Plan 9 From Mars


For some reason, when I thought about the idea of planning (for next year), I thought of the title of what many consider the worst science fiction movie of all time. 

I only watched a few minutes, many years ago, but I think it was about Martians invading Earth. 

I’m pretty sure their plan failed, but I commend those Martians for thinking big, which is the point I want to make today.

If you’re going to plan (something), for next year, or any year, make it big. 

Don’t spend a lot of time planning how to redecorate your office when you can plan a new marketing strategy that might allow you to buy a new office building. Or three. 

Big plans force us to be creative and do things we’ve never done before. They force us to focus.

Even if your big plans don’t materialize, thinking big helps you sort out what’s important and make that your priority, instead of getting bogged down with a multitude of small ideas which, even if successful, won’t amount to a hill of beans (I’ve got movies on the brain).

Big plans give you a chance to win big. 

The Pareto Principle says 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts (plans, ideas, activities, projects…). Figure out a handful of big ideas that can deliver big results, and then narrow down your list to just one or two. 

One or two big ideas that could transform your business or life.

In the book, The One Thing, author Gary Keller puts it this way: 

“What is the one thing you can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary”.

Your big plan might fail (and you’ll have to return to Mars) but if you’re going to work on anything next year, work on something big, so big it could take care of almost everything else.

No pressure. But I need your answer on my desk first thing tomorrow. My ship leaves at 9.


Leverage what you’ve got to get what you want


You have a network—your clients, prospects,  colleagues, friends, business contacts—and everyone in that network is a conduit to growing your practice. Your clients can send you referrals, your business contacts can introduce you to their counterparts, your social media friends and followers can tell their friends and followers about you and direct them to your site or offer.

All you have to do is ask. 

Want to grow your email list? Ask your subscribers to forward your email to people they know who might be interested in your newsletter or report. 

Want to get get more sign-ups for your webinar or presentation? Tell the ones who have already signed up you want to get more people to attend and ask them to help by getting the word out.

Don’t hesitate to ask. People are willing to help.

When you sign up a new client, give them extra business cards to give to people they know who might need your help. Yes, that’s asking.

If you want to get interviewed on more podcasts, email your list and say, “I’m looking to get on more podcasts about (your subject). Do you know any podcasts that might like a guest on this topic?”

After you are interviewed—on a podcast, blog, or other outlet—ask the producer or host if they can recommend other podcasts, blogs, or meeting holders that might be interested in a guest or speaker on your subject. 

Everyone you know (and meet) knows other people who need or want what you offer. Get in the habit of asking everyone to refer or recommend you or your offer and you will never run out of opportunities to get more clients and grow your practice. 


Networking and your legal marketing plan


If you do it right, networking can become a cornerstone of your legal marketing plan and one of your biggest sources of new business and career opportunities. But it can also be time consuming. 

One way to get more out of your networking is to use it as a springboard to finding content for your blog or newsletter.

Interview people you meet through networking and post it on your blog or in your newsletter. Do a profile of them or their business or practice, or promote their cause.

They get exposure, traffic, and new clients or customers. Your readers learn valuable tips from these subject matter experts. You get content for your blog that may bring you more search engine traffic.

And you get the gratitude of your new networking partner.

Their gratitude may lead to good things for you. Or it may not. Not all of people you feature in your interviews will reciprocate by interviewing you or sending you traffic or referrals. But some will.

These interviews can lead to other things. You can invite your networking partners to submit guest posts or articles for your blog or newsletter. You can explore other marketing joint ventures.

Go find some professionals, businesses, or vendors who sell to or write about your target market or community. You can find them online or in person. Reach out to them and ask questions about what they do. Then, ask for the interview. I can’t imagine anyone turning you down.

Wait, I’ll make it even easier for you. Start (this week would be good) by approaching someone you already know. Call your best referral source or business client and tell them you want to interview them.

What’s that? You don’t have a blog or newsletter? I guess you better start.

Learn how to create or grow a blog or website. Click here.


Don’t let your reason why become your excuse not to


You say that one of the reasons you want to increase your income is to have more free time. Time for family, hobbies, travel, fun.

Those things are important to you but you’re always working and don’t have enough time.

More free time is the “reason why” you want to earn more.

But then I hear you say you don’t have time for marketing. You’re too busy.

