Law Firm Billboard and OOH Advertising
How Does OHH or Billboard Advertising Fit
Into a Law Firm’s Marketing Strategy?
Benefits of advertising a law firm on billboards and other OOH placements:
- Can’t be blocked by ad blockers, switched channels, or ignored.
- Continuous, repeated exposure on travel paths
- Increases frequency of entire marketing plan
- Increases the effectiveness of TV, Radio, and PPC ads
- Increases conversion rates on qualified clients
- Makes advertisers appear larger than they are, advertising next to name brands like Coca-Cola and McDonalds
- Increases branded Google searches, which impact non-branded rank
Law Firm Billboard Advertising Basics
What are some common billboard media strategies for attorneys?
- Dominate the main highway arteries
- Stacking boards in succession
- Value buys (Economies of scale bulk pricing discounts)
- Rotation deals (Hits all traffic patterns)
- Station takeovers (Bus or train)
What are the main OOH companies that have inventory available:
- Lamar (28% market share)
- Outfront Media (20% market share)
- Clear Channel (17% market share)
- Independent and Local Providers (35% market share)
A vast majority of inventory (65%) is owned by the big three publicly traded REITs Lamar, Clear Channel, and Outfront Media. Most of the billboard advertising strategies listed above are negotiated with one of the big three (depending on your market) as they are likely the only ones that will have a large enough inventory to offer rotations, boards in succession, and have most of the highway artery inventory. Independent providers are best layered in as value buys when market pricing dictates.
What are the most common
standardized sizes of billboards?
- 14′ H x 48′ W
- 10′ H x 40′ W
- 10′ 6″ H x 36′ W
*Extensions can be added around the edges which technically can increase sizing slightly.
- 12′ 3″ H x 24′, 6″ W
- 10′ 5″ H x 22′, 8″ W
Odd Sizing & Other Unconventional OOH Types:
- Spectaculars – (Huge boards only seen in places like Vegas or Times Square NYC)
- Bus Stations
- Cab Tops
- Car Wraps
- Train Stations
- Sports Stadiums
- Racecar Branding
Digital Billboards vs Traditional Static Printed Boards for Attorney Advertising:
When placing buys for billboards, there are two types of boards you can buy: digital and static. We generally recommend going with traditional static placements for several reasons, the first being that you know what you are getting with static boards — they are there the entire time. With digital boards, your creative rotates about every 8 seconds. Nothing feels worse than seeing your board rotate between several different PI firms’ creatives. While the initial cost savings of not having to get your board printed and often lower entry price point, the final on a CPM basis for digital boards are typically far worse than traditional static boards.
How Effective is Billboard Advertising for Lawyers?
Billboard advertising is extremely effective for many types of lawyers if it’s done correctly as part of an omni-channel marketing plan. The creative must contain clear, branded assets, have good recall, and be paired with other traditional media channels, and the campaign as a whole must be properly capitalized. If you are a personal injury lawyer, anyone who drives by your billboard is in your target market. How can it get better than that?
What are the best practices for lawyer billboard creatives?
- Keep copy and messaging short
- Keep the typography legible
- No cursive, no odd color fonts that fade, big bold typography
- Use branded assets: Phone number + Domain (URL)
- These NEED to be memorable, no tracking numbers here
- Differentiation: unique brand, strange-making, etc.
- The more unique, the more memorable
Law Firm Case Types Billboard Advertising is Effective For:
- Personal Injury
- Workers’ Compensation (need to be careful around choosing placement)
- Social Security Disability (need to be careful around choosing placement)
- Employment law
- First Party Insurance Disputes (needs to be well timed, best rotated with a multi-practice firm)
- Criminal (need to be careful around choosing placement)
- Divorce and Family Law
Law Firm Case Types Billboard Advertising Doesn’t Work Well For:
- Medical Malpractice
- Mass Tort
- Securities Fraud
- Insurance Defense
- Transactional Firms
- Mass Arbitrations
- Class Actions
Case types that billboards aren’t effective for have several things in common:
- Case types are B2B (Business to Business), where mass marketing doesn’t make financial sense.
Ex. Insurance defense, transactional firms
- Relatively fast timelines, or dynamics of the case are still changing
- Ex. Mass Torts, Class Actions
- Too complicated to get the message across quickly
- Ex. Securities Fraud, Investment Fraud, White Collar Defense, Probate
- Low volume case types with very specific issues
- Ex. Medical Malpractice
What is the history of billboard advertising for lawyers?
Out Of Home (OOH) advertising is the oldest form of advertising and has existed since the 17th century. However, at the time, this was primarily as a way of distinguishing local vendors through signage in front of their stores.
