Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan
The 3-Step Comprehensive Formula to Consistently Generate New Cases for Your Law Firm
Last Updated: June 10th, 2021
How would it feel to double your law firm’s caseload in the next 90 days? Would you be excited? Scared? Would you finally feel ready to grow your business and become the go-to firm in your niche?
With the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™, you can. I created this comprehensive 3-step formula to consistently deliver your law firm new cases, regardless of how the economy is doing. My goal is to bring your marketing strategy out of the Yellow Pages and into the 21st century so your firm can thrive today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.
Marketing for lawyers isn’t some mysterious art that relies on tricks and gimmicks. You aren’t at the mercy of Wall Street or trends that come and go. By using the proven, “recession-proof” system I’ve developed, you can consistently get in front of prospective clients and turn those leads into cases.
I’m going to be honest with you. For this process to work, it will be critical for you to make some big belief shifts. If your marketing hasn’t been very successful up to this point, then you’re going to have to be willing to think differently and come into this plan with an open, “beginner’s” mind. Your business depends on it.
If you’re willing to face those fears and trust this process, you’ll start to build a brand and a client-generating machine that will revolutionize your law firm in the next 90 days and beyond.
Is The Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™ System For You?
The Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™ works for firms of all sizes, but you might be wondering if investing your precious time in this blog post will be worth it. After all, you might already have a moderately successful marketing strategy. You might be bringing in lots of referrals. Do you really need to change anything?
Well, here’s my question for you: even if your firm is performing well, wouldn’t you like to do even better? Wouldn’t you like to DOMINATE in your niche and become the go-to firm in your local market? You can get to that point if you’re willing to open your mind and change your marketing strategy. If outperforming your competition is your goal, then this system is for you.
Maybe your marketing efforts bring in a case or two here and there, but you’re not really generating consistent results. Maybe you’ve been burned by expensive but disappointing marketing agencies in the past and you’re feeling skeptical about trying again. Maybe you paid for a flashy website that isn’t performing well.
I hear you. I’ve talked to so many lawyers with similar stories. I get it. It’s easy to feel frustrated and pessimistic when your marketing efforts have produced so-so results. But if you’ve been trying the same strategies over and over and you’ve been getting the same results, it’s time to change your approach and try something new. You might not realize it, but your current marketing perceptions are holding you back from success.
Even if you’re not experiencing disappointing marketing results for your law firm and you get lots of referrals, think about the limits of that model. Referral business costs you nothing, it’s true. It’s also good for your ego. But with referrals, you’re not in charge of the process. You’re passive, just waiting for clients to talk to their friends and family, hoping you get enough cases every month.
Being passive is never going to push you past the competition. You have to take control of your law firm’s marketing so you’ll never worry again about where your next case is coming from.
How to Use The Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™
I’ve organized this blog post into three parts, and it’s very important to go through sequentially and actually execute each step. Every section builds on the last and you won’t get domination-level results if you skip around and only pay attention to the implementation steps.
The Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™ dives deep into the underlying psychology of your ideal clients and the bedrocks of effective lawyer marketing so you can create a consistent flow of high-value leads for your firm. There are three critical rules for success in the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™:
Speed of implementation is key. Whenever you reach an implementation step, take action. Don’t be concerned with perfection.
Lean into feelings of discomfort. This is known as the “critical counterintuitive”. When you feel afraid or uncomfortable, learn to see it as a sign that you’re on the right track.
View success as an emerging or emergent process. Default to curiosity and accept that it will take time to get good at this stuff. Believe in yourself and the process.
Here’s what you’ll get from each section:
Phase 1: Word Alignment
- Understand what’s been holding you back and WHY your law firm’s marketing fails
- Uncover the psychology behind the EXACT words clients use to describe their needs
- Find “gold mine” keywords other firms aren’t using
- Zero in on your firm’s unique “superpower” to attract new leads
Phase 2: Client Capture Infrastructure
- Get 2x more leads without using pushy tactics
- Create incredible lead-capturing content in under 90-minutes
- Build highly effective landing pages without needing any special skills
- Revamp your website to be client-focused and EASY to navigate
Phase 3: Traffic School
- Identify and focus on the ideal clients and platforms for your firm
- Run simple but effective Law Firm PPC campaigns on Google Ads
- Dominate on YouTube with nothing but the camera on your phone
- Learn attorney SEO secrets that will push your firm to the top of the search results
- Avoid common social media pitfalls and use popular platforms to build your brand
If you’re like most lawyers, then you’re probably used to just throwing money at problems and hoping they’ll go away. That’s not going to cut it here. To get the most out of the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™, you need to understand that law firm marketing isn’t a “necessary evil,” but a HUGE opportunity to stand out and build trust with potential clients.
I’ll let you in on a secret: you’re already ahead of the game. How do I know this? You’re reading this blog post. The curiosity you’re showing here and your willingness to learn is going to give you a huge advantage over your late-adopter competitors.
You’re investing in your mind, which is the one asset that doesn’t depreciate. That’s why it’s so important to go all-in on this formula and take each step seriously, from psychology all the way to implementation.
You need to be willing to absorb information, take massive action, try things that scare you, and push past your comfort zone. This isn’t just a “quick-fix” program. It’s a system that will empower you to create impressive results year after year.
Who Am I + Why Do I Care About Lawyer Marketing?
My name is Bill Hauser and I show lawyers exactly how to say goodbye to Stone Age techniques and double their return on investment from online marketing.
Law firm marketing is notoriously competitive, but there’s a lot of untapped value I’ve discovered by managing millions of dollars in attorney advertising at my company, SMB Team. I’ve helped countless lawyers make the most of their marketing budgets and create systems that pay for themselves over and over.
I’m not interested in simply following “best practices.” Instead, I develop groundbreaking law firm marketing strategies based on data and scientific research to help lawyers maximize their marketing ROI and bring in more cases with less effort.
I don’t believe in gimmicks. I’m passionate about helping lawyers create sustainable marketing plans that won’t stop working after a few months.
To compete in today’s cutthroat legal marketplace, you have to understand your clients, capitalize on trending topics, and create systems that bring in new cases in any economic climate. The Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™ will give you principles and tools to build out a consistently successful law firm marketing plan.
By the end of this blog post, you’ll be able to listen to law firm marketing “experts” pitch you on the latest shiny object and know if they’re onto something big or just scamming you. This system will empower you to smash your short- and long-term marketing goals without any “hand-holding” or overspending on your law firm’s marketing.
When it comes to your law firm’s marketing strategy, you need to be involved. You don’t have to write every blog post, every landing page, and every email. But I am telling you that you can’t just pay someone to take care of your firm’s marketing without understanding these fundamental principles.
PHASE 1: Word Alignment and The WAM Method™
This is where it all begins: with the Word Alignment Marketing WAM Method™. This is a formula I designed to get to the very heart of what your clients need from you. By identifying their needs, you’ll be able to create marketing campaigns that will speak directly to prospects and show them exactly why your firm is the ONLY option for solving their problems.
The WAM Method™ will shape all your law firm’s marketing going forward. By taking the time to go through the psychology and positioning exercises in the following chapters, you’ll set yourself up for EXPLOSIVE results now and in the future.
With the WAM Method™, you’ll be ready for anything. Markets may change, but human nature doesn’t. In this first phase, you’re going to learn how to align your law firm’s marketing with the words your clients use and build the foundations for your marketing machine.
Chapter One: Setup and Psychology of Law Firm Marketing
Right now, you might be wondering when we’re going to start talking about specific actions you can take to bring in new cases. You’re probably itching to get started on the concrete framework I promised you for growing your law firm so you can implement right away and get results fast.
But here’s the thing. If you don’t get into the right mindset first, then everything I’m going to teach you later will be worthless. Why? Well, because we all know that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.
That’s exactly what you’ve been doing with your marketing beliefs.
You’ve likely been holding onto the same thought patterns for years without realizing it. It’s why you haven’t had much success in marketing your law firm. Even if you’ve tried dozens of different “cutting-edge” marketing techniques, your brain is still running on old beliefs.
If you don’t shift your beliefs, you’ll always be looking for the next “miracle cure” that will give you a free pass to forget about marketing and focus on your casework. You’ll probably make excuses about why you’re not bringing in enough new cases. You might blame the framework for your lack of success.
Here’s the truth: that “miracle cure” doesn’t exist. If you really want to double your cases in the next 90 days, your first step MUST be to shift your beliefs about some core concepts. Otherwise, you won’t be ready to implement the practical strategies I’m going to teach you later on.
First Things First: You are a BUSINESS OWNER
You’re an attorney. That’s a core part of your identity. Your main focus is probably on the work itself—on your cases and clients. But to build a successful law firm, you have to be a business owner first and a lawyer second.
I’m going to say that again because it’s that important. You have to be a business owner first and a lawyer second. Don’t swap that or you’ll constantly find yourself putting off activities that could grow your business and make your entire life better.
Many attorneys start their own firms with very little knowledge about what it takes to become a successful business owner, and it shows. If you’re like most lawyers, then you’d probably rather work on cases all day than focus on strategies to get new clients. You might argue that if you wanted to be a business owner, you’d have skipped the law degree and gotten an MBA instead.
That’s a deadly mistake. I repeat: your firm is a business and you’re a business owner. If you don’t think about it in that way, you’ll always be stressed out, frustrated, and a little resentful. You might also end up working every waking hour because you’re so worried about keeping your firm running, leaving you little to no time for your family, friends, and other interests.
Casework is the biggest comfort zone for lawyers there is. It’s easy to use cases as a “get out of jail free” card for skipping out on marketing. It’s easy to say that if you don’t do your casework, you have no business. But it’s just an excuse for sticking with the status quo.
Sure, if you never worked on the cases you already have, clients would notice. But what if you never brought in another new case because you were too focused on existing work to market your law firm?
Without new leads, your business will dry up and you’ll end up scrambling to get cases. But if you build the right law firm marketing system using the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™, you won’t EVER have to worry about new cases. In fact, you’ll have to turn potential clients AWAY because you’ll be so busy.
Lean Into the Critical Counterintuitive
I always say: “If you do the easy things, your life will be hard. If you do the hard things, your life will be easy.”
This is the “critical counterintuitive” in action. We’re taught to go with our gut. But what is our gut most invested in? Keeping us safe. Maintaining our comfort zone. Comfort zones are “comfortable,” but they don’t EVER offer anything more than exactly what they’re already giving you.
Biologically, our brains are optimized to identify danger and threats. That’s helpful if you’re stuck in the forest and you’re trying not to get eaten by a bear. But it’s less helpful when your brain is overreacting to a “threat” like getting on YouTube to create content for your law firm.
Fear and discomfort will keep you from taking action and growing your law firm’s marketing success if you let them take the driver’s seat.
That’s why you have to lean into the uncomfortable and scary feelings you’ll experience during this process and learn to recognize them as signals that you’re on the right track. This stuff WILL get easier, I promise!
Be honest. Are you spending too much time on casework and not enough time building your business? By reading this blog post, you’re already investing in wisdom. That’s something that will never lose value. But if you let fear hold you back from making these big mindset shifts, you’ll end up disappointed with your results.
Set your Law Firm’s GOALS
When was the last time you set marketing or revenue goals for your law firm? Six months ago? A year? Five years? Never?
You might dismiss goals as a waste of time, but they’re actually critical for EVERY business, regardless of size or market. Why? Because passive success is unpredictable. It’s impossible to replicate.
Setting specific goals makes your success active and measurable. Goals help you evaluate your progress and push yourself toward better and better results.
Without goals, it’s easy to make excuses for why you’re not growing your revenue. You can say you just had a “bad quarter” without acknowledging that you haven’t been stepping up your law firm’s marketing game. Goals hold you accountable and prevent you from hiding behind your excuses.
Every firm should have both short- and long-term goals. You need to figure out what success looks like for you. Do you want to hit seven figures? Eight figures? Do you want a higher profit margin on each case?
Doubling your cases in 90 days with this framework is awesome, but it needs to stay in line with your TRUE objectives. The goals you set now should feed into your law firm’s larger success plan and long-term targets.
Put goal-setting on your calendar. Make it non-negotiable. You can set and review goals monthly, quarterly, or annually, but you have to be realistic about how long different goals will take. Shoot for the moon, but give yourself enough time to get there.
Will you reach seven figures in six months? Maybe, but if you’re making $400,000 a year right now, it’ll probably take longer. The best goals are ambitious but achievable. The idea is to push yourself to be successful!
Discover Your Confidence NOW with Self-Affirmation
This blog post is meant to challenge your beliefs. I just asked you to rethink your core beliefs about being an attorney. Maybe you’re making excuses. You might be feeling like you can’t do this. You might be afraid that you’ll have trouble learning new legal marketing strategies or following through with implementation. You might be worried about working with unfamiliar tech.
But here’s the good news. As world-class speaker and consultant Denis Waitley says: “The two greatest fear busters are knowledge and action.”
The Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™ will prepare you for the knowledge and action part of the equation. But for this to work, you have to believe in yourself and step into your power as a business owner who gets things done and learns along the way. You don’t have to know everything to be confident.
Let’s flip the “confidence light switch” right now. You need to go ALL IN on this framework and be prepared to follow through. Don’t second-guess yourself. Your beliefs MUST change if you want more success. That includes believing in yourself and your ability to learn core lawyer marketing concepts.
Be prepared to absorb any and all information that could help you. Start to think in terms of data rather than emotion. You won’t find success if most of your business decisions come down to “I think” and “I feel.” Remember, your brain is trying to keep you safe in your comfort zone. Data will tell you the truth about what is and isn’t working.
Let’s go back to that “critical counterintuitive” concept I mentioned earlier. I’m about to ask you to do something that will probably feel a little silly and uncomfortable at first. But, it will boost your confidence and help you feel excited about this process.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Say to yourself: “I am a marketing genius.” Repeat it several times. Get up right now and shake it out. Get physical with it. Get yourself pumped up! Yeah, it’ll feel awkward. But the more you do it, the easier it will get.
This exercise is based on self-affirmation theory, which has been shown to help people develop resilience, adaptability, and a positive sense of self. Basically, when the outside world “threatens” you by making you feel confused, scared, or foolish, self-affirmation can help you feel more confident in who you are and what you’re doing.
Affirmations can be any phrases that make you feel more confident and powerful. You can choose your own affirmations, but here are some suggestions:
- “I am a marketing genius”
- “I can do this”
- “I can learn this marketing thing”
This isn’t me telling you to “fake it ‘til you make it.” It’s just a scientifically proven way to boost your confidence by reminding yourself that you are capable of learning and crushing these legal marketing concepts. You won’t lose ANYTHING by using affirmations. You’re just reminding yourself of your best qualities!
The world has changed a lot, especially if you’ve been in business for a long time. That’s enough to shake any business owner’s confidence. But you’re here and you’re ready to learn. Your “confidence switch” is already ON.
Not convinced? Well, here’s something to think about: you have already succeeded in marketing. YOU HAVE ALREADY SUCCEEDED IN MARKETING. If you have a law firm and clients, you’re already marketing. You’re already a genius.
You don’t have to know everything to be a law firm marketing genius. You’re a genius because you’re showing curiosity. True geniuses are never satisfied with their knowledge bank. They’re always hungry for more. Always striving to be better.
Try using these affirmations every time you need a boost of self-belief. Ideally, you’ll say them multiple times a day and put them up all over your home and office. Affirmations will help you get in the right mindset whenever you’re feeling skeptical, scared, or frustrated.
Think About Your “Why”
Why are you here, reading a blog post about law firm marketing? Why are you taking this step now? Why is it finally time for you to go all-in? You need to go beyond just “to make more money.” That’s not enough. Deep down, you probably have a much better reason than that.
Defining your “why” will motivate you. Your “why” will keep you going if you ever feel like giving up and going back to your old habits. Here are some good examples of powerful “whys”:
- To never panic again when a recession hits
- To have more time with your family
- To work fewer hours and spend time on your hobbies and passions
- To feel secure in your business
- To hit revenue goals and create jobs
- To help as many people in your community as possible
Your “why” has to be deep. The stakes have to be high. Without a “why” that aligns with your core values, it’s going to be tough to change your belief structure and create a law firm marketing campaign that WORKS, so you’ll never have to worry about getting new cases again.
Change Your Mindset and Systemize Your Business
The world of digital marketing is noisy and chaotic. Even if you consider yourself to be a “tech-savvy” lawyer, there’s a mind-numbing amount of options that exist. It’s literally impossible to do it all, so you need to focus on high-value activities that will provide the most “bang for your buck” (and time).
To scale your time as a business owner, you have to create bulletproof systems that will make your daily workflows easier. Wouldn’t you love to solve your biggest problems and have fun running your firm?
It might seem hard to streamline and automate your law firm’s marketing and intake process. But once you have solid systems in place, you will have more time to do what you love and you’ll be able to delegate the responsibilities you hate. You’ll feel less stressed and you’ll get more done. You’ll also bring in more revenue because you’ll be better organized and able to take on more cases.
Until you let go of your old beliefs and start to think in systems, your law firm’s marketing will be a struggle. But if you can make that leap, you’ll find that everything gets easier and a lot more fun.
