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Support Services: Is Your Legal Advertising Causing You Personal Injury?

1 Jun, 2013 By: Scott Richards Response

Legal advertising has long been a mainstay of television and radio advertising, with personal injury attorneys and class action lawsuits that advertise on a local or regional basis leading the way. While such advertisers specialize in helping those that have been injured gain compensation from accidents, these advertisers may, ironically, be causing their own advertising efforts undue harm. The two major mistakes they are making are: 1) They don’t use the 800-prefix toll-free numbers in their advertising; and 2) they don’t use an unforgettable number.

Make It Easy for Them to Call You
Although every legal advertiser will likely maintain a website, prospects are still going to pick up the telephone given the consultative nature of their advice. Therefore, anything that can help prospective clients recall how to contact the advertiser is helpful. In the case of personal injury, which relies on heavy daytime rotations, the person may in fact be lying in a hospital bed. Therefore you need a telephone number that is easy for people to recall.

First and foremost, legal advertisers should use 800-prefix toll-free numbers exclusively. Why? The 800 prefix preceded the others that came after it – including 855, 866, 877 and 888 – by more than two decades. As a result, the 800 prefix is the “dot-com” of toll-free prefixes and the number that many callers will use as a default when they hear “toll-free” and then dial on autopilot. We observe tens of thousands of misdials against the "800" version of numbers that are advertising using the other toll-free prefixes.

If you are advertising with a non-800 number toll-free prefix and are skeptical about this assertion, simply take one minute to try this test: dial the 800-prefix version of the number you are advertising and see what you get. If the number is disconnected, your prospect may be discouraged and never call again. If it’s another business, ask them if they get inquiries relevant to your business. You may very well be surprised by what you hear! We’ve executed this litmus test many times and have been met with abject frustration on the other end by recipients of misdialed calls!

In addition to the baseline best practice of having an “800” number, legal advertisers should consider a vanity or hybrid number. Let’s define them and discuss their advantages.

A pure vanity would be a number such as (800) LONGHORN, which happens to be currently used by a Texas-based personal injury law firm. Anyone who has ever stepped foot in Texas knows how passionate University of Texas alumni are about their beloved Longhorns, so this number gives the advertiser a decided advantage. Why? Because, as Dr. Robert Cialdini explains in his seminal book “Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion,” one of the key weapons of influence is “liking.” Simply put, people do business with people they like and, as the old saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together.”

Beyond a pure vanity number, however, there are hybrid toll-free numbers that are also memorable and have additional advantages. These numbers include keywords such as “LAW.” For example, the number (800) LAW-5510 is easily memorized since it consists of four chunks of information. According to short-term memory theory, people can easily recall three or four “chunks” of information. The first chunk is (800); “LAW” is the second chunk; “55” the third; and “10” the fourth chunk. In head-to-head tests against random series of digits, these more memorable numbers have proven to increase inbound response from 10 percent to 25 percent – and more!

Another benefit that using a word like “LAW” in the telephone number gives an advertiser is that it leverages a secondary law of persuasion that Dr. Cialdini cites: “Authority.” Simply put, people tend to gravitate toward and put their trust in those that they believe are experts in their field.

A third advantage of employing multiple hybrid numbers is that they allow you to track the effectiveness of your advertising because you dedicate different hybrid-“LAW” telephone numbers to various ads. So, for example, if you were running ads on three different radio stations during drive time, you could compare how many leads come in from one source versus another based upon how many prospects dial each station’s dedicated number. This allows a legal advertiser to spend their advertising dollars where they are providing the best return on investment and eliminate those ads that are performing poorly.

Where Art Thou Numbers?
By now you may be wondering: how does a legal advertiser obtain a great number or set of numbers? With virtually all of the available 800-prefix toll-free numbers scooped up long ago, is it possible for a legal advertiser to get the memorable “800” numbers? Fortunately, there are sources that have aggregated such numbers and make them available, along with intelligent call routing, so that advertisers can take test the advantages of such memorable toll-free numbers for themselves. With the average American exposed to thousands of advertising and marketing messages a day, employing these simple tips allows legal advertisers to cut through information clutter and enable their prospects to find them easily and efficiently.

Scott Richards is CEO of Dial 800, specialists in marketing optimization. Dial 800’s tool suite includes RapidRecall, the largest bank of memorable toll-free numbers in the industry, and AccuRoute, intelligent call routing that allows marketers to use multiple call centers, create competition for their business, and route calls to their best closers in real time, on the fly. He can be reached at (800) DIAL-800 or at

About the Author: Scott Richards

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