Radio advertising used to offer a good return on a lawyer’s investment: the demographics were usually somewhat available, allowing for targeted marketing; the radio was widely listened to, making for a broad base of prospective clients; and the cost—at least compared to television commercials—was reasonable. Now, however, is the age of the Internet, and suddenly there is a whole new host of ways for lawyers to advertise: search engine optimization (SEO), legal directories, social networking sites, and YouTube, just to name a few. So the question is: is radio advertising still worth it? Here’s an analysis to help you decide if advertising on the radio is right for your firm.
What methods are your clients using?
If your clients are primarily white collar professionals, then chances are, they surf the web far more often than they listen to the radio, and advertising there would be throwing your money away. On the other hand, if your client demographic is blue collar, such as construction workers, then it’s a fair bet that the radio can still be an effective tool. Even so, most Americans now spend at least an hour or two online each week, making it a safe choice for law firms whose clients are split across demographics.
Can you afford quality air time?
Although the cost of radio advertising has dropped, it’s still more expensive than most forms of online advertising, and if you want key demographics during a daily commute (which is prime radio time), then you’re looking at some serious money. If you can’t afford to buy that time—and buy it for at least a month, and preferably three in order for your advertisement to have a real impact—and you’re relegated to the wastelands of radio, then you’d be better off investing your time in an online legal directory or paying a search engine optimization company to boost your website’s search engine rankings.
Is doing both radio and online advertising a possibility?
Absolutely. While effective online marketing can take some time, it can also be done very inexpensively, so if your firm has an associate or marketing personnel willing to invest the time, managing to both use radio advertising and online advertising is a fine idea. Remember, however, that radio ads will only be effective if you can reach your demographic—if not, there’s no point. Online marketing, however, is an emerging trend unlikely to die any time soon, barring a major catastrophe.
Almost all law firms and solo practitioners will be better off forgoing radio advertisements in favor of online outreach. Radio has been in decline for years now, what with the advent of the iPod and online streaming audio, and numbers are falling off almost across the board. There are, however, exceptions, and if your firm falls into one, then be sure to choose your time slot carefully, and to run your advertisement long enough for it to have an appreciable impact on its listeners.