Are you a better lawyer than the guy with the big bad double truck yellow pages advertisement? You know this guy—the one with a big photo of his face plastered all over buses, billboards and yellow page ads (some of these guys are a little scary looking if you ask me).
Okay, let’s be honest. The lawyer on the big double-truck advertisements couldn’t hold a candle to your trial skills, knowledge and case results. You know your stuff and you’re willing to go head-to-head with the big money advertisers. But there’s a little problem: you don’t have a bank account with a couple extra million just sitting around to go head-to-head with the big guns of lawyer advertising.
So, what do you do? Refinance your mortgage and fight back with big double-truck yellow page ads? Or perhaps you just concede defeat and go about your business taking any ole’ client who walks in the door?
There’s an answer, my friend. It’s simple and it works…but it takes chutzpah.
A Basic Proposition you just have to Admit
First, let’s start with a basic proposition: ALL LAWYER ADVERTISING SUCKS! C’mon, admit it.
It makes no difference whether we’re talking about yellow pages ads, TV or radio commercials or lawyer billboards—they are so bad that we become immune to them. That’s right, we don’t even notice the obnoxious “we fight for you” ads on TV, billboards and radio. You pick the media—TV, radio, yellow pages or websites—lawyer ads are outrageously bad, distasteful and obnoxious and yes, they demean our profession.
If lawyer ads were just ridiculously obnoxious, that would be bad enough. But it’s much worse than you can imagine. Here’s the critical point: almost ALL lawyer ads look exactly alike. You know what I mean: from billboards on major highways with lawyers shouting, “I will fight for you”, to TV commercials of lawyers with boxing gloves on. Our profession seems intent on self-destruction.
With lawyer ads that look identical, how would you expect an injury victim to find you? Fat chance, right? Let’s face it—you might as well be rolling the dice in a game of craps with the ridiculous “I will fight for you” or “30 years of combined trial experience” lawyer ads. The consumer has no way to work through all the crappy lawyer ads to get to you. This is “random chance marketing” (to coin Bob Battle, Esq.’s phrase), i.e., just praying the consumer opens the phone book to your yellow pages ad and decides to call you.
The ANSWER: A lawyer billboard that stands out from the crowd
The answer in two words: BE DIFFERENT! And no, this does not mean, “Free Initial Consultation”, “Weekend appointments available” or “We fight for you” (do lawyers really fight?)
Okay, great, but how can lawyers create a message to consumers that is unique, cost-effective and makes money? If you live in the Capital District and drive on Interstate 90 (which is everyone), you have a great example of outside-the-box lawyer advertising that works. You know what I’m talking about without reading the next line.
On Interstate 90 in Albany, there is a billboard that is unlike any other lawyer advertising you’ve seen. The billboard of Finkelstein & Partners reads, “Do Not Text and Drive”, in plain, bold print in red.
So what’s so great about this simple, plain message? Do drivers really put their iPhone down when they read the billboard? Are accidents prevented by this billboard? Who knows? But I can tell you one thing: this billboard is unique in conveying a clear message: We don’t care about getting your next injury case—we care more about your safety. Brilliant!
Why would a driver take notice of this billboard and ignore the rest? It’s simple: the billboard of Finkelstein & Partners conveys a unique message that is different from any you’ve seen before.
Does this billboard work in getting new clients? It’s just a guess on my part, but I’ve got to imagine it does a hell of a lot better than the standard “we fight for you” lawyer ads that are obnoxious, loud and depend on pure chance to get new clients (if I am ruffling a few feathers, too bad).
How you can stand out from the crowd of lawyer advertisements
Great, but you don’t quite have the budget for a billboard on a major highway? Not a problem, my friend. Here’s a tactic that you won’t find anyone else doing: Educate consumers how to find the right lawyer for their case.
It’s simple: the average injury victim (or bankruptcy or criminal defense client) has no clue how to hire the best lawyer for his case. The consumer is subject to hundreds of lawyer ads every day and has no way to tell who the best lawyer is. So, what do they do? Close their eyes and point to the first yellow pages lawyer ad they find? (some do, but is that a client you want anyway?)
Instead of the pro forma “30 years of combined trial experience” lawyer ad, you think outside-the-box. Your ad in the newspaper, website, radio or TV (the media doesn’t matter—the message is what counts) reads, “Discover why 92% of injury victims do not recover the full value of their damages” or better yet, “Find out why only 1 out of 8 malpractice victims recover a penny”. You might offer a free audio CD to injury victims to help them find the right lawyer for their case. What you are really doing is getting the injury victim, or potential client, to raise their hand for your free stuff and get them to stop their search through the yellow pages.
An excellent young lawyer, John DeGasperis, Esq., once told me that my message is counter-intuitive in that I give the answers away. That’s right and that’s why I do it—because no one else does. Other lawyers scream “we’re the greatest lawyers”, but the consumer has no way to weed out the good lawyers from the bad.
A little Warning—you will be mocked and ridiculed
You will be mocked, laughed at and ridiculed by your peers with a unique, outside-the-box message. But who cares? Keep in mind these are the same lawyers wearing boxing gloves on lawyer billboards.
And here’s a little tip: if you are being laughed at, there’s a good chance others are fearful and intimidated by you and want you to conform to the status quo. The ridicule of your peers is almost always a sign that what you’re doing is working.
So take a chance! Throw caution to the wind and you just might be surprised by the results.
How can we help you become more awesome?
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