- Understand that you’re a business owner first and a lawyer second
- Use the critical counterintuitive to make big leaps
- Set your business goals to hold yourself accountable
- Use affirmations to turn on the “confidence light switch”
- Find your “why” to keep you motivated
- Understand how belief shifts and systems can make your life easier
Chapter Two: Fears, Frustrations, Wants, and Aspirations (FFWA)
Focus on Your Clients: The #1 Rule of Law Firm Marketing
Now that you know just how CRITICAL it is to start thinking like a business owner and shifting your beliefs about what’s possible, it’s time to turn your focus to your clients. Many lawyers fall into the trap of making assumptions and forgetting the real needs of their clients. That will KILL your law firm’s marketing.
Remember the #1 rule of law firm marketing at all times and you’ll be doing better than the majority of your competitors. The most important rule is:
Understand the wants and needs of your customers. THEN market to those wants and needs.
Write that down in your notes every day if you have to. Put it on a post-it note on the bathroom mirror. Read it over and over again until it becomes second nature. If you don’t start by understanding the needs of your customers, you WILL waste money on marketing your law firm.
It can be so tempting to just throw resources at a campaign without putting any critical thought into the process. But if you make assumptions about what your right-fit clients REALLY want, you’ll end up disappointed. Isolated campaigns that don’t fit into a larger marketing ecosystem will always fail.
Take the “Blindfold” Off
Once you truly understand the #1 rule of law firm marketing, it will feel like you’ve taken off a blindfold. You’ll have a clear path to success and you won’t be tempted by snake oil salesmen who promise you overnight results with zero effort.
Effective law firm marketing involves a lot of mental prep. Just like a samurai preparing for battle, you need to prepare your mind and visualize how you’re going to be successful in the “battle” of growing your law firm.
You can’t just jump in without any preparation and expect big wins. No one is holding you accountable for this in business and it’s all too easy to fall back on your old patterns. We’re going to cure that now, once and for all.
To make big shifts, we have to use:
- Your brain
- Your client’s brain
- Google’s brain
By understanding these three “brains” we can see your law firm’s entire market. Google can’t run successful campaigns without you. It knows what keywords your customers are typing in, but it doesn’t know WHY. You’re in charge of the context.
Google is the highest-traffic website in the world and the most valuable research tool there is. It can take the guesswork out of your campaigns. It can show you almost anything you want to know about your clients and competitors. With a few clicks, you can find out how many times a competing firm’s name is typed in or generate a huge list of keyword variations.
As you build your law firm’s marketing machine and collect more data, you’ll be able to see exactly what’s working and what isn’t. Google frees you from emotion-driven marketing whims and delivers valuable data that will give you consistent results if applied to your campaigns.
If you get this right, if you go all-in on data-driven law firm marketing that puts your clients’ needs front and center, 100% of your marketing will work, even when it fails.
With data-driven law firm marketing, you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes and immediately have the tools to do better next time. You’ll even be able to apply those lessons to other platforms and learn that what “fails” on one platform might be a home run on another.
Don’t dwell on past failures. Even if you’ve already spent a lot of time and money on marketing strategies that ultimately didn’t pay off, don’t fall into the trap of the “sunk cost” fallacy and double down on your old tactics.
This “new” strategy is based on psychology, which makes it timeless. Fundamentally, people never change. That’s why understanding your customer will ALWAYS be rule #1.
Basic psychology will reveal the words your prospects use to describe their needs, whether they’re talking to you on the phone or typing in a search bar.
If you can master this, you will free yourself from relying on any one platform. The digital world moves quickly and if you’re too dependent on one virtual platform you may find yourself struggling when that platform loses popularity or disappears altogether.
Why So Many Law Firms Struggle With Digital Marketing
Understanding the market is critical. If you get the market wrong, everything else becomes ten times harder.
Confusion and anxiety are deadly for lawyers because they activate the instinct to just throw money at a problem. They let the “animal” part of your brain take over and you go into fight-or-flight mode. You’ll have trouble making decisions and look for any solution that sounds easy and safe in the moment, even if it has no long-term value.
This can easily lead to “pitch susceptibility,” a term I came up with to describe how confusion makes smart lawyers fall for sales pitches that are all style and no substance. This leads to even MORE disappointment when you end up buying marketing courses and products based on trends and whims that don’t actually help you land new cases.
You don’t want to be susceptible to pitches and scams from people who are just looking to make a quick buck. They know business owners are busy, overwhelmed, and want instant results. They prey on confusion because they know that the more confused and anxious you are about the market, the easier it will be to draw you in.
With the death of the Yellow Pages, the way we seek information has changed. There’s a new “ceiling of complexity” in our world. Before search engines, people thought about needs in terms of broad categories, like doctors or lawyers instead of oncologists or immigration lawyers. It was simple, but it wasn’t always easy for people to find exactly what they were looking for.
These days? People are thinking in very specific terms—and typing those exact words into Google.
That makes things harder for you in some ways. You can’t get away with placing a generic ad and expecting the phone calls to start coming in. Understanding how our entire society’s way of gathering information has changed will put you ahead of most firms in your area and keep you from falling for shady pitches and “black magic” solutions.
Don’t gamble your firm’s success on some guy’s pitch. If you get confused, go back to the basics—don’t pull out your credit card.
Your Legal Clients’ Needs
Niches are needs. If you’re a criminal defense lawyer, your clients need you to keep them out of prison. If you specialize in personal injury, they need compensation after an accident. If you work with estates, clients need peace of mind that their final wishes will be carried out.
People express their needs with words. If you specialize, most of your clients will have similar problems and concerns. But, and this is key, they won’t all use the same words to express their needs. They might not even use words you would ever think of using. And that’s a HUGE reason so many lawyers struggle with marketing.
Let’s go back to that “ceiling of complexity” concept I introduced in the last section. When clients used to look you up in the Yellow Pages, they were just looking for lawyers. Now, they’re searching on Google for lawyers who are using the words they’re associating with their needs. They may not be doing this consciously, but they’re doing it.
It’s absolutely critical that you stop thinking in categories so you can “frame” what you offer using the exact words running through a prospective client’s head.
Word Alignment Marketing WAM Method™
So, how do you tune into your clients’ biggest needs? With the Word Alignment Marketing WAM Method™. You need to align the words you’re using in your marketing with what your prospective clients are searching for.
How do your clients articulate their needs? If someone is typing in the words “custody lawyer,” you might think that ads mentioning “divorce lawyer” will be good enough. That kind of thinking will lose you the case. Every. Single. Time.
That person searching for a custody lawyer probably is getting a divorce. It’s very likely that they do need the help of a divorce lawyer. But they’re expressing what they’re looking for in a different way and it’s your job to understand that.
As a trained and experienced lawyer, you’re naturally going to know more about your clients’ legal needs than they do. You’ve mastered all the steps involved with resolving a case in your niche. But you have to focus on potential clients’ expressed areas of need and forget about everything else until you actually start working with them.
Framing your message with word alignment is crucial for capturing more leads and building an instant connection that makes a prospective client pick up the phone.
Always Sell the Cure First
Always sell the cure to something before you sell the prevention. People are not motivated by preventative pitches. They’re FAR more interested in solving an immediate problem that’s causing them pain.
Think about it. Most people won’t exercise preventatively, even though they know it would help them live longer. Some people will only change their behavior when their life is in danger or if they’re experiencing consequences NOW. Selling the cure first will transform how you think about advertising and marketing as a whole and make you more persuasive. I’ll explain why in just a minute.
Let’s face it. NO ONE likes calling a lawyer. Subconsciously, it implies that they have a serious problem they can’t fix on their own. They’ll only admit it and pick up the phone if you identify their fears and name them.
How to Use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Sell the Cure
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory that explains our innate human needs and how we prioritize them. In marketing, we only care about the “bottom tier needs.”
Three needs are FUNDAMENTAL to humans and must be met before we’ll pay attention to anything else. They are:
1. Health/Survival—Eating, drinking, sleeping, shelter, physical health, etc. If you don’t have enough to eat or drink, or you’re struggling with an illness that threatens your life, you won’t care about ANYTHING else.
2. Security—Financial well-being/safety. If you don’t have enough money to pay for your health/survival needs and you’re running your life on credit, your security is threatened. If you don’t have a safe place to live, your personal safety is threatened. If your freedom is in jeopardy, you won’t feel safe or secure.
3. Relationships—Love, family, friendship. We all need to feel a sense of belonging. If our relationships are threatened, we’ll have a hard time focusing on any higher-level needs. Divorce, a death in the family, loss of custody—these all threaten our sense of belonging.
Here’s the bottom line: if these needs aren’t being met, your clients won’t care about ANYTHING ELSE. But remember: you SPECIALIZE in solving their problems. You just need to stop making your law firm’s marketing all about you!
Chances are, your law firm’s marketing sucks because you’re using your prefrontal cortex (“thinking” brain) to create your campaigns. Your potential clients aren’t using that part of the brain when they’re looking for a lawyer. They’re using the amygdala, the older, more primal region of the brain that’s focused on survival.
You can’t appeal to potential clients who are going through a contentious divorce by listing your accolades. You have to name their fears and help them find the cure.
Even if you’re in a legal niche that seems completely preventative (think estate planning), you’re actually still addressing these basic needs. Lots of people are afraid that their families will be torn apart after they die. You can appeal to these lower needs in ANY niche. It’s all about how you frame it.
Lower-Level Marketing vs. “Lawyer-Level Marketing”
Realize that potential clients might be coming to you on their absolute worst day. They’re looking for someone to throw them a life jacket, not sell them a new car they don’t need.
When you switch from “lawyer-level marketing” (focusing on your accomplishments and qualifications) to “lower-level marketing” (focusing on the client’s innate needs) you’ll be much more successful and better able to help people who really need it.
Why? Because you are not helping someone at your level. You’re helping someone who might be struggling to keep their head above water and needs someone they can trust to come in and save the day.
By this point, you’ve learned that law firm marketing is all about psychology. For this step in the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™, you’re going to use your newfound knowledge of how our minds work to get inside your clients’ heads.
I created the Fears, Frustrations, Wants + Aspirations (FFWA™) worksheet so you can understand EXACTLY where your clients are coming from. Its purpose is to spot “emotional triggers” and opportunities to build trust.
When someone calls your office, it’s almost never because they’ve made a logical decision. It’s because they’ve been triggered emotionally by one of their fundamental needs. These questions will reveal your prospects’ true priorities.
The FFWA™ exercise also has the benefit of pulling you away from technology. Technology is an incredible servant, but a terrible master. Before you turn to Google, you have to use your own mind to understand your clients’ psychology.
Filling out this worksheet and answering the questions will help you refocus on the #1 rule of law firm marketing and allow you to really understand your ideal customer.
1) What is your biggest FEAR regarding your legal matter? What do your clients fear the most when they call you? Here are some examples:
- Being a felon
- Losing custody of my children
- Being unable to work
- Losing my driver’s license
- Going bankrupt
Once you’ve written down your clients’ biggest fear, ask yourself “why”? Why is this fear so all-consuming?
Well, losing custody of your children threatens your relationship with them. Being a felon says something about your character and could affect your ability to get a job or form lasting relationships.
All deep-seated fears tie into our fundamental needs. Fears are incredibly powerful but you might have to dig a little to find the real source of the fear. Keep asking “why” until you find it.
You also need to think about whose fears matter. In some cases, it might be a family member seeking out legal help. You have to know whose fears are the most important for your cases.
2) What has been your biggest FRUSTRATION with this?
Fear is where you’ll find emotional triggers, but frustration is where you build trust. Think about all the ways your clients express their frustration. What do they say? Here are some examples of frustrations:
- Being in the wrong place at the wrong time
- Having limited options for legal immigration
- Navigating legal “mumbo-jumbo”
- Having to jump through hoops to resolve my problem
- Dealing with my uncooperative ex
This is also a good place to think about YOUR frustrations. What frustrates you in your day-to-day work? Do you get frustrated watching good people having their lives torn apart? Is it frustrating to see the system work against them?
This question will allow you to connect instantly with prospective clients. If you can offer validation and share some of your own frustrations, they’ll start to trust you immediately. You’ll stop looking like a stereotypical lawyer and start looking like a real person who could help them. Get down to their level.
Empathy is CRITICAL in law firm marketing, especially for lawyers. You want to come off as understanding and someone your client can relate to, not some jerk who’s “better” than them.
People don’t care about what you know unless they know that you care first. You have to care about your clients as individuals and empathize with them to gain their trust. It’s as simple as that.
3) If you could wave a magic wand, what results do you really WANT out of this?
Now that you’ve nailed down fears and frustrations, you can move onto the obvious benefits of working with a lawyer. What results do your clients want? Here are some possibilities:
- A clean record
- A dismissal and an apology from the cops
- To never see my spouse again
- Get someone fired
Now, you need to know that clients will lie to you the first time you ask this question. Asking it triggers the “reactionary defense response” from the amygdala, which floods the body with cortisol and adrenaline. People will panic and say the first thing that comes to mind.
You’ll have to ask the question a few times, in a few different ways, until you get an honest answer. Listen to their tone more than their words. You’ll know when they’re finally ready to tell the truth.
People lie for all kinds of reasons. They lie because they want to look good. They lie because they haven’t been honest with themselves. But it’s critical to get past the “good” answers and get to the honest answers.
Sometimes, honesty is ugly. Sometimes, people’s wants aren’t all that noble and they’re looking for revenge. Other clients just want their cases resolved as quickly as possible. Relief, peace of mind, a monetary award—these are all benefits that clients want.
4) What are your biggest ASPIRATIONS in life right now? Aspirations are last on the list because they’re higher level. They don’t matter until a client’s fears, frustrations, and wants have been satisfied. But, they’re still powerful. Asking about a client’s aspirations makes them think about who they are and what they want out of life. Some examples:
- Be the better parent, or a “Super parent”
- Earn a million dollars as an entrepreneur
- Become a US citizen
- Be a person with a clean record
- Be financially secure
Why do you care about your clients’ aspirations in life, beyond the scope of their case? Because aspirations will allow you to create character models that make law firm marketing easier. They will also help you better understand what’s important to your clients.
The more you use this worksheet, the more you’ll notice that there are three types of answers to this question. Some people see themselves as “trying” to do something. Others talk as though they “will” do something. Finally, there are people who commit to a new identity altogether, full stop.
Think about someone who decides to stop smoking. They might say:
“I’ll try to stop smoking”
“I’ll quit smoking for a month”
“I am no longer a smoker”
See the difference? Identity shifts are POWERFUL and they lead to real results. Understanding these cues will help you learn more about who your clients are and what’s holding them back from their dreams.
Aspirations can also help you break away from your competitors. You can brand solutions by creating new phrases and words that relate to client aspirations.
You have the opportunity to repackage these identities and appeal to leads in a whole new way. Your competitors aren’t doing this! This is an incredible opportunity to get ahead of other firms and become the go-to option in your niche.
How to Use the FFWA™ Worksheet with Real Clients
How will you know that the FFWA™ process has really clicked for you? When you know, deep in your gut, that you’ve found the #1 answer to each question for your ideal client.
Don’t stop here. You MUST use these questions with actual, living, breathing clients. All you have to do is ask if you can conduct a quick survey and write down their answers. That’s it!
Always emphasize that you want to find out how you can best serve them and be sure to thank them for their time. Let them know that your firm thinks their case is a perfect fit. Most people will be flattered that you’re interested in their opinions.
One of the best times to go over the FFWA™ questions is during an intake call. Even if you have an intake team, you should be personally getting on the phone at least once every couple of weeks to talk with real clients and ask them these questions.
The FFWA™ worksheet isn’t something you can fill out once and forget. Different clients have different ways of expressing their needs. You need to continually add to your knowledge base about your customers and see this process as a way to serve clients better.
Get used to interviewing clients with your “marketing cap” on. They’re your most valuable marketing resource and talking to them about their FFWA™ MUST become a regular event on your calendar.
Listen to their tone of voice when they answer your questions. If you stop worrying about getting the retainer and just listen, you’ll get incredible insights that will make you a better marketer.
The #1 rule of law firm marketing is to understand the needs and wants of your clients FIRST
- Use mental prep to “take the blindfold off”
- Understand the hierarchy of needs and use them to “sell the cure”
- Avoid “lawyer-level” marketing and focus on “lower-level” marketing
- Use the FFWA™ with real clients to identify what they REALLY need
Chapter Three: Creating Your Niche Demand Blueprint
Now that you’re confident in your own law firm marketing genius and you know how to dig for your clients’ deepest fears and desires, it’s time to align those emotional triggers with the actual words you’re going to use in your legal marketing campaigns.
This is the implementation part of the WAM Method™. We’ll be creating something I call the “Niche Demand Blueprint.”
If you’re familiar with keyword planners, then you might be wondering why we’re not jumping right into the tech. But think about the work we’ve done so far.
Think about what you’ve learned about psychology and emotional triggers. This is all about using your brain first so you can master technology instead of it mastering you. The Niche Demand Blueprint is the next step in that process.
