Persistence Pays in Legal Marketing

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When it comes to marketing, a bad idea is better than nothing. Yep, that’s right. A bad idea is better than nothing.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you come up with something that might be a “bad” idea. Let’s say you decide to put up sexy billboards with the slogan “Life’s Short. Get a Divorce” showing pictures of the new partner you’ll get when you trade-in your old model spouse.

You plaster your website name on the billboard, and you hope you inspire some marital discord.

Bad idea?

Are Bad Ideas Really So Bad?

Even a bad idea gets people talking. In fact, a bad idea might get more people talking.

Of course, you’ll worry about what they’re saying, but isn’t having people notice you and your business better than being invisible? Attorney Chuck Colson built an entire second career on obstructing justice. However, I would caution you against thinking of felonies as marketing tactics.

Way too many lawyers start a business and disappear into the ether. They don’t even exist.

Interestingly, the lawyer behind “Life’s Short” is still around. Her “bad” idea didn’t kill her practice. In fact, she’s still getting talked about. They even sell Life’s Short merchandise at a special site.

So what’s your bad idea? Maybe it’s joining BNI, the networking group.

One of my lawyers recently joined one of these groups. He didn’t get especially positive results. That’s about what I expect in lots of practice areas, and that’s why I teach a different approach in Networking 101.

But even BNI will work. It just takes time and effort.

There Is Really Only One Truly Bad Idea

Most bad ideas are better than nothing. If the alternative is a better idea, then go ahead and make the switch. But—and this is way too often the case—if the alternative is to do nothing, then stick with what you’re doing. Don’t quit your bad idea to stop marketing altogether.

Bad ideas work; they just take longer. I know lawyers who’ve built thriving practices through BNI. It’s not efficient, and it’s not quick, but it works. It works because everything—even a bad idea—works. Doing something beats the crap out of doing nothing.

The temptation to declare any idea “bad” is especially strong early on in your marketing effort. If you don’t see quick results, you’ll tend to believe that what you’re doing isn’t working. You’ll want to try the next thing. You’ll be distracted by the shiny object.

Don’t switch. Stick with your “bad” idea.

I know lots of lawyers who try one bad idea after another and keep switching. They never give any of their efforts time to generate traction. They give up before things get going, and then they blame the tactic.

You can’t keep switching. You’ve got to hold steady, even if what you’re doing is less than the perfect effort. The reality is that every tactic is less than perfect. Everything works, but everything works less well than we’d like.

Remember, bad ideas work. They really do. Even billboards work. It all works. You’ve just got to persist.

There is only one thing that doesn’t work—only one.

What doesn’t work is doing nothing. It’s way too easy to talk ourselves into doing nothing when the thing we’re doing isn’t delivering the results we’d like.

Bad Ideas That Work

I know lawyers who have built practices on a variety of bad tactics:

  • They’ve written articles for local publications.
  • They’ve spoken to local groups.
  • They’ve become involved with Twitter.
  • They’re Facebook junkies.
  • They publish a book and market it.
  • They volunteer in civic groups.
  • They do nothing but bar association activities.
  • Or they do an endless list of other things ranging from becoming involved in a local bicycle club to writing the newsletter for the home brew beer group.

All of these ideas work. Again, they’re not always the most efficient, fastest, or most effective ways to build practices. But they work.

The only time they fail is when you fail to stick with it. Everything works if you persist.

Grab a bad idea. Pick something that you enjoy. Then do it. Do it regardless of whether it’s working. Then do it some more. Stick with it. Keep going. Don’t stop. It’ll work. Everything works if you persist.

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