5 Common Misconceptions About Toll-Free Vanity Phone Numbers

If you’ve ever thought about taking your legal marketing and advertising to the next level, it’s likely you’ve considered using a toll-free phone number.

Custom numbers known as vanity numbers are one of the most popular ways to bring in more calls and win new legal clients, but they’re also subject to some common misconceptions.

Let’s take a look at some of those misunderstandings and why they shouldn’t distract from your decision to get a more memorable phone number.

“All Toll-Free Numbers Are Created Equal”

Some firms think the number they’re given by the phone company is no different than a custom vanity phone number. Callers will reach them either way as long as they can find the digits online or remember it from an ad, right? Wrong!

Think about some of the situations in which people will see your number:

  • Driving in the car and seeing a billboard for three seconds.
  • Listening to the radio and hearing a set of 7-10 digits before the ad ends.
  • Trying to recall a company name they saw on TV last night but forgot to write down.

When you consider situations like this, making your phone number memorable is essential. A carefully selected toll-free number is the way to achieve this.

All of these scenarios (and many more) are common and could determine whether or not potential legal clients call your business. A random set of digits is almost impossible to recall when your audience has limited time or ability to dial. A memorable number, whether vanity or easy-dial, mitigates that risk and limits wasted advertising dollars on great campaigns that fail to convert.

“It Takes a Nationwide Firm to Use a Toll-Free Number”

Through the toll-free shared-use system, law firms can harness the power of a super-memorable toll-free number at an affordable rate.

You choose from a large bank of high-profile numbers that vanity number providers like RingBoost maintain. Then you pick the specific regions you’d like to have exclusive rights to, and, based on the location of a caller at the time of call, inquiries will be routed to your office for your selected areas.

You get the brand-boosting benefits of a great toll-free vanity number at a fraction of the cost. This is also especially helpful for law firms that have multiple locations and want to be connected through a unifying number, but don’t want to pay for the areas where you have no coverage.

“800 Numbers Are Only for Big Brands”

Although it’s true that many national and international brands use multiple 800 numbers in both offline and online advertising to connect with customers, it’s wrong to assume that smaller organizations and law firms can’t access them.

There are still some excellent “true 800” phone numbers available and newer toll-free prefixes like 888 or 833 have opened up even more options. Moreover, the shared use system mentioned earlier means that even premium vanity toll-free numbers might still be available to license in your area.

The bottom line is nowadays 800 numbers are accessible for everyone, from individual attorneys to international brands.

“Toll-Free Numbers Aren’t Relevant to Online Marketing”

It’s tempting to believe that everyone can now be reached online, via any channel you prefer to use, but the reality is still extremely complex. Some digital channels are better suited to legal sector advertising than others and many clients still prefer to call, even when they find your law firm online.

According to Pew Research, 51% of U.S. adults still choose to call rather than send an email or text message. The widespread ownership of mobile phones means that calls can be placed at anytime, anywhere, which increases call volume.

Vanity toll-free numbers help to bridge the gap between multiple platforms and advertising channels, online and off. They continue to add a unique branding element and enticing call to action, even in digital promotions.

When a potential client finds a lawyer online and sees a vanity phone number associated with the lawyer, whether in pay per click advertising or on the lawyer’s website, the vanity phone number serves as a brand attractant, making it much more likely that the online visitor will want to contact the lawyer whether by calling or using a chat service.

Far from being the end of 800 numbers, the digital era has made them even more valuable as a mixed media marketing and branding asset.

“Getting a Toll-Free Number is a Major Investment of Time and Money”

Put simply, a toll-free number or vanity number works in the same way as your existing local number and no changes are required to your current system.

Unless you choose to roll out a brand-new telecom technology, the whole process of integrating a toll-free vanity number can be completed quickly and easily by the vanity phone number provider.

Getting the word out about your new vanity number and incorporating it into your marketing materials takes longer, of course, but your returns will be all the greater, the more effort you put in.

Whatever myths you’ve heard about toll-free vanity numbers for law firms, the reality is that they are more relevant than ever in both offline and online advertising and marketing materials for attorneys.

As a fast and cost-effective way to find new clients and build your legal brand, there are few marketing tools that offer such a high return on investment for such minimal initial outlay or risk.

