Lawyers, Accountants, and service providers, in general, are often shocked to hear this, but your marketing doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, boring marketing doesn’t work and if you want to start generating more business it’s time to create a personal brand. Professionals are so used to looking inward to what other professionals in their industry are doing to get their inspiration that they fail to innovate. It’s as if they treat the client’s concerns as secondary. Professionals who reverse the lens and take their clients more seriously than their obligation to fit with their peers will experience exponential growth comparatively.
If you like the status quo and are happy with your client funnel, then by all means do the same thing everyone else is doing. But if you sense you have more to offer clients than your competition then you have to message that unique position in a manner that speaks to the clients who will resonate with you; You can’t do things the old way with a few new gadgets to make the connections necessary to thrive int he new digital world.
If it’s time for you to get a new website or brand, consider reading this article before moving forward in the process.
The biggest thing that has changed professional services marketing is creating a personal brand that reflects who you are as a person. Who you are as a human being matters. It affects everything about your practice and your business. It distinguishes you from the crowd (hopefully). So why not message what is special about you? A strong personal brand that captures your secret sauce is the key to unlocking a better work-life balance… And it is the foundation of a killer marketing campaign.
Seriously, take a second to consider what your potential client is actually feeling before they realize they need a lawyer and see the world through their eyes:
- What are they scared of
- What is their first instinct
- What would make them feel better or comforted that things will be okay
- What do they need to hear and see to feel that someone understands their problem
- What will they say when they go home to their spouse and describe their consult with you?
We ask these questions because this thought process is necessary in order to establish a connection. Humans need to connect with humans. It is not an ad or a series of choice words that results in a deep connection, it is understanding. Once you understand the problems your ideal clients face you can present yourself in an authentic manner that creates a connection.
Yes, people are looking to hire a lawyer, but what they are really looking for is to hire the best human who practices law– who is going to understand their pain and fight for their best outcome (all things that have nothing to do with your degree, but who you are as an individual). In short, how you present yourself digitally matters.
If you consider how you achieve success it is usually a combination of skills, experience and tactics that set you apart. The same can be said for creating your brand identity.
Here are some crucial elements necessary to succeed in this area:
- A website that utilizes modern design elements and flows seamlessly between desktop and mobile
- Copywriting that speaks the language of your clients, not your peers
- Graphic design that is more than pretty, it has to be authentic and synergized
- Social media campaigns that support the website and draw eyeballs to your home base
After working with many lawyers, here’s what we’ve learned about website design for law firms: being boring doesn’t work, people don’t get excited by boring, and you are going to lose business if you don’t change.
For decades, lawyers have followed the same tired format for advertising that’s now trickling into their online presence. Typically, law firms’ advertising places them in one of two categories: the super-elite & upper-class or the cheap side-of-the-highway, last resort firm.
In web design, this translates to either super clean, easy-to-navigate websites that scream safe, corporate branding or a cheesy, “hurt in a car, call William Mattar” style site that makes you feel like you might get a computer virus after one wrong click.
Bad Law Firm Websites
- William Mattar https://www.williammattar.com/
- Allen Farshi https://www.casedismissed.us/
- Brent Buckman http://www.brentbuckman.com/ (this guy was on the apprentice and has the worst branding I have ever seen, talk about a missed opportunity to message like a rockstar)
For lawyers & law firms that feel like they fall in the middle of these categories, it can feel impossible to find inspiration for their digital presence, which often leads to following the status-quo and creating another boring website.
If you’re looking for web design for law firms that will separate you from the competition (even the big guys), here are our tips for creating an original, personalized website that maintains your professional credibility as a lawyer:
1. Always start by looking inward.
If you haven’t already, you need to take a moment and discover your “so what?”.
The first step in our process as a digital marketing agency that specializes in creating personal brands is getting to know our clients intimately. We do this by asking the tough questions that get us to the core of your business and why you do what you do.
We’ve had experiences with lawyers who tell us their stories of getting into the legal profession, having no idea that they’ve just outlined the driving force behind their brand’s values and goals. Sometimes it takes talking to strangers about yourself and your business to uncover something so unique and powerful that was sitting in front of you the whole time.
Some of the questions we ask our clients during our initial discovery session include:
- Why does your brand exist?
- What future does your brand aim to create?
- What do you not want your brand to be?
- What principles guide your brand’s behaviour?
- If your brand was a person, how would you describe them?
Take the time to answer these questions before moving on. There is a reason why you do what you do, and it’s more rewarding for everyone if you go deeper to explore why you chose your career.
You didn’t go through years of school to get your degree, pass the bar exam, and open your practice to market like you’re the exact same as everyone else. There is always a reason why you’ve arrived at this place; it’s time you took the step to verbalize it.
Everyone loves a good story. Finding out your why so that you can articulate it in your branding, your consults, to your kids, etc– goes a long way and makes you memorable.
Humans are natural storytellers, it’s time you crafted yours.
2. Don’t limit yourself based on professionalism.
Sticking to the norm isn’t going to make your law firm stand out.
A sweet spot between professionalism and authenticity will make your law firm stand out without compromising your credibility. People want to feel connected to other people, especially when it comes to choosing a lawyer to defend them in what is likely a scary or stressful situation.
In most jurisdictions, specific regulatory requirements for marketing and professional advertising services cause many lawyers to grow weary of breaking out of the mould. The regulations set out by your regulatory board DO NOT mean you can’t use digital marketing to its fullest potential; it just means that you need to work with a team of professionals who understand your industry and its requirements.
While obeying regulations, you can still create an online space that genuinely reflects your law firm’s values and that will draw in the correct type of client for you.
3. Work with professionals that understand your world.
Think like a client, not a lawyer when sourcing a professional to build your brand. Professionals have skill sets they work hard to master, and don’t fall victim to big is better or fancy graphics. Take the time to figure out if the agency resonates with you as a person and professional and can capture your brand.
Your clients want to work with the best and you give it to them even though you are not the biggest, the same holds true in marketing. For some clients, specialized boutique firms provide the best results. You want to avoid cookie-cutter solutions that rely on resources to win, you cannot get into an attrition battle with the big firms, you have to outsmart and out maneuver them.
Working with an agency that considers all aspects of your brand before designing your website is the best way to achieve the results you’re looking for. Good marketing is rooted in strategy, not end-use execution. You need a strong overarching strategy and vision that sets up all of the deliverables for success–and this is often what is missing when hiring talent off the internet.
For ideas on how we can create a custom, tailored website for your law firm, take a look at some of our previous work on our website!