If it’s free, it’s me!


This weekend I went to a free “shredding” event in our neighborhood. I brought three file boxes of old tax and financial files and had them torn limb-from-limb by a monster truck.

Quick, easy, and free.

In addition to shredding, you could drop off old electronic devices for safe disposal.

The event was sponsored by a local real estate agent, husband and wife team. They set up a barbecue and served hot dogs and bratwursts (I had two) and said hello to the people in line.

What’s the point? No, not that I only ate two brats, although that is remarkable. The point is that this was a simple and inexpensive promotion, so simple, even a lawyer could do it.

And shredding old documents is a natural promotion for a lawyer, no matter what your practice area.

I’m guessing it cost them a few hundred dollars to pay for the shredding company to send a truck for three hours and a couple hundred for dogs and cookies and drinks. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they got the electronic pick-up truck at no cost because the raw materials can be profitably recycled.

It looked like their “team” was there, helping out, so no labor costs. The city promoted it in their newsletters and website. The real estate brokers put up signs directing traffic to the event.

What did the brokers get out of it? Maybe a few people asking to talk to them about selling their home. And some goodwill and name recognition.

But I’ll tell you one thing they didn’t get. They didn’t get any propaganda (brochures, etc.) or notepads or pens into the hands of the folks. Which surprised me. I would have given everyone something, anything, with my name and contact information on it, along with an offer, e.g., free appraisal, free “get your home ready to sell” booklet, etc.

Anyway, summer is coming and it’s a good time to fire up the bar-b-que and hold your own event. Let me know when and where and what you’re cooking.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula


You may not like this idea but you may love the results


You want your practice to stand out in the crowd. You like the idea of free publicity. The idea of “going viral” appeals to you. You’d love to bring in a lot of new business.

Here’s an idea for a promotion that could help you accomplish all of the above.

Step one: find a “safe” charity or charitable cause

Choose a safe charity or cause to align with. Something that would appeal to your target market.

“Safe” means the organization is the real deal. Most of their revenue goes to causes, not overhead. There are no scandals. No political overtones to what they do.

It’s probably best to go with something small and local. You’ll be able meet with the people who run things, which can lead to additional marketing opportunities for you (e.g., networking, referrals, speaking).

Step two: choose one of your services you can give away free

(Yeah, that’s the part you may not like; but it could lead to results you’ll love).

This free service should be a “leader” or entry-level service, for new clients. For example, a simple Will package, incorporation, or an employee handbook review. If you bill by the hour, it could be a six-hour bundle.

Obviously, you’ll want to offer a service that is likely to appeal to the kinds of clients you target.

Make it as valuable and attractive as possible. Remember, the end game is to get publicity and traffic and new clients. The bigger you go, the more likely it is that your offer will accomplish this.

If you go really big, however, you may want to limit the number of “packages” that are available.

Step three: “Pay what you want—it’s for charity”

Promote your offer with a theme that new clients can pay what they want for the services and that 100% of the proceeds go to [name] charity.

Tell them the value of the package, or a suggested minimum donation.

For added punch, tie the promotion to a specific project the charity is running, e.g., the homeless shelter fund. And put a time limit on it.

Some clients may “cheat” and pay only a few dollars. But most people are honest and will do the right thing, if for no other reason than to help the charity.

Advertise and promote your offer as broadly as possible. Send out a press release. Email all of your lists and contacts and all of the bloggers and writers in your niche. Ask the charity to promote it in their newsletters, website, and bulletins. Ask them to ask their major donors and supporters to do the same.

You should get some favorable publicity from this. Traffic to your website and sign-ups for your newsletter. Meet some new referral sources connected with the charity. And get some new clients.

If all goes well, the next time you do this, you can partner up with other lawyers, other professionals, and other businesses, each of whom will promote this to their contacts, generating more goodness for all of you.

Leverage is the key to earning more without working more. Here’s the formula


How to get more legal clients with promotions


In many ways, selling legal services is like selling any product or service. You tell people what you can do to help them solve a problem or achieve an objective, you tell them your “price,” and they make a decision. They hire you or they don’t.

Many of the ones who don’t hire you are on the fence. They’re not sure if they can afford it, they’re not sure if they should choose you or another attorney, or they’re not sure if they really need to hire anyone right now.

There are many fence sitters on your list. People you have talked to or sent some information, people who heard you speak or saw your video, prospective clients who almost hired you, but didn’t. One of the easiest ways to get more clients is to offer those fence sitters a special incentive that tips the scale in favor of hiring you.

There are two key elements to this offer. The first is value. Something extra for saying yes: a discount, a bonus (i.e., a free extra service), recognition on your website or in your newsletter, enhanced access to you, or an entry into a drawing for a special prize. Another example: Announce an impending fee increase and allow them to lock in the current rate.

The second element is scarcity: a time limit or limited quantity. A date when the offer expires or a limit on how many you will accept.

The second element is the more important of the two. Remember, they were already interested in your services. They don’t really need anything extra. It is the time limit (or fixed quantity) that gets them off the fence.

Fear of losing the special offer gets them to decide.

Promotions can help you sign up a lot of business. In addition to getting fence sitters off the fence, they can get prospects to choose you instead of your competition, get former clients to return, and get new clients to sign up for more services than they originally contemplated.

Find something you can promote. Add a deadline or limited quantity. Promote it.

Promoting is much more than announcing. Promoting means dramatizing the benefits of the special offer (as well as the core services). It means telling them what they will gain and also, what they will lose if they don’t accept the offer.

Promoting means repeating the special offer frequently, reminding prospects of the benefits and the impending deadline. It means telling them there are “only 48 hours left” or “only three spots remaining” and that the clock is ticking.

You don’t have to look beyond your email inbox to see examples of promotions. You’ve gotten them from me and from others, and no doubt purchased many products and services about which you were previously on the fence.

Promotions work, and you can use them to sell more of your legal services.

By the way, if you’re thinking a promotion might be unseemly or inappropriate for your practice, here’s what I suggest. Tie your promotion to a charity or worthy cause.

You might run a holiday promotion. For every new client who signs up before December 10th, you’ll donate $100 worth of new, unwrapped toys to your local “Toys for Tots”. C’mon folks, do it for the kids.

Marketing is simple. If you want to know how to get more legal clients, this is how. Create a special offer, put a time limit on it, and promote it to your list.

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