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Things To Avoid In Attorney Television AdsBy Expert Author: Stam Bett
There’s no denying the power of attorney television ads to bring in clients. Even as the Internet continues to make inroads into the mainstream and DVR boxes give viewers more control over their viewing experience than ever before, television is still the king of advertising media, and attorney television ads remain the most powerful and cost-effective way for legal practices to advertise their services. An estimated 97% of US households still rely on television for their information and entertainment – no other advertising medium can come close to matching that kind of reach.
However, there are many who find attorney television ads a controversial concept at best. Even over 30 years after the landmark Bates v. State Bar of Arizona case, which upheld attorneys’ right to advertise their services, there are still people who feel that legal advertising of any kind cheapens the profession as a whole –and given the number of terrible attorney television ads making the rounds on YouTube, it’s not hard to see that they might have a point. TV advertising is a double edged sword for legal practices: if done well, it can catapult them to success, but if done poorly, it can ruin them. Here are three things attorneys should avoid when producing TV ads:
1. Pandering to your audience. While advertising is normally a no-holds barred competition for the audience’s attention where the flashiest, funniest, or most outrageous commercial wins, legal advertising demands a more restrained approach. You can’t use things like jingles, jokes, or skits to sell legal services: your potential clients don’t want a clown representing them in court, and if you look like you’re making fun of their potentially life-changing legal issues, they’ll take their cases elsewhere. A better approach is to educate your audience: many potential clients may not realize they have legal recourse for the issues they’re facing, and if they learn what their options are from you, they’ll be likely to seek legal assistance from you as well.
2. Making claims you can’t back up. Lying to potential clients is always a bad idea, no matter what you’re advertising. Clients might be more likely to come to you if you claim to have an unbroken win streak of over a hundred cases, but if someone challenges you to back up such a claim, you can say goodbye to your career as a lawyer: if clients can’t trust your advertising, they can’t trust you to have their best interests at heart. Sometimes sticking to the truth can be harder than it seems: making claims based on a faulty understanding of the law happens all the time, and since laws can vary from state to state, you need to be sure that the claims you make in your commercial are supported by the law in every state you advertise in. A good way to avoid this happening is to get your script approved by the bar association before you start production: better to catch mistakes before shooting than after.
3. Cutting corners in production. TV advertising is an expensive proposition. For individual lawyers and smaller firms, the cost can be outright prohibitive. It only makes sense to look for ways of saving money on TV advertising in these cases, and there are indeed many good options for doing so – but one option you should never consider is skimping on production quality. Your TV ad is how you’re going to present yourself and your practice to the world, or at least the people in the states you’re licensed to practice law in: if those viewers see a grainy, jittery clip that looks like it was shot in someone’s basement using equipment that would’ve been obsolete in the ‘80s, no one’s going to congratulate you for how much money you saved – they’re just going to figure a cut-rate commercial means a cut-rate attorney. You only get one chance to make a first impression: invest enough into production to make it a good one.
Even with all this advice, getting your TV advertising right on the first try can be a daunting prospect. To minimize your chances of making costly mistakes, try hiring an advertising agency with experience in legal marketing, especially one that’s affiliated with major lawyer associations: the knowledge and expertise they can provide will help you get the most out of your TV advertising.
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