While today's lawyer runs, as fast as possible, to put their profile on every single website promising to get them to the first page of Google and bring them more clients then they ever dreamed of, a lawyer marketing consultant actually questions the practice.
Dave Lorenzo asks: Do Internet Directory Services Work for Lawyer Marketing?
As the economy deteriorated these services ramped up their marketing efforts so that almost every lawyer in America received a call from one of them at some point (or so it seemed).
Dave correctly notes that directory services are essentially the Internet replacement of the phone book.
But then he makes the point:
You list your law firm in there with other attorneys who do the same thing as you do. You provide your information packaged in the same way as all the other lawyers marketing their services. You even have the opportunity to list prices for your services. Then people call you. Some call seeking free advice and some call shopping around for the least expensive lawyer.
He makes the desperate-for-business lawyer feel good:
You will get phone calls from most of these services. And in many cases you will get clients. In a few cases, you may even get enough clients to do better than break even on your investment. Many people would say this is a good lawyer marketing tactic since you are receiving a positive return on investment.
Then he drops the bomb, engaging in what few lawyer marketers are willing to discuss - the truth:
The problem with directory services is that they make you a commodity. You become the same as a can of peas on the shelf in a supermarket. Potential clients cannot see the difference in your service from all the other attorneys in the directory. You all look the same. When everything looks the same the only criteria the client has to make a decision is price. This is not good.
This is "not good?"
Dave believes that placing yourself in these "please hire me" sites will give you visibility, but not much, if any, credibility. He gives a big fat "no" on the subject of differentiation:
This is where we put the nail in the coffin. These directory services offer no way to differentiate you from everyone else. In fact, they make you a commodity which is the opposite of what good lawyer marketing is supposed to do.
Dave's analysis is focused on those directories that claim your clients are waiting to hire you. Noticably absent from his analysis is the typical directories that serve as placecards for lawyers. I personally think every lawyer should have a "profile" on the most popular sites - the ones people go to for information on a lawyer. But I've never participated in these "I need clients" sites, and Dave's post nails the reason why.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.