Brand messaging refers to the words and phrases you use to communicate with prospects, both online and off.
Anytime you write something on your website or meet for a consultation, you’re messaging your brand—and without a plan, you may be going about it all wrong (and losing clients).
Why Does Most Brand Messaging Fail?
Short answer? The curse of knowledge.
When you are cursed with knowledge, you may (incorrectly) assume that the people you’re communicating with also possess that knowledge.
As we learn more and more about our given fields and industries, we tend to forget the difficulties we faced early on—the same difficulties in understanding that now face your customers, who likely know little to nothing about the intricacies of the legal industry.
One of the biggest reasons brand messaging fails is that whoever is doing the writing just doesn’t know the right way to communicate with the intended audience. The intention might be there, but the goal of your messaging is getting lost in translation.
So how do you know if your messaging is any good? How do you know if you’ve succumbed to the curse of knowledge? Glad you asked—here are 8 tests we use to come up with great messaging for our clients that wins leads like they’re going out of style.
1. Does your messaging appeal to the target audience?
When your messaging tries to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.
Every single sentence on your website has to be written with your target audience in mind. If the people clicking on your website don’t feel like you’re talking to them directly (and them alone), you’re going to lose out on leads, period.
Many legal sites are out of touch and written in a generic, unenthusiastic way that reads like a legal document instead of a tool for winning leads. Your customers don’t want to read bland legalese—they want stuff that’s relevant, and written in a way to make them feel engaged.
2. Does your messaging communicate value?
What do your customers get when they choose you? Reassurance? Saving money? Less stress?
If your customers can’t see what they’re getting from your business right up front, you’re not going to get that many customers.
People come to your site looking for answers and looking for help. If your messaging isn’t immediately communicating that YOU are the answer to their woes, rest assured that your prospects will find comfort in the offices of your competitors instead.
3. Does your messaging reflect reality?
The moment your prospect finds a difference between what you say and what you are, your firm is toast.
In business, there’s both an internal reality (how your firm actually operates and what you really deliver) and an external perception (how people think your business is), and one of the primary goals of brand messaging is to influence that external perception until it meets your internal reality.
We guarantee there is enough material to work with to show your best self to clients in a way that makes your reality line up perfectly with what they expect from a law firm, without stretching the truth—it’s all about finding the right way to say it.
4. Does your messaging differentiate you from the competition?
Even if your practice is 99.9% identical to your competition, that still leaves room to communicate something that differentiates you from the other guys.
Customers don’t know what separates you from Firm B or Firm C. It’s up to you to tell them, and tell them why that difference is a benefit.
You don’t need a shelf full of awards or a history of representing celebrities—it’s more than enough to offer faster response times, better customer service, or free coffee in your office. You’d be surprised what a big difference these things can make if you just tell people.
5. Your messaging leverages you against the competition
We’re not talking about trash-talking your competitors. But whenever you imply that your business does something and does it well, customers make the assumption that other business either don’t do it or do it poorly.
For example, light beer companies are always making advertisements to explain just how cold their beer is. Light beer doesn’t taste very good, so the colder you drink it, the better—with your taste buds being frozen and all that.
Anyway, the most successful light beer ads are the ones that make their beer seem the coldest and most refreshing, and thus the easiest to drink. When you choose Coors or Bud Lite or another brand, you’re not just choosing them because they’re cold—those ads have also subconsciously made you feel that the other brands are warm.
Coors never outright states that Bud Lite is hot—your mind fills in the blanks. With the right words, you can avoid having prospects leave and check out other lawyer sites to compare—they’ll make up their minds all on their own.
6. Does your messaging use established buzz words and brand phrases?
Picking the right words is vital to your business’ success. Using dull, mundane words makes your firm dull and mundane. Using powerful, authoritative, confident words make your firm a winner. It’s easy.
Building a strong brand involves figuring out and repeatedly using powerful, catchy words and phrases that prospects will immediately associate with your brand.
Superior law firm branding and buzz words were one of the key deciding factors in the 2016 election, with phrases like “Build the Wall” and “Fake News” likely going down in history as some of the most powerful branding phrases of all time.
You don’t have to build a wall on the Canadian border, but your words must resonate with your target audience—you’re trying to create an emotional connection between potential clients and your law firm that most people rarely feel when they hire a lawyer.
7. Is your messaging consistent?
From the signs in your office to printed materials, from your website to the way you talk, your words must be chosen carefully and remain consistent across all mediums.
You can’t build yourself up to be some powerhouse divorce lawyer or bulldog workers comp attorney online and give customers a jarring, milquetoast experience in person. They’re not going to be happy with the experience and, frankly, they’ll feel like you’re dishonest.
When we produce content for an attorney or lawyer, whether that’s a blog post or a video script or a sales email, we’re choosing our words very carefully so that ALL sales material is written with the same familiar, authoritative voice your prospects grow to expect from your brand.
8. Your messaging passes the “6th Grade” test
Could a sixth-grader easily understand the content on your site? If not, it’s time to head back to the drawing board.
You might not be working with many eleven-year-old clients, but the fact is that most Americans aren’t impressed by big words and long, flowing sentences. We want simplicity, clarity, brevity…not a novel.
This isn’t meant to sound condescending, but this is where the curse of knowledge comes into play. You might think that terms like burden of proof, affidavit, collateral or statute are easy to understand, but you have years of legal experience—and your clients don’t.
It’s ALWAYS better to assume your audience knows less, than to assume they know more.
Legal Legends is your checklist for perfect brand messaging
Would you rather not have to go through some checklist every time you write something for your website or meet a client for a consultation?
With Legal Legends, our brand messaging checklist is just a natural part of everything we do.
Each piece of content we put out and deliver for your business is designed to work in harmony with your brand, giving your prospects a consistent experience that makes landing new leads easier than ever.
Why not give us a call, let us handle the rules, and you can worry about handling all those new clients.