Effective, Ethical and Outside the Box Marketing Information, MasterMind and Coaching Groups

Most attorneys run away from any marketing, afraid to tarnish their reputations and to be seen as "the TV attorney." We believe you are morally obligated to market your practice because you are the PERFECT attorney for someone looking to hire a lawyer right now.

We teach attorneys how they can ethically market their practices, using strategies you won't find anywhere else. Has "do good work and the cases will come" worked out for you? Probably not. This advice was designed to keep you from making money. Instead, we want you to be a good attorney and bring in new clients every day, without overspending on lead generation tactics or bloated TV ads.

Browse our frequently asked questions below to discover what you should be doing RIGHT NOW to bring in new clients. If you have more questions, visit our contact page to ask something specific. We also encourage you to download our 10-Step Program for Marketing Success to learn more about how successful solo and small firm attorneys market their practices.

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  • Aren’t industry norms there for a reason? Why should I approach marketing differently than everyone else?

    We know it feels good to follow industry norms and do what everyone else is doing—just like it’s easy to crumble to peer pressure, buy into the next big trend, or follow the crowd. But just because something is easy and comfortable doesn’t mean it is the best choice for you.

    • If you follow industry norms, you are doing exactly what your competition is doing, and clients are going to have a hard time differentiating you. Not only that, but you will be attracting the same exact clients as your competition. You won’t stand out and you won’t excel.
       
    • If you follow industry norms, you are assuming that conventional legal marketing is the optimum strategy. What have you done to confirm that the marketing ideas you use and the approach you take to your job are the best? Have you ever tried anything different or thought through what might be best for you?
       
    • If you follow industry norms, nothing will change. If you are reading this, you probably aren’t totally happy with your life. Your practice may not be as successful as you like. You might be overworked. Your marketing plan may not be working. How are you going to make things different? Probably not by continuing on the same path you are on. If you follow the same path everyone else has already taken, there’s no way you’re going end up the leader.

  • How can I successfully market my law firm with all of the constraints my state bar association puts on advertising?

    One of the major challenges facing attorneys today is the set of rules and regulations put forth by their state bar associations. These guidelines and regulations are in place to make certain that lawyers advertise in an ethical manner, but some believe that some of the rules are not well thought out or fair. What can you do about these constraints, and how can you still advertise successfully?

    First, know your state’s advertising rules—and follow them! Even if you don’t agree with everything, realize that it’s important to follow the regulations closely. You do not want to find yourself arguing about whether or not you have been professional, and you do not want to have to delete big chunks of your marketing plan.

    Secondly, it is vital to understand that you can still have great attorney marketing campaigns, effective commercials, and killer websites even with the limitations in place. Sure, you might have to put in a bit more effort and think out of the box—but that’s where you find the best ideas and inspirations anyway. Instead of letting the rules stifle you, let them challenge you to find a new way to reach potential clients.

    Finally, know that the Ben Glass style of marketing has been formed with these regulations in mind and is designed to work without attorneys having to worry about crossing any ethical lines or getting negative attention from their bar association. We even give our members regular updates about their state’s newest advertising rules.

  • I don’t get it: what makes attorney marketing so different?

    Why do you need learn about marketing strategies that are specific to attorneys and law firms? Why can’t you just get help from any number of so-called “marketing gurus” on the Internet? Let’s face it: marketing legal services is very different from marketing other goods and services—and you probably already know that from trying to get exposure and better cases for your law office.

    First of all, attorneys must market their law offices under the direction of their state bar associations. They face limitations that other businesses simply don’t have to deal with, such as not being able to claim specializations or not being able to post content without approval. You are literally playing with a different set of rules from those other companies use.

    Secondly, you have a lot of very similar competition. More lawyers are graduating from law school every year, and yet jobs for attorneys are getting harder and harder to come by. You probably have stiff competition in your area even if you’ve chosen a niche—and some of your competitors may be spending a fine dime on marketing efforts.

    Finally, attorneys have the added challenge of marketing to a very specific and very local audience—something that is tough to do online. How do you make sure your online marketing dollars go toward only a small geographic area, and how do you make sure you are targeting your ideal clients?

  • Why Is Education-Based Marketing a Good Idea for Attorneys?

    There are two different parties that benefit from education-based marketing: you and your clients. Let’s take a closer look at how this type of marketing strategy helps everyone involved.

    Why your clients benefit

    When clients are first confronted with a legal issue, they need information even before they need an attorney. Getting the information they need may help them find the best attorney fit for them. The informed client will not waste his time (or your time) speaking to an attorney that could not help them; he will not call up a bankruptcy attorney for help with his misdemeanor charges. He will also be armed with enough information so he can make informed choices about his life and legal issues. Finally, educated clients are more likely to partner with you, work with you, and let you do your job for them.

