Ed Herman, managing partner of Brown & Crouppen Law Firm, joined LitiCast to discusses how legal marketing has changed and the importance of creating an authentic, relatable brand.
The star of “Ed Versus” and “3 Lawyers Eating Sandwiches,” the popular YouTube series, shares why law firms need to create content that consumers actually want to consume, and offers his tips for memorable middle-of-the-funnel marketing.
Watch the conversation, or read the highlights below.
The Key Step That Most Law Firms Ignore
Herman outlines the five steps that compose every client journey:
- They have to know who you are.
- They have to know what you do.
- They need to have formed a qualitative opinion about you. (Is this person a good fit? Are they competent? Are they approachable? Are they credible?)
- They have to need your services.
- They have to reach out to you.
“Every client in every business goes through that journey,” he says. “What led to the [YouTube] channel was a realization that most firms ignore the middle part of that journey. Most firms are very focused on getting the name out there and letting people know what they do.” And then at the end of the journey, they want to get people to call them. They forget about making sure prospective clients have a good opinion of them, to their own detriment.
He cites the example of people liking Porsches and Ferraris even if they’ve never driven one. “They’ve already developed an affinity even with no personal experience, and I believe that that same principle applies to everything.”
He says that this is one of the reasons you see law firms volunteering and engaging in charity drives, to elevate consumers’ opinions of them. But these firms can use digital marketing content to the same end.
People Can Smell “BS”
“One of the things that has come across in every focus group we’ve done,” Herman says, “is that people can really smell crap. They can smell BS, and they don’t like it. Authenticity and enthusiasm are the two things that make a person engaging and credible. That’s where you want to be.”
To achieve that, lawyers and law firms should consider less-scripted content such as the web series Herman created in and stars in, “Ed Versus” and “3 Lawyers Eating Sandwiches,” which are produced by Coolfire Studios. Over the past 17 months, these videos have received 48 million views and 45,000 comments.
Even with more traditional media, such as commercials, he says that attorneys could go in without a script and have someone off-camera asking them questions. The person on-camera will eventually get comfortable and speak from the heart. “Most people got into the law for really good reasons. Let that all come out. And then you need a good editor” to chop this footage up into 30-second ads, 15-second ads, etc.
He emphasizes that authenticity is key and attorneys should always be true to themselves. “Don’t try and do something that’s not who you are. Everybody has a voice.”
Using Social Media to Speak Directly to a Captive Audience
Herman says that by creating online content that’s honest, entertaining, and educational, he’s building a network of tens of thousands of people to whom he has direct access at any time. “How many lawyers out there can say that at a moment’s notice and at minimal promotional cost, I can get whatever message I want in front of 10,000 people who already like me? That’s 10,000 people on my fan page, 17,000 on the YouTube subscription, 32,000 on our main Facebook page. Little by little, you’re starting to own your market. You have a direct channel where you can speak to them, but none of your competitors can.”
As a bonus, these sites offer extremely specific data in terms of the reach of each post, who saw it, how long they watched for, and other details.
One thing to keep in mind, Herman says, is that you have to go to these consumers, especially younger consumers, on their own terms. They don’t want to be force-fed legal commercials. “They want to be entertained, they want to be educated. The way they look at companies is very different. They want to know the people behind the business and what the business stands for.”
Millennials and members of Generation Z factor in a company’s ideals when deciding whether or not to use their services or buy their products. “People are starting to make those connections. That makes it more important for law firms to have a culture, a personality, an identifiable belief system, and to have a mechanism for educating the public as to what that is. The younger people demand it.”
To expand your reach, establish your culture, and refine your clients’ journey, request a Litify demo.