Because They are Lawyers
Would you ask an auto mechanic to cook a gourmet meal? If not, then it may not be a surprise that the set of skills and abilities that are used as a lawyer, are not the same as those of a marketer.
I would even argue that they are nearly opposites. However, lawyers often choose to do their own marketing. Lawyers believe that because they are lawyers, they can do their own marketing effectively.
The product of an entire industry holding this belief has created the least diversified ad copy environment the world has ever seen. There appears to be only 9 messages making up most legal ad copy. This leads to some of the most over used clichés in any industry. If you conduct a search for an attorney, you will probably find a very short list of marketing statements including the following. (If I left any out please leave a comment.)
- Free Consultation / Free Case Evaluation
- Experienced / x years of experience / x years combined experience
- Aggressive / We fight for you / Tough /
- “Have you been / in an accident? / injured? / hurt?
- “No Recovery, No Fee” / “No Fee Unless You Win” / “We Don’t Get Paid Until You Do”
- “Call Now”
- “Get Money” / “Be compensated” / “millions recovered”
- “We can help”
With all of the different law firms, people, lawyers, personalities, cases types, etc… You would expect more than 9 messages to make up the large variety of marketing copy that could be available. The bottom line is this, if you are an attorney and you are using these phrases as ad copy; hire a professional marketing firm to create your firm’s marketing.
Lawyers Have a Difficult Time Communicating with Non-Lawyers
Lawyers believe that people hire attorneys, like a company hires employees. It’s simply not true for most consumer facing practices. People are more likely to hire someone based on an advertisement that evokes an emotional response. For example who would you choose?
Another reason why lawyers are less than great at marketing is because they love words. Sometimes, a very large word that most people don’t use, my favorite example is the phrase “No Recovery, No Fee.” Which is used in many personal injury advertisements, most PI clients have no idea what “recovery” means within that context. Law firms need to craft marketing messages that speak to their client’s emotional response. Focus on the overall benefits of the decision to hire an attorney with a strong visual aspect.
The solution is two-fold; first hire a professional, second, create a campaign and marketing position that is geared towards your firm’s target audience. In 2013, take a long hard look at your firm’s marketing efforts and change how you compete by improving your marketing strategy.
P.S. Please stop using law books, gavels and scales as props and logos.