Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Setting Yourself Apart

A lot of general marketing advice, including specific attorney marketing advice, advises that you should try as best you can to "differentiate" yourself, your law firm, and your practice.

This is a TERRIBLE way to think about any form of marketing.  Here's why:

At its root, marketing is about getting inside the head of your client.  As an attorney, you need to be thinking about the needs of your potential legal clients.  What are they anxious about?  What are their most common legal issues and questions?  What are they looking for in legal counsel?

All of these questions help you to better market yourself as an attorney, because you can preemptively answer their questions and concerns, and they'll feel like you already know how they're thinking and feeling.  (And to a degree, you will already know how they're thinking and feeling).  This makes your potential clients more comfortable in hiring you and actually makes you a better attorney, because you've put yourself in their shoes.

Trying to differentiate yourself may not seem much different from the type of marketing I've just described, except for one thing.  When you try to differentiate yourself as an attorney, you automatically start thinking about what you're good at, what you know, and why you're better than other attorneys.  Do you notice anything common to all of those thoughts?  They're all about YOU rather than about your potential clients.

Anything that causes you to think about attorney marketing in a way that focuses on yourself means that you're spending less time thinking about and from the perspective of your potential clients.

It's a small distinction, but it's something that every attorney and law firm should keep an eye on.

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