The Other Marketing Mistake Attorneys Make Every Day

Last week I covered how small law firms and solos mistakenly try to appear bigger than they really are. But that’s not the only mistake I see when working with these firms.

Mistake #2: Trying to be everything to everyone

I know many small firms will happily help resolve child custody disputes, enthusiastically pursue damages in a personal injury case and work diligently to obtain debt relief through bankruptcy for their clients. And let’s be clear – there is nothing wrong with being a full-service firm. The problem is that almost no one is looking for a full-service lawyer.

The vast majority of legal consumers seek an attorney for a very specific need, and all consumers expect their specific needs (not anybody else’s) to be addressed in marketing. And if they don’t feel their needs are being met – for example, if a firm’s marketing messages do not resonate because they are generic or crafted for a different audience – they will very likely look elsewhere.

So while serving clients with a variety of needs is admirable, attempting to use a single vehicle, like a website, to market to widely different audiences with widely different needs can be a recipe for sub-optimal results. By trying to satisfy and motivate multiple audiences, you may wind up failing to connect powerfully with any audience.

Think of it this way: If I want a divorce, there are a lot of attorneys to choose from. And if it comes down to a choice between Attorney Smith, whose marketing is designed specifically to address my fears and concerns, and Attorney Jones, whose marketing is all over the map, who do you think I’ll choose? Probably not the one who, from my perspective, “also does divorce” – when she’s not busy with real estate closings and traffic tickets and estate planning.

This doesn’t mean you should stop handling a broad range of legal matters. It means you need to be strategic around what case type(s) you emphasize – and therefore what audience(s) you target – with your marketing. So it’s not really about what you do, it’s about how you market your firm most effectively. Get that right and chances are you’ll get the right clients too.

Knowing your target audience is a key piece of defining your brand. To learn more about branding law firms, download Legal Marketing 101 – the free playbook from FindLaw.

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