Is Your Website Like the Sample Picture That Comes with the Frame?

Go to your website. Click on the “About Us” or “Why Us” page of your site. The page that tells us how wonderful you are and why we should pick you over that firm down the block.

Print out the text from that page and, while it's printing, find a marker or Sharpie.

Go through the copy on the page with the marker and blank out every reference to your firm name. You might not even have to blank out much—many of these pages refer to “our firm” or “our practice” instead of the name.

Now go through the copy and read it out loud. Instead of thinking about your firm, think about the firm down the street or down the hall. Insert its name where yours used to be. Read it as its website copy instead of yours.

Does it work?

Mostly it does when I try it with the copy I find on attorney websites. It almost makes me wonder whether the firm wrote the copy or whether it came out of the box as sample copy with the website. It usually feels like the sample picture that comes with a new photo frame: there's a boring sameness that makes it impossible to select one firm over another.

Here's an example:

“Our firm is dedicated to finding workable solutions for our family law clients, and assisting them through life's most difficult transitions.”

That's the opening sentence on the page. I truly think it's the sample family law copy from the template.

Here's another one:

“At [insert name of firm] we provide respected, experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys while offering you the compassion and support you need to move on with your life.”

Boring, nondescript, same, same, same copy that makes your firm totally indistinguishable from every other law firm on the planet.

Come on: isn't there anything special about your firm? Isn't there anything unique you offer to clients? Isn't there anything that distinguishes you from the other lawyers?

How about this?

He got beat up one time too many when he was a kid. The last time he was punched in the face was a turning point. It was at that moment that he dedicated his life to fighting back for the little guy. Of course, he was only 7 when he made that decision and it took him two decades to graduate from college and law school, but he's ready, now, to kick some serious butt. He's got a law license, a laptop and online access to Westlaw. He's ready to stand up for you, to fight back and to make sure what happened to him never happens to you.

Every one of us has a story. There's always something. Every firm has a story as well. You've got to be willing to find the special thing about you and tell it.

What about this?

[Insert name of founder] called Verizon about a problem with her cell phone and spent 75 minutes on hold. Ever happen to you? Then she went to Macy's to buy a blouse. She spent 30 minutes hunting around the store to find someone willing to take her money. Then she stopped by the Department of Motor Vehicles to change the address on her driver's license. You guessed it – two hours in line waiting.

The last thing you want, especially when you're coping with divorce, is to be treated like they treat you at the cell phone company, the department store or the DMV. Unfortunately, that's the way it feels at lots of law firms.

It's different at [firm name]. We know what's it like to be treated disrespectfully when you need help. We've been to the emergency room and required to wait when we're bleeding. We know how important it is for someone to come out from the back, approach us with a smile, take our hand and help us feel safe and cared about.

That's different, and it doesn't come out of the law firm website sample kit. You can do something special for your firm. You can stand out from the crowd.

Rewrite your copy, test it with the Sharpie, and see whether you can be different from the rest.

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