Law Firm Marketing:
“You May Not Believe This, But…”
9 General Rules for Marketing Legal Services
by Trey Ryder
When marketing legal services, most lawyers rely on intuition and common
sense to make decisions. But in many cases, results from attorney marketing
efforts don’t follow the conventional wisdom. I have compiled these law
marketing rules after years of trial and error. Now, here are my 9 general
rules for marketing legal services:
General Rule #1: If you’d like to get a feature article in a
newspaper or magazine, consider approaching a national publication. Every
day, lawyers and business owners compete for space in local publications,
but most never think about nationwide publications. In some cases, it’s
easier to get into national publications than local ones. Plus, a widely
published article can do a tremendous amount to enhance your image as
General Rule #2: Trade publications allow you to reach a large
number of specific types of businesses. Many industries and professions
have publications and newsletters, even in local areas. So rather than
getting articles in broad-based media, read by many people who are not
in your target audience, consider specific publications that reach highly
focused groups. Most editors respect lawyers and like to receive their
articles, providing they’re written in plain English, not legalese.
General Rule #3: Display ads in large daily newspapers usually
do not pull as great a response as ads in suburban and small-town papers.
This is because people who buy large papers usually scan them, rather
than carefully looking at every page. People who buy small-town and suburban
papers read them more closely, so they’re more likely to see and respond
to your ad.
General Rule #4: Radio commercials often work well for lawyers.
To make radio work, you need to prepare information you can send to listeners
who respond, or have a web site to which you can direct them. Either way,
radio can reach target prospects quite well and often at a fraction of
the cost of other media.
General Rule #5: Your newsletter becomes less trouble and more
productive when you shorten it and send it more often. Frequency and brevity
are more important than quarterly newsletters a half inch thick. So if
your current newsletter requires too much effort, make it shorter. Your
readers will enjoy it more and read it sooner. Plus, you’ll get a better
General Rule #6: Fancy web sites that take forever to download
do more harm than good. Every week, I hear lawyers and clients complain
about slow-to-load web sites. In most cases, the person tells me that
he chose not to wait and moved on. The problem arises not only because
they didn’t wait for your site to load, but also because they later complain
about your site to their friends and colleagues. So rather than creating
no impression, the impression you create is negative.
General Rule #7: A serious photograph that you think is dignified
often scares off prospects. If you want to see bad photos of lawyers,
look through the yellow pages. In many cases, lawyers look worse than
the criminals they defend. Hire a photographer to take a professional
publicity shot, with direct eye contact and a warm engaging smile because
before you make a stern impression on your adversary, you must make a
favorable impression on your prospect.
General Rule #8: Long marketing messages work better than short
messages, not because they’re long, but because they’re complete. Short
messages have a place, especially when prospects want a quick overview
and don’t have time to digest your entire message. (Then a summary sheet
of bullet points works best.) But when your prospect finds time -- and
wants to read what you say -- you’re in a much stronger position when
you have (1) answered all his questions, (2) discussed your competitive
advantages, and (3) explained the many benefits of hiring you.
General Rule #9: High fees attract better clients than low fees.
When creating a marketing argument, it’s much easier to justify high fees
based on the depth of your knowledge and experience -- than to explain
why you charge so little. As consumers, we all use price as a quick way
of determining quality. While price is not always reliable, still, we
form impressions about the other person based on what he charges. Most
often, people who want low prices get what they pay for and are not the
most desirable clients. On the other hand, clients who want to benefit
from your knowledge, skill and experience know that those qualities don’t
If you are responsible for law firm marketing, I hope these attorney
marketing rules help you. You are invited to review other law marketing
articles on this web site. Thank you for allowing me to offer my time-tested
insights into marketing legal services.
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