A Look Back at Lawyer Marketing

A Stunning Sunset in Sanibel, Florida; Flying Pelican Included

We know the WayBack machine can point to websites and how they looked years ago.

In today’s post I want to review attorney marketing methods and look at how far we’ve come.

1973 was the groundbreaking year for lawyers. The Supreme Court decision in Bates allowed lawyers to advertise. That was the birth of TV, radio and Yellow Pages advertising for attorneys.

Newspaper ads and classified ads soon followed. Billboards began to plaster our highways.

For decades companies that controlled these media made lots of money from lawyers who sought to advertise their services. The Yellow Pages rep was the bane of most attorneys existence. They knew that every year the rep would come in and try and sell them a larger ad or one with color.

TV ads were pretty much the same. You could theoretically remove one law firm’s name from a TV spot and insert another since they all had the same message. It was typically “Come to me now because I’m here and we handle these cases.”

Then the Internet came along.  Lawyers created static websites. Nobody knew what to do with them. Then they put up pictures on their websites. Then they put up flash animation graphics. Since most lawyers have no idea what to do with their websites, they put the same images that they used in the Yellow Pages advertising.

Gavels, hammers, judicial robes, scales of justice, the United States flag and pictures of courthouses. This was especially prevalent after 9/11.

In 2005 a little website came online that would soon revolutionize the online world. It started with the phrase “Now accepting user-generated video content.” That website was called YouTube.

Around that time a handful of very smart lawyers began to market themselves using a concept now known as ‘education-based marketing’. That concept evolved into teaching consumers and potential clients information they needed to know.

Today, many of the traditional forms of attorney advertising are less relevant than they used to be. Very few people are still using the Yellow Pages. More and more people searching for information now go online. Attorneys websites have dramatically improved. Really smart lawyers are offering lots of great information to help their clients, consumers and potential clients learn from their expertise.

Really smart attorneys are using every media possible to attract their ideal client. Video marketing is one of the key tools to do this.

There is no other media available that allows us the ability to show our expertise and explain information our consumers and potential clients need and want to know.

Millionaire maker Dan Kennedy has said that you don’t want to create a video with a ‘thing-a-ma-bob’ and a flashlight just to get your message online. If you’re going to take the time to create video to market your business, you need to do it right.

It’s been 39 years since the Supreme Court of the United States has allowed lawyers to market their services within their own states restrictions and ethical guidelines. We’ve come a long way since then.

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Gerry, I've read your book and watched at least 100 of your videos, and follow your blog, so "I feel like I know you already!".

I wanted to introduce myself, I work for an attorney, David Aylor, in the Charleston, SC area. I do all his in house marketing, and most recently have focused on video marketing, using your approach.

We started exploring the strategy last July, started filming by September, and published the first video to YouTube Nov. 1. I am now publishing 2 videos per week and the response had been great.

I want to share with you how we have be utilizing the material on Facebook, to build a community of "friends" of the law firm. These are previous clients, referral sources, friends of the staff, other attorneys, new media (radio, TV, and print) as well as other prominent folks in the community.

I really was against the idea of Facebook marketing at first (because I think there's alot of hacks and snake oil salesmen in the "social media/SEO marketing" world). But I was very wrong, the content we are creating is being liked, shared, and commented on, and Facebook's strong community platform (and it's EdgeRank algorithm) is giving us a great way to keep our "inner circle" close to the office, and relevant in the minds of them and their friends.

This was the first video we posted to Facebook-
"Can My Facebook Profile Be Used As Evidence In Court?"
95 likes, 25 comments, 27 shares

The local NBC anchor actually saw it in his Facebook feed from a friend sharing it, and interviewed David Aylor for a 6 o'clock news story on Social Media and Privacy in the legal system. (you can see here if you'd like http://bit.ly/VyALj4)

I would love to show you more about how I'm strategizing these videos for YouTube use as well as Facebook now. I think there are definitely some areas of practice and law firms that it wouldn't work for, but I'm sure there are a bunch that would benefit from it.

Thanks for all you do, and I hope I get the pleasure of meeting you soon!

David Haskins