The 7 Greatest Sins of Law Firm Marketing
8–10 minutes to read
Like most things in life, there’s a right way to market your law firm — and there’s a wrong way.
The fact is, most law firms who dive headfirst into the world of marketing don’t see a solid return on investment.
But does that mean that actively marketing your law firm is a waste of time? Definitely not.
But it does mean that it’s time to rethink your approach.
How can you ensure that your marketing efforts will position your firm in a way that attracts your ideal clients and cases to your law firm?
And, more importantly, how can you make sure that your marketing consistently converts enough of your target audience to yield a positive return on investment?
For starters, we recommend partnering with a company that not only understands marketing for the legal industry but also understands what it takes to grow your law firm to new heights.
There are plenty of legal marketing companies you can work with to get your marketing strategy off the ground, but very few that can show you how to sustain bottom-line growth over the long run.
By learning the following legal industry marketing pitfalls, you can avoid the deadliest “sins” of legal marketing and start investing in efforts that continuously drive results for your law practice.
Here are the 7 greatest sins of legal industry marketing:
- Basing Decisions on Cost — NOT Value
- Forgetting That Brand Matters
- Focusing on Services Instead of Client Experience
- Forgetting About Implementation and Strategy
- Not Speaking to the Right Audience
- Not Starting With Your WHY
- Failing to Leverage Multichannel Marketing
Sin #1: Basing Decisions on Cost — NOT Value
Marketing your law firm is an investment to be maximized — not a cost to be minimized. Unfortunately, too many law firms base their marketing decisions on cost rather than results.
Did you buy the cheapest car on the market? Probably not. Do you want to eat the cheapest steak you can find? No. Why? Because there’s a balancing act at play between cost and quality, and the cheapest alternative doesn’t always deliver the best results.
Imagine you could spend $100 and get $105 back every time. Would you? Absolutely.
Now, imagine you could spend $1,000 and get $1,500 in return. Which would you choose?
The latter costs more but provides more value for your initial investment. By viewing your marketing investment through this lens, you will make superior business decisions based on the value that it brings to your practice.
Sin #2: Forgetting That Brand Matters
Your brand is more than a logo — it’s the feeling and perception that come up whenever your audience thinks about your law firm.
You could be the most phenomenal attorney in the world, but if your ideal clients don’t know that from your branding and marketing, then does it even matter?
Quality brands attract quality clients, and your marketing needs to reinforce your law practice’s compassion, dedication, and expertise if you want to attract high-value cases and high-quality clients.
Here’s a video of this in action from Lawrence Morizio, a one-of-a-kind attorney serving injured workers throughout Connecticut:
Learn more about the impact this video had on Morizio Law Firm here.
As a passionate Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist representing the interests of employees, Lawrence Morizio was already a trusted attorney in his market. But, when his partner retired in 2019, he needed to rebrand and start all over by creating a brand for his new solo firm — The Morizio Law Firm.
Lawrence Morizio’s legal videos not only show his potential clients that he has the experience and expertise to handle cases in his unique practice area, but they also highlights who he is as an advocate, a volunteer in his community, and as a loving father and husband. Each of these elements shows his ideal clients exactly who he is not only as an attorney, but as a person as well.
You can (and should) take the same approach with your own legal marketing strategy.
Create high-quality, engaging messaging that makes a memorable, emotional connection with potential clients, and you’ll reap the benefits from your marketing efforts for years to come.
Conversely, if you send out cheap, undifferentiated marketing messages, you’ll blend in with the thousands of other attorneys who are doing the exact same thing. When this happens, all you have to sell your clients on is the cost of your services — which means you’ll constantly have to drive your fees down to continue attracting new clients.
Sin #3: Focusing on Services Instead of the Client Experience
Do you operate under the belief that if you don’t have X amount of certifications or years of experience that you won’t be able to stand out from your competition?
The reality is that clients don’t care about the technicalities of what you do or how you do it — they care about how you can improve their life. A thoughtful, personal legal video is the perfect embodiment of this idea.
Check out this example from Louisiana-based personal injury firm, Laborde Earles:
See the business results they got from this video here!
To effectively reach today’s legal consumer, you’re better off demonstrating that you’re a living, breathing human being who can go beyond providing a professional service and add real interpersonal value to your clients’ lives.
Think about it: If you’re a personal injury attorney, you don’t provide a lawsuit, you provide a route to a better life.
Tailor your marketing strategy to reflect this, and you’ll start attracting your ideal clients with ease.
