Some perspective on marketing legal services

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You often hear me say, “marketing is everything we do to get and keep good clients”.

Everything.

In terms of time, it’s mostly the little things we do every day. It’s the way we greet our clients and make them feel welcome. The emails and letters we send to former clients to stay in touch and remember them during the holidays. The articles and blog posts we publish to educate people about the law.

Marketing is also bigger things. Creating a new seminar or ad campaign. Scoping out and joining a new networking group. Recording new videos for your website.

And everything in between.

Most of the little things take little or no time to learn or apply. They are a natural extension of your values and personality, not the application of technique. Treating people with respect is part of who you are, not something you learn in a book.

Creating content for your website requires some time, but not an inordinate amount, given that it’s mostly writing things down you already know and do.

Bigger projects require more time and resources, it’s true, but you don’t do them every day. You outline a new presentation, create the slides or handouts, rehearse, and you’re done. Maybe it took you a week or two, but now you have a new marketing tool in your arsenal you can use over and over again.

Bigger projects can serve you long term. Getting involved in a new networking group, for example, takes extra effort initially, and may take months to bear fruit. But that group could eventually become a major source of new business (and friendships) for you, and last for decades.

Do something marketing related every day. 15 minutes is good. Reach out to a few former clients or other professionals with a note or email and watch what happens. Once a month or so, work on a bigger project. A 30 Day Referral Blitz, for example.

Whenever possible, invest your time and resources in creating things with a “long tail,” like new relationships, new content for your website, and new ways to grow your email list.

Marketing legal services doesn’t have to be daunting. If it is, you’re not doing it right. Sure, there are new things to learn and new things to do, but mostly, its about attitude.

If you’re struggling in your practice, start by examining your attitude towards marketing. If you don’t like marketing, if it’s something you force yourself to do, you will continue to struggle. If there are things you like and things you don’t, great–do more of the things you enjoy and are good at.

Marketing is a lot like lawyering. It takes place mostly in your head.

The Attorney Marketing Formula comes with a marketing plan.

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Marketing a law practice 15 minutes a day

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One of the biggest challenges with marketing a law practice is finding the time to do it. Fortunately, there are many marketing-related tasks you can do in just 15 minutes.

For example, in just 15 minutes you can expand your network. Here’s how:

  • Go through your desk drawers and find all the business cards you have accumulated. Also find address books and contact lists (professionals, business owners, prospects, etc.)
  • Look for these people on LinkedIn and add them to your network; update the invite email that goes to them with a personal reference (e.g., where you met)
  • Do the same thing with your other social networks, adding Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc., to LinkedIn, or vice-versa
  • Once you have done this, spend 15 minutes a day commenting on your contacts’ posts, asking questions, or sharing resources (your own and others).

Marketing a law practice doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or overly time consuming. The key is to commit to doing something every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes.

Want more traffic and more referrals? Offer your contacts something they can share with their contacts. Here’s how.

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Random acts of marketing legal services

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A new study suggests that investing at random is as effective as hiring expensive financial advice. As reported in Wired, a physicist and an economist in Italy seem to have proven that throwing darts at stock listings can actually bring decent returns.

What if marketing legal services works the same way?

What if instead of hiring expensive consultants to manage their marketing, lawyers simply chose marketing related activities at random. Instead of trying to figure out the perfect strategy, they just kept busy?

I like this idea. You don’t need to hire experts and gurus or go to expensive seminars. You can ignore the “method of the week”. Just do something, every day, to reach out to people you know and people you want to know.

Call or write to someone. It doesn’t matter who. They don’t have to be your best client. It doesn’t matter if they can’t send you a lot of referrals. What happens next doesn’t really matter because over time, everything will average out and you will at least get average results from your efforts, if the analogy is true.

But hold on. Since most attorneys do no marketing, or do marketing very badly, your random acts of daily marketing should bring you results that are much better than average.

So, here’s what you do. Get out your calendar and schedule 15 minutes every day for marketing. Mark this time on your calendar as an appointment with yourself. If someone wants to see you at that time, you must tell them you have an appointment and you’ll have to see them a little later.