Do you see the problem here? You want time (your why) because you don’t have time (always working) so you use the fact that you don’t have time as your excuse for not marketing, even though marketing is what will eventually give you more free time.

It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

You’re letting your reason why become your excuse not to.

“But I have to do the work,” you say. You can’t slow down. It’s a Catch 22.

You could hire someone to do some of the work.

“I can’t afford to hire anyone,” you say.

Okay, now you’re being difficult.

You hire someone so you can work less so you can have more time for marketing so you can earn more so you can have more free time.

Try saying that ten times really fast.

It’s called leverage. Working smart. Treating your practice like a business.

You can’t wait for more free time to appear before you start marketing. You must start marketing to create more free time.

You can make money or you can make excuses, but you can’t make both.

I can teach you how to leverage your time. Click here.


Why you should get a marketing partner


You may not want a law partner but you should definitely have a marketing partner.


It will mean more traffic to your website. More sign ups for your newsletter. And more new clients.

Maybe a ho lotta new clients.

So, this is how it works. You find another attorney, or any other professional who targets the same market you do. It could also be a business owner.

It should be someone who does good work (or sells good products). Someone you would recommend to your clients and contacts if they needed those services or products.

You call them, and ask them if they want to be your marketing partner.

They say yes. Sounds like a plan.

And then. . .

You promote him and he promotes you.

You tell everyone on your list and on social media about how great your partner is. You tell everyone to go visit his website and see all of his great content and sign up for his list.

Your partner does the same thing for you.

You both get traffic. And sign ups. And clients.

Of course your web site should have great content. And a mechanism for signing up visitors on an email list. So if you don’t have these things, you might want to do that first.

And then go get you a marketing partner.

But don’t stop there. Go get another marketing partner. Get as many as you can. Because more is better.

And then, you can talk to your marketing partners about doing more things together to promote each other. Like webinars or teleconferences. Or writing articles for each other’s newsletter or blog.

This is easy. And smart. And very highly leveraged.

It’s called a strategic marketing alliance. Or joint venture. Or cross promotion. And it is one of the best ways for any lawyer to build their practice.

Start making a list. Who do you know who is good at what they do, has a decent website and an email list? Then make some calls.

The Attorney Marketing Formula teaches you more ways to leverage other people’s lists. Click here to get your copy.


Build your law practice more quickly by compressing time and leveraging effort


You’ve heard me say it many times before:

Do something marketing-related every day. Make a few calls. Send a few emails. Write a blog post. Jot down some ideas. You can make significant progress with just 15 minutes a day of effort because of the compound effect of doing something every day.

To build your practice more quickly, you should compress time and leverage your effort. You compress time by

  1. Doing things faster,
  2. Doing things more often, and
  3. Doing things in bigger chunks.

You do things faster by getting better at them. That comes from experience and from learning (new techniques, shortcuts, different methods).

Doing things more often means doing something three times a day instead of once. Or every day instead of every other day.

Doing things in bigger chunks means instead of doing something for 15 minutes, you do it for two hours or an entire day. You will get further ahead by compressing several weeks of activities into a single day because the bigger chunk of time allows you to create momentum.

You will also grow more quickly by leveraging your effort. That means getting more results out of the same activities.

An example of leverage would be networking with potential referral sources instead of prospective clients. By attending the Kiwanis Club dinner, you may make friends with someone who needs your services, and that’s good. A more leveraged result would be making friends with the president of the Kiwanis Club, who knows everyone in that chapter and five others.

Another example would be doing things that have a “long tail,” i.e., writing an article that will reside on your web site indefinitely, continually pulling in leads and new business. If you’re going to spend an hour writing something, write something that will produce a residual “income”.

A third example of leverage is re-purposing your content. You do a presentation. Now, take that presentation and turn it into five blog posts, three videos, and an ebook. Don’t settle for a one time presentation to 50 people when you can re-purpose your content and get it in front of 5,000.

A fourth example of leverage is re-distributing your content. You take your report and send it to everyone on your list. You put it in your new client kit. You put it on a download page and link to it on your web site. You give print copies to your referral sources and ask them to put them in their waiting rooms. You email a pdf to your clients and ask them to forward your email to their friends and family.

