Attorney Marketing: Money Is Tight - You Have One Marketing Choice - What Would You Choose?

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As an attorney, you have lots of marketing choices.
Let's go through each one to determine which one has the best return on investment (ROI).
  • Yellow pages
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Classified ads
  • Display ads
  • Billboard
  • Online
Yellow pages: This is the standard-bearer for lawyers for the last 35 + years.
When was the last time you looked in the yellow pages to find a business or service? Do you even have the books anymore? The only people I know who still keep those paperweights are folks who do not have internet access.
The reality is that this method of marketing has become less and less relevant with the proliferation of unlimited information online.
In New York, it would cost about $25,000 for a full page ad for one year in a competitive market like Manhattan, Queens, Bronx or Brooklyn.
Then you might get some freebies thrown in like a small ad in one of the local community books.
Ooh.
That made you feel really special.
When I took out my first full page ad, I didn't realize the implication of being on page 9 of the full page ads and then having 30 pages of other sized lawyers ads right after mine.
The rep conveniently neglected to mention that most readers would never even get beyond page one, two or three, much less page nine to find an attorney.
I realized all too quickly that if a potential client was calling after seeing my ad in the yellow pages, it's because 8 other lawyers rejected them.
You could not jump to the front of the line with your placement because this was done on seniority.
If you wanted two full page ads (known as a double truck) you'd be paying upwards of $35,000 per year.
If you wanted four full page ads, well...
you get the idea.
I finally realized that I didn't want clients who selected their attorney the way they chose a plumber; just pick the biggest ad with the most promises and hope it works.
TV ads: They're expensive.
Very expensive to shoot and distribute.
Are you going to be in the ad? Will you hire paid actors? What type of budget do you have? Is this a campaign or simply a one-time shoot? How many commercials will you create? One? Three? Five? Will you be putting your commercial on with Oprah's show? Maybe Dr.
Phil.
How about Judge Judy? Premium shows get premium prices for advertising.
Will you have it one every day? Every week? Every month? For how many months? Is it just one channel? Multiple channels? Maybe you want the economy budget solution.
You put your TV commercial on during late-night shows on cable TV where there's very little viewership, especially at 3:00 a.
m.
on channel 325.
Creating a TV commercial can cost $5,000-$25,000 and more.
That's just for a 30 second spot.
Distributing that ad can be just as costly, if not more, depending on your frequency and the number of channels where you put that ad.
Here are two questions I always ask every attorney who has created a commercial for TV:
  1. "How do you distinguish yourself from every other lawyer who does the same work you do, just from your 30 second TV commercial?"
  2. "How can a viewer tell the difference between you and your competitor who also has a TV commercial on right before or right after you?"
The answers are always the same.
"Uh, um...
I've been in practice longer and I handle more cases.
" Those are features, not benefits or ways to distinguish yourself.
The problem with TV ads is that they all say the same thing.
You don't have enough time to explain anything.
You don't have time to get them to trust you with what you know.
Radio: You have even less time to connect to a listener compared to a TV viewer.
You must spend half of that time repeating your 1-800 phone number to drill it into their head so they'll remember it 10 minutes after your radio spot is over.
Classified ads: Your message is truncated even worst than Twitter tweets.
How much useful information can you give to a reader with 8 words? "Lawyer.
Experienced.
Will work for you.
Results.
Car wrecks.
Call now.
" Not a very effective way to tell your viewer how you're different and how you solve people's problems.
Display ads: These are only marginally better.
Most of these attorney ads list the ten areas of law you handle.
They tend not to focus on one specific type of law, or how you can help solve your reader's problems.
These ads generally focus on showcasing what the attorney does and trying to scream louder than every other ad in the newspaper.
Again, the frequency with which you keep that ad in the paper will determine familiarity, not necessarily trust.
Billboards: Do you remember the last phone number of an attorney ad you passed on the way to work? Would you call that lawyer just because you see a smiling face, or a wrecked car with a big phone number like 1-800-WE-SUE-THE-PANTS-OFF THEM? Billboards are also expensive.
Can you afford 5 months on a high-traffic billboard? How about 10 billboards all across town? Doing a one-shot deal for one or two months will not generate much of anything.
Online: You can blog.
You can write articles.
You can write FAQ's and answers.
This is all great and mostly free.
You can do the social networking thing; Twitter, Facebook and LinkeIn, and that's a fantastic way to tell the world what you do.
We know that social media is all the rage now.
Guess what's king of all social media? Video.
Video has taken the online world by storm.
Businesses of every type have just realized that video is the best way to communicate with online viewers.
Lawyers are slowly coming around to realize that video is interactive in that a viewer gets to see you, hear you, and begins to trust you before they ever walk into your office.
Video allows you to explain to your viewer how you have helped other people with similar problems.
Creating educational video allows you to show how you are different without telling viewers how you're different.
Video gives you an opportunity to show your expertise in your area of law.
It allows you to hyper-focus a specific topic to a specific potential client looking for the answer to their question.
You can't do any of that with any other form of advertising media available today.
None.
Nada.
Zip.
Nothing else even comes close.
Video works for you day and night.
Anytime someone searches for a particular legal problem there is the likelihood that your video will show up in the search engines.
(There are many tips and traps that you need to know about in order to increase the chances that your video will be found and watched.
) There is no other media that we lawyers can use that allow viewers to search for the information they need and to find us instead of our competitors.
Create a video one time.
Put it online and it can be watched 10 times, 1000 times or 100,000 times, all for the same exact cost of ZERO! Nothing.
Free.
There is no other comparable marketing method anywhere that allows you to do this.
None.
Yes, there are costs to produce the video and distribute it online.
However, once online it works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
All for free.
I will tell you that I have over 350 educational videos to market my New York medical malpractice law firm and creating video is the best return on investment anywhere today.
There is nothing better from an investment standpoint and from a standpoint of deciding which marketing method to use when you have only one choice.
Your goal is to make that phone ring.
Choosing which is the most effective method to do that and using your available resources is key.
Creating attorney video is the only choice if you want the best bang for your buck.
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