Raise the Bar with These Advertising Ideas

09.09.2017 Cox Media

Raise the Bar with These Advertising Ideas

Strategic Advertising Options for Attorneys and Legal Service Providers

When it comes to advertising, you’d think attorneys would have it made. After all, you’re experts in the power of persuasion, right? Perhaps that’s why advertising legal services have long been regulated and restricted.

In 19th-century England, lawyers viewed themselves as public servants, and avoided anything that smacked of commercialism. The same approach carried over to America, where bar associations in most states prohibited attorneys from advertising until the late 1970’s.1 Not until the 1977 case Bates v. Arizona did the Supreme Court rule that attorneys’ right to free speech and consumers’ right to free access of information trumped the state bar associations’ concerns about decorum.

As restrictions on marketing and advertising legal services eased, available advertising options exploded and consumers were presented with a plethora of legal service offerings. But in today’s competitive marketplace, “hit or miss” advertising is not a viable option. Depending on the type of law you practice, you may need your advertisements to be in front of people the moment they need a lawyer (after getting arrested, injured or sued) or you may need to provide education to convince people they should use your services (e.g., divorce, estate planning, or small business issues). Coupled with the fact that today’s consumers’ time and attention are fragmented among multiple screens — from TVs and computers to smartphones and tablets — your law practice has a dizzying array of decisions to make when putting together a marketing plan.

How can you reach your ideal prospects everywhere they are — and when they need you? Try this three-pronged strategy:


With almost three-quarters of legal consumers searching for legal services online, a combination of display and video ads can effectively get their attention and drive them to your practice.2 By targeting viewers based on their location, search history and prior online behaviors, you can engage local consumers in your area and build awareness of your practice’s legal areas of expertise. For example, if a prospect has searched for keywords like “divorce attorney” or “estate planning,” or clicked on a competitor’s site, your ads can be served before any video they watch (even the latest greatest cat videos) as they continue to surf the internet.

To make the most of your marketing and advertising budget, Cox Media can produce a video that you can use in several ways. For example, a 30-second television ad can be repurposed for a 15-to-30-second online video ad. You can also use short clips on social media, and longer edited versions on your website and YouTube. With so many uses for one professional video shoot, you’ll get a great ROI on your marketing investment. See these examples of local law firm video ads.


If you want your legal practice to be top-of-mind with consumers, so that they search for your name, rather than the legal services that both you and your competition offer, you can’t go wrong with TV advertising. More than 75% of U.S. adults watch broadcast and cable TV every day,3 making it still one of the most popular mediums around.

TV lets you target viewers by geographic location, demographics and more, and the experts at Cox Media can help you find the channels, programming and dayparts that reach your ideal clients. For example, if you specialize in wills, estates and trusts, advertise on programs with Baby Boomer audiences. If you defend drivers accused of DUIs or DWIs, advertise on programs watched by 21- to 34-year-olds, the audience that tends to have the highest share of those offenses.4

Since 87% of consumers “second screen,” or use another device while watching television, pairing TV advertising with online ads boosts the effectiveness of both.5 Create television ads that drive customers to your website to learn more about your services.


When advertising, you want your ads to reach the most likely people to use your service, like those in your local area. Since over 80% of U.S. attorneys get most of their clients from within a 10-mile radius of their office,6 targeting nearby consumers is a smart move. You’ve got a 24/7 way to reach them, too: Did you know 85% of smartphone owners keep their phone within reach at all times?7

Mobile advertising lets you target prospects with amazing precision. Use “geofencing” to limit ads geographically so they only display to consumers in a defined area, or “geotargeting” to narrow down your potential audience even further by mixing location and demographics. For example, a personal injury attorney could “geo-fence” local hospitals. Better yet, “geo-conquesting” delivers ads to prospects who visit or get close to your competitors’ locations. Imagine being able to reach out to a prospect at your competition’s office with an offer for a free consultation! This is just one of many ways you can target your competitor’s potential clients.


By using the right combination of online, television and mobile advertising, you can reach prospects wherever they are and make the case that your practice is the right choice for all their legal needs. Even if your competitors are spending a fortune on paid search and SEO services to outrank you in Google, the three advertising methods we’ve outlined here are a great way to level the playing field and get your name in front of future clients.

To speak with a legal service advertising specialist who understands your business and the dynamics of your local area, contact Cox Media at 1-855-755-2691. To learn more about targeting, reaching and engaging the audiences for your legal services — including the role  online reviews play in consumers’ choosing legal services — click here.


1Socially Awkward, “History of Attorney Advertising.”

2FindLaw.com, “Things to Know About the Legal Consumer In 2017,” December 7, 2016.

3Television Bureau of Advertising, “Media Comparisons 2016.”

4Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Impaired Driving: Get the Facts,” retrieved on May 25, 2017.

6Laws.com, “Community Based Online Marketing for Lawyers: 7 Tips,” March 21, 2016.

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