When price is the problem


Yesterday, we talked about what you can do to “close” more prospective clients. What to say to get them to see the need and make the commitment. But what can you do when they can’t afford your fees, or don’t want to spend the money, despite the fact that they know they need to? 

The obvious answer is to offer a lower-cost service, which may not take care of everything they need but is better than doing nothing. They can get the rest of what they need later.

Attorney Gordon Firemark told me about another option he uses in his practice. When a client can’t afford his “done for you” fee, he offers them his (paid) “do-it-yourself” course that shows them, in this case, how to file a trademark application. 

Do-it-yourself options like this are clearly good for the client, and when they are ready to take the next step, or have another legal matter, they don’t have to start from scratch to find an attorney. 

Which means this is also good for the attorney. 

It’s also a way for the attorney to differentiate themself from the “all-or-nothing” approach followed by most attorneys. And, depending on the service and the market, paid courses can provide an attorney with significant additional revenue. 

But you don’t have to offer a paid course if that doesn’t work for you. You can create a free course, or a course with a very nominal price tag, and use that to help prospective clients instead of turning them away when they can’t afford you. 

You can also use it as a marketing tool. 

Having a course gives you the opportunity to show prospective clients how you can help them, and what it is might be like to work with you. They get to hear your “voice” and the quality and depth of your knowledge and experience.

As a result, many clients who avail themselves of your course will convince themselves that they need to sign up as a client and let you take care of everything for them. 

But it doesn’t have to be a course at all. You can accomplish the same effect with a variety of different content, free or paid:

  • A video (or series)
  • Book or report
  • Checklist
  • Form with instructions
  • Seminar or webinar
  • Newsletter
  • Blog
  • Articles
  • Speaking events
  • “Ask me anything” events
  • Consultations 

Free content almost always gets more people accessing it, but paid content might lead to more clients overall because prospects are more likely to read or watch the content they pay for, and more likely to value it (and you). 

Free or paid, content can be an effective marketing tool, helping you build your list, generate leads, and get more prospective clients to see why they should choose you as their attorney. 

Which is why I’m a big proponent of content marketing. 

How to use free content to get more clients


Content marketing is a waste of time


Prospective clients don’t want to read or listen to an attorney talk about the law. They don’t want information, they want help. Attorneys should spend their time doing legal work, not writing blog posts and articles or recording podcasts and videos.

Many attorneys believe this. But is it true?

Sorry, it’s fake news.

More than anything, prospective clients want information. They have questions and go online looking for answers—about their legal situation, their risks, and their options. Or, they know they have a problem and go looking for an attorney who can help them with that specific problem.

Many attorneys say they are the best choice. They’ve got a lot of experience, satisfied clients, and they want to help. That’s fine, but most prospective clients (and the people who refer them) want more.

It’s all about information. Because if it’s not, how are they supposed to know what to do and which attorney to choose?

Your content shows them you know the law and have handled this type of problem before. The information you provide and the stories you tell about other clients you’ve helped prove it.

Your content builds trust and helps people understand why you are the right choice.

Prospective clients get answers to some of their questions. They see you have experience and you are generous in providing this information. They hear your “voice” and get a sense of what it would be like to work with you.

Your content not only attracts prospective clients, it sells them on hiring you.

So no, content marketing is not a waste of time. Nor is it difficult to do.

You write (or hire someone to write) blog posts, articles, reports, ebooks, and/or record podcasts, videos, or presentations, and you disseminate this. Prospective clients find your content and consume it, see why they need to do something, and why they should hire you or connect with you to learn more.

Your content also has a long shelf life. Something you write today might bring you search traffic and leads and new clients five years from now. You can also re-use and repurpose your content into other formats, for different markets or for different legal situations.

Content marketing also gives you great posture. It’s inbound marketing. People come to you.

And when they do, if they’re not yet ready to hire you, your content can help build a list of prospective clients, allowing you to stay in touch with them, remind them you’re still available to help them, and continues to show them why they should choose you.

Email marketing for attorneys


Try it, you’ll like it


Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn’t like pizza. Actually, I’d never tasted it, but I was a kid and thought it looked yucky and melty and I was sure I wouldn’t like it, so I refused to eat it.

What a maroon.

My parents and sisters thought I was nuts. I was a kid and kids love pizza. My sisters loved pizza, my parents loved pizza, what was up with me?

One day, my father said, “Just take one bite. If you don’t like it, you never have to eat it again.”

And. . . the rest is history.

Note that my father didn’t try to convince me to become a pizza eater. He merely encouraged me to try it. He knew that if I did, there was a very good chance I’d like it.

Thanks, Dad.

In marketing, it’s called “promoting trial” or “sampling”. It’s a proven strategy, something everyone who sells something should consider.

