The Marketing Mistake Attorneys Make Every Day

For the past seven years or so, I’ve enjoyed working with attorneys to help grow their firms through effective marketing. I’ve seen some remarkable success stories in that time. However, I’ve also seen certain mistakes repeated time and again. Two in particular come to mind. Both are serious and easy to make. Thankfully, they’re also easy to correct. I’ll talk about the first one today and cover the second next week.

Mistake #1: Pretending to be bigger than you are

There are real and important reasons why a consumer might choose to work with a solo or small practice versus a larger firm: more personalized service, greater attention to each individual case, etc. In my opinion, being a solo or small firm can be a great selling point and can help create effective brand differentiation, which is central to marketing success.

But a surprising number of websites for solos and small firms employ linguistic gymnastics in an attempt to appear more like larger firms. This can be an especially strong temptation for a solo. I’ve seen many solo websites use the phrase “our attorney” or refer to themselves as “Attorney Smith” over and over, as if the website were written by the staff because the attorney either has nothing to say or doesn’t care to speak directly to prospective clients.

While I’m sure the intent is to convey a sense of gravitas, the website visitor reading this sort of language is likely to be left cold. This approach creates a psychological distance between the reader and the attorney, which is the opposite of the effect we want. Ideally, the website visitor should develop a sense of connection and trust with the attorney. Why? If I, as a legal consumer, feel I understand and can trust you as a person, I will hire you. But if my only experience of you is an oddly de-personalized website, I am likely to look elsewhere for a connection.

The key takeaway is this: Being small can work to a firm’s advantage, particularly if that size translates into personalized and dedicated service. But it’s hard to sell that service with language that has been intentionally stripped of personality.

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