YOUR CLIENTS DON’T THINK LIKE YOU
“The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.”
One of the fastest ways to fail at marketing is to start making decisions based on what would resonate with you.
Would you drink nine beers and get behind the wheel? Would you go into business with a neighbor you barely know? Would you slap your receptionist’s butt at the holiday party to thank her for her hard work over the past year?
These are the questions I ask when a client tells me that the marketing message we are considering is not what they would find compelling. The reality is that your clients don’t think like you think. They frequently come from different backgrounds, are less educated, and may be in a vulnerable spot personally or professionally when looking for your services. Therefore, you shouldn’t be overly concerned if a marketing concept or creative piece doesn’t resonate with you the way you believe it should.
(Of course, this is not to say you should be doing something outlandish, distasteful, or completely contrary to the way you want your practice perceived by the public. Always portray your firm in a professional manner with a solid message of competence and care for your clients.)
Recognizing that your clients may be very different than you typically means the words and imagery you use in your marketing messaging should also be different from those that might compel you to take action.
For example, which of these phrases do you think the majority of potential law firm clients would instinctively grasp?
Motor vehicle collision OR car wreck
Securities litigation OR stockbroker fraud
Premises liability OR dangerous property injuries
Wage and hour litigation OR failure to pay overtime
One of the keys to effective marketing is to understand what your prospective client needs to hear at the exact moment they are looking for legal representation, and then give it to them. In many cases, simple works. In others, appealing to a potential client’s emotions is most effective. If you want to really get good at understanding clients, listen to them. They will almost always tell you everything you need to know.
- Don’t make marketing strategy or messaging decisions based solely on your own perceptions, experiences, or preferences.
- Effective law firm marketing messages usually offer a prospective client immediate peace of mind. They suggest that contacting a particular firm will help alleviate anxiety (e.g., about divorce) or solve a pressing problem (e.g., money for medical bills).
- Never compromise your law firm’s reputation in an effort to stand out.