5 Ways attorneys can use storytelling to connect with clients

With 1.3 million attorneys in the United States (that’s 1 for every 265 people!), the biggest challenges aren’t always faced in the courtroom but rather in the marketing department.

With hundreds of thousands of attorneys competing for the same clients, how can you differentiate your firm and attract more high-value cases? Practice area alone won’t differentiate your firm. What can set you apart, however, is sharing your firm’s story through legal video.

People hire law firms based on trust. By visually telling your story to connect with potential clients, you humanize your firm and build trust and rapport. Once that trust is built, the stage is set to turn a lead into a consultation—and, ultimately, a client.

Here are 5 ways attorneys can use storytelling to convert more cases:

1. Know your audience

The first step of any marketing strategy is to understand your audience. What are their demographics, pain points, values, etc.? Once you understand your target audience, you can tailor messaging to communicate specific solutions to their goals and challenges.

For example, is your typical client looking for the most affordable solution to his or her legal problem? Or does your client base look to the best solution? How familiar are your clients with the legal process? What emotions are they going through when they call you? These things vary greatly across firms and practice areas, and once you understand your audience, you can use your unique story to appeal to them.

2. Share your “why,” not your “what”

With hundreds of thousands of attorneys offering similar services, simply sharing what you do is not enough to differentiate your firm. Instead, strive to communicate your unique value proposition through your “why.”

Your “why” helps build trust with potential clients by establishing your reasons for doing what you do. Communicate that rationale through succinct messaging, making sure your story answers the following question: Why should a client hire you over every other attorney out there?

In the video below, personal injury attorney Gregory Herrman begins by stating, “What I’ve always wanted to do is help injured people. I feel like that’s my mission in life.”

He immediately connects with viewers by focusing on the “why” of what he does (helping people), rather than the what (practicing personal injury law). In 2 sentences, he cuts to the core of his audience’s primary need: getting legal help.

He establishes trust by identifying with potential clients’ pain points and emphasizing this through his “why.” Would his message be as powerful if he focused on his years of experience or accolades? To other attorneys, perhaps, but not to potential clients

Connections are created through stories, not years practiced and honors achieved. Tailor your content accordingly, and you will create video content that drives viewers to engage with your practice.

3. Drive an emotional connection

Successful marketing involves capitalizing on the interplay of logic and emotion, mind and heart. When it comes down to it, people make most decisions based on emotion—not logic.

This is because:

  • Emotion requires less effort than logic. Logic solicits cognitive effort, whereas emotion is an automatic and subconscious response.
  • Messages aimed at engaging your viewers’ (prospective clients) emotions are more interesting and memorable than purely logical messages.
  • Emotion-based arguments are often easier to recall than logic-based arguments.
  • Emotion, rather than logic, almost always leads to change more quickly.

Sources: P. Salovey and J. D. Mayer, “Emotional Intelligence: Imagination, Cognition, and Personality,” reprinted in Human Emotions, J. M. Jenkins, K. Oatley, and N. L. Stein, editors (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998), pp. 313–319. Tellis, Advertising and Sales Promotion Strategy, pp. 160–161.

Don’t tell prospective clients what to think or what’s best (selling). Help them discover for themselves what feels right, best, and most advantageous (emotional storytelling). Their ultimate decision is based on self-interest.

With this knowledge, you can use your unique story to connect with potential clients, build rapport, and inspire trust.

The keys to building an emotional connection through storytelling are:

  • Begin with something relatable and with something your audience can agree with
  • Increase tension by citing difficulties the characters must overcome (Ex: a legal issue like criminal charges, an injury, a divorce, etc.)
  • Have the video narrative culminate when characters overcome the problem or challenge, and provide your audience with a solution
  • Provide hope and a call to action in order to drive a response

Attorney William Bly embodies these ideas with his legal marketing video below:

4. Incorporate client testimonials

No one can communicate the benefits of your services better than someone who has used them. One of the best ways to share your story with potential clients is through client testimonials.

At 89%, client testimonials have the highest rate of effectiveness for all types of content marketing. Furthermore, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media (testimonials and reviews) above all other forms of advertising.

Incorporate client testimonials in your legal videos to immediately build rapport, and communicate your story through the lens of someone who has experienced it first hand.

5. Create quality content

Remember, your marketing efforts directly reflect your law firm. Potential clients often see brand image as the differentiator between good and bad attorneys, and high-quality (and high-value) clients can be deterred by low-quality video content.

A recent study by Aberdeen has shown that high-quality videos improve conversion rates by as much as 300%, while low-quality video content can actually hurt conversion rates.

Also, 62% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a business that has published a poor-quality video. If you want to communicate value and attract higher-value cases, your video marketing strategy needs to reflect this goal. Quality content brands your business as a quality law firm.

In a world crowded with competition, your unique story allows you to connect with potential clients, build trust, and highlight the things that matter to them most. If you understand your audience, communicate your “why,” drive an emotional connection, incorporate client testimonials, and create quality content, you will be able to create legal video content that drives new clients and cases. Everyone loves a good story. It’s your job to tell yours.