Give prospective clients a little somethin’ somethin’

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I found a video I was interested in watching but I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit 27 minutes out of my busy day. I could start it and see if it’s worth continuing, or I could save it for later, which is what I did, but I knew that “later” would probably never arrive.

I do the same thing with blog posts and articles. I can skim them, of course, and usually do, but my appetite is often bigger than my stomach and more often than not, I save blog posts and articles for later consumption. But I have hundreds of them saved for later and, you guessed it, more often than not, I don’t get around to them.

If you use content to market your legal services, and you should, you have to factor this dynamic into your strategy. Your target market is busy and while they may be interested in your topic, they may never get around to hearing what you have to say.

What do you do? The answer is simple. You issue a mix of long and short posts and videos.

Someone will watch a two minute video, for example, and see that you offer value. So when you post a 15 minute video or a 27 minute video, they are more likely to watch it. You’ve earned their attention and made it to their short list of approved content producers, aka, lawyers.

Short content allows you to offer people a taste of your wisdom and makes it more likely they’ll come back for more. It’s like the Chinese restaurant in the food court at the mall, handing out samples of tempura chicken on a toothpick. They give you a sample, you like it, so you order a complete meal.

They might spend $100 a day giving away free samples, and in return sell $1000 worth of additional meals.

Sampling works. Give people a taste of “you” and if they like you they’ll come back for more. If you’ve ever conducted a free consultation you know that most people who avail themselves of your offer will hire you.

Now, if offering short samples of your content and your advice work, how about offering samples of your actual services?

Think about all of the services you offer, and all of their component parts, and see if you can offer a sample. What could you offer at a discount or free?

Discounts? Free services? That’s crazy talk, right?

Give it some thought, will ya? Because investing $100 to earn an extra $1000 is a good thing in any business.

Marketing for attorneys who want to work smarter: here you go

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What the iPhone app store can teach you about marketing legal services

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I was scrolling through the “Top 25 list” in the app store on my iPhone and noticed that the top grossing apps (mostly games) are either free or .99.

How can something that’s free or almost free be top grossing? The answer is simple: Upgrades, add ons, and back-end purchases. These companies sell “other stuff” via “in app purchases”–additional tools, levels, or other capabilities–and enough people buy on the back end that they can afford to give away their product on the front end.

It’s the “freemium” business model and while the term is relatively new, the concept is as old as marketing itself. “Sampling,” as it is traditionally referred to, is a proven way to sell everything from toothpaste (coupons and trial size) to automobiles (free test drives) to Tempura chicken in the food court (a sample on a toothpick).

Even attorneys use it (free consultations).

The idea is simple: give people a taste and they’ll want the whole meal. The free sample allows the consumer to overcome doubt and indecision, to experience the product or service on a small scale, with no cost or obligation, before making the decision to buy. The more you give away, the more you sell.

How can you apply this to marketing your services?

If you’re not now offering free consultations, I suggest you consider doing so. Many attorneys resist this, claiming their time is too valuable, they don’t want to give away their expertise because that’s all they have to sell, and while these may be brilliant attorneys. . .

they’re not very good at math.

If you invest an hour of your time in a free consultation and get a $10,000 paying client as a result, I don’t know, that seems like a pretty good trade off to me. I know you say there are only so many hours in a day and you can’t equate giving away a game app with giving away legal services, but actually, you can.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a six-year old with a lemonade stand or a partner in a 1,000 lawyer firm, the formula is the same:

  1. How much did you spend to get the business, and
  2. How much did you generate in revenue?

The difference, minus fixed costs, is profit.

And, since legal services are generally high ticket and high margin, attorneys are actually better suited to using sampling in their marketing. We can afford to spend more to acquire a new client since we earn so much more.

So, let’s take things a bit further. If free consultations work, how about free services? Could you offer a free or highly discounted service on the front end, knowing you will more than make up the difference on the back end?

Yes you can.

Which brings me back to the app store.

Recently, I’ve noticed a spate of new apps by lawyers, mostly personal injury firms. They explain what to do in case of an accident and provide a place to record information, take photos, etc., and they are free. The lesson isn’t that iPhone apps are a viable way to bring in clients, although they may well be, it’s that if you can’t or won’t give away a sample of your services, give away information.

Free information in any form–reports, tip sheets, checklists, booklets, audios, and iPhone apps–can do much of what a free consultation or free service can do–give prospective clients a taste of what you can do for them.

If you want more clients, give samples.

Update: After posting this, I saw this article discussing app pricing strategies, in case you’re thinking in that direction. Interesting reading even if you’re not.

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