The result you are seeking from your yellow pages ad is a perfectly qualified person calling you and only you, knowing that you are offering exactly what they are looking for. Sounds easy, but many law firms investing hundreds of thousands of dollars get this wrong year after year.
Here are your ten tips. Look at your ad and see if you are doing it right.
1. Visual Sweet Spot. Do you know where the eye enters an ad?
Usually the top left corner. So, make sure that you don’t have your most powerful visual elements all over the place. Your two biggest opportunities to compel your prospect are your headline and a photo. Consider the placement of the photo so it doesn’t compete with the headline…which is hands down your most important element.
2. Check the Headline…is it written from the point of view of your perfect client? Does it offer a benefit they want? Will it spark an emotion in them that triggers action? Tip: top copy writers spend more time on the headline than any other element. And, they (we) often spend more time on the headline than all the other elements combined. It’s that important.
3. Check out WHO you are talking to.
Are you currying favor with people who don’t count? (A lot of lawyers put a lot of effort into creating ads that please their partners and wives and secretaries, oh, and of course their Yellow Pages rep. But none of these opinions matter. The only vote that counts is your perfect client. Is your ad designed to connect with their current state of mind?)
4. Are you running a Chinese Menu ad?
Or, are you telling a complete and concise sales story? Will the person who consumes your ad immediately know who you are, what is unique about you and what they want to do about it? Many law firms run ads which are filled to the brim with every type of case they hope to attract..like the Chinese restaurant listing hundreds of dishes. This is not effective!
5. Do you try to EMPHASIZE EVERYTHING?
Many advertisers — especially personal injury law firms — fall into the trap of filling up a page or two with multiple messages in different size boldface fonts. Think about it for a second. If you try to emphasize twenty seven things, you emphasize nothing.
I know it’s tempting, and your directory rep doesn’t help, but you can’t say, “Oh, and put this in bold, and that in bold and underline that…”, and expect your ad to work.
And then when you get the next proof…you can’t say, “Just make that bigger and this bigger and can you make this bigger too?”. This is the opposite of a cogent strategy.
6. Do you think yelling your phone number will make anyone call?
If your phone number is the biggest message in your ad, you are missing the boat. The number doesn’t matter at all until the prospect perceives unique value in what you are offering. And, as soon as they perceive unique value then it doesn’t matter how small the number is. As long as it’s there, they will find it and call YOU.
7. Do you communicate dimensionally as a way of differentiating your firm?
Too many times, personal injury law firm double trucks ads are full of the same content from every other personal injury double truck ad. There is so much poaching going on that the ads are virtually interchangeable.
If all the ads say, “Free Consultation”, do you think, for instance, that you can put some meat on the bones of what that might mean for the prospect? If ten firms are saying, “Free Consultation”, maybe you can say, “Here’s what you get when you come to our office for your no obligation, no cost consultation…” Then you can go on to describe it in great detail.
This will have them visualizing being in your office, talking to the compassionate and understanding (and very different) firm described in this ad. That’s an example of adding dimension to your message. Find several ways.
8. Are you trying to TELL them things, hoping they will believe you?
The number one rule of yellow pages and every other form of advertising is that people don’t believe what you say even when it’s true. The second rule of advertising is that people believe what they conclude in the comfort of their own minds even when it’s not true. So, don’t be thinking you can tell people you’re the best and have them believe it. Look over your ad and take out any attempt to TELL.
9. Check each item in your ad and see if it passes the “Who Cares?” test?
In other words if your headline is your own name…you don’t pass the Who Cares test. If your headline is “We Care!”, you do NOT pass the Who Cares test. If you think it’s important to say, “Quality and Tradition” or “Compassionate and Competent”, forgive me for breaking your bubble, but Who Cares? Remove all copy and concepts and visuals that don’t pass the Who Cares test.
10. Captions Pull Readers. Readers Become Responders
Do you have a caption under the photo? Does it state the obvious or does it promote an important benefit? Almost everyone reads the caption, so make the most of the opportunity.
Follow these tips and your ad response will increase dramatically. For personal injury law firms, if you would like to receive a free critique of your ad with recommendations for improvement, send it to moistlotus (at) gmail.com with ‘YP Critique’ as the subject line.
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