crowdConsumer lawyers are awful marketers — then again, all lawyers are awful marketers.  After all, we weren’t even allowed to advertise until Bates v. State Bar of Arizona was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977.

Look in your Yellow Pages or newspaper and look at all the ads for lawyers. They all look the same, right?

Everyone is copying one another, trying to do the same thing as the other guy. They see a website they like, so they build one just like it. They see a lawyer giving free consultations so they do the same thing.

Dan Kennedy calls this marketing incest. It works just like real incest because everyone slowly gets dumber and dumber.

So how does a lawyer stand out from the crowd?

Look at what the competition is doing, and then do exactly the opposite.

Simple, really. If everyone is advertising a free consultation, you need to say something different. If you don’t, you are just another lawyer advertising a free consultation. Big deal.

Why not offer a free credit report-check up? Get people flooding into the office to have a qualified lawyer look at their credit report and make suggestions and comments. Once they’re there, start to educate them about what you do and how you do it. Take the time to learn their concerns and fears, then take more time to address them.

If you practice in the field of identity theft, you are swimming upstream. The public does not know much about identity theft, does not know they have rights, does not know there are private lawyers who do this sort of thing, and does not know how this stuff works.

They do, however, know they have problems with their credit reports.

And they know they want their credit score to get better.

So you offer that which your competition is NOT offering. While the competition is pressing the flesh with the news reporters hoping to get out the word about the availability of private lawyers, attending bar association functions in a vain attempt to get a divorce lawyer to be on the lookout for an identity theft case to send their way, begging bankruptcy lawyers to ask about identity theft issues, you will be actually making a difference, educating consumers, and making some money in the process.

I am not saying that networking is bad. Far from it — I think networking is a key part of your marketing (at least, it should be). But I take issue with lawyers who go from event to event, imploring others to find their cases and waiting for “that one big case” to walk in the door.

Don’t walk into the crowd. Stand out from the crowd.

(photo: victoriapeckham)

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