Online marketing is online marketing, you say. Is legal online marketing any different than any other type of online marketing?
Let’s start off by recounting some ways in which they are similar. They have the same objective (get clients!) as well as the same very broad set of tactics (take out ads via Google’s Adwords! And so forth). And a lot of the same general principles of online marketing and user acquisition apply: a universal law, after all, is a universal law. You need to, for example, give your potential client confidence that you are legitimate and trustworthy, no matter what client you’re representing. (Except for those who explicitly try to come off as untrustworthy – but those are war stories for another day!).
But, as they say, “the devil is in the detail.” Or perhaps Zeus is in the details, if we want to be more optimistic. And it’s the details that make this market different from all others. (Of course, each market is unique in its own ways.) Here are a few ways.
First, lawyers need to abide strictly by various regulations, in particular, the ABA’s rule 7.2b. You could be disbarred for paying for leads and other similar behavior. The nuances of the rule can get subtle and complex when we get into non-trivial marketing situations, so we need to be double careful and understand the implications of every little marketing action we do.
Secondly, lawyers need to be particularly careful about their reputations. If you buy a hammer – as long as it is strong, it doesn’t really matter if the brand is a bit better or a bit worse. But lawyers live and die by their reputations. You need to be marketed in a way that is consistent with the reputation you have, and the reputation you want to build.
Third, geographically targeted marketing takes a strong precedence in legal marketing. If you have a company that drop-ships art around the world – it doesn’t matter much where your customers are. But in law, the laws and regulations and processes change substantially jurisdiction to jurisdiction, that we need to focus our marketing in a very targeted way on the jurisdiction in which you can practice. Luckily, modern online advertising platforms like Google and Facebook enable us to target on a very granular basis.
Fourth, one of the defining characteristics of lawyers — or should I say, good lawyers — is precision in speech and writing. As such, lawyers need to work with marketers who themselves are precise in terms of their thinking, their writing, their communication, their execution — and every aspect of what they do.
Fifth and finally, lawyers need — much more so than other clients — marketers who pay attention to the details. Every little detail of what your trusted marketer says or does could have serious consequences for you — perhaps even liabilities. And typos and implications both matter. Non-detailed-oriented marketers aren’t a good bet for a law firm.
We believe wholeheartedly we satisfy all five requirements. Does your current marketer?