Buying ad space is a sure-fire way to gain top-of-Google rankings, which can also buy growth in business rapidly.
Pay-per-click (PPC) lets lawyers market on search engines by providing top placement, buying traffic as distinct from some of the organic SEO law marketing tactics that achieve top rankings.
The trick here is that you (a) have to pay per click and (b) you have to ensure your PPC campaign is going to generate the business leads you need.
PPC ads can also work almost instantly, which is one of their great advantages. SEO is a long-term game, but a very important one that can yield results for years to come.
Ideally you should use SEO and PPC together and see them as part of overall marketing efforts. PPC campaigns can come and go, but SEO efforts will remain if you put the time in and develop great content, as we have outlined in our report here.
And depending upon the area of law your practice in you can pay highly.
For instance, personal injury law, being one of the most aggressively competitive legal areas is an area where keywords can be extremely expensive, running up to several hundred dollars.
You know therefore that you need to make your law firm PPC campaign work for you.
One of the main keys to using PPC effectively is to carefully test your ads and then scale those that are producing the results you want. Pay-per-click advertising depends upon having results that are not costing you money – but making it for you by way of new client enquiries and results.
You may be paying $200 per click on a ‘personal injury’ ad, but if you end up with a single client worth multiple thousands in fees then you’re return is great.
Testing and scaling is what that is all about and comprises the best practices when it comes to PPC advertising.
The PPC Ads
PPC ads will display top of page on Google, regardless of whether or not you have top organic rankings for your keywords by using great search engine optimization.
Focus Your Ad Spend
Using Google Adwords means focusing your keywords on the target market you want to attract.
So if you are a bankruptcy lawyer in Orange County you will have some idea of the age range and location of your prospective clients seeking your legal services in this area.
It may be people between 25 and 55, for instance. You can also get a hyper-focused geographic location for them also, using zip codes, interests family, profession and the other features provided by Google Adwords.
This process is part art and part science, but you want to focus principally on the latter because by putting the effort in here to target your ad spend as tightly and accurately as possible you will be protecting your ad investment and achieving the results you need.
A great introduction to Google Adwords usage can be found at this article.
PPC Helps Brand Building
Law firm’s PPC campaigns can build brand awareness as well as generating new clients.
Brand building for firms is an important exercise and even though a good number of online searchers will skip over the advertisements at the top of the results, many will not.
Furthermore, the building of your law firm name is a good digital marketing strategy that will help increase that awareness for your target audience.
Using PPC Consultants
Depending upon your resources and strategy you can use PPC consultants to set up your campaigns.
Smaller firms and solo lawyers are probably better off doing it themselves, not only to save valuable money but also to gain the knowledge that can help them assess how well their marketing campaigns are performing and knowing what the the key criteria are to achieve that desired success rate.
A consultant – and you, if you’re doing it yourself – will want to split test ads, alter your marketing targets, check and research your keywords and your target audience, adjust your ad spend, monitor your results and assess the ROI on your Google ads.
Using Facebook, Google and the other search engines means you can monitor your results very easily and you need to do so.
Adjust your copy, your ad image (if any) and the other components to the ad. Do the split testing and see how the ads perform.
It is amazing how even a minor adjustment to the ad copy on an online ad can affect the results you achieve. So test and monitor constantly.
The PPC Keyword Advantage
Whilst PPC and SEO efforts can run side-by-side one great advantage to using PPC is to refine and research the keywords that are going to work for you in your search engine optimization and content writing efforts.
By identifying which keywords are high converting, you can use them for your organic results work. Similarly, some keywords will be low converting and high cost, and they too should be used with your organic SEO efforts.
Remember that the long tail keywords are often the type that can yield great results in either online advertising or content marketing.
Your keywords search tools may not recommend a term like “good priced bankruptcy lawyer in Orange County” or “experienced divorce lawyer in Boise”, but they can still produce results and generate traffic.
1. Know Your Audience
You need not just a good idea of who your audience is, but an extremely focused idea. By knowing your audience you can target them with keywords that hit the market accurately and avoid wasting your valuable ad dollars.
You need to really understand the exact typical audience member you are seeking to attract: their demographics, their location, their income, their likely interests, their background and even personality type.