When you go car shopping, the sales person promotes a test drive. He knows that once you feel how smoothly the car navigates the road, and see how good you look sitting behind the wheel, you’ll sell yourself on buying that car.

Many lawyers offer free consultations for the same reason.

They give prospective clients a sample.

Prospective clients hear them opine about their case or situation, get some questions answered, and get a sense of what it would be like to work with them. If you offer free consultations, you know that most prospective clients who avail themselves want to hire you.

Content marketing is another form of sampling. When prospective clients or referral sources read something you write or hear you speak, they get a taste of your wisdom and personality, and this is often enough to get them to take the next step.

Not every lawyer should offer free consultations, but every lawyer should create and distribute content.

Write something, record something, get yourself interviewed by others in your niche, and let prospective clients and the people who can refer them get a sample of your greatness.

You may not be as delicious as that first piece of pizza I had, but you’ll probably be tasty enough to get people interested in taking another bite.

More: The Attorney Marketing Formula


And now for something completely different


If you don’t promote your legal services, you run the risk of losing business to attorneys who promote theirs. If you only promote your legal services, however, you run the risk that some people will tune you out.

Yes, repetition of your marketing message is important. But if someone doesn’t have a legal problem right now, they may stop listening (reading) when you talk about what your services can do for them.

That’s why you need to talk about other things in your newsletter and/or blog or other outlets. And that’s why you need something else to promote.

What else can you promote?

How about the legal services of your partner or someone in your firm? Or the products or services offered by your referral sources or business clients?

When you do that

  • You help your clients and prospects who may need or want those products or services.
  • You earn the good will of the people you promote, some of whom will promote your services (and/or provide referrals).
  • And you get something else to talk about besides your services.

You can also promote your content.

Tell people about your articles, reports, websites, books, videos, courses, and so on, and let that content promote you.

Which is what I do with my books.

When someone reads them, they learn about me and how I can help them. I promote the books to get them in front of more people.

Which is what I did yesterday when I asked you to help me by leaving a review on The Encyclopedia of Attorney Marketing and told you about the .99 promotion.

Many thanks to all the attorneys who bought books. I’m looking forward to seeing your reviews (which can take a day or two to show up).

The Encyclopedia of Attorney Marketing.


How much, how often?


Information overload is clearly a thing.

According to a 2014 study by UC San Diego, each day we spend an average of 11.8 hours consuming media on our devices, the equivalent of 174 full newspaper’s worth of information.

That’s approximately 113,000 words per day, and this is increasing 2.4% each year.

So it’s not surprising to hear many people tell those of us who write a blog or a newsletter or produce videos or other content to cut back.

But I’m not cutting back and neither should you.

Because we have people with problems that need solving or goals they wish to achieve, and the information we send them helps begin the process.

So, let other people cut back. Not us.

When you send out valuable and/or interesting information that educates clients and prospects about their problems and the available solutions, you give them hope for a better future.

And you can’t do that too much or too often.

Where many marketers go wrong, however, is by sending out information that’s not helpful or interesting, so people stop reading it and forget your name.

Which doesn’t help anyone.

The message is simple. Write something people want to read and send it often, because you don’t know how many times they need to be reminded that you have the solutions they seek, or when they’ll be ready to take the next step.

How to write content people want to read


Do you trust me?


If you’ve been getting my emails for a while, there’s a good chance you trust me, at least enough to open the email and read what I say.

If I recommend a marketing idea, you’re inclined to try it. If I have something for you to buy, you’ll probably take a look. If you know someone who might need what I offer, you’re open to recommending me.

And it works the same way with you and the people on your list.

We write a newsletter, we write a blog, we post on social media, because, among other things, it helps us build trust.

And, as Seth Godin said in Permission Marketing, to be heard, you’ve got to earn trust.

Otherwise, our messages get drowned out by the messages of (so many) others.

When you get referrals, trust is part of the deal. The prospective client trusts you because his friend or advisor trusts you. When you speak at an organization’s event, the audience tends to trust you because you were invited to speak by an organization they trust.

When you advertise, there is no trust. You can point at various trust elements, e.g., your experience, etc., but there’s more doubt than trust. That’s why the rate of response is so low.

When you blog or write a newsletter, you build trust by showing up and delivering value, and by doing it consistently over time.

The nice thing about having a blog (podcast, video channel) is that all of the content you previously created is available for visitors to see. You can build trust faster that way.

We create content to attract prospective clients, and once they visit our blog or sign up for our newsletter, to build trust and encourage them to take the next step.

I have a course that shows you how to do that with email; details here


5 ways to build trust


Marketing isn’t just telling people what you do and how you can help them. Marketing requires targeting the right people with the right problems and providing them with the right message and offer.

One of the biggest hurdles is building trust.

