Eighty percent of success is showing up

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Woody Allen famously said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Being where you need to be when you need to be there.

In the context of marketing legal services, that means showing up when someone needs your help. But how do you do that?

You don’t know when someone will be in a collision, want to file for divorce, or start a business. You don’t know when someone is unhappy with their current attorney and is looking for a replacement.

And if you don’t know, you can’t show up. Or maybe you can.

You can create search engine optimized content so that when someone needs a lawyer and goes looking, they can find you.

You can write articles and run ads in publications and on websites where your target market is likely to see them.

You can educate your clients about who would make a good client for you and the best way to refer them and let them keep their eyes and ears open for you. You can do the same thing with professionals and other referral sources.

These strategies will help you get your name and message in front of prospective clients when they need your help. But there’s another strategy you should consider.

You should get your name and message in front of prospective clients before they need you.

You do that through a newsletter, a blog, a podcast, or a video channel. You build a list of subscribers and you stay in touch with them, sharing your knowledge and showing them how you can help them. As you do that, they see your passion and commitment to their niche or local market. They get to know, like, and trust you, and when they need your services (or know someone who does), you’ll be right there, ready to help.

Many lawyers do marketing sporadically. When you understand the value of building a list of prospective clients and you “bake” marketing into your daily method of operation, when you are never not marketing, you are never without clients.

Start or improve your marketing with this

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What vs. How

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In a “how to” article, report, or post, you describe the problem and present the various solutions you offer, but you should also tell the reader what they can do without you.

Tell them how they can avoid the problem in the first place. Tell them how to mitigate damages. Tell them how to protect themselves in the future.

The question is, having told them what to do, should you also tell them how to do it?

If you say that filing a quit claim deed is an option, should you tell them where to get the form and how to fill it out? If they can file for a simple divorce on their own will you tell them how to do it?

These are things you need to think about.

You want to provide value to readers and that usually means telling them more rather than less. More information shows them you know what you’re doing and builds trust. Being generous with your knowledge and advice endears them to you, making it more likely that if they hire any attorney, you’re the one they will choose.

But the choice isn’t always simple. If you tell them how to do something and they mess up, you may lose credibility and expose yourself to liability. If they follow your instructions successfully, they may decide they don’t need you for anything else.

Should you tell them all of the “whats” but none of the “hows”? Should you tell them all of the “hows” but encourage them to contact you to look it over?

Decisions, decisions.

My advice? Err on the side of too much rather than too little. Add your “on the other hands,” cover your backside, and encourage them to contact you to learn more. But don’t hide from telling them what to do and how to do it. Remember, you’re writing a “how to” not a “what to”.

Marketing legal services successfully starts with successful philosophies

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Getting referrals without breaking a sweat

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See, I get it. You don’t want to ask your clients or professional contacts for referrals. Even though I’ve shown you more than a few easy and natural ways to do that, you’d rather swallow a cup of nails than ask anyone to send you some business.

Alrighty then. Be that way. But let me show you another option.

Instead of asking people to refer clients to you, ask them to refer those folks to your content. Or more accurately, share that content with them and ask them to do the same.

Have you ever shared a video you like on Youtube or Flakebook? Have you ever shared a blog post or article with someone you think might like it, too? Of course you have. And you will continue to do that because we’re humans and humans like to share.

Why not do the same thing with your own content?

Tell folks about yur article and ask them to share it. Ask your clients to forward the link to your new report to anyone who might benefit from the information. Ask them to hit the share button on your blog post or youtube video.

When you’re networking and someone asks a legal question, give them a page on your website that addresses that issue.

People come to your website, consume your content, see that you know what you’re doing, and before you know it, you have some new clients.

Easy.

Your content shows people what you do and how you can help them or people they know. Your content sells them on hiring you, so you don’t have to. All you have to do is get your content out into the world and ask people to share it.

The catch? You have to have some content to share. You have to write something or record something that prospective clients want to consume.

So do that. And then share it.

Let me show you how easy this is.

Do you know a lawyer who might want to get more clients and increase his or her income? Forward this email to them so they can see that getting referrals is easy. Add a note to the top: “Joe, thought you might like this”.

(If you’re reading this on my blog, click the share button and send it that way).

Done and done.

See, that wasn’t difficult?

Now, go write something and share it.

More easy ways to get referrals

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Does your practice need more sales people?

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Before you say no, give me one minute to convince you of the value of hiring a sales person for your practice. Someone who would talk to prospective clients and referral sources on your behalf and convince them to hire you or send you their referrals. Suppose that this was legal and ethical and could be done with little or no cost.