Use your knowledge of your existing clients and do some good competitor analysis to see who you should be targeting. You can use tools like SimilarWeb or tools that will help identify what ads are working. Use the tools to achieve the best results with your campaign.
Law firm PPC ads works best with a highly detailed idea of exactly who is being targeted.
2. Set Your Budget
Controlling your budget is vital and by monitoring your response rate, knowing when conversions are going to be good and adjusting your ad spend accordingly, you can ensure you stay within your budget and achieve a good, if not great ROI on your spend.
Platforms like Google and Facebook provide a range of valuable tools to assess how much you might be spending on your campaigns.
A tool such as Google Keyword Planner forecasts lets you accurately estimate the likely traffic you will get from your law firm’s ppc campaigns and provide the figures that let you know how much you will be spending to achieve the results you seek.
3. Start Small
You should start your PPC ads on a limited budget. Start small, or at least have a limit on how much your ad spend will be.
Once you have tested your ads (see below) and see how they perform you can increase the budget once you know how they are performing and what return they are providing.
The whole point of PPC ads is that they are controllable in terms of performance and how much they produce for you. Once they’re working, scale them up.
4. Set Your Ad Platform
The common ad platforms are of course Google Ads and Facebook and you should decide which you want to become accustomed to and learn about setting up the ads.
However do not overlook Microsoft’s ad platform (formerly Bing and now Microsoft Bing) either. There are advantages in using their ad network in that they face less competition for their keywords than Google or Facebook and yet you still have a major chunk of the online search market.
Either way (as explained below) Microsoft offers certain advantages, but you should work on developing your skills in marketing for the ROI you seek.
5. Set Your Objectives
You need to know what you want to achieve with your ads.
Your objectives or goals need to be specific. You need to define exactly how many leads you want to generate from your ads, rather than having a general idea of simply ‘gaining new clients’.
By having a clear focus on the number of leads you believe you can convert each month you can then properly monitor and refine your PPC campaigns so that you know what return you are getting and how successful it is.
Be specific. No waffle here.
6. Set Up Your Ad Group
Setting up PPC ads means using your keywords to identify the target market you’re looking to reach.
The search engines provide ‘match’ types, which include broad, phrase and exact matches. Sophisticated Google algorithms recognize related keywords and synonyms, which will permit your ad to appear where related search queries are entered into the search engine.
For instance, a search for “a divorce lawyer” as a broad match, you may well appear when a search query is entered for “top divorce lawyer” or “divorce lawyer Miami” (if you have that location).
A broad match is the least focused ad-match and is where the search engine will display your ad for the variations or related searches, rather than using precise keywords.
A phrase match is where your ad is initiated after certain keywords are used as part of a phrase. For instance, many searches will be “best employment lawyer near Chicago”, so if your keywords are something like “chicago employment lawyer” your ad could be triggered.
Exact match is the final, highly focused search ad type which is where you ad is used when there is an exact match to your keywords – such as ‘Miami divorce lawyer’.
7. Choose Your Keywords
Researching the right keywords to use is key to success with PPC campaigns.
As mentioned you can use the Google Ads keyword planner and tools like Ubersuggest to locate appropriate keywords to use.
We have written about keyword selection and how you can use it in your law firm marketing in this article here, where we outline a bunch of free and paid keyword search tools.
Focus on those keywords that match your target audience. Do appropriate competitor research to see what other law firms are doing and for law firms focused on the local market make sure you use location-specific keywords (“San Diego divorce lawyer”, “Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney” etc).
Check the search volumes but don’t get hung up on search volumes alone – as many PPC and AdWords users do. Remember that it is the quality of the traffic (ie the leads that become clients) not just the volume of searches that counts.
Once you have done your research you can work on your budget to know what the average cost of the keywords will be. Try and get a reasonable balance between both higher volume keywords that may have a broader application and specific, ‘long tail’ and geographically targeted keywords, which will generally convert much better.
9.Write Great Copy
You need to think hard about your ad copy and monitor the results by testing.
While you may think you know precisely what the key issues are for your ‘ideal client’, testing will show you what is actually their concern.
The results from testing can surprise, so keep doing it working up to better and better returns from you ads.
