Before we discuss radio advertising, we need to cover a foundational piece of marketing that will change the way you approach any kind of marketing, including buying spots on the radio...

"Direct Response marketing" is the best method of tracking your marketing dollars. Direct response advertising, by definition, prompts a potential client to directly reply to the exact piece of marketing material you created. Here are some examples of response mechanisms: completing a form and sending it in; calling a special 1-800 number; or sending a text message to a certain number. Getting a direct response from a specific advertisement lets you track how clients are finding you. This sort of data is useful when experimenting with new legal marketing methods and deciding what works and what doesn't. Combined with a client database, you should be able to easily track where new leads come from and if they turn into actual clients.

A Radio Commercial Is Direct Response

The beautiful thing about a radio commercial is that it's easily repeated, easily branded, and easily tracked. For smart tracking of your lawyer advertising make sure that each of your radio spots includes a unique way to contact you (a unique Web page or 1-800 number are the two easiest). This way, you can tell immediately whether or not your radio commercial is effective at bringing in new clients.

One of the biggest factors in determining if an advertising method is appropriate for your firm (or not) is by tracking the responses. You want to weigh the amount of money you're spending on the advertisement against the fees you get from clients that come in. Remember that in many practice areas it may take a while for those cases to play out, so you need may need to track the effectiveness of the ad over months or even years.

Successful Lawyer Advertising with a Radio Commercial

Your radio commercial should have the same purpose as most of your other first contact lawyer advertising: getting your information in the clients' hands. Your radio commercial needs to clearly explain who and what you are and how your listeners can learn more. Offer them your book, direct them to your website full of information, let them know you are the guru of legal knowledge and you're willing to share it with them.

Whether you choose to voice the radio commercial yourself, hire the familiar voice of a local DJ, or have another professional voice talent do the talking is completely up to you. Many listeners identify well with the sound of their local DJs, but "live read" lawyer advertising often comes off sounding fake and scripted (because it is scripted, of course!). However, some radio hosts are extremely effective at live reads, so listen to the radio station on which you want to advertise to judge for yourself whether or not the host would sound right reading your ad live.

There's a lot more to determine if a radio commercial will be a beneficial form of lawyer advertising for your firm. The next part of the article talks about how to best strategize when you'll be airing your ads.

Harmony Tenney, a direct response radio advertising consultant for lawyers, has shared with Great Legal Marketing a lot of insight on effective radio advertising for lawyers. She's been the success story for many small business owners growing their clientele through radio advertising. Below are some of the tips and advice that members of Great Legal Marketing has used in their own radio advertising campaigns.

Trial and Error: The Timing of a Radio Commercial

There are 5 major time blocks in radio station land: 

  • Morning Drive
  • Midday
  • Afternoon Drive
  • Evening
  • Overnight

When building your radio commercial schedule you need to ask yourself, when would my ideal client be listening to the radio? The answer isn't always during their commute. You should already be looking into the habits of your ideal client when working on your other lawyer advertising methods, so make sure to include radio usage in those profiles.

Because a radio commercial is nothing more than audio, you need to rely on repetition to help get your message to sink in. Not just repetition in the actual radio commercial audio, but also of the entire ad itself. Your same radio commercial should be heard on air at least twice per day during your most popular time block.

Radio Commercial Context

You can't just stick your radio commercial on any station and expect clients to come knocking at your door. That kind of lawyer advertising doesn't work in any type of media. You wouldn't put your personal injury law firm's website in a directory for general contractors, would you?

The context in which your radio commercial is heard is important in reaching your ideal clients. Do they listen to hard rock? The easy-listening station? Or is talk radio the place you think most of them tune in? Knowing which sort of station your radio commercial will be most effective on is one of the first things you should consider when building this part of your lawyer advertising campaign.

The type of programming surrounding your ad time is also important to getting your message out. If the station has a popular segment or call-in show, try to ride the coattails of that interest. With more people listening, there's a good chance your ideal clients are also paying attention.

Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.