Building trust with people that have never met you (or who barely know you) is excruciatingly difficult. But it can be done using a time-tested method called Direct Response Marketing.

Most lawyers have never heard of DRM, and some have heard of it but reflexively dismissed it without bothering to find out why it’s so effective.

Plus It’s not expensive to do. But best of all? Direct response marketing can be automated. Also important: direct response is data-driven, based on conversion to sales (as opposed to wispy metrics like clicks, impressions,

Famous adman David Ogilvy called direct response marketing his “secret weapon” because of its measurability and superior effectiveness.

If you want to learn DRM read Dan Kennedy’s book No B.S. Direct Marketing, which includes a chapter about a lawyer who used it to transform his law firm’s marketing—giving him total financial security in one fell swoop.

BTW, I’d love to hear your questions or get feedback (if you want to record your thoughts using this cool tool).

Also, you might want to download my free Guide to Working Smarter in the Digital Age (to help you optimize your practice —so you start working less and relaxing more).
And if you want to make improvements faster, check out my Working Smarter course.

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Show notes
  • Direct Response marketing builds trust with strangers
  • Direct response is cost-effective and powerful
  • Best of all: it can be completely automated
  • Direct response is hard because you have to write compelling follow-up emails, or pay to have them written by a copywriter.
  • You’ll also have to create a 1-page lead magnet, and pay to have a designer make it look nice. But that’s not expensive, or difficult.
  • Direct response marketing is well worth the effort, especially compared to the alternatives.
  • Lawyers who ignore direct response spend more money on minimally effective marketing that can’t be automated.

Click to View Transcript

Hi everyone, Ernie Svenson here, and welcome to this episode of Law Firm Auto-Pilot, where today we will be talking about Direct Response marketing.

Last time we talked about the Referral Marketing, and I told that that was the easiest and most powerful way to get new clients. Direct Response marketing is harder. It’s actually much harder than referral marketing.

So why do it? Well, because it’s the only way to create and build trust with strangers that works well, and is cost-effective.

Note, if you can earn trust from complete strangers and turn them into clients, then you have a much larger pool of potential clients to work with. But only about 1% of attorneys are doing Direct Response Marketing which is unfortunate for them, but a great opportunity for those who are in the know.

Now, the key to Direct Response Marketing is you have to be very focused on a particular kind of person with a special problem. That’s because getting people’s attention is harder today. People see about 5,000 ads per day now, people are overwhelmed with offers and so they instinctively tune up most of them.

Getting attention must be done exceptionally well, and has to be done very tastefully, if you want to also establish trust.

The most important thing with direct response marketing is not so much getting of the attention because that’s theoretically the easy part. But what makes it harder is you have to be congruent with how you get attention, and how you build trust.

And of course, that’s what trips people up. The most important thing with direct response marketing is the follow-up.

Now, here is the key point about Direct Response Marketing. People aren’t likely to commit and hire an attorney quickly usually—unless it’s a criminal defense attorney that they need because they’re in jail.

Most people will take time before making important decisions, and if you rush them then they pull back. If you try to pressure them to hire you, most people go into resistance mode. Not always, of course. You can convince people to do it this way. But most of the people you’ll convince by pressuring them aren’t going to be great clients.

Direct response is the solution because it builds trust tastefully and effectively. But also—and here is the really big thing—because it can be automated.

Now, as I said, unfortunately, it’s hard to do this building up of trust with follow up well, because you have to write emails to prospects in a certain way. A way that combines powerful psychology tactics with a low key approach.

Now, all Direct Response Marketing starts with a free download or a free report—something that you can deliver by email. The download should be very short, about one to two pages maximum. It should have a compelling title that catches people’s attention so that you can refer to this title and say, “This is what this report is about.” It should speak to an immediate concern or need.

For example, if somebody comes to your website and they’re looking– Let’s say your website is Legionnaires’ disease website because you do Legionnaires’ disease.