This sales person could deliver a steady stream of new business for you. Every day, prospective clients will call your office to make an appointment. When they meet with you, they are either sold on hiring you and ready to sign up or they have a few questions about their legal matter, and then they sign up.

So. . . how many sales people would you hire?

Hold on. Calm down. This is doable. In fact, there’s a very good chance that you’re already doing it. You already employ one or more sales people who are bringing you new clients.

Okay, I’m not really talking about people. I’m talking about information.

Articles, blog posts, reports, ebooks, videos, audios, podcasts, seminars, and other content you deploy on your website and elsewhere. This information attracts prospective clients who learn what you do and how you can help them, and persuades them to call you, fill out a form, or otherwise take the next step towards becoming your client.

Your content does what a sales person does, but in many ways, it does it better. It works for you 24 hours a day, never complains, and never asks for a raise. And once your content is deployed, it works for you tirelessly, endlessly, for many years to come.

So the next time you’re looking for a way to bring in more clients, start writing, or hire someone to help you, and get more content out into the world.

Here’s how to create content for your website

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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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The hidden value of content marketing

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Education based marketing means providing prospective clients with information about their problems and the available solutions. As they contemplate the severity of the issues and the nuances of the solutions, they get closer to hiring a lawyer. Your content shows them that you understand their problem and have helped others to solve it, and you thus become the lawyer they are mostly likely to hire.

In other words, the quality (and quantity) of your information does much of the selling of your services for you.

So, plus one for content.

But in what form do you deliver that content?

William Glasser said that we learn. . .

10% of what we read,
20% of what we hear,
30% of what we see,
50% of what we see and hear,
70% of what we discuss,
80% of what we experience,
95% of what we teach others.

So you want to give prospective clients options to read, watch, and listen to your information. You also want to involve them with that information by engaging them in a conversation about it, through commenting on your posts and emailing and calling you to ask questions about how the information applies to their specific situation.

In a live presentation, you can engage the audience by soliciting feedback and asking people to talk about their experience with the subject. On your website, you can post surveys and other types of involvement mechanisms.

The more senses your prospects use, the more they learn; the more they learn, the more likely they are to see you, the teacher, as the best solution to their problem.

But there’s a hidden value to this process. As you create your content, you learn more about the subject and get better at teaching it.

You spend more time thinking about what you know and verifying what you think you know. You read what other teachers (lawyers) say about the subject and how they say it. You find more examples and stories to illustrate your points. And as you write and re-write your information, and practice your delivery, you become a better teacher and thus better at attracting clients.

If you want to get better at content marketing, use this

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Stop trying to convince people they need a lawyer

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I started walking again. Three days a week, a couple of miles to start. At least I think it’s a couple of miles. I’m not really sure, so yesterday, I went to the app store to see if they had a pedometer.

Yes they do.

I had no idea how many apps there were for measuring body movement. I had no idea because I had never looked at any “health and fitness” apps.

I figured these were for runners or people who played sports or people with complex workout regimes. I just like to walk.

So now I’m looking at all these choices, comparing features, reading reviews. I even read a couple of articles.
I want a pedometer. I’m trying to decide which one.

Today, I’m “in the market” for an app; before, I wasn’t.

If you were the developer of the best app in the world in this category, before I was in the market your words would have been wasted on me. I paid no attention to your ads, your free trials, or your reviews.

I wasn’t a prospect. Now I am.

So here’s the thing. You may have the best legal services in town–a great track record, the best offer, fabulous “customer service”–but if you’re offering it people who aren’t in the market for what you do, you’re wasting time and money.

Instead of trying to educate the masses about the benefits of hiring a lawyer, target people who are actively looking for a lawyer who does what you do and show them why you are the best choice.

Pretend that there is a app store category for legal services and you’re in it. Instead of trying to convince people who are “not in the market” to come look at the legal services “apps” that are available, focus on making your “app” the top rated, best selling app in that category.

There is a place for educating people about what a lawyer can do to help them solve a problem or achieve an objective. But the sweet spot in marketing is found by targeting people who already know they (probably) need a lawyer and are trying to decide which one.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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How to make your phone ring

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Suppose that next week you get an email from another professional, a business owner, a blogger, or someone else who sells to, advises, or is otherwise influential in your target market. The email says something like this:

I want to thank you linking to my site in your post last week. I really appreciate it.

I just spent an hour reading through your site and I’ve got to tell you, you’ve really got some valuable information. I also signed up for your email list, downloaded your free report and think it’s awesome.

I’d love to interview you for my blog. I know my 10,000 subscribers would love to “meet” you. Would you be open to that? Of course I’ll also mention your website and encourage them to sign up for your list and download your report.