Now, keep that appointment. Every day, do something marketing related. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something.

Scroll through your contact database and pick someone at random. Call or email them and say hello. If it’s a client, say thanks for being a good client. If it’s someone you met at a networking function three years ago and haven’t spoken to since, tell them you just found their name and wanted to see how they are doing.

It doesn’t matter who you contact or what you say. These are random acts of marketing, remember? Just keep busy and do something every day. If you get stuck, go find a chimpanzee and when he points at something, do that.

Marketing is simple. Lawyers are complicated. Stop thinking so much and do something.

Marketing is simple with this and this.

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Stop complaining. Attorney marketing is not that difficult.

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Bitch, bitch, bitch. Enough already. You don’t know how good you have it.

I’m talking to the attorneys who whine about how hard it is to get clients but aren’t willing to do anything about it.

It’s not laziness. It’s ego. They’re too school for cool. They say marketing makes them uncomfortable.

You want more clients and you expect them to magically appear because you’re good at what you do?

Wake up and smell the empty bank account.

Being competent and working hard for your clients isn’t enough. Most attorneys are competent and work hard for their clients. If you want more clients to find you and hire you, you have to do more.

And it really isn’t difficult.

I’ll tell you what, I’m going to give you a list of things to do to bring in more clients. It’s a short list. Take a look and see what you think:

  1. You need to smother your clients with love and attention so they never even think about leaving and so they tell all their friends about your greatness.
  2. You need a web site with lots of high quality information, so people can find you through search and through sharing of your information, see proof of your capabilities, and sell themselves on hiring you.
  3. You need to stay in touch with the people who hired you before, reminding them that you are still available to help them and the people they know. And you need to stay in touch with people who don’t hire you right away so that when they are ready to hire an attorney, or they know someone who is, you are the one they call.

This isn’t hard, is it?

Love your clients. Educate prospects. Stay in touch with everyone.

Do these three things and you don’t have to do much else.

Now, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this something I CAN do?
  2. Is this something I have the TIME to do?
  3. Is this something I WANT to do?

I know you can do this. And it doesn’t take up that much time. The real question is, do you want to do this?

If you do, great! Let me know how I can help.

If you don’t, that’s okay, but please don’t complain. It makes me uncomfortable.

Marketing really isn’t difficult. Let me show you. Click here.

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What separates the million dollar attorneys from the rest?

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Why are some attorneys earning seven figures and others are just scraping by?

Are they smarter and harder working than the rest? Do they have better connections? Are they just lucky?

I’ll bet you think I’m going to say million dollar attorneys are better at marketing and promoting themselves than average earning attorneys.

But that’s not always true.

Sometimes, they really are just lucky. Or smarter. They often do have better connections.

Sometimes, those million dollar babies are more attractive. Better looking, whiter teeth, the whole shebang. Sometimes, they’re more attractive on the inside. People want to be around them, hire them, help them.

And sometimes, they’re crooked. They lie, cheat, and steal their way to the top. And then they go into politics.

Anyway, some attorneys earn big money and don’t know the first thing about marketing. They never needed to and they never will.

God bless ’em.

Now, what about the rest of us?

Most attorneys work hard and do good work for their clients. But that’s not enough to build a big practice anymore. It’s too unpredictable, and too slow. We can’t wait for things to happen, we have to make them happen.

Yep. Marketing. Getting our story told to more people. Sharing information with prospective clients so they know about the law and their options and can make better decisions. And treating people right so they want to hire us again and tell everyone they know about our greatness.

Marketing isn’t easy. You have to work at it every day. Not all day, but every day. Talk to someone. Write something. Read something. Do something.

Yeah, I’d rather be lucky. And better looking.

Maybe in my next life.

Marketing isn’t easy, but it is simple. Follow these instructions.

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Marketing is easy. Here, let me prove it

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Marketing: “Everything we do to get and keep good clients.”

