Every time you turn on your mobile phone, you're plugging into a massive GPS system that tracks where you are and even knows where you're likely to be headed. This means that local mobile advertising has more ways to track and target possible clients than ever. Whether your firm is still asking “what is mobile advertising?” or you've already started using some local targeting in your mobile ads, this guide will help you understand current best practices and get a great mobile campaign started.
What is Mobile Advertising Like Today?
While lawyers were largely ahead of the phone technology curve and adopted Blackberry technology long before the average consumer had even heard of smart phones, they still used clunky advertising methods. Instead of making the most of the web's capacity to deliver images and videos, mobile ads were almost always exclusively text, often in the form of a direct SMS advertisement.
Today, that old image of what is mobile advertising has changed for good. Local mobile advertising no longer means sending out a direct ad to everyone in your phone list. Instead, you can use your mobile ads to target customers in your city, in your neighborhood, or even on your block.
Local mobile advertising can now take several different forms. Increasingly, an answer to “what is mobile advertising” is the in-app banner ad. If your law firm works with an advertising network, you can put local mobile advertising into the apps local customers are using most frequently.
If you're still waiting to see what mobile advertising is capable of, you may want to try using Facebook's targeted mobile ads. This form of local mobile advertising lets you put “sponsored stories” into the news feeds of your target audience, giving you incredible visibility and great click through rates.
What is Mobile Advertising Useful For?
It may surprise you to learn that soon, people will be spending more time on average browsing the web from their phones than from their computers. Local mobile advertising lets you get in on the ground floor of this new market.
One of the best answers to the question “what is mobile advertising good for?” is also one of the most obvious. When someone sees your traditional web advertising, they're usually on a desktop computer. Desktops make it easy to do a lot of research at once. After the research is done, your potential client may or may not get up from their office chair, pick up the phone, and give your office a call.
When someone sees your local mobile advertising, though, everything is different. Comparison shopping isn't as easy on a smart phone as it is on a desktop, so your clients aren't likely to see your ad, but then go elsewhere for the same services. What is mobile advertising useful for? Making it incredibly easy to contact your firm, specifically, after someone sees your ad.
Designing Great Local Mobile Advertising
If you're new to mobile markets, you may still be asking “what is mobile advertising supposed to look like?” The answer is: less like your standard website than you may think. Mobile consumers want something different from web browsing clients. Instead of peddling a huge amount of information, you're better off using your local mobile advertising to target very niche market segments and direct them to your landing pages.
Some of the best local mobile advertising today is actually video based. The vast majority of clients will want to hire a lawyer who is local, and you can show people using a mobile ad that you're part of the community they work and live in. Having great mobile tie-in videos that expand on videos you've already been successful marketing on the web can be a great way to get conversions fast from mobile customers.
Defining “Local” and Changes to What is Mobile Advertising
A few years ago, local targeting meant search engine optimization based around local keywords. That's no longer the way great law firms are keeping their ad viewers local. Depending on what mobile ad platform you're using, you can target people in whatever local area works best for you.
Some mobile ad networks give you the ability to target based on a cell phone's GPS data. If you wanted to, you could limit what was considered “local” to such a tight circle that any of your ad targets could hear you shout out your office window. Now, most law firms don't need that kind of incredibly tight local targeting, but it's good to know that you have options.
Be a little bit careful when using that demographic data, though. If you are broadcasting the signal “I know all about you already” with your ads, viewers can be turned off or even think that you would use their data unethically. When you're targeting just one very tiny demographic with a local mobile advertising campaign, you want to sound like a lawyer, not a stalker.
What is Mobile Advertising Going to Look Like in the Future?
Five years ago, if you had asked a marketing professional the question “what is mobile advertising?” you'd have probably gotten an answer about text messages being used a lot like direct mail flyers. Five years from now, there will probably be new ways to target local mobile advertising that make today's methods look primitive by contrast.
Already, some mobile marketing companies are using data mining technology to target consumers who appear to be going through specific life events. Imagine the possibilities if you're a divorce attorney or work with probate cases! Instead of just talking to random consumers in a particular demographic, soon you'll be able to show your ads to the exact people who need them most.
As local mobile advertising keeps changing, you'll want to keep an eye on changes to your ethical responsibilities. Bar associations have been trying to figure out how to balance lawyers' need for efficient marketing with the ethical and professional responsibilities that come with being an attorney, and your state bar may end up prohibiting some new forms of marketing.