On this worksheet, you’ll be coming up with different types of keywords your prospects might use. Don’t worry, this will be very easy!
Think critically as you answer the following questions. Use what you’ve learned in the last few chapters to dig deep and generate a couple of keywords for each question. That’s all you need to worry about right now!
Core Keywords—What zoomed out words would a potential client use to search for you if they didn’t put much thought into what they were typing?
These are the words you’ll use in most of your law firm’s marketing. They’re popular, but not very specific. People are just typing the first thing that comes to mind. That’s why it’s so important for you to know exactly which words will pop into someone’s mind when they’re getting ready to hire an attorney.
Here are some examples of zoomed-out core keywords:
- Defense lawyer
- Custody attorney
- Car crash lawyer
- Worker’s comp attorney
See how simple this is? Think stream of consciousness, off-the-cuff thinking. Don’t overcomplicate it and get overwhelmed. Just think of the simplest terms your clients would use. These are broad (but important) keywords relating to your niche in the way your ideal client thinks.
High-Value Keywords—What words would you spend any amount of money to get cases under?
The first thing you need to know about high-value keywords is that they represent the “cash cow” for your law firm. Which cases, even if you spent tons of marketing dollars, would pay for themselves and bring in the big bucks? Think of those cases to come up with your highest-value search terms.
High-value keywords can overlap with core keywords, but you need to get specific. These are terms that almost GUARANTEE a lead is a great fit for your firm. Here are some examples:
- High net worth divorce lawyer
- Quadriplegic attorney
- Green card lawyer
- Chapter II bankruptcy lawyer
- Pregnancy discrimination attorney
Really think about how much money you’d be willing to spend on these terms. Too generic, and you could be paying for clicks from a person who’s simply satisfying their curiosity or doing research for a school paper. To really be high-value, these keywords need to be specific enough to weed out the people who aren’t ever going to hire you.
High Traffic Keywords—What are the highest traffic search terms that still could potentially pull in your ideal client?
These terms are super popular—they’re typed in all the time because they’re generic. Spending money targeting these keywords is usually a waste because the competition is HUGE.
With that said, high traffic terms can be used for things like blog post titles, YouTube video titles, and social media posts to draw in more leads. You just don’t want to be blowing your law firm’s marketing budget targeting them.
Here are some examples of extremely high traffic keywords:
- Car accident
- Lawyer near me
These keywords are so broad that you have no way of knowing what the searcher’s intent is. You have no way of knowing if they’ll ever turn into a legitimate lead. That’s another reason you don’t want to spend a lot on these keywords—you’ll be paying for an unknown amount of value.
Research Terms—Less competitive terms that your client would type in BEFORE they are seeking a lawyer directly
Depending on your niche and their individual situation, your clients might do a lot of research before they ever pick up the phone to call you. They might not even know that they need a lawyer yet.
At this stage, they might be researching “DIY” options or they’re trying to figure out what their rights are. These are lower competition keywords that can give you a valuable opportunity to educate potential clients and get them thinking about hiring your firm.
Many research terms are in the form of questions or “how-tos,” like:
- How to file for worker’s comp
- What happens if I die with no will?
- Hurt in a car accident
- Sexual harassment laws
- Do I have to pay alimony?
Arbitrage Terms—What are less competitive terms that your ideal clients would still type in?
Arbitrage terms are a gold mine for your law firm. They’re keywords indicating that a searcher might need a lawyer—but the terms are not directly related.
Your competitors aren’t even CONSIDERING using these words, meaning that the competition is incredibly low. You’ll be able to attract your “best-fit” clients for way less. That means higher profit margins and more money in your pocket.
Get creative with arbitrage terms. What might your ideal clients type in that wouldn’t immediately say they need a lawyer? Here are some examples:
- Worker’s comp doctor
- Family therapy
- Car accident chiropractor
- Marriage counselor
- Auto repair near me
- Bored at home (someone who can’t work because of an accident)
- Private planes (high-end clients)
- Private investigators near me (someone who suspects their spouse of cheating)
- How to start a business
- Pain management
Notice that none of these keywords mention ANYTHING about lawyers or legal problems. But if you stop and think about it, people who are searching for these terms might also need a lawyer.
Some arbitrage terms are TWENTY TIMES less competitive than the legal keywords they relate to. To find these keywords in your niche, think about what else might be going on in a potential client’s life and use that information to come up with powerful arbitrage terms.
You can also use real-time news and current events to find incredible arbitrage keywords. This is the ultimate explosion tactic that will make you an authority in your niche and build your brand. Learn how to jump on trending events and find new arbitrage terms and you’ll never run out of leads again.
Negative Keywords—keywords you don’t EVER want your law firm to show up for on Google.
The WAM Method™ is about understanding your ideal clients and drawing them to your firm. Part of that is excluding prospects that aren’t a good fit. Poorly-qualified leads will waste your time.
Negative keywords can help. By figuring out words you DON’T want to target, you’ll get better prospects calling your firm because people typing in negative keywords will never even see your ads.
Some negative keywords you might want to consider:
- Pro bono
Your firm’s negative keywords will depend on your niche and your past experiences. Consider these words carefully and ask yourself: “would I want anyone searching these terms to call my law firm?”
If the answer is no, then add the phrase or word to your negative keyword list. Think about the intention behind searches like these—what do they say about the person making the search?
Learn to avoid your negative words at all costs. Don’t include them in any content or advertising. Don’t put them on your blog, your Google ads, or your YouTube titles under any circumstances.
One last thing to consider, here: DIY content is not the enemy. Lots of lawyers think that targeting keywords like “DIY lawyer secrets” will cost them clients. Not true!
You don’t want to pay for those kinds of keywords, but you can absolutely include these topics in YouTube videos, blog posts, social media, etc. Why? Because they’re relative arbitrage terms.
Even if people come in for free legal advice, they’re ultimately going to get overwhelmed and end up hiring you anyway. And because your competitors are scared of using these keywords, you’ll be the only one in your market handing out that kind of value and building trust.
Geography Specific Words—Which second and third-tier towns can you reasonably serve? How dense is the population? What local terms would people use to search for a local lawyer?
Because law firms serve specific regions, lots of people will think about hiring a lawyer in geographic terms. If you need a lawyer in Philadelphia, that’s what you’re going to type in.
Geo-specific keywords are CRUCIAL in legal marketing because they give you a chance to stand out in a very competitive marketplace. Think about how many websites are competing for terms like “lawyer.” Now, compare that to “lawyer in Pennsylvania” or “lawyer in Philadelphia.”
When it comes to geo-specific words, most firms do better with ultra-specific phrases like “custody lawyer in Philadelphia.” But in rural areas, I’ve found that more general terms perform better—and are cheaper—for the simple fact that there aren’t many specialized firms in the middle of nowhere!
Even if your law firm is located in a city, you can use this to your advantage by targeting other nearby locations. I call these areas “second-tier” and “third-tier” towns.
If you’re close enough, you can get great results by serving and marketing to those towns. Here are some examples of different geo-specific words:
- Lawyer near me
- Workers comp lawyer Philadelphia
- Westchester attorney
- Divorce lawyer in Worcester county
Less population density = less specificity = cheap leads. Just remember that you’ll need to use different words in second- and third-tier towns because the alignment is different. Make it easy for people to find you wherever you’re marketing.
Competitors—Who are your competitors in your local market?
Think about your competitors. Which firms are serving the same niche as you? Whose billboards do you pass on the highway? Which firms run local TV or radio ads? Identify a few law offices that are directly competing with you.
You need to think about what makes someone type in your competitor’s name instead of your firm’s name. Be aware of your competitors so you can start to understand what’s going through prospects’ minds when they end up calling someone else.
Technology Pivot—Implementation in Google’s Keyword Planner
You’ve done the hard work now. You’ve used your brain to fill out the FFWA™ and Niche Demand Blueprint worksheets. Now, it’s time to use technology and look at the actual data using the Google Ads Keyword Planner.
Google is far and away the most powerful tool in your law firm’s marketing toolbox. It will be the “mothership” for your marketing. It will help you achieve incredible success if you let it serve you, not steer you.
I have a few tips for you as you begin to use the keyword planner.
1. Don’t let Google tell you what to do! Use this tool with intention, don’t use it blindly or lazily
2. Cost-per-click is your best indicator of keyword competition, NOT the “competition” rating (you’ll see what I mean by this very soon).
For this step, you’ll need a Google Ads account so you can access the keyword planner. Log in and open the planner by clicking on Tools and Settings – Planning — Keyword Planner. Click on “Discover new keywords.”
When you’re in the dashboard, type in your top core keyword. Remember, this is a “zoomed out” term that people type in when they’re not really thinking.
Once you do that, you’ll get statistics for that keyword across the United States.
Be sure to click on your location settings at the top left of the screen and limit the statistics to your region. If you’re in a city, you can even choose a larger metro region. If you’re in Boston, for example, you might have people in southern New Hampshire within your broader service region.
It’s a good idea to keep your keyword planner research to one core term at first. That way, you’ll be able to segment your thinking and your audiences later on. The planner will show you different keyword ideas with columns that give you information about each of those terms:
- Avg. monthly searches—number of searches for that keyword in your specified region
- Competition—the level of competition for that term, according to Google
- Top of page bid (low range)—the least amount of money you’ll likely pay for a top ad spot targeting this keyword
- Top of page bid (high range)—the most amount of money you’ll likely pay for a top ad spot targeting this keyword
When you look up a core keyword, you’ll probably notice that some keyword variations you’re already using on your site don’t get many searches. That’s why it’s so important to go through the FFWA™ and the Niche Demand Blueprint. You have to know what prospective clients are thinking instead of defaulting to the words YOU would use to describe your firm.
Now that you have all of this great information about your keywords, you’ll be converting it into a format that’s easier to handle. It’ll be much more convenient when you start planning your campaigns. Here’s how:
- Click to sort by average monthly searches. Then, select all keywords using the bulk select checkbox.
- Click “download keyword ideas” to the right of the page and export as a .csv file.
- Open the file and delete column “B,” column “D,” and every column after “E.”
- Copy all of the remaining information, starting from row “4,” all the way to the bottom, and paste it into the Core Keywords tab of the Niche Demand Blueprint spreadsheet.
Repeat these steps for the top term in each keyword type from the Niche Demand Blueprint worksheet. This is simple data entry, so don’t let it intimidate you!
For some types of keywords (such as those relating to health), you might have to type in a few variations to get good results. You’re also going to see duplicate keywords in these lists. That’s okay—we’re just collecting information right now.
You’ll also find some negative keywords. Go through and highlight them in red so you can easily skip over them later on.
Once you’ve filled out the spreadsheet, you’ll have what you need to allocate your keywords and resources. This sheet will be used in all of your other marketing, so DO NOT skip this step!
It’s best to do this once every six months to a year for updated information and intelligence. Get curious and try different variations on keywords—you might find hidden gems.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of this: spend a half day on keyword planning and you’ll have direction for ten years. Don’t get lazy. Segment your thinking and allocate keywords carefully.
If you ever get overwhelmed or confused, go back to the FFWA™ and Niche Demand Blueprint steps and refocus. Remember: confusion will destroy your law firm’s marketing.
Finally, follow the data. It’s your job to pivot if something isn’t working. With these keywords, you’ll never market blindly again.
- Identify keywords your ideal clients would use by reviewing the FFWA™
- Use your brain first, before you turn to tech tools
- Go through the Niche Demand Blueprint and identify top keywords in each category
- Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to generate high-quality lists of keywords
Keywords generated from the Niche Demand Blueprint will guide your strategies
Chapter Four: Understanding Your Unique Selling Proposition as a Lawyer
Congratulations on completing the first implementation step in the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™! You’re now armed with some powerful keywords you can break out any time you need an ad or blog post written. Those keywords will be CRUCIAL as you start to create content in the second phase of the plan, but there’s still more prep to do first.
At this point, you might be feeling a little stressed about using the keyword planner. Take a deep breath. The planner is just a tool. You’ll be using it again and again, but you don’t need to immediately master it.
As you take action and practice, you’ll start to feel more confident. The important thing is to keep moving forward. And if you’re really stuck? No problem. Reach out to us at SMB Team and we’ll help you get started with Law Firm PPC and Google Ads.
As we move into the next step of the Word Alignment Marketing Method you MUST continue asking yourself this key question: “How can I 2x my cases and create a recession-proof case generation machine that works for the next decade?”
Get OBSESSED with that question. Use it to bring yourself back to the present when you find your mind wandering. Use it to get pumped!
Let me ask you this. Do you want to:
- Attract better clients
- Increase your profit margins
- Do less work for more money
Of course you do! If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. But to reach those goals, you have to develop your million-dollar message that you’ll use in all of your law firm’s marketing.
To build the kind of law firm marketing machine that will generate cases with less effort and higher profit margins, you need to create “impossible-to-misunderstand” marketing. No one cares about how “cute” or “clever” your messaging is if they don’t understand it. Your message needs to be CRYSTAL CLEAR to your prospects.
We’re going to shape that message using the Lawyer USP Framework. In the following pages, you’ll learn how to position your firm as “THE” choice in your niche, not just “A” choice. You’ll create your messaging AND define what makes your firm unique.
Here’s the thing. Without a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), your firm will never become recession-proof. Why? Because you’ll be just another law firm when the economy contracts. You’ll have nothing that sets you apart from other firms.
Your firm’s USP is the “secret sauce.” It’s what brings new cases in the door even when other firms are struggling. It makes you better than any of your competitors. When a recession hits, you’ll never have to worry about whether you have enough clients. You’ll KNOW that new leads will continue to call your firm.
We’re going to identify EXACTLY what makes your firm unique so you can gain the confidence to market your business as the absolute BEST choice for your ideal clients.
In the next few chapters, we’ll go over:
- Why “sharp dart” messaging will make ALL your law firm’s marketing more successful
- What a USP is and why you NEED one to dominate in your niche
- Finding your firm’s Blue Ocean
How to define your personal “Heart Story”
- Your firm’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- Creating a versatile and powerful script that brings your USP points together
ALERT: I need to make something clear right now. Just because we’re moving on, that doesn’t mean you can abandon everything we’ve done so far. The FFWA™ worksheet needs to be a workhorse in your law firm. Use it every single week with real clients. Take some of those intake calls yourself and LISTEN to the people who need your help.
If you don’t, you will fall out of touch with the wants and needs of your clients. When that happens, your law firm’s marketing will lose all its power. You’ll no longer understand the emotional triggers that cause people to hire you. If you start to notice your marketing results slipping or you hit a wall, go back to this foundational step and recommit to diving into your clients’ FFWA™.
This is also a great time to revisit the three KEY rules for success in this course:
1. Focus on speed of implementation. Don’t stress and don’t overthink it. Don’t wait until you know it all. You could go out of business by then. Take action.
2. Use the critical counterintuitive to make big leaps. Be prepared for discomfort and GROWTH.
3. Success is emergent. You’ll learn and improve your marketing over time. This is just the beginning. Get curious. Know that you can do this!
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to know everything right away. If you get stuck in the “gap” between your current knowledge and mine, you’ll only get discouraged. Keep moving forward, even if it’s just a little bit at a time.
Remember, it took me YEARS of tinkering with this stuff to find bulletproof marketing strategies. I’m giving you a shortcut, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to become an expert overnight. This is a process that takes time. Commit to it as a learning experience and you’ll eventually clear that gap.
Keep the FFWA™ worksheet and the Niche Demand Blueprint nearby as you work on the Lawyer USP Framework. Each exercise builds on the last and you’ll need your notes for review as we continue.
The Power of Your Message: “Sharp Dart” Marketing vs. Blindfold Marketing
People see around 3,000 advertisements EVERY DAY. We are BOMBARDED with ads and tune most of them out. If we didn’t, we’d be mentally exhausted by lunch. It’s literally impossible to give your attention to 3,000 ads a day.
Think about it. How many ads actually make you stop scrolling? Do you tune out 98% of them? If you’re like most people, the answer is “yes.”
So which ones “hook” you? Which ads actually convince you to buy something or take the next step? The ones that appeal directly to your needs and offer something unique.
We talked about the concept of “taking off the blindfold” in the last section. With a blindfold on, you can’t even begin to see your customer’s wants and needs. Think of your client’s mind as a dartboard—the bullseye is where you want your law firm’s marketing to land.
Now, imagine being blindfolded and throwing a Whoopee cushion at the dartboard. Would you expect it to stick or even hit the board? Of course not! To reach your revenue goals, you need to SEE the dartboard and stay in control of the darts (your messaging).
You can’t get away with just throwing random objects in the direction of the board and hope they stick. You need a sharp dart that cuts directly into the needs and wants of your ideal clients. In the next ten years, lawyers who don’t shift to “sharp dart” marketing will lose revenue and struggle to stay open.
When you take the “sharp dart” approach, you free yourself from running reaction-based marketing campaigns. You won’t have to guess about what techniques will work anymore. You’ll have more time for yourself and you’ll feel refreshed and excited about going into the office. Instead of feeling like your business runs YOU, you’ll finally feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.
