Listserv discussion: Forget Print & YP Ads; Get Results Online

Dale Tincher, law firm marketingOn the LawMarketing Listserv, there is currently a lively discussion on promoting a law firm via print advertising vs. Yellow Pages vs. the Web.  [Visit to join the discussion.]  Dale Tincher of ConsultWebs offered an intelligent and detailed response to my initial comment:

Sure, you can make the the print ad better by including a person's name and number to contact, and can include a call to action (like requesting a white paper or survey), and this will produce something to measure.  You can also target trade association magazines and publications that clients read to aim at a specific market.  But I submit that websites, e-newsletters and direct mail letters are more effective at generating direct response.

Can you remember any particular law firm ad?  Probably not.  Perhaps you remember the Orrick "O" campaign, which has cost untold millions, but all I remember is the "O," not whether they're a good law firm. I also remember the ad with the picture a grizzly bear cuddling a human infant, but I don't remember which law firm ran it.

To which Dale Tincher responded:

I agree with Larry that (properly designed and SEO’d) websites, newsletters and direct mail letters are more effective than general advertising - - and the ROI can be measured.  We have several clients who closely track their marketing efforts and have achieved impressive results from the web.  Several of our clients receive 8 to 1 returns on the money they invest in the Internet.  Some others receive more.  One client, a serious injury firm that targets a region, receives a 90 to 1 return.  One of our clients, Ken Hardison, a 7-figure annual advertiser, receives an 8 to 1 return on his investment and says that the Internet gives him a higher ROI and higher quality clients than any of his other marketing methods which include TV, Yellow Pages, print and many others.  

Larry often talks about the ineffectiveness of Yellow Pages.  Hardison & Associates and several of our clients invested heavily in Yellow Page directories in past years.  Virtually all of them have ceased or dramatically reduced their Yellow Page advertising since the return dropped to less than a 2 to 1 return.  (It is surprising to me that many firms do not measure their ROI on marketing investments.)  Please see Mr. Hardison’s video discussion on our Website.  He states this information and other statistics in his video: Please also see my video where I reference client case results generated from the  

I believe that Internet marketing is increasingly effective for many reasons. Some of them include:

  • Prospective clients start looking for a solution when they need help.  They probably tuned out most general advertising prior to their need, especially warm, fuzzy ads.  If you have a website that is search engine optimized well and is compelling, they will find your firm and contact you when they have the need – 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Advertisers are obtaining results from the Internet.  Internet advertising and effectiveness are increasing while most advertising is decreasing.  Please see our article, “Internet Advertising Rises While Traditional Advertising Shrinks” - visited websites that relate to your practice areas can be good places to place your advertising.  An additional benefit is that the incoming link can help your rankings;
  • Consumers are growing more comfortable shopping online for goods and services.  Amazon stock rose nicely in late December (20%) while most retailers’ stocks dipped -   Comscore stated that online holiday shopping rose 19% over last year while traditional storefront retailers discounted heavily and still had modest gains  
  • The Internet investment you make today will pay dividends for years to come if done properly, unlike traditional advertising such as one-time ads or spots,

I recommend that you be cautious about investing in legal directories.   While some work fairly well, most are ineffective for a variety of reasons.

TV has worked well in the past for some of our clients.  However, the way people view TV is changing – a fact that must be considered when planning TV advertising.Deloitte Touche's recently released, "State of the Media Democracy Survey" contains some interesting information -,1002,cid%253D182990,00.html.  The survey includes the following comments: 

  • TV content and TV-like content have the opportunity to dominate the future 
  • 69% of Americans consider their computer more entertaining than their TV, BUT . . .
  • 58% also wish to easily connect their home TV to the Internet so they can download content or view anything at all they have on their PC (up 9 points from our 1st edition of the survey) 
  • Over one-third of all consumers are watching TV shows online (a 15 point increase from our 1st edition)

I hope this is helpful.

Dale H. Tincher,CEO - - Web Marketing & Design
Consulting - NCBA -
Phone 800-872-6590; Fax 800-515-3549

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Dan Morris - May 6, 2008 1:58 AM

Wow! It's amazing you so called professionals are counseling lawyers to put their advertising eggs in one basket...the online basket.

Google and Yahoo campaign announce that the return on investment for their own advertising is 3% of users that click through to an advertiser's website actually become a client! Where you guys are getting 90 to 1 is beyond me unless that lawyer is spending much more than he ever would in the Yellow Pages and or IYP.

I just ran into a lawyer that wants to come up every time someone searches Google for a lawyer that handles drug cases in Pennsylvania. Google told us that he will have to spend $1-million monthly to generate that type of visibility.

If you are referring to the organic search, you can forget getting on the first page in almost ever case. The top 4 or 5 lawyers already have those wrapped up and they are not giving up their positions. It doesn't matter how hard you try with SEO, etc. You'll never get their...thus you are relegated to buying sponsored ads.

The Wall Street Journal reports that 61% of all Americans still turn to print Yellow Pages for local information, and 10% use IYPs. So the Yellow Pages industry still captures 71% of the local audience. How does it make sense to invest all of a lawyer's advertising dollars in reaching 29% of the market? It's like advertising on one television station.

I've worked for an advertising agency for over 20 years, and many business owners try to find advertising Utopia. They think they find the final frontier of advertising. Those business owners fail EVERY time. You have to diversify advertising to keep new clients flowing into a legal practice.

You're offering questionable advice.

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