How much is your law firm paying for television ad space? How much time do you spend negotiating those rates? Buying television airtime without negotiating the rate is like buying a new car for the sticker price: it’s what the seller would love for you to do, but it’s not the smart move when you’re on a limited marketing budget.
If you’re worried that your law firm isn’t getting the most from its television advertising campaign, it may be time to take a good, hard, analytical look at what you’re buying, when you’re buying it, and why.
4 Things to Know Before You Start
1. Don’t buy ad time based on a station’s ratings.
Every TV station is going to claim they have the largest, most loyal audience, and they’re going to try to sell you ad time based on this loyalty. But it’s not the biggest audience you need: it’s the right audience—the one that’s actually going to respond to your ad.
The TV station wants to sell you access to viewers, but the truth is that a huge set of viewers isn’t a good enough investment for attorneys who are seeking clients. Instead, what you need to invest your ad budget is in access to motivated, qualified prospects who are interested in what you have to say.
2. Stay out of primetime.
It used to be that purchasing primetime television spots guaranteed you the most viewers every day. The internet has changed all that…except for the price they still charge for those primetime slots! The hefty price tag on primetime television ad space makes it unlikely that your law firm will be able to justify those costs for minimal qualified leads.
For a mid-sized law firm in particular, a primetime television ad is never going to generate enough leads to justify its cost. We’ve measured it: the cost per lead generated for the law firm is astronomical. You know better than to pick fights you can’t win, so stay out of primetime!
3. Production value goes a long way.
Having two well-made commercials will have a stronger effect on your leads generated than five poorly thought-out, cheap spots. We’ve measured this too, and the results were amazing: cheap spots are expensive!
With television, you should share your message in the clearest, simplest manner. Make a singular point: one reason for the client prospect to respond by calling your firm.
4. Testimonials are your best bet.
Today’s audiences want a proven track record of success. Simply put, the leads you’re looking for aren’t interested in special offers or flashy ads. This is why you should secure client testimonials to generate more leads. They work because they’re real and they’re believable.
Get the Timing Right…
…On the Clock
If you’ve thought about advertising your law firm on television, have you ever wondered why law firm commercials seem to monopolize local, mid-day programs? And on that note, why do those same ads seem to dry up after 5:00 PM?
During the daytime, you get more immediacy because prospective clients are calling your office during business hours. This allows you to capture leads immediately, rather than relying on a prospect getting an automated response, losing interest, and calling another firm.
Commercials for services often trigger immediate action from their lead prospects. In other words, when someone sees a commercial for a law firm that’s relevant for their situation—such as an ad for a personal injury firm or a Social Security disability attorney—they are much more likely to pick up the phone and call within the hour. That’s why you should air your law firm’s commercials during business hours: so that your team will be in the office to pick up the phone and make the connection with the prospect.
…On the Calendar
For the best results, consider running ads during the hottest and coldest times of the year. When people are inside taking shelter from the weather, they’re captive audiences—making them perfect targets for seeing your ads.
However, if you’re purchasing during winter and summer, don’t buy holiday slots. A lot of people think vacation days during holidays are an opportunity to have a much larger audience in front of the TV…but in reality, the opposite is true. We’ve found that holiday spots often perform badly—and sometimes, they don’t get any response at all. Stay away from holiday ads and save your money for a day that will actually pay off.
Take Ratings into Your Own Hands
You need a way to judge how an ad is doing and how much a station’s timeslot and audience is truly worth to you. The station’s ratings are extremely general: they may test an audience size during a certain time, but they rarely test that audience’s demographic—and they never test feedback from a specific ad.
If you were a supermarket selling thousands of different products, you might have some use for these ratings…but you’re a law firm, selling only yourself. You need to know for certain that your ads are finding an audience that’s responsive.
Instead of using the TV station’s ratings, create your own rating system to measure the success of every ad you run, every channel you air on, and every time slot you use. This is the only way to know for sure whether your investment is paying off. TV commercial pricing shouldn’t be about how much the stations think your time is worth—it should be about how much those times are actually worth to you in terms of getting new leads and new clients.
BONUS: 3 Tips for Added Value
1. Buy in bulk.
TV ads sell like almost anything else: the more you buy, the cheaper it gets. If you find a station that works for you, buy ads in bulk. Just like with paper towels or batteries, you get a better deal if you agree to buy more.
2. Pursue sponsorships.
Once you find a station and a program that seems to pay off for you, negotiate for added value through a sponsorship. You might buy enough ad space during a certain half-hour that the station announces you as the closed-captioning sponsor for that program. Now, not only are you advertising through the spots you purchased, but you’re getting extra coverage as your firm is announced as a sponsor. Definitely more bang for your buck!
3. Polish your website.
Your law firm’s television ads are only as efficient as your website’s ability to convert those leads into clients. Knowing your leads’ path to you is half the battle—and most of the time, your firm’s website is going to be a deciding factor in their decision to hire you. In other words? The most eloquent, powerful commercial on the air won’t matter if you don’t have the web presence to back it up.
Why Choose Kirkpatrick Creative?
The television advertising world is based on relationships, with ad rates going up or down depending on your relationship with the station. That’s why you need an experienced advertising agency that has been in the industry for decades and knows their way around local TV stations.
Not only does Kirkpatrick Creative have those relationships, but we take the guesswork out of advertising, too. Our media purchasing for our clients is based on statistics, and our lead-production analysis allows us to test ads across timeslots, demographics, and more.
Don’t spend your limited marketing budget on cheap-looking ads at run times that don’t do anything for you. It’s time to get specific with your analysis and buy ad space that pays off with clients and cases. At Kirkpatrick Creative, we take an engineered approach to law firm advertising: we utilize deeply insightful analytics on what yields prospect response…and what doesn’t. It’s what we like to call advertising engineered to work.
If you’re ready to get a better handle on your law firm’s TV advertising budget, contact Kirkpatrick Creative today. Our experienced team will bring an insightful, analytical, measured approach to your law firm’s advertising.