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At some point in their lives, everyone needs a good lawyer.
But you know that already. I’m betting what you DON’T know is how to get those people in your door to sign on as clients.
The good news is that there are certain online marketing strategies law firms can use to reach these people right at the moment they need an attorney–one of which is pay-per-click, or PPC advertising. Pay-per-click ads are extremely effective for lawyers because they can identify and be shown to people at the exact moment they need a lawyer.
The bad news is that there’s a catch–it’s extremely competitive in the legal field, and using Google Adwords for attorneys (or any other pay-per-click platform) can be a money trap if you’re not deploying it correctly. I’ll show you what I mean; take a look at the graph below:
In the first position, a PPC ad can have as high as a 7 percent click-through-rate. It drops dramatically for the second position, and so on.
I’ll tell you right now–getting that number one spot isn’t a walk in the park.
With a lawyer in the family and numerous practice-owning friends and clients, I’m a huge fan of the legal field (yea girl, you DEFEND those rights!!!), so I want to help you out. Below I’ll share with you the inside scoop on PPC advertising for lawyers so that you can skip ahead of the competition, ramp up visits to your website, and beef up your client load.
What Is PPC?
What is PPC? PPC refers to pay-per-click ads. Much like they sound, these are online ads that you pay for when someone clicks on them. These ads can be displayed in a number of places, including at the top of the search engine results page (search ads) as well as on partnering websites (display ads).
The amount you pay is determined in an ad auction, where you and other like businesses indicate how much you’d pay for a click. There are a number of factors to determine where your ad will rank – from the landing page (the page that the advertisement directs to) and the relevance of the advertisement to the searcher’s query and more!
Here’s a great example: if two companies produce the exact same ad and bid the exact same amount, the company with a better landing page (the website page that the user lands on after clicking an ad), or that is more relevant wins.
There are numerous PPC platforms, but the most common are Google AdWords and Bing Ads.
Why You Should Choose PPC for Law Firms
I can nail this down into four key reasons why you should most definitely use PPC ads for attorneys and law firms:
- PPC ads have a prominent place in search resutls. When someone goes to Google and searches for something, the top 3 – 4 listings are usually advertisements from Google’s AdWords. Take a look–I’m in the Washington, DC area, and I searched for “personal injury lawyer.” Here’s what came up:
Those dominant paid advertisements took up the entire top half of my screen, and on average, 41% of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on the search results page.
- Your competitors are using them. Remember the listing above? That’s what you’re up against every time someone searches for an attorney with your specialties. You need to be able to get in front of potential clients immediately, and highlight what sets you apart.
Take a look at that first listing above: I have almost all the information I’d want to know before even considering signing on as a client. This can build consumer trust and give them the low-down on what your firm does, how they do it, and how other clients have benefited.
- You can control the keywords you appear for, so you can target those micro-moments and high-intent searches. When people search for things online, there are minute tells that let the search engine know the user’s search intent.What you want to target are those commercial intent keywords, which signify someone is ready to fill out a contact form, make a purchase, or request information. With Google AdWords and other pay-per-click-platforms, you can identify which search terms are most valuable to your specific law firm, and then capitalize on them.
Best Types of PPC Ads for Attorneys
There are three main types of PPC campaigns that lawyers should concern themselves with:
- Display ad campaigns – In addition to showing ads in the search results, Google partners with a bunch of webpages in order to form a network called the Google Display Network (GDN)—where Google can display ads. This network spans over two million websites that reach over 90 percent of people on the Internet.
- Search ad campaigns – Search ads appear next to Google search results when people look for products and services you offer. You only pay when people click to your website or call your law firm.
- Remarketing campaigns – Remarketing (often called retargeting on social media advertising sites) is a feature that lets you show ads to people who have previously visited your website. You can tailor your bids and ads to these visitors when they’re searching on Google and search partner sites.