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4 Advantages of Building Brand Awareness with Radio

First, why would personal injury lawyers want to build brand awareness?

Brand awareness will distinguish your law firm from the competition, resulting in more calls from potential clients, increasing ROI. Potential clients are much more likely to call a brand they recognize and trust rather than a generic law firm.

What are the advantages of radio for personal injury lawyer advertising?

Radio is inexpensive

Radio is inexpensive, generally about one third the price of TV. The reduced cost can be used to increase your frequency (the number of times your radio ad is heard), thus increasing brand awareness.

Radio is cost-effective

Radio is cost-effective. According to Adweek, a Nielsen study, found that radio delivered $12 in sales for every $1 spent on advertising.

The study was requested by Westwood One, the largest radio network in the US, when they began giving advertisers an ROI guarantee in Oct 2017.

The power of cross branding

Combining different forms of advertising media is called cross branding. Cross  branding substantially increases brand awareness and the likelihood that a potential client will call you because they recognize and trust your law firm.

For instance, many of our clients who find us on the Internet said they clicked on our website because they remembered seeing our advertising in a magazine. That’s why the search engine title of every page on our website includes 1-800-HURT-911 at the end of the title.

According to the report “Radio: The Brand Multiplier” by radiocentre.org, using audio advertising (Radio) together with audiovisual advertising (TV) significantly increases many effects of brand communication over audiovisual advertising alone.

The report also indicates that TV advertising boosts brand awareness by 23% but increases brand awareness by 29% just by adding radio advertising to the campaign.

Billboards are a branding tool and a significant component of cross branding. Billboards substantially increase the effectiveness of both radio and TV advertising.

Inexpensive cost of professionally produced radio commercials

You can have a radio commercial professionally written and produced for just a few hundred dollars. You should always use a professional to produce your radio commercial rather than having the radio station produce it.

Pioneered by Howard Stern, on air live mentions of your brand can be more powerful than a professionally produced radio commercial and, like cross branding, can increase the effectiveness of professionally produced radio commercials.

How to use radio for personal injury advertising

Use together with other advertising for the increased power of cross branding. When used for direct response advertising and to increase branding for direct response advertising, always use a vanity phone number.

Using a vanity phone number in direct response radio advertising can increase calls 14 times over radio commercials using a numeric phone number.

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Marketing vs. Advertising: What’s the Difference for Lawyers?

There are different definitions of advertising and marketing. Obviously, both share the same goal — to get more clients for your law firm.

Advertising is really a subset of marketing but I look at advertising and marketing as two different methods of getting the message out.

Thus, the important distinction to lawyers when considering advertising, marketing or both is time and expense. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

Advertising vs Marketing — Advantages vs Disadvantages

Advertising

Advantage: Advertising is easy and requires less of your time – just hire an advertising agency.
Disadvantage: Advertising is more expensive.
Predominant Types of Media: TV, radio, billboards, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, online “Yellow Pages” & your law firm website.
Example: Hire an advertising agency and decide on a budget for your TV advertising campaign. To make your TV advertising campaign more effective, lawyers should use billboards. Plan ahead to decide how to answer calls.

TV commercials

Billboards like this one make TV and radio commercials work better by increasing branding
billboard car accident HURT911

Magazine advertising works well when targeting niche groups. We advertise a niche
website, NYMotorcycleAttorneys.com in a motorcycle magazine.Magazine advertising personal injury lawyer

Marketing

Advantage: A marketing campaign can cost very little money.
Disadvantage: Marketing may require the lawyer to spend much more time.
Predominant Types of Media: Attorney business cards, holiday & birthday cards, events & giveaways, social media.
Example: A marketing campaign can consist of as little as giving out business cards to thousands of people or much more. I started my law practice by just giving out business cards with 1-800-HURT-911. Now, I have a partner and we set up a tent at motorcycle events where we meet with people and give out T-shirts and many other giveaways. This involves a lot of our time but only costs approximately $15,000 per year. In exchange for a T-shirt, we capture the name, address and date of birth to send greeting cards in the US mail using an automatic system. We also advertise in a motorcycle magazine.

