A survey of lawyers in Sydney showed that word of mouth referrals was still the most important source of new clients. This lead to many new lawyers believing they do not need to care about their personal brand. Nothing could be further than the truth.
What Is Personal Branding?
Personal Branding, in the business sense, is the image you project to the world. It’s the combination of what I see when I search for you online, what your office and signage looks like, and any online or printed marketing collateral you have.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com once said:
Your personal brand is what others say about you when you leave the room
In the past, your reputation was formed by your interactions with other people. Nowadays, people form an opinion of you before they even meet you.
Why Is A Personal Brand Important?
Established lawyers will tell you that referrals are the key. And they’re right. But you’ll find the best firms also have a strong brand presence. Why is that important?
When someone is referred to you, they still search for you online
A referral is a strong vote of confidence. In fact, given a referral, clients are 3 times more likely to act compared to contacting a firm they found in a search result.
But don’t be deceived to think you are the only lawyer in a potential client’s extended network. Chances are they’ve been given names of 4-6 law firms by friends and family. They probably even have a cousin’s flatmate who’s a lawyer.
Armed with these names, the first thing they will do is look up each person. What they find is their first impression of you. Are you friendly or serious, authoritative or approachable?
Or if your profile photo is missing, does that raise queries on your legitimacy?
People hire people, not a website
Some people think a website is a brand.
You’ll be familiar with the generic small law firm site, with an iconic location on the front page, a stock photo of an arm in a suit shaking hands with another arm, with documents to signify some work is being done.
When clients are looking for a lawyer, they don’t care about these things. They are looking for someone who can help solve their problems. Someone with knowledge, competence, and experience who will care about their issue. Stock photos message you are impersonal, and afraid to be seen. Not qualities I want in a lawyer.
Google studies have shown that stock photos are subconsciously ignored by consumers. They may as well be blank spaces.
One experiment showed that replacing a stock photo with the real person increased conversion on that page by 35-45%! We can help you create a series of at-work imagery to show off you and your staff. Show you are with the times, and that you work professionally.
Build trust and show authority
Most Sydney Law Firms are putting staff profiles online now. Being legal eagles, they write impressive bios outlining their experience. However sometimes the headshot isn’t as well thought out.
What they don’t realise is that a photograph is processed within one 6000th of a second. Before a client reads your website, they have already made a judgement on who you are.
Here are common mistakes in Lawyer Headshot Photographs:
- Using an amateur photograph. Every business should look professional. The public perception is that lawyers charge and charge well for their time. If a lawyer cannot afford a professional headshot, it casts doubt on how much work they do – and by extension – their competence. Bad headshots will actively lose you work!
- Blank looks. Sometimes you just see a person in a suit, with no expression, glazed eyes, and you just can’t feel any connection with them. I would not contact this person until I’ve exhausted all alternatives.
- Uncomfortable or disinterested looks. Sadly this is not self-evident. When you’re squinting because you’re in the sun, the wind is blowing a mess of your hair, you look nervous or constipated, you’ve already lost. All I can imagine is you being disorganised, unreliable, and unprofessional. If you can’t even pay attention to how your professional profile looks, how can I trust you with law?
- Using an old photo. You may like that photo 5 years ago from when you were in corporate. But when your client meets you and sees someone different, you’ve just turned your first interaction into a lie. Who wants a liar lawyer?
A professional Lawyer Headshot doesn’t just show what you look like. It shows the qualities that will help attract your target audience. It shows your competence and knowledge. It builds trust in your audience.
How do we draw these qualities out? Unlike other photographers, we spend time talking to you to learn about your business, and what sets it apart. Our skill is not manipulating the camera, but working with people and bringing out their best. You’re not a commodity, and neither is your headshot.
Use The Right Photograph In The Right Medium
Lawyers are multi faceted. The days of having one headshot to use for 5 years is over.
Instead, the best lawyers have a library of imagery to use in different situations. A corporate look for LinkedIn. A friendly and approachable look for retail customers. A knowledgeable look for your workshop or conference. An authoritative look for editorials.
Don’t even limit it to headshots. We do half and full body Executive Portraits, we do outdoor Personal Branding sessions. We can create a library of imagery that will suit different pieces of marketing collateral throughout the year.
We Make It Easy
You are busy professionals, so we make it easy by first understanding your market and then planning an effortless photographic session at your location.
We set up professional lighting at your location anywhere in Sydney. We are very good at putting people at ease, so your photograph looks natural and genuine. We coach you on expression and posture, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. We are good at finding the best angles in the smallest offices.
Valent Lau Photography provides Professional Branding & Website Photography at your business location. Contact us now and let us help you discover how you can show off your brand.