Written by Russ Korins, Nimbus Law Firm Marketing. Russ Korins assists law firms with marketing and practice development. He previously practiced corporate and technology law. He is based in New York City and works with clients around the country.
The next time you are out with your non-lawyer friends, try asking them a couple of questions:
“Who here urgently needs commercial litigation?”
“Raise your hand if you need trusts & estates work.”
If these sound stilted and silly, just think: most legal marketing is guilty of this very problem. You can do better by incorporating an approach called client-centric marketing into your practice development efforts.
Focusing on the benefits and value to buyers, from the buyer’s perspective, is something most great businesses already do.
Think about ads for the hottest smartphone: they do not talk about the technical aspects of how data packets travel from point A to point B; they instead emphasize staying in touch, connectivity, sharing, and doing what you love and working from anywhere.
These are things people want and need. They say “I want to be able to email when I'm away from the office.”
Law firms can benefit from the same approach. Client-centric marketing for lawyers means explaining how their work is:
- the solution to a problem, or
- the key to an opportunity.
Imagine what a prospective client is thinking to spur the search for an attorney. Then, describe your work in those terms, from the client's perspective.
Returning to the commercial litigation example, no businessperson walks around saying, “I need commercial litigation.” Instead, they say they need help resolving a dispute with another company and protecting their own business.
Similarly, people do not say, “I need trusts & estates.” They think, “I need a lawyer for a will because I want to protect my loved ones.”
Consider your own practice. What problems do you solve? What do you help people do? If you are not sure, a good way to start is completing the sentence “I help ____ do ______.”
Once you sharpen your client-centric message, work it into all of your marketing channels: your website, your email with contacts, and the way you introduce yourself in person. For help, explain what you do to those non-lawyer friends, and ask them why they think it is valuable.
A client-centric perspective is an important element of successful legal marketing. Work it into everything you say, and prospects and referral sources will remember you as someone valuable.