Television Ads Remain Best Choice for Law Firm

Sep 23, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Our work nationally with law firms has helped us construct successful television and Internet metrics to ensure best results.
Ken Hardison, principal in North Carolina’s Hardison & Associates law firm, as well as the founder of Lawyer Inner Circle, a national legal think tank, agreed to answer questions about his own legal television and Internet best practices.
TelevisionWeek: Why is television a smart choice for marketing legal services?
Ken Hardison: Since I began marketing my law practice 10 years ago, I have kept meticulous statistics on where potential clients have heard about our firm. I ask every caller two questions. The first is, “Where did you hear about us?” and the second is, “What were you looking at when you dialed our phone number?” The reason for the second question is to prove a point to the Yellow Pages representatives who try to argue that, even though the new callers were saying TV as the source for calling us, they still used the Yellow Pages to look up the telephone number they called. What I found was that fewer than 2 percent of the callers who said they actually heard about us on TV actually used the Yellow Pages or phone book to locate our telephone number. And actually, 98 percent wrote the number down from the actual TV commercial they saw or remembered our vanity number, 1-800-LAWYER-NC. Our research has shown that the cost per lead and cost per case is significantly lower for TV than it is for any other advertising medium (radio, Yellow Pages, newspaper or other print media).
Another reason TV is our best medium is that you can zero in on the demographic you want to reach by using Qualitap and other tools to pick the TV shows that your demographic watches the most. It is like throwing darts at a dartboard and hitting the bull’s-eye each and every time.
TVWeek: Has television advertising helped create a competitive advantage for Hardison & Associates?
Mr. Hardison: Without a doubt, yes. We have branded our name to such a degree that I cannot go hardly to any public place without being recognized. People stop me all the time and tell me they like our commercials because they contain useful information for accident victims.
I can also say television has created a competitive advantage for us. First, by the remarks I get from non-advertising lawyers who say we are taking some of their business. Second, I see that we have an advantage when it comes to referrals from previous clients; because we advertise on TV, all they have to do is mention Hardison & Associates and people instantly recall our firm. Because we have been on TV for so many years and are so well branded, they already feel like they know us.
TVWeek: What are some of the important factors to consider in legal service marketing on television?
Mr. Hardison: The most important point in your advertising and marketing is consistency. You cannot run TV commercials for one or two months and then pull them off the air for two or three months. You will lose your momentum. Set a budget and spend consistently each month. If you are a contingency fee-based practice, as we are, you have to know up front that you will not see an immediate return on your investment. Injury cases take months and sometimes years to conclude. You must have the staying power to last at least 18 months before you see the fruits of your labor. If you require upfront fees such as criminal, bankruptcy or domestic lawyers, you should see an immediate return on your investment.
In addition to consistency in scheduling, programming, etc., you must have consistency and congruency in your message. All of your advertising needs to fit together and project the same message.
Then you must have the right message. You must stand out from the other firms that advertise. Our firm is different. We market to individuals and we know that they are all thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
The key: “What are the benefits of choosing your law firm over the rest of the lawyers?” Our firm positions our “personal attention and client service” because you actually get to talk to a lawyer here the same day. We even have a toll-free client advocate hotline where any client can call and voice concerns over our lack of service. We also instituted a client’s bill of rights. We gave it more than lip service and we use client testimonials to back it up. That is our USP [unique selling point]: client service.
TVWeek: What are the most important points in supporting the campaign?
Mr. Hardison: You must have set up the right infrastructure to handle the flood of calls you are going to get when you go on TV. You can outsource at first to call centers, or you can set up your own call center as we did. You must have the right manpower to respond to the calls expediently, or the viewer will just call the next lawyer they see on TV. You also must be systematized to such a degree that you can handle the influx of business. We use case-management software and run benchmark reports on a monthly basis to ensure quality control.
TVWeek: How does your Web site relate to your television campaign?
Mr. Hardison: The two are much intertwined. Recently we created a one-page landing site, AskLawyer NC.com. We then cut new TV commercials and directed TV viewers to go to the Web site to submit a question for the areas of law we practice. Before we did this, we had a webmaster optimize our Web site.
What we saw after the new landing page was added with the new TV commercials was a 20 percent increase in activity and new cases. We also enhanced our Web site traffic by using 10-second TV spots and directing them to the landing site.
TVWeek: How has television changed your business?
Mr. Hardison: My law firm’s net income has increased five times over what it was 10 years ago. I had been practicing 15 years when I started advertising on TV, and TV advertising exploded my firm to heights I had never dared to dream. What’s really ironic is that before we started TV advertising, I was working approximately 80 hours per week. Now I work 35 hours per week and make five times the income. Go figure.
Clearly legal TV advertising works. Case closed.
Adam Armbruster is a partner with Red Bank, N.J.-based retail and broadcasting consulting firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster & Co. He can be reached at adam@esacompany.com or 941-928-7192.

One Comment

  1. Rich – Thought you would find this interesting!!!
    Jerry Smith

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