friday, 25 august of 2006

Migalhas International

Law Firm Marketing

Small ads attract clients, build trust, show stability

Many lawyers use large ads to attract new clients. But along with large ads often come huge advertising bills. That's fine if the lawyers get the clients they want, but often they don't.

If you're interested in testing print advertising as a way of attracting clients, I urge you to test small ads. They are much less expensive than large ads, so you can test more ads in more places. Also, this allows you to test one publication against another, so you learn where your advertising dollars work the hardest.

In my view, every ad should be a direct response ad, meaning it should produce a direct response from the prospects you want to reach.

Many lawyers offer elective services, meaning the prospect can choose to take action any time he wishes. Common examples are estate planning and business planning. Other lawyers offer crisis services, which means the prospect's call to the lawyer comes after an event, such as a car accident or an arrest, when the client may need help in a hurry.

For either area -- elective or crisis services -- you want the client's call to come to you first, before he calls any other lawyer. One way to help assure that you receive the first call is through the use of small ads.

Small ads are most effective...

1. When they appear in publications that your prospect reads rather than scans.
2. When they appear in publications where the readership is made up of a high percentage of your prospects.
3. When your prospect can easily find them.
4. When your prospect remembers where to look for them.
5. When they are not near ads from competing lawyers.
6. When they seize your prospect's attention.
7. When they describe the services your prospect needs.
8. When they tell your prospect how to reach you.
9. When the offer in the ad is so inviting that your prospect calls you instead of calling any other lawyers.

The first five criteria relate to the publication in which you choose to advertise. The last four criteria relate to the ad's design and content. The more of these criteria your ads meet, the more powerful, productive and profitable your ads will be.

If you decide to test your ad in a publication in which you have not advertised before, always minimize your risk by keeping your commitment as low as possible. If you get the results you want, you can always run more ads. But if you don't get good results, you don't want to be committed to a minimum number of ads.

Here is a list of places you can test small ads. Based on the above criteria and my experience, I think you'll get better results from publications near the top of this list. And, as a general rule, I think you'll be less satisfied with the results as you go down the list.

Small-town subscription newspapers
Church bulletins and newsletters
Highly specialized publications
Suburban subscription newspapers
Fraternal and civic newsletters
Company newsletters
Sports and cultural programs
Big-city newspapers
Small-circulation free (shopper) newspapers
Yellow pages

Lawyers often find that if they keep small ads running in a few key publications, they have no reason to run ads in the yellow pages. In fact, small ads that run repeatedly can effectively pre-empt yellow page advertising. And while the cost of small ads is often lower than yellow page ads, you also don't have the long-term commitment that you have with yellow pages. So if your results start to plummet, you can easily stop the ads, cut your losses and move onto another promotion.

Well-placed small ads can do wonders to attract new clients and increase your visibility. And you could pre-empt yellow-page advertisers at the same time.


© Trey Ryder