    Why you benefit

    An educated client is a good client: you don’t have to spend a significant amount of time explaining simple legal concepts to her and you don’t have to worry that she does not understand the process. In addition, education-based marketing is a great way to find ideal clients that you may not otherwise get into contact with; by putting helpful information on your website, anyone searching for information may find your website in her search results.

    Remember: when your clients benefit, you benefit—and when you benefit, your clients benefit.

  • When it comes to legal practices, why are there riches in niches?

    Too many lawyers and law offices take too many types of cases—and some even take basically any case that walks in the door. The thought behind their action is that the more cases and the more clients, the better. However, this is simply not true. By having a niche practice area, you can get better cases, make more money, and establish yourself as an authority on the topic.

    By picking a niche, you are picking an expertise: you can spend your time and effort learning about a much narrower field of knowledge—and over time your community will recognize your knowledge and experience. When someone need an attorney for the legal issue you specialize in, she will either already know that you can help, or she will quickly find you online.

    By picking a niche, you are also making the decision not to take on cases that don’t optimize your time and your skills. You should pick a niche that you are interested in, that you feel you excel at, and that brings you the type of success you are looking for. Get rid of the cases that don’t showcase your skills and that you don’t enjoy or profit from.

    Ultimately, you will find that your practice thrives with a focus: you can invest more time in your cases rather than in keeping up to date with dozens of practice areas. You can establish yourself as an authority by showcasing your strengths. And you will see that clients come looking for you, not the other way around.

  • Do I really have to throw out all of my old marketing materials? Some of them were expensive!

    If you want to continue using brochures, keychains, or other printed materials that you have boxes and boxes of in your office, you can. Handing them out will give you more exposure than throwing them away, so feel free to use them until they’re gone. But when they’re gone, don’t reprint them—replace them with something better.

    Think of it this way: when you graduated from law school, did you receive a clock, pen, or nameplate with the scales of justice printed on it? You may still get these presents every year from well-meaning family members. The problem is, they’re stereotypical and hackneyed images of the law profession—and if everyone uses them, it means everyone is the same.

    Take a look at your old brochures. Is your name the only thing original about them? Are you talking about your qualifications and case results rather than addressing your customer’s problems? Are the only incentives to call you a phone number and firm email address?

    The key to great marketing for personal injury lawyers is to subvert your customers’ expectations. You don’t want to do what every other lawyer is doing; you want to distinguish yourself in your field. This means providing a lot of information for free, having the patience for a low-pressure sale, and pointing all of your marketing toward getting the customer to contact you rather than hire you.

    The good news is, you already have the information you need to change your marketing. You know what clients tell you when they first walk in your door: their fears, their questions, and their concerns. Imagine you needed help, and someone provided the answers before you even asked your questions. That’s the person you want to be.

  • One of the clients at my law practice is a major source of irritation - phone calls in the middle of the night, unpaid bills, missed appointments, etc. I'd like to fire him, but he also brings in a significant amount of money. What can I do?

    This is an issue virtually every lawyer faces at one time or another. What you're referring to, though you may not be aware of it, is the Pareto Principle—the general rule that 80 percent of a given outcome can be traced to 20 percent of possible causes. In the best case, you can identify the 20 percent of your practice's clients who give you the majority of your aggravation, and fire them—and retain the 20 percent that produce 80 percent of your profits!

    The problem arises when these percentages overlap—that is, when one of your clients is difficult to work with, yet also contributes a fair amount to your bottom line. In this case, you have to sit down and really think about the consequences of cutting this client loose. Sure, you will lose some money in the near term, but if this person has made you so crazy that you can't even think straight, you may find that getting rid of him frees up the mental space you need to find and service new paying clients.

    On the other hand, if firing this client would be an extreme financial hardship, you need to come up with a strategy by which you can retain his business and reduce your angst. A patient intermediary (a paralegal or administrative assistant) might be one solution, or you can come to an agreement with the client that you will only be available via phone or email during specific times, or address the other issues (late payments, missed appointments) that make him difficult to handle.

  • I don’t see how a “low-pressure” sale is going to work on my customers. If I don’t sign them right away, won’t they go to another attorney?

    It’s pretty unlikely. After all, if you were looking for advice and nobody would talk to you without signing a contract, would you trust any of them? Or would you go home and look elsewhere for someone who was willing to answer your questions for free?

    For example, consider the length of time it takes for someone to hire an attorney after they are in an accident. They may rely on hospital care for several weeks, and when they are released, they are focused on convalescing and returning to work. They may not even begin to consider legal action as a way to cope with their injury costs for months—or years.

    What are you doing all this time?

    • Providing answers. The content of your website is free and specifically tailored for your ideal clients. Since each new blog and article will address a facet of their case, your customers will think of you as an authority (and the ideal lawyer to hire for their case).
       
