In this podcast, Personal Injury Attorney Will Gosney provides some insight on how TV ads have helped Ylla Gosney, Attorneys at Law with their practice in Oklahoma. With heavy spenders in the area, they chose to create very high quality, memorable TV ads to build their brand. Their commercials are top notch and the partners are able to discuss their values in them.
Personal Injury Marketing Minute 59 addresses why some TV ad campaigns fail, their tactic to compete, proceeding with ads during Covid, ROI, traditional TV vs OTT and much more.
We strongly recommend listening to this episode if you are considering running TV ads for your law firm.
Visit Ylla Gosney online here: https://yllagosney.com/.
Visit Will Gosney’s profile here: https://yllagosney.com/william-gosney/.
See all episodes or subscribe to the Personal Injury Marketing Minute here: https://optimizemyfirm.com/podcasts/.
Here’s one of their great videos:
Welcome to the Personal Injury Marketing Minute where we quickly cover the hot topics in the legal marketing world. I’m your host, Lindsey Busfield. One of the oldest marketing strategies, next to phone book ads, is TV commercials. We have talked to dozens of law firms about their TV ads and nine out of 10 lawyers tell us that TV ads just have not worked for them. However, sometimes they do work. Will Gosney, a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma has actually had some decent success with TV ads. So, before you either dump money into a new ad campaign or blow off TV ads altogether, let’s find out how Will has made them work for his firm. Thank you so much for joining us, Will.
Thank you. It’s really good to be here.
About Will Gosney & the Ylla Gosney Law Firm:
Will, tell us a little bit about yourself and about your firm.
So, I’m Will Gosney, I am a native to Oklahoma City, grew up here in the Oklahoma City area, went to school at the University of Oklahoma, I graduated with both my degrees from there and started practicing here in Oklahoma City right away in personal injury. A unique career path, I didn’t have to jump around like most folks in law do. I met my mentor who had just started his own practice right after my first year of law school, was able to just start on as an intern with him and then really kept going. And then he passed away unexpectedly in 2018 and, from there, the other junior partners in the firm and I, we banded together and we took over the firm.
So, we’ve been managing the firm since that time. But I love Oklahoma, this is my home and we like it here so, yeah, that’s a little bit about me.
How Ylla Gosney Got Started with TV Ads:
Well, great. Well, thank you for giving us some background. So, why did you start running TV ads and how long have you been running them for?
So, I mentioned I got into practice in personal injury with my mentor and he had gone out on his own when he started practicing and I started with him and he had practiced at a large personal injury firm in Oklahoma that did a lot of TV marketing. So, I’m sure, in most markets and whenever I travel, I look and see what other people are doing but I think, in most markets, there’s probably a handful of folks who cornered the TV market, the real big spenders. And he had worked at one of those firms and, through the years, he had dabbled and been unsuccessful in doing his own television.
So, then, when he passed, my partner, my current partner and I, we decided, well, there’s something that he had been passionate about but never really put forth the effort to truly realize. And so, a little bit of a nod to our mentor who had wanted to do it but never really could put it together and then, also, just because we were looking for ways to make it work for ourselves, so expand upon our model and have this fresh start, branding ourselves. So, a lot of different reasons but we started in the spring of 2019 is when we started writing our TV ads.
Return on Investment & Brand Building:
So, you’ve been doing them for a few years now. What kind of ROI have you seen since then?
So, we have a unique path in that our ROI was immediately disrupted by COVID. So, we started and we had always anticipated that this would be a long play, so this would be brand building in a lot of ways for us. And so, we knew it wouldn’t necessarily pay off immediately but, gradually, over the few months, we did start to see some return. And then, COVID, everybody had a decision. Some people decided that they would just really stop spending nearly as much and I made the decision that, look, I think there’s going to be a lot of people at home watching TV so we didn’t spend more, we didn’t spend less, we kept our spend static. Whereas, the goal would’ve been to continue to increase little by little how much we were spending on our TV ads, we more or less kept it static.
