An Attorney Makes An Offer in Her Advertising and Secures More Clients

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Marcy is one of the most successful attorneys in the state but it hasn’t always been that way. For almost 10 years she held down a mid-level position in an established law practice in town.

I remember many conversations with Marcy during those days and I can attest to the fact that she wasn’t very happy with her job. Then something interesting happened. Her neighbor Ed, who happened to be the publisher and editor for our local newspaper, became involved in a real estate dispute.

The dispute was an issue of adverse possession. For years, the publisher of the paper had allowed one of his neighbors to use part of a driveway that sat on the border of their property. Without getting too technical, the neighbor felt he had a legal right to continue to use the publisher’s driveway because he’d never been challenged on the matter.  Since he wanted to sell his house, he was positioning himself to file for an easement on the property that would ultimately weaken the title held by the publisher.

Ed came to Marcy for help. At first she told him he’d need to take the matter up with one of the senior partners in her law firm. Ed didn’t want to go that route because he felt it would create too much attention in town. He appealed to her for another option.

The option that Marcy proposed lead not only to her becoming a rainmaker at her firm – it lead to her starting her own law practice and becoming a very successful solo practitioner.

Here’s how:

After doing some checking at the courthouse Marcy had a tentative solution. She proposed writing a strongly worded letter to the trespasser along with filing a cease and desist order. Ed agreed and Marcy had the filing and letter done inside of a day. And without another word on the matter the challenging neighbor backed off. Her publisher friend was delighted.

In exchange for her services the publisher offered Marcy unlimited free advertising in his newspaper. He promised that she’d be welcomed to take out a 10-inch, two column ad once a week.

At first she declined.  She was worried that she would look a little silly running an ad as an individual attorney in a big firm. 

But within a short time she placed a small ad offering legal services - document review in particular. And she got a few takers. This was nice as it added a little more income to her law firm and gave her some visibility among her partners.
One of Marcy’s duties at her firm was drawing up living trust documents. So she placed another free ad in the newspaper and found herself quite busy with estate planning work. Marcy loves estate planning.

For several months Marcy continued to run the ad. And the response was such that she needed to farm some of the work out to other attorneys. Within a year she was seriously considering opening her own office.  The work in her area of expertise was steadily coming in and Marcy was referring cases to other attorneys.  This lead to a good deal of additional work as the lawyers she referred to were happily reciprocating.

Eighteen months after placing the first ad, Marcy was ready to make her big move.  She resigned from her position with her old firm and went into business for herself. Doing so seemed to give Marcy a new lease on life.

As business continued to grow Marcy plowed much of her income into advertising. She started by enlarging her newspaper ad. But that didn’t seem to be enough. Before long she had ads on the radio, on TV and in print. Marcy learned that successful advertising most often came with a hook, something that identifies links the advertiser with her client base. So she decided to literally brand her practice by becoming known as the two-for-one special attorney. This was a gimmick where she would offer to review two documents for the price of one. It seemed like every month she offered a special on legal services of one kind or another. Here are a few of the crazy offers she’d put out there.

• A one-hour on site free consultation with every one-hour paid consultation. This basically doubled the amount of value her clients received.
• A free living trust with every two paid living trusts. This was a terrific offer to get clients to bring in other family members.
• A free 30 minute phone consultation (this was a standing offer).  This helped people get acquainted with Marcy and it also helped her qualify them.
• A free will review.  Again, this served as a way to qualify prospective clients.
• Two for the price of one document review.  This was a high value offer for small business clients.

Of course, none of these offers were really crazy or all that unusual. But it was the relentless advertising that made them seem larger than life – and Marcy would heavily play on the great deal people were getting with the two-for-one specials. And as an additional way of being remembered, many of Marcy’s radio and TV spots were just peculiar enough to be memorable. She was definitely building a presence. And when someone without their own attorney needed legal services it was almost a given they’d be calling Marcy.

I know that when she started to pick up momentum with her advertising I thought to myself that she must be spending a fortune. I had the chance to talk to her in the early going and she assured me that every ad had been bought and paid for with profits generated by her new firm. In other words the ads were more than paying for themselves.

And the cool thing about all of this is that Marcy created nearly all of the commercials and ads herself. Some were silly, quirky, irreverent, unusual, zany and some were actually pretty mainstream. But one thing is for certain, all of Marcy’s ads were memorable, they all offered a great ‘perceived-value’ deal on service, and they all drove in the clients.