You’ve heard the expression, “working smarter”? Now you know what it means.

For more ways to compress time and leverage effort, get this.


Take inventory of your marketing to save time, save money, and improve results


Taking inventory of your marketing can help you gain clarity about where you are and make it easier to get to where you want to go.

Here’s how to do it:

Pick a period of time in the past. Six or 12 months will do. Write down how many new clients you took in during that period, who they are, and the amount of income those clients have or will generate for you.

So far, so good.

Next, look at the names of each of those new clients and write down where they came from. You need to know whether they were referrals (including self-referrals, aka repeat clients), or they came from some other source.

You can break this down any way that makes sense for your practice, but I suggest something like the following:

  1. Referrals from clients (including self-referrals)
  2. Referrals from professionals, others; networking
  3. Online (Blogging, SEO, social media, webinars, articles, etc.)
  4. Paid advertising (PPC, direct mail, display, radio, directory, ezine, banners, self-hosted seminars, etc.; if you do a lot of adverting, you should break this up into different categories)
  5. Other (Public speaking, publicity, writing (i.e., trade pubs), etc.)

Okay, now you know where the business is coming from. What now?

Here are my thoughts on how you can use this information:

  • Most of your clients should come from referrals. If they don’t, ask yourself why and what you can do about it
  • If you’re not getting business from some of your marketing activities, or they are too expensive relative to the business they bring you, consider eliminating those activities.  For example, if blogging and social media take up a lot of your time but you’re not getting the clients from it, why do it? Use that time for something that is producing.
  • There will be some cross-over or ambiguities. For example, blogging may not be producing a lot of traffic, inquiries, and new clients for you but it still has value as authoritative content you can show to prospects who come to you via referrals, or to add value for your clients.
  • If something is working for you, do more of it. You can find more time for networking, for example, by reducing or eliminating some or all of the time you spend on (whatever is not working). If advertising in trade publications regularly brings in new clients, increase your media buys in trade publications.
  • Before you cut anything, consider the “back end”. For example, you may be breaking even on advertising (or even losing money) but if you are able to get referrals from the new clients that are produced by that advertising, you’re still earning a profit.
  • If you aren’t in the habit of recording where your clients come from, you need to start. Instruct whoever answers the phone to ask everyone, “Where did you hear about us?” and add a line to your new client intake form.
  • Track these numbers going forward so that you can periodically take inventory and see where you are.

A friend of mine says, “You have to inspect what you expect”. He also says, “You have to slow down to speed up.” Take his advice. Once or twice a year, shut off the phones and email and take inventory. It will help you save time, save money, and improve your results.


The smartest way to grow your law practice


the smartest way to grow your law practiceSo, what’s your plan for growing your practice next year?

Before you take on anything new, there’s something you should do first.

The first thing you should do is make a list of everything you have tried in the past. Go through your calendar, your notes, ask your staff, and write down everything you did that could be called “marketing”.

What meetings did you go to? Whom did you meet for the first time? What did you write? Where did you speak? What did you mail?

Put everything that worked on your list, and everything that didn’t.

It’s easy to identify what worked. If you track where new clients come from (referrals, ads, seminars, web site, social media, etc.), all you have to do is look at your stats. If you don’t track this, go through your new client list and see if you can reconstruct what you were doing just prior to being hired. (And make a note to start tracking every new client from now on.)

It’s not as easy to identify what has not worked, but it’s just as important. Do the best you can with this and in the future, keep a marketing diary and make an entry every day about anything you did that day that could be construed as marketing.

Don’t forget repeat clients. Keeping your clients happy, keeping them informed about the progress of their case, communicating and building a relationship with them, all have marketing implications.

And don’t forget referral sources. Those coffees and lunches, thank you letters and Christmas gifts are also part of your marketing mix.

Also, check your web site stats. Where is your traffic coming from? Which key words are bringing not just clicks but clients.

Making these two lists–what’s worked and what hasn’t–is one of the smartest things you can do in marketing (or anything else you want to improve) and you should do this before you even think about doing anything new.

The reason? The 80/20 principle, which tells us that the best way to achieve more is to, “do more of what worked in the past and less of what didn’t”.

Now that you have your two lists, you can identify the things that have worked for you and do more of them. You’ll find the time for this by cutting down on or eliminating those things that have not worked or haven’t worked as well.

