Legal marketing—what a drag, right? Studies show that most lawyers agree. But what if legal marketing wasn't a drag after all? What if basically everything you've ever been told about marketing your law firm online was wrong? In this guide, we'll look at negative assumptions about marketing law firms, and debunk these assumptions one at a time. By the time you're finished reading, you should feel more comfortable with the role of marketing in your law firm.
#1: Legal Marketing Is Boring
Marketing is ranked by most solo practitioners and small firm partners as their least favorite part of keeping a firm going. One of the biggest reasons is that it just doesn't seem that fun. If your marketing seems boring even to you, the right response is to change up your marketing strategies. Marketing certainly doesn't need to be boring, and the right kinds of marketing can be both informative and humorous.
Consider creating video content or starting a blog about the legal issues that interest you. Many attorneys think that marketing is boring just because they've only seen boring attorney advertisements in the past. You don't have to be just like them—figure out what's unique about your law firm and bring that uniqueness to bear in your advertisements.
#2: Legal Marketing Is Dishonest
While it's true that legal marketing can be dishonest, the best marketers use honesty as a major tool of the trade. Authenticity is one of the best traits your marketing can have, and keep in mind that firms that use dishonest tactics could be subject to discipline from the bar. Even if they're not disciplined or they're working just this side of the ethical line, dishonesty will eventually come out and it will cause problems. You can't hide things in today's online world—Yelp reviews and other online review websites will out attorneys who are incompetent.
People are more impressed today by honest and forthright content than they are with puffery. You're much better off telling the story of your firm in authentic and simple ways, instead of trying to make yourself sound more experienced than you actually are.
#3: Legal Marketing Is Beneath Our Firm
Legal marketing is fine for firms that are grubbing in the dirt, you might say, but our firm is above it. We already have a good reputation in our community and we don't need to do online marketing just to keep up with upstarts.
While this may sound good, it's also a quick path to a slow and sad decline in your number of clients. New business today comes from the world wide web—more than from any other source, including in person referrals. Today, choosing to be above the fray when it comes to legal marketing is business suicide.
#4: Nobody Listens to Marketing, Anyway
This is one of the excuses given by people who don't want to take the time to do good marketing. If you think nobody's listening to marketing, you're ignoring the market. Attorneys today report more traffic from ever coming to their websites from organic search and social media marketing. If you're ignoring marketing, you're ignoring that your firm is a business in competition with other businesses.
People listen to marketing because they want more information about who will be the best law firm for their needs. If you can make your marketing speak to people's needs, they will be much more likely to listen to what you have to say. If your marketing has failed in the past, consider that you may not have been appropriately addressing the needs of your audience, or may have been putting it out in front of the wrong audience.
#5: Marketing Requires a Big Budget
One of the biggest reasons that law firms sometimes refrain from actually learning much about marketing is that they think they'll need a large budget just to accomplish any of their marketing goals. Unless your goals are really excessive, though, you may find that a low budget marketing solution can still help you get where you want to go.
Even something as simple as signing up for a few social media accounts, then making sure to make posts on a regular basis, or getting a free blog, can be great marketing—if your ideas and content are good enough. Remember that great content is the absolute best way to compensate for a low budget—a low budget and bad content is a death knell.
#6: Marketing Is the Same As Advertising
If you think that marketing is just a nicer word for ads, you couldn't be more wrong today. Today's marketing is so much more than ads, and can extend in many different directions. For example, social media means that even going to a party or event can be considered marketing, and not just to the people that you see in person at the event.
Marketing is something that, to some extent, you can do all the time just by being present in your community and getting your name out there when you can. Advertising is just one small aspect of marketing, but most of your best marketing actually comes from your reputation—a reputation built from thousands of small interactions, rather than the things an advertising copywriter says about your firm.
#7: We Have To Do It Ourselves
Too many law firms believe that the only way to do marketing is to go it alone. They are afraid to seek the help of marketing firms, especially online marketing firms, even when their online marketing is clearly failing and needs the eye of a professional. Going to a professional online marketing firm can help you to get the kinds of online marketing that you want, and you may be surprised at the budgets many of these firms are willing to work with.
Make sure before hiring any online marketing firm that they've successfully worked with law firms before. You don't want to pay to be someone's experiment if they aren't used to the legal services market yet.