I recently received an email from a marketer telling me that Billboards are “Dead,” and advocating that law firms stop using billboards in favor of other strategies. Although today’s digital marketing landscape gives law firm owners loads of opportunities for effective branding and marketing, don’t think for one minute that billboards are “Dead.” Far from it. Strategic Billboards should be one of the tools in your law firm’s marketing arsenal. Here’s why:
Billboards have been around for years, but unless and until we no longer need to drive from point A to point B, there will always be a place in your law firm marketing arsenal for effective Billboard Ads.
Let’s look at a few basic stats:
- Americans, on average, currently drive approx. 14,263 miles per year – That’s nearly 1,200 miles per month. (Federal Highway Admin. Hwy stats. See e.g., fhwa.dot.gov)
- One recent study estimates that consumers spend 4.3 years of our average life expectancy in a car and about 3 months of our lives stuck in traffic! (See e.g., What does Your Car Mean to You Over Time; kand mcollision.com)
Like it or not, all of us, including the prospects you want to reach, spend a significant amount of time in our vehicles and on the road.
And today, people are hungrier than ever for images. Most of us log more time on our iPhone than we’d care to admit. And after COVID, we realized just how many of us are captivated by TikTok, Instagram Reels, FB Reels, and the likes. In many respects and across most every social media platform, video is king. But guess what? Unless you are an incredibly reckless driver, no matter how much you enjoy watching videos, and surfing the net, you aren’t doing it while you are driving. You are in your car, with at least one hand on the wheel and your eyes, for the most part, scanning the road. So, ask yourself this question: Do you notice Billboards? Of course, you do. You can’t help but see them. Your potential clients are no different. They are in their cars going from Point A to Point B, just like you.
In essence, whether it’s billboards, or law firm advertising wraps on city buses or car wraps on company cars, you should leverage your opportunities to reach an audience in your market that is literally “captive.” You know up front that people are in their cars driving past billboards. They will be driving past city buses or parked behind your company’s car at a stoplight. Exposure is inevitable. (Unlike social media posts, that you hope someone will see and which depend upon your posts meeting specific and ever-changing algorithms)
Here’s the bottom line: Billboards aren’t dead at all – although ineffective ones might as well be.
Which billboards work, and which are a bust? To understand what makes for an effective billboard in today’s market, start by thinking about what you notice on billboards. You may pass by 50 billboards on the way to way the office, and hundreds if you are on a road trip. Which billboards stand out to you, and which do not? Maybe it’s a particularly funny image or a catchy slogan?
Whether it’s the words or the pictures, the billboards you are likely to notice the most are the ones that stand out, with content that you can instantly process. And the more you ride by those billboards, the more their messaging is embedded in your brain.
The key to effective Billboard Marketing is the same as with any other Marketing strategy. You need effective messaging. For billboards, effective messaging means images or words that jump out at the driver or passengers passing by. You need to be intentional and create an effective ad campaign. Gone are the days when you place a picture of your lawyers standing together and the name of the firm and expect to get appreciable results. Those kinds of images are a dime a dozen, in today’s market, and they are definitely “dead.” You know the style I’m talking about. I bet you’ve seen a zillion of them over the years. They aren’t memorable, and the firm’s name is usually so small that drivers are unlikely to really read the words or even remember them 2 minutes later, much less a week or two later, when they need a lawyer.
Here are some Tips to Help You Design Effective Law Firm Billboards:
- Placement is Key: Invest in Billboards that are strategically located to get as much traffic as possible and aren’t crowded in with other billboards at the same location.
- Use a catchy slogan or phrase that is 8 words or less. Remember, viewers are passing your sign in milliseconds, so your message is lost on them if they can’t read it quickly.
- Make the message about what’s in it for them, and not you. You don’t need vanity pictures of yourself and your staff standing in front of a bunch of law books. People don’t care about that. They are focused on themselves. Your message or slogan needs to make them laugh or communicate something they care about. Your picture and your firm’s name aren’t going to interest them.
- Use a Visual Image that stands out and grabs attention. It can be funny, or it can be just a headline.
- Use a Font style and size with your firm’s name that is large enough to be read easily. Remember, you need viewers to a) notice your billboard, and b) remember your firm’s name. Otherwise, you won’t create the top-of-mind awareness you need, and your billboard will be a waste of time, money and
- Invest in a repeater number or vanity number- so it will be easier for viewers to remember.
- Before designing your billboard, do your research: Start taking notes on the billboards in your market or other places in the country that you notice and remember. Why did you notice them? What stood out to you? What made them memorable? Conversely, start paying attention to the boring billboards, the ones that you don’t notice or remember. Sometimes, seeing what not to do is just as important as figuring out what to do.
It is an exciting time to own a law firm. There are so many effective ways to brand and market your business. While billboards certainly aren’t the end-all, they are far from “dead.”
Strategically designed and placed billboards will help you brand your firm, attract prospects, and create top-of-mind awareness. So, do your homework, and then put together some billboards that prospects in your market will notice and remember. Strategically placed and designed billboards can be highly effective marketing tools for your law firm.