The legal profession constantly struggles to set in place a firm but fair set of policy rules to govern the legal advertisement/marketing industry and yet be able to strike the proper balance between consumer protection, thus allowing consumers to find legal services and ultimately get justice in a court of law.
Meanwhile solo attorneys and small-to-medium size law firms that operate on a “tight budget” must learn to utilize unique, clever ways to keep the business afloat. They can do this by creating a content-driven internet strategy focused on writing their own marketing materials or direct advertisements or combination of both to attract clients during a slow economy.
Despite the slow economic period, people still need legal representation. For example, contracts need to be written and lawsuits filed. An individual may sue another party or a company may sue another company, spouses file for divorce, there are fatal and non-fatal auto collision lawsuits, personal injury suits, criminal cases and child custody situations. There are countless people in need of legal representation. And there’s no one-size fits all solution for attorneys to use specific marketing or advertisements to attract and retain more clients.
If you are an attorney, and decide to write your own material instead of hiring top marketing guns to advertise your law practice, you need to understand the difference between marketing and advertising.
In this article I will fully explain the difference between legal marketing and legal advertisement – although both subjects are similar. If you follow the guidelines in this article it will explain in simple steps; how to market/advertise your legal services yourself. You wil either rely on your own writing skills or hire a good legal writing marketing specialist.
Social media aside, the oldest form of communication since biblical days that still works effectively to attract business even in our technology era is well-written communication. Written content is capable of conveying a compelling, seductive, focused message that triggers people to act. According to Attorney Dan Jaffe, Founder of lawlytics.com, “Written content is the most important ingredient for a successful law firm website. … Get the written content right, and everything will fall in place.”
A rule of thumb for an attorney is to market legal services in articulate ways that clearly explain your practice area. Aim to communicate legal terms in layman’s language, and explain how your services benefit clients in a court of law.
To increase the chance of reaching the right audience online through marketing or advertising, it is vitally important to post high-quality content on your website or blog. High-quality content, free of errors and improper grammar can earn a top-spot in Google’s page-rank system where internet users search for lawyers around the clock. If your content marketing or legal explanations written in the form of articles rank high on Google landing pages, this is how internet users in need of your legal services find a path to you. Other popular search engine sites like Yahoo, Aol and Bing also have different page-ranking systems designed to capture good, useful, quality content for their millions of readers.
The next important thing to illustrate in this marketing article is to explain the difference between legal marketing and legal advertisement to show how both should be used separately or together for maximum results. Also, in this article I reference some of my legal marketing and advertising copywriting that I previously wrote for Attorneys to show how legal marketing copy is structured and written to attract clients.
Differences Between Legal Marketing and Legal Advertisement
Legal Content Marketing Writing: Your writing must be precise, compelling, and focused on consumer needs. Plus you should add value, based on your specific knowledge and skills. This combination can turn readers of your blog or website, who are in need of your legal services, into clients.
But direct advertisement can achieve the same effect, right? It can, but there are distinct differences between legal marketing and legal advertisement.
Knowing the difference can make the difference between a practice struggling or attracting enough clients to be profitable.
Legal marketing is about defining your brand and telling your brand story, whereas advertising aims to directly influence a prospect to become your client. Marketing is indirect, while advertising is direct. Marketing generally last longer, while advertising is short-term and you must keep paying to advertise. Consider marketing as the strategy as your intended plan. Marketing techniques take a prospect through the journey from being a prospect to a client who decides to hire the law firm or individual lawyer.
To develop a solid legal marketing plan, you must consider appropriate wording and methods that do not breach your state’s illegal solicitation rules.
Online legal communication, particularly in live chats and real-time engagement with potential clients carries a catch-22; you must know the legal rules in your state that prohibit certain types of attorney solicitation (Read ABA Model Rules 7.1 of Professional Conduct).
When dealing with online legal marketing, two of the most important platforms to master are:
- Social Media
- Online Legal Blogs
What is Lawyer/Legal Advertisement?
The concept of legal advertising traces its roots back to England’s legal system. Yet today’s standards are based on Canon 27 of American Bar Association(ABA) Canons of Professional Ethics. Written in 1908, these guidelines were established to act as Model Rules for both state and local bar associations. Legal advertising works together with multiple pieces to create a bigger picture of your legal marketing plan. Legal advertising can operate with different methods.
The basics include:
- Business Cards
- Online Ads Posted On Google, Yahoo, Aol, Including Websites or Blogs.
- Your Logo
- Print Ads
- Office Signs
- TV Commercials; and Radio Ads
- Billboard Ads Posted On Streets, Roads And Freeways.