Tent with lawyer advertising where we give out T-shirts and other giveawaysHURT911 Tent Canopy

You can see several motorcyclists at the event holding our yellow bags with giveaways

Types of Advertising For Lawyers

There are two types of advertising and a hybrid of both. Branding, Direct Response Advertising and a mix of the two cr6eates the hybrid.

Branding

Q. What does branding mean for lawyers?
A. Branding involves an investment of money in advertising to brand your law firm name in the minds of potential clients.

Q. What does branding do for lawyers?
A. Branding makes it more likely that a potential client will want to call you instead of your competitor. Once branding begins to take effect, a lawyer will have an “unfair” advantage over attorneys without a brand.

Billboards are the most effective method of promoting your brand. Everything you do should always promote your brand.

Q. What is the disadvantage of branding?
A. Nothing really. Branding can cost more money but doesn’t have to.

Branding typically doesn’t make your phone ring.  It doesn’t immediately generate business but generates business in the long run by improving results from advertising media. It typically takes two years to see results from branding.

To demonstrate, consider a personal injury lawyer advertising on billboards. Billboards will create recognition of the lawyer and bring “top of mind” to potential clients. People who are injured will be more likely to call that lawyer when they see the lawyer’s TV commercial. But how many people will call the lawyer because they remember seeing the lawyer’s billboard?

Most attorneys and larger law firms don’t have a name that is brandable. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is not brandable so they brand the name “Skadden”.

Donald Drumpf rebranded his name into TRUMP, creating an empire. A good choice since it’s short, memorable, impactful, and implies power. TRUMP was branded like a trump card which ranks above other cards and a valuable resource that one can use to gain an advantage.

The more brandable a name is, the less money it will take to brand the name and the less time it will take.

A more brandable name is easier to trademark and is a more powerful trademark. The 1-800-LAWYERS® trademark includes 1-800 because LAWYERS is a generic word and cannot be trademarked. HURT911® is a much more powerful trademark because it does not include 1-800 because HURT911 is not a generic word.

Direct Response Advertising

Q. What is Direct Response Advertising?
Pure Direct Response Advertising is an advertisement using a call to action to elicit a direct response to the advertising message. An example is a late-night TV commercial asking people to call a numeric phone number within the next 5 minutes to order something.

Q. What is the disadvantage of Direct Response Advertising?
Direct Response Advertising is short-lived. There is no benefit after the first 5 minutes of seeing a TV or radio commercial which doesn’t have any branding.

Direct Response/Branded Advertising Hybrid

Q. What is Branded Direct Response Advertising?
This type of advertising combines branding with Direct Response Advertising. It is this type of advertising that most lawyers use.

This is usually a TV or radio commercial asking clients to call the lawyer’s phone number or sometimes go to the lawyer’s website but includes some branding of the lawyer or law firm.

With lawyers, the branding usually consists of an attempt to:

  • Brand the law firm name like Jacoby & Meyers;
  • Brand the firm as “The Hammer” or similar slogan; or
  • Brand a 1-800 vanity phone number.

Q. What does Direct Response Advertising with branding do for lawyers?
Hybrid advertising provides an immediate benefit with calls received within 15 minutes after airing the TV or radio commercial but provides the added benefit of branding so viewers may remember it and will be more likely to call when they see it again.

Some lawyers advertise on TV for a few months, stop for a few months and continue this cycle. This is a bad idea because you prevent branding from building up and lose any branding benefit from the previous cycle.

Differences by Types of Media

Advertising

Advertising involves media such as TV, radio, billboards, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, online “Yellow Pages” & your law firm website.

Most advertising campaigns use a combination of media to reach the widest audience possible. For instance, billboards are often combined with a TV advertising campaign. This is called cross branding and is very effective.

Billboards are a true branding media and are not effective when used alone for direct response advertising without a vanity phone number. However, billboards will provide a good ROI by substantially increasing increase the effectiveness of direct response media. Billboards will brand whatever you put on them.

Large law firms usually spend their advertising budget on all of these types of advertising media.

Marketing

Marketing involves use of  Attorney business cards, holiday & birthday cards, events & giveaways, social media.

Again, marketing should involve a combination of all of these types of marketing media.

