Denver Bar Association
May 2001
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Move Over Jake Jabs

by Trey Ryder

Newspaper ads may prove a viable alternative to yellow pages.

Lawyers who hate to pay yellow page invoices should consider another way of reaching prospects, newspaper ads.


Advantages: Yellow page ads are effortless, a proven source of new clients and they reach consumers who need a lawyer.


1. High cost, which, in major markets, exceed $5,000 per month for a full page ad.

2. Long commitment, because you're stuck for 12 months.

3. Large ad a must, if you want near the front of the lawyer section.

4. Hard to test, because you must wait a year to change your ad.

5. High confusion factor, because consumers see many lawyer ads at once.

6. No ongoing exposure, because no one sees your ad until they turn to the page where your ad appears.

7. Easy to pre-empt. If your prospect finds a lawyer through a newspaper ad, he doesn't need to open the Yellow Pages.



1. Effortless. You can leave the ad in the newspaper as long as you want.

2. Repeated exposure. If your ad has strong visual impact, your prospects could see your ad every time they open the newspaper.

3. Increased credibility. People have a higher level of trust for things they see repeatedly.

4. You control frequency because you run your ad as often as you want.

5. No long-term commitment. Even if you sign a one-year contract, most newspapers let you cancel anytime without penalty.

6. High visibility and recall. People see your ad repeatedly. When they need your services, they open the newspaper to find your phone number.

7. Cross section. You reach people of varying demographics.

8. Test small ads. You could discover that small ads work just as well as large ads.

9. Easy to change. If you want to test a different message, or different graphics, you can change your ad.

10. Earned discount. Under most newspaper contracts, the more ads you buy, the less you pay.

11. Higher response from smaller papers. Large metro newspapers often generate the poorest response from ads because people tend to scan the newspapers rather than read them. For business prospects, test your ad in trade and professional newspapers, which usually generate a good response. For consumer prospects, small suburban newspapers that reach your target audience perform well. As a result, lawyers invest less money and get a greater response from small newspapers than from large papers.


1. Some consumers now get their news from other sources, such as TV and the Internet. That's why you should consider advertising in your local online newspaper.

2. Now that Denver papers aren't at war anymore, you will pay a premium.


1. Choose newspapers that reach prospects in the geographical areas you serve.

2. Sign a contract with the newspaper so you get a low rate. Make sure you can cancel the contract at any time and be liable for no more than the difference between the amount you paid and the rate you actually earned.

3. Hire a skilled advertising person to write a powerful ad that motivates your prospects to act.

4. Use your ad to generate a response, such as attending your seminar, asking for your free materials or visiting your Web site.

5. Use your advertising to establish your niche so prospects know the type of cases you want.

6. Hire a competent graphic artist to design your ad so it grabs your prospect's attention.

7. Make sure your Web site provides all the information prospects want. Your Web site is the one place you can put a great deal of information at a very low cost.

Trey Ryder specializes in education-based marketing for attorneys. He offers lawyers three free articles: "13 Marketing Misconceptions that Cost Lawyers a Fortune"; "11 Brochure Mistakes Lawyers Make"; and "7 Secrets of Dignified Marketing." Send your name and e-mail address to and ask for his free e-mail packet of articles. © Copyright 2001 by Trey Ryder LLC. All rights reserved.

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