The One (Big) Thing Generative AI Can’t Deliver for Law Firm Marketing

by Apr 4, 2024

It’s been well over a year since OpenAI’s ChatGPT software shocked the world. Accessible to anyone wanting to try it out, it has definitely made its mark. Since its release, scores of more generative AI platforms have materialized. This technology has been hailed as a game-changer across industries, and in many ways, it is. From assisting in legal tasks to generating law blogs in seconds, generative AI is now a tool many lawyers cannot live or work without. 

But generative AI is not perfect. In fact, one critical thing it cannot do for us is something critical to law firm marketing: Creating connections with potential clients. Legal services – whether you advise startup businesses, represent criminal defendants, or negotiate divorce settlements – are all about serving individuals, businesses, and other entities. To serve most effectively and obtain favorable outcomes, lawyers must connect with their clients by putting themselves in their clients’ shoes. In doing so, you can come to understand what they are experiencing and, subsequently, provide what they need. When this connection is conveyed in your website content, it has the power to convert leads.

To connect in this way, however, requires an emotional element.

Generative AI lacks empathy – it is not yet capable of expressing or inciting emotion. 

Here, we explain why empathic and emotional-based law firm website content is important and provide tips on how to create and benefit from it. 

Empathy’s Importance in Law Firm Marketing Content

What is it most of us want from our websites? Leads. 

Better yet, though, how would it change your life and your law practice if your website also converted those leads to new clients without additional work? 

Incorporating empathy in law firm marketing inspires and facilitates lead conversion. To understand how this might work, let’s consider two short pieces of criminal defense marketing content.

Example 1

At Law Firm Doe, we understand that facing criminal charges can be one of the most distressing experiences a person can endure. That’s why we’re here to offer dedicated and unwavering support as you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Every case is unique, and Jane Doe approaches each one with meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to crafting personalized defense strategies tailored to the specific circumstances at hand. 

Example 2

So, you’ve been charged with a crime and might face jail time. It’s scary. It’s frustrating. It’s intimidating. Don’t get discouraged, though. At Law Firm Doe, we don’t like to lose, and neither do our clients. Whether you are innocent or simply made a mistake, you owe it to yourself to fight because, guess what, you can fight the allegations, and you can win. As your defense attorney, we will be strategic and aggressive. So, put your gloves on, and let’s go fight like your freedom depends on it.

You can literally feel the difference between these two examples. Example 1 is a product of ChatGPT. Example 2 was written for this blog to demonstrate that through content, you can connect with your audience (aka potential clients), and in this example, you just may win them over without further work.

In the first example, three long lines introduce a law firm’s criminal defense law practice, but they are ho-hum. Ho-hum isn’t what someone wants when they have been charged with fraud and know they are innocent. They want to know you understand them – but they want to feel it, not just be told it. They want to know there’s hope and want it to materialize through your words. They want to be reassured. Ho-hum isn’t reassurance. 

In the second example, a range of short and long sentences create a rhythm that matches the fear and hope of your audience’s heartbeat. Words like “scary” and “frustrating” hit a chord better than “distressing”. The mention of “jail time” underscores and exploits this fear while providing a reason to fight the charge. The mention of innocence or mistake lets the audience know that the attorney won’t automatically assume guilt and won’t judge them. A sense of trust is almost tangible and will more likely prompt the individual to pick up the phone immediately to call.

Empathy allows you to show you understand what your potential client is experiencing, and you do it by incorporating emotions into your law firm website content. But let’s not take feelings as reason alone for empathy’s importance; let’s consider the statistics.

What the Stats Say about Using Empathy in Marketing

Harvard Business Review (HBR) highlighted the use of emotions in marketing back in 2015 when it published research results on the same, titled The New Science of Customer Emotions. Importantly, among other findings, the research found that the emotional connection between a customer and a company is 52% more valuable than customer satisfaction, meaning customers emotionally connected to a brand can generate 52% more revenue

As if that one statistic is not enough, here are a few more:

The overall conclusion: Content employing emotion invites emotional responses that render results. And why? Another affiliate of Harvard Business School, Gerald Zaltman, provides insight. In his book, How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, and in an interview for HBS Working Knowledge, he suggests that 95% of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, and emotional triggers affect those decisions. Neuroscientist and USC professor Antonio Damasio stated it in a different, more catchy way:

“[W]e are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think.” 

Ultimately, emotions impact consumer decisions more so than rational ones. This understanding is key to lead conversion –– the primary goal of using emotions in website marketing. What flows from successful implementation of the latter is a thriving law practice.

How Law Firms Can Connect Emotionally with Potential Clients

The general idea of connecting emotionally with potential clients involves identifying their emotional motivators. Here’s how to do the latter and then how to use that knowledge to begin connecting emotionally with current and potential clients, developing your brand, and growing your law firm.

1. Research and Analyze the Data

You need to know who your clients are and what motivates them. In essence, you need to identify their core values because this data will lead you to the emotions you need to convey and inspire. To begin the research, take inventory of your existing market research and client data (e.g., conversion rates and client satisfaction rates), if any. For new solo attorneys and small law firms, you may not have much data yet, but you can ask yourself:

  • Who needs your services? 
  • What are the specific demographics and motivators? 
  • Are they young or old? Students? Entrepreneurs? Employees? 
  • Are they individuals, families, or businesses? 
  • What are their pain points and how can you help them?
  • Are they motivated by love, security, success, or freedom?
  • What emotions are they experiencing and do they seek? (e.g., fear/hope, confusion/clarity, worry/certainty)

For each law practice, you should consider who your target clients are and what motivates them on an emotional level. 

