And the award goes to. . .

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I won! I am the best blogger in the legal marketing arena. A NYC law firm just said so. They posted it on their blog, wrote about it in their newsletter, and sent out a press release telling the legal media why they think my blog is la creme de la creme.

Woo hoo! What an honor! I’m going to tell everyone I know!

Okay that didn’t happen. But if it did, I would certainly tell everyone I knew about it and give them a link to the firm’s website where they announced that I had won.

Wouldn’t you?

So, how could you use this idea for marketing purposes? Hmmm, let’s see. . .

What if once a month you announced your “client of the month” and featured one of your business clients on your blog or in your newsletter?

What if you announced an award to a local business or professional practice that isn’t a client but gave you or someone you know great service?

What if you let your clients or subscribers nominate local businesses and then vote on the winner?

Find people or businesses (or charities, community groups, etc.) who are doing something right and honor them with an award. Give them a certificate or a plaque, feature them on social media, interview the owner, and send out a press release.

You’ll get someone who is grateful for the attention and will probably send their customers, clients, or friends to your website to see what you said about them. You’ll get some new subscribers and followers, links to your website, and maybe some new clients.

And you’ll feel good knowing you called attention to someone who deserves it.

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Marvel’s new superhero is an attorney

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Breaking news: Marvel’s new superhero is an attorney.

Well, it should be. After all, attorneys do for their clients the same things Thor does for Asgardians, and we only think we’re gods.

Clients want their attorneys to keep them safe, vanquish the bad guys, and give them peace of mind. They want their attorneys to have amazing strength and skills and always know what to do. And that is the image we must continually portray.

But clients also want to connect with their attorneys on a human level. They want to know that we can relate to their problems and understand how they feel. They want to know that we are invulnerable on the outside, but on the inside, in many ways we’re just like them.

Show your clients that you are vulnerable on the inside and you will endear them to you. Share some of your failures and shortcomings and how you overcame them. Let them know about some of your faults and fears.

In speaking with clients, in your writing and public speaking, in interviews, let people see that there is a real person inside the superhero costume. Give them a glimpse of your personal life. Tell them what you do on weekends, talk about your kids, your vacations, and your outside interests.

Let them know that while you slay dragons during the day, at night you’re a mom or dad, a husband or wife, and a member of your community. Just like them.

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Email marketing for attorneys done right

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I read an article for real estate agents about ten ways email marketing beats social media. It’s a good article and I agree with all of it. I was going to tell you that it makes no difference whether you’re selling legal services or houses, email reigns supreme.

I even had a favorite “reason”–number 9 on the list: “Email is more intimate”. I was going to talk about how email allows you to have a simulated conversation with people, which helps you build a relationship with them, so that, over time, they come to know, like, and trust you, even before they’ve ever spoken to you.

But I’m not going to do that. Not today, anyway.

Instead of trying to convince you to make email your number one marketing tool, instead of beating the drum about how you are losing clients and money and making your life so much more difficult by not having an email list, I’m going to assume that you’re on board and talk about the right way to use it.

I see a fair amount of lawyers’ email newsletters, mostly because many of my readers think it’s okay to add me as a subscriber to their email list (it’s not). What I see, in my humble but accurate opinion, isn’t getting the job done.

For starters, just because it’s called a newsletter doesn’t mean it should look like a newsletter. Newsletters tend to be boring and self-serving, one small step removed from advertising. They “look” commercial–with stock photos and html layouts and links that say, “click here to finish this article”.

One glance at these and the reader knows that this email is probably not very important and doesn’t have much to say that is of interest to them. They know it’s probably all about the lawyer and not about them. The lawyer’s “exciting news” about how they are expanding or how they won a big case is exciting to the lawyer, but nobody else.

Most newsletters go unread because readers have come to know there’s nothing in them that interests them. There is some value to having subscribers see your name in their mailbox, reminding them of your existence, but it is so much better if they open and read your emails, appreciate them, and look forward to them.

So, for starters, your newsletter shouldn’t look like adverting or anything commercial.

It should look like a letter.

A letter (email) with some news or helpful, relevant information. Something readers care about, something that makes their life better, something worth reading.

It should also read like a letter, from a real person. Not from a committee or “the firm”. Not “canned” articles purchased from a newsletter company.

It should be written in “me to you” format, just like you would write a real letter to a real person. It should look like you sat down and penned a personal message to an individual. Because while you may be sending this same email to hundreds or thousands of people, each person who reads it is an individual.

Write to one person, not to “everyone”. Talk to that one person, as though he or she was sitting with you in your office or talking to you over the phone.

If you do it right, when your subscriber sees your email show up in his or her email, he should get a little excited. “I wonder what [you] will share with me today?”

Kinda like what you’re reading right now.

I share information I hope you find interesting and helpful. I tell stories from my days of practicing and stories about my life today, to add color and interest to that information. Sometimes I’m serious and preachy, sometimes I’m funny, but I’m never boring or irrelevant.

Yes, most of my emails are cut and paste jobs of my blog posts, but my blog posts are usually written like emails.

