I don’t see many law firms advertising on LinkedIn and this surprises me. Here’s why:
There are generally two types of online advertising: direct response and branding. With direct response, you want a potential customer to come to your site and buy/retain your products/services. We manage direct response campaigns for many of our clients. For example, you’re a personal injury law firm in Calgary who wants people searching for “car accident injury lawyer” to be directed to your site. Businesses love this type of marketing because the ROI is so easy to measure.
Branding, in contrast, is a longer term marketing investment. With branding, most people aren’t looking for your services at that exact moment. Think of the ad space along the boards in an NHL hockey arena. You build your brand awareness and the customer will think of you down the road. Investing in branding tends to be the domain of larger companies (although some small businesses do a great job).
While Google is unquestionably dominant for direct response advertising related to search, our clients have been less convinced by its value for branding. Generally, we use pay-per-click (PPC) pricing for direct response campaigns. Google also offers a cost-per-100 impressions (CPM) pricing model for branding efforts. These campaigns generally appear on Google’s Display Network. If you’re looking at a banner ad while reading a popular blog, you’re likely looking at a Google Display Network ad. You’re not expected to click on the ad, but you are expected to see the brand.
Enter LinkedIn. A branding campaign on LinkedIn would look something like this: an employment law boutique in Toronto wants to run an animated ad that will appear for LinkedIn users within the software industry in the GTA who have the term “developer” in their job title. The ad will emphasize that your firm knows the world of software development and that you should retain them for contract reviews, assessment of severance packages, wrongful dismissal claims etc. When a senior java developer who makes 95K is downsized, they’ll know who to call for a review of their severance package.
Another example. You work for a large national firm in their Vancouver tax group. The firm is known primarily for securities work. Why not run a national campaign targeting all employees of Ernest & Young, PWC, KPMG, and Grant Thornton over the age of 55 with the words “Vice President” in their title? The total audience is well < 1,000 people, but the branding dollars will be well-spent.
The granularity of targeting with social media marketing is why the stock market is so excited about the LinkedIn IPO. Google knows a lot about you, but your social networks know more (the privacy implications are for another post). While its easier to dismiss Facebook ads on the basis of it not being a professional context (then again neither is a hockey game), this criticism doesn’t apply to LinkedIn which is strictly business. If you’re a law firm, LinkedIn users are your prospective clients. You should let them know who you are.
Not many law firms are advertising on LinkedIn. Yet.