5 Copywriting Techniques That Will Grow Your Email List

I am a big believer in contrarian marketing and there’s one guy I’ve become interested in listening to when it comes to building up email subscribers.  His name is Ramsay Taplin and he writes over at The Blog Tyrant.

Ramsay’s niche is teaching marketers how to build such great email lists that they don’t have to rely on the vagaries of SEO to successfully market their products or services.  He makes a strong case, saying that “email subscribers are your protection from Google.”

Recently he penned a post at Copyblogger on the five writing strategies he regularly employs to get more email subscribers for his blogs and online advertising campaigns:

1.  Make it timely.  Using time-sensitive language -- “instant” “now” “limited” -- urges people to act since we are all wired to avoid losing. 

2.  Stand out.  Telling unusual or even quirky stories to illustrate your point and making it personal so people feel an instant connection will lead to more subscribers.

3.  Include social proof.  Nobody wants to be the first to try something new, which is why online reviews are so popular.  Incorporate social proof in your content -- “Joan was just one of 500 people we helped talk to their parents about estate planning this year” -- and sprinkle your site with client feedback (if your state bar allows it) to let people know you are a trusted authority.

4.  Use landing pages.  With every new product or service we launch, we create a unique landing page where people can sign up to learn more.  It doesn’t cost much and it’s a great way to highlight and promote your blog, e-newsletter or event.  Test different colors and layouts and then stick with what works for you.

5.  Write for people and Google.  If you don’t know how to write for search engines like Google, you may get a lot of wasted traffic for your site or blog.  You still need to identify and use the right keywords to attract people and Google to your site.  That said, you need to keep your content interesting and natural so people will actually want to read it and sign up for more.

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NEW FREE REPORT:  How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • 10 reasons an e-newsletter is necessary to your legal marketing strategy
  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter

Click on the following link to receive your free report on How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today.

What Would You Like to Ask the World's #1 Small Business Guru?

INC Magazine has called Michael Gerber “the world’s #1 small business guru,” and this Friday, August 1, I will be interviewing him on how attorneys can take their firm to the next level of success. 

Michael is the author of a number of books on entrepreneurship, including the best selling Awakening the Entrepreneur Within and The E-Myth Revisited. For more than 40 years, he has been teaching business owners who possess significant technical skills but few business skills how to transform their companies into world-class organizations. 

Michael has broken down his teachings in The E-Myth Revisited to focus special attention on legal practices in his niche book, The E-Myth Attorney: Why Most Legal Practices Don’t Work and What to Do About It

The E-Myth Attorney helps lawyers fill the knowledge gap on how to start a successful law practice and maximize its performance to create a profitable, thriving legal services business. 

On Friday, August 1, I will be interviewing Michael on how attorneys can take their practices to the next level and am providing you with an opportunity to ask him questions about your own firm. 

You can submit up to three questions online now and will receive a free recording of the interview to listen to at your convenience.

Whether you’re just starting out or have had your own firm for years, don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear one of the world’s leading experts on small business development share his insights on how to develop a successful law practice.

Tips on Creating Press Releases Reporters Will Use

Business communications firm Greentarget has just released the results of interviews with 100 news reporters and editors in their 2014 Disrupting the Press Release report, and it’s clear what journalists want from firms seeking the news spotlight:  just the facts.

The core findings from this report underscore the need for communicators to understand that journalists want only the vital information, and they want it immediately apparent.  Don’t make them wade through a bunch of legal jargon, boilerplate text or self-serving quotes that sound like no human would ever speak those words. 

In fact, Greentarget points to a perfect example of the kind of press releases journalists favor:  the ones that come from police departments, who tend to follow TV detective Joe Friday’s maxim of “Just the facts, ma’am.”

And here’s why:  journalists spend less than 60 seconds scanning a press release.  If the value is not immediately apparent, they are on to the next one.  Half the reporters and editors surveyed said that they receive, on average, 50 press releases a week.  The other half said they receive more -- up to 100 or more a week. 

Beyond writing concise, fact-driven releases, here are some tips on how to grab a reporter’s attention:

Email your press releases.  80% said they prefer email.  Not one said they prefer a phone call.

Craft a compelling subject line.  79% said a good subject line gets your release opened.

Send your release early.  44% said they prefer to get press releases in the morning.

Leave out the least important information: boilerplate language, stilted quotations, fluff.