Many subscribers tell me they read my emails every day and look forward to them. Some tell me they are the highlight of their day.

That’s what I’m going for. A relationship. Intimacy. Transparency.

So, if you aren’t using email to build your practice, you need to. I’ll pound on that again at another time. If you are using email, but you believe social media is more important, go read the article. And if you understand why email is supreme and you want to get better results using it, take my words to heart.

Kill the fancy newsletter, write letters to the people on your list, and tell them something they want to hear.

Learn more about email marketing for attorneys. Go here

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Put all your eggs in one basket, just make sure it’s YOUR basket

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I constantly beat the “focus” drum–do a few things and do them well, don’t spread yourself too thin, don’t try to be all things to all people.

I agree with Mark Twain who said, “Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”

On the other hand. . . you’ve got to be smart about things.

You shouldn’t rely on one client for 100% of your business, no matter how much business they give you.

Things happen. You think you’ve got it made in the shade and then the client hires someone else. Or they grind you on fees, knowing you have no choice. I spoke with an attorney yesterday who is now “starting over” because this very thing happened to him.

Neither should you rely on one marketing platform or methodology.

Also yesterday, I learned that a Facebook friend of mine had his account shut down. I don’t know what he did to incur the wrath of the Blue-and-White Devil. Insulted someone? Promoted something “too much”? All I know is that hundreds of his Facebook “friends” have signed a petition asking that he be allowed back.

It’s touching to see this outpouring of love, pleading for this man’s digital life. It’s also frightening to imagine that if he loses his appeal, his business might be in big trouble.

I thought about what I would do if this happened to me. If my account was shut down, would I lose business? Go out of business?

No. Not at all. I don’t depend on Facebook, or any other social media platform. I get some business through social media, but I don’t depend on it. Having my account shut down would be inconvenient, but not insurmountable. I would open a new account and start over.

Or not.

Truth be told, I find social media to be depressing. I really wouldn’t miss it.

I’ve got my blog and my email list and I have complete control over them. Nobody can tell me what I can and can’t post. I can insult anyone I want to. Nobody can shut me down.

So yes, put all your eggs in one basket. Just make sure you own the basket.

Want a simple marketing plan for your law practice? Get this.

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7 things you probably don’t know about me

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I usually don’t share a lot about my personal life, at least not online. If you look at what I post on Flakebook and other sites, it’s either business-related or something fun but impersonal, e.g., cat videos others have posted.

And yet I do believe it’s a good idea to open up and tell people a little bit about yourself. It helps them get to know you and like you (“You do that, too?!’) When you have something in common, they begin to trust you.

Anyway, here are 7 things you probably don’t know about me:

  1. I entered law school at age 20. I wasn’t the youngest in my class, however.
  2. I sold my boyhood coin collection to open my first law office.
  3. I used to play the drums; now I play table tops and my thighs.
  4. In in 80’s, I owned a real estate seminar business. C’mon, didn’t everyone?
  5. I built a successful network marketing business and wrote a book about it.
  6. My favorite game is chess. I also like word games. I played a lot of poker in college.
  7. I would like to try stand-up comedy some day. People tell me I’m funny; I tell ’em, “looks aren’t everything”.

No, not shocking. Not even very interesting. I don’t sky dive in the nude, I’ve never climbed a mountain, and I’ve never performed the Heimlich maneuver (although I did take a CPR class once).

Okay, now it’s your turn. Make a list of things your clients probably don’t know about you and post it (or a portion thereof) on your website and on social media. Email it to your list.

You don’t need to share your darkest secrets. They already know you’re a lawyer and eat your young.

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What are you wearing?

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So, what are you wearing? Your prospective clients want to know.

When they go to your website or read your posts on social media, they want to see what you look like and what you do. It gives them a sense of what it would be like to work with you.

But they want the real you. Doing the things you do every day as a lawyer. So, after you have added a decent head shot or two on your web site and social media profiles, it’s time to add some photos of you at work.

Such as you

  • Speaking on a panel or on stage
  • At a networking event, meeting other important people
  • Behind the microphone (e.g., radio or TV interview)
  • At your desk (reading, signing papers, on the phone, typing, with clients)
  • On the courthouse steps

Photos like these help prospective clients get to know, like, and trust you. They show you doing important things and looking professional. They provide a human element that connects with people.

If you don’t have photos, start snapping. You don’t need to hire a photographer, nor should you pose or do anything staged. Have your staff snap some candids of you in the office. Bring someone with you to your next event.

If you’re camera shy, I understand. You won’t see me in many photos. If I was still practicing, however, I’d suck it up and get some photos of me doing my thang. And Photoshop the hell out of them.

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The three quickest ways to get new clients

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You want (need?) new clients and you want them fast. You want them today. Next week at the latest.

I understand and I can help.

Here are three quickest ways to get new clients:

1. Referrals

Not only can you get clients quickly through referrals, those clients tend to be better clients. Because they trust the person making the referral, they are more likely to hire you, more likely to follow your instructions, and less likely to complain or argue about fees. They are also more likely to refer other clients.

