The Psychology of Small Law Firm Advertising

The Psychology of Small Law Firm Advertising

You’re asking all the wrong questions.

No wonder that the answers you are getting don’t seem to make sense. When making decisions you ask what it could cost. If it’s been successful in the Big 10 firms, you ask. You ask if you are able to be on the first page of Google.

However, with the exception of only a few of you (on average approximately 5% of viewers to whom I have had the honour of presenting), you do not ask the only question that matters when deciding on your marketing:

Just how much money do you wish to make?

You have to select a number. What will the income be to your law firm that is small? (Yes, you may select this.)

Once you’ve decided on your own amount, you have to make it feel so real that not achieving the target would feel like losing something you knew you could have but could not keep.

For many people, aversion to loss outsizes the chance to gain.

This is an important concept.


Because expansion comes on the heels of actions outside the typical comfort zone of attorneys: law firm marketing and business development.

Read that again – EXPANSION comes only from ACTIONS OUTSIDE the TYPICAL

As attorneys, we will come up with all sorts of excuses to prevent such activities unless we do one thing: Make our aims for law business growth so real in our heads that not attaining them feels as painful as a reduction.

We have to understand the why to create our goals real — why are we here?

The Three Types of “Why” in Law

I saw three types of students once I was in law school.

  1. The first kind attended law school to create a lot of cash. This sort of law student courted law firms, and some of my peers are still there.
  2. The second type was that the failsafe. Given the capacity to fund an expensive education, it is the idea that one can achieve anything . And many of them are!
  3. The kind, and I count myself one of them, were more aspirational. We had been driven by a common beliefs:
    We thought we could help people in a way that no one else could.

When we worked hard, customers would beat a path to us.

We’d earn a decent living and have a high quality of life.

We can change the world, in large ways or tiny ways. We could make a difference.

In my travels around the country talking with tens of thousands of small firm attorneys, I’ve begun to realize that nearly all of them fall into that third category.

The hard reality is that the majority within this group are not living this dream out; not even near. Most are working harder than they imagined they would. Far too many are bringing home much less than they’d have described as a “good living.” Most upsetting of all, however, is that they report feeling as though they are not making a difference on the planet.

1 attorney I talked with recently said she worked up of 70 hours a week. When I asked her why she had been working so many hours, she responded, “So I don’t get sued.”

That’s a reason to work really hard.

Somewhere along the way we’ve lost track of its own purpose for existence, and exactly what a law firm’s business really is.

What’s the Business of a Law Firm?

Many provide answers that fall into themes such as to assist people or to generate income when I ask solo attorneys what is the business of a law firm.

Those answers are wrong: the business of a law firm is to market and deliver legal services. If law firms provide and do not sell services, then we assist folks nor earn money.

The differentiation is critically important. The operation without selling legal services of a attorney who assists people is known as charity. Likewise, a lawyer who sells services without helping people’s function is known as theft. We have to stay focused as a law firm’s business that we, and the law firm, can help individuals.

What Is the Point of Your Law Firm Business?

Having defined the business of a law firm, let’s analyze the business’ purpose.

While I ask attorneys the purpose of their enterprise, support the community, the answers tend to fall into a few classes that are common: to provide tasks or improve the lives of customers or employees.

Again, while these are all admirable characteristics, they aren’t the purpose of a law firm business.

A law firm that is small is present for three key reasons:

  1. To satisfy the needs of this law company owner and finance her or his ideal lifestyle.
  2. To provide him or her the capacity to live the way he or she would like to live.
  3. To achieve their professional goals.

This might appear egotistical at first blush, but only on the surface.

Digging deeper, we start to comprehend the facts are obvious: If a lawyer wishes to help people, if he or she would like to perform pro bono work, or have more time with family, the path to doing that is by conducting a successful organization.

What any business can earn for its proprietor is directly proportional to the value that company can create in the world. For attorneys, that value comes from helping people. The value comes in providing if they did not work together with you, a better future than they would have.

What a lawyer’s business can give to the proprietor is directly proportional to the number of individuals that business can help, and also just how much they can be helped by it.

The more people the company will help, the more people it will employ (and assist.) The more people the company helps, the greater accomplishment it provides to the proprietor.

These three reasons be certain that the law firm business owners stay focused on assisting the most people as far as you can.

How to Recognize the Ideal Small Law Client

Our framework of thinking changes once we’ve accepted that fact that a law firm is a business with a goal. This permits the law firm that is small to make decisions.

As a partner with a small law firm, one of my clients accounted for 35 percent of earnings. However, on a rating system, where our finest customers merited a letter grade of “A,” this client was a “D.”

As a matter of policy, our company fired clients with a letter grade of “D” or “F” once annually–and then marketed to replace them with clients using a “B” average or greater.

Two objectives were accomplished by this. It made more room for our customers that were perfect, also in the span of a couple years, this exercise radically boosted our law firm profitability.

Secondly, this process fulfilled one crucial facet of little law marketing: clearly identifying the customer.

Successful small law firm marketing attracts prospects which match your own definition of an perfect customer, and in the right quantities.

But how do we determine the right amount?

Determining the Quantity of Small Law Prospects

Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, the trick to this question is nested in the debut–making failure to attain goals as painful as a reduction. Choose your gain number and then reverse engineer your marketing plan from there.

For the sake of example, let’s say your revenue target is $500,000 per year. With a profit margin of 50%, this means your law firm should bring in $1 million in earnings.

Next, we determine is $10,000. To achieve our revenue and profit goals, this implies we need 100 new cases each year or even 8.3 cases a month.

Of course will hire you. Continuing this example, let us say roughly half of all meetings result in a client or a 50% dialogue speed. To meet with the objective of 8.3 new cases a month, this means that you need 17 prospects–not just any prospects, either, but ones which seem like your perfect customer.

With goals that are clear, we can build a law firm advertising program to achieve 17 prospects per month that seem like our ideal client. Every month we don’t attain that aim, then we understand our income target of $ 500,000 is currently falling away. Those 17 prospects must be delivered by your advertising; it is the basis for the marketing program of this firm.

Selecting a few is a change in thinking that helps small law firms, especially firms become focused. It is a practice of creating our goals so real in our thoughts so that not obtaining those aims feels like a loss. And that’s the start of a journey which permits you to do more of what you wish to do–anything that may be.

What is your number?