The Coronavirus Led Resurgence of Print Advertising

Print Advertising

The coronavirus pandemic has seen many brands return to familiar marketing basics to be informative and helpful. Trust and authenticity are crucial during this time of uncertainty regarding public health, the economy, and the future in general. With so many marketing and advertising mediums and options available, it is challenging to select the best format with which your law firm should convey its messages. Many law firms are turning to print advertising to do just that.

Marketers, like lawyers, tend to plan in advance, scheduling campaigns and strategies months, quarters, and even years in advance to remain ahead of the curve as much as possible. It’s rare that one acute event would impact virtually every industry, business, and law practice at once; but COVID-19 has done just that. Usually an acute event affects a subset of the population as determined by geography (or any number of other factors), such as: (1) when the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore oilrig explosion affected offshore workers and those residing and/or doing business in affected states or (2) when Superstorm Sandy affected water levels along the entire East Coast of the U.S., ranging from Florida to Maine, with the highest storm surges in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. COVID-19, however, is a global event affecting millions of people regardless of geographic location, age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status, which impacts law firm marketing in ways unforeseen before now.

In order to address this monumental shift, the short-term internal marketing goals of a small to medium sized law firm should include a review and cleanup of externally facing content, implementing a schedule for ongoing long-form content marketing, and reviewing existing expenditures to determine effectiveness. As part of this process, the firm should not only review, assess, and update its digital assets, but all lawyers should additionally endeavor to have meaningful print materials on hand that appropriately address the issues with which their audience needs help. Furthermore, print materials are developed in digital format these days, so the components of your print materials can be repurposed and used in a variety of digital formats, as well at no additional cost.

COVID-19 Changed Consumer Behavior, So We Must Change How We Advertise

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) data shows 73% of advertisers have modified or developed new assets since the start of the pandemic, with over half increasing messaging emphasizing company mission and values. These turbulent times require law firm communications to adjust. People want and need to know what companies stand for, including what actions your law firm is taking to deal with disease and discord.

With “Stay Home/Work from Home” orders issued across the country, more and more people are spending the majority of their time at home, which is where most people get their mail. Even if they are working remotely, by now there is most likely a system in place to receive their work mail. Direct mail is therefore an excellent way to communicate your law firm firm’s mission and values, as well as provide helpful information about your law firm’s solutions to the legal issues the recipient might be facing. With so much time spent in front of a computer screen, direct mail also provides a nice interruption to digital overload.

Print Advertising

Despite living in a largely digital world, print advertising is still relevant and practical. Print can include magazines, newspapers, flyers, and brochures, as well as banners, billboards, and promotional gifts. One of the outcomes of the pandemic and the cries for social change is the reappearance of full-page print ads in newspapers, a medium that was supposed to be dead. Today’s long-form newspaper communications are akin to corporate social responsibility statements showcasing brand support of public health and social change, among other issues.

What’s With Print Marketing’s Success During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

  1. While an old format, print has evolved and adapted by using interactive elements, 3D technology, augmented reality (AR), and more.
  2. Print captures a tangible and emotional experience for consumers.
  3. Print materials can be presented to highly targeted groups in content-specific and market-related publications.
  4. Studies show print marketing is mentally stimulating and more likely to hold the attention of consumers longer than other advertising formats.
  5. You can leverage digital data to help with language, imagery, and targeting in print advertising.
  6. You can repurpose your print design materials for use on social media, in email marketing campaigns, as email attachments, and more.

The downside to print advertising? It can be costly, hard to track, and fail to yield immediate results.

How To Gauge The Effectiveness of Print Marketing

One of the primary reasons digital marketing has become so popular is due to how “trackable” the data is. While many believe tracking can only be done with digital campaigns, it simply isn’t true. When set up correctly, the effectiveness of print marketing campaigns – like most advertising expenditures – can be tracked. Every firm incorporating print advertising needs a system to measure the results. In order to successfully track the return on investment of a print expenditure, your law firm should use:

  • National Change of Address (NCOA): Before you send anything out in the mail, be sure to run your list of recipients through the NCOA database to eliminate waste.
  • Vanity URLs: A vanity URL is unique website address you should purchase and use on print materials instead of your regular website address. You can then redirect the vanity URL to the desired landing page on your website (which should not be the home page). From there, Google Analytics will track which visitors arrive to your law firm website via the vanity URL and thus how well the print material is generating leads.
  • Online Call Tracking and Recording: Inbound calls are a great success metric, but manual call tracking – when a staff member asks a caller how they heard about your law firm – is unreliable at best. Call tracking technology allows you to create a unique phone number for each campaign. You’ll know exactly how many inbound calls your print ads or print mailers generate, as well as demographic data for your callers. Call tracking software also often has the ability to record incoming calls, which can help with staff training.

Print Advertising For Lawyers

I speak to lawyers around the country daily, many of whom have sought out print marketing and advertising guidance since the pandemic began. If your current strategy is not making the impact you need, let us help your law firm adjust its course. Contact the legal marketing experts at Stacey E. Burke, P.C. today for more information on how we can help. Our consultations are free for aspiring and licensed lawyers.

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