In keeping with that definition, and the premise that marketing is easy, here are three things you can do right now to help you get (or keep) good clients:

IDEA NO. 1

Write down the names of three “good clients” you have or had in the past. Send them an email that says, “Happy New Year–Just checking in. Hope things are going well. Talk soon. DW [your initials].

IDEA NO. 2

Write down three ideas for a blog post or article. Here, I’ll get you started:

  • “The strangest case [client] I ever had”
  • “3 things my clients always want to know”
  • “How to help your lawyer save you money”

IDEAS NO. 3

Describe a category of professionals who might be a good source of referrals for you. Go to google or your favorite social media channel and do a search. Find three names of professionals with web sites within a few miles from your office. Find something you like about their web site or practice. Maybe it’s their header or logo, an article, or the way they describe what they do. Or, find something you have in common. Maybe you went to the same law school or undergrad. If nothing else, you’re offices are “right around the corner” from each other.

Send them an email and tell them what you like and/or what you have in common. Ask a question or ask for a recommendation. “Where did you get that great header?” “Can you recommend a networking group nearby?” “Would you be interested in doing a guest post on my blog?”

You have now “met” one or more local professionals with whom you can begin the process of networking. Go buy them some coffee.

There, I told you marketing was easy.

Want more ideas? Go here.

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Why Bill Clinton wants to touch you

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Have you ever watched how Bill Clinton shakes hands. He doesn’t just clasp your right hand in his, he also touches your arm with his left hand. During the conversation, as he makes a point, he might reach out again to touch your arm or put his hand on your shoulder.

Clinton’s use of nonsexual touching is, arguably, one of the reasons people seem to like him so much. (No comments about his alleged use of other kinds of touching, however.)

According to psychologists, touch “can influence behavior, increase the chances of compliance, make the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly, and can even you help make a sale.”

Tests have shown that when touched, people are more likely to comply with requests, more likely to provide help, and more likely to buy. And touching more than once seems to increase these results.

Indiscriminate touching, however, could backfire. In a school or work place setting, any kind of touching could be misinterpreted. In some cultures, touching is generally less welcome than in others. And some individuals don’t like to be touched under any circumstances.

By and large, the rewards are probably worth the risks. Just use common sense when meeting someone new. A pat on the arm or the shoulder is probably safe. A lingering full body hug, probably not a good idea, even for Bill Clinton. Especially for Bill Clinton.

Earn more in 2013. Click here to learn more.

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All lawyers market their services, although some don’t realize it

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I got an email from an attorney who wanted to hire someone to do all of her marketing for her. She said she’s “not good at marketing and not interested in it.” She doesn’t realize it but she’s already engaged in marketing. Every lawyer is.

Every time you say thank you to a client or referral source, you’re marketing.

Every time you hand someone you business card and ask for theirs, you’re marketing.

Every time you have a meal with someone, you’re marketing.

You may be doing it poorly, or getting poor results, but it’s marketing nevertheless.

Marketing is defined as, “everything you do to get and keep clients”. Key word–“everything”. All of the little things you say and do, the warmth of your handshake, the sincerity of your smile. It all counts.

You do yourself an injustice when you conclude that marketing is something you can hand off to someone else.

You can hire people to assist you. They can do most of the behind the scenes work. They can advise you, create your ads, run your blog, and promote your seminars. They can set up meetings with people on your behalf.

But you have to be at those meetings.

Building a law practice means building relationships and that’s not something that can be delegated.

If this is an anathema to you, if you are terminally shy or you just don’t like people, you’ll be a lot happier finding a partner who is good at what you don’t enjoy. Let him or her be the face of the firm, while you do what you’re good at.

But guess what? You’ll still be marketing.

Every time you say thank you to a client, you’re marketing. Every time you give someone your card and ask for theirs, or have a meal with someone, you’re marketing.

You can’t escape. Everything means everything.

