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After years of Head & Shoulders' "You never get a second chance to make a first impression" commercials, we're basically convinced that initial perceptions are how we will be judged in life. Sure, it was a marketing campaign, and we shouldn't base our life choices on what Madison Avenue says, but repetitive messages have a hypnotic effect.
For lawyers, that message is probably true. If a prospective client goes online to find an attorney and is unimpressed by a lawyer's website, the attorney probably won't get the gig. That's just one reason why lawyers need to focus on building an effective brand.
This isn't a style versus substance struggle. While a big firm's annual spending on law firm marketing and branding may rival many lawyers' mortgages, a lawyer's branding strategy doesn't have to cost a small fortune; it's even something that lawyers can develop for themselves.
A firm's brand is the promise it make to clients: This is who we are, what we do, what we stand for and what you can always expect from us. A successful law firm brand should include at least one of these three elements:
Defining your brand starts with introspection. Who's your target client? What message does he or she want to hear? What makes your firm distinct in your practice area? How do clients and colleagues at other firms describe your firm?
Next, you should create a one- to two-sentence "brand promise" that explains what your firm does, how it does it, and how the clients benefit. Think of the brand promise as your elevator pitch.
Finally, incorporate that brand into your law firm marketing strategy. That means that your web, social media, and traditional marketing materials include that promise.
Marketing and branding come naturally to some lawyers; if you're not one of those, it's okay to get help from a company that offers lawyer marketing services. Like FindLaw.
(Apologies for the shameless plug, but the Lawyer Marketing team is really good at what they do. And no, we're not on the Lawyer Marketing team.)
Whether you DIY, phone a friend, or ask FindLaw for help, make sure that your law firm marketing strategy is helping you connect with clients. You'll benefit, and so will they.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.