Be sure the journalists you are sending your press release to cover that beat and are relevant to their audiences. 

The good news is that 88% of journalists said they still find value in press releases, especially those that contain thought leadership (research, surveys, etc.).  Least valuable?  Personnel announcements.

My experience has shown me that many attorneys are notoriously poor press release writers, both in terms of obtuse language and too much filler.  When it comes to press releases journalists will pay attention to, always remember that less is more.  Better yet, have a professional who knows what they are doing write your press releases.

On Social Media, Listening is the New Lead Generation

Do you know what a lead looks like these days?  I am not talking about a traditional lead, like a referral, a phone call or an email.  I’m talking about how to identify lead opportunities on social media.

If you are frequenting social media sites and participating as you should, you need to become attuned for lead opportunities.  People use social media a lot these days to air their problems or grievances -- problems you may be especially qualified to help with.  People post when they have a car accident.  They post about family problems.  They post about retirement or money issues.  Whatever is on their minds, they post about it!

When you are on social media, you can gain important insights from potential clients who may not even know you exist but know they have a problem.  You want to be that fly on the wall, listening for opportunities to make yourself known.

One great listening post can be found in LinkedIn groups, where people may be posing questions to issues you may face and solve every day.  Jumping in to help with your expertise is one way to turn that casual contact into a bona fide lead.

A good way to listen on Twitter is to create a search list of your relevant keywords and monitor it for people asking for advice.  Build a list of your competitors as well to see what people are saying about them.  Dissatisfied clients?  May be an opportunity for you.

Generating leads via social media takes a different mindset that traditional lead generation, requiring that you find those leads through listening and engaging.  A random comment on Twitter or question on LinkedIn could turn into a potential client for you if you are paying close enough attention. 

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July 28 is Your Deadline to Name a Rainmaker

Monday, July 28 is the very last day for you to nominate an attorney or marketing director (employed in a law firm) for the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards.

Think of the attorneys and marketing directors in your firm ... do they deserve to be recognized?

Or how about a lawyer colleague who you know has worked incredibly hard - implementing strategies to support success?

Monday's deadline is just around the corner.  We need your help with identifying, recognizing and honoring the accomplishments of those attorneys and marketing directors (employed by a law firm) who have applied themselves, demonstrated creative marketing strategies, and are getting real results for their law firm.

Click here to learn more. 

Writing Guidelines to Help Improve Your Search Ranking

Rumor has it that SEO is dead.  I suppose you could say the old way of doing SEO is most certainly guaranteed not to work -- no more keyword stuffing or irrelevant content, which will likely get you tossed to the bottom of search results instead of where you want to be, which is on the first page.

However, I would say that the death knell for SEO is a bit premature if you define it the way we do:  being smart about how you develop your content so that it is naturally attractive to search engines because it is attractive to the people searching for your area of expertise.

Earlier today, there was a post over at Hubspot.com with an infographic that lists 13 copywriting rules for obtaining better search rank results.  None of these, you will note, are aimed at “gaming” Google’s system -- rather, they are helpful in understanding the type of content that Google rewards.  We all need to know that.

For example, keywords are still important since they indicate the subject matter you are writing about, which Google uses to link your content to searches using those same words.  But the watchword here is “natural” -- you need to use your keywords in your content naturally, and sprinkle in some synonyms or related keywords that can expose your content to different search queries.

A hat tip to ContentVerve.com and atcore for aggregating this information: 

5 Steps to Higher Client Retention Rates

Landing new clients is only the beginning of a harder task: keeping them. Now the real work begins as you find a ways to keep those clients you have worked so hard to get. 

Along with new clients comes the inherent need for more time to spend on their cases. Now the problem is not enough new clients but work flow and time management to handle them all. With such a limited schedule, how do you keep them happy so they don't run off and hire your competition?  

Here are five steps to take for better client retention:

1. Take some action on the case immediately. As soon as the client signs on, spend time that day or the next taking some action on the case. This is not only to protect your client's best legal interests, but also to show them their need for immediate legal help. It also shows them that you genuinely care about them. 

2. Send the client some form of written communication within 48 hours of taking the case. It isn't enough to start working immediately on their case. You must show that you are working and making progress so your client knows they are important to you.

It is also wise to mail a hard copy of all of your communications with your client. Often, it is easier for people to pay for services they can actually visualize. When they can see some physical evidence of your work, it seems worth more to them. 

