Billboard Marketing for Law Firms… Key Considerations
There are a few big-picture questions that should be answered before investing in billboards to market your law practice. They involve your firm’s overall dollar allocation between branding and direct lead generation campaigns, whether you’re in a rural or metro area, and the types of cases you handle.
However, once you do decide to buy billboard space, there are some very specific steps that must be taken to ensure a strong ROI. The most important ones are below:
- Don’t buy just one board. Billboards fall on the branding side of the marketing strategy spectrum, which means they need repetition to build familiarity and produce returns. The only exception would be a very strategic location. For example, if you do DUI defense, having a billboard outside the city’s impound lot would be a great opportunity.
- Don’t trust the photos sent by the vendor. They are often outdated, taken at misleading angles, and photoshopped. Always visit a potential location in person. Look for obstructions such as trees, telephone poles or power lines. Also pay attention to board condition and, if illuminated, whether the lights are working prior to your contract.
- Consider changes in traffic volume. These could be due to rush hour, road construction, or seasonal destinations. For example, a billboard on a road to a lake’s boat ramp may be a great investment in the summer and a loser in the winter.
- Avoid billboards where it’s difficult for a driver to look away from the roadway. For example, if your billboard is on the left side of a very dangerous curve, it’s safe to assume most drivers will be paying attention to the road and not your marketing.
- Understand the value of illumination. Billboards that are lit at night can have substantially more value than ones that are not.
- Sunshine can matter. There are some boards that are washed-out by sunlight at the worst times… for example rush hour. This is rare, but a consideration if you are paying big dollars to capture the eyes of daily commuters.
- Be mindful of trivisions. These are boards that flip and typically show three advertisers in 8-10 second intervals. They are not wind-friendly and the slats of some boards with this functionality are frequently out of alignment.
- Make the billboard vendor handle everything necessary to get the marketing up and running, including vinyl production and installation. When something goes wrong (i.e. damage to a vinyl due to improper installation), vendors like to blame others involved in the process. By keeping everything together, you eliminate their ability to push the blame for a mishap.
- Don’t stay on one board too long. Unless it’s a fantastic location, look to capture eyes in different parts of your geographic target. I typically recommend 4-6 month contracts.
Billboards can be an effective way to market a law practice. But like any investment, you need to know exactly what you’re getting and what your expectation is at the outset.