    • Building loyalty. By keeping in constant communication with your prospects, you are keeping your name in their heads as a viable option and letting them know you haven’t forgotten them.
       
    • Spreading your message. All of your customers have the potential to recommend or share your materials with their friends, increasing your reach.

    People often assume that attorneys are only interested in them to make money. Your prospective clients will hold back on hiring you because they are naturally mistrustful of “ambulance chasers” who profit off of others’ misery. If you want to change their minds, you’re going to have to be willing to spend the time earning their trust.

  • I have a free offer for my niche practice area, but one of my competitors is now offering something similar. What can I do to get the advantage back?

    Now that attorneys have started to see the value of a free offer for their customers, it’s becoming a buyer’s market for legal services. And that’s fine; remember, there are plenty of clients to go around. The clients you don’t want may be perfect for your competition, and if they’re not going to be profitable for you, you should let them go.

    However, this can be problematic if your niche practice area overlaps with that of your competition. To avoid fighting for over your ideal clients, you only need to change your tactics slightly. For example, try tweaking your irresistible offer by making:

    • CDs. Listening to your guide is even easier than reading it, and gets the customer familiar with your voice.
       
    • DVDs. You can easily compile your informational YouTube videos into an informational DVD, allowing your customers to watch you give them all the answers they need.
       
    • Another guide. If your first free offer deals with the aftermath of a car accident, answer a different question in your next guide. A book on whether or not the customer even needs an attorney (meaning you or your competitor) will turn him back toward you for the answer.

    The ultimate goal your guide should achieve is getting the customer to contact you. Most attorneys wait until the customer is actively seeking an attorney to market to them, and then making a “hard sell” to sign the client. But planting your name in the customer’s mind takes is a much more effective technique, and can take place at any point in the customer’s search—and it begins the moment they enter your site.

  • I've noticed that a lot of lawyers in my area advertise on billboards, and also run the same basic ad in the local Yellow Pages. What's wrong with deploying this strategy myself, so I can attract my share of prospective clients?

    Well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, if you know for a fact that this billboard/Yellow Pages double whammy is actually growing your competitors' law practices. It's amazing how many lawyers will take a “monkey see, monkey do” approach to their marketing efforts, investing no more effort in their promotional campaigns than looking out the window (or turning on the TV) and seeing what their competitors are doing.

    But unless your competition has been doubling in size every year—while your law firm has dwindled down to you and your secretary—you may want to rethink whether imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery.

    Let's look at it this way: perhaps, years ago, there was a visionary lawyer in your area who saw that billboards were the way to go, since they reach a captive audience of people stuck in rush-hour traffic. For a time, the billboards worked—and then a competing firm decided to buy space on its own billboards, and the firm after that, on and on down the line until it's your turn to commit your hard-earned money. The law of diminishing returns dictates that billboards will no longer be an effective advertising medium, since literally everyone is buying billboards—at which point motorists will fail to differentiate one billboard from another—and one law firm from another—and the medium will be completely played out.

    Copying what someone else is doing—without knowing whether it’s truly successful—isn’t a law firm marketing strategy. It’s a way of washing your hands of the task, and refusing to take responsibility for the success of your own career. If you believe you’re a better lawyer than that, then you owe it to yourself to make a honest effort.

  • How Are You Different From Other Lawyers?

    With all due respect, if you really feel that way, you may want to reconsider whether the law is the right profession for you. We all know the stories of people who went to law school simply because their parents wanted them to, or because they couldn't think of anything else they wanted to do for a living. There's no dishonor in admitting that you made a mistake, and that your heart is not really in the legal profession—which is why you're down on yourself to the extent that you can't even figure out why a client would want to hire you!

    How can you stand out from other lawyers?Perhaps, though, the situation is less dramatic than that, and the reason you can't think of a way to differentiate yourself is because you're burned out and simply can't find the time to concentrate. It's easy for a struggling lawyer to accept every client who comes through the door, juggle a too-big caseload, and not take the time and sit back and decide where he really wants to take his practice. With your overly diverse caseload, even you can't figure out what kind of lawyer you “really” are: a personal injury lawyer? A misdemeanor assault lawyer? Someone who fixes parking tickets?

    At Great Legal Marketing, we know that it sometimes takes a fresh perspective to figure out what sets you apart from other lawyers—and that you may be too buried under paperwork to poke your head out and obtain an eagle's-eye view of your practice, or too disillusioned by the law to much care about your putative specialty. If you need to come up with a “hook” to attract clients, our lawyer marketing experts can debrief you and help come up with the angle you need.

  • I hate writing headlines for my personal injury website. How can I appeal to a customer’s emotions without one of those awful “Injured? Call Us!” headlines?

    If you think your headlines are boring, you can bet your readers will, too. Not only are those all-caps “INJURED?” headlines trite, impersonal, and desperate pleas for attention, they’re also just like every other personal injury ad on every phonebook and billboard. How are you going to differentiate yourself from other attorneys if your ad campaign is identical to theirs?