So, again, I think the business in general was down in 2020, less people were on the road but, from there, it really started to grow. We were breaking even by that time and then I think we were really seeing a return on our investment by 2021 and then it just continued. We’ve continued to see an increase in how many files we’re getting based upon how much we’re spending so our ROI should be even more this year. So, it’s gotten to be where it’s pretty good so we’ll see what the future holds but, hopefully, it continues that trend.
Can You Track TV ROI?
Well, that makes a lot of sense. As you said, people were at home watching TV and so, while a traditional investment would’ve had a return of X amount, you’re getting even more from that one investment that you’re making because of all the additional visibility coming with it and lawyers pulling out and you really being at the top of people’s minds. So, you made a really smart move in having that additional brand exposure and, as you said, you’re starting to see some more ROI especially as you’re starting to spend more into that. But how are you able to track exactly how many leads are coming in from a direct result from the TV ads?
Well, I assume most people are doing this but, really, the only way that we have is to ask folks how they got to us. And so, I do think that there’s an effect that’s unmeasurable. So, the ads are going to give people, people who may be referred to us by a prior client of ours or by a physician or someone else, they’re probably more likely to trust that person or give us a call because maybe they’ve seen this on TV but, when they call, they say I was referred by my friend. But we do track specific, when people tell specifically TV and then we’ll even go so far as to ask them, “Is there a particular channel that you watch more than another?” so, that way, we can determine where people are seeing us specifically based upon the programs they’re watching or the stations that they’re watching.
So, anyway, yeah, we just ask clients and we keep careful track of it. I track where clients are coming from and we monitor that. But I do think there is an impact beyond more than just the people who are calling and say, “Yeah, TV is where I saw you.”
Do TV Ads Produce Quality Leads?
Right. And you’re absolutely right, when you have so many different factors at play where people are seeing you on TV, you’re referred from a friend, they see your website, all of those work together to build your visibility and the recognizable aspect of your brand and build that trust factor that all ultimately leads to them calling you. So, regardless of whether or not you have a unique phone number on your ad or some other tracking system, all of that is definitely working together.
But obviously, I’m sure, especially in the personal injury world where people will look at a commercial and you get 30 seconds or so to explain exactly why people should call you, not everybody really understands exactly what a personal injury attorney does. So, how many junk leads are you getting from these ads as well? Have you noticed an uptick in those?
Yeah, yes, you got to kiss some frogs, that’s what we say. You got to kiss a lot of frogs sometimes and it is annoying. You get people who are maybe not in the right state of mind that you got to talk to, you get people who maybe are overly litigious that you wouldn’t want their claim anyway, you get people who have no idea-
Somebody stubbed their toe and wants to hire an attorney?
Sure, right. Right, they want to sue, whatever. But we’ve taken the attitude that even the junk calls are an opportunity to build a little bit of a relationship even with the person who may not need us right now. And so, I’ve even had, and I realize this is an anecdotal experience, I don’t know that it’s necessarily helping us this much but I have had a person who’s called more than once with a claim that I could not help them with but on the other hand, I think I’ve won over this person for good. So, I think, if they do have a friend or family member or if they themselves get into a car wreck or have some actual viable claim, we’ll be on their list and it took me a few minutes out of my day to respond to this person.
So, we really do truly feel like, if we respond to people with kindness and compassion, even if it does seem a little bit crazy, that we’re still building the brand in that way. So, it’s maybe a little bit more remote way that we’re building our brand but we really try to view it as an opportunity instead of just a chore.
Well, and it speaks to the bigger picture of why a lot of personal injuries attorneys get into this particular sector. They’re helping out, they’re building community, they are advocating for the underdog in a lot of situations and just providing really great information so that people who are typically under-served legally can reach out and get help. So, I think it’s great that you’re willing to spend a few minutes on the phone connecting with this person or these people and letting them know, yes, this is worth your time to pursue or, no, this really isn’t going to be helpful for you but, in the future, you’re there as a resource. I think that speaks to you and your law firm a lot.