People are scared about their legal situation and skeptical about your ability to help them. They don’t know if you’re competent, honest, or charge reasonable fees.

They may like what you say but if they don’t trust you, they often keep looking.

It usually takes time to build trust, but here are 5 ways to speed up the process:

  1. Referrals. Prospective clients “borrow” trust from the people who refer them, thus making them more likely to hire you. Referral marketing shortens the sales process, saves time and money, and usually brings in better clients.
  2. Content marketing. Blog posts, articles, presentations, etc., allow you to show people what you know, what you do, and how you work with your clients. This works even better when you are published by or interviewed on authority sites or podcasts or speak at industry events.
  3. Social proof. Ask people to share your content with their friends and neighbors, colleagues, clients and customers. Get testimonials and reviews from clients and endorsements from influential people.
  4. Free consultations. Let people sample your advice and demeanor, hear more about what you can do to help them, and get their questions answered straight from the horse’s mouth.
  5. Build a list and stay in touch. A simple email newsletter allows you to build trust over time. It helps you get more clients, more referrals, more people sharing your content, book more free consultations, and get more testimonials and reviews.

If you want to see how to use a newsletter to build your practice, go here


Paid content vs. the other kind


You’ve got content you give away to get leads and build your list. Because it’s free, it may or may not bring you high-quality leads.

But, you’ll take them.

If you get 100 sign-ups this month by giving away a report and only 5 “buy” your services, you could make out like a bandit.

The other option is to offer paid content.

Being a professional doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) create seminars or books or other content that people pay for. You may earn some extra income that way (or turn it into a new business as I did), but there’s another reason to do it.

Better leads.

If your content provides value and is targeted to your ideal client, the leads and subscribers you get, while smaller in number, will usually be higher quality.

Which can bring you more clients. Probably better clients. With less effort because your content does most of the “selling” for you.

In my humble (but correct) opinion, you should consider creating both free and paid content. At the very least, publish a short book and use it to get traffic to your website.

On Amazon, you can run free promotions for your paid books, to get your book into more hands and improve the ranking.

Which is what I’m doing over the next few days for my latest book, “How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less.”

Starting tomorrow (Friday), for the next few days you can download the ebook at no cost.

You can get it here

It’s a quick read that spells out how to quickly get other people to understand what you do and how you can help them (or their clients). It also helps you find out if they are a candidate for your services and then transition to the next step such as an appointment or phone conversation.

So, check it out.

If you like the book, I’d appreciate your showing me some love and leaving a review. Even a few words help.

How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less.”


Give it away, give it away, give it away, now


Some lawyers are concerned that if they give away too much information–through a blog or newsletter or other means–the people who consume that information won’t need to hire them.

“I’m paid for my knowledge and experience and I’m not going to give that away,” they say. “If they want information, they need to hire me.”

But here’s the thing.

It’s true that some people will take your information and never hire you. They’ll use that information and do the job themselves. But that’s a very small percentage of the whole and those people are unlikely to ever hire you anyway so you lose nothing.

Some people will do the job themselves, mess up–because they can’t do what you do even if you tell them how to do it, and hire you to fix their mess. You’ll get more business this way, not less.

And some people will see that it would be too difficult or time-consuming or risky to do the job themselves and hire you. They might not have done that had they not seen your information.

In other words, giving away information helps you get more clients because:

It educates prospective clients about the scope of their problem, the risks of ignoring it or trying to handle it themselves,

It demonstrates your knowledge, experience, and ability to help them solve their problem,

It distinguishes you from other lawyers who say, “If you want information, hire me,”

It attracts people who find your information through search or sharing, thus increasing the pool of prospective clients for your services, and

It sells them on choosing you because they get to hear your “voice” in that information and see what it would be like to have you represent them.

If you’re smart, and I know you are, you’ll give away lots of information, and let that information do most of your marketing for you.

What information you should put on your website


3 simple ways to quickly create content


You need more content for your blog or newsletter or channel. You don’t have a lot of time. What do you do?

Here are 3 ideas:

(1) The simplest source of new content is old content. Find something you’ve written before and re-use it. Convert a blog post into a video or vice versa.

Or, re-write it. Add some new information or examples.


(2) Almost as simple is to re-write something written by someone else.

Find a blog post or article by someone in your niche, put it into your own words and add your own examples or stories. Or, summarize the other person’s article and comment on it–what you agree with, what you don’t, and why.


One more.

(3) Respond to comments or questions posted on your social media, blog, or in your email inbox.

You can get some of your best content this way because you’re responding to real people with real questions about things you’re already thinking about or talking about.

And, done.

Wait, what? You don’t have any comments or questions you can respond to?

No problem. Go find someone else’s blog or social media and answer one of their questions.

Now, since you don’t have a lot of time, I’ll shut up and let you get to work.

More ideas here