You’ve probably heard a ton of jokes that involve a lawyer as the punchline. This is one of the main reasons legal advertising is so difficult: after years and years of ad campaigns that beg for the consumer’s attention, the public has begun to see attorneys as uncaring and unethical.
Don’t believe it? Next time you’re at a party, introduce yourself to someone as a “personal injury attorney.” Watch their expression carefully. Pay attention to how quickly they disengage from the conversation.
It’s not your fault, but it may not be theirs, either. Years of terrible ads and portrayals of shady lawyers in the movies and TV have given attorneys a terrible reputation. Think of the last movie you saw where the attorney wasn’t—at best—boring; at worst, greedy and heartless. It’s probably pretty difficult.
But that’s not the worst news. The terrible thing is that you’re probably reinforcing a lot of these negative impressions with your current ad campaign. Bland messages with little more than the word “injury” and an 800 number are impersonal and cold, and only convince your readers and listeners that they don’t mean much to you.
However, you can change your readers’ minds by focusing and honing your law firm’s message:
- Education. Providing useful and helpful consumer information to people who need it is not only great marketing, it’s a way to convince readers that you are trying to help them. After all, the information is free, so how could you be seen as “greedy” when you’re giving something valuable away?
- Communication. Good marketing will appeal to your ideal client’s immediate questions and address his problems, rather than just offer statistics on a page. You are building a relationship with the customer even before (or whether) he chooses to hire you—again, at no cost to him.
- Distinction. Offering information freely to your reader establishes trust. Now when he needs legal information, he will likely come to your site first because you have been helpful—unlike those “other lawyers."
Not only are these marketing efforts more effective, but they're also usually less expensive and require less of your time. The best law firm marketing tactics are always ones that do most of the work for you, running independently so that you can focus on helping clients efficiently.