Doing something is better than doing nothing. But doing the right thing is even better.
In our 35+ years as a legal advertising agency, we’ve seen many law firms miss opportunities that could bring in more leads, better cases and a lot of money.
Among those who do manage to make an effort, if the wrong strategy is fueling the execution, results can be underwhelming.
Today, we look at four common legal marketing mistakes. Take a good look – are any of them happening at your firm?
Failing to Stand Out Against Your Competition
If you take away only one thing from our blog, let it be this: do not be afraid to cut through the clutter and stand out!
The best way to waste your law firm’s TV advertising budget is to buy up broadcast time and then use it to run something similar to your competitor: two or three of your partners standing in front of a bookshelf filled with legal books, speaking into the camera, with a been-there-heard-that approach.
Your TV commercials and other creative content (website, billboards, etc.) need to stand out from the pack. Think creatively and in terms of high quality. In today’s media landscape, you don’t have to have huge budgets to produce excellent, effective creative.
Here’s an ad we created for a client. Note how it stands apart from what you’re used to seeing.
For more on how to fix this common mistake, see our white paper entitled How to Develop Your Message and Stand Out.
Making Assumptions About Your “Small Market”
Here’s one for the “small town” firms.
Attorneys in highly localized markets tend to make faulty assumptions about the advertising landscape they’re in. For example, we often hear:
- Everybody here already knows who we are and what we do.
- Our clients don’t look for lawyers online like people in bigger cities do.
- In a small community like ours, we don’t have a lot of competition. It would be silly to do a lot of advertising.
The problem with these assumptions is simply that they’re wrong. Sure, longtime residents might know of you, and the people in your social circles certainly do. Your challenge is to see outside those circles.
What about the relative newcomers to town? Visitors who suffer injury while passing through? Those residents who’ve never needed a lawyer before? Those that just reached adulthood and don’t know a thing about the attorneys in their area? Your competitors’ clients who might be tempted to contact your firm if only you’d put yourself out there?
If you’re in a legal market and doubting whether attorney advertising could really benefit your business, we’ve written an action guide just for you. Check it out for some great insight and advice.
Getting the Budget Wrong
It’s easy to spend way too much money on law firm advertising, especially in a large market. PPC campaigns, for instance, can quickly run wildly out of control. Media buys can be excessive if you go after the wrong broadcast real estate. Additionally, some marketing agencies simply overcharge.
Of course, establishing an effective budget is a concern for all firms in all markets. It’s not necessarily about outspending your competitor. The goal is to spend wiser than your competitors.
A cost effective strategy is to produce better messaging in your ads (see our tips on standing out above). This gets you more bang for your investment.
We also recommend performing a comprehensive media audit, preferably by an agency other than the one currently handling your marketing. It can help you see where you stand in the market and afford ideas on how you can either cut back or invest differently to improve your results.
Poor Intake Procedures
What good is a great marketing plan if, once you’ve attracted lots of leads, you fail to convert them to clients? Unfortunately, many firms are outright bleeding lead loss simply because their intake procedures are lacking.
This is a costly mistake to make. There’s software out there that can revolutionize your intake. Some simple training for your support staff can make a big difference too. And careful, detailed monitoring of your intake rate is essential.
We’ve written extensively about improving law firm intake procedures in the past. We recommend this as good advice for all attorneys.
Let Network Affiliates Turn Your Marketing Strategy Around
At Network Affiliates, we have a team of legal marketing experts commanding more than 35 years of expertise in the field. We know this world inside and out, and we specialize in cost-effective advertising that produces measurable growth for your firm.