Creating High Quality Ads:
But let’s talk about the ads themselves. So, walk us through a typical ad. Who is in it? What’s the messaging and what do you want to stick with the viewer once they’re done watching your ad?
Yeah, so there’s lots of options out there. People could go any number of directions on how they want their ads to … What they want their ads to say or look or whatever. So, we decided, my partner and I, decided that we would both like to appear in the ad. So, that’s one thing we can check off the list is we both want to be in the advertisements, we want to be building ourselves as the brand. We’re selling our own services, that’s what we’re building so we decided that’s what we would do is be in it ourselves. And that can be intimidating, you got to … Especially maybe the first ad or two, there’s some shaky dialogue, it takes a lot longer to shoot one. Even if you’ve been in the courtroom a lot, sometimes your acting skills are not as great, if you want to call it that.
Just that presence, that in front of the camera presence, it can take a minute to develop but, anyway, it was important to us to do that. So, yeah, we appear in the ads, we also … So, we made a specific determination that we didn’t have the budget to match the big spenders in our market. So, I talked about that earlier on and I’m sure every market has it, there’s a handful of big spenders and we knew that we were not going to be able to go toe to toe in dollar spend. So, what we decided to do is to have ads that were very high quality production. So, instead of standing in front of green screen or going to an advertising company that uses canned ad or whatever else, we decided that we were going to spend a lot of money to have really high quality, really professional looking advertisements.
And so, then, from there, we also have basically decided that we’d have two variants of ads and one variant is more shocking, something that’s surprising, something that’s memorable. So, we’ve got a couple of ads that are real, more like memory making, like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe what I just saw, that’s really interesting.” And then the other variant of ads is more like just relationship building, just he and I talking or almost sit down interview style, we’ve also done client testimonial style but really more like, “Okay, here’s who we are as people, these are our values, this is what we’re doing to help and so forth.” So, we really have two different styles and those are the two ways that we decided to do our ads.
And do you have any idea of which style has resonated more?
Well, I would say they both … Well, they’re accomplishing the same thing in different ways and that is we want people to remember us, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for people to remember us. And so, the more in your face or … So, the two ads that we have that are more memorable, one of them has a simulated car crash and, the other one, it’s a play on the Allstate Mayhem ads where I get hit by a car as a pedestrian and my partner gets hit by a sign falling down on him and so it’s real shocking to see that happen and they’re actually a lot more divisive.
So, we actually have some people call in and say, “Oh, my gosh, that’s amazing,” just to tell us why they really enjoyed watching that. But then we have some people say, “I can’t believe you wrecked two cars.” Of course, we didn’t wreck two cars, it was a computer generated wreck so it is more divisive. So, you do get some people saying that they don’t like them specifically but, on the other hand, you know people are seeing it and you know they’re really paying attention so I think that’s really important. So, again, as to how people respond, it’s just two different responses but we’re looking for both. We’re looking for people to remember our name with the one types of ads and then we’re looking to people to more trust our name and know what we’re about with the other style.
Choosing an Ad Agency vs Production Company:
That’s a really smart approach. And did you work with an ad agency to help develop your ads?
Yeah, we did and that’s a big part of our success, I think, is we just chose the right agency. And so, again, we were placing a high priority on production and so we’re not working with an ad agency per se, we’re working with a production company who will also help us with our ad agency work. So, I guess, maybe if you haven’t done it and I wouldn’t have understood the distinction before I fell into it. We knew we want well-produced ads so that’s what we were looking for first and then it just so happened that they also will help us talk to the reps at the TV station, help me understand what a good buy is and work over the TV reps for good deals and so forth, be an intermediary so I don’t have to talk to them all the time.
So, as far as that goes, yes, we sought out good production first. My mentor had had a childhood friend who’s an injury attorney in Arkansas who had used this particular production company and that’s how we came to know them, we saw those ads, thought that they were really great and wanted to do similar style to that. So, that’s how we got to know our guy. So, he’s producing content for Netflix and Hulu and big places all over so that’s what we really wanted. But then, as far as agency, per se, work goes, that’s also something that I decided I wanted to be involved in somewhat myself. So, even though I have someone represent us buying the ads, I like to get to know our reps. I like to understand exactly what it is I’m buying and when we’re buying it.