The simplest way to get referrals is to ask for them. Contact your clients and former clients and professional contacts and social media contacts and ask for referrals. You can do this in an email, letter, post, or phone call. Say, “Who do you know. . .[who fits the description of your ideal client/might have a specific legal need]. Ask them to have these people call your office to schedule a free consultation or visit a page on your web site to learn all about how you can help them.

Instead of asking for referrals directly, you can ask indirectly. You do this by offering a copy of your free report, ebook, planning guide, checklist, coupon, or other goody, and telling your contacts they can forward your email or share you post with anyone they know who might want one. Give them a download link to make it easy. For step-by-step instructions, get The 30 Day Referral Blitz.

You’ll get referrals, build your email list (which will lead to more new clients and more referrals), and self-referrals, i.e., people who hear about your request or offer and contact you with their own legal matter.

2. Advertising

If you get it right, advertising is an incredibly quick way to bring in new business. You can place an ad today and have new clients calling within minutes.

The key is to test different headlines, offers, and media/lists, until you find a combination that works. When you do, repeat those ads, and run them more often and in more media.

You can offer your services directly, or offer a free consultation or other incentive for new clients. You can also offer your free report, planning guide, etc. Which leads me to the third method of getting clients quickly.

3. Special offer to your list

If you don’t have a list, you need to build one immediately. Include prospects, friends of the firm, people who have attended a seminar, newsletter subscribers, former clients, and other people in your target market. People who know who you are and what you do.

If you have a list, you know you can make things happen with the click of a button.

Send your list an email and remind your subscribers about what you do. Some of them need your services right now and will contact you. Others will know people who need your services and refer them.

Spice up your email with a time-sensitive special offer, something that gets the maybes off the fence. Your special offer could be a bonus service for new clients who come in this week, a one-time discount for new clients, something extra for returning clients, or you can get creative. For example, you could enter all new clients into a drawing for free tickets to the World Series or dinner for two at a good restaurant.

You wanted quick, you got quick. Go forth and slay ye some new clients.

Create a referral blitz in your practice with this

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What to do when you get a “one star” review

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It had to happen. I’ve been riding high on a unbroken string of five star reviews of my Kindle book, “Recruit and Grow Rich” (about network marketing) and comments like these

“The Best Network Marketing Book I’ve Ever Read!”
–Mitch Jackson

“By Far The Best & Most Complete Resource for Network Marketing!”
–Erik Christian

“Incredible Resource for Anyone in Network Marketing!”
–Marcia J. LeVoir

Donald Gravalec, an attorney, said, “This book is an absolute must read for any attorney considering a network marketing opportunity.”

Nice, huh?

Then, last week, I got a stinker. A one star review. The anonymous reviewer said, “No (sic) recommended. Not that good. Too basic.”

I don’t know what this guy is smoking. The book covers the basics, as a book like this must, but there is so much more. If anything, there is too much information, especially for newbies. My guess is Mr. Anonymous didn’t read past the introduction or first chapter.

Right or wrong, that’s his opinion. What can I do about it?

The same thing you do when you get a bad review or rating from a client on a review site or social media:

You bury it.

You reach out to your clients and ask them to post a review on the site. Most will leave you good reviews, right? As new reviews come in, the stinker will move down and eventually off the page. If a prospective client does see it, he will also see that it is one bad apple in a big barrel of satisfied clients.

Will you help me? If you read the book, would you please leave a review. Just a line or two is fine. I would appreciate it. You can do that on this page.

If you don’t have the book, you can check it out here.

One more thing. Amazon allows people to vote on which reviews are “helpful” and which are not. If you believe the book is good and not “too basic,” please vote down Mr. Antonymous’ review.

Thanks again for you help. I’m looking forward to reading your review.

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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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You have been judged and found guilty

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I judge you. Yes I do. When you associate with someone who does bad things I think less of you. When you support and promote their business or message, when you re-post their words, when you listen to their music, I assume you believe in them and agree with their opinions and lifestyle. When you fail to denounce evil, or worse, support it, I conclude that you as either ignorant or that you share those values.

I’m not alone. Your clients feel the same way. So do your colleagues. Your friends and family may give you more slack but they are with me on this.

I see people online, people I thought I knew and liked, open their mouth and reveal to me their true self. I learn their values, their beliefs, and their habits, and too often I see a different person than the one I thought I knew.

Be careful who you follow and Like. Be careful what you say about the news. In this overly connected world, where everyone can see what everyone else is saying and doing, you need to edit everything that comes out of your mouth or your fingertips.

Am I saying you should be almost paranoid about what you do on social media? Yes I am. Am I saying you should strenuously avoid all controversial topics? No. Just that you should think about what you are doing and make a conscious choice before you take a stand.

Everything we do entails risk. No matter what you say there will always be people who disagree. But you run a business. Your business rises or falls on who and how many follow you, like you, and trust you. Push people away and your business suffers.

Be careful out there. People are watching you. And judging.

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