The messaging you’ll create using the Lawyer USP Framework will be embedded in everything you do. These aren’t just the words and phrases you’ll use on your website or in ads. They’re the words you’ll use in person. You’ll use them when you’re networking. You’ll even use them when speaking to your staff.
What is a USP?
If you’ve ever heard the term “Unique Selling Proposition,” or USP, it might sound like just another business buzzword to you. Not true. It’s actually a key ingredient in effective lawyer marketing. A strong USP will put you in a league of your own and free you from fighting over leads with other firms.
The idea is very simple: your USP is something you offer your clients that’s unique to your firm. Let me say that again. Your USP is something you offer your clients that is unique.
Now, that might seem like a lot of pressure. You may already be thinking up excuses for why this won’t work. You might be thinking:
- “What can I possibly offer that’s unique?”
- “Everybody shops around with different firms. Nothing’s going to change that.”
- “I’ve already got the keywords. Won’t I get more clients anyway? Why do I need this?”
- “People only care about price”
These objections are classic examples of your amygdala overreacting. I’ve just presented a new and “scary” concept. Your brain is pushing you back into your comfort zone by making you doubt yourself. Don’t listen! Use that critical counterintuitive and get uncomfortable.
Why Do You Need a USP?
So many lawyers ask me why it’s important to be unique. They push back on the idea that they’re not doing enough already. They have all kinds of reasons to dismiss a USP as unnecessary:
- “Why should I change what I offer when I’m already successful?”
- “My competitors aren’t doing anything differently.”
- “I’m already well-ranked on Google.”
- “I outsource this to an agency.”
- “My practice area is different.”
- “I’ve already been successful in marketing my law firm.”
I’m here to tell you that all those excuses are CRAP. Even if you have been pretty successful so far, that doesn’t mean a crisis won’t destroy your existing lawyer marketing structure. A USP is REQUIRED for rock-solid marketing success that doesn’t depend on the economy.
You might remember that I have personal experience with this. It’s actually the reason I started getting obsessed with recession-proof law firm marketing techniques in the first place. Not having a USP literally destroyed my dad’s business and tore our family apart.
The company was doing fine—until it wasn’t. My dad went bankrupt, took on $800,000 of debt, and took jobs at cost just to keep his employees busy. The stress of all that RUINED him.
I learned very early in my career that if my dad had just gotten out of that “categorical thinking” he could have differentiated himself and been more successful. Maybe he could have avoided that suffering altogether.
The companies that succeed in recessionary environments have a unique selling proposition (USP). They’re DIFFERENT from competitors in the ways that resonate with their customers. These are the companies that make it to multi-seven figures.
If you don’t have a USP, you’ve got a problem. You’re “just another lawyer” and you’re stuck in a race to the bottom. Without a unique selling proposition, you’ll be competing on price or convenience alone. You just have to hope that prospects won’t call any other firms to shop around. You’ll be passive, just waiting for the phone to ring.
With a USP, you’ll know exactly what makes your firm different and better than your competitors. You’ll have messaging that hits on everything your client wants and needs AND identifies what makes you stand out in your market.
If you get this right, you’ll stop demoralizing your staff and yourself with low conversion rates. You’ll stop accepting crappy clients because you’ll be able to pick and choose the cases you want. You’ll motivate your staff and yourself by realizing that your firm IS unique. It will help you focus your attention on growing your business. Clients will pick your firm as a no-brainer.
Slack off on this and your staff won’t know why they’re working for you. YOU might not even understand why you’re working for you! Your law firm’s marketing will get written off as “just another lawyer.” Your firm will become a stereotype.
Is Your Firm Really Unique?
The whole concept of defining a USP for your firm might seem a little strange right now. Why? Because subconsciously, you don’t think you’re unique. You’ve been sold the reality that you’re just another lawyer.
It makes sense when you stop and think about it. In this world, something is always being bought or sold. You’re either being sold your reality or you’re selling someone else on your reality. Most lawyers have been sold the lie that they’re no different from their competitors.
After all, every attorney offers essentially the same services, right? They represent clients and help them work out their legal problems. Even if you have a specific practice area, you’re “just another lawyer.”
But here’s my question for you. Do people REALLY get the same experience wherever they go?
No. Of course not.
If you walk into two different drugstores, you’ll see differences that go far beyond the prices. Sure, they sell the same products at similar prices, but the experience might be totally different. You probably have a preference for where you buy your aspirin, right? That’s because small differences set businesses apart.
But even though you know logically that you offer a different experience from your competitors, you don’t really BELIEVE it. Deep down, you don’t think that you’re different. You don’t really think that you offer your clients anything that would make them choose you over your competitors.
Even if you’ve won awards or handled difficult cases and won, you know in the back of your mind that other firms have accolades too. That’s why you’re panicking at the thought of finding your firm’s USP.
I get it. You’re not used to thinking creatively about this stuff. You’ve basically been told that you don’t need to be different for your entire career, and here I am telling you to pivot. That’s why we started this process by working on your mindset and confidence. You have the tools to change the way you think.
This is the perfect time to practice turning on that “confidence light switch.” Earlier, we used affirmations to boost your confidence in your ability to market your business. Now, we’re going to use the same technique to help you get over your doubts about creating a USP. Add some new affirmations to your arsenal and uncover newfound confidence. Here are some examples:
“I do things differently.”
“I have a different background.”
“I have something unique to offer.”
“I treat my clients differently.”
Say these affirmations out loud, even if you feel silly. Yell them! Repeat them over and over again. Sell yourself on a better reality and amp up your confidence.
You don’t have to accept being “just another lawyer.” You have the power to create a new and powerful reality. You can find what makes you unique and use it to help even more clients while creating success for your firm.
You might not think that anything you do is unique, but that’s not true. I’m going to prove to you that your firm has something to offer clients that your competitors can’t or won’t. But you have to make that belief shift along the way.
Remember to use your affirmations when you start to feel doubt creep in. Lean into the discomfort.
Believe in Yourself (And Your Clients Will Too)
By this point, I hope you’ve made some big belief shifts. I hope you’ve realized that categorical thinking doesn’t work anymore in the world of digital marketing.
But, have you really made this fundamental shift? Or are you still clinging to categories when you think about your business? Even if you’ve totally grasped that customers don’t think this way anymore, is your firm aligned with that reality?
Well, let me ask you this question. When someone asks you what you do, what do you say? Probably something like:
“I’m a lawyer.” Or maybe, “I’m a defense attorney.”
Without realizing it, you’ve categorized yourself. You’re not thinking about what you offer that’s different. You’re lumping yourself and your firm in with all your other competitors. You’re also cutting yourself off from potential value.
I’m not exempt from this! I’m guilty of it too. There have been times when people ask me what I do and I’ve said “digital marketing.” That answer sucks. By doing that, I’ve just faded into the background and lost an opportunity to differentiate myself.
So what’s the problem with categorizing yourself in casual conversation? Well, every person you talk to presents an opportunity to network. That person you’re talking to? They know 200 other people BY NAME. They know those people personally. Maybe they even know someone who could be your ideal client.
So why are you downplaying what makes you different and better in your market? Probably because you’re a nice person. You don’t want to come off as arrogant or annoying.
The problem is, modesty doesn’t help you stand out. It makes you disappear into the noise. Your ads become annoyances people choose to tune out.
The antidote? Strategic bragging. Brag about the things that make you different from your competition. Brag in a way that commands respect.
Now, I’m not saying you have to become an annoying jerk. I’m not saying you have to talk about yourself constantly. Doing that will drive away clients just as much as being too modest and going unnoticed. Bragging blindly will cause even more problems.
But most lawyers have this fear or disgust of “pushiness.” They don’t want to “push” their services on a prospect. They don’t want to do the “hard sell.” Well, guess what? If you brag STRATEGICALLY, you won’t ever feel pushy again. You’ll be confident in what you offer. You won’t have to convince a prospect to hire you because they’ll already know why they should. In fact, you’ll have the option to turn them away if they’re not a good fit because you’ll have new leads coming in all the time.
Some of the best places to strategically brag are on an intake call, on your website, or on a landing page. By that point, the prospect has already shown interest. They’ve already been pulled in with the emotional triggers you’ve used in your law firm’s marketing.
If you’re still worried about coming off as braggy or arrogant, understand that good legal marketing is about fulfilling the selfish needs of your clients. You’re not being “pushy.” You’re making life EASIER for prospects by making it a no-brainer to hire you.
Visualization Exercise: Your Elevator Pitch
We’re talking about some pretty abstract concepts here, so let’s bring it all together with a visualization exercise.
You might have heard the term “elevator pitch” before. The problem with most elevator pitches is that they’re focused on YOU. On your background and your accomplishments. In this exercise, we’re going to think about a new kind of elevator pitch that’s designed to sell prospects by meeting their needs and differentiating yourself.
Picture the following:
You’re standing in an elevator and the doors open. A right-fit client walks through the door, carrying some heavy bags. What words, in which order, would make them DROP their things and BEG to work with you?
What kind of pitch could you give in 30 seconds that would show them that you have ALL the answers they’ve been looking for? What unique benefits would give them that feeling of relief and make them forget all about what they’re carrying? What would make them THANK you for pitching them?
Don’t fall into the common trap of overthinking things and asking questions like “what kind of case is it?” That’s your old reality trying to limit you and keep you safe in your old thought patterns.
You don’t have to have an answer right now, but you will by the end of Phase 1 of the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™. Keep this question in the back of your mind when we go over the “Blue Ocean” concept that will help you find the EXACT words to make a lead drop everything and hire you.
For Your USP, Think Small and Cheap
You probably think that your USP has to be something big and expensive. That’s probably why you find the idea of being different so impossible and intimidating. You think you’ll have to change your entire business model and transform your law firm to have a USP that’s powerful enough to make clients drop everything to work with you.
That’s complete bull. You don’t need big, lofty changes in the way you do things. You don’t have to be THAT different to create a USP clients love.
Here’s the real secret to creating a powerful USP that effortlessly captures new cases: think small and cheap.
Yes, you heard that right. Your USP should be small and cheap to implement. You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. You’re trying to find something to differentiate yourself based on what you already offer. You’re already different from your competitors. You just need to recognize your USP and leverage it.
Here’s some great news: you already have access to the greatest USP there is: your story. YOU make your law firm different from all the others in your niche.
Your background, your story, can make the difference between a client who shops around and a client who trusts you. They want to know you’re a human being and they have to be able to relate to you. They want to know what motivates you besides money. Can they trust you with their case?
Practical differentiators are important for winning over clients. But without your story, clients aren’t going to have the context they need to hire you. People connect with people. Nothing means more than your story. We’re going to explore that story later on in the Heart Story chapter. But right now, it’s time to find your firm’s “Blue Ocean.”
Finding Your “Blue Ocean”
If you had the choice, would you rather compete with 100 other firms, or 0? The answer is obvious. Businesses that succeed find pockets of opportunity with no competition whatsoever. This is what’s known as the “Blue Ocean.”
Most firms are fighting for scraps in the “Red Ocean.” They’re swimming in an ocean full of sharks, trying to get by and attract clients in an area with lots of competition. They might get a case here or there, but they’re always just fighting to survive. They’re not unique. They’re competing on price alone.
In the Blue Ocean, things are way easier. You’re swimming with beautiful fish and you’re not worried about where your cases are coming from. You toss in your fishing rod and pick up great cases with almost no effort. You do things differently. Life is good.
A good example of the difference between “Red Ocean” companies and “Blue Ocean” companies comes from the transportation industry. Everybody knows that taxi companies took a hit when Uber carved out their place in the market. Uber found the Blue Ocean and revolutionized the way people get around.
Taxi companies stayed in the Red Ocean. They started fighting for rides, watching desperately as people hopped into Ubers. Riders left the Red Ocean and the taxis were left to fight for the few customers they had left. They never changed what they offered, they never changed their messaging, and they suffered for it.
There are Blue Oceans for every segment of your law firm. You just have to find them. Getting out of the Red Ocean is absolutely key for ongoing success in legal marketing.
Me Too, Me Better, Me Only
To find your Blue Ocean, you need to understand that there are three types of businesses out there:
1. “Me too”
2. “Me better”
3. “Me only”
“Me too” firms aren’t even trying to pretend they’re different. They don’t spend money on digital marketing. They’re not interested in improvement. All they want to do is coast. They get cases when they get cases.
Being “me better” might SOUND, well, better, but it might actually be worse. Because instead of coasting, you’re trying to prove that you do the same thing as other firms—only better. You’re wasting money on strategies that don’t ultimately work out.
“Me only” is what you need to strive for. That’s the Blue Ocean. “Me only” firms KNOW that they do things differently and they understand WHY that matters to clients. Their messaging is clear and they don’t have to worry about getting new cases because they know they’re the only firm doing what they do.
So how do you become “me only?”
Remember: small and cheap.
Domino’s Pizza carved out a Blue Ocean for itself by promising customers that their pizza will be at the door in 30 minutes or less. That’s it. They didn’t claim to be the BEST pizza out there. They realized that they could compete on speed and focused all their efforts on that Blue Ocean.
IKEA is another great example. The company offers lows prices on furniture, and yet they have one of the highest profit margins in the industry. Why? They’re not competing on price alone. Their business model isn’t just about undercutting competitors. It’s about streamlining by having customers deliver and assemble their own furniture, saving money. And people love it!
The Blue Ocean isn’t about finding a brand-new idea or creating a whole new business model. It’s all about owning a SEGMENT of the market.
Once you’ve found your Blue Ocean, you’ll be able to confidently say: “we’re the only law firm that does [X].” And for your ideal client, that should be more than enough to get you the case.
Your Firm’s Strengths and Weaknesses
But first, I need you to start OWNING your firm’s strengths and weaknesses. Be honest! There are areas of your law firm where you’ve consistently sucked. That’s just reality.
If you’re a visionary, then you probably have trouble with the little details and day-to-day systems. And if you’re too analytical, you might have trouble seeing the big picture. But there are also areas where you’ve consistently excelled.
Don’t try to find a Blue Ocean in an area where you need improvement. Look at what you already do well.
You also need to be aware of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
Where can you outshine the other firms in your market?
Having a deep understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will be ESSENTIAL as you complete the exercises in this section. You need to go into this process with your eyes wide open.
The “Rules” of the USP Framework
Now that you know the “why” behind your USP, we’re going to dive into our first exercise here in a minute. Here are seven rules I want you to follow as you go through the next few worksheets. Write them down and keep them next to you so you don’t forget. These rules are CRUCIAL for shaping your messaging.
Rule #1: Wordsmith every single word.
These words will make your firm millions of dollars. THINK THEM THROUGH. Wordsmith every single word.
If you stall out, you can always come back and edit later. But don’t go into this process with the attitude that each individual word doesn’t matter. Remember, this is the Word Alignment Marketing Method! Every word matters in creating a crystal clear message.
Rule #2: Focus on emotional words.
Think about the difference between the word “cash” and the word “currency.” Or “fire” vs. “flame.” How does each of these words make you feel?
Humans have a heightened emotional response to certain words. Why else would we use “passed away” instead of “died” when speaking to someone who is grieving?
Find the specific power words that trigger emotion in your niche. Think about what makes them so powerful. Use them to tap into your clients’ needs.
Rule #3: Make your benefits clear, specific, and laser-focused.
Don’t be wishy-washy or modest. Be specific and laser-focused on the benefits you offer. Brag strategically and connect what you offer to your clients’ wants and needs!
Less can be more when it comes to your messaging. Unnecessary words and concepts will water down your law firm’s marketing and confuse your prospects. Focus on what makes you different and don’t try to do too much.
Rule #4: Beware of “cute” and “catchy” when marketing to bottom-tier needs
It’s great to have a sense of humor. But in lawyer marketing, cute and catchy doesn’t matter and could actually make your marketing more difficult to understand. No one is trying to hire the most “creative” lawyer. They just want to know what they’ll get out of working with you.
Remember, you’re marketing to bottom-tier needs. You’re marketing to someone on their worst day. Your goal is to build trust, not entertain people.
Rule #5: Be IMPOSSIBLE to misunderstand
This ties into the last rule. Don’t let ANYTHING get in the way of delivering a clear and confident message. Your words should make it IMPOSSIBLE for prospects to misunderstand you.
If a lead misunderstands you, they’re not going to spend extra time trying to figure out what you really mean. They’re going to take your message at face value and choose another firm. Or, they’ll get frustrated and give up.
Rule #6: Sell the cure, not the prevention
We talked about this before, but it bears repeating. Solve the immediate problem and sell the “cure.” Don’t sell a future benefit.
You have all the skills and knowledge to make your clients’ pain disappear. Meet them where they are. Show empathy for their immediate problem and provide the next step toward solving their problem.
Rule #7: ALWAYS focus on health, freedom, and finances
Those lower-level needs are KEY. These are the issues that matter to people the most. Remember, your clients might be calling you on their WORST day. Keep it simple and stick to the essentials.
Do NOT get distracted and start catering to “lawyer-level” needs again. People will lose interest if their needs are not being met. Get down to their level.