And so, I have tried to take a more hands-on approach, even though I am represented as to what exactly is going on so, that way, I can give a little bit more input to the fine-tuning.
Traditional TV vs OTT:
And so, you mentioned having the connection who’s with Hulu or with Netflix, are you doing OTT streaming ads as well as traditional commercial ads?
Mm-hmm, that’s a good question. So, yes, some but not a whole lot and that’s something I want to get into more. So, yeah, we do some and we’ll do some YouTube and, of course, social media. Traditionally, the TV, traditional TV is good in that you can build an audience, you can tap into audiences that already exist and then you’re reaching the same people at a predictable rate, that’s what we like about it, whereas, in the new digital age where ads are being placed to you, for some folks, it works great. So, if you’re selling purses, you want to be attracting ladies who are in the market for a purse, you can really fine tune what that market is.
So, there’s some folks who really appreciate the Google, YouTube OTT method of this particular we want people who make certain income brackets, certain age, certain gender, we want those people fed our ads. Well, as you know, anybody can be in a car wreck so it’s harder to define who your audience is and so what I wanted to do is try to reach the same people with a good frequency. Even though we might be reaching fewer people, we’re reaching those people with good frequency and that’s easier to do with traditional TV. On the other hand, I do acknowledge that traditional TV is changing, the landscape has very much changed even in the few years that we’ve been on TV but, definitely, for the foreseeable future, traditional TV’s going to change.
So, we will be entertaining more of that kind of work. I also think that traditional TV itself will continue to adapt and change so that we can continue to capture audiences instead of demographics.
I think you’re absolutely right. I think we are at the infancy stage right now where TV is somewhat reinventing itself, where you go from your basic cable that had everything to now you have 12,000 different streaming platforms and I think we’re, right now, just seeing one iteration of what it’s going to ultimately transform into. And I don’t have any idea what that’s going to look like but I think that it’s going to be consistently developing especially over the next five to 10 years.
How To Get Started with TV Ads:
And while I know a little bit about OTT advertising, I know absolutely nothing about traditional TV commercials and I’m guessing that a lot of attorneys are in the same boat where I am, where they’ve seen commercials on TV and don’t really know how to get there. So, if there is an attorney listening who is interested in making a TV ad, a traditional TV ad, what is the process? Where do they start?
Well, yeah, so I guess you have options so you just need to decide what’s right for you. Consider the options and then decide what is right for you based upon what you need. So, if you settled a gigantic case or you won a gigantic verdict and you have money to start spending like the other big spenders in your market, well, then hire a national firm that just does canned ads for attorneys and go for it and then spend all your money on the ads themselves. If you want to do more like what we did, well, then just start interviewing folks. So, like I said, our guy has done more TV related stuff, he’s almost like a filmmaker, he’s a director so that’s what we were looking for. So, there might be people like that that would shoot commercials for you so look for that if that’s what you want to do.
Your local stations should also know. So, at first, we started with one station and then we started to develop a relationship there and then we branched out to other stations. So, you can try to get to know yourself. Of course, they want to sell, they’re salespeople, they’re trying to sell you their time, they really want you but, because they really want you, they’re going to be willing to help you. So, they may know, in our market, heat and air is big, I’m sure it’s probably big in other markets as well but they’re going to know who’s producing the commercial for maybe the big heat and air guys and you can try that on or whatever other industry they might know, have some contacts. So, that’s another place that you could possibly look but understand what you’re looking for.
So, again, we knew we couldn’t match the spend so then we’re just trying to spend our money wisely and we’re also realizing that this is a long play, we’re just trying to build our brand and so that was also consistency. You got to be consistent and then you have to have a plan and then you also have to be willing to massage that plan as you need as you start to learn more and as things change.
Well, that’s great. That’s so helpful to know. Will, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your insights on successful TV ads.
All right. Well, thank you. It was a pleasure to be here with you.