What if someone gave you a bunch of free billboard space in the city that you practice in?
What if the billboard company was willing to give space in the most trafficked areas of your city?
Getting this for free would be a HUGE opportunity right? And I’m guessing you’d jump at the chance to take advantage of this opportunity.
Well, unfortunately, the billboard companies aren’t giving away physical space for free. But let me share how you can easily and quickly take advantage of even BIGGER opportunities online.
Essentially, you’ll be getting thousands of dollars worth of free online exposure. But you have to do this in the right way. So, here’s the first step
A Core Marketing Message
The key to success with marketing isn’t just getting attention.
The key to marketing success is in having the right message.
Wherever you put that message, and however much you pay to put it there, the message has to be crisp and powerful. What makes it powerful is focusing on the most important thing, as viewed from the perspective of your ideal client.
So, what does a crisp, focused message look like? And how can you create such a message as quickly and as easily as possible?
Short answer: use very few words.
Start with a 220-character message
The sweet spot is 220 characters because that’s what LinkedIn allows in the area they call the “headline.”
Here’s a screenshot of the headline in my LinkedIn profile so you can see where the headline goes (and what it looks like on a mobile device):
My headline has 127 characters in it, and don’t think adding more words would help. Therefore, I didn’t.
There are no hard rules about how many characters, other than you need to be able to squeeze into the limits imposed by each platform.
I wrote enough to make the message crisp, with the key ideas being included. That’s the goal: crisp and focused.
The Approach (strategy)
Now, let me show you how to craft your own version of a LinkedIn headline (i.e. “bio”) that will serve as the copy-and-paste template for all other online platforms.
But before we talk about nuts-and-bolts writing tactics, let’s talk about strategy.
The strategy behind your message is to get more of your ideal clients to see your message and think “gee that’s the attorney I want to hire.”
And if your strategy is to focus on your ideal client (which it should be) then you need to craft your message with that strategy in mind.
The Recipe (tactics)
If you get the attention of someone who is a potential client they need to know just two things:
- What kind of law do you practice? (i.e. who is it that you primarily help?)
- Do you truly care about helping people, or are you mostly just interested in getting paid?
If you can work both of those elements into your biography in a way that’s crisp and focused, then you’ve got a solid gold hit. The first part of the recipe is pretty easy to write, but what about the second part?
Well, that’s where you have to get creative. And, as you might recall from when you were a young child, being creative is fun. As long as you don’t ruin it by acting like a perfectionistic adult.
(I’m joking around, of course. But you know what I’m talking about, right?)
Let’s get creative
And most importantly, let’s not put any pressure on ourselves. You can create a damned good bio in about two minutes.
Because if all you wrote for your bio was something like “I help [type of people you help described in terms of their legal problem]” you’d have a solid silver hit. Of course, you want to go for the gold, right?
Great. Because it’s not that much more challenging. You just need to get the gist of creating a solid gold hit and then play around with the words to make your bio crisp and focused.
The best way to do that is to see some examples of lawyer bios. I’ll show you some bad ones first. That way, you’ll know what to avoid, which is easy.
What NOT to do
So look at the following three LinkedIn bios and examine what’s in the “headline” area.
Most lawyers have online biographies like these. And that’s why most of us are conditioned to think this is what we should put in our biography.
But let me ask you a question…
Could you figure out what kind of law these three lawyers practice? Scroll back up and look closely.
You can’t figure it out, can you?
So imagine if these folks were given free billboard space and this is the message they chose to put on the billboard. How effective do you think the billboard would be?
Not very effective, obviously.
All they’d have to do to create a more effective message is to explain what kind of clients they serve.
How to do it better
Some lawyers refuse to follow the herd and are able to come up with effective biographies. Here are four examples of how to do it well.
Study these four profiles closely and then go back and compare them to the less-than-optimal ones. And pay attention to the profile pictures also.
Do you see how much more effective the second group of pictures is?
The one big thing
So what’s the one big question that your ideal prospects have? What’s the one big fear, or desire?
For an immigration lawyer like Jim Hacking most clients want to “stay, work and live the American dream.” So that’s what he worked into his bio.
For a trademark lawyer who helps online entrepreneurs, like Joey Vitale, they want to protect their brand (i.e., “call dibs” on it, as he puts it).
For a lawyer like Elise Buie who wants to help divorcing couples whose focus is on the long term health of their family, her 43 character phrase is solid gold: “Your Family’s Future is Our First Priority.”
Marty Sullivan’s ideal clients are property developers who have zoning issues, and he knows all too well how frustrated they feel when they have to deal with those issues. So he nails it when he writes: “I help property developers cut through the often bewildering DC zoning bureaucracy.”
The verb “cut” is crisp and biting. The word “bewildering” is powerful. And the net effect is to signal to property developers that he understands their frustration.
But he doesn’t say that explicitly. Because if he did, it would be less effective. And so therein lies the creative element in crafting the ideal biography.
You want to inject the empathy component into the bio in a way that’s natural-sounding, crisp, and also powerful. That takes a bit of brainstorming and patience as you try different word combinations.
You’ve got this
Now you know how to take advantage of all the free online publicity out there.
Just reflect on the ideal client that you most want to attract (strategy).
And follow the simple steps I showed you (tactics) to create a crisp 220-character message.
Finally, copy and paste your 220 character message into as many online platforms as possible (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Yelp, Slack, etc.).
Use the exact same profile photo for every platform (so that your branding is consistent everywhere).
Then sit back and see how many more of your ideal clients start reaching out to you based on your much-improved online marketing system.
P.S. If you want a better practice, start using the 80/20 Principle.