Attorneys and Advertising
Oct 08, 2019 11:28 AM EDT
Attorney advertisements sometimes seem to be inescapable. It's easy to find attorneys being advertised on billboards, television commercials, radio ads, and online banner ads, to name just a few. But why is this? What makes advertising so important to lawyers and not to, say, doctors or judges or many other other highly skilled, highly trained professionals out there? And how can a law practice effectively advertise in order to compete in today's legal marketplace? Read on to find out!
Why attorneys need to advertise
Like some other types of professionals, lawyers exist to cover tasks that regular folks just don't have the expertise to handle. In a way, that makes lawyers a bit like doctors - they're tough for the layman to evaluate, because the whole deal is that they're supposed to know these tricky things. Clients and patients know if they win their case or get their ailments cured, but they may not know how tough the situation was or the efficacy of their chosen professional.
And, actually, all of this makes advertising very important! The unfortunate truth is that a lawyer's track record is hard for a typical layperson to evaluate - and, besides, most people aren't paying tons of attention to the track records of local attorneys until the moment that they need one. And this is true of hospitals and doctors, too - which is why, contrary to popular conception, doctors and (especially) hospitals often do advertise (albeit not as much as attorneys, for reasons that we'll explore in a moment). So, of course, do prescription drug companies, accountants, and virtually any other sort of business or professional.
It's true that doctors advertise a bit less than some other sorts of professionals, but that's because so much of their business comes via referrals from other doctors and insurance companies. There are also some legal limits on physician advertising. But, again, some doctors and their practices do advertise. And, in fact, there are some areas of the law where advertising might not be necessary. For instance, a public defender will help clients who are arrested and can't afford attorneys. For prosecutors, work comes along when folks commit crimes - no advertising necessary. But for most areas of law, from divorce and family law to personal injury law, advertising is essential!
How attorneys should advertise
So what does advertising mean in the legal space? It means lots of work, but not necessarily for the attorneys themselves. Attorneys should not be spending half of their time creating ads. Instead, firms should hire someone else to do that. Marketing and advertising are things that are most often outsourced to companies that focus full-time on them.
The work this outsourced team will do isn't limited to billboards and ads. It's vital to consider digital marketing, too. Marketing in the internet age means a whole lot more than just putting up billboards and filming TV spots. Modern marketing specialists need to understand digital marketing, including targeted ads, email newsletters, and - most important of all - SEO.
SEO stands for "search engine optimization," and its the practice of making a given web presence as popular as possible with search engines like Google. When would-be clients Google-search terms like "personal injury lawyer" or "divorce lawyer," law firms in those specialties want to be among the top results, explain experts in attorney marketing at Nettra Media. Digital marketing may also involve buying paid ads at the top of search results for relevant terms.
Again, this doesn't mean that attorneys have to be up on the latest and greatest marketing strategies. Some background knowledge will be useful, but attorneys should always outsource this sort of work to the professionals!