- “Sharp dart” marketing requires clear and specific messaging
- Finding your USP is key to staying competitive
- Strategic bragging and believing in yourself will make your firm MORE attractive
- Visualize the power of a USP with the elevator pitch exercise
- The best USPs are small and cheap
- Finding the right “Blue Ocean” will push you to become “me only”
- Follow the “rules” for creating your message
Chapter Five: Defining Your “Heart Story” As A Lawyer
In this first USP exercise, I’m going to ask you to get vulnerable. REALLY vulnerable. You’re going to be opening up about WHY you’re passionate about what you do.
You’re going to tell your “heart story” to help you hone in on your law firm’s messaging.
It takes perseverance to become a lawyer and not everyone can do it. What motivates you?
Why did you become a lawyer in the first place? Why do you put in long hours at your firm? What keeps you moving forward when things get tough?
By now, you know that people buy for emotional reasons. They’re only going to trust you and call up your firm if they know you care and they feel a connection. They want to be able to relate to you.
Prospective clients don’t want to call a lawyer and reveal their biggest fears until they have context. They want to be SURE that you will understand them and help them solve their problems.
So how do you do that? With your heart story.
People UNDERSTAND why I care about helping businesses succeed after I talk about my dad’s business crumbling and how it tore my family apart. Why? Because that experience ended in years of anxiety and pain for me. It’s something I’ll never forget.
It’s my mission to help other people avoid that same pain. It shows people that I have the same fears they do. It shows that I’m not just another marketer—I’m also a human being who understands what other people are going through. It shows that I’m a fighter and I won’t give up when things get hard.
To get you started on telling your own heart story, I want you to answer the following questions. Don’t overthink your answers. Just start writing. Right now, you’re just brainstorming.
1) What is the most painful experience of your life that caused you to become the fighter that you are today?
Clients need to know that you’re going to fight for them. If you can SHOW them how you’ve fought for yourself in your own life, it’s going to be powerful. Human experiences are the most important tool for connection we have.
If someone comes to your website and they’re on the fence about calling you, what’s going to make them pick up the phone? It won’t be your badges or website copy talking about how great you are. It will be your most personal, painful story, and how you tie it back to what you do. That gets their attention and instantly hits those emotional triggers.
Don’t be afraid that clients will think you’re “weak” or “unprofessional.” Sharing your story is not only brave, but it provides that all-important context and shows prospects why you’re motivated to help them. It shows that you’re interested in something beyond money. It shows prospects your “why.”
Get vulnerable here. Think back on those moments that are burned into your brain. Don’t shut down now and take the easy way out. These stories are painful, but they also have an inspiring ending: they’ve made you who you are. They’ve allowed you to grow and become motivated to help others.
If you’re struggling to get started, just take some of the pressure off. Pretend you’re writing in a journal if you have to. You’ll refine everything later. Just write from your heart and think of powerful, emotional words to describe your experience.
As you brainstorm, make your painful experience into an event, even if it was something that happened over time, like being bullied or neglected. You need to find a turning point to create a strong narrative. Paint a picture with your words.
You can start with something like:
- “So there I was…”
- “I’m about to share something that happened to me…”
- “I remember the day…”
- “Twenty years ago, I…”
Here’s an example: “I remember the day my mom got attacked by her husband.”
Now, this painful experience might be something that happened more than once. Probably did. But you will connect by telling your story as if it was a single event. Specific details will help people relate to you.
Then, connect that painful turning point with what you do. In the example above, that person might be in the family and divorce law niche. That history of feeling helpless as a witness to abuse ties in with the services they offer. It shows WHY they care about helping families.
Don’t get intimidated. Just get started and see where it takes you. No one else has to see this version of your story, but eventually, you will be using your heart story over and over again in your law firm’s marketing. You’ll even use it to connect with your employees and motivate them. So make sure it’s real, raw, and vulnerable. Double the vulnerability.
2) What are the biggest lessons that you learned from that experience?
Do your best to tie these lessons back to your practice area. Be strategic and understand how the lessons you’ve learned add to the value you provide.
What does that look like? Well, these are the three biggest lessons I learned from the painful experience of watching my dad’s business get crushed:
- Never abandon your law firm’s marketing
- Don’t ignore trends
- Become recession-proof
See how those lessons are KEY to what I do for clients? I’m dedicated to helping small businesses avoid making the same mistakes my father made.
These lessons help build credibility with my clients while also showing that I care. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been there. I’ve seen what happens when businesses get lazy with their marketing.
If you don’t have a way to bring your story back to what you do, it isn’t really your heart story. If you tell a story of your most painful experience and you can’t tie it into how you fight for clients, your prospects are only going to be confused.
Vulnerability is NECESSARY but your story also has to show your clients that you understand how your experiences have made you better at what you do. They want to benefit from your growth. They want to connect with you and trust your wisdom. So don’t just tell them a sad story and leave them hanging. Make those lessons clear and make them count.
Write down your top three lessons. This shouldn’t be too hard if you got really vulnerable when you answered the first question. Here are some more examples:
- Never fear a judge again
- Know when to go to trial
- Go through all the steps
- Never take things for granted
- Reach for what you deserve
Growth happens when you learn from your experiences. Those lessons can build trust if you present them in the right way. That goes for your team, too. You can use these lessons to inspire and motivate your team. You can even use them to create new firm values for your handblog post. You can start to build a whole brand around this. People trust authentic brands.
Don’t get stuck on this. Just be honest. This is something you’ll only have to do once, but it’s going to guide all of your future marketing.
3) Why do these lessons matter to your client? How will it help them better understand where you are coming from?
This is where you build MEANING from the lessons you’ve learned. This is the easy part. You already have your story and you’ve identified your top three lessons. You’ve even tied them back to what you do.
But why should those lessons matter to your client? How will it help them understand who you are and why they should trust you to help them? This is where you bring it all together and say “now that you know why this motivates me, here’s how my experience is going to help you.”
Some people never learn from their experiences. Here’s a chance for you to show that not only have you learned from your pain, but you want to use your wisdom to prevent others from experiencing the same pain.
I experienced the pain of seeing my dad ignore the trends and lose his business. Now, I help my clients avoid the same fate by following the trends. That’s why these lessons matter. People need to understand why they’re doing something to follow through.
Your clients need someone who’s been there to push them and keep them motivated. They need someone to fight for them. They need meaning and leadership from you.
- Identify your most painful and formative story as the foundation of your Heart Story
- Find the “lessons” in your Heart Story
- Tie the lessons back to what you offer
Chapter Six: Building Your Unique Selling Proposition Framework
You have your “why.” You’ve defined your heart story and figured out how it motivates you. But now, you need to find the right differentiators. You need to figure out exactly what you offer that’s UNIQUE and use it to bring in new clients.
This is the USP Framework worksheet, and it can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re still working on that confidence light switch. But remember: you ARE different. You have something unique to offer. Going through this worksheet will help you find and frame the USP that will be used in ALL your law firm’s marketing going forward.
Let’s dive right in.
1. What are the top 3 outcomes/benefits you fight for?
These benefits should come from the work you did in defining your heart story, so don’t get hung up on this. What do you fight for in your law firm? How do you fight for clients? In a perfect world, how would each case get resolved?
Don’t just cut and paste from the last worksheet here. It’s the same information, but you’re looking at it from a different perspective. In your story, you were building meaning. In the USP framework, you’re thinking about it in terms of outcomes and benefits, needs and wants.
Here are some examples:
- No jail time
- Let you sleep at night
- Keep your kids
- Maximum cash
- Maximum recovery
These should be positive. Think benefits. Make them impossible to misunderstand. This is the Word Alignment Marketing Method in practice. You’re aligning the words you’re using with the exact need that’s running through a prospect’s mind. Get this right and you’ll 2x your close rate.
Potential clients need to know EXACTLY what they’re gaining by working with you. Show them what they’ll get during and after their case is resolved. Show them why hiring your firm will make their lives easier and better.
Coming up with your firm’s top outcomes might cause you to rethink your story a little bit. It’s okay to go back to that worksheet and make a few changes if you have to. It’s very important that your firm’s top outcomes tie back into the lessons you learned from your Heart Story. Because that’s the motivation that’s going to keep you fighting for your clients.
2. What are the top 3 differentiators you practice?
Now we’re really getting into what makes you different from your competitors. Differentiators aren’t the same as benefits; they’re things that set you apart from other firms. Differentiators spark curiosity. They make people question what they can expect from a law firm.
People go into the process of hiring a lawyer with a certain set of expectations. They might believe that it’s going to be a painful process. They might be worried that their case won’t get as much attention as it deserves. They may feel that their lawyer won’t really care about them as an individual.
Differentiators challenge these kinds of expectations. They capture attention. They make it easy for clients to choose your firm over your competitors.
Think about it this way:
“We’re the only law firm that does [X].”
What comes to mind for your firm? Here are some examples:
- Three experienced lawyers on your case for the price of one
- The only firm that does the 90-Day “road test”
- Speak to a live person 24/7—NO voicemail hell
- $0 down on Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
- Video updates every step of the way
Use numbers whenever you can. One differentiator I’ve used in the past is: “3x the leads, half the spend.” These need to be COMPELLING and SPECIFIC.
You want phrases that stick in your prospects’ brains like a fishhook.
Differentiators are MEMORABLE. You want someone who has seen your ad to instantly think about your firm when they finally realize they need a lawyer.
Ideally, you’ll have three different types of differentiators. You’ll have a process differentiator (which we’ll go into in the next part of the worksheet), a “zoomed-out” service differentiator, and a curiosity differentiator.
When it comes to differentiators, remember to keep them manageable and realistic. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Think SMALL and CHEAP.
You also need to be aware of what kind of clients your differentiators are going to attract. You don’t want to draw attention to yourself in the wrong way and end up with a firm that caters to frustrating jerks.
3. Productize your service or process
What do I mean by productizing your service or process? Essentially, you need to reframe and package the process you already use to successfully resolve cases. You won’t be productizing your entire process, but you need a signature “product” that you can use in your law firm’s marketing content to capture new leads.
For example: “We’re the only firm that does the [X] method.”
The key here? Naming your process. Branding it. Really turning it into a product your clients will want to buy.
Your productized process doesn’t have to be this wildly innovative thing that no one has ever thought of before. But it does need to be unique enough to draw people in. Part of that uniqueness will be in the way you brand and describe your process.
Go back to the benefits and outcomes you’ve written down. What do you believe is the best way to fight for those outcomes? How does your process make it possible to get those outcomes?
If you managed to come up with a process differentiator in the last question, you can probably use that here to productize your process. If not, you’ll need to think about what you already do differently from other firms.
You can 10x the perception of value for your brand by productizing your process. This isn’t expensive! You can create value from what you already do or by investing in something small and cheap like an answering service or video updates, then branding that process.
Here are some of the productized processes other firms have come up with:
- TLAN Process: Take as Long as Necessary
- 250-Point Checklist
- The “Triple Action” Defense Plan
Everything needs a name. It’s part of what makes you unique. After all, other lawyers might use a checklist in their process. But only one firm has NAMED the 250-point checklist. Now, that’s their own process. They stand out among their competitors.
You already know these techniques work because they got YOUR attention. I productized my process of helping law firms double their cases in 90 days with some simple tools. Every step of the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™ has a name. I’ve branded my strategies as products, which automatically makes them more compelling.
If I’d approached you by saying: “in the blog post, we’re going to talk a little bit about the words your clients use, a little bit about what makes you unique, show you how to make stuff people will download online, and show you how to market your firm,” would you have trusted me and gotten this far?
Hell no! Way too generic. I had to spark your curiosity and prove to you that the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™ wasn’t like all the other marketing courses out there. I had to frame every lesson as a tool to appeal to you.
Every step in the process has a name and a series of steps to follow. That’s by design. It’s not just because defining each lesson makes it easier for you to implement the concepts. It’s also because you wouldn’t care about what I know if I didn’t frame it in a way that’s appealing.
The FFWA™ worksheet, USP Framework, and other tools I created for the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™ didn’t take hours to design. All I needed to do was use the knowledge I already had. That knowledge didn’t come out of thin air; it took me years to understand and develop these strategies.
You can do this too. You have a bank of knowledge that took YEARS to build up. You went to law school. You’ve worked on hundreds of cases. Now, you get to cash in all that knowledge and experience and package it to attract new clients.
Become a leader and create a system for people to follow. This shows that you’re confident in your ability to consistently deliver your top three outcomes. Guide prospects through your process so you can show why your system works and why it’s different from other law firms.
Here’s what this looks like in practice. I’m able to say:
The SMB Team is the only digital marketing company in the world that uses the Word Alignment Marketing Method (WAM Method™)
Most of our competitors don’t care if you’re going after the right cases on the right platforms. We stand out because we want you to get better-quality cases with less effort. We want you to see the whole marketing ecosystem. And we want to teach you how to become recession-proof.
That’s why our tools are so powerful. Because they show you how to find and connect with your “right-fit” clients and reduce the number of dead-end leads.
Now, there has to be some explanation behind this. You can’t just come up with a catchy name that doesn’t mean anything. You need to brand your process AND back it up with proof that your system works or offers something HUGE for your clients.
Clients should be able to visit your website and learn more about how your system works. That could mean creating a video or a “Power Page” (we’ll dive into those in Chapter 13) that explains your process. Make it EASY for them to understand. The best productized process systems are simple but powerful.
If you’re having trouble thinking of how you can productize your process, don’t panic. Give yourself some time to mull things over. Start thinking about it as you go through your day. Chances are, the answer will hit you when you least expect it.
With that said, you don’t want to spend months waiting for the right concept and name to pop into your brain. Remember, speed of implementation. Keep the momentum going. Your mind should be RACING with ideas.
If you find yourself taking too long on this, make sure you’re completely happy with your work on the Heart Story exercise and the first part of the USP Framework. If you can’t think of some way to productize your process, you might need to rethink your story or differentiators.
4. Your Law Firm’s Guarantee
We offer a “no-burn” guarantee. We promise to be the only law firm marketing company that won’t “burn” you. Could it be better? Sure. But we have a guarantee, and that’s a start. It’s a win. Defining your guarantee will be a quick win for your firm.
People need peace of mind. They aren’t going to part with their hard-earned cash unless you give them a safety net. They’re going to take more convincing if you’re not holding that net out because they have to be pretty damn sure they’re not going to fall.
You need to make a promise that helps potential clients feel safe. What can you put quotations on? What can you offer prospects that will make them feel comfortable and confident about moving forward?
Your guarantee is about reducing risk. Everyone wants to manage their risks because it helps to prevent both current AND future pain.
What makes a good guarantee? Not only should it minimize risk for your clients, but it should tie into the key benefits you promise them.
Can you offer a money-back guarantee? That’s always going to be the most appealing option. Or, you can offer a 30-day cancellation. Maybe a “Risk-free” 14-day evaluation?
The key here is balance and clarity. Be crystal clear with your guarantee. People should know what they’re getting into and feel confident that their risk in working with you is minimal. This helps to build trust AND peace of mind.
On the other hand, you need to make sure that your guarantee is realistic for you and your firm. You can’t guarantee that you’ll win every case. That would be totally unreasonable. You can’t personally be available 24/7. Your guarantee should not make your life harder.
You MUST choose something that you can deliver if the client isn’t satisfied. Your guarantee must be 100% airtight. But it also needs to be something that won’t put you out of business. Here are some examples.
- “No stone unturned” guarantee – we’ll look at your case from every possible angle
- “No pay” guarantee – never pay a penny out of your own pocket
- 14-day guarantee – if you’re not satisfied within 14 days, you can get your money back
You can always pivot your guarantee later. If you can’t think of anything specific and unique, just use something simple, like a 14-day guarantee, and move on for now.
5. Power Words
Power words are going to trigger those all-important emotions in your ideal clients. But remember, the most powerful words will be different depending on your niche. Here are some power words for different practice areas:
- Jail (Criminal defense)
- Cash, Fast, Free (Personal injury)
- Bounce back (Bankruptcy)
Get these words from your FFWA™ sheet. Listen to what your clients say when you ask them questions about their fears. Listen to their tone and pinpoint when they start to get passionate. They might not give you your exact power words, but they’ll show you where the opportunities are.
If prospects are worried about being able to pay the bills, the words “cash” and “fast” are going to be powerful. If they’re afraid they might be convicted of a crime, then “jail” is going to speak to that fear. Get their attention!
Always go back to those fundamental needs. In defining your USP, you need to set yourself apart from other firms while STILL paying close attention to the words that will appeal to your ideal clients.
6. Practice-Area Specific Differentiators
You probably take several types of cases in your law firm. Most lawyers do this, even if they specialize.
Think of your top three practice areas. These are your top three sources of revenue. If you do employment law, for example, that might mean sexual harassment/assault, pregnancy discrimination, and wrongful termination cases. Or, you work on injury cases, you might do workers’ compensation, personal injury, and wrongful death.
Now, you want to differentiate how you handle each of these case types. Think about the biggest mistakes your competitors make in these kinds of cases. How can you frame what you do and show potential clients a process that eliminates or reduces these pitfalls?