Follow-up letters after phone calls or in-person meetings are another great way to clarify and avoid misunderstandings. 

3. Send out a brief survey directed at new clients. Within one week of landing the new client, send out a one-page survey. This can be a great way to collect data on vital questions for use in future law firm marketing strategies; this is also a good time to ask them for their birthdays and anniversaries so you can send a card. 

4. Send out a client satisfaction survey after you have completed the case. This is another great way to maintain good communication with clients. It shows them that you really care about their opinions and feelings. They will see that their cases and how it all turns out are important to you. 

5. Send the client a handwritten thank you note. Nothing says you care like a handwritten note. Send out the note the same day they select you as their attorney. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but you should do it because no one else does. 

Clients must feel like you are there to serve in their best interests because you want to be there. Lawyers have the negative reputation of only being in it for the prestige and the money. While these are two important factors from your business view, they are of little concern to your client. You must show you care through your law firm marketing efforts and your communication with your clients. If you don't care about them, they won't care about you.

National Trial Lawyers Free Webinar July 24: Generating New Clients for PI Law Firms

If you’re a personal injury attorney, you know that your chosen field of practice is one of the most competitive on the planet.  Many PI attorneys spend thousands of dollars every year to generate leads with varying degrees of success.

When you are competing against hundreds of other PI attorneys, you don’t have an extra cent to waste. 

Which is why the National Trial Lawyers is presenting a free seminar to its membership on Thursday, July 24 at noon PT/3 p.m. ET on Generating New Clients for a Personal Injury Law Firm.

Join me and The Law Blog Guru Larry Bodine to learn:

  • How to optimize the #1 place clients look for PI attorneys
  • The proven strategy of finding the riches in the niches
  • How to get the most from TV advertising without spending $100,000 a month
  • 5 things PI attorneys should not waste money on
  • Whether to buy from lead generation companies and how to do it without getting burned
  • How to turn your contacts and clients into your sales force by building a referral network
  • Steps to become a well recognized thought leader to attract bigger cases

You can register online for this free webinar now. 

If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway and get a recording of the webinar sent to you to watch at your convenience.

Some Things Bear Repeating: 12 Ways to Improve Your Intake Process

Since I wrote yesterday about the necessity of having the right people performing your intake process, I thought I would share some tips I posted a few months ago on 12 ways to improve your intake process:

1. Have a dedicated person answer the phone. We’ve been astounded by how many firms answer the phone in a way that left the distinct impression we were annoying them when we called, as if we were taking them away from another priority.


2. Show compassion and empathy. Of the law firms we’ve shopped, only 21%  expressed any compassion or sympathy when our staff told them about their situation: “I was in a car accident and I’m having a lot of pain in my neck and lower back!” A simple, “I’m so sorry to hear about that. Are you OK?” can go a long way toward connecting with a potential client.


3. Get the caller’s name and phone number at the beginning of the call in case you get cut off. If you do get cut off unexpectedly, then call them back immediately. Somewhere during the call you should also get their email address or at least permission to text them information after the call.


4. If you send someone to your website, SPELL it out clearly. Many law firm website domain names are hard to spell or understand over a bad cell phone connection. One intake person gave us the wrong website altogether that sent us to a different law firm!


5. Do what you say you are going to do when you say you will do it. Many firms said they would send us information via email or mail – we only received one response.


6. Do not answer the phone with a generic “law firm.” Clearly say the name of your law firm.


7. If you are going to place someone on hold, always ask for his or her permission first.


8. Write out three to five reasons that make your law firm different. Make certain anyone talking with prospects can recite these from memory and knows how to weave them into a call. Everyone, whether they verbalize it or not, wants to know the answer to, “Why should I hire you?”


9. Remember that people buy emotionally and justify logically, so the person on the phone must build an emotional relationship with the caller.


10. Have a dedicated person to return all voice mails the same day.


11. Never make an attorney responsible for following up with leads. Even though they may have the best of intentions other things will take priority. Task a staff person with following up with leads and setting appointments with the attorney.


12. Never quote fees over the phone. The sole purpose of the call is to get qualified leads into your office. You will always have a higher closing ratio if you meet prospects face to face rather than trying to sell them over the phone.

Do You Have the Right People in Place for Client Intake?

Recently we offered a free intake process review -- a “secret shopper” service -- to the first 50 law firms that signed up and that offer got fulfilled fairly fast. 

