Marketing Your Image Professionally, Even if You Don’t Want To

proappLawyers often have trouble with the concept of marketing their image. For one thing, your image shouldn’t matter as much as your abilities, right? For another, looking around at how others do it can make you feel like it’s phony and even kind of off-putting. But, marketing your image is an important part of your strategy for finding new clients and keeping the old ones.

Image marketing for lawyers isn’t a negative thing. The goal is to provide insight to the real you, not to make potential clients compare you to the stereotypical used car salesman. Image marketing may be a much easier pill to swallow once you realize that all you’re really doing is upholding and strengthening your brand.

You probably already focus some of your attention on your personal image. Generally speaking, lawyers are expected to dress in a certain manner. There is an educated quality to the way lawyers talk. Your office, business cards, and web site should all reflect this professional image. And, if you don’t have these things or haven’t spent the money to have them done professionally, then you now have a great idea on where to start marketing your image.

It Always Comes Back to Money

One of the reasons that lawyers have trouble with the image marketing is because of the cost. There are sites to build, brochures to design, logos to develop and approve. With some exceptions, law isn’t seen as a high-tech field, so it’s easy to overlook the importance of communicating with clients in ways that they are used to seeing from other industries. So, why spend the money to do something that doesn’t even allow you to figure out your ROI?

Ah, yes. ROI. That’s a big hang-up when it comes to image marketing. If you are holding a seminar or taking a potential client out to lunch, you can pretty easily figure out how much you spent and compare it to whether or not you got business as a result. It is getting easier to track these things with web sites, but it’s hard to know what kind of return you get on distributing 500 brochures over a three-month period.

Put it in Your Own Terms

Here’s where the little lesson comes in. Sure, you can have your cousin design your logo, and the neighbor kid can put together a web site for $100, but you’re pretty unlikely to portray the professional image you want. It’s sort of like how your clients could go online and buy a DIY will kit or get other potentially harmful legal services. You know full-well that most people need to get real service from a real professional to meet their real legal needs.

You need real service from real professionals (whether it be web designers, professional printers or copywriters) to meet your image marketing needs. Don’t cut corners when it comes to creating and marketing your brand. Refine your message, get clear on the image you want to project and create materials that are representative of the quality of legal services you provide. YOU are worth the expense to your clients, and your materials should convey the quality of that investment and personal choice.

Let Your Personality Shine

While your image should be professional, it doesn’t have to be all about business. People want to do business with PEOPLE, not brands or firms they can’t relate to. Don’t be afraid to let your personality show and use your materials to tell the story of how you started in your practice area and why you are so passionate about your work. The ROI will come as prospects can tell that you are different from other lawyers in your field, and really, just like them. Doing so is an easy way to “break down the walls” and remove the fear most people have about contacting an attorney.

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Laura Lee Sparks

About Laura Lee Sparks

Laura Lee Sparks is the Founder and CEO of Legal Marketing Maven, a full service outsourcing firm for estate planning and elder law attorneys designed to train virtual and in-house staff and provide the tools and resources lawyers need to implement consistent, focused, diversified marketing in their law practice.

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