I had lunch the other day with a partner of a small law firm. I have always considered this individual to be a bankruptcy lawyer; but as we got caught up, he described himself as someone who does real estate and corporate finance. I then discovered that back in the 1990s, he used to describe himself a commercial litigator.
Was he lacking in focus? Was his marketing message weak?
Many of the clients that I coach have difficulty in choosing a marketing focus. The common fear that I encounter is the fear of missing opportunities; the mistaken belief is that if you don’t say everything you do, you may miss the chance to serve someone who has a problem that you can solve.
But as I’ve said before in this space, when it comes to marketing, less is more.
While it is true that less is more, this does not mean that your marketing message must remain fixed over time. As the economy shifts and as the law evolves, lawyers need to be able to shift as well. What may be a hot specialty today may no longer be needed tomorrow. This will be true throughout your career and it is particularly true right now as we weather the effects of the Great Recession.
Coupled with the need to be nimble over time is the need to recognize that finding the right way to describe your services may involve some trial and error. In other words, in order to maximize your marketing effectiveness, you may need to test market a few phrases before you settle on one that works.
Political strategists and marketing consultants understand this. The words you choose to describe what you do can have a great impact on how you are perceived and whether you will be remembered (e.g. why do you think that Republicans now refer to the Estate Tax as the “Death Tax”.)
The goal, of course is to deliver a focused message about what you do (i.e. one that makes you memorable and differentiates you from other lawyers). When you find a message that works, stick with it. Repetition is essential in marketing. But be aware of the need to evolve as the law and the marketplace for legal services evolves. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to sell buggy whips to consumers who want hybrid cars.