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We often talk about adopting a mindset of success. It’s probably the single most important step you’ll take in the world of legal advertising and marketing. The most effective legal marketers are those who understand that success is challenging but also entirely attainable.
Inherent in the whole “mindset of success” is having a plan. Once you’ve made the decision to advertise your firm on television and to fund that investment — but before your ad appears on the air — you need to commit yourself to preparation.
You aren’t just running an ad, you see. You’re entering a market. And just as your firm’s founders needed to know a little something about the local law firm scene before hanging their shingle, you need to understand your local/regional television market before putting your own campaign in the mix.
Specifically, you need to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your rival law firms’ television advertising campaigns.
This is where a very calculated and data-driven TV advertising strategy comes into play. You’ll need to dig deep to make a lot of decisions about your campaign. Some questions that we usually start with are:
- Who are you up against?
- Who do you need to reach?
- How much are you prepared to spend?
- What does your brand look like?
- What does it sound like?
- How will you craft law firm messaging that resonates?
- How can we differentiate your firm from others on TV?
- What is your KPI baseline?
- What are your goals?
- How will you measure your progress toward those goals?
But before you answer any of those questions, you need to know how your competitors are answering them. We call that Competitive Analysis, and it’s an early and integral part of our approach to any legal advertising campaign.
What is a Competitive Analysis?
A competitive analysis doesn’t need to be more complicated than it sounds. At its core, it simply means informing yourself about your market so that you can make the wisest possible decisions concerning your investment.
Still, asking the right questions can make sure your analysis is getting you where you need to be.
When going to work for our clients, for instance, we always research:
- Who is your competition?
- What kind of content are they running?
- When and where are they airing their campaigns?
- What is their brand message?
- How much are they spending?
- What do their results look like?
- What will it take for you to “steal” an adequate share of voice (SOV) and compete?
By looking at the spends, placement, and messaging among current advertisers, you can quickly visualize what you’ll need to do to make an impact.
If you go in too soft, you won’t gain enough share of voice (SOV) for your investment to pay off. At the same time, you don’t want to over-invest unnecessarily. Through a careful competitive analysis, you can land in the sweet spot and reap the best results.
The Goal Isn’t to Copy Your Competitors
Studying your competitors’ efforts doesn’t mean replicating them. On the contrary, your goal is to stand out.
Most of today’s law firms are advertising ineffectively. They run self-congratulatory messages that fail to resonate with their target audience. That’s certainly true in the PI market, where injury victims are simply more concerned with their own well-being than with a law firm’s impressive résumé.
Indeed, much of the value in a competitive analysis is learning what not to do. By observing the zig, you’ll learn how best to zag.
How to Do a Competitive Market Analysis
If you’ve generally kept yourself tuned into the local television market, you might already have a sense of how local legal service providers are representing themselves on TV. That’s helpful. But we also like to strive for something more precise than a “general impression” of the competitive landscape.
To get that, we recommend that you:
- Visit competitors’ websites. (What appeals to you there? What doesn’t?)
- Find a non-attorney friend who’s willing to watch a few commercials (yours and your competitors) and share their honest impressions.
- Create a notes document on your smartphone. Anytime you see an ad or a marketing maneuver you think reflects well on your competitor, make a quick note of it.
- The next time you gather feedback from a client, ask about their experiences with other law firms in the area.
- Become a customer! Submit a question and find out just how quickly and effectively the competition responds to their prospective clients. What kind of follow-up do they provide?
- Ask yourself whether your competitors are following our advice in this article. Based on their successes and/or shortcomings, do you have an opportunity to outshine them?
Let Network Affiliates Size Up Your Competition
Advertising is all about connecting with your audience in a more effective way than your competitors. We can help you meet that goal. Network Affiliates is a team of legal marketing strategists with years of deep experience, and we are absolutely committed to putting our clients on top. We do it everyday.