You may find that eliminating things that aren’t working is difficult, especially if you’ve been doing them for awhile. This is common for all of us. Our fears prevent us from letting go or we tell ourselves we just need to get better or do it longer and the results will kick in. If we spent money on something, it’s even harder to let go because we get attached to earning back our investment.

Trust the numbers. Let go of what’s not working, no matter how much time or money you’ve invested.

Yes, sometimes you will let go of something too soon that could have been a big winner for you had you kept going. But what makes more sense, hanging on to things that might work or cutting them out in favor of doing more of what you know works?

If social media hasn’t brought in new business, for example, it could be because you’re doing it wrong and with some training and experience, you’ll get better and you will get lots of news clients, just as many attorneys now do. But our time is limited and if it’s not working for you right now, I’d rather see you put social media aside and do more of what your numbers tell you, unequivocally, has brought in most of your new business last year.

You can go back later and try social media marketing (or whatever) again. I’ve let go of things that weren’t working for me and been successful when I tried them again. But right now, when you’re looking at your plans for the new year, start by doing more of what you know works.

It’s the smartest way to grow your practice.


The Big Idea: Taking a Quantum Leap in the Growth of Your Law Practice


Donny Deutsch’s cable program, “The Big Idea,” features interviews with entrepreneurs who scored big (or are trying to) in the world of business. The guests discuss their “big idea,” the one that makes their company or product different from all the rest.

In the crowded, competitive world of business, a big idea can propel a company from the depths of obscurity to the heights of financial success. But the big idea isn’t necessarily a new invention or a revolutionary concept. More often, it is a new spin on an old idea that capitalizes on a current trend (e.g., “fast food” restaurants that serve nothing but breakfast cereal).

Allstate Insurance company is running ads that promise to pay cash rebates for every six months of good driving. That’s nothing more than a new way of offering a good driver discount but in my view, it qualifies as a big idea because instead of a discount, the customer gets paid. Getting a check from your insurance company every six months re-sells you on staying with that company because you don’t want to lose “your” check. (It also reminds you to drive safely.)

Amazon’s latest big idea is low priced tablets. They don’t do everything an iPad does but they will probably appeal to a big segment of the market that will pay $200 (or less) but not $500 (or more).

How could you create a big idea in your practice? It might be as simple as taking something every attorney in your market does (e.g., house calls), and re-positioning it (e.g., “We’ll send a limo to pick you up”). It might be something few attorneys do, like the radio spot I just heard by an estate planning firm that prepares living trusts. Their big idea: “free lifetime updates”.

Take some time to brainstorm ideas with your employees or mastermind group. What do you do that everyone else does that you could promote as “your big idea”? Or, what do you do (or could you do) that nobody else does that could be an even bigger big idea?


Farming for law firms: getting a higher yield from your client relationships


To be productive, a farm needs acres and acres of land. Rich top soil,  seeds planted a few inches under the surface, within reach of the sun’s rays, regular water, and the loving care of the farmer. The farmer knows that each seed can yield only so much, so he plants lots of them. More seeds, bigger harvest.

A farm is “an inch deep and a mile wide.” Unfortunately, so are many law firms. They plant a lot of seeds, going wide instead of deep, collecting fees and moving from new client to new client. But while a seed planted in the Earth can only yield so much, clients can yield far more than the fees they initially pay.

Each client can also:

  • Hire you again
  • Hire you for other services
  • Provide referrals
  • Introduce you to prospects, referral sources
  • Promote you via social media
  • Send traffic to your web site
  • Recommend your newsletter, ezine, blog
  • Distribute information by and about you
  • Invite their colleagues to your seminars
  • Provide information to you about their industry and/or key people
  • Give you testimonials and endorsements
  • Provide feedback about your marketing

The big money in a law practice is not the initial harvest, the fees earned on front end. The big money is earned on the back end. You may earn $10,000 from a client today, but $100,000 over their lifetime.

To bring in his big crop, the farmer must nurture his seedlings. So must you nurture your clients. Communicate with them. Appreciate them. Acknowledge them. Give to them. Build strong relationships with your clients and they will bear much fruit and continue to blossom for many seasons.

A farm is an inch deep and a mile wide; a law firm should be an inch wide and a mile deep.