Small Firm Marketing Continued: Creating Visibility and Credibility

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

An important axiom of marketing is: “Customers do business with people they know, like and trust.” The significance of that axiom mushrooms when you market a professional service instead of a product, because your potential clients can’t see, touch or taste your wares in advance of the purchase. You can achieve that coveted status of being known, liked and trusted in advance of the service, when you pursue marketing strategies that create visibility, credibility, personal relationships and referrals. This article will discuss why a small law firm practitioner should strive to create visibility and credibility, and how to go about it.
Visibility. When you increase your visibility, you increase your name recognition. People gravitate toward names they recognize, even when they don’t remember why they recognize the name. The “I’ve heard of her somewhere” factor pays off. Not long ago I read an article reporting the polling results about the best lawyers in another city. I recognized the names of many of the lawyers selected, and could confirm the quality of a number of them from personal experience. I also recognized the name of one lawyer in a category that I didn’t have much knowledge about, but I assumed he was good because I had heard of him. Later I saw his name selected in several other categories requiring dramatically different skill sets and knowledge bases. Something seemed awry. With today’s in-depth specialization, rarely can a generalist truly excel in multiple legal practice areas, and this fellow was named among the best in four areas! On reflection, I recognized that he had been very active in leadership roles in bar and community activities, and was a former State Bar President. He may be a genius and a multi-tasking time management pro, or he may be benefiting from name recognition. After all, I myself had assumed he was good in his practice area merely because I recognized his name.

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