I just read about a Detroit lawyer who is using billboards to drive business for her personal injury law firm. That article referenced this Free Press article on the same subject. However, do these advertising methods work? 

I have reviewed advertising and marketing campaigns for small law firms both online and offline. In most cases, it’s simply impossible to tell whether or not the ad is producing return on investment. This is largely because there are no tracking mechanisms in place to measure the effectiveness of the ad campaign.

In situations where tracking mechanisms are implemented, more often than not, the advertising is extremely inefficient, generating very few inquiries and even fewer viable clients.

On the other hand, especially for personal injury practices, one or two large victories can pay for an advertisement for a very long time. However, injury cases can be very expensive to pursue, and take a very long time to conclude, eating sharply into margins.

If you are going to give billboard advertising a shot, here are some things to consider:

  • Dedicated Tracking Numbers
  • – if you’re purpose is direct response, use a dedicated tracking number. That way, you can get an actual count of how many people called you firm directly from the billboard ad. You may also want to consider using a dedicated domain and email address too.

  • Reputation
  • – billboards are still frowned upon by many in the profession. Is it the medium? Is the implementation? My guess is that it’s a little of both. Think about what impact your billboard may have on your professional reputation among other lawyers.

  • Ethics
  • – of course you should also be sure that your billboard ad, like your other ads, complies with your state’s rules of professional responsibility.

Billboard advertising is traditional interruption advertising. To me, while billboards may have a place in terms of building brand recognition, I am skeptical of their ability to attract direct response business prospects. However, I must admit that I haven’t recently looked at Concrete performance numbers from a legal billboard ad campaign. My guess would be that they’re not very good.

Have you run a billboard ad for your law firm? Did you track its performance? Did it have any impact on your reputation that you could tell? What do you generally think about billboard advertising for lawyers?


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