Do you remember the old Andre Agassi commercial for Canon Rebel camera?

Image is everything
— Andre Agassi

No doubt abut it, first impressions do matter. And for many people, the first impression they have about your firm is your marketing collateral - both digital and printed. Your website, brochures, even stationary represent your firm. And the moment they are in the hands of your potential client, they ARE your firm.

So just like a salesperson you want to make sure they are doing a good job. Is the image your marketing collateral projects consistent with your firm branding? Are they reaching your ideal prospects and telling the right story? You need collateral that cuts through all the noise and differentiates your firm as the leading authority in a given practice area.

Most importantly, you want your materials to look creative and edgy, not out dated.

When was the last time you reviewed all of your marketing materials? If it's been over three years, design trends have changed and you are behind the times. It's likely time for some updating and changes. Pay close attention to the following:

1. Contemporary Look

Styles and trends change. If your marketing tools and collateral don't change with them, your firm will not have a look and feel of authority and leadership. Check for consistent branding in colors, fonts, page layout and certainly update the images you are using. Make sure all look like they were done "yesterday" and not "yesteryear."

2. Targeted Design

You want your marketing message - whether it is for a family law practice or a tax practice - you want the message to match the targeted client prospects. So the language, imagery and tone of a brochure about divorce / child custody would differ greatly than that of brochure mailed to high net-worth individuals about an estate planning seminar. The goal is to customize as much as possible and create something the target prospects will find relevant to their issues. You want them to feel like you already know them. Only then can you connect and they can engage.

3. Compelling Message

Even if a mailer, brochure or web page is designed well, it will fail to connect without a compelling message. The focus of the message should be on the benefits the client can expect you to deliver. Not the accomplishments of the firm and the services you provide. They want to know what you can do for them in their specific dilemma. If your marketing materials focus more on you and your firm than on the client, it's time for an overhaul.

4. Mistake Free

If the marketing collateral copy is poorly written, it will fail. All materials should be mistake free. No spelling, punctuation or grammar errors. It should also be free of legalese and be clear, concise and informative. All marketing collateral should also have a good call to action. Tell your prospect the next steps they should take.

5. Consistent Branding

As you have developed marketing pieces over the years, different pieces from the same firm can look as if they were from different firms. You should have a specified color palette, family of fonts and design standards. If you do not, it's time to develop them now. You want consistency so your prospects will immediately recognize your firm's branding.

What to do next:
If you're not sure what impression your marketing collateral is making, ask some clients or close professional contacts. You may be surprised.

And if I can give you my professional opinion, I'd be glad to review your collateral pieces and give you some thoughts based on our industry experience. My job is to make you look good.