Marketing discussions for law firms often revolve around one word - "Branding." You are told to build your brand or think about your brand or get exposure for your brand. But what does that really mean?

In a word, nothing.

Unless you own a law firm with millions of dollars a year to spend on marketing, branding should not be part of your marketing conversation. It's already hard enough to market a law firm without you trying to compete with the big gorillas in your market by acting like a big gorilla but without the same finances.

The truth about branding for small firms and solo practitioners is that branding is simply not effective marketing. Creating advertisements that look like all the other advertisements is no better than playing the lottery.

Too many lawyers are talked into "expanding the brand" by marketing consultants who are just looking for a quick payday from a good business. They will say how you will "reach thousands of households in your target demographics and build your brand with consumers who may be in need of your legal services." We've heard so many of these pitches that we could do them for them at this point!

For small firms, it is important that you implement Direct Response Marketing in your practice. Not using direct response marketing is one of the biggest mistakes small law firms make with their marketing. You should be building ads that provoke a response from the right person for your firm - you'll quickly stand out from other lawyers once you get rid of the same old slogans and jargon they are using. Your ads should be tracked and held accountable for how much money they bring in (their Return On Investment, or ROI)

You will actually find that effective direct marketing will have the added benefit of building your brand as you use it. It will also work a lot faster, since the effective ads will bring in money that you can use to run even more ads, allowing you to cover even more ground.Brand marketing for attorneys

Branding ads simply rely on money. When they don't work, the marketing representative will just say you, "Well, you didn't spend enough money. If you increase your monthly spend, I'm sure we will see results then." We like to see results right away through direct marketing.

Stopping the "branding bleed" in your law firm marketing budget will allow you to actually find out how effective your ads really are in the community. It will require you to rethink the way you market but don't worry because we have information for you to help.

Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.