Client Development

The More Things Change, the More Lawyers Still Screw Up Marketing

“Either you follow-up or you fold-up.”  

Bernard Kelvin Clive

I recently observed a law firm doing some impressive online marketing. At the same time, to quote Shania Twain, when it came to the follow-up, “that [didn’t] impress me much.”

Here is my story:

I was doing a bit of research, hoping to find an answer to a legal question to solve a personal issue. I quickly came across a great website for a boutique firm which appeared to have all of the expertise that I need. Great articles, videos with a lawyer who has personality plus, and the offer of a free discovery session. Clearly this firm had the expertise that I required to solve my rather discreet problem.

A chat window opened up with an invitation to describe my issue. I did so quite comprehensively and succinctly, as only a brilliant lawyer can do.

I soon had both a text and an email inviting me to book a discovery session. The invitation said, “during the free discovery call, we can discuss your specific situation and provide you with some initial guidance on how to proceed.”

I knew that I was not exactly who this firm was looking for. My problem could probably have been solved by an experienced lawyer in fifteen minutes, and the proper advice would likely have been along the following lines, “you can do this in one of two ways. Here is the one that I recommend. We can do the documents for you but it will probably cost too much based on what your revenue from this project will be. You can do it yourself, but here is what you will have to be careful about.”

Had I received that advice, I would likely have thanked the lawyer profusely, referred my friends to her, and maybe posted something on LinkedIn about how great she was. If she had quoted a low enough fee for the paperwork, I might even have retained her.

So, I booked the free discovery call which was scheduled quickly and easily. So far, so great.

It went downhill from there.

First, I continued to get texts and emails inviting me to schedule a discovery call after I had already scheduled it. The electronic systems were not talking to each other.

Then, when the call took place, I found myself speaking to a coordinator who was neither a lawyer nor a paralegal. This person’s job appeared to be to screen calls, explain fees, get rid of people like me, or set up a meeting with a lawyer for better prospects. This hardly seemed to amount to ‘discussing my specific situation and giving me some initial guidance on how to proceed.’

I get it. I was obviously not the target audience.  Nonetheless, the coordinator promised to speak to a lawyer, see if they could help me, and get back to me the same day. He never called. It has been a week. I am not holding my breath.

A few days later I received another email from the coordinator inviting me to schedule a free discovery call. Nothing in that email suggests that he recalls that he had already spoken to me. My best guess is that the email was automatically generated.

So, I replied to the coordinator’s email and reminded him that I spoke to him already and that he never got back to me. I offered to speak to the primary lawyer at the firm and provide my input on where their marketing is falling down. I wanted to copy my email to the primary lawyer but her email address does not appear on her website or her LinkedIn profile, presumably to keep the tire-kickers from bothering her, which I understand. So, I cut and pasted the email and sent it to her in a LinkedIn message.  I haven’t heard from her.

However, I did get another impressive marketing email from the firm, which I sent to trash.

So, what is my point?  Actually, I have three points:

  1. Without good follow-up, much marketing, no matter how brilliant, is wasted.
  2. Although I would have been super impressed if they had actually given me some real advice during the fifteen-minute call, I would have respected a call which simply said, “sorry, we cannot help you at an affordable fee.”
  3. Misleading advertising is not a good look for a lawyer.

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