Why Does Most Lawyer Marketing Stink?

I rarely see any kind of marketing from a law firm that makes me want to hire a lawyer.

Sometimes I see marketing material from other professionals that makes me want to use their services even when I don’t have the problem they solve.

I find myself thinking, “I almost wish I had that problem” so that I could let them fix it for me. I save the contact info just in case.

What Makes Marketing Effective?

Good marketing causes an emotional response. It touches us somewhere deeper than we expect. It moves us, even if just a little.

I rarely see anything from a law firm that makes me feel much of anything. I’m mostly unmoved, untouched, and, usually, bored.

Why do we pack so little emotional punch? It’s odd that we struggle with touching others in our marketing. We’re usually excellent at pulling at the heartstrings.

I remember watching John Edwards (back before the unpleasantness) in a trial. He brought tears to my eyes. I’ve had that happen in more trials than I can count. Some lawyers are outstanding at helping us feel the pain when they present evidence and talk to the jury.

Why can’t we do the same thing in our marketing?

My suspicion is that we’re good at telling emotional stories, as long as it’s someone else’s story. We get into trouble when it’s our own story.

How to Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

To illustrate, here’s the campaign announcement from Clay Aiken, who’s running for Congress in North Carolina. He’s the singer who came in second place on American Idol. He tells his story in this video and does a great job of using emotion (don't get distracted by the politics).

Contrast that video with this one from Roy Cooper, the Attorney General in North Carolina. He’s an unannounced candidate for governor, and this was his “coming out” video. Of course, he’s a lawyer, so you won’t be surprised at how he fails to evoke an emotional response.

Two politicians, one a singer and one a lawyer, demonstrate the personal challenge we face in telling our stories and connecting emotionally to others.

Clay Aiken  is willing to be real, vulnerable, and human. Roy Cooper (who I support) is constrained in the same way we lawyers tend to be restrained when talking about ourselves.

Our lawyer approach to marketing is hollow. People walk away from us feeling empty and disconnected. It’s a failure for us as marketers, as a profession, and as humans. It harms our businesses in ways we can't even begin to measure. We’ve got to be able to connect with our humanity and then communicate what we’re about in a manner that builds on that connection.

Brene Brown does a great job of teaching us about the power of vulnerability. She shows us how to connect with ourselves: that’s the starting point. Check out her video if you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level.

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