Billboards were invented in the US in the 1830s and were heavily used by The Barnum & Bailey Circus. By the end of the 19th Century, OOH advertising became a nationally organized industry in the 1860s. At the time, their largest competitor was newspaper advertising. Traveling Circuses had the largest impact on bringing billboards in their modern incarnation into existence. Larger formats of American posters as we know them today that measured about 50 square feet originated in New York and were printed by Jared Bell in 1835, these were of course commissioned by large circuses. The earliest record of someone leasing a billboard occurred in 1867. By 1870 over 300 sign-painting and bill posting companies were operating to support this industry. In 1891 the Associated Bill Posters’ Association was formed and by the 1900’s sizing of billboards had become standardized.
In 1972, tobacco ads were banned on broadcast TV leaving only print and OOH (billboards) as its most viable advertising channels.
Law firms have been advertising on billboards heavily ever since Bates v. State Bar of Arizona supreme court case in 1977 that protected attorney advertising as commercial free speech protected under the First Amendment.
In 1999 tobacco advertising was prohibited on OOH structures.
In 2005, digital billboards were first installed.
Alongside automotive manufactures, insurance companies, and consumer packaged goods, attorneys are one of the largest purchasers of billboard advertisements.
In 2023, in many states lawyers are actually the leading industry buying billboard inventory.
The OAAA has legal service as the fastest growing product category in Q1 of 2023 at +40.4%
Billboard inventory has only shifted over time to industries that obtain the most value from their advertisements. Legal services (primarily personal injury) has been the primary beneficiary of this shift over the last 10 years.
How it Starts
Our Billboard Media Buying Process
During the discovery phase, we learn about your law firm, short- and long-term goals, reputation, case types, attorneys’ personalities, budget, case volume, internal operations, and people process. We absorb all the info you have to create a custom proposal and timelines for how to position your firm with a brand strategy.
After assessing competition in your local markets or case types, we go through a back and forth branding exercise with our award winning design and brand team. The output of this process is a brand bible that will give direction to our traditional and digital media plans. Initial brand concepts for billboards will be presented to your firm for critique and review.
Finalized Branding for Standardized Sized Boards
After several rounds of back and forth we create finalized designs for all standard sized boards so we have the ability to move on any billboards should the opportunity on a good value buy come up.
Inventory & Competitor Analysis
We reach out to Lamar, Outfront, Clear Channel to pull all available inventory and asses the inventory based on our main media buying criteria. We use state level data to pull all independently owned boards to see if any under valued boards exist in the market. We use Kantar data to asses competition in the market
Negotiations with networks
We lock in the best rates of available inventory with all providers for an initial launch. For some firms this is a small buy, for others it’s a take over of the market. Some boards will be available within 30 days of the buy while other can be purchased well in advance for later days as specific placements become available. We send lat/long, photos, and cross streets to clients to “drive the route”. This ensures that all placements have optimal visibility are free of obstructions and other unforeseen issues when buying off stats within a spreadsheet.
Finalized buys are placed and invoicing is set up directly with the owners of each placements. We don’t sit in the middle and mark up prices in any way or get finders fees from the board owners like many agencies do. We don’t want any conflicts of interest in this process, we want to buy you the best boards for the best prices.
We submit unique creatives to each placement creating a full OOH media strategy throughout your DMA. Differences from board to board will be based on what side of the street the boards are to the viewers / potential clients.
Monitor for rotation strategies, underpriced deals, & competition
We receive constant proposals for deals from all the providers and monitor for underpriced boards, tangental boards opening up (which opens up succession strategies), and big changes in competitor buys / location placements.
Reporting and Media Mix Modeling
We report on impressions, competition, rotations, rebalancing strategy, and creative refreshes on our monthly client review calls.
Ready to Let us Sniff out the Best Billboards for Your Firm?
Billboards made PT Barnum one of the richest men in the world, created Santa Claus in the mind of Americans, big tech companies like google allocate large portions of their advertising budgets to OOH (telling you it’s undervalued as they have all the data and are advertising networks themselves), and legal services are the fastest growing product area according to The Out of Home Advertising Association of America. I shouldn’t need to convince you beyond that that it’s a good idea to add OOH into your law firm marketing mix.
Need help developing a marketing strategy for your law firm? Let the experts that have helped every type of firm from solos and the largest firms in the US grow sustainably year over year. Let us worry about your marketing and advertising so you can focus on delivering quality legal representation to the clients we help bring in.
Billboards & OOH for Law Firms: FAQ’s
What’s the cost to advertise on billboards?