2. Apply the Data

Once you know your clients and their top emotional motivator(s), it is time to apply this knowledge. It should be applied throughout your law firm website content and through your direct interactions when promoting or providing legal services.

There are multiple ways to implement emotional-based marketing via your law firm website. Here are some suggestions or ideas:

  • Attorney Profile(s). Attorney bios are critical to lead conversion. You want to provide your educational and professional background and qualifications, but you can also get a little personal. What motivated you to practice law, and this area of law specifically? Were you in a car accident as a child and want to make sure other victims of personal injuries are adequately compensated? Relay your own fears or aspirations and how you overcame or achieved them. 
  • Client Testimonials. Testimonials are another critical part of your law firm website with significant power to convert leads to clients. Testimonials can conjure a lot of emotion, especially positive ones, that can be leveraged for success. If you have not yet, you should start harnessing the power of social proof via testimonials.
  • Case Summaries. Here’s where you can really promote your storytelling skills. Tell the stories of a few select client experiences. Don’t be afraid to show the roller coaster ride of emotions – in fact, feel free to get detailed about them – but also highlight how you helped secure favorable outcomes. Through strategic case summaries, potential clients can relate to your work, and by seeing how you helped others in similar situations, they know you will do the same for them.
  • Practice Area Pages. Here’s another place where you can introduce and hone in on your storytelling skills. Sure, you want to give an overview of the law, potential consequences, legal processes, or whatever other information applies and answers questions your potential clients may have. In doing so, though, you can give examples – these can be hypothetical or real life examples. Via these examples, use your emotional motivators for the respective practice area to incite an emotional response.
  • Blogs. Blogs are a great place to discuss current events or expand on legal issues related to your law practice. Blogs are often more conversational and, as such, make getting emotional rather easy. Maybe a controversial piece of legislation was signed into law – you can discuss these by showing their impact on individuals and society and really play into the emotions of your potential clients. If you work with startups, write a blog about a startup in hard times, but by partnering with a lawyer, the owners were able to pull through and now oversee a thriving business. Tell how their journey was a successful one – it doesn’t have to be your own client but maybe a company in the news. The point is to step into the shoes of your potential clients, convey that you know their fears or worries, and prove you have solutions.
  • Visual and Multimedia Content. Leverage the power of visual storytelling to evoke emotions in a more profound and immediate way. Incorporate images or videos that not only inform but also evoke trust. 
  • Social Media. Who’s not on social media today? And who’s not invoking emotions via that platform? The same should be true for you. When you go to promote your new blog on Facebook, add a sentence or two that summarizes the same kind of emotion you hope to elicit in your blog. For example: Want to scale your business but feeling frustrated? Partner with us, and see how quickly you rise. 

An empathy-based approach to your legal services, however, should not start and end on your law firm website. Empathy should be carried over into your actual interactions with current or potential clients. In other words, it should become a pervasive characteristic of your brand, and that can be done through empathic communication. 

In all forms of communication, including telephone calls and in-person consultations, infuse empathy into your messaging. Acknowledge the emotions that clients may be experiencing, reassure them of your understanding and commitment, and offer genuine support and guidance.

Beyond outbound marketing efforts, actively engage with potential clients through social media platforms, forums, and community events. Listen to their concerns, answer their questions, and offer valuable insights and resources without expecting immediate business in return.

You can also build emotional connections through authenticity. Be transparent, honest, and genuine in your interactions with clients. Show them the human side of your firm. Introduce your team members, share behind-the-scenes glimpses, and engage in meaningful conversations that go beyond legal matters.

3. Repeat

As your practice and clients evolve, so should your interactions. Keep researching, analyzing, updating, and implementing ways to best emotionally connect with your current and potential clients. 

Tip: As a LawLytics member, you get immediate access to critical data and other smart features on your dashboard. This data can be used strategically and in combination with any other market research you perform. Also, because LawLytics was designed by and for lawyers, inherent to our platform are fully optimized templates that facilitate the creation and publication of attorney bios, practice area pages, testimonial pages, case summaries, blogs, stock images, and more. 

Plus, there’s the added benefit of our Content Generator, a source of 300+ pages (and growing) to customize or use as-is to build out your law firm website. Together, LawLytics helps you leverage emotional motivators to maximize your competitive advantage. 

Examples of Emotional Motivators and their Application on Law Firm Websites

Now that you know the basic process, we want to give you a little better understanding of emotional motivators and how they can be strategically and successfully applied on your law firm website. The below chart are suggestions only – you should align any emotional motivator you use to your law firm brand and target audience.

The emotional response to pretty much all of these emotional motivators, if implemented successfully, is simple: They will pick up the phone or fill out the online form. They will act on the feelings you have invoked, and so reaching out will be almost the natural thing to do. 

Get Today What Generative AI Cannot Yet Deliver: Empathic Content that Converts Leads

Generative AI can deliver content, and what makes it fascinating is that – through Natural Language Processing (NLP) – the content sounds like a human wrote it. However natural it may be, it still does not produce emotional language. Fortunately for law firms like yours who want to generate and convert leads as much as you want to grow your own law practice, LawLytics has the platform and the tools you need to deliver an emotional connection to potential clients who, in return, are emotionally motivated to respond by clicking or calling. 

If you are not a LawLytics member, schedule a no-obligation demo with us today. Meanwhile, if you are currently benefiting from membership but want to learn more, contact our Support team. As always, your success is what continues to motivate us.

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