Your unique educational message: how and why it attracts new clients

friday, 16 october of 2009

Your unique educational message: how and why it attracts new clients

by Trey Ryder

Your educational message is the most important piece of your marketing puzzle. This is the message that attracts inquiries from prospective clients. Depending on their readiness, this handout will motivate them to visit your web site, attend your seminar, request an appointment with you, hire your services, or all four.

When a prospective client comes into your office, you have certain things you say to him with the hope of persuading him to hire you. The information you present may be much the same from one prospect to the next if both prospects are interested in the same area of the law.

On the other hand, even if you practice only in one area, you may find that you present significantly different information from one prospect to the next because your prospects' have different needs. For example, an estate planning lawyer might have one educational handout addressing basic estate planning topics and another for advanced asset protection issues. A family law attorney may have one set of materials for couples wanting a divorce and another set for couples hoping to adopt a child.

If you address two distinct types of prospects, you should prepare one educational handout for each so he can request the handout that is relevant to his needs Or, if you want to attract one of these prospects but not the other, the subject matter in your handout will determine which prospect calls to request your information. In this way, you attract specifically the clients you want, and do not attract those you would rather screen out. As your information grows more and more specific, the type of client you attract will grow more and more specific, as well.

Your educational message should teach your prospect about (1) the seriousness of his problem (or the importance of the goal he wants to achieve), (2) the seriousness of allowing the problem to persist, (or the benefits he will gain from achieving his goal without delay) and (3) the steps he should take to get the best result. And last, you should include your biographical information, including your photograph, so you go as far as possible to creating a trusting relationship and giving your prospect the feeling that he already knows you.

The premise is this: You want your prospect to appreciate the urgency of solving his problem or achieving his goal at the earliest possible moment. You want your prospect to know all the steps that need to be taken to bring him the best result. You want your prospect to conclude you have the knowledge, skill and experience necessary to achieve the best outcome.

When you include a (fairly) detailed list of steps that should be taken to achieve the best result, your prospect often concludes (1) the task is too big for him to tackle on his own, and (2) you are the only attorney he knows who understands how to achieve the results he wants.

When you offer steps in a process, your marketing has a pre-emptive effect on competing lawyers. After reading your materials, your prospect realizes that you know how to solve his problem, but he can't be sure that other lawyers know as much about the subject as you. This bonds him more tightly to you and increases his desire to hire you over other attorneys. In fact, depending on the prospect's experience hiring lawyers, after he receives your materials, he might not even consider hiring anyone else.

Your educational handout should have several sections. While you don't need to label them "Section 1" or "Section 2", each is separated by a subhead with a persuasive title all its own. The subheads at the beginning of each section should be a teaser that attracts attention to that part of your handout. Here are the sections I recommend:

SECTION #1: Introduces and discusses the subject in general, and defines any legal terms you will use to explain the subject.

SECTION #2: Identifies and describes the problems most people face when they don't have the help of a lawyer.

SECTION #3: Misconceptions about the subject. Identifies misconceptions people have that cause problems and may cause them to get a result different from what they want.

SECTION #4: Mistakes people make. This can cover mistakes they make when trying to handle the matter themselves -- or mistakes that result from hiring a lawyer who is not skilled in this area of law.

SECTION #5: Steps the prospect should follow to get the best result, or secrets of solving the problem or achieving the goal. Use "steps" if things should be done in sequence. Use "secrets" if things must be done, but not necessarily in any order.

SECTION #6: How to hire a lawyer. Includes points to consider and questions to ask before your prospect hires an attorney. This is where you teach the prospect how to qualify lawyers he might hire. Since this is your playing field, you define the hiring qualities the prospect should consider as broadly or narrowly as you wish.

SECTION #7: Your photograph and biography. Gives details of your relevant education and qualifications. When you include a good photo and a fairly extensive biography, prospects grow comfortable because they know something about you.

SECTION #8: Call to action. This is the key marketing element that invites your prospect to take whatever action you want him to take. Prospects who don't know how to proceed often don't do anything.

SUMMARY: Your educational handout should (1) answer all the questions your prospect might ask, (2) include a title and sub-heads that tease your prospect, with the hope that he won't take any action or hire another lawyer until he first reads your materials, (3) create a warm, friendly feeling toward you based on the quality of your photograph, and (4) demonstrate to your prospect that you are qualified to work on his behalf based on the information we include in your biography -- and based on the depth of the information and advice you present.

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© Trey Ryder

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