I have trouble convincing my kids that there is any way, at all, to make our various opportunities to help around the household more enjoyable.
They are stuck in the mindset that being asked to do anything other than help with eating the remaining icecream is a tremendous burden on their poor young bodies and can't possibly be done without spontaneous bouts of groaning and moaning.
This, of course, is a slight exageration and my children are actually very helpful – but it paints the picture we need to understand about marketing.
That is: are we letting our brains and responses turn every marketing activity into a source of great woe, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
“Oh a HAVE to do some marketing” or “I guess I'd better finally get to that darned article that I'm suppose to write”.
A Mindset Shift
A lot of lawyers apply themselves to tasks admirable diligence. Unfortunately, pared with that diligence is the tendency to view things that could actually be fun as chores.
And marketing is quite high on that list.
I admit this was me at one point – I didn't really want to spend the time or effort required to build a practice and the idea of “marketing” was completely and totally foreign to me.
So I tossed it in the too hard basket.
The problem was I had the same mindset about marketing that my kids have about household tasks – it was being forced upon me.
In order to actually start enjoying (most of) marketing, I had to change my mindset from “I have to do this” to “I get to do this”.
Now I'm not your life coach, so you can go and find whatever mechanisms, teachings, tools and inspiration you might need to change your mindset about marketing. Here's one thought though: you're probably looking at marketing as a necessary evil rather than part of amazing journey to build a fantastic career.
The next thing that might be helpful is tossing the word marketing in the bin. For many lawyers it simply comes with too much baggage. The word itself isn't a problem, but the associations we have with it are. Think instead in terms of meeting new people, developing relationships, increasing a perception of expertise in the marketplace. You can probably find some more powerful words to use than those 🙂
Think about what you're trying to achieve with your firm, your career – can that be done without meeting people and engaging with them, finding potential clients, building trust in the market place and becoming known liked and trusted among a group of people you genuinely love working with? Probably not.
Whatever it takes – change the mindset.
Change the Mechanics
Truth be told, the way most lawyers market their services (in terms of digital content, at least) is pretty boring.
So it's hardly a surprise that few lawyers feel motivated to wake up in the morning and hit the ground running with another case note on the latest supreme court decision they could dig up from lexisnexis because “it's been a while since we published anything”.
If you strip all semblance of fun and personality from your marketing efforts, then of course you're not going to want to do them – I wouldn't either.
But think about it – is that the energy you take with you to an in-person marketing function? Is that the way you engage with someone over lunch or coffee, or on the phone? Surely not. Instead, you are yourself – expert, funny at times, sharing relevant information, trading thoughts about the latest performance of the cricket team, and so on.
So why not bring that to your marketing efforts too?
For starters it will simply be more effective. The authentic you has a much better chance of breaking through the noise of the internet than the bland and sterilised you.
Change the Labels
Many lawyers I know would call themselves introverts. This comes with an inherent view that their marketing efforts are doomed to failure because they are not exciting enough, fancy enough, effuse enough to make a difference in the marketplace.
And in the classical definition, they might well be right. However, constantly repeating “I'm an introvert” to yourself as a ready excuse for poor marketing form isn't helpful. It's not helpful personally or professionally, and broadening its meaning to include “can't market their own services” is a bit of an overexpansion of the term and its proper use.
So why not ditch that label? Sure you can still be the same human being you are, and you don't have to all of a sudden become the life of the party.
But marketing takes many different shapes and forms. Truth be told, digital marketing offers the less party-minded among us a wonderful opportunity to engage with people on the terms and in the situations we desire and best flourish in.
So use those, and ditch the labels.
Marketing can be Fun
Marketing is what we make of it.
If you've created a mental structure where marketing is the worst thing in the world, a boring box-ticking exercise, then I suspect that's exactly what it will be for you. I also except your efforts will be met with less success, which ironically will reinforce your original view.
But if you bring your natural energy to marketing as a great way to meet people, engage with them, talk about interesting things and share your lives together – then marketing can actually be full of fun.
It just takes a few mental shifts to get there.