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When was the last time you gave any thought to your legal marketing communication strategy?
Have you ever delivered a message to an audience only to have them misinterpret your intent?
Did you ever communicate something to a group, expecting them to take action, only to be disappointed with the results?
These scenarios are quite common but few people make adjustments to their communication strategy as a result.
Today we are going to focus our discussion on how you communicate your message to your target audience. Our goal is to improve your message delivery regardless of the media you choose.
The ideas we will exchange today will work in print (direct mail, advertisements or articles), oral (speaking engagements, radio and television interviews, advertisements), and one-to-one communication.
Before we get deep into the details I’d like you to take a moment and imagine a scenario.
You are at a speaking engagement. The speaker gets up there, and he drones on and on and on for an hour or more. He speaks in a monotone voice. He uses no inflection and tells no stories. He simply delivers factually accurate information as if he is reading from the dictionary.
How would that make you feel?
Bored? Disinterested? Restless?
The speaker may even lull you to sleep and his message would be lost. He could have announced that you just won 1 million dollars, and you would never have known it.
That is not an effective way to deliver a message.
Everything in life is about energy, and we’re going to help you discover how to deliver a message so that your audience is motivated to take action.
You want people to jump up off their seats and get moving. The way to do that is not only to have a powerful message that motivates people, but also to deliver it in a way that is forceful and effective.
Now, you don’t have to be an excitable personality type. You don’t have to be like Jim Cramer from “Mad Money.” You don’t have to be like Tony Robbins on late night TV. You don’t have to be a fanatic in order to get your message to come through.
But you should use your personality, and you should use the techniques I’m going to share with you today.
You can get your message through to any audience at any time whether you’re speaking in front of people at a conference, on television, on the radio or in the written word. You can convey this passion, get people up off their seats and motivated to take action.
The first element of crafting an effective message is energy. You must let your passion come through during your delivery.
You don’t have to be a motivational speaker, jumping up and down, getting overly excited. But you do have to vary your voice inflection and tone, and you have to let your passion for the topic come through. I don’t care if you’re talking about quantum physics, or if you’re trying to get somebody jazzed up about a charity and get them to contribute $1,000.00. You’ve got to be passionate about the topic and the audience has to feel that passion.
When it comes to marketing, a conversational tone almost always wins the day.
Too often I see people put out marketing material that looks very sterile and academic, and they wonder why they don’t get results. The reason is because the tone of the message doesn’t resonate with the audience.
You must produce marketing material that is conversational. Use the first person tone of voice. The pronouns “I” and “you” are not dirty words. They may be verboten in academia but they are critical in marketing. Speak to people as if they’re people, whether you’re doing it in a written format or in an actual conversation from the stage, or on television.
Imagine you are having a conversation with someone who is sitting directly in front of you. You’re not receiving an academic grade. The grade you get is when people come to you with money in their hand.
The way to motivate people to come to you with money in their hand is to develop a relationship, and the way to develop relationships is through conversations. Write in the first person. Speak in the first person as if you’re just having a conversation in a one-on-one setting.
Right now, in this article, I’m speaking directly to you. I’m talking to you, and I thank you for being here, and I’m glad you’re with me. We’re developing a relationship right now. This is how you want to develop relationships with all of your clients.
The third element in a successful communication strategy is your opinion. You have an opinion. Being neutral is not a way to go through life. If you have no feeling for any topic, you are going to be the blandest person on the planet. No one is going to want to hang around you.
You have opinions on everything. People you meet know that you have opinions on everything. When you don’t share your opinions with people, you appear to be guarded. It’s as if you’re hiding something.
In your marketing material, you must share an opinion. Yes, people will disagree with you, and yes, you will drive some people away. But you will also attract people to you in droves. The people who are magnetically attracted to you will be even more attracted, and more loyal if they share your point of view. Regardless of who you are and what your opinions are, people will be attracted to you.
The example I give all the time of this comes from radio at two different ends of the spectrum.
On the right you have Rush Limbaugh, who’s a very conservative, right-wing figure who agitates people all the time. He gets people on the right very, very excited. He gets people on the left really, really angry. People listen each and every day. Why do they listen? Some listen because they agree with him. Some listen because they hate him. All of them listen because they want to hear what he has to say next.
The person on the left who does the same exact thing is Howard Stern. He doesn’t generally take political positions, but he is outrageous. People who are liberal, people who enjoy that type of humor, listen every single day. Why do they do it? They want to hear what he has to say next. They want to hear his opinion. That’s why they listen every day.
Both men, different ends of the spectrum, express their opinion, and people come back for more. And guess what…These people sell tons of products and services. They command high advertising rates. People take their word on the quality of the goods and services they advertise because they appear genuine.