    To make an eye-catching headline, you don’t have to use all-caps. You don’t even have to use the word “injury.” All you have to do is appeal to your ideal client’s thoughts and emotions in an easy-to-follow format.

    Here are just a few headline ideas that can increase your click rates overnight:

    • Numbered lists. Lists (for example, “Ten Ways to Wreck Your Accident Case Before It Even Begins”) are a great way to convey specific information in a short space.
       
    • Questions. If you phrase your information as a question (e.g., “How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?”), you incite curiosity in your reader.
       
    • Negatives. People want to know what to do, but also what not to do (“Common Lawyer Mistakes That Will Deny You a Settlement”).
       
    • How-tos. The best articles contain a load of useful information (“How to Protect Your Children from a Pedestrian Accident”).
       
    • Specific concerns. Your ideal customers will have a specific set of problems for you to address (such as “How Many Kinds of Disability Benefits Can I Receive at Once?”).

  • Ads in our local newspaper have consistently been the #1 source of referrals to my law firm. Why should I invest money in promoting my practice in other media, since this strategy has been so successful?

    Have you seen what's been happening to the newspaper business lately? It's all well and good for you if your local newspaper is an excellent source of referrals, but given the state of the industry, you shouldn't be surprised if it goes out of business within a couple of years (or, more likely, migrates in much-reduced form to the Web). At that point, you will have lost your #1 source of referrals, and there won't be any other local paper in town that can pick up the slack, since everyone knows that print is a doomed medium.

    Speaking more broadly, though, it's never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket and promote your law firm via one particular medium to the exclusion of all others. To take the example of newspapers again, you are probably reaching an older, less dynamic audience, since many people in their 20s and 30s aren't in the habit of reading newspapers, picking up their information online instead.

    The fact is that you are excluding a huge segment of the population from your marketing efforts, and a segment that will—in a few years—comprise your major pool of potential clients. Other law firms, which advertise on the Web or on social media, will have a leg up when that demographic becomes ripe for the picking!

    At Great Legal Marketing, we know that it's never a good idea to become too monochromatic in your marketing and promotional campaigns: diversity is important, since you never know where your next referral will be coming from (or, more to the point, what your next big source for referrals will be).

  • I'd like to offer a free book on my law firm's website, but I don't have the time to write 50,000 words about my specialty or the budget to hire a vanity publisher to print and distribute the thing. What should I do?

    You seem to be laboring under a major misapprehension. The fact is, the “free book” you offer on your law firm's website doesn't have to be the kind of book that's reviewed by The New York Times, and it doesn't have to be the length of an Elmore Leonard novel, either.

    When a prospective client in need of legal help lands on your site, the last thing he wants to do is spend a week reading a dense, hefty tome about the minutiae of the law; rather, he wants a quick, reassuring read that will set him on the right course for planning (and hopefully winning) his lawsuit. You don't need to write 50,000 words; one-tenth of that will do just fine, or even less, assuming the information you impart is genuinely valuable.

    You also don't have to worry about printing an actual, physical, paper book, of the kind people can buy in bookstores. It's perfectly okay for your free book offer to consist of an electronic “E-book,” with minimal graphics, that a prospective client can download onto his hard drive with the touch of a button. (Of course, this transaction allows you to capture the person's email address, so you can follow up with him in due course.)

    Your visitor won't be disappointed at the brevity of your book, but he will be disappointed if you fail to deliver on your promises—so if the name of your book is The Ten Mistakes That Can Sink Your Personal Injury Lawsuit, you'd better make good on that title!

  • I know that I work a lot harder than my competitors, but they get more cases than I do. It’s not fair! What am I doing wrong?

    Well, it could be any number of things. Too many attorneys make the mistake of thinking that hard work in itself will get results, when it actually has no bearing on your legal marketing campaign.

    It’s not how hard you work, but what you’re working on.

    If you are an attorney who works days and nights, accepting every case that comes in, there is still no guarantee that you will stay ahead of your competition. In fact, this kind of behavior may actually get you a reputation as the “cleanup” lawyer—the one who gets all the little cases that nobody wants.

    Take a look at your current caseload. How many of your current clients:

    • Have cases you didn’t want to take?
    • Have a legal issue that is outside your ideal practice area?
    • Are unpleasant to work with?
    • Do not have very profitable cases?

    It may be hard to decline a case, but it will be harder in the long run if you try to help everyone. You will likely run yourself ragged over cases that will not bring in much money, your home and family life may suffer if you spend your life in the office, and your health will ultimately be affected.

