As far as the general public is concerned, one lawyer is pretty much like the next—which makes it unlikely that a prospective client will choose your firm over the one down the block according to any metric other than sheer chance. That's why differentiation is the key to your marketing campaign: you have to throw potential clients a “hook” that will lodge your firm in their minds and set you apart from every other interchangeable attorney out there!
What Makes for a Good Advertising Hook?
Great lawyer marketing hooks are made, not born: There has to be something that sets you apart from your fellow attorneys, even if it doesn't seem like all that big a deal to you. For example:
- Were you the attorney in a lawsuit that generated major media attention (win or lose, it doesn't really matter)?
- Have you “changed sides” in the course of your career? If you were a former DA, and are now a defense lawyer, that's the kind of thing that clients love.
- Do you specialize in one, extremely focused area of the law? Clients will want to know, say, that you're the most experienced maritime injury lawyer in San Diego!
- Do you have a compelling story about your life before you entered the law? (Your parents met in the military, you were raised in an orphanage, etc.)
- Do you have a talent for explaining the law in non-technical jargon, and not overwhelming clients with legalese and obscure Latin phrases?
You Need to Give Potential Clients a Reason to Choose You, Rather Than the Other Guy
You may balk at the need to differentiate yourself from other attorneys: after all, aren't the most important things that you have a firm grasp of the law, and that you have a good track record with clients? In an ideal world, they would be—but in the world we live in, most people can't tell one lawyer from the next.