Go through the USP exercise for each profitable niche in your practice. By thinking about each practice area, you’ll have more talking points for your intake process. You’ll have specific differentiators for each type of case that makes you money. That will ultimately win you more cases because you’ll be able to adapt your messaging to EXACTLY meet your clients’ needs.
- Define the primary goals of your firm
- Identify what makes you different that helps you reach those goals
- Make a “product” out of your process to boost your brand and create interest
- Find a realistic guarantee that provides peace of mind
- Wordsmith your “power words”
- Focus on your top practice areas and find differentiators for each one
Chapter Seven: Creating Your Law Firm’s USP Script
This is the last step in Phase 1. You’ve done a LOT of work so far and it’s time to put those puzzle pieces together into a script you’ll use ALL THE TIME. You’ll use this script on intake calls and in your law firm’s marketing content. You’ll use portions of it during casual networking.
Creating your USP script should be easy at this point. You’ll be using all of the worksheets you’ve completed so far to just fill in the blanks. You’ve already got the meat and potatoes of your script. All you have to do now is string everything together.
This is the WAM Method™ in action. You’re going to be hitting on everything your client is thinking and feeling. You’re going to differentiate your firm and build confidence in your prospects. You’re going to make it a NO BRAINER to hire you after they hear this script.
Here’s what you’re going to do:
Fill in the following worksheet using what you wrote for the FFWA™ worksheet, the Niche Demand Blueprint, the Heart Story exercise, and the USP Framework. This should only take you a few minutes, now that you’ve brainstormed the power words, guarantee, and differentiators you’re going to use.
The purpose of this script is to convey the specific value you offer. Obviously, you’ll use it as a marketing tool, but it can also serve to help you brag strategically and build your confidence that you ARE different.
When someone asks you what you do, you won’t have to default to “I’m a lawyer.” You’ll be able to turn to this script and confidently use these talking points to make a powerful impression and build credibility.
Practice your script. Personalize it. Make it feel natural and easy. Your script shouldn’t sound like a script. You don’t need to memorize it, and the exact words don’t need to be the same every single time. But you do need to hit on all these key points.
It’s also important to work on your delivery. You can make or break a powerful script by how you deliver it. Slowing down will make people lean in. Don’t rush through the script because you feel nervous. Make sure people hear and UNDERSTAND what you’re saying.
One of the best ways to use this script in marketing is by making an “intro video” and posting it on your website and landing pages. You’ll also be able to use it over and over again when you’re talking to prospective clients. Send it to every single lead that comes to you. Use it to motivate your staff!
Keep in mind that lots of people are worried about being “sold.” They don’t want to call a law firm and have someone go through the “hard sell” routine. That’s why you need to add some reassurance at the end of your script. You need to make it clear that there’s no obligation and that it’s totally safe for them to call and learn more about what your firm has to offer.
If you’re concerned about the logistics of making a video, don’t be. We’ll go through everything you need to know about creating videos with a phone camera or laptop later on, in Chapter 12.
This script will tie everything together and make it easy for you to connect with your ideal clients. You’ll never worry about what to say again on an intake call or during a networking event. You’ll have all the talking points you need to build trust and show why your firm is DIFFERENT from your competitors.
Your Script: Getting Back in the Elevator
Earlier, I had you go through the “elevator pitch” visualization and start thinking about what would make your client DROP EVERYTHING and BEG to work with you. Now that you’ve gone through all the USP exercises and you have your script, do you feel more confident in your power to help your clients? Is the visualization clearer?
Step into the elevator again. Visualize the moment. Use talking points from your script but speak from your heart. You’ll know when you’ve gotten this right. You’ll know when your USP is powerful enough to get through to your right-fit clients and make them forget about everything else.
- Use your completed worksheets to fill in the blanks of a simple script
- Practice your script and personalize it
- Get used to using your script in different situations
- Make a short video of yourself using your USP script
- Use your script to complete your elevator pitch
PHASE 2: Client Capture Infrastructure
Welcome to Phase 2 of the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™! We covered some exciting stuff in Phase 1, including your clients’ FFWA™, the Niche Demand Blueprint, your Heart Story, and the USP Framework.
You should be feeling pretty proud of yourself right now. You’ve just done some incredible foundational work that will drive your law firm’s marketing strategy for YEARS.
Digging deep into your clients’ psychology and making those big belief shifts is an AMAZING accomplishment. You also had to get vulnerable and understand how your past experiences have strengthened your ability to serve clients.
You have the wants and needs of your clients, you have some great keywords to work with, you’ve got your Heart Story, and your “sharp dart” messaging. You can also articulate exactly what makes your law firm unique and back it up with a strong guarantee.
Now that you’ve got that strong foundation of knowledge and confidence, we can start to build on it to create some powerful content and digital tools that will bring in new cases.
In Phase 2, we’re going to focus on capturing leads. A lead is ANY potential client for your firm, but depending on where they are in the marketing “funnel” (the closer they are to the bottom of the funnel, the closer they are to “converting” and becoming a client), they might not know that they need a lawyer yet.
Your task is to get the attention of these leads so you can be there for them at the EXACT moment they realize they need to give your firm a call. All you need to do to “capture” these leads is to create a streamlined infrastructure using three basic techniques: lead magnets, landing pages, and a well-designed website.
You might be wondering how long all of this is going to take. Honestly? Not more than a couple of hours for each step. And after that, you shouldn’t have to spend more than a few hours here and there as you experiment and keep up with trending topics.
As you start to create content using all the work we did in the WAM Method™, I encourage you to remember speed of implementation once again. You are not trying to create the Mona Lisa here. Don’t let perfectionism take over. Create the SIMPLEST thing possible and release it. Take action TODAY. These are key tactical strategies you will need to practice and tinker with.
Chapter Eight: Lead Magnet Mastery for Lawyers
The goal of mastering lead magnets is to capture at least twice the leads without spending more on your law firm’s marketing. To do that, I’m going to teach you a system I’ve created for quickly creating valuable content that will drive people to your website, landing pages, and email list.
Without lead magnets, you’ll be missing out on a ton of value. You’ll spend more on marketing and ignore a segment of the market that could end up hiring you in the future. Lead magnets are simple to create but they have the power to transform your business and make your life MUCH easier.
Lead magnets will be key in allowing you to access new lead sources on platforms like Facebook and YouTube. You’ll be able to capture the leads that aren’t ready for a consultation BEFORE they go to your competitors.
You’ll also be able to build your email list quickly, capturing MORE leads you can nurture until they’re ready for a consultation. You can even create more speaking opportunities for yourself and get new leads at networking events by sending them to your lead magnet.
Finally, lead magnets will give you an opportunity to use popular keywords that are impractical for your Google Ads and attorney SEO strategy (don’t worry, we’ll get to that!). High competition keywords can be powerful (and free!) if you use them in your lead magnets.
Even if you’ve used lead magnets before, you need this system. You need to know how to quickly and confidently create new lead magnets and release them on the same day. That will allow you to take advantage of trends and be the first firm to provide value for people who are searching for those topics.
I’m going to walk you through:
- What a lead magnet is
- Why you need lead magnets for your firm
- The 5 types of effective lead magnets
- Setting expectations for lead magnets
- Structuring your content
- Creating two types of lead magnets
If you’re afraid of seeming pushy in your law firm’s marketing, I’ve got good news for you: learning this lead magnet system will mean that you never have to feel pushy again. You’ll be providing value when you follow up, meaning that your leads will be THRILLED to hear from you.
What is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is a free item or service that is given away in exchange for someone’s contact information. It has to be VALUABLE enough to get people excited and convince them to provide their email addresses. An example of a lead magnet would be a short blog post, which we’re going to create later in this chapter.
You might not realize it, but you’re already using a lead magnet: your free consultation. The problem with a free consultation is that it’s a weak magnet, especially for people who don’t need a lawyer right away. Plus, it’s not unique. Everyone offers free consultations. It’s not helping you build authority or trust.
In lawyer marketing, you always have to remember that it’s not about you. It should ALWAYS be about your clients. They’re only thinking about their own problems!
When you offer a lead a free consultation as a lead magnet, you’re making a big and deadly assumption. You’re assuming that your lead thinks you’re the right person to solve their problems.
But how do they know that? They don’t!
Offering a consultation as a magnet can work for direct response marketing, like law firm ppc and Google Ads, because people who are making searches for lawyers are indicating that they’re bottom-of-funnel leads. They’re the 5% who are ready to hire a lawyer NOW.
But it’s a terrible strategy for paid social marketing on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You’re coming on too strong if you offer a free consultation in that context. Those leads aren’t ready to talk with you yet—they want time and space to learn more. If you make that assumption and only offer free consultations, you’ll just come off as another self-absorbed, pushy lawyer.
You need to meet leads where they are and enter the conversation that’s already going on in their mind. There’s a catch, though: what’s going on in your clients’ minds might be very different from what they tell you. They’re going to be polite. They won’t feel ready to be vulnerable. They might be thinking:
- “Am I making the right decision?”
“Who can I trust?”
“What if they pressure me when I call?”
“Will they judge me?”
Any one of those questions could stop a lead from calling your firm for a free consultation. You have to think about how to design your lead magnets to answer those questions and speak to those fears.
Why Lead Magnets?
As I mentioned, 95% of leads aren’t ready to “buy” yet. You have to accept that. They aren’t at the stage where they know for sure they need a lawyer RIGHT NOW. But that doesn’t mean they’ll never get to that point and bring a new case to your firm.
Lead magnets will allow you to capture leads that might need more time or information before they’re ready to hire you. They will build that all-important trust and prove that you’re a leader in your niche. When a prospect eventually does need a lawyer, it’ll be a no-brainer for them to call you over your competitors.
Here are three reasons you NEED lead magnets as part of your marketing infrastructure:
#1: People love information
Now, more than ever, people are information junkies. We’re actively curious and we like to feel like we know what we’re doing. It gives us a sense of control, even in situations that are out of our control.
As an example, there was a 70% increase in Internet usage during the COVID-19 pandemic because so many people were seeking information and living their lives online. I call this the “Big Bang” because it was a huge shift in human behavior that will shape law firm marketing strategies for years to come.
If you proactively give people information in your lead magnet, they’re going to trust you more. Guide them on their research journey and make sure they’re getting good information. Be confident and don’t try to hide anything. They need to know enough to realize they need your help.
#2: If you’re only converting 20% of your leads, you’re leaving 80% “on the table”
In marketing, your “conversion rate” is the percentage of leads that actually turn into clients. 20% is considered very good. But wouldn’t you like to do even BETTER?
Even if you’re pretty happy with getting a 20% conversion rate, that still means you’re losing 80% of your leads. You’re not following up with them and they don’t have any reason to remember you. You’ve abandoned them.
A lead magnet gives you new opportunities for value-added follow-up techniques, retargeting, and more. Because you’ve offered so much value with your lead magnet, any leads you capture will be more receptive to your follow-ups and are more likely to turn into cases down the line.
#3: Adding in lead magnets increases your lead capture rate
Providing valuable content that doesn’t go into the “hard sell” is an excellent way to capture more leads. Almost no one likes to be pressured into making a decision. No one wants to be pushed into buying something when they’re not ready. Don’t stress your leads!
A lead magnet doesn’t sell. It provides space and distance for people to do their due diligence, to really understand their problems and mull over the possible solutions.
Lead magnets inform and guide your leads without feeling overbearing. It puts the power back into their hands and makes them respect you enough to want to hire you without any pushy sales tactics.
The 5 Types of Effective Lead Magnets for Lawyers
All strong lead magnets have one thing in common: they’re valuable enough that someone will give up their email address and hit the download button.
Hitting that threshold might not seem that difficult, but stop and think about your own email habits. Isn’t it frustrating when your inbox gets clogged with junk mail? Most people are careful about handing out their email addresses to people they don’t know personally because the number of emails we get is overwhelming.
Your offer has to be compelling enough to make them grant access to their inbox. But you also have to back it up with great content they can’t get anywhere else.
There are 5 main types of effective lead magnets:
- Blog post: A blog post lead magnet isn’t a full-length blog post. It’s a small blog post that is designed to solve a problem in just 10-15 pages while helping to position you as a thought leader.
- Video Guide: A video (or series of videos) teaching or walking leads through a specific topic.
- Webinar: Free online seminar providing actionable and valuable content to a large group of attendees at once.
- How-To Guide: Step-by-step instructional guide on how to accomplish a specific task, project, or scenario.
Checklist: One-page resource that verifies or organizes tasks and information to help reduce “failure.”
These are all great options for delivering value and capturing more leads. In this chapter, we’re only going to learn how to create two types of lead magnets: checklists and blog posts. Once you learn the system, though, you should be able to go on and apply it to any other lead magnet you want to create. We’ll also talk more about video content later on in the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™.
Setting Lead Magnet Expectations
You’ll be learning how to create checklists and blog posts very soon, but first, we need to set some expectations for this process. Here are some things to keep in mind:
#1. Understand the difference between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
This is one of the biggest mistakes lawyers make in their marketing. Marketing Qualified Leads are what we call “lead generation.” Sales Qualified Leads are what we call “case generation.”
Sales Qualified Leads are super attractive. It’s tempting to focus ONLY on these leads. But if you do, you’re missing out on 80-90% of the market.
For example, If you get a bad conversion rate on a Google Ads campaign, you might write it off as a failure. But if you look at the clicks, you might find that some of the words you used are actually research terms.
That data shows your ad might be resonating with people who are Marketing Qualified Leads. Just because you didn’t get many cases out of it doesn’t mean it was a waste of time and money. Mine your data! You can even put a pixel on your landing pages that will let you follow up with visitors on social media and other platforms.
Lead magnets are about MQLs, not SQLs. People aren’t going to download your content and then immediately call you up to hire you. It’s going to take some nurturing and data mining.
Have you ever abandoned a lead because they weren’t sales qualified? If you have, you should NEVER DO IT AGAIN. Those people may or may not ever become clients, but they know more than a hundred other people. Don’t you want to be their first thought if someone asks for a recommendation?
Don’t give up on MQLs. You have to think of new ways to engage them and possibly turn them into SQLs. Capture your leads’ minds for eternity.
#2. You’re not painting the Mona Lisa!
Truth is, shorter is better. I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: you are not creating a precious piece of art. SPEED is key here. Good enough is PERFECT for what we’re doing.
Set yourself a hard deadline. Give yourself two hours to create your lead magnet. If you don’t, you’ll probably spend way longer on it than you need to.
You already know what you know. You’re at least a hundred times more knowledgeable in your practice area than your leads.
Don’t take your knowledge for granted! Remember, it took you years to develop your knowledge bank. Just CAPTURE that knowledge.
People download stuff for the FEELING of downloading stuff. Nine times out of ten, they’re not going to read your content. They might think they’re downloading your resource to solve their problem, but they’re really just after the dopamine hit of taking action.
Your job is to get them interested enough to type in their email address and hit “download.” That’s it.
#3. Diversify your lead magnets—not everyone learns in the same way
You’re just going to start with one type of lead magnet for now. But over time, you’ll want to diversify the types of lead magnets you offer. Why? Because not everyone learns in the same way.
A “reading learner” will appreciate an blog post, a checklist, or a how-to guide. A “visual learner” will appreciate a series of lessons in video format. “Audio learners” can get the most out of a video or webinar.
Everyone’s different. Repurpose your content in different formats so you can cater to different learning styles.
#4. Lead magnets don’t work on EVERY platform
Context is key. Lead magnets work best on “top-of-funnel” platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. These sites are basically huge online networking events, and most people don’t turn to them when they’re actively looking for a lawyer.
On these sites, lead magnets act as the hook. They start to bring your firm into your leads’ consciousness. People on Facebook want to absorb information, they don’t want you to come in with a hard sell.
By the time leads are performing a search on Google, they’re not interested in informational content. When they click on your ad, they’re ready for a consultation. Their emotions are probably running high and they’re no longer in the research phase. At this stage, a lead magnet is actually an obstacle that could turn people away.
Always leave room for experimentation, but understand that lead magnets won’t work in every context. Don’t get too married to using them for every ad. Save them for unpaid strategies where they tend to perform best.
Facilitating Fear with Value
Facilitate your leads’ fear by providing them with value. People who are afraid are HIGHLY motivated to seek out information that could solve their problems. They need a lifeline and they want to find someone they can trust.
Getting value out of fear is easier in some practice areas than others. The higher the fear in your market, the more opportunity there is to capture leads. But there’s potential with this strategy in ALL niches.
This is exactly how I revolutionized my business at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawyers were scared. They didn’t know how the pandemic would affect them. They were seeking information on a topic that was so new, no other marketers were talking about it yet.
Because I had this system for creating lead magnets fast, I was able to quickly create a blog post called “How Should Lawyers Respond to Coronavirus with Their Marketing?” It took me two hours to write and design, and then I shared it on social media without overthinking it.
It went viral. Shared everywhere. I was the first person to jump on this trending topic in my niche and I captured a HUGE number of leads from that lead magnet.
