My firm doesn't have a website.
Oh, we have a "under construction" placeholder site with our contact info. But it's been almost five and a half years since two of us opened the doors, and we're up to more than a dozen lawyers, and we don't have a web site.
We'll have one soon. The truth is, we've been busy. When we've suffered, it hasn't been because we don't have enough business. It's been because the business we have isn't paying bills on time (a common problem with the service sector of the economy).
No doubt we've lost a few potential clients this way. But we continue to get clients the old-fashioned way — through referrals from satisfied clients, former colleagues and opponents, friends, and the mafia-like former federal prosecutor network.
A couple of clients and potential clients have joked about it. But they're not angry. There's only one group that's angry.
A certain segment of "professional marketers" — some web designers, "SEO professionals," "marketing consultants", and the like — are absolutely enraged and appalled that we're a going concern without a web site. They feel that we're simply immolating huge stacks of money that we could be making. We're skeptical. When we spend money on marketing — like dropping a few grand on the various Thompson-West and Martindale-Hubbell monopolistic listings — we generally feel that it yields not quality clients, but deadbeats looking for free legal advice and sad people who need us to sue the government for implanting chips in their heads. We only do it out of a residual — and quite possibly foolish — concern that we won't be credible if we're not listed on martindale and lawyers.com and all that shit. We really don't feel we're missing much because we're not catching the people Googling WHITE COLLOR LAYER LOS ANGELES HELP NOT GUILTY.
Occasionally the marketing OUTRAGE reaches comical levels. Late in the day yesterday the managing partner and I received a breathless email from a rep of one of the big three pay-through-the-ass-to-market-with-our-famous-name companies. It is, quite possibly, the most insufferable email I have ever received. Here it is, redacted to protect the guilty parties:
Let me be right to the point…
I have reviewed your current website at: www.desultoryplaceholderpageforourfirm.com
I SEE THAT THE SITE IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND ENCOURAGE YOU TO ENGAGE MY SERVICES BEFORE MOVING FORWARD WITH ANY OPTIONS!
I am the Legal Internet Consultant for [Gigantic Overpriced Corp That Everyone Pays Out of Fear] in Downtown Los Angeles. [GOCTEPOF] is a [Even Bigger Overpriced Law Business] Business Unit and we are sister companies with [legal search engine] and [embarrassing vanity press masquerading as legitimate lawyer ranking system]. My client list reads like a who’s who of local attorneys. (See below) I tell you this only because I know there are a lot of sales people that are constantly looking for your time. You can read more about me and what I do by visiting my company’s website at www.annoyingdouchebag.com
Here is my proposal to you. From looking at your current website I see you focus on varies aspects of Criminal Defense and Business Litigation. I can show you exactly what you will need to do online to get more and better qualified business. Here are just a few of the clients that I work with in your area:
This is not some sales pitch; in fact I have no desire to sell you anything that won’t deliver you a measurable, sustainable result.
I have no desire to waste your time or mine. I live right here in the Los Angeles, I grew up here, went to school and work here. I know I can help you and would love the opportunity to discuss some options with you.
I will be in your building meeting with clients tomorrow and will plan on stopping by to schedule an appointment on your calendar. If tomorrow is not a good time for me to stop in, please feel free to email me back or have your assistant call me to schedule 30 minutes for us to meet.
Mr. Annoying Twat
Do you think Mr. Annoying Twat could not get more annoying than that?
Today — less than 24 hours after he sent that email — Mr. Annoying Twat showed up at our building, tried to come up to our floor, and asked security to call us and ask us to let him up so he could deliver some materials.
I debated telling building security that he was had a restraining order against him and that he was a deranged maniac known for hiding destructive devices in his bodily cavities.
As with spam, people do this sort of thing because somewhere, somehow, a sucker responds to it, making it profitable.
Who the hell responds to marketing tactics like this?
We'll have our site up, designed by low-key and competent professionals, in due course. Until then, we'll rely on word-of-mouth and the results of working hard and treating clients well. We won't cave to the OMG YOU MUST MARKET HARD ON THE INTERNET hype. These people make late-night-infomercials seem dignified.
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