Including promotions on your website: Does it make your practice look cheap?

Perhaps more so than in any other profession, attorneys fear portraying themselves in a way that may seem gimmicky in advertising. Taught to disprove the ambulance-chaser and money-hungry attorney stereotype, many firms have taken a very conservative approach to marketing often under utilizing the tactics that have helped so many other industries to flourish. Promotions or “special offers” are perceived by many to be one of these taboo marketing strategies but are they always a bad idea?

Obviously, there are some promotions that are tacky and should not be included on an attorney website. A blinking box, for instance, on the home page which alerts clients to the fact that you will complete their uncontested divorce for a one-time low price of $599.00. And for some areas of practice, price reductions on services may be inappropriate or down-right unethical. Personal Injury lawyers can’t exactly slash their hourly rate for car accident victims in the month of July. However, there are some cases where a promotion or series of promotions may get your firm increased exposure and bring in new business without resorting to overly flashy or aggressive messaging. Here are a few examples of tasteful promotional marketing:

-October is the Estate Planning Awareness Month. Estate planning and elder law firms might consider holding free initial consultations during the weeks of October or reduced-price reviews of estate plans previously drafted by the firm. To get the word out, you might consider sending out a newsletter explaining the significance of planning and alerting past or prospective clients of your offer. Also, your web designer should be able to help your create a small, and tasteful graphic, containing this information to be featured on the firm’s website.

-If you are a patent attorney, you might consider holding a free (or fee) workshop for inventors explaining the basics of intellectual property law. To those in attendance, you might extend a discount on an initial meeting or several meetings so they can discuss their product or business plan with you one on one. Again, be sure to announce this type of promotion on your website, on your upcoming events page, and also send it out to your contacts.

-We often hear of retailers offering a friends and family sale where they extend major discounts to family members and friends of employees and/or loyal customers. As a law firm, you might consider using the premise of this promotion. Extend a discount to those referred by past clients or colleagues. This can be used by most firms and is a great top of mind marketing tool. A past client might have a friend who is purchasing a new house and in need of a real estate attorney. While they might not have thought to refer your firm at first, they may forward along your email when they receive it.

As with any marketing strategy, so much of its success rests on the presentation. Offering a consultation or event at a discounted rate is not going to make your firm or the services it offers look less valuable unless you package your promotions that way. Instead view promotions as an opportunity to contact past clients and attract new ones to your firm.

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Dolores Obrien

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