Too Good To Be True? The Danger of Simplified Marketing Messages

When you’re working with a new client, you probably wonder whether to give a simple explanation, like “We’re going to go to court and ask that this be stopped”, or opt for a more complicated approach, such as “We’re going to make an appearance and file a motion for ex parte injunctive relief, and later we will ask for damages.”

The good of the first approach is that it is easy for anyone to understand. The bad of it is how it makes everything sound too easy. Likewise, the second approach communicates the value of the service you’re providing, but is complicated and harder for laypeople to grasp.

The digital marketing industry faces a similar dilemma.

Some companies find it easier to promote a boiled-down message. “We’ll get you #1 on Google Search Results!” is a typical selling point, as is offering “the best SEO.” The problem with this positioning is that it’s far too reductive and relies on old-fashioned principles that, while easy to understand, simply aren’t true anymore.

The other way to go about it is to tackle the complexity of the modern digital landscape head-on. That means studying contemporary legal consumer behavior and analyzing how changes will affect clients. It means continuously reviewing law firm websites to identify the elements that succeed. It means knowing silver bullets don’t exist, and not trying to push a reductive message or technique, even if it sounds good.

Now, you aren’t an expert on this topic, and you don’t want to be one. You are an attorney because you want to practice law, not understand the finer points of marketing. Fortunately, applying the lawyerly critical thinking skills you use every day to a digital marketing pitch is more than enough to help you evaluate it properly.

The next time you’re presented with a digital marketing strategy, ask yourself:

Is this for me, or is it for anyone and everyone?

A family law client does not search for an attorney the same as does a drunk driving client. Accordingly, a marketing strategy that would work for a family law firm would not work for a criminal defense firm. Does the marketing plan being presented to you have elements adapted specifically to your most profitable practice areas, or is it simply a cookie cutter concept?

Is this simplistic? Or sophisticated?

The noisy, crowded world of the Internet can’t be reduced to one or two slick-sounding lines. When you’re being pitched, keep an ear out for whether what you’re hearing is oversimplified or nuanced.

Have I heard this before?

Very few fields change quite as quickly as digital marketing. All it takes is one tweak to a search engine’s algorithm or a slow shift in preference regarding social media platforms and it all could change. Thus, the thinking around it has to change, too. If what you’re hearing is something you heard a few years ago, it’s past its sell-by date. You should be presented with new ideas, interesting techniques and unfamiliar thinking.

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