Advertise to other professionals or the public?

Advertise to lawyers and the publicWhen lawyers and law firms decide that they are going to advertise, many struggle with whom to target their advertising efforts? Do they target their advertising to other professionals? In other words, do they advertise to other lawyers and other professionals who work closely with lawyers? Or do they focus their advertising efforts to the public at large?

Those who advertise to other professionals generally make various arguments. They argue that advertising to other lawyers and professionals leads to referrals from these sources. They argue that these referrals are of a higher quality than what would receive from advertising to the public. They argue that advertising to other lawyers raises their esteem in the legal community.

Many would argue as well that focus on advertising to other lawyers and professionals costs less. In other words, they would argue that a lot of the advertising can be done without actually spending money. In other words, the advertising is actually done in a more subtle way through lunches, breakfasts, bar activity and various networking events. The advertising might also be accomplished in a more subtle way through even teaching continuing legal education seminars.

On the other hand, many would argue that lawyers can get a lot more bang by advertising to the public. For example, by focusing marketing the public, they are directly going to those who need legal services. By advertising to the public online, through the radio, television and other means, they would argue that this can lead to growth that is much more rapid.

They might also argue that versus spending all the time at the various lunches, breakfasts and networking meetings, they can actually spend this time performing legal work for clients. This leads to happier clients who are receiving competent, communicative and diligent representation.

On the other hand, spending advertising dollars to market to the public can be quite expensive. For many lawyers and law firms, they might not have the advertising dollars to do this effectively. That might cause them to naturally tilt through advertising to other lawyers and legal professionals.

So, who is right? Is it better to advertise to other lawyers and legal professionals? Or is it better to advertise directly to the public? For many lawyers and law firms, they might fall in one column or the other in terms of their approach.

At the end of the day, reasonable lawyers and law firms can disagree. Certainly many lawyers and law firms can be successful doing one or the other. The answer to the question also might vary based on the practice of law the lawyer or law firm practices in, the locality, the overall business plan of the law firm and the law firm’s budget.

But for most lawyers and law firms, the answer is likely to do both to some degree. Advertising to other lawyers and legal professionals certainly has the advantages listed above. At the same time, advertising directly to the public has the advantages listed above as well. The is why it’s almost always wise to diversity the approach.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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