Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is the Current Economy Creating More "TV" Lawyers?

Everyone has seen the injury lawyers on TV. Everywhere, and for many of us the ads from injury lawyers are inescapable.

I travel extensively throughout the south, and in the past 4-8 months, and especially the last two months, I have seen lawyers advertising in areas other than personal injury.

I am now seeing on TV and hearing on radio ads for bankruptcy lawyers with increasing regularity. This week alone, three different firms' ads on the radio alone. Divorce lawyers, criminal law attorneys, even in Florida a lawyer advertising that he can help you stop or workout a foreclosure.

I see billboards for many of these new entrants in the media markets. Some billboards are filled with nonsense, including a roster - in small print no less - of ALL of the types of work a firm does.

For those jumping into advertising, time and again I see the same mistakes. Lawyers simply fail in the basics, such as mentioning the law firm number enough times. Worse, there is a difficult to recall number (a big pet peeve of mine on radio ads). In one ad, the attorney used (592)406-2758. It was a mess, and only repeated twice.

My suggestions:

1.If you choose to advertise, get a toll free or local number, and make sure each is easy to remember. 866 is ok; perhaps use a vanity number, like my friend's use of 888-4ACCUTANE.

2.If you mention a .com in any ad, make it easy. I also heard something like, stopforeclosuresnowlaw.net. Can anyone spell that, much less remember it?
Buy a .com that is the same as your number, so that the ad can have a tag that says, "our website's the same as our number." Bill Harrell in Jacksonvile, FL goes this route, and it is memorable.

3.Don't give me 60 seconds of crap, a lecture filled with jargon. Without music. Radio ads should max out at 30 seconds, and 15 seconds works just as well. I actually heard an ad start with something like, "At the firm of Big and Pompous, we are skilled in the following areas ... ." Really? "In the following areas?" I don't know anyone other than lawyers who talks like that.

4. Speak english. When I spoke with a lawyer from the NE asking for help with an ad, the lawyer and I fought over, and I kid you not, her insistence to say in an ad, "If you took {drug here} and have any of the following sequelae ... " Use terms like "we can help." Don't use, call now for a free consultation, as if using those words separates you from the pack. They don't. I know.

5. Billboards- 1 billboard may make you feel better, but in a city like Atlanta, you might as well just throw your money in the trash. I see one firm's billboard on the way to the airport. It's been there for a couple of years, and trees' leaves partially obscure it in the spring and summer. I asked the lawyer if it worked, and he said, "not really." The number? You got it, hard to recall.

My best suggestion - use an agency to develop a marketing. Alas, the lawyers who could benefit most from suggestions like there probably won't take the time to scan the internet for posts like these. You know the lawyers ... either so worried about their current approach or so arrogant about what 'works' that they won't take the time to perform due diligence.