Put Down the Security Blanket, Linus — Letting Go of Print Advertising
It may seem hard to believe, but it wasn't that long ago that print advertising was a questionable area for attorneys. But once the U.S. Supreme Court gave the green light to attorney advertising in 1977 (in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona), it launched thousands of ads from attorneys "willing to fight for you!"
Like Linus perpetually clutching his security blanket, some attorneys have grabbed on to print advertising and don't want to let go. Now, they need to accept that it's time to move away from print to explore more dynamic options.
Don't believe me? Consider that last year, when AT&T sold a majority stake in its Yellow Pages® division to a private equity firm at what MSN Money called "a depressed valuation." The article cited increasing online competition from both Yelp and Google.
And everyone knows newspapers are struggling, too. When The New York Times recently announced it was selling The Boston Globe, it followed a nearly 50 percent drop in a decade for the Beantown paper's daily circulation.
If all of your advertising is print-based, your client base and potential client base is dwindling all the time. So how do you make the change?
- Don't reinvent the wheel. Look at your other marketing efforts, evaluate how successful those have been and consider ways to beef them up. If you have an average website, make it a great one geared towards mobile devices and search engine optimization.
- Look at what others are doing. You should always be evaluating what other law firms are doing, but particularly focus now on their advertising methods and styles. This includes firms you compete with directly, as well as those you admire.
- Talk to an expert. Consider investing resources with people who market and develop websites for a living, not as a side job.
- Make a shift, not an abrupt change. You don't have to drop all print ads immediately; start out slowly. You may need to take out a smaller ad or advertise less frequently, but that may free up resources so that you can explore media options.
No matter which approach your firm takes, be sure you are in compliance with all of your state bar association rules and remain up to date with ethics rulings and opinions.
Want to know how you can leave print advertising behind for options that offer better ROI for your firm? Contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.
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