Probably the worst source of fodder for your creative marketing efforts is to look at what other firms are doing.
It's not that what most law firms are doing is wrong.
In fact, chances are that if you take a look around then the law firms you're likely to copy are the ones that are doing the right kinds of things.
After all, you've noticed them and decided they have something worth emulating, right?
That means they're probably turning up regularly, publishing stuff, or doing something that at least got them noticed by you.
So on the one hand, you could do worse things than to survey the competition and find out what they're doing.
On the other hand – the things you can copy aren't necessarily the things that mean you will succeed.
What you See
- the articles
- the pictures
- the videos
- the end product.
And that's great – there's a lot to learn there.
But we can't always see the whole picture.
Is it Actually Working?
While you can see their content, their output, their efforts – can you see if they are actually achieving success as a result of those things?
Are they growing their brand presence, their search presence, their client satisfaction, their KLT factors?
If you can't see these things, then why would you copy their strategy?
Usually the decision is made on this basis: “I like what they're doing – let's do that”.
But liking something and it succeeding are different parameters.
How are they Doing It?
Often you can't see all the pieces of the machinery without further investigation.
Classic example is SEO – perhaps you see the articles or get the emails when they publish new content. Perhaps you see they are high in the results in your searches.
But do you see what's going on with their website, their marketing agency, their link building strategies behind the scenes?
So if you only try to copy what you can see, there's a good chance you miss a critical piece of the puzzle.
Are Their Clients the Same as Your Clients?
Even if you can adopt the strategy your competition is using, is that necessarily going to be the best way of doing things for your particular niche?
Do your clients like the same style of writing?
Do your clients appreciate a similar publication schedule?
Do your clients want blog posts rather than videos?
Now it's true, you could “harness the concept” to an extent here and adapt your strategy. But if you just blindly go with what the other firms are doing, there's a good chance you miss the part where it needs to be targeted to your own clients.
But Mostly… It Doesn't Stand Out
The “known” part of known, liked and trusted involves being distinguishable in some way from other lawyers or law firms.
So if your entire marketing strategy looks, feels, walks and quacks like that of every other law firm – then do you really think people will stand up and say “oh hey wow – you guys are so different and noticeable”?
I recognise that we find safety in the idea that some other competent law firm has tested concepts and ideas before we take a swing at them.
But while the risks are higher, the potential rewards associated with doing something completely different from everyone else are very high.
So what can you do differently from those around you? How is your marketing going to stand out?