If you want to improve your marketing, you should read (and apply) The Attorney Marketing Formula

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Undecideds win close elections and build law practices

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In a close election it is undecided voters who carry the candidate or cause to victory. One of the biggest blocks of undecideds are “low information” voters–people who ordinarily don’t pay much attention to politics until a few weeks before the election.

Another block of undecideds are supporters of third party candidates who, at the last minute, realize their candidate doesn’t have a chance to win and are open to choosing another candidate.

In most consumer-based law practices, prospective clients are “low information voters”. Unless and until something occurs in their life (divorce, accident, arrest, lawsuit, etc.), they won’t pay much attention to anything you might say. They don’t have a problem (that they are aware of) and they aren’t in the market for an attorney.

In a business oriented law practice, prospective clients are often “third party supporters”–they have an attorney they are reasonably happy with and aren’t looking to switch, at least for now.

In either case, your prospective clients aren’t interested in what you can do for them. They won’t notice your ads or ask their friends for a referral. There’s no impending event that forces them to pay attention.

But eventually there will be. Your objective is to be there when that occurs.

Your strategy is to put mechanisms in place that allow you to be found and recommended when prospective clients are finally in the market for an attorney. Depending on your practice area, target market, and personal preferences, this might include:

  • A strong Internet presence–blogs, search engine optimization, social media connections
  • Referral strategies–equipping your clients and professional contacts with information they can disseminate
  • Search-based advertising–classifieds, PPC, directory ads
  • Networking–meeting those who are in the market and the people who can refer them

Position yourself to be found when prospective clients realize they have a problem and go looking for a solution. This is usually more profitable than targeting “pre-need” prospects–people who don’t yet have a problem or aren’t ready to do something about it.

However, you may also want to target pre-need prospects who have a problem but don’t fully understand the risks or their options. Estate planning seminars, for example, can be effective at persuading “no need” and “vaguely aware of a need” prospects into becoming paying clients.

The best plan is to target all three types of prospects. Focus primarily on those who are looking now, but don’t ignore those who will be looking later.

The Attorney Marketing Formula shows you six key marketing strategies for getting more clients and increasing your income.

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Another lesson from Apple: how to get clients to pay higher legal fees

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Yesterday, I wrote about Apple’s pricing strategy with the new iPad Mini. Instead of competing with other tablets for the low end of the tablet market, they’re letting other companies duke it out while they target the more profitable high end. The same is true for their entire product line.

Apple fans are willing to pay more for Apple products (and stand in line to get them) because they believe it’s worth it. They believe they get more value for their dollar.

Style is certainly one aspect. So is functionality. But more than anything, I think what appeals to Apple users is ease of use.

Apple’s slogan, “It just works,” is arguably responsible for converting legions of PC users, frustrated with complicated, buggy, and virus prone machines to the Apple brand. True or not, the impression Apple’s marketing team has created is that with Apple products you won’t have continual crashes or blue screens, and you won’t have to take a class to learn how to use it. You just turn it on and it works.

And that’s exactly what Apple’s customers want.

Well guess what? That’s what your clients want, too. At least the clients you should be targeting. They want to know that when they hire you, you’ll get the job done.

They don’t want complications. They don’t want to know the boring details. They want the peace of mind of knowing that when they hire you, they’ll be in good hands. If you can give this to them, they’ll pay you more than what other attorneys charge.

Now I know many attorneys will cynically argue that their clients are very price conscious and won’t pay a penny more if another attorney will do it for less. And that’s true–THEIR clients are price conscious and won’t pay a penny more. But that’s not true of all clients.

Didn’t the PC world say the same thing about Apple when their prices first became known? “Why would anyone pay double for something just because it’s nicer looking?”

The answer was, and still is, because “it just works.”

You can follow in Apple’s footsteps. Target the higher end of the market for your services. Show them that when they hire you, everything is taken care of for them. They won’t have to worry about getting a bill filled with surprises, or an attorney who doesn’t explain things or return their phone calls. Show them that “you just work” and they’ll pay you more. Because it’s worth it to them.

Learn how to earn more than you ever thought possible. Get The Attorney Marketing Formula.

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