It seems that whenever one of us at Strawberry Forge researches a topic for our legal clients, we have to wade our way through a lot of jargon to find the information we’re looking for. Powering through legalese isn’t an issue when you do it on a daily basis like we do, but we still don’t understand why so many solicitors choose to market themselves in this way.
Isn’t the point of legal marketing to get more clients? Well, that’s what we’ve come to understand, so God knows why so many firms seem to be writing their blogs for the benefit of other solicitors instead of for people who need legal advice.
So, I thought I’d explain the reasons why jargon-busting in online legal marketing is essential in building trust between your firm and your clients, and ultimately, growing your practise and reputation.
Before that though, let’s take a look at why solicitors write in legalese in the first place.
Why is Legalese Still in Use?
From my own personal standpoint, I have no idea. In marketing, if your writing can’t be understood by the people you want to target, then it’s useless.
However, there are a few reasons that might explain why you feel your blogs should be in legalese.
That’s How the Laws Were Written
I’m sure you’ve flipped through the dusty, torn-up pages of an old law book before, full of terms written in Ye Olde English or Latin. For solicitors who are planning on doing their own marketing, it’s understandable that you’d want to write your blogs in the same style.
In modern Britain, though, we don’t speak like that anymore, as I’m sure you’re ad idem (or in agreement, if you prefer).
With this in mind, do you really think visitors on your website will find value in your blogs if they need to stop and Google what each term means?
We know you need to have a thorough understanding of bona vacantia and certiorari to do your job, but the guy who simply wants to know who legally owns the plot of land next to his just wants a straight answer.
It makes a lot of sense to give it to him, right?
It Sounds More Formal
Law is a serious business, and there has to be some degree of formality between solicitors and their clients, but there is such a thing as going overboard with the formal language.
When someone is looking for a solicitor to represent them, they want to know they can have a real discussion with a real person, and not a battle of words with a walking, talking dictionary.
Your website will be one of the first things potential clients will look at, with every blog, article and news piece on your site getting the fine-tooth comb treatment. If you can show a friendlier and more understanding side to your firm, people will place more trust in you and your ability to represent them.
Legalese Makes you Appear Smarter
I’m sure me bringing this point up will rattle a few cages, but giving the appearance of being intelligent doesn’t mean you actually are intelligent. Let me give you an example.
Back in the day, car dealers would make use of their in-depth knowledge by throwing technical terms at people looking to buy a new motor and ending their sentences by saying, “wouldn’t you agree?”
In truth, most people had no idea if they agreed, but they said yes anyway because they didn’t want to lose face. In the end, they’d drive away with a car fitted with auto super-twin motor pistons without having a clue what they even are (if they were ever an actual thing to begin with).
These days, people are more attuned to when they’re being fed bullshit, and trying to cause confusion won’t end in you picking up a new client, it’ll just drive them towards your competitors.
Instead of trying to seem smart by using legalese, you can show you’ve got brains by breaking down the hard stuff into language everyone can understand.
The Benefits of Jargon-Busting
Hopefully, you can already see the plus side to jargon-busting in online legal marketing, but it always helps to have it clearly laid out to see. Here’s why we think plain English works best in your sector.
The best way for your firm to grow is by building trust between you and any potential client. When people are looking for a legal representative, they’re probably not in a good mood to begin with. By keeping things clear and to the point, you’ll make the legal process a lot easier for them to understand.
The more they go through your content, the more they’ll realise you can help them, as long as you keep things simple. Before long, they’ll contact you for more in-depth advice because you’ve showcased yourself as an asset to them from the very beginning.
Find Suitable Clients
It goes without saying that you have a lot of knowledge that most people don’t. As such, think about how much time you actually spend trying to talk people through dense subjects like intestacy or litigation. The time really racks up, doesn’t it?
With jargon-free marketing, you’re giving people the information they need to decide on whether or not you’re the right solicitor to represent them. This means the enquiries that you’ll get from that point on will be more likely from people actively looking for you to represent them.
Take the Legal Sector into the Modern Age
Georgie wrote an entire blog on this subject that you can find here, but it’s worth me mentioning this, too.
There’s an ‘old-school’ feel to working in law. Everyone wears suits instead of shirts and jeans, you understand language that wouldn’t look out of place in a Charles Dickens novel and I’m pretty sure 99% of your knowledge comes from books instead of the internet.
I’m not trying to say any of that is bad. In fact, I’d love to get all my information from books if it were possible, but that’s not how the world works these days.
To truly be seen as a modern law firm, you need to ditch the use of complicated and outdated language with every opportunity you get. Marketing gives you the chance to show people you’re in-tune with the world around you, so don’t spoil it by scattering Latin all over the place.
Need Help with your Online Legal Marketing?
At Strawberry Forge, we have a lot of experience in legal marketing. Our content has helped people find the right solicitors for their legal worries, thanks to the fact we’ve made things easy to understand.
But, if writing blogs isn’t your cup of tea and you’re looking for a team who has a background in delivering great results for law firms, get in touch with one of us from Strawberry Forge.