What the McRib can Teach You about Marketing Your Law Firm

TimeCrunch-300x200Why should you update your law firm’s website based on how McDonald’s sells McRib sandwiches? Two words: scarcity sells. The McRib has achieved worldwide fame because it’s only available for a few weeks out of the year. Savvy marketers will tell you that limited availability not only creates a perception of greater value, but, more importantly, a sense of urgency, which motivates consumers to take action.

Clearly, however, applying scarcity marketing to your firm’s website presents a challenge. After all, there is no shortage of legal services, nor are they available for a limited time only. Further, it simply isn’t ethical for attorneys to attach expiration dates to fee structures or advertise one-time discounts for new clients.

However, one thing that is in short supply is time. If potential clients wait too long before contacting an attorney, their window of opportunity to secure an optimal legal outcome may slam shut. In this way, scarcity taps into loss aversion, or the fear of missing out.

How do you convey this shortage of time and the related scarcity of opportunity? By incorporating a clear sense of urgency into your website design and content to ensure that your potential client understands what’s at stake if he or she fails to act. For instance, inviting visitors to “contact us today” does not communicate urgency. You must spell out the risks and warn potential clients about the potential losses that could result from a lack of action if you want to motivate them to contact your firm today.

What does that look like? Depending on your areas of specialty, you can craft an aggressive call to action by warning:

  • Personal injury claimants that they may “miss out” if they act too late;
  • Individuals accused of crimes that they may find their defense options limited if they wait too long to consult an attorney;
  • Clients facing DUI charges that failing to act quickly may jeopardize their right to drive and make them more vulnerable to incarceration and other severe penalties.

You can probably add more such examples based on your own experiences. As you can see, communicating the negative consequences of failing to act quickly can be an effective way for law firms to tap into the power of scarcity marketing.

It’s important to note that lighting the fire of urgency under potential clients is actually providing them great service. Admittedly, creating that pressure appeals to people’s emotions and can possibly add more stress to an already difficult situation. But in legal situations, timing really is critical to the outcome. Unlike leveraging fast food cravings for a limited time, it’s in the client’s best interest to contact an attorney sooner rather than later.

If you’d like to learn more about the psychology of your potential clients, read the FindLaw white paper, Why Most Law Firm Websites are Designed to Fail: Logic, Emotion and Today’s Legal Consumer.

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