Could we do this some time next week? Please let me know, ASAP.

Nice. 10,000 email subscribers in your target market who will learn about you, with a strong recommendation from the owner of the list.

Do you think you might get some new clients out of this? And sign ups for your list that will lead to more clients down the road?

Fairy tale? Not at all. This kind of thing happens all of the time.

What’s that? It hasn’t happened to you? I find that hard to believe.

You do have a website with lots of good content on it, don’t you? You also have an email newsletter and a report or ebook you offer to encourage visitors to subscribe, right? I’m sure you regularly link to other sites in your niche, pointing to content your subscribers would benefit from reading, don’t you?

What do you mean, you don’t know how to do this? You do have a copy of Make The Phone Ring, don’t you?

If you want to make your phone ring, get Make the Phone Ring

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Social Media Myths Busted (and other lessons for lawyers)

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I’ve been accused of being down on social media. It’s true that I don’t use it much, but I do use it. I realize it’s a big deal and it’s not going to go away. I also know that many people who read me and connect with me use social media extensively to provide value to their readers and followers and it makes sense for me to make it easier to do so.

I also understand that social media (done right) isn’t about advertising or selling, it’s about networking. I may not let on that I get the difference, but I do. It is a great tool for finding and reaching out to people in your niche, many of whom you would never meet at in-person networking events.

Apparently, a lot of people don’t get or don’t like social media. So when I saw a new book that promises to reveal the truth about social media and how Luddites like me can use it to increase our bottom line, I grabbed a copy.

In Social Media Myths Busted: The Small Business Guide to Online Revenue, social media expert Laura Rubinstein reveals the truth about common social media myths such as “It takes too much time,” “It’s not relevant to me,” and “You have to be an extrovert to be successful”.

After this, I might read, Social Media is Bullshit.

Whatever your take on using social media in your practice, there’s something else to be learned from Rubinstein’s book. Two lessons, actually, that can be used in marketing even if you never use social media.

The first lesson is about how she wrote the book. Although she is an expert on social media, Rubinstein interviewed 30 business owners and social media experts and got their take on the subject. Those interviews are distilled into the book. She was able to cobble together a book imbued with the knowledge and credibility of the interviewees, no doubt making the book better and easier to write.

Interviews allow you to write a book or any kind of content more quickly and easily. If you interview subject matter experts, their knowledge and experience will add depth to your content. If they aren’t experts, clients for example, their stories can provide context and human interest.

There’s another lesson from crowd sourcing content the way Rubinstein did it, and it’s a big one.

The thirty people she interviewed are all named in the book. They not only get the author’s stamp of approval, they also get exposure to thousands of people who read her book. Do you think these thirty experts might proudly promote this book to their lists and through their social media channels?

You bet your ass they will.

Tens of thousands of people who are interested in social media will hear about this book and want to see what their favorite guru says about social media. Result: Rubinstein is selling a ton of books.

She’s killing it. Bringing in cash, traffic to her web site, and opening doors to new marketing opportunities.

You don’t have to write a book to accomplish this. Interview some experts and post it on your blog. Feature them and their wisdom and they will send traffic to your site.

Where do you find these experts? How about social media?

More ways to create content, build traffic and get more clients, with or without social media: Click here.

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Getting more bang for your content marketing buck

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If you have a website or blog, write a newsletter, or post anything on social media, you are engaging in content marketing. I just read an excellent article about the value of evergreen content for bringing a steady stream of traffic, in contrast to, well, non-evergreen content.

I’ve always been inclined towards writing evergreen content because I’m lazy smart. If you write about technology, as soon as it’s posted, it’s out of date. The same is true of many other timely and news-oriented topics. If you write evergreen content, however, it will bring traffic today and for years.

This doesn’t mean that one should avoid non-evergreen topics. They can bring a lot of short term traffic, which can lead to long-term followers and subscribers. When Steve Jobs abruptly resigned, I did a post that mentioned his resignation in the headline and got a big spike in traffic. I’m sure some visitors still read my blog today and that post still gets new traffic.

Evergreen content should be the foundation of your site, however. Make most of your content something people will always be interested in.

The article does a good job of listing what constitutes evergreen content (and what doesn’t), and it’s what you might expect. How to’s, authoritative answers to FAQ’s, and basic information that beginners search for qualify. Best of the year roundups, statistical pieces, and event-specific content don’t.

There are also some good suggestions for sharing evergreen content. I like the idea of creating an “evergreen hub” on my site, something I should have done a long time ago. This can take the form of a “start here” page or a “top posts” widget in the sidebar.

Anyway, you can access this article on this page. Let me know what you think in the comments to this post.

To learn more about online content marketing, get this

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