Sin #4: Forgetting About Implementation and Strategy
Creating content that highlights your law firm’s unique value proposition is one thing — implementing a marketing strategy that consistently drives results over time is entirely another.
But whether it’s a video, blog post, or marketing email, content doesn’t do much for your law firm without the right strategy behind it. Your content needs to be properly executed, connected to specific/measurable results, and tied to your firm’s big picture goals to get your firm to the next level.
Scott Law Firm of Texas recently learned this lesson.
As a small personal injury firm in a competitive market, this firm already understood the importance of targeting and reaching their ideal clients online. But even though they were pouring 100% of their marketing budget into their online channels, their messages weren’t connecting well enough with their audience.
Although they were on track by investing in online marketing, they realized they needed to upgrade their strategy.
Read more about Scott Law Firm’s journey here.
Before investing in a results-drive strategy, the majority of their online content was text-based — and it wasn’t generating the cases they were looking for. They needed to get visual.
After adjusting their strategy to include legal videos and developing a strategic distribution plan to reach their ideal clients with these videos, they saw a 35% case volume increase!
So as you can see, it’s not enough to hop on the latest marketing trends and hope for the best. Your approach needs to be strategic, results-driven, and intentional.
Sin #5: Not Speaking to the Right Audience
When you’re marketing to today’s legal consumer, your approach should always be client-centric.
In addition to communicating your law firm’s key differentiators, your marketing needs to focus on the needs of your potential clients. When you miss this important aspect of law firm marketing, you end up with messaging and content that’s confusing to your audience.
Remember: your marketing doesn’t need to reach everyone.
If your goal is to attract high-quality clients and cases that are the best fit for your firm, then you’ll want to create messages that speak directly to those you hope to help.
When considering your law firm’s target audience, it’s important to think beyond their legal issues. Like you, your clients are human too — they have families, careers, interests, and hobbies. All of this information is relevant when you’re defining your target audience.
Here are a few things you can do to avoid confusing your audience with your marketing:
- Choose one practice area as your focus
- Identify and segment your audience from the start
- Specifically address your audience’s needs and concerns
By creating content that is laser-focused and speaks directly to the unique needs and desires of your ideal clients, you’ll become the obvious choice for clients in your niche.
Sin #6: Not Starting With Your WHY
Effective marketing is storytelling.
As we mentioned earlier, your ideal clients want to know who you are — not just as an attorney, but as a person.
There are thousands of attorneys competing for their attention with the same message presented in the same way.
To attract attention and connect, share what makes you and your law firm different and authentic.
Cold facts and numbers don’t inspire connections; stories do. Invite potential clients to hire your firm by showcasing your conviction toward giving them their quality of life back.
People are emotional beings, and prospective clients are dealing with an emotional issue (a divorce, personal injury, criminal charges, etc.) when they call you. To put their faith in your firm, they have to trust that you can return their life to normal.
If you were going through a challenging personal injury or wrongful death situation, would this video inspire you to call this firm?
Sin #7: Failing to Leverage Multichannel Marketing
As much as you may wish that every prospect who sees just one of your marketing messages online will immediately become a client, that is just not realistic for today’s legal landscape.
Today’s legal consumer requires an average of eight touches before they’ll even book a consultation with you, let alone hire you to work on their case.
Thankfully, today there are more ways to connect with your ideal clients than ever before — and you should never miss an opportunity to get one step closer to landing the client of your dreams.
Leveraging multi-channel marketing, the practice of reaching prospective clients using a variety of online and offline communication channels, allows you to be where your clients are all the time — and they’re everywhere!
Although digital mediums like websites, social media, and email rule the online marketing world, they should never be the end-all, be-all of your marketing efforts. Gone are the days when your prospective clients hear about you through one channel and immediately hire you.
To really see a boost in your brand awareness and conversion rates, it’s most effective to use online channels in tandem with offline channels like direct mail, billboards, and radio ads.
Combining the use of multiple marketing channels allows you to remain top-of-mind for your ideal prospects so they’ll remember you when it’s time to make the big decision.
When venturing into the world of legal marketing, make sure you choose partners that are aligned with not only your marketing goals but your big picture goals as well.
Ask yourself, “Is this partner truly invested in making an easy commodity product? Or are they committed to helping me achieve sustained law firm growth in the long run?”
Don’t take quality for granted, focus on your audience, and connect with your ideal clients through compelling content and a targeted strategy behind it.
It’s the only way to succeed.
Avoid these seven law firm marketing sins, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your firm’s goals.
This article was updated in February 2020.