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Legal Marketing: What NOT To Do

I got a piece of lawyer advertising in the mail last week and I just knew I had to share it with you as an example of both what TO do and what NOT to do.

Would You Hire These Lawyers?

First of all, let’s look at what’s really working here:

1. These lawyers are marketing!

So even though the marketing could really use many improvements, I will give them major credit for getting out there in the community.

One of the things we see repeatedly is that when lawyers just start doing some marketing, any marketing, everything shifts.

“I listened to one of your recordings and you said that lawyers could not just rely on one type of marketing. Stop the bus! Marketing? My marketing over the past 15 years had been word of mouth – that was it. I was floored there was something I could do and should do. Not one of the attorneys I worked with used any sort of marketing.”

-Jill Gregory


2.  They’ve got a full page ad.

One of the mistakes, I do often see is that lawyers try to cheap out on marketing by taking out the smallest ad possible and then wonder why they don’t get any calls. You’ll notice these lawyers we’re discussing have a full page ad. That’s the kind of ad that works.

If you can’t afford a full page ad on your own, consider teaming up with other lawyers in the area and taking out a group ad, maybe in different, but complementary practice areas and have the phone calls handled by an answering service that can dole messages from prospects out based on the service needed.

Or consider collaborating with non-attorneys, who serve the same clients you do on an ad like that. One of the things we teach the lawyers who use our Perpetual Marketing Machine or Client Attraction System programs is how to build their own local marketing mastermind collaboratives to do just that.

Finally, you can consider teaming up with other attorneys who do exactly the same work you do, but in another part of town. You then split the calls that come in according to whoever is closer to which office. There are so many opportunities, just pick one and move forward.

The good news is that it only takes one client usually (if you’ve structured your fees properly) to make back your investment in a full-page ad.

3. They’ve got affiliations.

One of the smart things they’ve done with this ad is listed their affiliations, which can provide credibility, so long as those affiliates are appealing to their prospects.

I personally believe that given that this ad was placed in a publication that reaches a lot of families with young children, they’d be well served to not just have the NAELA (elder law attorney) affiliation, but also the Personal Family Lawyer®  or Family Business Lawyer™ affiliation to indicate they have specialized knowledge in focusing on families with kids or entrepreneurial families.

The elder law market is pretty well maxed out, from what I can see, and the trend is moving more toward serving families with young children, and business owners. At least for smart lawyers.

Now for what the folks in this ad could do a lot better:

1. Convert the free initial consultation into a meeting with a name, purpose & value.

When you offer free initial consultations, your time is not respected or appreciated by your prospects. You’ll have loads of reschedules and cancellations and people who come in as lookie-loos and shoppers. That’s NOT what you want because it just wastes your time.

Now, I’m not saying to not meet with people for free, but always make it valuable, educational and purposeful. And make sure that they know the value of your time and that they are getting it for free for a specific reason.

Here’s what I mean…

They could swap out this Free Initial Consultation for an educational meeting that has a specific name, as well as a defined purpose and value.

Our Personal Family Lawyer®  members do this by offering a “Family Wealth Planning Session” that will “educate you about what would happen to your assets, your children and everything else that matters if anything happens to you.” They then design a plan for $750 and give people lots of ways to get that at no charge, whatsoever.

Our Family Business Lawyer™ members do this by offering a “LIFT Start Up Session” or “LIFT Audit” during which they will “guide you to look at the legal, insurance, financial and tax parts of your business” and where there might be holes so you can design a plan to shore up any holes. The value of this meeting is $1,250.

What would the name, purpose and value of your educational meeting be that would replace your free initial consultations?

2. Don’t commoditize the work by pricing out documents.

One of the WORST things lawyers do to themselves (and other lawyers, frankly) is to commoditize themselves into document drafters by advertising Living Trust Packages for $995 or Divorces for $500 or Wills for $399 or LLCs for $59 or [insert whatever set of documents you advertise for some low fee].

If you want to set a price on documents to lure people into your office, give em away for free! But, don’t put a cheap price on it because it commoditizes the practice of law.

You are NOT a document drafter. And, if you are, you might want to start downgrading your lifestyle because you are competing with the LegalZooms and RocketLawyers of the world. And when it comes to competing on price, you can’t win. You can’t price by document and have the kind of life you really want.

The best kind of clients want a counselor, someone who will be there for their family, or their business or during their divorce or DUI or injury case. The only clients who want a cheap set of documents are cheap clients, who quite frankly are pains in the butt. (And you know it!)

Ask yourself: What type of client is my advertising calling in to my office and do I really want that? Then, work out your marketing and business from there.

You may be reading this as a non-Estate Planning lawyer… I hope you found some tips for your own niche, whatever that may be. Whatever kind of law practice you have, if you’re interested in the kind of law business where you offer truly meaningful service while having $10,000+ days and more time with the family…


About the Contributor
Alexis Neely is a bestselling author and has been a frequent guest on numerous network talk shows and news broadcasts. After graduating first in her law school class from Georgetown Law, Alexis clerked for Senior Judge Peter T. Fay on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and then began her career at the #1 AmLaw rated firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson. She went on to build her own law practice into a million dollar a year revenue generator within just three years by creating a revolutionary New Law Business Model you’ll hear about on the call. She is a leading expert on teaching lawyers how to attract more clients, engage those clients at higher fees,* and to serve those clients using this completely different law business model. Lawyers using Alexis’ systems report far more happiness, bigger bank accounts, and that they love being lawyers again.

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  1. John A. St.Clair
    May 9, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Well written and from what I know correct in analysis and conclusions.

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