One of the things we have learned in these intake process reviews is the necessity for a culture shift to occur in law firms so that the person or persons responsible for the firm’s intake process is chosen based on a background in sales, not customer service.

I recently illustrated why in an interview with the Intake Academy:

If your computer breaks, or your cell phone has a problem, you call customer service. You don’t mind being put on hold for an inordinate amount of time – well, you do mind, but are willing to put up with it – because you need to get your problem solved and, frankly, you don’t have a choice.  If you’ve got your cell phone with AT&T and want to get it fixed, you don’t get to call Verizon if AT&T puts you on hold for 45 minutes.

But when it comes to law firms -- especially personal injury or any kind of consumer law -- there is an intensely competitive environment where consumers have hundreds, if not thousands, of choices. All of them are easily identifiable with the click of a mouse or the turning of the page. It is amazing how much competition there is.

You don’t want people handling your intake process who have a customer service background; you want people who have sold stuff over the telephone. Most of the time, even if they have people in a formal intake center, most law firms have the wrong people. The rest of the law firm sees it almost as a necessary evil instead of this is a money-making function.

Most law firms that we’ve worked with over the years don’t even have an intake department – not a formal one, at least. They basically have a receptionist and somebody who’s a rollover person in case the receptionist gets too busy.

The purpose of having an intake or call center is to really transform that culture from being an intake one to a sales-oriented center. What I mean by that is going from order taker to rainmaker. I don’t want a bunch of order takers in the law firm; I want a bunch of rainmakers – a bunch of people who are committed and dedicated to getting people from being a potential client to being a retained or assigned client.

If you’re a consumer law attorney and want to learn more about turning leads into appointments and appointments into sales, you’ll probably be interested in our on-demand Proven Strategies to Win More Clients webinar.  By watching this webinar, you can learn proven steps to increase your lead conversion rate, including 3 steps for turning leads into appointments, 5 ways to increase your show-up rates and 4 ways to get more appointments to sign up at the initial consultation.  

6 Steps to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan for Your Law Firm

If one of your marketing goals is to become proficient at social media networking, then you need to follow the advice of Yogi Berra, who said, “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.”

Translation:  you need a plan.

Here are the six steps you need to take to create a social media marketing plan for your law firm, inspired by a recent post at Buffer.com:

Step 1:  Choose your social media networks.  Frankly, you don’t want or need to participate on every social media network out there.   Where you need to be is where your clients and prospects are.  For B2B attorneys, that is LinkedIn.  For B2C attorneys, it’s Facebook and Twitter.  And for both, Google + is a must just for the SEO benefits it delivers.  Check out these demographic profiles for the major social media networks from the Pew Research Internet Project to help you figure out where your prospects are likely hanging out online.

Step 2:  Complete your profiles.  Once you have selected your social media networks, you need to complete your profile on each network.  Include both visuals and text and make your profiles consistent across all the platforms.  Be sure to include your address for local SEO and to let people find you easily.  Include your main keywords.  Keep the content fresh by updating.

Step 3:  Find your voice.  Spend some time on each social network you have chosen to participate on to discover the right tone and voice for your posts.  Since social media networking is much like offline networking, be yourself.  Learn what is appropriate -- and not -- to share. 

Step 4:  Schedule your posts.  Participating on social networks means just that -- participating!  Research shows that you should be posting on Facebook 5-10x/week, Twitter at least 5s/day, Google+ at least 5x/day and LinkedIn once every weekday.  For the best times to post, check out this recent timing research from Sumall.  Try to include an image with most if not all posts -- research also shows posts with photos get shared up to 35% more. 

Step 5:  Analyze, test and repeat.  Check your stats on your social media networks to see what posts are getting the most traction online -- you can use a reporting tool like Buffer Analytics to create a dashboard for all your networks so you can review stats at a glance.   Then repeat your successes.

Step 6:  Automate and engage.  There are several online tools you can use to automate the scheduling of your posts that will save you a lot of time and enable you to keep things running smoothly when you’re too busy or away.  However, there does need to be a person responsible for monitoring your social media networks so comments or questions are answered promptly.

If you’d like a little more help with your Internet marketing, call us at 888-588-5891 or click here to sign up for a free one-on-one Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor who will listen to your specific marketing challenges. 

The Rainmaker Advisors are hand-picked and trained to identify marketing strategies that you can implement to grow your practice.