At Spotlight Branding, we focus exclusively on small law firms. There are a handful of reasons why we do this, but here’s what it boils down to: Small law firms face unique challenges, serve a unique client base, and require a unique branding and marketing strategy.
Many of the strategies that work for other professions and other industries aren’t relevant for lawyers and won’t produce results. Here are five reasons why this is the case:
1 – Lawyers are highly dependent on referrals. Most law practices are built primarily through referral business – and therefore, effective legal marketing must focus on generating more of them. It’s important to build a memorable brand and to maintain top-of-mind awareness. An educated and engaged referral network is among the most valuable assets you can own and your marketing strategy should help you get there.
2 – Lawyers face a significant “trust deficit.” Whether it’s fair or not, the reality is that much of the public distrusts lawyers. A recent ABA study found that a full 69% of consumers surveyed believe that “Lawyers are more interested in making money than in serving their clients.” Obviously we know that’s not accurate, but that’s the perception. So your marketing and branding strategy should confront this trust deficit head on. (HINT: Video is the “secret weapon” in this battle.)
3 – Lawyers must navigate restrictive Bar advertising rules. Most state Bar associations create highly restrictive advertising limitations for lawyers. Violating these rules can have serious consequences. While we don’t claim to have a detailed understanding of every state’s guidelines (we have clients in 25 states and counting), our strategic approach is designed with compliance in mind. Although you should never abdicate “final responsibility” on this front (it’s your law license after all), it is important to work with a marketing partner who is well-versed in this area.
4 – Lawyers face intense competition on multiple fronts. There are more than 1.3 million lawyers in the United States and you have plenty of them in your city or town. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the competition you’re facing. Websites like LegalZoom provide document creation services for dirt-cheap prices. For example, pricing for a Law Will at Testament starts at $69. Meanwhile, services such as Avvo Advisor connect consumers with lawyers through an application that operates very similarly to Uber – with the lawyer playing the role of taxi driver. Lawyers operate in an extremely competitive market environment and require a unique branding strategy to stand out from the crowd and build a thriving practice.
5 – Lawyers must justify relatively high fees in order to make a profit. For many consumers, hiring a lawyer is among the most expensive purchases they’ll make. Justifying rates that seem expensive to potential clients can be a challenge, particularly when there are low-cost alternatives readily available (see previous point.) Justifying these rates requires a marketing and branding strategy that is focused on maximizing your value proposition – positioning you as a knowledgeable expert dedicated to solving your clients’ specific problems, whatever they may be. Your marketing should position you as so uniquely valuable that your rates seem like a bargain.
If you’re shopping around for a marketing/branding firm to help your law practice grow, I highly recommend that you work with a firm that specializes in providing those services specifically to lawyers. If you’d like to schedule a call with our team to learn more, click here. But whatever you decide, remember that as a lawyer you face unique marketing challenges that demand tailored solutions. Don’t settle for less!
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