Guest blog post by Michael Mogill, President and CEO of Crisp Video
With 1.3 million attorneys currently practicing in the United States and 35,000 hopeful law students graduating annually, to say that the legal industry is crowded is a gross understatement. The legal industry has an overabundance of attorneys all marketing themselves for similar skills, and while their background and education may differ, their end goal is the same: to run a successful business, represent clients, and practice law.
When you couple this overcrowding with the urgent need to drive business, many attorneys run the risk of commoditizing themselves. In a world where potential clients want answers immediately (and at a 25% discount, no less) it can be appealing to market yourself as an affordable and immediate solution to their problems.
But when you do that, you’re marketing yourself solely based on your ability to provide legal services rather than the value you provide. This not only dehumanizes your firm, but seriously devalues your abilities as an attorney and as a human.
With this in mind, it may seem daunting to promote yourself as the top choice in your market and stand out from the pack. And for many attorneys, promoting yourself as the top choice isn’t just daunting – it’s almost impossible. This is especially true when small firm attorneys try to go toe to toe against goliath firms with infinitely deep pockets and a never ending marketing budget.
So, what do you do? Do you throw in the towel? Do you retreat back to your desk and wait for the phones to ring, all the while wondering whether or not you’ll be able to keep your firm’s doors open?
The answer lies in the power of legal video marketing.
Legal video marketing, when done right, allows you to differentiate your law firm from the competition in three key ways:
Legal video allows you to humanize your firm through emotional storytelling
When potential clients are searching for an attorney, they’re not filtering their search results based on how many combined years of experience you have. And when they come to your office for a consultation, they’re not drawn to the law degree hanging on your wall – they’re drawn to the human behind the desk.
The vast majority of people seeking legal representation are not in those situations voluntarily. They’re scared, frustrated, confused, and they need answers. In these situations, scrolling through attorney biographies on legal websites that all look identical will not provide them what they desperately need: the comfort provided by someone who genuinely understands what they’re going through.
Here’s what this means for your video marketing strategy:
If you can work to create a legal brand video that introduces you as a person, not just as an attorney, and encapsulates your firm’s unique value proposition – what makes your firm different than your competition – you will be able to take advantage of a powerful persuasion technique that will establish an immediate connection with potential clients that compels them to convert.
Emotion is a powerful psychological phenomenon, and it has a larger impact on decision making than you’d think. In fact, scientists have found that 90% of our decisions are driven by emotion. This contradicts the common assumption that smart, informed decisions come from a “cool head” — relying on logic alone is not the best way to make a decision, so it also isn’t the best way to encourage people to make decisions.
Instead, if you incorporate emotional messaging into your video marketing strategy, you’ll make it easier for potential clients to make a decision.
Rachel Gillett of Fast Company has this to say about processing emotional stories and arguments: “When we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about becomes activated as well. What this means is that it’s far easier for us to remember stories than the cold hard facts because our brains make little distinction between an experience we are reading about and one that is actually happening.”
Legal video establishes and enhances social proof through client testimonials
Social proof is a powerful buzzword in the marketing industry. In layman’s terms, social proof is what happens when our decisions are influenced by the actions of others. When you’re standing in a room full of people who are all looking at the ceiling, chances are, you’re going to look too.
Social proof is the reason why online reviews on Google or Amazon are such a powerful selling tool, and why sites like Yelp play a huge role in deciding where we’re going out to dinner this weekend. In fact, 70% of Americans will trust a review from someone they don’t even know, and 63% of Americans are more likely to purchase something from a website that includes customer reviews.
For attorneys, social proof is packaged in the form of client testimonials and online reviews. Every time a client reviews you on Avvo, Google, Facebook, or your website, they’re adding social proof to your online presence.
Here’s a fact to consider: social proof is proven to be more convincing with pictures and videos. That means we’re more likely to believe something is true if there is an image associated with it.
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but what about video? Potential clients want to put a face to a testimonial. It solidifies the truth behind the claim and personalizes their story, so they’re not just reading text on a website.
Testimonial videos can be a powerful strategy to enhance your firm’s social proof online and differentiate your firm from the competition.
At Crisp Video Group, we avoid producing legal videos without testimonials at all costs. We would prefer to let the client tell your story, because it’s more believable and usually more compelling (this ties back into the power of emotional storytelling).
To put this in perspective, check out the video we produced for NTL Attorney Christopher Brough, a Criminal Defense Attorney in Spartanburg, SC. The client testimonial featured in Christopher’s video described Christopher’s courtroom demeanor, in his exact words, by saying this: “The second we stand in that courtroom, it’s like taking your attack dogs and cutting the leash loose. He’s there for you 100%.”
Now, imagine if Christopher had used those words to describe himself – would they have been as believable?
Increase perceived brand authority through high-quality video content
You’re probably not the only attorney in your market who will incorporate legal video into their content strategy. But, for better or worse, many attorneys who produce legal videos don’t create or distribute them effectively, which means they won’t see the results that are possible with high-quality legal video.
Many attorneys are under the false assumption that all it takes to see results from legal video is to have the video produced. While that is certainly part of the equation, most of the results you’ll see from your video will come long after you stop filming. Results rely not only on ensuring you’re producing high-quality content, but also distributing that content in the right places.
You’ll notice we mentioned the term ‘high-quality’ three times in this section, and that was intentional.
Google recently rolled out an algorithm update that transforms the way they measure SEO quality content. Whereas before many people may pursue first page rankings through keyword stuffing and ‘link juicing’, today’s SEO algorithm depends largely on the customer experience.
Google is likely to index websites that people spend more time on, and video helps with that factor. But, if you include a low-quality video on your site that isn’t enjoyable to watch, it impacts the time spent on site, which will hurt your SEO rankings.
So what does that have to do with brand authority? More than you’d think.
While it can be hard to quantify perceived brand authority, it’s easy to make the connection between quality content and perceived competence. If you were to visit the site of a new case management software you were hoping to implement, and the product overview video was poorly shot and didn’t provide you with a valuable experience, would you still purchase it?
Now, consider that same experience in a high-stakes situation like searching for the attorney who will be in charge of protecting your constitutional rights.
If you produce a series of high-quality, engaging videos that provide value, answer their questions, and ease their concerns, it will boost your overall brand authority and differentiate your firm from the competition. It will also give you a nice organic SEO boost, which improves your chances of achieving higher search placement.
Bringing it All Together: Combating the Rise of Commoditization
At the end of the day, the best way to bring in new clients is to introduce them to who you are, not just what you do. If you form your entire content strategy around the services you offer rather than the problems you can help them solve, potential clients will begin to view you as a commodity rather than a person.
Don’t make the mistake of dehumanizing yourself in order to appeal to a broader audience. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and leveraging legal video to tell your story may cost you a few leads, but the clients you’ll gain from these efforts will be all the more valuable (both literally and figuratively) because they truly want to work with you due to the connection your video helped to establish. In the process, you will put leagues between your firm and your competitors and you will find yourself becoming the obvious choice in your market.
If you want to learn more about how you can leverage legal video to grow your law firm, you can download our free eBook here.
Michael Mogill is the Founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group (http://www.crispvideo.com/legal), a national legal video marketing company that produces high-quality and engaging legal videos for attorneys all over the country. Crisp Video is consistently recognized for creating engaging legal videos that help attorneys see a 2 to 10 times increase in average case values. By simply bringing in higher-value cases, attorneys who produce videos with Crisp Video see an average return on investment of 300% and routinely double and triple their revenue — sometimes within just 6 months. He has been featured in Forbes, The National Trial Lawyers, Avvo, ABA, PILMMA, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.