Later on, I started a super-successful series of webinars called the Laws of Business Mastermind Series on related topics, like PPP Loans for Lawyers. From what I can tell, this webinar broke records for the number of attendees in the legal industry, just by providing much-needed information on a hot topic.
Trending topics are the “cheat code” to leads. Before my lead magnets exploded during the pandemic, I would have called B.S. But after seeing how this launched my business to new heights, I understand exactly why lead magnets for trending topics are so powerful.
Get excited. By moving fast and jumping on these trending topics with lead magnets, you can be a mover in your market. You’ll be a respected thought leader and HELP people when they’re feeling scared. This is a HUGE opportunity that could revolutionize your law firm’s success.
Structuring Your Law Firm’s Content
So, what should your lead magnet teach people? How should you structure it?
No matter what kind of content you’re creating, you can use the same basic structure every single time. This is a powerful FORMULA that will appeal to people whether you’re shooting a video or writing a blog post.
Whenever I need to create a new lead magnet, I go through these 5 principles to structure my content:
#1. Trending topics
What’s going on in the world around you? What’s everyone talking about?
As I’ve mentioned, trending topics are GOLD because they give you the opportunity to be the ONLY choice for information. If you can be a “first mover,” you’ll build authority and capture public interest. I didn’t waste any time at the start of the pandemic, which allowed me to be the first marketer to speak on these subjects for the legal market.
What’s REALLY trending in the minds of your clients? You need to think about who they are and what matters to THEM, not to you. This is one of the best ways to come up with content ideas for your lead magnets.
#2. High Traffic Keywords
High traffic keywords get searched all the time. We know this from going through the Niche Demand Blueprint. If you want to compete for these terms in attorney SEO and paid advertising, it’s going to be challenging and expensive.
The good news is that these terms are PERFECT for lead magnets. Content for blog posts and other lead magnets is usually pretty broad because they’re designed to capture top-of-funnel leads. You don’t know exactly what these leads will need from you yet, so you have to appeal to the “masses.”
Unless you’re planning to create fifty different blog postlets on super-specific niche topics, you’re going to want to use high traffic keywords like “accident lawyer” that lots of people will be typing in. Plus, a lot of these super-specific topics are too complex for a lead magnet!
Your lead magnets have to be simple enough that ANYONE can understand them. Skip the jargon and stick with simple, high traffic keywords that will spark interest and downloads. Zoom out more than you typically would.
Always go back to your FFWA™ when you’re creating law firm marketing content, including lead magnets. This is where you’ll get the “juice” for your content. Use the FFWA™ to pull the emotional heartstrings of your audience.
Once you’ve used the worksheet with several different clients, you’ll be able to speak directly to the most common FFWA™s in your lead magnets. But you should also think about what your clients AREN’T telling you.
Which fears are they holding back? What do they REALLY want? Your lead magnet needs to be the “solution” and speak to them emotionally.
4. Insert Your Heart Story
Depending on your lead magnet topic, you might want to include all or part of your Heart Story to illustrate a point or increase your credibility and trust with leads. You’ve already written your Heart Story, so it should be easy to just plug it into your lead magnet and provide inspirational value.
In some cases, you might want to condense your story down to just a few lines. Use your judgment here. Your Heart Story can be repurposed over and over again if you adapt it to the content you’re creating.
5. The “Why, What, How, What If” Framework
This ONE lesson cost me $12,000 to learn. It’s a secret that will help you create compelling content that people are DYING to download. It will also help you provide content that actually helps people.
Remember how I said that people learn in different ways? Well, they also have different PSYCHOLOGICAL learning styles. They learn based on “why,” “what,” “how,” and “what if.” That sequence will give you the perfect structure for ALL your content moving forward.
60% of people are dominant “why” learners. They’re not going to find the “what” and “how” steps compelling until they know WHY they should learn something. What’s the meaning behind this solution? Why should they bother?
Once you’ve established the “why,” you’ll go on to explain “what” you’ll be teaching. You’ll then go into the “how” steps and finish up with the “what if” section, which could be something like an FAQ. This is a WINNING structure for any lead magnet.
The Lead Magnet Thought Starter Sheet
It’s time to start creating your first lead magnet. First, you need to come up with a great topic and title.
Using the Lead Magnet Thought Starter Sheet, go through the following prompts:
1. Three legal subject areas where I consider myself an expert:
Every lawyer is an expert. But everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses too. Where do your talents shine the most? Where can you provide value without preparation? Examples:
- Juvenile defense
- Car & truck accidents
- Estate planning
- Real estate
Don’t overthink this. It should take you a minute, tops. Just write down the top three subject areas that come to mind.
These subject areas don’t even have to be related directly to the legal market if you can tie them back to your clients’ FFWA™ and provide value. But for now, it’s probably easiest to stick with the top three legal subject areas. Keep it simple.
2. If I had to choose one of the three (for now), it would be:
Think deeply here. If you could only have ONE piece of downloadable content on your website’s home page, what would you want it to be about? What topic would generate the most leads and get the most downloads?
Choose a subject area that will appeal to ANYONE coming to your website. That will capture more leads and save you time and effort in the long run. Think about what’s most profitable for your firm.
Really zoom out here. What kind of content you could create that would appeal to other lawyers in addition to your clients? Think big picture. This is not the time to niche down or you’ll end up creating 40 different blog posts. Here are some examples:
- Do I have a case?
- Why medical devices fail
- Child custody
- How to keep your driver’s license
- Will I get deported?
- Which lawyer should I choose?
Remember: enter the conversation that’s already going on in your client’s head. But keep zooming out. The more specific your subject area, the smaller your pool of potential leads.
Get inspiration from any great content you find online. If something is working, there’s a reason! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Your content needs to be original, but you can absolutely learn from what other businesses are doing. Creativity is repurposing content that other people have made so that it works for you!
3. When I’m talking to my clients, these are the top 3 questions I get about this subject:
Frequently asked questions are a great source for lead magnets because they reveal information that people can’t find on their own. They want answers straight from the source.
Most of the questions you’ll get asked are “surface-level” questions. They’re questions that people want the answers to, but they’re not going deep enough to pull those all-important emotional triggers.
The better questions are the ones your clients WON’T ask you because they’re afraid or embarrassed. Those are the deep-seated fears and frustrations. The more you go through the FFWA™ worksheet, the more you’ll tune into these “unspoken” questions.
4. Now, if I turned those questions into titles, they would be:
The best titles aren’t that unique. They can literally be a question that clients ask you all the time. You might have to rephrase a little to make the magnet stronger and more compelling, but these frequently asked questions can give you a topic AND a title.
- How to Choose a Lawyer for Your Case
- How Do I Keep My Kids?
- What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
If you’re still stuck on choosing a title, you can always try the 8-7-6 Framework. All it is are three headline “starters” that have been proven to perform extremely well. They are:
- 8 Mistakes to Avoid When…
- 7 Questions to Ask…
- 6 Costly Mistakes When…
All you have to do is finish the sentence!
It’s easy to come up with possible titles. Sometimes, the hard part is just making a decision. Go with your gut and roll it out fast!
Creating a Checklist Lead Magnet
Everyone knows what a checklist is. It’s just a simple set of steps or tips that people can check off as they go.
A checklist is the easiest and simplest lead magnet there is, but simplicity is good. It will give you a quick win and a piece of content that can still provide enough value to capture new leads. You should be able to crank out one of these in just a few minutes once you get the hang of it.
To create a checklist, you have three options:
Beginner: You can create a basic Word doc using our template. It works, but it’s going to be less valuable than the Intermediate and Advanced checklists. I’d recommend taking it at least to the intermediate level. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to create a nice-looking checklist!
Intermediate: We’ve created a template on a design site called Canva that you can use to make a beautiful and professional-looking checklist in minutes. All you or your staff have to do is create a free account, copy the template, and replace the text with the items for your checklists. If you want to add more tips, just copy and paste the text so you can carry over the formatting.
At the bottom, you’ll add your website URL. There’s also a spot for your call-to-action (CTA). This is extremely important because it gives leads an opportunity to contact you if they want more information.
If you want, you can also change the colors and fonts to be more in line with your brand. Canva is very easy to use, so try playing around with it for a few minutes until you’re happy with the look of your checklist.
Then, download the design as a PDF, and voila! You have a simple, but effective lead magnet.
Advanced: If you want your checklist to look even better, you can use our InDesign template. InDesign has a steep learning curve, so you might have to hand this off to a designer if you decide to go the advanced route. You’ll provide the text and the designer can just plug it right in.
Creating Blog Posts with the Story Braid Framework
If you want to take your lead magnet a step further than a simple checklist, consider a blog post. Blog posts can provide more value to your leads (they’re longer) and you can also use them to build an emotional connection. Even if you start with a checklist, you should eventually offer a higher-value blog post as one of your lead magnets.
Writing a short blog post is quick (like, two hours quick) and easy when you have a proven formula to work from. This “Story Braid” framework will allow you to create a connection with your readers by following a specific storytelling structure. You can use this for ANY long-form lead magnet, including YouTube videos and webinars.
There are five steps in the Story Braid framework:
Step 1: Create a roadmap of the blog post
The first step in the Story Braid is about setting your readers’ expectations. Basically, you need to tell them what you’re going to tell them! Think of this as a summary or “roadmap” to the content. This will help to create a hook and sell the value you’ll be providing later on.
Here’s an example of a roadmap statement:
“In this blog post, I’m going to teach you how to create a blog post for your clients, without wasting hundreds of hours on writing.”
You’re telling them what the blog post is about and how it will provide value. You’re promising to solve a pain point even before you provide the actual content.
You should also “segment” your audience by telling them who the blog post is for. But you don’t have to narrow it down very much, because these kinds of lead magnets should have broad appeal. If someone has downloaded your blog post already, then they’re already interested. But you do have to reassure them that your lead magnet is for them.
Something like: “No matter what kind of firm you have, you can write value-packed blog posts in just two hours.”
See how it’s not important to be creative? You don’t have to be the world’s greatest writer to do this. You just need to clearly lay out what it is you’re going to be providing in the blog post. For most readers, that will be enough to get them interested and keep them reading.
Step 2: Share your Heart Story
In a blog post, it’s all about connection. You have to introduce yourself and get your readers to trust you from the very beginning. No one is going to care about what you have to say unless they know that you care.
You can show that you care by sharing the Heart Story you defined in the last phase. This will allow you to build credibility and get that connection going. But here’s the catch: you still have to tie your story into the benefits for the reader.
Sharing your heart story isn’t ONLY about being vulnerable. Vulnerability is crucial, but it will only get you so much attention. Your story has to have a point. It has to be about the reader as much as it is about you.
Tie your story back to the FFWA™ of your clients. Is something that happened to you a common fear? This is your chance to show people why you’re uniquely qualified to help them AND connect on a human level. A good Heart Story quickly and concisely tells the reader who you are, why you’re ordinary, and why you’re extraordinary.
Be vulnerable and you WILL be motivational. It shows your readers that you’re not perfect, but you’ve learned some valuable lessons and grown as a person. Always remember that you’re a human being, writing to other human beings.
Step 3: Add content
Now we’re moving on to the “meat and potatoes” of your blog post: the content.
This is where you’ll deliver the value and actionable tips you’ve promised your readers. One of the reasons I had you think of frequently asked client questions when you were brainstorming titles is that it’s easy to answer a question in a short blog post.
All you have to do is capture your knowledge. You answer questions all day long at your firm. You’re doing the same thing in your blog postlet, you’re just writing the answers down. You know all this stuff already!
I always recommend that you use a “3-step” process to solve the reader’s problem. If your title is “How to Amicably File for Divorce,” what are 3 steps that you would have clients take to reach that goal? Write them down and then fill in each step!
Write as though you were speaking to one client directly. Picture yourself sitting across from one person and saying “this is our process.” Walk them through the process without going too much into theory. Go through with the goal of helping a specific person solve their problem.
How will you know when you’re providing enough value? When you start to feel a little bit uncomfortable. When you give the reader enough information that you think maybe they could solve their problem without your help. That’s compelling and builds trust!
Balance short-term results and long-term solutions in your content. Give readers something they can do IMMEDIATELY to deal with their stress. It can be something as simple as having them take out a piece of paper and write down their biggest fear about their case. Just give them a QUICK win that will build trust and help them start moving in the right direction.
You should also strongly consider “testimonial embedding” in your content. When you’re giving tips, you can strategically embed testimonials as a way to illustrate the point you’re making. This is one of the “secrets” to more powerful blog posts.
Don’t be heavy-handed with this. You don’t want your blog post to sound like a sales pitch. Take a general rule of thumb from speech writing: for every 5 minutes of value-driven content, add in 5 seconds of embedded testimonial content.
Embedded testimonials are NOT about selling. They’re just planting a seed in the reader’s mind. They’re providing proof that real people have used these steps and been successful. They build the reader’s confidence in you and give people another reason to call you.
Finally, make your transitions clear. Let the reader know when you’re done talking about one step and moving on to the next. Lead them through your content!
Step 4: Two choices: DIY or CTA
Once you’ve given your reader all the tools they’ll need to solve their problem, you need to give them a choice of two paths. This is what I call the “transition question.” You’re going to be giving them the choice to DIY and solve their problem on their own, or follow your CTA (call-to-action).
You’ve spent the rest of the blog post providing value. Now, it’s time to ASK for what you want. Don’t assume that your readers will know what action they need to take after they’re done with your lead magnet. Be very clear about their options and next steps.
You will want to set up some kind of “opt-in” for the readers who want to learn more about you and what you offer. You can choose from a few different opt-ins:
Text message—you set up a custom number that people can text to get more information. These opt-ins are convenient and get GREAT response rates.
URL—your leads click on a link that leads to a landing page or survey.
Call—you provide your contact information and ask people to reach out for a free, no-obligation consultation. Lower response rate but higher-quality SQLs.
Choose the opt-in that’s right for your firm. Text opt-ins tend to get the best response rates, but if you have a good reason for choosing a URL or call opt-in, go for that! Just think about the reader’s experience and try to make it as effortless and welcoming as possible.
Step 5: Closing the Heart Story Loop
You don’t want to end on your CTA. It’s extremely important to close the Heart Story loop and return to that connection with the reader. Close with a little bit of heart. Appeal to that emotional connection again.
Briefly remind your readers who you are and why you care about helping them. These will be the last words they read from you, so make them count!
Putting Your Blog Post Together
Once you’ve got your blog post written using the Story Braid framework, it’s time to put it all together. Designing a blog post is more complicated than a simple checklist, but it’s still not that difficult, especially if you use a template.
We’ve provided another Canva template you can use if you want to go the DIY route. Or, you can reach out to us as SMB Team if you just want it off your plate and would rather hire us to handle it.
You could also hire an independent designer to put your blog post together. All you’ll need to do is find some examples of blog posts you like (and one that you DON’T like) and send them to the designer along with your text. It’s a simple job for a designer and you’ll probably end up with a more attractive end product than if you try to DIY.
Freelancing sites like upwork.com give you access to a network of designers at all skill levels. All you have to do is make a profile and post a description of the job. You can even ask screening questions if you want. Then, freelancers will pitch their services to you.
It’s hard to vet people on freelancing sites, so you should be aware that there’s some risk involved in this process. Look at prior ratings and realize that you might be disappointed a few times until you find someone you can really trust. Once you do, it should be smooth sailing!
- Lead magnets provide value in exchange for contact information
- They are designed to attract “top-of-funnel leads” who aren’t ready to call (MQLs)
- Use the same structure for all your lead magnets
- Choose “zoomed out topics”
- Create checklists in minutes using Canva templates
- Write blog posts using the Story Braid Framework
Chapter Nine: Lawyer Landing Page Secrets
So, you’ve got yourself a lead magnet. You might be wondering “now what?” Who’s going to download it and how are you going to get their contact information?
The answer is landing pages. With a great landing page, you’ll get people excited about downloading your content. You’ll be able to double the number of leads you’re getting without spending any more money on marketing!
In this chapter, you’re not only going to learn what a landing page is, but also how you can create these powerful law firm marketing tools FAST. You’ll learn my top landing page secrets so you can find TONS of success without much experimentation.
By the end of this lesson, you’ll know how to capture the leads that ARE ready for a consultation AND the leads that AREN’T ready to call just yet. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to stop squandering your leads. Landing pages can help you waste 200% LESS of your law firm’s marketing budget and bring in more cases for less money.
If you’ve never used landing pages before, then doubling your leads with this technique is a conservative estimate. I’ll bet that once you start using landing pages built using this framework, you’ll capture TEN TIMES the leads that you were before you started the Grand Lawyer Marketing Plan™.
Even if you have been using landing pages, they might not be optimized for capturing as many leads as possible. You can improve your current landing page success and collect even MORE leads by following the steps in this chapter.
After today, you’ll be able to implement new ideas instantly so you can test them out. You’ll have the skills and the infrastructure to ride any future wave of inspiration and take bold action. Your landing pages will come together quickly so you can spend more time on other high-value activities and enjoy more time for yourself.
We’re fixing the broken cash register here.
We’ve set up the foundations of your marketing machine already. Now, we’re adding key elements that allow you to serve and help the leads you’ll be attracting.