    The key is to establish a balance that brings in clients and maximizes your attention to each detail, so that no effort (or dollar) on your part is wasted. The best marketing for lawyers involves a lot of know-how, but once you’ve got a system in place, it should more or less run itself. All you have to do is make adjustments to your advertising campaign, and the rest of the time, you can dedicate yourself to your family and clients.

  • What is “branding,” and will it help my bankruptcy law firm’s ad campaign?

    Branding is a term used when a business aims to dominate a specific market. These businesses employ many different strategies to “funnel” the customers they want in a direction that makes them find you everywhere they turn. In successful cases, the customers associate the product with the company (such as getting a Starbucks coffee), instead of the other way around (a coffee at Starbucks).

    If you’re going to employ celebrity branding to your bankruptcy law firm marketing, you have to ensure that everyone in your area thinks of you as THE bankruptcy attorney. This involves marketing directly to your ideal customer, and establishing yourself as a celebrity both in your field and in your community.

    People love celebrities. After all, a celebrity attracts interest, lowers consumer resistance, and creates an instant relationship with the consumer—all things that your branding should do with you at the helm.

    The first step in creating your brand is to ask yourself two questions:

    Now that you know who and where your client is, you can:

    • Develop specific ways for your prospect to find you
    • Help him learn more about you and decide why you are the right choice for him
    • Make it easy to reach you via an online chat box, phone number, email link, and a free offer

  • Does my bankruptcy law firm’s radio ad have to be in my own voice, or can someone else do it?

    There are a number of reasons attorneys don’t want to perform in their own advertisements. You can certainly hire someone else to do it; the question is, who should it be?

    Before you make your decision, you should ask yourself what kind of tone you want for your ad. It must sound natural (even though it is scripted) and personal (despite being read to thousands of listeners). Many artists do this for a living, including:

    • DJs. It may be worth it to have the DJ at your station read your ad copy for you. Loyal listeners often perceive their DJs as family members. One caveat: hiring the DJ will likely not be included in the price of your ad.
       
    • Voice actors. If your main concern is having a representative with a strong, clear voice, there are always voice actors you can interview for the spot. If you don’t want to spend the extra money, use someone from your point-of-contact staff.
       
    • Celebrities. This is the most expensive of all of your options, but for good reason: people love hearing the voice of a celebrity. Choosing someone with a caring personality encourages your listeners to trust whatever he or she says.

    If you want to conserve your firm’s marketing budget, the best option is to read the ad yourself. After all, your clients are going to want to hear you eventually if your name is on the front door—and speaking to them directly establishes you as a local celebrity (without the need to pay for one).

  • How often should my law firm’s radio ad be on the air?

    It’s hard to say. While there are a few general rules for creating a radio advertising schedule for your law firm, it will largely depend on who your customer is and when he is most likely to be listening to the radio. When you have those factors narrowed down, you can start to apply a frequency to your broadcasts.

    Here are a few guidelines to creating your broadcasting schedule:

    • Dominate one part of the day. Stations are often broken into five-hour blocks: morning, afternoon, drive time, evening, or overnight. For music stations, start with ads during one block for all five weekdays.
    • Form an association. If you’re advertising during a news or talk radio show, make sure you have ads running every day along with the broadcast so that the listeners associate your practice with the show.
    • Assess by month. The best way to evaluate if your marketing is working is to choose two weeks per month and make sure you are on all week. Choose the first and third, second and fourth, or two weeks in a row, constantly tracking your returns.
    • Add gradually. If your tracking indicates a positive return, add a different block per day or a buy of the weekend, growing toward 18 to 20 ads per week.

    Radio marketing buys are often on a sliding scale, and peak times of day will be more expensive than “low” listener hours. However, if your potential client is a night owl or early riser, you might edge out your competition to appealing to customers in the “cheaper” hours, saving you money and earning his business at the same time.

  • Our law firm is embarking on its first-ever TV advertising campaign. Isn't it enough to ask viewers to call our main 800 number and access the URL of our home page, so they can obtain more information?

    No, it's not! Utilizing your main incoming 800 number and the URL of your home page in your TV commercials is not only shortsighted, it's actively counterproductive. You need to be able to track how many people respond to your TV commercial specifically.

    The only way to do this is to set up a separate toll-free number, and a special URL on your law firm's website that relates to the information in your TV ad. Otherwise, your only hope of figuring out whether your TV campaign was successful would be to have a staff member actively debrief prospective clients during incoming calls (“How exactly did you find out about our firm?”), which can be an unpleasant experience for the person on the other end of the line.

    It's true that extra expenses are involved in setting up a brand-new toll-free number, and designing a separate page of your site devoted to TV viewers—but then again, these costs are an order of magnitude less than what you've already spent on your law firm TV campaign. All of that money you invested in your commercial, and in buying time from your local basic cable ad rep, will be wasted if you can't track exactly how people respond to your TV ad, what time of day they call you, what they ask you about, etc.

