This is an article I wrote for South Carolina Trial Law Blog:
Lawyers are famous throughout marketingdom for the most fatuous, self-serving, horrendously expensive and laughably ineffective ads. Virtually all lawyer ads have as their unexamined theme ‘Here I am. I’m the best! Choose ME!!!’
If, from your vantage point, this approach seems self-evidently silly, you may be ready for an entirely new paradigm. Here are 7 insights to help you vault to a more responsive Yellow Pages approach.
- Truth in Advertising. People don’t believe what you say, even when it’s true. And, they believe what they tell themselves in their own
mind, even when it’s not true. So, telling them ‘all about you’ simply cannot be the best approach. Capiche?
- Avoid Name, Rank and Serial Number ads. Perhaps the biggest mistake lawyers who advertise in print make is to assume that the theme of their ad should be: ‘Who we are, what we do, and how to reach us’.
- Use a headline. The second biggest error is not having a great headline. Here’s a clue: Your name and logo are not a headline. The headline must arrestingly present a powerful benefit to the prospect from their point of view. Re-read the last five words of the previous sentence ten of fifteen times.
- The Magic Moment. The Yellow Pages is a ‘magic moment’ medium. There is no other print medium where people in need go to find an instant solution, ready to take buying action right away. If you could just understand the mindset of your prospect in their moment of need, you would dominate your heading year after year.
- When everyone is Zigging, it’s time to Zag. Virtually all Yellow Pages ads, especially ads by lawyers are created through pilfering elements from competitors’ ads from previous years. This produces what I call ’The greatest hits of same old same old’.
- The Yellow Pages is not a visual medium. Imagine going to a fancy restaurant and ordering dinner. The waiter brings your order along
with a picture of a beautiful meal, which looks even better than the one you ordered. Which one would you want to eat? The incorrect assumption everyone makes is that appearance counts for more than substance in the Yellow Pages. With only bad ads to choose from, people will pick the best looking of the bad ads. When one party offers real substance, they win hands down, beating the ‘prettiest’ ad handily.
- ‘Point of You’. Your ad should be based on the frame of mind of your prospect in their moment of need. Someone once said, ‘Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care’. The moment your prospect ‘gets’ that you understand where they are coming from and feel that you are committed to leading them to the best solution, you have effectively separated yourself from all your ‘same old same old’ competitors.
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