Remember too that images in your ads can make the world of difference. A picture is worth a 1000 words sometimes. Test the images too, by leaving the copy and altering only the image and see what happens.
10. Have A Call to Action
The call to action (CTA) is an all important element of advertising and when you prepare your PPC ad you need to ensure you have a decent CTA for the audience. It’s a vital component of making your PPC campaign a success.
11. Incorporate Your Keywords in the Ad Copy
It is vital to ensure the keywords you have researched are incorporated into your ad copy.
Google (and the other PPC platforms) will be measuring your ads also to see how effective they are, using a Quality Score tool that sees how relevant your PPC ad is compared to others who are bidding on the same words.
12. Don’t Overlook Microsoft Bing
Using Microsoft does let you get used to using PPC on a network that is less expensive and competitive than either Google or Facebook PPC ads.
When Bing Ads changed to Microsoft Bing they online search engine continued as Bing, so do not be confused by the change. Your ads go on Bing, which has over 12 billion desktop searches per month – so it is not chicken feed!
Further, the cost per click (CPC) on Microsoft means that you faces as much as a 36 per cent reduction in competition than on Google Ads.
13. Test, Test, Test
Testing is a vital ingredient to PPC adword success, (as you may have guessed).
Any ads require testing and the search engines will let you run what they call A/B tests, showing you which ads are going to work the best.
The search engines will let you test different parts of the ad copy and you should look at testing all of them, including –
- The headline(s)
- The body text
- Call to action
- The display URL (not to be forgotten).
Let the ads run for a suitable time, at least a week, but preferably longer, and see which are returning the best results. Don’t forget to change the image(s) you use also (retaining the same copy.
Alter only one element at a time.
14. Have a Landing Page
A landing page can massively help your conversions.
This is a page that you send your traffic to and which can help make the conversion be being targeted on the market you are seeking to attract – it may have a special report or some other ‘magnet’ that entices the prospect to enter their details.
A good landing page will be tailored for the audience, as distinct from sending prospect to your main website page, which is necessarily less focused on the reason the person is ‘signing on’.
15. Don’t Overlook Mobile
Mobile is huge and it is important that you ensure you’re ad runs on mobile.
That is too big of an audience to even think about ignoring and you want to ensure your PPC ads appear on mobile devices.
The tools now available also help you with mobile advertising. You can locate relevant keywords that perform best on mobile devices and bid accordingly to target the audience who are mainly using mobile, rather than desktop or tablets etc.
16. Consider Using Ad Extensions
Ad extensions will ad additional content to your ad by attaching content about your law firm in the content of the ad itself.
So common ad extensions would be details like your phone and location, which is ideal for the millions of searches relating to “lawyers near me”, “criminal lawyer near me” etc.
Google recommend at least six sitelink extensions and you should look at including them to obtain some major benefits including –
- Better ad quality
- Better visibility for your PPC ads
- Better click through rates
- More targeted click throughs.
For more information about the best practices with ad extensions check this resource from Disruptive Advertising.
17. Check Your PPC Ads Performance
It is vital that once you have set up your law firm marketing campaign you monitor the performance of your PPC ads.
Remember to be patient and methodical about how you test your ads, which you can check by using Google Analytics which will let you know which ads are working and which may need some further testing or attention.
Optimize the ads to make sure you are hitting the metrics you need to for your ads, which include the following key metrics –
- The clickthrough rate, which lets you know how your ad is performing and how many clicks it is receiving. A low CTR will see you needing to check your copy, keywords, headline etc.
- The Quality score, which is how Google determines the relevance of your keywords for the searches and how it compares to what users are actually looking for. It will factor in the CTR, keywords and other factors.
- Cost per conversion, which is the cost of acquiring your new clients. So, if you have spent $100 on a CPC and you require 10 click throughs to obtain a single new client then the cost per conversion is $1000.
- Waste. Ensure you’re not spending money on keywords that are not converting.
The PPC Essentials
Remember that when using PPC ads to generate business there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. It is about adopting a reasonably scientific approach that pays attention to the key metrics outlined above that will generate the sort of results you need to build your law firm’s clients.
Law firm marketing using PPC ads can be fast and effective, you simply need to adhere to the PPC rules that will guarantee success in building your law firm client base.