Should Law Firms Advertise on Radio?
As the digital world shifts and expands, should law firms advertise on radio?
It’s no secret that modern consumers favor digital over traditional forms of media.
For the most part, smartphones and televisions have taken the place of radios and newspapers in the home. Personal digital media consumption rates have grown considerably in recent years, further aided by pandemic-related lockdowns. Digital ad spend in the U.S. is expected to surpass $300 billion by 2025 and continue to grow at a rate of 16% each year.
So why should law firms even consider using radio to advertise?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using radio to advertise law firms’ services. From there we will discuss how you can design a radio ad campaign of your own (should you choose to do so).
How Does Your Law Firm Benefit From Radio?
A major advantage of radio advertising is that it delivers a message in a timely and personal manner. This is especially useful for law firms.
Television ads and online ads can be persuasive, informative, and a good fit for your firm, but they can also lack personality. Radio ads are the opposite. Firms win listeners’ trust and attention by sharing their message in real time using their own voice. Radio also gives firms the chance to display their personalities in a conversational format. Since law firms are actively competing to attract clients, this distinction from others offers a major advantage.
Radio advertising is also notably inexpensive depending on the station and day-part your firm selects. Ads are pricier for select stations during prime times, but strategic decision-making can greatly lower expected advertising expenses. Paired with the minimal effort required to craft the radio message itself, the cost of a radio advertisement can prove more than worthwhile.
If you format your ad correctly, engagement and success are easy to track. Radio ads fall under the category of direct-response advertisements, meaning they engage listeners to perform a specific action. For example, a law firm radio advertisement may encourage listeners to visit your website using a radio ad-specific URL. You can then monitor the number of visits your site receives using that URL.
Despite digital marketing trends, radio still reaches an incredibly broad audience. In recent reports by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), radio reaches roughly 84% of the U.S. adult population, primarily those between the ages of 35 and 64. With such a large selection of listeners, your law firm is guaranteed to find its target audience given the right station and right time.
Why Radio May Be the Wrong Place for Law Firms to Advertise
With any investment there is risk, and a good rule of thumb is to treat radio ads like investments your firm makes. Whether your law firm is deciding to use radio advertising in a larger marketing campaign or on its own, you should be aware of the potential drawbacks.
Cost and reputation are key factors for law firms to watch.
As mentioned earlier, radio ads can be a low-cost alternative, especially compared to pricey television ads or direct mail. However, in/at certain areas and times, your ad spend may surpass your ideal budget. For example, the average cost to run a 30-second ad in the Richmond, Virginia region is $58. Not a huge deal, right? Now consider a busier area. For a law firm serving the New York City, New York area, this price can jump to $1,405 for one 30-second radio ad. In eithersituation you should conduct some cost-benefit analysis, but your firm’s location alone may rule out radio advertising.
Also of note is the image you want to cultivate of your law firm. Radio advertisements are a great method of conveying your firm’s personality, but you need to be mindfulof what listeners’ perceptions will be. A general piece of advice for law firm radio advertising is to stay away from humor. (That is not to say, however, that there isn’t a place for humor in legal marketing.) There are plenty of other avenues in which you can incorporate comic relief…but with radio ads, you should aim to be clear and to the point. If your preferred marketing style is less conventional, video advertising may be more suitable due to its longer duration time and broader range of expression. Stay true to your firm’s culture by using marketing methods that work for–not against–you.
How Law Firms Should Do Radio Ad Campaigns
If you do choose to advertise on radio, there are steps you must follow to achieve the best results:
#1: Clearly Communicate Who You Are and What You Do
This step may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many radio ads fail to actually express the firm/company’s identity and purpose. Although attracting listeners’ attention is vital, your primary goal isn’t to entertain–it’s to inform. Don’t forget to clearly state the name of your firm and set time aside to briefly share what you do. At the same time, don’t dwell too long on the topic of who you are–you need enough time to incorporate a central message and ultimate call to action.
#2: Fine Tune Your Message
With just 30 seconds or less, you’ll need to plan and prepare well ahead of your ad time. As mentioned earlier, try to stay away from humor. Focusing your message and remaining as concise as possible will help. The ads that relate to listeners or share a firm’s distinctive features make the greatest impressions.
#3: Use the Right Voice
In both a literal and figurative sense, you need to convey your ad’s message using the best voice. Oftentimes radio stations will allow you to choose between reading the ad yourself or hiring the host/DJ to read the script. My advice is to deliver the radio ad yourself for true authenticity. Your firm comes off as more trustworthy when listeners can hear the message straight from the source.
I also suggest that you write the script for the ad yourself. You know more about your firm than anyone else, and this allows you to break past surface level descriptions. Giving a bland message in a bland tone will deter listeners, and they will tune you out.
#4: Choose the Right Station
A major advantage of radio advertising is the nature of its distribution. Your law firm likely serves clients from one general region, and your competitors probably compete for clients in that same area. Radio ads primarily target listeners from a specific region, which will boost the attractiveness of a local, accessible firm such as yours.
Beyond selecting a radio station in your area, you should consider the demographics of your clientele and advertise on stations relevant to their interests. For example, if your firm handles estate planning, perhaps a station playing classical and older music would best reach your target audience. Purchasing advertising space on multiple stations is ideal, but keep in mind that this becomes costly in certain locations.
#5: Select the Right Time
The timing of your radio ad is just as important as the station(s) you advertise on. Radio stations divide the day into “day-parts” or “drive times”. The standard drive times are indicated in the chart below.
You should select which day-parts you’d like to advertise during similarly to how you chose which stations to advertise on. The habits of your ideal client should guide this decision. For instance, ads by DUI or divorce attorneys may be most successful during the evening and late night drive times. The reason? Their typical clients may be younger people or shift workers who don’t follow an average 9-5 job. Don’t only follow stereotypes, though. You may find better success by choosing unusual times, though the midday drive time is generally the safest and most affordable option.
#6: Incorporate a Call to Action
Formatting your radio ad to include a call to action is a must in order to increase engagement and measure results. Otherwise, listeners may simply hear your firm’s ad then promptly forget it. Encouraging listeners to contact you through a phone number or email address provided is a simple way to win conversions and grow your firm. You can also direct people to look up your website for more information. Regardless of which method(s) you choose, try to provide contact information unique to the ad itself. This will help you identify the radio ad as a source of engagement.
#7 (optional): Incentivize Listeners
This last step is certainly not required, but it may get your theoretical foot in the doors of potential clients. You can offer a small reward like a booklet or free CD for completing a simple action, and in return participants will gain greater exposure to your firm. Even if you manage to convert just a few listeners into new clients, your efforts and expenses will be worthwhile.
Whether or not your law firm chooses to advertise on radio, there are plenty of lessons learned from radio advertising methodology. The brief duration of a radio ad shows how your message, however short, can be incredibly impactful when crafted carefully. Station and ad time selection show that analyzing client demographics is crucial. And intuitively, providing simple calls to action and incentives in your marketing campaign can generate considerable payoffs for your firm. If running a radio ad seems right for your firm, follow these steps and considerations for the best results.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.