Can a Billboard Yield a Profitable ROI?

Billboards are one of the most popular forms of marketing for attorneys. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, billboards generated $6.7 billion dollars in revenue in 2012. If you’re considering supplementing your current marketing efforts with a new strategy, consider some of the pros (and cons) of billboard marketing before investing in an ad campaign.

Why Attorneys Keep Investing in Billboards

A 2009 study performed by Arbitron found that American travelers spend more than 18 hours per week in a car, either driving or as a passenger. This gives you firm a lot of time to be seen by a potential claimant. The study also found that 71% of Americans “often look at the message” on billboards when driving, meaning that consumers do take notice when you place an ad. Unfortunately, there are two large problems that crop up when your firm uses billboards: They’re expensive, and it’s hard to know how effective they truly are.

Problem #1: They’re Expensive

Billboards are great because they allow your firm to reach a huge audience at a low price per view. This benefit comes with a high price tag: Depending on where your firm is located, a billboard could cost thousands of dollars per week. Taking pricing from Lamar, one of the nation’s largest billboard providers, a single billboard off Chrysler Freeway in Detroit costs $7,000 over the course of four weeks. For this price, Lamar estimates that one million people could see your ad in a month. This is expensive because Detroit has a high population—a billboard in Ann Arbor, MI will cost $3,300 for four weeks from Lamar.

Billboards vary in price depending on how many impressions, or potential views, your billboard could receive. The more impressions a billboard receives, the more you’ll have to pay. A caveat to this pricing is that you’re not ensuring that a claimant is the one who’s viewing your ad. Any man, woman, or child could see your ad, and the vast majority of the people who see your billboard on the highway will not be interested in filing any legal claims.

If you’re willing to pay the high price for potential claimants, billboards can become a good way to build a brand for your firm. Even if you don’t see an immediate return, keep in mind that 71% of Americans do read the messages they see on billboards, meaning someone might know your firm’s name in the future if they do need to file a claim.

Problem #2: It’s Hard to Know if Billboards are Successful

Unlike digital forms of marketing, it’s challenging to trace a new claimant from a billboard to your office. Someone might see your billboard while driving home from work, then get into a car crash one month later and need to file a personal injury claim. If the claimant remembers your billboard but calls your firm after looking up your phone number, it’s very hard for you to know that the interested party came from a billboard.

Here are a couple of ways to ensure that you don’t “lose” any billboard conversions:

1. Set up a unique URL or phone number on your billboard. This will give you attributable data that you can use to prove a billboard’s ROI. You can use Google Analytics or simply go through your phone records to see exactly how many people contacted your firm via a billboard.

2. Ask every caller how he or she heard about your firm. If you’re not doing this already, you’re not effectively measuring your current marketing efforts. You may find that some marketing channels are significantly more successful than others.

Supplementing Your Marketing Efforts

Unlike billboards, lead generation services allow you to pay only for interested claimants, not for impressions. This gives you a much better idea of how many claimants you could sign in one month. Billboards can be exceptionally successful and yield a high ROI, but they also have the potential to fall flat and not get you any new claimants. If your firm is interested in supplementing your current case load with Social Security disability, personal injury, workers’ compensation, or FDCPA legal leads, give us a call today at 617.800.0089.