There are lots of other ways to bring in business.

NETWORKING WITH REFERRAL SOURCES

If you’re going to do anything with social media, this is your best bet. You can use social media to find professionals and other centers of influence (e.g., bloggers, etc.), and approach them, the same way you would offline.

But you don’t need much on your end to do this. A simple profile, so they can check you out. Go find their profile and start a conversation.

No matter what you decide to do with social media, make sure you have accounts with the major platforms so you can push out links to your content and so visitors to your website can share that content with their connections. But that’s a one time thing. Set it and forget it.

Social media marketing for lawyers can either be a big pain in the briefcase or something you never think about. If it’s the latter, if it’s not part of your marketing in a major way, just think about all the time you’ll save skipping over the countless daily articles and blog posts reminding you about the latest and greatest “must do’s” you’re not doing.

Internet marketing for attorneys that won’t drive you nuts: click here.

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