When I talk about online marketing and social media to lawyers, I remind them that outsourcing their marketing is outsourcing their reputation. I point out that many people selling online marketing will lie to get their attention — to get you to read their emails or return their calls. And I ask them:
If they would lie to get your attention, why would you trust them with your reputation?
I got a call today from a “Denise McDermott” at 312-252-0605. The message was, “she is doing some work for the Inglis Law Firm that she wants to discuss.” It’s probably not a lie, but rather an omission: McDermott knows that if she leaves a message saying that she’s selling whatever online marketing crap she’s selling, I won’t be returning her call. Fortunately for her, I won’t be returning her call because I recognize her vague message as an attempt to get me to call her back without quite lying to me. Fortunate because my language when I’m tricked into calling someone tends toward the hurtful.
Last year I got this email from “John Casement” of Missouri, subject “Hey Mark, Quick Question.” There was in fact no question in the email:
My name is John Casement, I am a recent JD/MBA graduate with an emphasis in marketing analytics. I actually just took the Missouri bar a couple of days ago; now I am competing to win a $50,000 grant from LaunchKC and could really use your help to get more traction. My company is called Legally Marketing.
Basically, we would like to redesign your website so that it generates more leads and clients for your firm. We have created a proprietary, scientific process to analyze your visitors’ behavior and turn them into clients using machine-learning.
We are charging each ‘case study’ client $999 for our complete website redesign service, with the guarantee that our services will drastically improve your professional image and profits. The price is so low because we are building references. Your redesign will be completed by August 31st, we will then test and improve it for two months. Our goal is to sign up all six ‘case study’ clients by August 6th; we have four on board right now.
I would love to schedule a call to discuss this more – please let me know when you are available. Thank you for your time.
John Casement | jd, mba
My response was pointed:
Not only will I not pay you any money, but you won’t get any positive attention from me at all. If I could keep you from getting licensed, with your talk of “leads,” I would.
They’re clients, not leads.
Casement’s reply was adequate:
Thank you for your time and response. I apologize for offending you and really appreciate your feedback. You are right, calling clients ‘leads’ is impersonal and affronting. I will make sure to avoid doing so in the future – thanks again for the advice. Hope you have a great week.
I thought I was done with him.
Yesterday another email from Casement showed up in my box: “Quick Question.” I get quick questions from potential clients and fellow lawyers all the time, and I didn’t remember the earlier email from Casement, so I didn’t immediately send it to spam.
Again, there was no quick question. Now Casement is selling ghostwritten web content to lawyers:
First, thank you for your time. Because of my legal and marketing background, I have been consulting with law firms and helping them attract more clients. During this consulting, firms have repeatedly asked for professionally written blog posts and website content.
Because I heard this so often, I recruited a staff of attorneys and professional writers to create exceptional content for firms like yours.
Writing is thinking. Good clients choose lawyers based on how the lawyers think. They can tell how the lawyers think by reading what the lawyers write. Mark me down as violently opposed to “professionally written blog posts and website content,” because lawyers with ghostwritten content are tricking these good clients. John Casement is in the business of tricking people. Lawyers should not be in the business of tricking people. It’s a crooked business, for crooked people.
Twice John Casement tricked me into opening his emails. I might admire the gumption if he didn’t claim to be a lawyer. I still wouldn’t do business with him, because my reputation is too valuable to be put in the hands of a crook.
At the end of his email Casement wrote, “I would really appreciate any feedback you can provide. Thank you again for your time.”
Here you go. Happy to help.