Why advertise in a local law society magazine/blog when you could be spending your money elsewhere?
The answer’s simple: buying space in a local, rather than a national, publication will get you access to a highly targeted sector of the legal market.
That’s not to say allocating some of your ad spend to regional or national press is a bad thing. But taking space in a national magazine will put a serious dent in your advertising budget, and you could end up with all your advertising eggs in one basket.
On the other hand, spreading your resources thinner by targeting specific local publications will allow you to be sector- and region-specific: same eggs, more baskets.
And, while you may not necessarily get as many eyes on your copy, your readers will be easier to target because of the narrow focus you’ve taken by going local.
The drip, drip, drip of advertising
Advertising benefits are often hidden and can be hard to measure. The impacts of advertising are frequently unconscious, and purchasing responses not always immediate: posting a one-off brand ad in a single issue of a quarterly newsletter is unlikely to generate any immediate response. Only with repetition will the brand message sink in and start generating sales.
Like most marketing, it takes patience and persistence to get your brand noticed and make sales. Including local publications in the advertising mix is a highly effective part of many advertisers’ wider strategy. Local advertising allows you to build up a strong and memorable brand presence with a section of your market you’ve been able to target intelligently.
National advertising, say in the Law Society Gazette or in the legal pages of a national newspaper, can seem more cost effective as it reaches a wide audience.
But when a lawyer picks up a local law journal, what they’re reading has a different appeal. They’re learning about legal developments in an area where they live and work, and about people they know. This has a different, more personal, appeal to the reader than the average article in a national journal, newspaper or blog.
By advertising in a newsletter or blog that has need-to-read, locally relevant editorial, you’re getting close-up to a loyal and attentive audience. Your advertising copy has real chances of being noticed and acted on.
As a business with a national reach, advertising in local law society magazines and blogs to target local markets will improve your chances of leapfrogging those of your competitors who focus on national shows and a national advertising and marketing mix.
Building on your presence with content
Paying for advertorial is an age-old way of giving potential buyers a deeper insight into your offer and demonstrating your professional knowledge and expertise. Lawyers are ambitious people and very competitive by nature, unwilling to ignore advice or news that gives them the chance to get ahead. As long as you avoid clichés and don’t state the obvious, taking the time to create your own content is a great way of drawing attention to your brand.
If as an advertiser you can highlight issues that are relevant to a particular region, this will have an impact on the local market. By highlighting problems that may lie ahead for a law firm in a particular region (from the impacts of Japanese knotweed outbreaks to the insurance consequences of flooding), and demonstrating that your product or service has cost-effective solutions, you can position yourself as the go-to provider within the region.
Your content should highlight problems and solutions; it has to be factual, informative and useful, and authored by a person, not a brand. Avoid overtly selling – that’s the job of your advert: your readers aren’t stupid, they’ll quickly join the dots!
So, why are solicitors and other lawyers so enthusiastic about their local legal market?
It goes without saying that they’re ambitious to move up the career ladder, and face stiff competition from other specialist lawyers locally.
In a constant bid to stay up-to-date and be one step ahead of their competitors, they need to keep a close eye on legal developments and on what their peers are up to. Many use their local law society to do this.
Local law society newsletters and blogs are packed with the latest news and gossip about the local scene. It’s riveting stuff! They also keep lawyers informed of training and CPD courses or professional contests where they or their colleagues can win awards.
Regional law society representatives frequently submit articles highlighting local issues. Again, fodder for local lawyers: knowledge is power and opportunities are missed if local legal news is missed. Many solicitors like to contribute to newsletters themselves, and see their names in print or online. They also would be eager to read any rival firms’ contributions and analyse the content.
Social media now opens up the opportunity to access articles, seminars and social events 24/7, and will certainly open up a newsfeed that is relevant and useful.
It’s all about the content and readership of local law society newsletters and blogs: because the content is niche to the readership, and the readership is locally-defined, the journals have a far higher appeal to lawyers than other local business journals like the Institute of Directors, Chamber of Commerce or BNI. These all serve an important purpose in the professional and business arena, but lack the local specialist relevance of a local law society publication.
Alternatives to advertising?
Sponsoring local law society events is a method that is sometimes chosen as an alternative to print or online advertising. But is the audience at a seminar as large as the readership of an advert or article?
Social events can be exactly that: social – and not focused entirely on the products or services of the sponsors. That’s not to say they’re not an effective way of raising profiles, but without reviews or other follow-up on news or on social media, these events can be underwhelming in their return on investment.
Advertising in a newsletter and blog means you’re pushing your name out to the people you want to target.
The emergence of the online blog as a publishing tool, now means your advertorial and linked banner adverts will be even more targeted in their reach, as the content is shared across local social media channels. And that’s in addition to the printed magazine, sent to all local law society members, who can rarely resist the opportunity to read through the contents, given their local flavour.
Your presence at the grassroots of the legal profession shows local lawyers you’ve taken time to think about who you want to be talking to. It shows you’re proactive. How can they fail to think of you as a service provider if you’re providing them with accurate details about the solutions you can offer them?
Unless your offer is relevant only to the high-end of the profession or a niche legal market, advertising at grass-roots level is a real opportunity to throw your net over solicitors in a major geographical area.
Get the ball rolling by contacting local law societies – their details can be found on the main Law Society page.
You can see examples of local law society newsletters and blogs here.
Do get in touch to find out more about how get your brand noticed by regional lawyers.