One of the most powerful ways to differentiate yourself from other attorneys and capture the attention of your audience is through piercing messaging. Whether TV, radio, online ads — yes, even social blogging — your strategic messaging can be your strongest weapon in winning the marketing trenches. However many attorneys fall short by authoring and delivering a one-dimensional message for a one-dimensional target group.
For example, when an attorney in a TV commercial reads those hollow and homogenized words to the camera, “Have you been hurt in an accident? Then call me, Attorney John Smith….”, he is speaking to a niche audience of accident victims. However John Smith has completely missed the mark on appealing to the two other vital audience groups that reside on his radar: 1) Industry Referral Sources (Doctors and other Attorneys) and 2) Insurance Adjusters.
Doctors & Attorneys – Peer Perception is Crucial
As you most certainly well know, the intake pipeline of a Personal Injury Attorney is a constant struggle of quantity versus quality. And whereas marketing sources tend to garner more volume of inquiries and intakes, referrals from Doctors and Attorneys represent more high quality stature of cases. And yet every time John Smith goes on TV and compromises his image with a run-of-the-mill message, he is also negatively affecting the perception from his peers. It is absolutely vital for Attorneys to appeal to their potential referral sources indirectly through all of their marketing. They need to evoke a feeling of trust, authority, credibility, and protection. These key emotions are integral to an attorney’s perceived core traits because they are the same values that a referral source has in the cross-hairs when making a referral. These referrals are their patients, their clients; and Doctors and Attorneys want them to be guided and protected just like they would provide themselves – after all, at the end of the day, their name and reputation is ultimately at stake. For these reasons, Personal Injury Attorneys need to consider the secondary perceptions that they are conveying when appealing to the primary target audience of accident victims.
Insurance Adjusters – Don’t Suffer From a Hurt Reputation
It is well known within the industry that many insurance adjusters adjust their initial settlement offers not on the plaintiff’s injuries, policy limits, or degree of negligence, but rather on the name of the Plaintiff’s Attorney. (Adjusters know full well who will go to trial…versus who is just “practicing” Law.) Personal Injury Attorneys with a solid, feisty, and fighting reputation usually get the attention—and the ascension—from insurance adjusters. And this need for a robust reputation is equally as important when it comes to the marketing perception that adjusters have of their Attorney counterparts—whether in reality the Attorney has never even set foot in the courtroom.
Because of these dynamics, it is vital for Attorneys to consider the tricky target audience of Insurance Adjusters at all stages of the marketing chain. It is imperative that your messaging have a certain stinging quality. Translated this can involve using unique phrasing, pushing the linguistic boundaries, or implementing a particularly unique style of delivery. For example, with TV commercials the goal is simple: a powerful presence on cable equates to a powerful presence in the courtroom (or during a deposition). Staying disciplined to all of these elements will ensure a grounded and powerful perception that gives adjusters just cause to think twice before low-balling.
For more information on how to build your Personal Injury practice through powerful legal marketing, email me at email@example.com to arrange a quick, convenient meeting at your office.
During this dog-eat-dog competitive world of attorney marketing, The Florida Bar Rules of Lawyer Advertising stipulates many mandates for how an Attorney can & cannot represent himself to the public. No celebrities spokespersons. No misleading graphics. No claims of specialization. The list goes on. But no where does The Bar state “All Lawyers must wear the same suit, say the same thing in the same manner on the same stations.”
Today’s legal marketing landscape has become over-cluttered with parity positionings that makes no one win the battle of consumer retention and top-of-mind awareness. (Well, that’s not totally true…the media companies are the ultimate winners.) Around every street corner, on every TV and radio station, and now even Social Media channels, Attorneys are clamering for consumers’ attention…yet they are going about it all wrong. And because most attorneys only advertise when business is down — and since the entire industry is struggling as a whole — this over-saturation and sea of sameness will go on for at least the next 24-36 months.
Why Branding Is Key for Survial for PI Attorneys
The purchase (or action) decision for someone who needs a PI Attorney is one of a reactive nature, ie: no one proactively researches Attorneys in anticipation of a future accident. It is a reactive decision based on a life altering incident; and usually this decision is further complicated by strong emotions, frustrations, concerns, and, of course, phsyical pain due to the nature of the accident. All of this points to the fact that retention and awareness is paramount for ensuring that a specific Attorney is considered during this dynamic and dicey post-accident period.
For these reasons, “branding” is more important than any other marketing rule for Lawyers who wish to capture maximum top-of-mind awareness. Consumers must be attracted and connected to something about you…your look, your rhetoric, your unqiue style…something that tatoos your name onto their brain so that in the case of an accident you are who comes to their mind for making an action toward obtaining legal representation.
See example of unique brand pesonality in text form for Steve Hoskins, Esq here: http://www.floridainjuryaccidentlawyer.com/should-i-contact.php#steve
Nothing Reinforces a Negative Image More Than Repetition.
Contrary to most Attorney’s marketing behaviors, a large media spend and lots of TV spots does not dictate or build your brand…it only aggravates consumers and creates a negative image for your name and your firm’s name. Last we checked, consumers do not like commercials. And they really don’t like boring and drab commercials from dapper dons who talk over them in their slick suits and fancy ties. Furthermore, in general, Attorneys do not have the highest popularity ratings from the general consumer. This means you must represent yourelf in a manner that is emotionally connecting to the consumer in a positive fashion. This emotion can be sincerity, trust, humor, physical attractiveness, etc. — something that engages your target audience which leads to awareness and retention.
The Lawyer Branding Sweet Spot
Your brand must be comprised of 3 segments which make up the foundation of your branding universe. These 3 segments are 1) your inherent personality, 2) the inherent personality of your target market, and 3) steering clear of any existing brand personality of your competition. The intersection of these 3 areas is what I call your branding sweet spot…
And with that, I will stop.
If you would like more intense information on how to build your brand, capture consumer awareness and subsequently boost your business, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting at your office.
Legal Marketing Expert, Aten Advertising