This is the next article in my discussion on common marketing mistakes made by law firms. My last article looked at why lawyers shouldn’t pattern their marketing after that of other firms. The reason for this is simple; most attorneys openly admit to being bad at business but then model their practice after what they see in other law firms. Call me crazy, but I don’t see it as a good idea to pattern my business after that of someone who openly admits to being bad at business. Doing so, in my opinion, is a quick trip to a town called “Flat Broke.” In this post I’ll dive into another common mistake which you can quickly correct. That mistake is the fact that attorneys commonly focus their marketing on what they think is important and not what potential clients feel is important. Avoiding this mistake can help you to look like this:

Happy man at desk

While your competitors continue to focus on the wrong things and, as a result, wind up looking like this poor woman:

Frustrated woman

Assuming you’d rather be the former, let’s take a look at how to make positive changes in your firm.

One of the biggest sins in marketing, which attorneys are especially guilty of, is to promote the information that you care about as opposed to presenting people with they information that they care about. Focusing on the things that people want to see will result in a much, much, much, much (much) higher rate of return on your marketing efforts. There are many examples of this but, for the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on a few of the bigger ones.

Attorneys should worry about online client reviews and not the endorsements of other attorneys or other organizations

Attorneys commonly tout their endorsements on their websites and in their marketing materials. This touting includes mentioning that one is AV rated, that they’re a member of ten different bar organizations, etc. I’m sorry to break it to those who do this but the overwhelming majority of potential clients don’t care in my experience. Potential clients will be far more impressed by the online reviews of your former clients. Those former clients, after all, called your office in the exact situation that the current potential client is in. How you handled the cases of former clients, which is reflected by your online reviews, will have a lot more sway than the opinions of other professionals. I started my firm in August of ’06 in my living room. I did not devote time to getting any special recognitions. I did, however, make it a habit to ask for reviews from clients who had a good experience with my firm. In 2010, four years after opening, I did over $1,000,000 in revenue. I was regularly told by clients that one of the reasons they hired me was the good reviews they read online. Clients of our attorney website design and SEO services have taken a similar approach, of focusing on reviews over various legal endorsements, and have seen big gains in their revenue as well. Want to get better results? Forget about various ratings (such as being AV rated) and getting endorsements from attorneys. Instead, focus on building up your online client reviews (which is something most attorneys fail to do).

Here’s an article I previously wrote on how your firm can get more online positive feedback.

Attorneys should stop focusing on their business cards, letterhead, or their logo

I regularly hear from attorneys who are devoting time and energy into their business cards, letterhead, logos, etc. I want to run up to these attorneys and slap their business cards out of their hands while yelling “stop it!” Again, my firm was quite successful. My business cards came from Vista Print and were designed in a matter of minutes. My letterhead was simple and typed up on Microsoft Word in a matter of minutes. I didn’t have a logo or emblem for my firm. Would you like to know what I did have? I had positive online reviews and a blog which I regularly updated with information that potential clients actually cared about. If your website doesn’t provide people with relevant information, and you don’t have a body of online reviews, then ask yourself whether you think people are going to ignore those shortcomings because they are so impressed with your business card or logo. The answer is “no.”

Putting time or financial resources into these types of activities is a major waste. That money or time could be devoted to the development of content which will pay dividends for years. You could also be spending that time asking former clients for good online reviews or improving your firm’s customer experience so that people will be more likely to leave good reviews. If you are devoting time or resources to your business cards, letterhead, or logos then stop and recognize that those are things which potential clients pay little or no attention to.

These are just a few examples I see of attorneys focusing their marketing efforts in the wrong places. You can greatly improve your bottom line by focusing on the things which potential clients actually care about. What are your opinions on how lawyers allocate their resources? Please chime in through the comment form below.