What makes you different? This is a common question that marketers ask when developing a marketing plan. The fact is that you look pretty much the same as everyone else within your industry unless you can show and tell how you are different. Personality is the key to differentiating yourself and your firm from the masses.
Many professional service providers, including attorneys, believe that demonstrating personality somehow diminishes their respectability and the gravity of the industry. Some lawyers are even hesitant to include personal tidbits in their biographies, such as whether they are married, have children, play polo, knit, sing in a choir, or enjoy ring-side seats at MMA events. Keeping in mind that lawyer biographies are the most-read content on a law firm’s website (responsible for over 60% of your website’s total traffic), it would be a huge mistake to stick to the traditional education/career-highlights/credentials formula of biographies gone by. Yes, it is impressive that you attended Harvard Law. But that does not tell prospects if you will be sensitive to their estate and trust planning issues. Or differentiate you from other Ivy League grads. Potential clients want to know who they would be working with, and they are not going to get a sense of who you are from your curriculum vitae. So save your CV for the courtroom and licensing boards.
You can (and should) integrate your unique personality into your marketing to generate more opportunities without losing credibility…
Personality is the key to more client relationships
We, as consumers, are inundated with messages every day. From ads that interrupt your favorite episode of Franklin & Bash to coupons in your mailbox to email invitations to participate in online sales, marketing messages are pervasive and ubiquitous. Imagine if every message you received in one 24 hour period came from just one industry: yours. Would any of them stand out? Some of your prospects are actively seeking an estate and trust attorney, which means that they are likely receiving a significant portion of messages from other attorneys vying for their attention. You need to make sure that your message grabs their attention and hangs on to it.
To make that oh-so-important impression and invaluable connection, you have to showcase personality and reach your prospects on a human level. Stock photos and the same staid content just won’t cut through the clutter.
- Personality demonstrates why you are different than others who provide similar products or services
- Personality shows, rather than tells, what makes you different and sets you apart
- Personality engages the prospect, capturing his or her interest and drawing him or her into your message
- Personality establishes an ongoing rapport between you and your prospects, creating a bond that will help you convert leads into clients when the time is right
- Personality proves that there is more to you and your firm than facts, figures, laws and fancy technology
- Personality transforms your message from boring to fascinating, increasing both the impact of your messages as well as the quality of the opportunities generated from them
You know why you are different from your competitors, but if you haven’t focused your messaging and branding on those particular qualities using an intriguing amount of personality, you’re missing out on new business opportunities without even knowing it.
The personality marketing recipe
There is no secret sauce for showcasing personality through your marketing. Start with being human. Relatable. Interesting. Approachable. Knowledgeable. Sprinkle in some wit, humor and light-heartedness when appropriate. Personality can’t be forced – it should just flow like a river.
Approach your marketing as if you were telling a story. Personality comes out naturally when you tell a story. Everything has a story behind it. The trick is in the telling.
How you deliver your content also affects the level of personality. Anyone who has to write regularly knows that our writing style typically shows less personality than our natural speech patterns. It is logical, then, that face-to-face or video communication naturally raises the level of personality exposed. Therefore, a blog post detailing the latest same-sex marriage tax law changes will likely present less personality than a vlog (video blog) of you sharing tips for your clients and prospects who might be affected by the changes. If you are not keen on going in front of the camera just yet, you can hike up the written blog post’s personality quotient up significantly by carefully crafting the content to reflect a more conversational tone and adding in some examples (more stories), rather than just regurgitating the technical jargon.
Are you ready to inject some personality into your marketing messages? Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Send out one-minute videos or written one-liners (with your photo as a “thought for the day”) through your email newsletter and social media platforms that share a personal insight on estate planning, trust management, financial planning or other relevant topics
- Personalize welcome messages to new newsletter and blog subscribers for optimal engagement by using a friendly, conversational tone, signature, and photo
- Write the way you speak to your spouse or your friends; use a less formal, more conversational tone in your blog posts and newsletter articles
- Post photos of yourself and others at your firm attending community events, participating in charitable activities and pursuing hobbies and extra curriculars
- Introduce new team members (and not just the professional staff) in creative and unexpected ways by using video, audio, photography, prose, haiku, crossword puzzle or some other engaging method
- Create a “10 Favorite Things” editorial interview series for your website, blog or email newsletter for yourself and each of the staff members
The opportunities for incorporating personality into your marketing are endless and need not alter your standing as a credible, reputable professional advisor. In fact, consumers today have a tendency to embrace personality and seek out providers who demonstrate their humanity through their communications. So have a bit of fun and let your inner personality shine through in your marketing messaging. It will help differentiate you from the rest, which is essential for business continuity and success, and will help you build long-term client relationships.
Becca Fieler is an Online Marketing Specialist for BizActions | PDI Global Marketing Solutions, a division of Thomson Reuters. She provides strategic planning and oversight for our online marketing and email marketing initiatives. Becca also works with clients, developing comprehensive marketing and lead generation programs for professional service providers, including attorneys, accountants, banks and credit unions, human resource companies and others, through her role at BizActions | PDI Global, Thomson Reuters. She is a prolific writer when she has time. Read more of Becca’s blog posts here.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555