    Not that you're interested in hearing about even more expenditures right now, but you also have to invest in good client-management software; if a person is interested enough to call your law firm in the first place, you want to be able to follow up with him on a regular basis!

  • I'd like to advertise my law firm on TV, but all I can afford is a basic cable package. Don't people hate watching the ads on basic cable?

    Yes, by and large, they do—but that's not because basic cable is intrinsically inferior to network TV. The reason basic cable ads have such a poor reputation is that they tend to be cheap, repetitive, and interminable.

    On a major network such as ABC, a 30-second commercial seems “long” to viewers, whereas all bets are off for basic cable, where some infomercial-type commercials last as long as two minutes. Also, cable operators tend to cluster basic cable ads into interminably long packages—and viewers tend to become weary and frustrated along the fourth minute of a five-minute ad break!

    There is a way you can buck this trend, though, and that's by making your basic cable ad fresh, interesting, informative and (above all) not cheap or boring. Given the woeful production values of many hyper-local cable ads, a professional-looking TV commercial for your law firm will be welcomed by viewers, who may be especially inclined to pay attention to an ad that doesn't actively repel them.

    You should also pressure your cable sales rep into giving you good placement for your ad (for example, you don't want to be the ninth or tenth commercial in one of those five-minute breaks, and it's better to advertise near the start rather than the end of any given show), though this may wind up costing you some extra money.

    At Great Legal Marketing, we know that a well-crafted basic cable advertising campaign can drive potential clients to your law firm—while advertising on the cheap can send the wrong message to viewers, who will lump you in with the hawkers of mail-order pillows and vitamin supplements.

  • I want to advertise my law firm on the radio, but I'm worried that listeners will get annoyed if my ad is repeated too often, especially the part reciting the toll-free number multiple times. What should I do?

    In this regard, radio is an unusual medium. While most TV viewers would be outraged by a grating, low-budget commercial that aired 10 times an hour, this is less of an issue when it comes to radio, because it's easier to “tune out” a repetitive ad when you're listening to it rather than watching it.

    In fact, some of the most successful radio ads of all time have been grating and repetitive, incorporating screeching voices, silly sound effects, and intrusive music.

    Granted, you want your own radio spot to be more tasteful (though not so tasteful that listeners don't pay attention to it!), since you don't want people to develop negative associations when they hear the name of your law firm.

    Only a consultant can tell you for sure, but repeating your ad five times an hour may not be a bad idea, and even greater frequency may be indicated if you're willing to pay the price and you know that you have an interested audience on the other end.

    If you're an attorney who specializes in car accidents, for example, it might be a good idea to repeat your ad multiple times during the morning and evening rush hours.

    In the end, you have no choice but to do some intensive research and figure out;

    • Your target audience
    • What stations your target audience listens to
    • What time of day they tend to tune in.

    Once you've gathered the data, repeating your ad multiple times in the course of an hour will often turn out to be a good thing, rather than a bad thing.

  • I already have a hard copy of my law firm’s free guide. Do I really need to offer an e-book version?

    If they are done well, informational guides are one of the most effective marketing tools for law firms. They establish you as an expert, and offer a constant reminder that you (and only you) can help the customer with his legal problem. Wouldn’t you want to get that message out in as many formats as possible?

    If not, you’re taking a huge gamble with your firm’s future. Even if your legal marketing is otherwise sound, a lack of downloadable material presents several ways potential customers can fall through the cracks. By not offering an e-book, you run the risk of:

    • Losing attention. Unlike your paper guide, e-books can be delivered immediately, keeping your name at the forefront of the customer’s mind and preventing him from continuing his search elsewhere.
    • Looking unprofessional. Paper books may not signify that your law firm is out-of-date, but the lack of an electronic option will make it look like you are not technologically inclined...a big turn-off for younger customers.
    • Being passed over. Thanks to search engine updates, people are increasingly able to find exactly what they want with minimum effort. If you only offer a paper copy of a book, it will take a customer less than a minute to find a competitor who can deliver it instantly. You may have written a better book, but to a frightened consumer needing legal advice, right now is better than the right information.

  • Since I'm the newest junior associate at my medium-sized law firm, I'm constantly being given all the “little” cases, like fixing speeding tickets. How can I get out of this rut and graduate to more lucrative clients?

    It's possible you're being too hard on yourself—after all, you're not a sole practitioner who can pick or choose what kind of clients you choose to represent. Since you're currently the “low man on the totem pole” at your firm, it's only natural that senior partners will throw you cases they don't want to handle themselves—and you'll probably continue to receive these cases until a new junior associate is hired on.

    Still, there are some things you can do to increase your prospects of being assigned to a big (or, at least, medium-sized) case. Rather than complain about the small cases your partners give you, handle them quickly and expeditiously, and then make it clear that you're after bigger game. The senior associates at your law firm need to be convinced that you're a competent attorney, and they will hopefully be so impressed by your efficiency (and your positive results) that they throw more challenging cases your way.