You don’t have to be a controversial talk show host. You don’t have to be a fanatic. But you do have to express an opinion because people know it’s there, and they want to hear it from you. The folks with whom your opinion resonates will be people who are magnetically attracted and loyal to you.
The element of an effective communicative strategy is the narrative. If you’re trying to make a point to someone, if you want to bond with people, if you want to create a relationship, you have to be able to tell stories.
The story I use to open up all my presentations is the story of how I started my own business.
Over a decade ago I was a corporate executive working for the Gallup Organization. Known for its public opinion poll, Gallup also has a successful consulting division, and I headed up the Manhattan office, in New York City.
At the time I was working on a project that I had to deliver to the CEO of a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company. It was a very, very important project. We had just gotten some data in, and I was compiling it with my team. We were going to deliver a report to the company’s Board of Directors in two weeks.
Then on this cold December morning, I was sitting in my office preparing to leave for a lunch date with my wife when the phone rang.
On the other end was the CEO of this pharmaceutical company, and he said to me:
“I have to go to China on the day we’re supposed to get the report from you. Can you come over right now and give me a very quick executive briefing?”
I dropped what I was doing. I cancelled the appointment with my wife and I ran out into the very crisp December air, and down the street to this executive’s office.
I was crossing the street at Sixth Avenue and 45th Street, when all of a sudden I was struck by a taxicab.
In that moment, I was paralyzed from the armpits down.
As I was being wheeled through the hospital hallway on the west side of Manhattan, I thought:
“My goodness, the one thing I really wanted to do today, have lunch with my wife, I can’t do because I was heading off to work. How screwed up are my priorities? If I get the chance, I’m going to change. I’m never going to let my work dictate how I live my life.”
Once again, I was putting my family behind my work needs. I was putting my work ahead of my family needs. All the money I made was not important any longer because my life would have been changed for the worse.
Well, thank goodness I have completely physically recovered from that accident and I also recovered mentally.
From that point on, I decided that I was no longer going to put my work requirements ahead of my family. I quit that job and started my own company.
Now I help others have what I have. I help them discover how they can make a great living and live a great life ®.
That is the story I tell about how I got into this profession and why I focus on helping attorneys build a business around their lifestyle. It resonates with people. It’s powerful.
Now I’m not telling you to go out and get hit by a taxicab so you have a good story to tell.
What I am saying is that you have to have things in your life that have happened to you that have created the beliefs that make you who you are. Tell those stories to folks. If you want to stress a point to someone, whether it’s an academic point or a passionate point like the one I just made, you must have a story. You must have a narrative that goes along with it.
Stories engage a person’s emotions.
If you want to get people to come over to your side, if you want to sway their opinion, if you want to develop a relationship with someone, you have to be able to connect with them at an emotional level. If you connect with them at an emotional level, you can help them understand through logic and reason why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling. Once you do that, you have a relationship.
Connecting to people on an emotional level is important. Doing it through narrative is critical. You have to build stories into your communication, whether it is written or spoken word.
Call To Action
Action is the ultimate goal of marketing communication. Every communication tool you use, every message you put out, has to have a call to action.
You must answer the question: What’s next?
That’s the question going through the mind of your client after he is hit with your marketing message.
He wants to know what he should do next. Tell him in plain language.
People don’t remember things. That’s why repetition is critically important. People follow messages they hear first, messages they hear last, and messages that are repeated over and over and over again. I’m not saying you have to say things the same way over and over and over again. You can change the way you say things, but repeating your message is critical.
Saying things multiple times will help it resonate with folks. Repeating things in writing multiple times will help it resonate, will help it sink in, it will make sure that it connects with people in a way that they can understand.
Rephrase your message and your call to action. Say it multiple times. Use different voice inflections each time.
The minimum number of times to communicate a call to action is seven. People must hear a message seven times before their brain processes it.
Don’t worry about the repetition making people uncomfortable. It won’t. People may hear the message on the sixth or the seventh time, for the first time, so they won’t know it has been repeated.
Finally, we’ve come to the last aspect of communication strategy. This is really important and most people don’t get it.
Your message has to be focused, simple and concise. You only want to convey one point at a time and you want to do it in a way that resonates with people.
The best speech is a short speech. The best article is a short article.
You are creating a marketing message that has punch, resonates with people, gets you into their mind quickly and motivates them to take action.
I know this is a lot to think about. It is a lot to mentally digest. But this strategy, this formula, is the recipe for successful communication. Read it. Re-read it. Use this article as a checklist.
Following this step-by-step guide will help you deliver effective messages every time.
Now here is your call to action:
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