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Attorney Tv Ads: Worth The Investment?

By Author: Stam Bett
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TV advertising can be a tricky business, especially for the legal profession. For the longest time, attorney TV ads – or advertising of any kind, really – have been a controversial subject among many lawyers, the argument being that reaching out to potential clients on any level constitutes “ambulance chasing” of the basest variety. Another consideration is the expense: TV advertising is not just the most powerful advertising medium, but also the most popular, and high demand for airtime means high prices for it as well. And there’s no guarantee you’ll get any return at all on your investment in attorney TV ads, either, let alone the results you want. All this uncertainty prompts a simple question: is it even worth it to invest in attorney TV ads anymore?

Attorney TV ads are a little like firewalking. Crossing a pit of hot coals seems impossible, but when people talk about it, it’s almost always about how someone pulled it off regardless, and hardly ever about how they roasted their feet in the attempt. Certainly there are indeed failures – just look at all the terrible lawyer ads making the rounds on YouTube – but even with all the risks, there are still lawyers who have achieved success through TV advertising, and their ads can be seen on the airwaves even now.

Of course, that’s not to say that TV advertising is a silver bullet. First of all, it works best for practices whose target demographic is the general public, such as personal injury, bankruptcy, divorce, social security disability, workers’ comp, mass torts, and immigration law. Law firms like these stand to benefit the most from TV advertising because their prospective clients comprise the majority of TV viewers. Practices which cater only to a limited demographic can’t take full advantage of the medium’s reach: for such practices, TV advertising is a waste of time and money which could be better spent on forms of advertising which better suit them.

Another thing to think about is what works best in TV advertising. For many kinds of business, anything goes with TV advertising: it’s a no-holds-barred battle for the viewers’ attention, and the flashiest, funniest, or most outrageous commercial wins. Not so with legal advertising: people don’t care for having their potentially life-changing legal issues trivialized or made fun of, and if they see you trying to sell your legal services with jingles, jokes, or silly skits, they’ll take their cases elsewhere. A better option is to educate your audience about the issues you can help them with – violations of their legal rights, injuries sustained from defective products, and so forth. Many of your potential clients may not even realize they’re facing such issues, and even if they do, they may not know what recourse they have. Be sure to show up in your ad in person instead of hiring an actor: it’s not just a matter of cutting costs, but also of establishing a rapport with your audience.

One last consideration is the cost of TV advertising. As mentioned before, TV advertising is a costly investment, but there are ways to mitigate the impact on your budget. The best way to save money on your advertising is to take advantage of remnant airtime – unsold airtime that stations have marked down at a steep discount to ensure it sells before it expires. To make sure that you actually get the results you’re paying for, only buy airtime on a CPM (cost per thousand) basis: this will ensure that the price you pay reflects the number of viewers who will see your ad. Also be prepared to air your ad on a long-term basis: TV advertising isn’t a one-off thing, and the longer you air your ad for, the more clients it will bring in. Don’t assume you can just stop when you have the results you want, either: if you don’t keep up your advertising, your competition can swoop in and take your place in the public consciousness uncontested.

As it turns out, our simple question has a simple answer: yes, attorney TV ads are worth the investment – if you put the time and effort into executing them properly. A good way to save yourself some hassle in this regard is to hire an advertising agency that specializes in legal marketing, especially one that’s affiliated with major legal associations: the knowledge and expertise they can provide will help you avoid costly mistakes and get the absolute most out of your legal advertising.

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