3 Mistakes Lawyers Make in Radio Commercials

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 07, 2014 9:28 AM

Radio commercials are like the middle child of lawyer marketing -- everyone knows they exist, but they are far too often forgotten or neglected. People always remember the older kids (print and television ads) and the younger kids (websites and social media), but radio? It's probably one of the last things you think of, and yet, who doesn't listen to the radio, at least occasionally?

Of course, not all radio ads are going to be effective. You need to be memorable. You need to get attention. And you need to avoid common slip-ups. Here are a few that are easily avoided:

1. Ignoring Your Target Audience.

I love rap music. And alternative rock. And sometimes, when I'm alone, I may even forget to change the channel when Taylor Swift comes on the radio. Now, if I had an estate planning firm, how many of those stations' listeners would call me up to plan their advance directives and tax-dodging trusts?

What if that same commercial was aired on NPR or some other talk radio station? Or a classical or oldies station?

Know your audience. Direct your funds there. Sure, you may never hear your own commercials, but that's not the point, is it?

2. Failing to Embrace Vanity.

I'll never forget the phone number for Pizza Hut in my hometown Kansas City: 648-8888. Why? Because, when I was growing up, they played those damn commercials every five minutes: "6-4-8-8-8-8-8, 6-4-8-8-8-8-8, 6-4-8-8-8-8-8 for Piz-za Hut De-liv-er-ry!"

You can have the same effect by saturating your target audience's radio programming with an easy to remember vanity phone number or website address. Which of these (hopefully fictional examples) are easier to remember:

  • 555-WILL or 555-7855?
  • GuyMakesWills.com or CAEstatePlanningAttorney.info?

Think about the potential client, driving in her car, stuck in traffic on the way to work. Is she going to pull out a pen and write down your number? No way. She's going to hear it, and if it's easy enough, maybe the fifth or sixth time she'll remember it.

3. Amateur Hour.

This one is a bit obvious, sure, but that doesn't stop people from botching it regularly. You may have a microphone and you may think that you have a voice like Morgan Freeman. In reality, you probably sound like this guy, and are more likely to cause a personal injury accident when your somnolent voice puts listeners to sleep than you are to be hired by personal injury plaintiffs.

Bad production, bad voice acting, bad scripts -- there are many ways amateurs can ruin a radio spot. And if you're investing heavily in radio air time, you might as well invest heavily in the production phase as well.

Looking to start investing in a radio marketing campaign? FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing folks do radio, TV, online marketing, and more.

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