In a previous article, I discussed Coca Cola’s failures with New Coke to highlight just how important knowing your customers is to your law firm marketing campaign. In this article, I want to talk about what’s involved with a marketing campaign.
I often get prospects that call me up and want to outsource their entire lawyer marketing campaign. They don’t want to deal with it. They’ve tried a variety of different legal marketing tactics – tv, radio, print, web – and none seem to generate the calls they’re expecting. They know that something might be wrong, so they decide to check out marketing firms in hopes that these firms will be able to make their tv/radio/print ads/website better.
Unfortunately, it’s rarely that simple when it comes to marketing a law firm. Here are some reasons why:
- Marketing isn’t a one-step process – The days of running an ad and getting a stream of clients are over. Today, good marketing focuses on educating prospects over a period of time. It can take 5-7 contacts with a person before they even remember your name! Running one ad that lists your firm’s name, practice areas, and phone number won’t be noticed.
- Too many marketing messages – People are exposed to over 3000 marketing messages. Unless your ad addresses a current problem in a way that is meaningful to prospects, it will be overlooked. What ads do you remember seeing yesterday? If you remember any, what were they about? What captured your attention?
- Too much jargon – Most people don’t understand legal jargon, yet most lawyers define what they do in terms of practice areas. People don’t care about “litigation services” – they care because they just got sued and don’t know what to do. They don’t care about “transaction law” – they care about how to legally set up a business so they can quit their job and finally do what they’ve always wanted to do.
- Services are intangible – When prospects are in the market for a new tv or digital camera, they can go to Circuit City and see and even try out the product before they buy. Not so with services. They have to take your word that you are knowledgeable and experienced, easy to work with, and can do what you say you can. That is, you are the product that you need to sell. It’s virtually impossible to convey that with a 30 second commercial.
- Services involve building relationships – People work with the people they like. When you sign the contract, you’re not closing a sale and moving on, as you would with a product. You’re starting a new partnership that involves working closely with your new client until their problem is solved.
My point is that it’s impossible for law firms to completely outsource their marketing. Because you are the product, you must be actively involved in the process. And your marketing efforts must convey your expertise and personality. In most cases, that involves educating prospects through articles, seminars, talks, newsletters, and informative content on your website. And you need to do these things on a consistent basis. Once is rarely enough.