What are Landing Pages for Lawyers?
On your website, you probably have at least a few different pages. You might have individual pages for different case types, an “about me” page, etc. People can click through your website and navigate to these pages whenever they want to. They’re designed to offer visitors information about your firm.
Landing pages (also known as “lead capture pages” or “squeeze pages”) are different. A landing page is a single web page built to accomplish ONE specific goal.
Instead of “living” on your website, a landing page is a static page that people access ONLY when they click on a specific URL, usually in an ad, email, or some other marketing campaign. No one should be able to access any of your landing pages from your website menu.
The goal of a landing page is to provide a platform for someone to take the first step toward solving their problem. It’s a “mini” commitment that indicates interest.
When a person clicks on the link, they “land” on the page, which will prompt them to provide their contact information. Usually, this is in exchange for a lead magnet like a blog post or a free consultation.
The Two Types of Landing Pages for Lawyers
Segmenting your landing pages will help you stay focused on your goals and attract different kinds of leads. There are two main types of landing pages that we’re going to discuss in this chapter:
Blog post/Lead Magnet Landing Pages—The lead magnets we created in the last chapter will offer value to your prospects. But a lead magnet landing page is what will get those leads to provide their contact information, usually their email address and first name.
This is what’s known as “gated content.” Landing pages are the “gates” for your lead magnets. They capture leads as you funnel them toward content that helps them solve their problems. This strategy is for collecting Marketing Qualified Leads so you can nurture them and eventually turn some of them into Sales Qualified Leads.
Consultation Landing Pages—If a lead knows they need a lawyer, they have very different goals from someone who wants to download a blog post. By using a consultation landing page, you can help these leads take the next step and offer a free consultation. These pages ask leads for their email address and contact information so they can speak with someone at your firm.
Landing pages are mostly used as a platform to deliver the added value of a lead magnet or consultation. But they also have to build trust and be appealing enough to prevent people from leaving without downloading your lead magnet or giving you a call.
Why Landing Pages for Lawyers?
People are busy and have a LOT of options. Depending on your region, there could be dozens of attorneys competing for the same clients. If you don’t get something from your leads quickly, they’re likely to go to one of your competitors.
When someone visits your landing page, their world should STOP. A good landing page should command their attention long enough to get their contact information.
If done right, landing pages can turn attention into value. If you’re currently turning only 1% of the attention your firm gets into value, a great landing page could potentially turn that into 60% value conversion. That’s mind-blowing.
On the other hand, poor landing page execution WILL come back to bite you. You’ll struggle with your profit margins and every marketing move you make will perform badly. It’s an endless loop of disappointment that will result in more spending for fewer cases.
Many lawyers don’t understand just how key landing pages are to creating a law firm marketing machine that doesn’t rely on referrals alone. Cold leads won’t forgive ANY missteps. They’ll gladly turn their attention to something else if you don’t give them what they need.
The hardest thing to do in legal marketing is to get eyeballs on your content and advertising. But you can’t just stop there. The goal of your marketing is to get more cases and make money. So after you’ve gotten those eyeballs on your content, you have to be able to turn that attention into value (cases).
As we move on and create landing pages, keep asking yourself this question: “how can I turn 100% of the attention I get into value?” I need you to be laser-focused on that goal because any attention you can turn into value will make your marketing strategy more profitable.
For everything you do going forward, ask yourself: “did I squeeze enough value out of that attention?” For some of your marketing, you’ll be PURCHASING attention. Don’t you want to get as much value out of it as you can?
OBSESS about capturing value. Attention is key, but it doesn’t make money on its own. More value = more money.
Landing Page Expectations
If you start looking at some of the top online directories for lawyers, contractors, and other service providers, you’ll start to see some patterns. These directories spend millions to make the landing pages for their listings as effective as possible for capturing value.
You can learn a lot from just studying great landing pages. There are tons of similarities between these pages because some strategies have been proven to work over and over again. I’ll be teaching you exactly how to structure your landing pages using these strategies, but we need to set some expectations first.
Expectation #1: Cold leads won’t forgive bad marketing. Referrals will.
With the number of ads competing for your leads’ attention, they have no reason to give you a piece of it unless you prove that you DESERVE it. If you’ve gotten away with bad marketing in the past, then your business has probably been built on referrals in the past.
Cold leads are different. They WILL NOT forgive bad marketing. You have to have an airtight client capture infrastructure if you want to turn cold leads into value. You can’t make excuses here or you WILL lose money and waste your marketing budget.
Referrals are great. They’ll bring in new cases. But remember, we’re building a CONSISTENT and RELIABLE marketing machine. You need the attention of cold leads, and if your marketing is bad, they’ll go to your competitors without a second thought.
Expectation #2: Only sell the “first step,” not your services
Imagine you’re on a first date. You like the person and you’re interested in getting to know them. Then, out of the blue, they ask you to marry them. Would you say yes?
Of course not! So why should you expect your leads to sign a retainer before you’ve gone through all the steps? You have to build up that trust first and let them ease into the process that will eventually solve their larger problem.
Moving too fast is stressful for people. Don’t overwhelm them. Take it slow and just offer them the first step. Ask for the second date before you start thinking about marriage.
The more you try to sell them in advance, the less likely they are to call you. It’s too much pressure! Don’t beg or “hard sell” and don’t confuse your leads. Be clear about what the next step is and guide them to it.
The only promise your making is to solve their initial problem. That’s it.
Expectation #3: Offer >>> Copy
If the content is good enough, people won’t care about the quality of your writing. Great copy can make a good offer better, but it’s not going to save a weak offer. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you hire the best writer in the world or write your own landing pages. The offer has to stand on its own.
Think about it this way: when a friend calls or emails you with breaking news, you’re not going to care about their grammar. The way they present the information doesn’t matter as much as the information itself. If it’s relevant to you, you’re going to care.
By thinking creatively and offering valuable information that your competitors haven’t even thought of, your leads will overlook mediocre copy. You’re providing unique value, you’re not trying to please the grammar police.
Getting hung up on the copy will slow you down. “Good enough” copy works just as well if you have a great offer. Likewise, if you’re having trouble with your page, it’s probably an issue with the offer, not just one specific word.
You know what your clients want. You’ve worked with a lot of different people and you have an innate understanding of the market. After going through the FFWA™ exercise and the USP framework, your instincts should be good. You just need to tap into that and think about what kind of offers will be compelling for potential clients.
Expectation #4: Your website and landing pages are obstacles
People are always trying to get what they want as quickly as possible. They want your lead magnet or access to you without having to jump through a lot of hoops.
You need to accept that your website and landing page are OBSTACLES to leads. They are perceived as blocking access to the information they need. Think about it: if someone has to fill out a contact form or scroll down to get what they want, that’s slowing them down.
If you make the process too difficult or write large blocks of copy, people will give up. Shorter is better. Leaving some unanswered questions is better. Most people just want to talk to an expert! If you give them an emotional trigger, they will want to pick up the phone and talk to a comforting human being.
A landing page is NOT the place for extensive FAQs or excessive information. Think from a removal mindset, not an addition mindset. Evaluate each of your pages for obstacles. Find the places where you’re slowing people down and remove those walls.
You’ll know you’ve done this right when you feel like you’re missing something or leaving something out. Most people are internet-capable and are going to do additional research if they need to. You don’t have to push information on them.
Expectation #5: Focus 60% on mobile layout
These days, people browse on all kinds of devices, from desktops to phones. Think of the mobile experience as a “snack” and the desktop/laptop experience as a full-course dinner. Most lawyers use computers to look at their website and don’t understand why it’s important to optimize for mobile.
More and more people are using their mobile devices for all of their online activities. Over 50% of your visitors are going to be visiting your landing pages and website on mobile devices. You have to cater to that preference. It will also help you to cut out unnecessary obstacles and text because mobile browsing is on a smaller scale.
Landing Page Design Principles
Design can make or break the performance of a landing page. Psychology determines how we respond to design, and it’s important to think about it as a form of communication. It’s true that your offer is still more important than the design, but good design can only help improve your lead capture infrastructure.
If you ever get stuck when designing a landing page, here are 5 key principles to come back to:
1. The “2-3” Max Rule
Do you have a maximum of 2-3 colors, fonts, and text sizes on your page? Any more than that and it will start to become overwhelming and confusing for people.
Make your alignment clean and uniform. Alignment should never draw attention to itself. It should make sense and not create an unnecessary obstacle. Check your indentation and make sure everything lines up in a way that looks natural.
3. Call-to-Action (CTA)
Every landing page needs a clear call to action. You should draw attention to that CTA by using a contrasting color from the other elements. Your call-to-action buttons should also match each other to make it really clear as to what they are.
4. Copy Repetition
Remember, we’re trying to remove obstacles here. It’s better to repeat yourself than it is to add too much “stuff” that could overwhelm your leads. Hammer the point home. Make the next step crystal clear.
Don’t give them options! Use repetition to the point where you feel redundant.
5. “KISS” (Keep it Simple, Stupid)
The Keep it Simple, Stupid mantra is something you’ll want to come back to in your landing pages and other lawyer marketing. More is not always better. Clean and simple wins every time.
Do NOT overcomplicate your landing page. Anything that comes off as complex will just be yet another obstacle. It should be simple enough that a kid could understand it (ask your kids for their opinion, if you have them!).
Creating Your Law Firm Landing Page
At SMB Team, we use a tried-and-true landing page template that we’ve tested extensively. It’s clean, simple, and most importantly, it WORKS. It’s based on psychology and is designed to get leads to take the next step.
This is ONE page, but it hits on everything you need. Focus 80% of your efforts at the top of the page so people don’t have to keep scrolling to get what they need. You’ll lose leads if you don’t keep this simple.
The header of your landing page needs to be vertically narrow. It shouldn’t take up too much space and there should be NO MENU. Your law firm’s logo goes on the left, perhaps with a short tagline or USP statement underneath. On the right side of the header is a call-to-action with a click-to-call link, especially on mobile.
Once that’s set up, you need to go through the Landing Page Success worksheet for the type of page you’re creating. Let’s go through each section now:
This is the most important text on any landing page. It’s the “moneymaker.” Don’t try to make any kind of claim here. Instead, use this space to ask a question, like:
“Injured in a car accident in the Bronx? Would you like to get the maximum payout you’re entitled to as fast as possible, without working with a stuffy lawyer?
See how that works? Give them benefits and solve a potential frustration without promising any specific results. A 3-point headline (three benefits or two benefits and a frustration) works best.
Use your headline to SOLVE a fear and frustration. Don’t get negative. You have very little time to create an emotional response. Get people invested instead of leaning on hype.
Know that when anxiety is high, you have the best chance of capturing leads. What can you give your lead in 24 hours or less that will address their anxiety? What can you provide that will make someone respond to your CTA?
That will depend on where they are in the funnel. On Google Ads, a consultation might be enough. In other contexts, you’ll want to provide a lead magnet like a blog post or a video.
Remember: the goal of a landing page is to make time STOP. You have to do that in your headline or you’re going to lose the lead. Why? Because we already know that landing pages are obstacles. People want results fast. They don’t want to make an effort Make it EASY for them to say yes.
This is a “soft” call to action – guide them to the next step, your CTA. For example:
“If the answer is ‘YES’, then call now for your [free consultation, blog post, case evaluation, etc.], where you’ll get…”
Keep this simple! Put most of your effort into the headline. If your headline is good enough, you won’t even NEED a sub-headline.
CALL TO ACTION
Defining your CTA is key. Only choose one for each page. You need to be very clear about the main action that you want your lead to take.
Find the CTA that is most appropriate for the platform you’re targeting. For example, Facebook Ads traffic is “top-of-funnel” and people won’t be interested in a free consultation. Google Ad traffic, though, is usually closer to the bottom of the funnel.
Here are some examples of CTAs for different platforms:
- Free payout evaluation
- Free case evaluation
- Download a blog post
- Schedule a consultation
3 VITAL BODY COPY POINTS
No one wants to pick up the phone and call a lawyer. People will always come up with reasons not to call your firm unless you can address their objections and embed urgency. You’ll do that in your 3 vital body copy points.
These go directly below your photo or video and should offer more information for people who have objections to your CTA. You should also add one valuable tip. Do NOT try to make the sale here. This is informational only.
What does this look like? Well, if someone is worried about being pressured to sign up on a consultation call, you might add the words “no pressure” or “no obligation” in your body copy. Or, if your audience often stereotypes lawyers, maybe you could say something like “talk to a smart lawyer.”
Work your way backward. Find the moment when a person might click away. What’s going through their mind at that point?
Each body copy point will have its own mini headline. Make the background white for high contrast. Think short, punchy sentences. Here are the body copy headlines from one of my landing pages:
- Not Just PPC, This Is Much, Much More
- Target The Exact Cases You Want
- 100% Focused On Cases, Not Clicks
See how I’m building urgency here? I’m not trying to make the sale directly. Instead, I’m showing visitors what they might be missing out on if they pass up my offer. In the body copy underneath each headline, I go into more detail and offer a valuable tip.
Now, it’s time to write your own. Think about the top objections that would stand in the way of someone calling you. Break those down and make calling you an URGENT priority for your lead. Make sure one of these points is a tip that provides additional value.
“FACE” VIDEO OR IMAGE
Your landing page needs a visual element to connect with leads. A video introduction directly from you is almost always the best choice, but you can get away with using a photo instead if you don’t have a video yet.
Don’t think you can just use a stock photo and get a good conversion rate. This has to be a high-quality video or photo of YOU. You need FACES on your landing page. Any image you use should project happiness and benefits. Smile in your photo! Be welcoming and inspire people to trust you.
If you use an intro video, keep it short—no more than 1-2 minutes long. In a video, you can go a little negative—but only to acknowledge the problem and frame the potential solution.
Visual components need to draw people in, not push them away!
Your landing page needs to include a way for people to call you. But don’t make the mistake of including an 800, 866, or 888 number if you run a small firm.
You need a LOCAL number unless you serve a national market. Why? Because it will improve your conversion rate by about 10%. That’s beyond huge. It’s a psychological trick, but it works.
“Trust builders” will show your leads that you’re not some hack just out to make a buck. They’re designed to give people peace of mind and show them what you can do. You should be using trust builders like testimonials on any lead-capture content.
Testimonials should be SPECIFIC. Generic testimonials don’t work. Even if you have to cover up your client’s name for their privacy, their own words will be powerful.
Video testimonials are the best choice because they result in better conversion rates. If you can’t do video, at least include a photo. Text alone isn’t enough.
You might be tempted to include as many testimonials as possible. Don’t give in to temptation! Stick with 2-3 trust-builders ONLY. More will only bog your page down and actually discourage people from taking the next step.
Choose your absolute best testimonials from your biggest cases. Go for QUALITY over QUANTITY. People don’t need to see every testimonial you’ve ever gotten. They just want proof that you know what you’re doing.
Landing Page Rules
I’ve given you the formula for quickly creating landing pages that will improve your lead conversion rate. But there are still some “rules” you should be aware of as you start to put your landing pages together. They are:
#1 Don’t use a slider (slideshow of images) at the top of the page. It KILLS conversions.
#2 Never use more than one call-to-action on your landing page.
#3 Eliminate links at the top or side of the page. Landing pages should only have ONE goal and ONE option.
#4 Avoid giving too much information. Don’t try to answer all your customer’s questions (no FAQs necessary!).
#5 Don’t try to make the sale. You only need your leads to take the next step.
#6 Avoid the standard “problem/agitate/solve” copywriting formula.
#7 No big or over-hyped claims.
#8 Focus on your clients in any content placed “above the fold.” Above the fold means content that’s visible at the top of the page, without scrolling. Cater to their needs!
#9 Make sure your phone number is a hyperlinked “click-to-call” button. Contacting you should be SUPER convenient.
#10: Sync your landing page forms with email marketing software to build your email list. This makes it much easier to follow up with leads.
#11: Make your landing page mobile-optimized! Most people will be accessing them on a mobile device.
“Test” Your Landing Page
Our goal in this phase is to roll things out quickly. But you also want to maximize your conversion rates for any landing page you publish. I’ve developed a quick “test” you can use to make sure your landing page is ready to go.
By going through this 7-point landing page checklist, you’ll be able to remove any doubt that your page is ready to go. If you can say “yes” to 5 of these 7 questions, it’s time to hit publish!
Will the lead visiting the page understand the biggest benefit of working with you?
Are some of the reader’s questions left unanswered?
Have you given enough information for someone to decide to contact you in 1 minute?
Have you left prices off of your landing page?
Can your staff provide the information the prospect wants over the phone?
Does the form require no more than three fields?
Do you have a “benefit-oriented” submit button?
No landing page is going to be perfect. But it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be good enough. It needs to get people to take the next step. Don’t overthink it. Publish the page and move on!
- Landing pages “capture” leads
- A landing page has ONE specific goal (either delivering a lead magnet or a consultation)
- Set your landing page expectations for increased success
- Use the 5 essential design principles and Perry Marshall’s landing page template
- Follow the top 11 landing page “rules”
- Test your landing page with the 7-point checklist
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