Don't Get Fooled by the Standard Marketing Advice

I was just reading a blog post by a lawyer who offered "5 easy marketing tips" for young and experienced lawyers. It offered the standard marketing advice but left out something crucially important.

The blog post advised staying top-of-mind with referral sources, making referrals, public speaking, joining organizations and doing excellent legal work. Check, check, check — this is all basic marketing information I've given to lawyers myself. It appeared to be standard advice until I hit the end of the article and found a titanic omission.

Pulling back, I thought to myself — you wouldn't market your law practice without paying attention to your website, would you? No — especially knowing that 76 percent of consumers seeking an attorney in the past year used online resources at some point in the process, according to TRiG research.                          

The standard marketing advice was right out of the 1980s, before the Internet went live. The guidance was tailored for a world with rotary phones, fax machines and VHS video cassettes. Today, the lives of consumers are filled with smartphones, iPads, computers, email, social media and blogs. These are marketing breakthroughs because they allow a lawyer to be many places at once.

In the old days, a lawyer could reach only the crowd he or she was addressing, talk only to the person he met at an organizational event and send a file only to referral source he had on the phone. Marketing efforts were limited as one-to-one activities.

But it's a different world today. Consumers are likely to look up your profile on the Web before they ever see you. They'll find you online before they ever hear your presentation or meet you at an event. When they look you up, consumers more are likely than ever to use their smartphones — smartphones are already outselling PCs and are regularly used by consumers to make purchasing decisions.

The Web has become an essential step in the way today's consumers really search for an attorney. Consumers don't start by looking for a lawyer — instead they begin by researching their legal issue. This naturally makes consumers seek out lawyer blogs and attorney websites that have detailed FAQ (frequently asked question) articles. Consumers will have a positive impression of a law firm if the website is mobile-friendly, and can easily be viewed on a two-inch screen on a smartphone.

So don't be fooled by the standard marketing advice from the 1980s. Get your website in shape so that it generates new business for you. Need some help?  Contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.

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Frank Pipitone - April 17, 2013 10:54 AM

I would argue, that depending on the potential client's issue, that the 76% number concluded by TRiG Research could be low.

I help people get out of debt using bankruptcy. I would think that close to 90% of my clients are searching online for a bankruptcy attorney, not wanting to disclose their financial issues to friends and family.

In 2013, any advice that does not at least mention internet marketing is sour.

Colin Ritchie - May 7, 2013 8:02 AM

I think that referrals from either clients or others Centres of Influence are still hugely important in attracting new clients. The big difference is that these days the person who has been referred will almost certainly go to your website to get their own confirmation about whether you are the right lawyer for them. If your website doesn't match what they have been told about you, then you have a problem.

Brielle - June 11, 2013 8:42 AM

What great information. We have been doing research on legal marketing for a couple months now. We had no idea how to actually use the marketing methods with this type of client. Thanks so much for this great article.

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