“Effective Yellow Pages Advertising for Lawyers”

I got a really good laugh when I spied this book sitting on my bookshelf while looking for my “Evidence in Negligence Cases” book written by New York personal injury trial attorney Tom Moore. I’d totally forgotten this book that I bought years ago while trying to figure out how to market myself online.

The subtitle is “The complete guide to creating winning ads,” by Kerry Randall and printed by the ABA Law practice management section. The really funny thing is I remember reading this book cover to cover,  marking it up, highlighting it and trying to use it to improve my Yellow Pages ad.

This is the stuff that the ABA printed to help lawyers learn how to market themselves. It was originally printed in 2002, thirty years after attorneys started using Yellow Pages to market themselves. Now that’s what I call being on the cusp of attorney marketing! (Notice the sarcasm?)

Chapter 20 is titled “Choosing your reputation: creating a memorable slogan.” Yes, that’s what attorneys need to set themselves apart…a slogan! It’s abundantly clear to me that the information contained within this book is so outdated and so irrelevant in today’s age of social networking and online marketing that I truly got a hearty laugh seeing this book hidden in my bookshelf.

As a year-end project I cleaned out more junk and got another laugh. When I went out on my own in 2002, one of the first marketing things I purchased was a program that my good friend Ben Glass refers to as ‘something that made me want to puke’. I agree. The advice being given in this attorney marketing program was basically a “call here for free cheesy report.”  When you gave your name,  the program urged you to  to bombard  that potential client with multicolored mail with time-stamped deadlines.  I’m happy to say that that program was ridiculous, and a great learning experience for me.

Bar associations today are supposed to help teach their members things that they didn’t teach you in law school. Since law schools neglect to teach lawyers how to market themselves, lawyers are left to learn how to figure this out on their own or be mentored by more senior attorneys. There are very few bar associations across the country that endorse and actively seek expert lawyer marketers to teach their members how to make money in the practice of law. Many lawyers still feel that marketing and advertising is not something a proper professional should do. Many of our bar associations feel the same way.

Unfortunately, that explains one reason why bar associations are so behind the eight ball when it comes to teaching attorneys how to effectively market themselves and make a good living in the process. Lawyers who recognize that marketing is crucial in today’s practice of law understand the importance of all the types of media that you can use and should be fluent in. This applies not only to solo practitioners and small law firms, but midsize law firms and even big law firms as well.

Yellow pages advertising is out. Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter are the standards by which most people in the 21st century are using to communicate their online message. Lawyers who wait for the next book from their local bar association or national Bar Association will be years behind and continue to wonder why their marketing is not really working.

So, if you want to get a really good laugh, clean up the junk in your bookcase, and realize that traditional forms of attorney advertising simply don’t work.

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To learn how to communicate effectively using the best tools possible, I encourage you to explore my blog here in the Lawyer’s Video Studio. To learn how really smart lawyers are using video to set themselves apart, I encourage you to read my new January 2011 lawyers video studio newsletter.

Have questions about creating video? Call me: 516-487-8207 or by email: Gerry@lawyersvideostudio.com. I welcome your call.

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One Response to “Effective Yellow Pages Advertising for Lawyers”

  • Dave Swanner says:

    Gerry,

    You’re 100% correct in that Yellow Pages advertising has gone the way of the dinosaurs.

    It’s unfortunate that the book came out on the cusp of effectiveness for Yellow Pages ads. Yes, much of the information is pretty basic, and none of it works at all if you’re not a hard working, competent lawyer.

    But Kerry was a *very* sharp marketer. After reading the book, I hired him to do my Yellow Pages ad, redesign letterhead and help with website and blog design. I also picked his brain quite a bit. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack while still in his 50′s and wasn’t able to update the book.

    But your main premise is 100% right. I’m not in the Yellow Pages anymore.

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