If you’re having trouble choosing the right one for you, we are more than happy to help, so drop us a line!
PPC for Law Firms: Challenges, and How to Overcome Them
The Elephant In the Room: PPC Keywords for Lawyers Are Expensive
This is by far the number one thing you need to be aware of when you start using PPC marketing for your law firm:
PPC keywords for lawyers and legal services are expensive, with an average click costing $54.86.
And that’s just the generic terms. When you search for the highly specialized terms, like personal injury lawyers, mesothelioma lawyers, etc, you get suggested bids like this:
Our data backs up the claim of Robert Ramirez, a specialist in law firm marketing, who said:
“To be competitive in major geographic regions for keyword terms like “personal injury” or “criminal defense attorney,” a monthly PPC budget of at least $30,000 is necessary.”
That’s right. $30,000.
How to Overcome It:
First map out your playbook to decide if PPC is really the right avenue for you. If you’ve got a budget of $1,000 per day and your average CPC is around $50, you’re only going to get 20 clicks per day. Average a five-percent conversion rate (I’m being generous) and you’ve got one conversion per day.
Depending on your typical lifetime value of a customer this may be a great ROI or a terrible one. If one client will end up netting you $25,000 then you’ve got an ROI of 2,400%!
The best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of the high cost for PPC clicks is to be EXTREMELY specific, including hyper-targeted keywords specific to your practice— “back injury lawyer in Washington, DC,” “mesothelioma lawyer in NYC metro area.”
Another tip? Beef up your ads–We highly recommend enabling ad extensions. Ad extensions are bits of additional information people might find helpful. These include reviews, quick links to specific landing pages, phone number and address, and even special snippits featuring direct links to specific landing pages, reviews, directions, prices, and more.
Lawyer SEO and the Google Possum Update
In 2016 Google made a change to its algorithm that affected local SEO and how businesses are featured in the local pack. The update was meant to provide better, more accurate search results for local searchers, but it ended up having some negative consequences for certain businesses, which included law firms. You can read more on Google Possum here, but the key factors that negatively affected lawyers included:
- Businesses with multiple listings for the same address were filtered down to a single listing–so if two practices shared a building it would be likely one of them wouldn’t show up in search results.
- Businesses with two different names, addresses, and phone numbers are now filtered down to a single listing when they appear to be in the same industry and owned by the same person.
- Searcher location is weighted even higher than it previously was. In other words, the results you see for the same keyword search may vary considerably as your position changes. You can see this in action by doing searches from your phone as you travel farther and farther from a specific geographic location.
How to Overcome It:
Google Possum marked a shift in thinking about local SEO for law firms as it became clear that local SEO on its own wouldn’t be enough to dominate in such a competitive industry. That’s where PPC comes in. While you can only control your local pack listing to an extent, you can completely control the keywords you bid on. By using pay-per-click ads, you’re still getting that exposure for localized marketing.
Finding Qualified Law Firm Searchers Is Like Finding a Needle In a Haystack
The third problem you’re going to find when setting up a PPC campaign for attorneys is that finding just the right clients is tough. It just gets harder the more specialized your practice and the fewer clients you can take on.
How To Overcome It
The best way to overcome this is to be extremely detailed in your targeting and in your keyword usage. Have a relevant and actionable call-to-action, descriptive keywords, and a differentiator of your law firm.
Closing Argument: Yes, Use PPC Ads for Your Law Firm, But Be Careful About It
To be honest, PPC can’t work alone. It needs to be coupled with SEO for law firms in order to get the best benefits. Take a look at the results below. They belong to an attorney client of ours, and the chart represents their website traffic over a year.
Want that to be your law firm? It will be, if you combine PPC and SEO correctly. Contact us today and we’ll see what we can do to get you more clients and beat out your competitors.
About The Author: Betsy is the social media lead and a digital marketing expert with Blue Corona. When she’s not managing Blue Corona's digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring, hiking with her dog, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
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