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Free Advertising for Your Law Firm

Get Free Advertising and Leads for Your Law Firm in Google My Business

Google is just about the only Yellow Pages everyone uses. Unlike the old printed Yellow Pages, Google allows free placement for your listing.Google calls their service “Google My Business”.

Google My Business is for every lawyer whether or not you have a website. Google does not require your law firm to have a website to be listed on Google My Business.

Google My Business is just like the old Yellow Pages because it is a business directory for local businesses, including attorneys. Whether your law firm has a website or not, you must have a physical address. Google will verify that you have a physical address.

Since over 90% of the traffic my websites get come from Google, Google My Business listings are crucial. With more and more people talking to their cell phone to find a lawyer, you must have a Google My Business listing. When you ask an android phone “find a personal injury lawyer near me”, it will show you the Google business listings.

How to Get a Free Google My Business Listing

If you haven’t done it yet, the first thing you should do is claim your existing Google My Business listing or create a new one. Even if you haven’t set up a free listing, Google may have already found your business and list it with missing or incorrect information.

If no listing exists for your business, then you should create a listing at Google My Business immediately. See the instructions to add or claim your business listing at Google My Business Help.

You can easily create your Google My Business listing for free. If you’re wondering how your listing is going to stand out from hundreds of other lawyer listings, that’s the next issue to tackle after creating your listing.

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing so It Stands out from Other Lawyers

Just like an attorney website needs search engine optimization to be found in the Google search listings, your Google My Business listing also needs to be optimized.

It’s not hard to optimize your Google My Business listing but it will take time. This article will show you how to optimize your listing. Setting everything up, uploading and maintaining your listing also will take time.

If you don’t want to or don’t have the time to optimize your Google My Business listing yourself, there are companies that will do it for you. Just call your attorney advertising agency, website company or SEO company.

Whether you want to optimize your Google My Business listing yourself or have someone else do it, take a look at the following tips which you should know about.

Tip 1: Designing the Title for Your Google My Business Listing

The title of your business listing is crucial because it’s really the only thing searchers see, so it’s what needs to stand out from all the other listings of competing lawyers.

It is against Google’s guidelines to use keywords in the business title so you can’t use “Your State Accident Lawyer”. If you use keywords in your title, Google will eventually disable or take down your business listing and you can lose any reviews that have been posted.

Instead of using keywords in the business title, you need to use your business name, trade name or brand. Lawyers using a brand or vanity phone number in the title have an interesting advantage.

Using a vanity phone number such as 1-800-HURT-911® in your Google My Business listing title stands out, attracts attention and makes people want to click on your listing.

Read about why a vanity phone number substantially improves the conversion rate and ROI of online advertising.

Vanity phone numbers are allowed in your business listing because they can be a business name, trade name or brand. 1-800-HURT-911® is a brand.

personal injury lawyer advertising with free Google My Business local listing

Personal injury lawyer’s Google My Business local listing

You can also use a vanity phone number together with your law firm name. If you don’t have a vanity phone number, using a brand such as “Sting Like a Bee – Jane Lawyer” will stand out from the crowd of lawyer listings.

If you use a vanity phone number or brand, be sure to tell the company setting up your Google My Business listing to use it in your business title.

Tip 2: Submit Posts on Your Google My Business Listing

You can publish posts with photos on your Google business listing. Unfortunately, they only last for seven days so you have to keep reposting. Again, your website design company routinely post articles for you.

You can also publish events which will last until the end of your event and can last longer than seven days. In the image below, the photo in the Google business listing shows a cause marketing billboard for motorcycle accidents hanging in Costco stores for the month of May which is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month. The Google post will show for the entire month since it is an event.

Google My Business post showing lawyer's advertising event with photo

Google My Business post advertising lawyer’s event

Tip 3: Ask for Reviews on Your Google My Business Listing

Ask your clients to leave reviews of your law firm on your Google My Business listing. Reviews will substantially increase results, even if you have negative reviews!

When people look online for anything they always look for reviews. If potential clients see some negative reviews it makes all of your reviews look more credible. Just be sure to politely reply to negative reviews. In fact, you should also apply to positive reviews.

The best and easiest way to get reviews from your clients is to use review software. Again, just ask your lawyer advertising agency, website company or SEO company about review software.

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