The report might say, “Five key things to know before hiring a Legionnaires’ disease lawyer.” Most people are going to say, “Huh, I wonder what those five key things to know are.” You are a Legionnaires’ disease lawyer, I want to see what you say that they are, and before I hire another Legionnaires’ disease lawyers, I certainly want to see what you say. I’ll be looking to other people, but I want to see what you say.

They’re going to want to know what your report says. Even if the other three or four Legionnaires’ disease lawyers also have reports, they’re probably going to download all of them. And they’ll certainly download yours.

Now, the reality is as I said, it’s only 1% of lawyers who are doing this. You’re not competing with anybody when you use Direct Response methods. You create a compelling headline, call it something like, “The five key questions you should know,” and then offer that as a download to them.

When they come to the website what’s going on they’ll see your report. They’ll be curious enough to give you their email address in exchange for their report. And then your automated email sequence is triggered.

They get the free report delivered immediately and then your system will send out one email per day for about four, five days offering additional information or helping them understand the perspective that you offered in the report.

And this is done in a way that is helpful. It’s done in a low key way. And it should be done using proven psychological tactics that help build trust.

Now, Let’s reflect on why this is hard to do.

It’s hard to do because it requires you to focus on one small segment. The smaller, the better. Because if you would say my report tells you “The Five Key Things to Know Before Hiring a Lawyer,” somebody who has a Legionnaires’ disease problem… they’re not worried about the five things necessary to hire a lawyer. They’re thinking about their specific problems.

You have to have a free report for each specific kind of problem they might have. And this is why it’s probably best to focus on one area of law. But you can have multiple free reports. But you should take one that is in the area of law that you most want to develop and the area where you want to get more good clients.

That’s how you do it. You get them to download this free report. You have to create very compelling lead magnet, that’s the reason why it’s hard to do,

It’s also hard because you have to get a designer to make the lead magnet look nice. Which actually isn’t that hard, but most people think it is hard.

Then you to have an automated email system. It’s also not hard to go to do this.

But here is the really hard part. You to write (or pay to have written) a psychologically-infused trust-building automated email sequence. But it’s amazing because it’s 100% automated. And also it’s an investment that you pay for only once.

You pay for the writing of the emails, and the free report, and the designer who fancies it up. You do this once, instead of having to keep paying an SCO guru every month to deliver core leads. And the SEO gurus never point out their simply driving cold traffic to a website, which does not establish trust. At least beyond something trivial and superficial.

TV ads, radio spots, billboards, all of those suffer from the same deficit that they don’t build trust. If you feel like you have to pay for leads to be driven to your website, first, invest in making a website a resource that helps you build trust even with strangers so that you get more conversions to clients from each of the leads you pay for.

In summary, direct response is a powerful way to build trust online with any prospective client even those who don’t know you at all.

It’s hard to do, but it’s worth doing, especially, if you’re not getting enough good clients in a steady way simply by doing referral marketing.

I recommend that you read a couple of books to get more familiar with aspects of this. The first one is a book by a fellow named Dan Kennedy, called The No B.S. Direct Marketing, a book, you read this book it’s available on Amazon.

There is even a chapter in the book by a personal injury lawyer named Ben Glass. He uses Dan Kennedy’s methods to get clients easily. I recommend that book to understand the basic components of Direct Marketing or Direct Response Marketing (it’s the same thing).

Then also there is a book by a fellow named Donald Miller which is called, Building a StoryBrand. He teaches businesses how to be more approachable and more authentic, in other words, how to build trust, and incredible ways by using the power of the story. He gives you a framework for using story telling and contacts of marketing. It’s a really great book, it’s one that you should read and if you work with a website person to help you build a website, you should build the website using elements of the StoryBrand methodology which you’ll read about when you read the book.

In the upcoming episodes, we’ll be talking about some of these books in more in-depth ways because I think it’s worth dwelling into.

But that’s it for this episode of Law Firm Auto-Pilot. In the next episode, we will talk about operational things like systems, that’s what we’re going to talk about first.

I look forward to seeing you then, and until then, I wish the best for you and your law practice.

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Thank you very much for your support! —Ernie


P.S. If you appreciate my approach and observations, you might want to check out my free PDF download.