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“Call Me. I’m a Lawyer. I’m on a billboard!” For years, lawyers have used cheesy advertisements like these on large billboards near highways and other populated areas. Some may think, does anybody actually call those? Well, they did — but with today’s technology and the internet, billboards may soon be a thing of the past.

These days, many businesses, regardless of size, have some sort of online presence. Perhaps their location and hours is available on Google, or maybe they have a full fledged site. Regardless, businesses are moving online to increase accessibility, exposure, and in turn, sales. Google has dominated the search engine space, providing businesses with paid ad services and other tools to help attract new customers.

Unlike many other professions, say a doctor, where the client knows a practice that he or she goes to regularly, lawyer’s are often employed only once. Thus, it can be difficult to keep finding new clients and spread the word about your practice. This is where advertising comes in — it allows a lawyer to reach more potential clients. Billboards served this purpose, but could have high upfront costs and logistical issues. The introduction of the internet made advertising much easier — simply build a website, allot a budget to Google’s advertising agency, and you have your very own digital “billboard.”

Furthermore, the internet allows for much more content to be shared with potential clients. A billboard is limited by its size, where a website is practically unconstrained. You can have as many pages as you’d like, each one filled with hundreds of words of content describing you and your practice. From about pages to YouTube clips, anything can be included on a website. Thus, this makes it easier for potential clients to determine if you will be a good fit as their lawyer.

Just as with any technological development, websites and the internet came with many spinoff industries. Advertising agencies existed for physical marketing, like putting up billboards and creating paper advertisements, but originally there was nothing for digital advertising. However, most people specialize in one profession — a lawyer knows law, not web design and advertising. Thus, alongside this transition from billboards to websites has been a shift from traditional marketing agencies to digital marketing agencies. These companies work with law firms, designing their websites to best suit their practice.

So, the next time you do a internet search for a lawyer, take a close look at the top few websites. What makes their site stand out? What marketing techniques are they using? Obviously something is working, as their site has been driven to the top of the search engines results page. It’s almost as if they had the biggest billboard in the best location!