Last week, we had a little fun with good and bad lawyer ads. Our main contention was that too many ads contain some guy standing in front of a bookcase and babbling about what he can do for you - the timeless "telling, not showing" problem.
In any good story or speech, the most important thing is to know your audience. You wouldn't use the language of Judge Selya (think big, archaic words) when giving a speech to high schoolers, unless you were punishing them. Likewise, you generally wouldn't quote Nas to a group of senior citizens.
So why do all lawyer commercials and marketing efforts look the same?
You know you need a website. You know you need business cards. You might even be aware of the world of social media and blogging. However, different audiences require different approaches. Here are two hypothetical examples:
The DUI Firm
Let's say, for example, that your firm is in a college town and mainly handles DUI offenses and drug possession. If you are catering to a younger clientele, you're going to want to project a more casual, approachable appearance. Plus, college kids facing their first criminal offense are terrified. They want a lawyer that makes them feel comfortable and who will hold their hand through the process, as their parents certainly aren't going to be sympathetic.
Your website, for this type of firm, can have a bit more of a casual or modern feel, and should have a blog written in a casual voice that demonstrates that you know your field, while at the same time being approachable.
On the other hand, if you are handling high-net worth estate planning matters, your marketing materials should probably be pretty plain and conservative. Think old school 1950s vibe. Older clientele are more likely to need estate planning services and they expect their lawyers to look and act more formal, as attorneys did back in their day.
Your website for this type of firm should be as professional as possible. If you do write a blog, each post should be very informative, very formal, and leave out the Damian Marley songs.
The last thing to keep in mind, besides the Rules of Professionalism (the bar shows little-to-no mercy), is to be yourself. If you are a laid-back and fun individual, a stuffy site and firm are not going to represent you as a person. Having to play "boring guy" all day long is going to make your days longer and your life less enjoyable. Also, if your firm's marketing portrays professionalism, and you look like a lumberjack, you already are going to compromise your credibility with the client.
- The Benefits of a Law Blog (or Blawg) (FindLaw's Strategist)
- 5 Tips for a Good Lawyer Bio (FindLaw's Strategist)
- 10 Tweets of Advice: Social Media Lawyer Marketing (FindLaw's Strategist)