Why Do Lawyers Advertise?

Lawyer Billboard

For the same reason that everyone else advertises. You want to be noticed. You want people who need your services to recognize that you have information to offer.

Question: If all lawyers advertise, then how can a consumer make an educated decision about which lawyer is right for them?

Answer: The reason a consumer would look for an attorney who advertises is because they don’t know an attorney. Nor do they know someone who can refer them to a trusted attorney. Instead, they resort to attorneys who advertise.

I passed a billboard today on the way back from skiing with my son. The billboard was prominently displayed on the side of Route 80 in Pennsylvania. It had a photograph of seven lawyers from a personal injury law firm in Pennsylvania with logos of awards. There was no phone number. No URL address. No address. Just the name of the firm and seven lawyers scrunched together smiling. What were these people thinking?

If a consumer needed an attorney, why would anybody try and find this law firm’s phone number? They give no compelling reason why consumers should call them instead of any other lawyer in Pennsylvania. Is a photograph of seven lawyers smiling, justification to a consumer that they can help solve their particular problem? I don’t think so.

Lawyers advertise because they want to help their potential clients recognize that they have a choice. However, lawyers who do use traditional forms of advertising typically fail to distinguish themselves from all their competitors. Importantly, I’m not talking about comparing yourself to any of your competitors. In fact, it is my recommendation that you should never, ever compare yourself to any other lawyer.

There has always been a class of attorneys who believes that advertising is beneath members of our established legal profession. In fact, those lawyers often looked down upon lawyers who did advertise. As social networks became more prevalent and traditional forms of advertising became less relevant, most lawyers recognized the need to market oneself. This includes solo practitioners, midsized law firms and even big law firms.

Lawyers ask me often, “Should we create a branding message or a marketing message?” Well, the lawyers in Pennsylvania who created that billboard ad, with no way to contact them, are trying to use branding to get people to remember them in order to market themselves.

Most consumers and potential clients have plenty of attorneys to choose from. It is literally a buyers market. So what makes you different? Answer that question and you’ll be able to use different types of media to market your message.

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