I often hear lawyers lamenting that their marketing campaigns no longer work as well as they used to. Before, they could rely on Yellow Page advertising and referral marketing. Now, the referrals have dried up and no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore, so what do they have to do to get business? Here are 6 mistakes lawyers make when marketing their services.
- No target audience – Most ads focus on everything an attorney can do for a client. There’s a picture of the lawyer, a list of 5-8 practice areas, and a phone number to call. These days, people don’t want a general practitioner. They want a specialist, so limit your ads to one practice area and specifically address why your target audience will benefit by talking with you about their legal problem.
- Too much legalese – Lawyers tend to assume that non-lawyers know and understand legal jargon. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t true. The average person didn’t go to law school and spend years reading court verdicts or writing briefs. They don’t know the lingo nor do they want to. Instead, explain what you do so a fifth grader could understand. Don’t worry about talking down to people. You aren’t.
- Too complicated – Attorneys will often over-complicate their message while trying to explain to prospects why they should hire them. The more complex your marketing message is and the longer it takes for them to figure out what you are saying, the less likely anyone will bother taking the time to decipher it. People are busy and suffer from information overload. If something seems irrelevant or complicated, they filter it out.
- Too many assumptions – Your prospects and clients don’t know what services you offer unless you explain them. Lawyers tend to describe their services by practice area like “commercial litigation,” “corporate restructuring” or “fiduciaries” whereas people tend to describe what they need by the problems they are having. Instead, use case studies and examples of how you’ve helped people solve their legal problems. If they don’t see their problem listed in your services offered, they may take their business elsewhere.
- Too time consuming – Lawyers sometimes believe that anything they do that isn’t billable is a waste of time. This involves virtually all marketing activities like advertising, interacting with prospects, blogging and social media marketing. The problem is that you have to be interacting with prospects to convert them into clients. Business development is a fundamental part of any law firm. If you don’t have someone actively bringing in business, your firm won’t survive very long.
- Too reliant on referrals – The dream of any business owner is a 100% referral-based business. Unfortunately, very few businesses can obtain this goal and sustain it long term. Yes, referrals are great when you get them but you never know when you can expect them. It’s better to have several ways to attract clients so you always have a steady stream of business.
Marketing does work as well today as it used to, but the methods have changed. If your marketing isn’t working, it’s more likely because you have an ineffective marketing message, too broad of a target market, or a poorly implemented campaign.
You should create your marketing message as carefully as you create your argument before a jury in a court case. Ask your self, “If I was presenting this in front of a jury, would they understand what I’m trying to say?” If not, go back and revise it until they would understand.