If you are going to have a successful law practice, you need clients. You get clients by marketing and selling your legal services. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately, for a vast majority of lawyers, it’s the most painful part of running your own law practice.
As Mark Britton, the Founder of Avvo, said at the Super Marketing Conference held in Boston, MA at Suffolk University last month, “lawyers feel more comfortable practicing law than marketing.” Rather than step outside their comfort zone, most lawyers stick with the status quo “doing what the competition is doing and they don’t know what they’re doing either.”
We’re an industry of copycats.
Everyone has the same marketing message of high-quality work done by an experienced professional. We put all of our marketing dollars into websites, brochures, and logos that scream “I’m a lawyer. See the gavel, the scales of justice and the picture of the courthouse. You should hire me because I’m a lawyer.”
How effective is this marketing approach when every lawyer around you is saying the same thing?
Marketing is about differentiating yourself from the competition.
For some strange reason, most lawyers are doing the exact opposite. They are doing everything they can to look just like their competition, making it difficult for potential clients to tell them apart.
This is an industry-wide problem. (Don’t believe me? Start looking at your competitor’s websites. After about 10, can you tell which firm is which?)
So why do attorneys do this?
According to Stephen Seckler of Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching the #1 fear lawyers have when it comes to marketing is that they will come across as a slimy sales person (which I find ironic when I cringe every time I see those tacky personal injury attorney TV commercials.)
There’s also an undercurrent of fear that they will run afoul of the professional marketing rules set forth by the individual states. Many of the rules are vague. Rather than push their luck, attorneys will watch what other attorneys do. If the other guy doesn’t get in trouble, then
they’ll just do it too.
Lawyers have embraced the safety in numbers approach coupled with a bland, nondescript marketing message. If I look like every other lawyer, I’m not going to be called out.
But if you look like every other lawyer, it’s difficult to be picked by a potential client.
Now, we wonder why LegalZoom is doing so well.
It’s not all about low prices. It’s about the marketing. They’re offering the exact same services, but rather than having the boring vanilla message, they offer a very upbeat, happy message on hiring a lawyer.
It’s a different voice promising an easy legal experience. Isn’t that what your clients are looking for too? So why aren’t you letting them know that you can do that too?
As a solo, you have all the say over your marketing message. You don’t have to be slimy or boring. You don’t have to look like everyone else.
I challenge you to really think about what message you are putting out to potential clients. Are you just a copycat? If someone looking for the legal services that you provide stumbled upon your website, would they know that they should pick you over the competition? Or is your marketing message mimicing the attorney down the street?