Whether you work in a law firm or operate as a solo practice, you’ve probably put a lot of thought into how you can get your name out there for potential clients to find. In the past, certain forms of communication between attorney and client were heavily regulated, if not outright prohibited, but a series of court rulings in recent decades opened the doors to attorney advertising and – in some states – solicitation. While both of these methods of contact present some clear opportunities for growth on the part of a law practice, there are some key differences between them that need to be understood before an attempt is made to engage in either one. So, what is the difference between attorney advertising and attorney solicitation? To find out, keep reading as our experts cover solicitation, advertising, and SEO for lawyers.
Defining Attorney Advertising vs. Attorney Solicitation
Wherever you practice law, regulations play a major role in determining the feasibility of attorney advertising or solicitation in a particular area, but it’s impossible to comprehend the effects of these limitations without first understanding the technical difference between solicitation and advertising. Let’s look at each method of communication below:
In any industry, advertising is a key form of marketing for attorneys that’s almost always necessary for success. Although it shares much in common with solicitation – both are intended to bring in new clients, for instance, and both often involve reaching out to strangers – advertising is set apart by the scope of its targeting. Put simply, advertising speaks to the public at large, informing people around the area of the services available at your firm. This contact typically takes place through billboards, TV ads, digital advertising services, or PPC for law firms, and it’s not aimed at any one person or group; as a result, it’s both the most widely used and least regulated form of commercial advertising available for attorneys today.
In the mind of an average person, the term “solicitation” tends to carry a negative connotation, and there’s a good reason why. The act of soliciting involves contacting someone – generally a stranger – out of the blue, which many people find irritating, but because it can nonetheless bring in leads, it’s easy to see why attorneys might be inclined to try it, especially if they have reason to believe the person they’re contacting may need representation. The main distinguishing feature between attorney advertising and attorney solicitation is the highly specific nature of solicitation; it’s aimed at a single individual or group, rather than people in general, so it’s tightly regulated almost everywhere in the U.S.
Is Advertising or Solicitation Better for Attorneys?
If you’re an attorney looking to increase visibility and reach out to new clients, the bottom line you’re probably looking at is which of these methods will get you closer to your goal. As with many questions in the marketing world, the answer will partly depend on exactly where you are and what you do, but there are some generalizations that can be made when comparing the usefulness of advertising vs. solicitation for attorneys.
Pros and Cons of Attorney Solicitation
Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind here is that one of these options – solicitation – comes with greater limitations than the other. Because it has the potential for abuse, solicitation can only be used in certain circumstances and with certain individuals. For instance, an attorney cannot solicit an individual who has made it clear that they don’t want to be contacted, nor can they reach out to a person who was injured in a car accident within the first 30 days of the incident. These regulations (and others linked to attorney solicitation) tend to change from state to state, so you’ll need to look into the laws governing your particular area, but generally speaking, it’s hard to gain a large number of clients through solicitation, so it’s the less popular option for attorneys.
Pros and Cons of Advertising for Attorneys
Attorney advertising, on the other hand, comes with far more freedoms than solicitation, and it can be used in a wide variety of ways. Though many lawyers and firms still pay for physical advertising – signs on public transportation, billboards by the highway, televised ads laying out services and qualifications – an ever-increasing number of attorneys are turning to the Internet for all their advertising and marketing needs.
Because everyone – prospective clients included – spends a great deal of time online – an average of more than six hours a day, by some estimates – the Internet is often the best place for attorneys to reach people. More specifically, search engines and programs like Google Ads or Bing Ads can provide a huge audience for your message, but doing so effectively (and affordably) requires a keen understanding of the workings of these systems. The traditional method of online advertising – called pay-per-click, or PPC – requires that attorneys and other advertisers shell out as much as $6 or $7 for each person who clicks on their ad, and the website they see isn’t converting those people into leads, it’s essentially money down the drain. That’s why law firms often contract digital marketing agencies – to ensure that their money is well-spent.
Contact Majux Marketing Today for Online Advertising and SEO Services for Attorneys and Law Firms
Attorneys provide a critical service to Americans, but even the best attorney won’t find much success unless people know they exist. Given its unparalleled reach, the Internet represents the greatest opportunity for advertising any attorney could hope for, but like many powerful tools, its effectiveness is limited by the user’s knowledge and experience. Our team can offer decades of experience running digital marketing campaigns for attorneys, including paid search and display advertising, content strategy, and SEO services for law firms. To hear about all of our services and the difference they can make for your practice, visit Majux online or call (215) 309-1631 today.