    There's also nothing wrong with showing a little bit of initiative, and going out on your own to recruit high-paying clients with interesting cases. If you proactively recruit new clients, your senior partners will be more likely to assign you to their cases—though not necessarily as lead counsel, which is only fair given your junior position.

    Recruiting more lucrative clients serves two purposes, of course. It gets you noticed by the senior partners as an attorney hungry for bigger challenges. And following through on these cases to a successful conclusion becomes a way to help promote your law firm, while establishing yourself as a good team player.

    The one thing you don't want to do in this situation is to uncomplainingly, and invisibly, take on every low-level case in your firm; if you get too good at this, your senior partners may typecast you in this role and you'll never be assigned an interesting case.

  • My law practice has been struggling lately, to the extent that I'm thinking of slashing my rates in order to attract new clients. Is this a good idea?

    Well, the answer to this partly depends on what your definition of “slashing” is. If you're thinking of shaving 10 percent off your rates for a new client, that may not be a bad idea, especially if you're desperate.

    But if you're considering cutting your rates in half—say, charging $150 an hour for a divorce instead of $300—the cure will literally be worse than the disease. Why? Well, for starters:

    If you can't lower your rates to attract new clients to your legal practice, what can you do? Well, that's a complicated question, and one that requires a complicated, many-pronged solution.

  • Will My Legal Marketing System Be Expensive?

    It could be. How much you spend on your legal marketing system is ultimately up to you, but luckily, so is where and how you spend it.

    Consider the attorneys who are spending money year after year to put their ads in the Yellow Pages or in the back pages of magazines. These ads probably haven’t changed in several years, sporting the same outdated photos, ineffective slogans, and pay-by-the-word copy.

    Sure, these ads have exposure, at least, for the small demographic that still reads print media. But what is surrounding these expensive ads? Virtually identical ads for competing firms, with the same graphics and very similar copy. Blending in with the crowd is unlikely to bring you new clients (unless you get lucky when they close their eyes and point at the page).

    If you are going to pursue a marketing campaign that will increase your law firm’s profit margin, you’re going to have to spend money. So now the issue becomes: how will I spend my marketing budget?

    First, you can take advantage of free marketing media. Facebook and Twitter offer regular daily exposure for your firm, and neither one will cost you a cent. The same can be said for YouTube, where you can host informational videos (starring you!) for free.

    Next, you should be attracting your ideal client to your website. While you can probably host a simple website for free (or close to free), it is worth spending the money to optimize and design a site that will be ranked highly by both humans and search engine robots.

  • What if I don't have a unique selling proposition?

    You’re asking the wrong question. If you don’t want to use a unique selling proposition in your marketing, that’s fine. You’ll blend in a lot more with your competition, making you seem like just another attorney—and while that may sound safe, it usually isn’t very profitable.

    Instead of discarding the idea, you should really focus and try to discover what your law firm’s unique selling proposition really is. What sets you apart: as an attorney, as a parent, as a community member, and as a person? Your USP doesn’t have to relate to the law; if it relates to you, it will automatically relate to your firm.

    Don’t know where to start? Here are just a few ideas:

    • Start with your background. What was your first job? Where is your hometown? What kinds of law have you studied?
    • Think of your lifestyle. Are you a sports fan? Are you active in politics? Do you take regular camping trips or participate in races?
    • Consider your home life. Did a family member inspire you to go into a form of law you thought you wouldn’t like? Do you live in the city, or the country? Do you have firsthand knowledge of the perils of divorce law?

    Once you have your USP, you can tie it into all facets of your marketing, giving your readers a way to remember you. For instance, you may have worked for insurance companies in the past, and know what lengths they will go to in order to deny a claim. Promote your “insider knowledge” (you earned it, after all!) on every page; anyone having trouble with a claim will want to hear your advice.

    For more law firm advertising tips, click the link on this page to download a free sample chapter of Ben Glass’s Great Legal Marketing book. Then call 888-791-2150 toll-free when you’re ready to take the next step forward in innovative legal marketing.

  • A junior associate in my law firm came up with a marketing idea so innovative and so crazy that it just might work. Should we implement it?

    Well, the answer partly depends on what that marketing strategy is. If you're going to pay your local tattoo parlor to ink the name of your firm on the forearms of prominent citizens, no, you're probably better off saving your money. But if you're tinkering with a new kind of print ad, or a scheme to legally plaster your names on the outside of your city's taxicabs, then there's no reason not to give it a try, if you have the financial resources at hand.

    It's important to keep one thing in mind, though: to quote from the Book of Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It may well be that the idea your junior associate cooked up has never been conceived before by any lawyer in the entire world, much less the United States. But it's much more likely that somebody, somewhere, has already come up with and implemented this scheme, and the results were mediocre at best.