The cost of most billboards range from $250/mo to $20,000+/mo depending on the geographic location, size, and volume of the boards placed.
What is the time duration on billboard contracts?
Most contracts have 12 month durations and are billed monthly when working with the big three billboard companies.
Does MeanPug charge me fees to find billboards for me?
No, we find you the boards as part of our branded service retainers. We don’t mark up the prices or negotiate any kind of referral fee with the companies. This is the advantage of working with a full service marketing agency as your agency of record (AOR). We make $0 on this type of work. It’s a win-win for you, experts doing the work for free-ninety-nine.
I don’t think I can afford all this, what should I do?
Reach out to us and we may be able to put you in touch with a law firm capital partner who best fits your firm profile. Some lenders make equity deals, while others allow you to use your cases as collateral. You would be surprised by how much capital most plaintiffs firms have access to, yet most don’t use it.
What 4 states don’t allow billboards?
Maine, Vermont, Alaska, and Hawaii don’t allow billboards. If you’re an Attorney in one of those states billboards won’t be an option but other forms of OOH may be available.
Should Lawyers Advertise Only on Billboards?
No, I can almost guarantee you will fail if you do this.
Should Lawyers Advertise on Billboards First?
No, most firms should focus on the fundamentals and basics first. Billboards should be layered in with TV Advertising and Radio Advertising when you do large traditional media buys.
Who is the largest billboard advertising law firm?
Alexander Shunnarah, a well known personal injury lawyer is known for having one of the largest OOH strategies in the US, if not the largest. He has over 2,000 billboards in Alabama alone! He has also expanded into both Florida and Georgia with a large traditional media presence including billboards.
Why aren’t billboards working for my firm?
Bad creative, not integrated with other forms of advertising, and under capitalized relative to competition / population are the three most common reasons billboards and marketing strategies as a whole fail.
Become a Billboard King
- Video Production
- OOH (Billboard) Advertising
- TV Advertising
- Digital Advertising
- Content Marketing
- Website Design and Development
Designers not only help ensure your collateral looks good and stands out to potential clients, they can also ensure everything you produce is as easily digestible and user-friendly as possible. Content layout and structure, for example, benefits from oversight by a designer. Infographics and similar design assets can also be used for backlink building and other SEO strategies.
Engineering builds data pipelines and integrations for connecting analysis tools (like Google Analytics) with ad performance and organic tracking metrics. Content and engineering develop highly relevant landing pages for PPC campaigns to increase relevancy score and clickthrough rate (thereby reducing auction cost and cost per acquisition).
Launching creative campaigns simultaneously across digital and traditional advertising ensures continuity in the user journey. Design initiates creative concepts, marketing creates appropriate content and landing pages for these concepts, and digital and traditional teams initiate technical buys around these campaigns.
If you launched a new digital and traditional advertising campaign and find that your phones are ringing off the hooks, your instant success will quickly turn into a nightmare. As the number of your intakes increase, it further strains your call center resources and operational infrastructure. That’s why it’s important to have a high-functioning CRM, automation where appropriate, trained personnel, and similar technical infrastructure in order to handle higher traffic.
Business Operations + Software Development
If your operations team and engineers aren’t communicating with each other, things are likely to fall through the cracks and your firm is likely not as efficient as it could be. Integrating third party solutions—such as your website, ad platforms, and lead-gen services—with your CRM and tooling is a task for engineering.
Branding is responsible for the long-term vision and roadmap of a law firm’s image. Traditional advertising picks up where these concepts leave off and execute buys around the creative collateral, negotiate rates, and track the performance of the buys across creative, placement, and format boundaries.
When launching a new website, it has to look good and be fully functional. Designers should sit side by side with the engineering team to ensure that a new web design follows UI/UX best practices and effectively communicates the law firm’s brand. Engineers take your creative team’s mocks and make them come alive.
As digital advertising teams generate intake volume, that volume must be pushed into the business’ CRM in a way that facilitates a timely response. Operations will be responsible for creating processes and flows around these intake records in order to provide transparency and increase the probability for signing good cases, and turning down unqualified ones.
Copywriters work closely with digital advertising teams to create highly relevant, enticing messaging across multiple ad formats. Design takes this messaging and applies a layer of paint, resulting in a memorable digital ad. The advertising team then takes the final assets and executes technical buy, reports on results, and optimizes accordingly.
Copywriters work closely with traditional advertising teams to create highly relevant, enticing messaging across multiple ad formats. Designers play a key role in storyboarding, ensuring that the imagery and assets used are eye-catching. The traditional advertising team then takes the asset and executes technical buy, reports on results, and optimizes accordingly.
Time to Play
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