Should Law Firms Pause Ads During Coronavirus?

With the worldwide spread of COVID-19, we are truly in tumultuous times. Businesses are attempting to operate remotely, fine dining restaurants are becoming drive through burger joints, and people are being forced to shelter in place across the country. This is affecting absolutely everyone in one way or another, and nobody knows when things might return to normal.

Law firms are in a confusing position. Attorney fees may be seen as a luxury, as many people are losing their jobs and struggling to pay rent. However, the need for legal assistance is not going away, and people stuck at home are turning towards the internet for entertainment, news, and research. So how should law firms adapt? Should you continue advertising? Should you increase ad spend? Change campaign strategies? Test new platforms?

In the word’s of every great marketer, “It depends.”

Why Firms Should Stop Advertising Right Now

Mockingbird always puts our clients’ best interests first. Good or bad, we tell it like it is. Yes we get paid on a percent of ad spend, but we’ll never keep campaigns running that don’t make sense for your firm.

If your firm has the any of the following symptoms, you should stop advertising immediately:

  • You can’t afford to pay your employees.
  • You can’t afford to pay basic utilities.
  • You can’t accept inbound calls.
  • You can’t handle cases effectively while working remotely.
  • Your campaign’s cost per acquisition (CPA) is way too high.

The purpose of (good) advertising is to deliver leads, but there is a time delay as to when you might see a return. If your firm is struggling to pay for the basics, move your budget from your Marketing department to HR.

Why Firms Should Absolutely Keep Advertising

In a time where leads may be slow, don’t make it worse by turning off campaigns that deliver leads. Volume may be down, but you need to think hard before panicking and cutting budgets. In certain cases, you may want to shift budgets from Search to Remarketing or Display. Under certain circumstances, now may be a great time to actually increase ad spend.

If any of the following applies to your firm, you should probably keep your campaigns running:

  • Your firm is setup to work remotely (handle intake, and case work).
  • You have enough cash on hand to treat advertising like a long(er) term investment.
  • You practice Bankruptcy, Employment, or Divorce, and expect an uptick in business (think about doubling down here).
  • Your campaigns are delivering a strong cost per acquisition (CPA).
  • Your campaigns continue to perform (watch them closely).
  • Other firms are pausing ads, making the auction less competitive and cheaper.
  • People are spending more time on Facebook and Youtube (read: ad delivery platforms).
  • More people are watching TV, so your TV commercials cost the same but have increased visibility.

Things That Don’t Matter, and Why

  • Courts are closed –> Reset clients’ expectations around timelines.
  • People aren’t searching as much –> Be available to those who are looking for help.
  • People think we’re closed –> Add “we’re open” messaging to your site, your GMB description, and post on social.
  • We need clients to sign papers –> Use DocuSign.
  • I can’t talk to my cowkorkers like normal –> Install Slack, or Google Hangouts Meet, or Zoom.

So Really, It Depends…

There is no right answer as to how ALL law firms should adapt to changes brought by COVID-19. Take a very close look at YOUR firm’s current situation, and evaluate. It’s not necessarily about if ads are getting cheaper, or more expensive, or if there’s less volume. The argument for “why advertise” is still the same. The market has changed dramatically, people may take longer to reach out, and you should always make sure campaigns meet CPA goals, but first things first. Are you prepared to continue operating? Can you pay your employees? Can you answer the phone? Figure that out, and then think about how to continue signing clients.