Legal Internet Marketing & The Death of Yellow Page Advertising

Lest you think the yellow pages retain marginal value when it comes to legal marketing, even the phone companies are ditching them, according to CNNMoney.

At Law Firm Ghost Writer, we have been helping law firms with a full range of legal Internet marketing services since 2007. Some firms were spending  thousands of dollars on yellow pages back then. Some firms continue to do so today.

While Internet marketing for law firms has exploded onto the scene, the disconnect continues to be in the percentage of a law firm’s marketing budget that is directed online. We still have clients that spend $500,000 on yellow page advertising, and $10,000 a year on their website and Internet advertising — and even a budget that robust will permit investments in website content and a professional blog writer for your firm’s legal blog.

And a robust Internet marketing strategy is certain to be far, far more effective. It doesn’t yet take yellow-page dollars to have a dramatic impact online; but it does take that sort of commitment.

We suggest those firms crying poor re-evaluate their marketing priorities and earmark a substantial portion of their budget for their Internet marketing effort. We have seen the results in our own business, and in the businesses of countless clients. In fact, I suggest law firms spend their first $25,000 a year online.

Even AT&T is ditching the yellow pages; and being applauded by Wall Street for doing so. The phone behemoth announced a nearly $1 billion deal to sell its phone directory business to Cerberus Capital Management. AT&T will retain a 47 percent stake in the new entity, to be called YP Holdings LLC.

Calling the phone directory an “albatross” around AT&T’s neck, the article said the paper directories still go to 150 million homes in 22 states. How many consumers actually use them? Not many in San Francisco — which has already banned unsolicited delivery of the books.

And that’s just one phone company. Law firms often find themselves over a barrel, buying ads in multiple books in an attempt to ensure coverage. And the directory companies continue to come up with antics and outright gimmicks (double-truck plus, anyone?) in an attempt to retain customers.

AT&T has tried to rebrand the yellow pages by turning YP.com into a city guide and local advertising portal, but with limited success. Directors continue to push law firms into online directories, which provide little value. And still the phone giant took a nearly $3 billion write down on its directory business in late 2011.

What it means for consumers is likely more of those cheesy yellow page commercials (like the commercials begging you to send mail, which the U.S. Postal Service recently launched).

What it means for law firms, is it’s past time to focus on a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy that includes social media marketing, press releases, website video and other strategies aimed at making your firm’s website the dynamic center of your legal marketing efforts.

Legal Internet Marketing & The Death of Yellow Page Advertising

Staying competitive in today’s legal market takes a dominate Internet presence. Even the most reticent law firms are making significant investments in their online presence in the face of the diminishing returns and increasing cost of yellow page advertising.Legal Marketing

2009 is the year it became official, according to TMP Directional Marketing, which used comScore date to determine usage rates:
Search engines rank first for the first time with 31% closely followed by print Yellow/White Pages (30%), online Yellow Page-type sites (19%) and local search sites (11%).

A closer look at those numbers shows that more than 6 of every 10 clients are selecting an attorney online, either through a search engine, online phone books or local search sites. Make 2014 the year you finally get serious about your legal internet marketing strategy.