Does TV Advertising Work for Lawyers?

Sep 23, 2013

Does TV Advertising Work for Lawyers?

The simple answer is, “yes!”   But the messaging,  production, station/channel and budget all play a role in the success and return on your investment. 

A frequent question I get asked is, “Does TV advertising really work for lawyers and the legal category as a whole?

Screen Shot 2022-10-20 at 3.35.52 PMAs many of you know, I have been working in the advertising and marketing field since 1988.  I have served in many positions from an account manager to a sales manager to general manager to VP in newspaper, radio, cable and broadcast TV.  So, I hope I can shed unique perspective and advice on this topic. 

Back to the question, “Does TV advertising really work for Lawyers?”   I always answer,  “Yes!  If it’s done properly.”

What do I mean by that? 

Simple.   It comes down to these basics:

  1. Who is your target audience persona?  What do they look like?  Where do they live?  What do they do in their spare time?  Where do they get their news?  Shopping information?  What does their day look like?  And so on…
  2. What is your message?  Can you deliver education, a compelling reason for a consumer to act and a call to action (CTA) in 15 seconds?  30 seconds?  60 seconds?
  3. Can a TV station match up with your target persona?
  4. Do you have the necessary budget to reach the appropriate number of consumers to see a ROI?


The cost of running television commercials varies widely, depending on if your ad runs on local stations or national networks, or local cable network insertion such as ESPN, CNN, FOX News, etc. The real ROI of your ad can be calculated by tracking how much it costs to convert a prospect into a client.  Add the total cost of production and the number of times that your ad runs, then divide that amount by the number of customers you converted during that timeframe to determine the average conversion cost.  


Production costs to create a commercial range in price from free,  to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Most independent television stations will produce your ad for free if you sign up for a minimum commitment of commercial spots.   Some local TV stations may charge from $200 to $1,500 to create a 30-second commercial.  Regional and National commercials produced by an advertising agency cost far more, averaging $342,000 for a 30-second spot, according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies. 

In a small to medium market, you should reasonably expect to invest $2,500 – $12,000 for an effective HD, High quality commercial.  The commercial should be well thought out and only address the essential elements to compel the consumer to respond to your CTA. 

The more effective your production is – the better the results will be.  In other words, spend the time and money to get the TV ads correct from the start.  Hire an expert (advertising / marketing agency, independent producer, etc).  It will pay great divideds in the end.

Local Commercials

Most TV stations offer two minutes of local advertising per hour, giving small businesses a more affordable way use TV ads as part of their marketing strategy.  Rates vary depending on the time of day (referred to as dayparts) and year as well as your location (Are you in a major market or small market?) 

If your target market is most likely to see your ad during the local news at noon, you may pay anywhere from $50 to $1,500 for a 30-second spot during that time.  Commercials that run between the prime viewing hours between 6 to 7 p.m. cost the most.

Cutting Costs

To cut costs, make sure you know the programs your target market is most likely to watch.  Figure out which time of day they watch television the most.  For example, working adults would more likely watch television at nights or on weekends than during the day.   Your TV Account rep can help you understand this more. 

Negotiate the best spot prices by signing annual contracts with the television stations or Cable ad rep firm in your local market.   Ask for free production of your ad before you sign up for a long-term contract, but remember – if the ad itself is not effective – your campaign will not produce results.  To keep costs down, you may wan to run a few 15-second commercials for branding purposes and use 30-second ads to convince prospects to take action.  

Finally, I urge you to put thought into your advertising and marketing. 

If you can’t put sufficient thought and time into your marketing – why even be in business at all?  Please watch the video case study – it just takes a few minutes…I think you’ll find value in it.


Contact: Jim Matuga
InnerAction Media
Twitter: @jmatuga


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