The Best TV Ad Strategy For Your Money Posted on November 12, 2015 by Harlan Schillinger A surgical approach to placing TV ad dollars: Why a creative, flexible strategy pays off in television legal advertising and what to do next. Evaluate your legal advertising spend and pretend you’re a doctor instead of an attorney. Why? Because a precise, surgical approach to placing your law firm television advertising in the right market at the right time will more than pay off in ROI. It used to be that daytime ruled the airwaves. That timeframe best maximized ad spends, because people were tuned in -something that agencies marketing for attorneys could track and demonstrate to clients in ROI-based results. However, times have changed, and daytime TV has become an overcrowded space for law firms. Every ad seems like more of the same Especially in highly competitive markets, too many attorneys are targeting the same audience over and over, leaving little room for law firms to truly distinguish themselves from the competition – and find new audiences or clients! To an inundated viewership, every ad seems like more of the same. See also: Attorney Marketing: Asking For the Kind of Cases You Want The smartest, most calculated approach in the saturated law firm TV advertising market is simply to get more creative with ad placement time slots. For example, Network Affiliates’ skilled media strategists regularly help lawyers test targeted ad campaigns during offpeak hours, such as early in the morning, during the late news and on surprisingly popular Sunday nights. Some of these ad buys even come with free overnights. Are you getting yours? This methodology does require some trial and error, but then again, you’re lawyers – and you’re used to that, right? Often law firms find that their legal marketing message is better received and calls come in quicker as they move away from the daytime advertising swarms and focus on singular calls to action during specific times when a group of viewers is intently tuned into TV. Rules of thumb Here are the three general rules of thumb to follow to ensure you are getting the most out of your television advertising. The first step in choosing an ideal advertising time slot is surveying the competition. If equipped with the right (and expensive!) software, your advertising agency can pull this type of competitive analysis to help you make a smart and strategic plan of action for advertising placement. Not all agencies have access to the tracking tools and applications that show the length of ads, purchased time slots and every single one of your direct competitors’ commercials. However, that kind of big data can lead to big payoffs in terms of ROI. You might think of it like a game of chess: You’ve got to see the whole board to outwit your opponent and get one move ahead. The second part of strategic attorney television advertising placement is asking for what you want. And not just in your creative campaign. Your ad placement professional should know what questions to ask and how to negotiate a better ad buy to get your law firm more for its hard-earned money. We call that value! Television stations have all kinds of negotiating options up their sleeve, and only a few legal ad buyers know how to get the greatest added value for every ad placed. Lastly, to ensure that your targeted creative message, pinpointed time slot and added-value bonuses are actually paying off, you must track your advertising effectiveness – and adjust if necessary. The most successful attorney marketing strategies are nimble, aggressively monitored campaigns. Your agency must be meticulously tracking and openly reporting to your law firm on the success – and even failures – of ad placements. Adjusting and fine-tuning is just part of the process, an activity that your firm should be fully involved in. Now, what is the next step? How to make it really profitable. While lawyers know that a clever and consistent TV ad campaign is a critical foundation for disseminating brand message, let’s not forsake the trees for the forest. There are small changes your law firm can make related to how you handle intake and conversion from your core advertising that might make a bigger difference than throwing more money at your TV presence. The subtleties of intake (how you work with the calls and clients that come in) and conversion (how you monetize those calls) require a specific strategy, but the payoff for this focused effort can be big. For example, we’ve helped a number of firms around the country increase profit by between 2% and 5% just by improving how they answer the phone. Intake idea: record your calls. One of the easiest ways to learn more about how your intake process really works is to start recording your calls. You might be shocked by what you hear! There are a variety of handy technologies available to automatically track phone inquiries, which you can then leverage for future financial gain. If you’re already recording and monitoring calls, take the next step to use the information you’ve gathered to better communicate with the people who do call. Qualifying callers is crucial. Perhaps you’re writing off people too quickly? If your law firm has ever gotten a six-figure settlement from a case two other lawyers turned down, you’ll understand what we mean. Ask your attorneys, what they did differently the time your firm got that lucrative case: • Did they dig a little deeper upfront? • Did they ask more probing questions? • Did they think about ways to solve the client’s problem rather than focusing on “selling” the lawyers to the caller? Once you know the answer to these questions, you can begin to fine-tune your procedures for pre-qualifying and vetting more of those “potential” cases. Consider how your intake specialists talk to callers; whether your firm turns away cases too quickly; how you handle referrals from other attorneys; and how you follow up with people who aren’t a fit today, but could be a profitable case tomorrow. Remember, when it comes to intake and conversion, you’ve got nothing to lose – and only profit to gain – by honing your skills in this department. So what’s holding you back? If you’re ready to move forward but think you need a little assistance, don’t hesitate to call. Network Affiliates can help you take the next step in turning your call center into a profit center.