Overall, advertisement can serve many effective purposes to draw attention to your legal business. Well-crafted communication can trigger a consumer’s desire to contact you to use your services.
I wrote and published a legal marketing sample on a law firm blog titled: Auto Collision: Who’s Really At Fault? That sample highlights the kind of content that attorneys can use on their blog or website to publicize the reputation and expertise of their law firm. It is used to attract a readership through search engine page-rank systems. The content focuses on influencing readers to make decision to contact a law firm for legal representation.
Auto Collision: Who’s Really At Fault?
When vehicle drivers collide, causing a wreck, a single factor or multiple factors determine which driver is liable for damages or physical injuries. For example, let’s say driver# 1 suffers serious injuries and pain when speeding driver#2, pulled over in front of driver#1, to make a quick right-turn onto a side street. So who’s at fault in this situation?
It appears driver#2 is liable based on the described scenario, since driver#2 was speeding and failed to use a “turn signal” prior to cutting across in front of driver#1. But here’s a surprise: If the police accident report indicates that driver#1 wasn’t wearing a seat belt when the collision happened, the insurance carrier for driver#2 may challenge the extent of driver#1’s injuries.
Driver#1’s insurance carrier may reach the same conclusion as the other insurance carrier, depending on the policy wording pertaining to seat belt safety. In other auto collisions the circumstances surrounding “at Fault” may not always be the same and as simple as the drivers in this example.
In other types of collisions, which driver pays for the other driver’s damages or injuries depends on motor vehicle statutes, rather than ordinary common law “definition of fault.” So what does this really mean about Motor Vehicle Statutes and common law definition of fault? How does it help the Auto Insurance Industry?
Armed with high-power attorneys and plenty of cash, insurance companies are adept at capitalizing on loopholes within the law to avoid paying large settlement claims or not paying some claims at all. For years, American Automotive Industry lobbied state legislatures across the nation to influence lawmakers to pass laws for courts to solely decide auto collision liabilities based strictly on motor vehicle statutes, rather than on common law interpretation of fault.
Common law acknowledges four concepts of fault:
Reckless or Wanton Conduct
These legalities dwell on the interpretation of the “at Fault” concepts which open doors for auto insurers to challenge “fault and Liability.” For example, in most states; if a person doesn’t have liability insurance on a vehicle, they’re not eligible to collect collision damages – even if police declare the other insured driver “at Fault” for the wreck.
Let’s examine a collision between a vehicle driver and a motorcycle driver. The insurance company refused to pay a brain-injured motorcycle driver a larger settlement and here’s why: When the vehicle hit the motorcycle the motorcycle driver wasn’t wearing a helmet. Under these circumstances, the negligent vehicle driver caused the collision, yet lawyers representing the motorist’s insurance carrier convinced a judge the motorcycle driver was responsible for most of his severe head injuries by neglecting to wear a helmet when the wreck occurred.
Final Analysis: the vehicle driver in this case wasn’t held responsible for the motorcyclist’s brain injuries – although the vehicle driver was required to pay off the value of the totaled motorcycle.
I wrote this advertisement for a lawyer in Houston; the focus of this content is directly aimed at soliciting potential clients:
Have you been in a wreck that caused you pain and injury by one of the following:
Large Truck or Pickup
City, County or Private Bus
Boat, ATV or Recreational Accident
City, State or County Vehicle
Accident Caused By Another Person
If you’ve had an accident with any of the above descriptions, you need help immediately. And here’s why: if you have a collision with another party; the collision may not be your fault, although a police officer in charge of the scene could erroneously declare you as the liable party. Mistakes happen. It is no secret in the legal arena that insurance companies rely on legal loopholes in their favor to avoid paying off your claim or finding a way to reduce your settlement even if you paid your monthly premiums on time.
This is why you need the law office of Andrew & Byrd; we’ll fight for you to prove your case and get the settlement you deserve. If you hire us, we’ll handle your personal injury case on contingency which means; we only get paid when you are paid. Here at Andrew & Byrd our auto accident attorneys are ready to serve as your litigators during negotiations or discussions with insurance adjusters or lawyers to make sure your ‘rights’ and best interests are protected.
A winnable personal injury case can be jeopardized or outright lost in court if an injured party falls prey to ‘tricks’ by representatives of insurance companies representing a defendant or insurance company itself that you’re planning to sue or have already sued. Attorneys at Andrew & Byrd know all the tricks of the trade and will not allow this happen to you.
Call Andrew & Byrd Law Firm today for your free consultation. We’re waiting to hear from you. 713-xxx-xxxx
Clearly, the advertisement is very different to the marketing piece. The marketing article showcases the lawyer’s knowledge, and the advertising copy appeals to prospects to take action with the attorneys.