Marketing legal services is both easier and more challenging today than perhaps at any time in history. Promoting your firm is now simpler than ever thanks to the many advances in technology, but standing out from the crowd may more difficult.
Repeating your value proposition, highlighting your defining characteristics, and delivering similar messages before the right audience is a proven way to elevate your profile. Unfortunately, not every firm has the advertising dollars, available time, etc., to complete those steps with the consistency required to make a real impact.
When your marketing efforts are met with obstacles based on time, money or other factors, one of the best and most-underutilized ways to make sure you are seen and heard is to be unique.
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Start by Setting Yourself Apart
Uniqueness goes a long way toward making you memorable if you are not able to get in front of your favored audiences on a regular basis. But before revising your website or email newsletter to include your unique position, your first move should be to make sure that you stay within the rules that govern lawyer communications.
The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit comparing your legal services to those provided by other attorneys and firms unless those comparisons “can be substantiated by reference to verifiable objective data.”
The same rules caution against such proclamations as:
- “We are the toughest lawyers in town”;
- “We will get money for you when other lawyers can’t”; and
- “We are the best law firm in Texas if you want a large recovery.”
In Texas and other states, calling yourself the “best,” “hardest working” or using other “-est” words is frowned upon if not outlawed altogether. While such directives do limit your options, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to stand out from the crowd.
For example, rather than saying your firm has the “toughest lawyers in town,” which the rules do not allow, try finding a different, creative way to say the same thing. For some, that might translate to, “Our firm is home to attorneys who are tough as nails and well-known for solving client’s legal issues while keeping a close eye on the bottom line.”
The same holds true for “We will get money for you when other lawyers can’t.” Instead of focusing on what your competition can’t do, spotlight what you can do: “We work with outside accountants and other financial professionals to make sure we know where our opponents stand financially. We use that information to fight for every penny our clients are owed.”
There are many ways to be unique without violating the rules for how lawyers present themselves to the public. The key is to know what is and what isn’t allowed, and work from there.
Listen to Your Clients
The people you already work for are often the best and easiest way to identify what it is that makes you unique. Did your clients come to you after working with a different firm or lawyer? If so, ask them why they decided to hire you instead. What you hear may well determine exactly what it is that others think make you unique.
If you hear different clients praising you for something you do that other lawyers do not, then that is a good signal that potential clients would like to know that as well. It may be something as simple as, “David always answers my calls and emails the same day.”
While that may not seem like a big selling point for an attorney who always replies to clients daily, it could mean everything for someone who has had a bad experience with another firm and needs new counsel.
As the saying goes, “No two zebras share the same stripes,” which is why establishing yourself or your firm as unique is a sure-fire way to earn the attention of the individuals and companies that may call on you in the future.
Make Your Delivery Unique
Once you have determined what to say about why you are unique, it is time to figure out how to best communicate in a way that will be as noteworthy as your message itself.
There are many ways to make yourself known aside from “normal” advertising. Just think about all the sign twirlers you see at intersections. They cost a fraction of what a billboard costs, but they have better visibility. Granted, a sign twirler isn’t appropriate for (most) legal advertising, but law firms can be inspired by their moxie.
Think about where dozens of law firms aren’t already promoting their services. That could be a YouTube channel where you talk about the latest developments in your area of practice. Some law firms have even made their presence known on Instagram.
Even if you choose a traditional venue, using non-traditional visuals or language can help firms stand out. Interesting party favors or conference swag can also be conversation-starters. And if you’re the law firm distributing fans at an outdoor event in an unseasonably warm October, the visibility boost (and gratitude) you will receive is immeasurable.
The most important thing is making sure your message is unique and follows the rules, and then delivering it in a way that people will remember.
Bruce Vincent is a writer and editor who has been helping lawyers and firms find their unique marketing niche for more than two decades. From promoting an accident lawyer’s expertise on trucking regulations to helping a firm build a Habitat for Humanity home, he provides extensive experience generating fresh ideas that get noticed. Contact Bruce at email@example.com to see how he can set you apart from the crowd.