    How can we say this? Well, like military technology, new, wildly successful marketing techniques are virtually impossible to keep secret. If an idea works out of the gate, beyond all expectations, it will quickly be imitated by competing firms, first in that town, and then in that state, and then in the entire country. You would already have known about it well before your junior associate waylaid you in the corridor!

    This isn't to say that you should be averse to new and untested marketing ideas; you should just implement them with a sizable grain of salt, and be equally prepared for failure as for success. Questions? Call the law practice marketing experts at Great Legal Marketing (888-791-2150) to find out more today!

  • For years now, the law firm down the street has been advertising that it's a “Top 100” practice, based on an annual supplement in our regional magazine, and I'm getting tired of it. Should I bite the bullet and buy a display ad so I can be listed too?

    That depends on how seriously the people in your town take that “Top 100” designation—and you may be surprised to learn that most potential clients aren't fooled by this transparent marketing tactic.

    A generation ago, to be sure, a “Top 100” ranking carried more weight—but a generation ago, magazine editors were more likely to fill out this list on the basis of merit alone, not the willingness of those listed to cough up money for display ads.

    If being listed as a “Top 100” lawyer is really a do-or-die proposition, you may have no choice but to participate. But if it's not, consider the alternative: the next time a client balks at signing up with your firm, saying he'd rather go with a “Top 100” practice, you can patiently explain to him that those “top” lists are purely a marketing exercise and have absolutely nothing to do with your qualifications or the results you achieve for clients.

    There's another fact to consider: the vast majority of magazine readers never even look at those “Top 100” supplements, and if they do notice them, it's only because they're annoyed that they take up so much space. The fact is that very few people hire a lawyer by scouring the back issues of their regional magazines and deciding to call the #5 attorney because he's “five times better” than the guy listed in the #25 slot.

    At Great Legal Marketing, we can tell you that there are better ways of advertising your law practice than buying space in magazine supplements. Questions? Call our lawyer marketing mavens at 888-791-2150 to learn what we can do for you!

  • What is the point of advertising my law practice if most people ignore the advertisements they see?

    Well, let's analyze your question logically. Why should any law firm—or any company in the world, for that matter—advertise its services, since the vast majority of TV commercials and internet pop-up ads and billboards fail to engage their intended audience? If you took this proposition to its logical extreme, the entire advertising industry would collapse overnight—and there would be no way (except word of mouth) to inform people about the “product” you're offering. (There would also be tens of thousands of unemployed advertising executives, but let's not worry about that now.)

    The fact is that law firm advertising was, is, and always will be a scattershot endeavor: most of your ads will miss their target, no matter how highly targeted your campaign is and no matter how much money you spend. Your aim should be to utilize only the most efficient media to advertise your practice (whether that's your website or your local Yellow Pages), and not to throw your money away on media that have a low rate of return (which can include everything from daytime TV commercials to blimps flying over sports stadiums).

    There's a hundred-year-old quote to this effect that still applies today: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don't know which half.”

    At Great Legal Marketing, we can teach you about how to target your advertising and promotional campaign to get the highest possible rate of return on your budget and bring new, paying clients through your front door. Interested? Call our legal marketing mavens at 888-791-2150 to talk to us today!

  • Why do I need to know how to add content to my website? Can’t one of my employees do it for me?

    Sure they can. In fact, there should be many people who have access to the “backstage” area of your website. You can’t be everywhere at once, and your team should definitely be doing the heavy lifting in the content department.

    However, even if you have others handling this part of the process for you, it is vital that you know how to use the web content management system yourself. Here are just a few things you may need to address quickly, without running to find a web maven who can do it for you:

    • Mistakes. Your readers may alert you to errors, typos, or other information that needs to be corrected, and it must be done immediately to maintain your credibility.
    • Comments. A customer may leave a comment or contact you, and if they are not answered quickly they will lose interest in your response—or worse, ask another attorney before you have had a chance to respond.
    • Breaking news. When news related to your firm is happening in your area, you need to bring readers to your site quickly. Customers will begin searching wildly for information, and getting in front of them—before your competition—will give you a huge boost in your online rankings.
    • Spamming. There are robots on the Internet called “spambots” that will fill your comments section with erroneous ads and links to other sites. These are a sign of a derelict business, and need to be deleted or blocked as soon as they are discovered.

    Remember: in order to maintain a presence on Google, you have to have both the technology and the ability to use it effectively. If you can’t be bothered to learn how your technology works, you have deliberately defined the perimeter of your own competence. You have become the boss who cannot make an outgoing phone call from his office without the help of his receptionist.

    To find out how to use web content tools to build a successful law firm, call 888-791-2150 to get our insider emails or download your FREE chapter of the Great Legal Marketing book today.