Although there are many ways law firms can generate quality leads via digital marketing, PPC (pay-per-click) marketing remains one of the most effective. PPC marketing is particularly useful as a means of generating leads quickly and efficiently.
Keep reading to learn how. This overview will cover the essentials of PPC marketing for law firms, helping you better understand the role it can play in your overall marketing strategy.
PPC marketing involves placing ads on relevant sites and search results pages via an online ad platform. Every time a potential lead clicks on your ad, you pay the host of the ad platform. You’ll typically launch an ad or campaign by bidding on keywords related to your firm. For example, you might bid on a keyword (or phrase) like “car accident law firm Brooklyn, NY.”
Google and search engines in general tend to be among the most popular choices of ad platforms for a simple reason: they allow you to reach leads whose searches align with your products or services. With a solid PPC marketing plan, you can be confident the people seeing your ads are likely to be interested in the services your law firm offers.
It’s critical that you avoid certain common mistakes when leveraging PPC marketing to help your firm attract more clients. Too often, lawyers treat PPC marketing as being separate from their other channels. Or, they may rely solely on PPC marketing, not realizing it’s only a component of a strategy.
Any law firm can benefit from PPC marketing to some degree. However, this method is very useful when your firm is relatively new and in the early stages of growth.
A strong PPC marketing strategy will help your firm quickly attract new leads and spread brand awareness when you’re just starting out. In the long run, your SEO strategy will help you maintain the momentum PPC marketing initially generated.
Studying your PPC marketing results will also help you plan an SEO strategy that delivers results. Because PPC marketing involves bidding on keywords and placing ads that will theoretically feature various types of copy (you should always A/B test ads to learn what types of copy, images, etc. leads respond to), you can study the performance of individual ads and overall campaigns to determine which keywords and copy attract the most attention from leads.
PPC marketing essentially complements SEO marketing in this way. You can take what you’ve learned from your PPC campaigns and apply those lessons to your SEO strategy. Specifically, when you know which keywords and copy make the strongest impression on your target audience, you can incorporate them into your titles, meta descriptions, calls to action, and website content, optimizing your SEO based on a genuine understanding of what does and does not work.
PPC marketing can also be useful if your law firm has any PR problems. No one needs to tell you attorneys can face bad PR for plenty of reasons. Not all of them are good reasons. Regardless, negative articles and mentions of your firm can make attracting leads a lot more difficult than you’d like it to be if those articles and mentions show up high in relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).
This highlights another major benefit of PPC marketing. PPC ads will appear in the paid results for relevant keyword searches on SERPs. If you’ve used what you’ve learned from studying your PPC campaigns to guide your SEO, your site pages are also more likely to show up in organic search results. Together, they’ll push the negative press towards the bottom of the page, ensuring leads are less likely to see it.
This combination may even push less than flattering articles off the first SERPs entirely. Ideally, that’s your goal. Research shows that the first page of search results typically accounts for 71 to 92 percent of clicks. The second page? Only 6 percent. Push that bad PR to the second results page, and its impact on your business will be minimal.
The best way to start experimenting with PPC marketing to drive your firm’s growth is by launching a paid search campaign with Google AdWords. An effective paid search campaign will place your ads on Google SERPs when leads conduct searches using the keywords you’ve bid on.
Again, these keywords should be related to your services and target audience. If you’re trying to attract more clients who’ve been injured in pedestrian accidents in Miami, you might bid on such phrases as “Miami pedestrian accident lawyer,” “Miami pedestrian injury law firm,” etc.
(Tip: Be ready to adjust your strategy as you learn which keywords yield the most clicks. Test different approaches and monitor their performance vigilantly to ensure you’re focusing on the most valuable keywords as you adjust and enhance your strategy.)
Launching your campaign involves the following key steps:
When launching a campaign via Google, choose the Search Network Only option and enable all features. Google will prompt you to make these choices when you first start designing the campaign.
You’ll have the option to turn on location targeting. This is to ensure your ads will generally only reach users in a particular geographical area. Unless your law firm has many offices across various regions and cities, it’s highly likely you’ll benefit from using this feature. You can use the Let Me Choose tool to target users by a specific city or radius. Select People in My Targeted Location with the Location options (advanced) feature as well.
Bidding is the next component of planning a paid search campaign. AdWords will provide an automated bid strategy based on your budget. As you run your campaign, AdWords will automatically adjust your bid to maximize conversions while staying within your budget.
You should probably stick with AdWords’ automated strategy until you have more experience launching paid search campaigns. Odds are you’re reading this because PPC marketing for law firms is a relatively new concept to you. When you’ve spent more time measuring the results of your campaigns, you may be more confident in your ability to design your own bid strategy. Right now, you’re still experimenting.
Google AdWords also gives you the option to include “extensions” in your ads/campaigns. Extensions serve to boost click-through-rates and conversions by including additional information in your ads.
The following are extensions you should consider using:
At least for your first campaign, you should create ad groups for individual keywords. For example, you would create an ad group for “Miami personal injury lawyer” and a separate ad group for “Miami car accident attorney.” Each ad group should feature ads that target exact matches (when a user query exactly matches your chosen keyword/phrase), phrase matches (when a query contains your keyword), and broad matches (when a query features keywords that may be a variation on your chosen phrase, such as “car accident lawyer in Miami”).
Creating individual ad groups for each keyword may seem tedious and costly. However, in the long run, the benefits will justify how much time and money you’ve devoted to this task. When you have individual ad groups for individual keywords/phrases, you can more closely study which keywords yield results, and which don’t. Over time, this helps you optimize your budget and bandwidth by focusing on the keywords with the most value. If you create ad groups based around multiple keywords, you may not be able to determine which keywords were actually responsible for driving clicks and conversions.
Keep in mind there are also multiple ways to incorporate your chosen keywords into ads. You can incorporate them into headlines, URLs, and the overall ad description. As always, monitor their performance to identify the most effective strategies.
Your work isn’t over once you’ve created your ads and launched your campaign. Now you need to monitor its performance in the following key ways:
Google AdWords offers a search term report which tells you which search terms result in your ads being displayed on SERPs. The report will also tell you whether the keywords used in queries were exact matches, variations, close matches, etc.
Regularly check the search terms report to learn which keywords and phrases are delivering the strongest results. This report can also let you know when you should stop focusing your efforts on a particular keyword.
After monitoring the performance of your campaigns for a few weeks or months, you should have a sense of which ads are most valuable.
Your next task involves creating new versions of your top ads. Based on what you’ve learned, make changes to the copy, headlines, and other elements that you believe may improve an ad’s performance.
Launch these new versions along with your existing top ads. You can now monitor their performance to help you refine your ads to an even greater degree.
Remember that. There’s usually always room for improvement when launching and adjusting a PPC marketing campaign for your law firm. The more you learn, the more you’ll understand about what does and doesn’t work. You can also adjust your bid strategy when you reach a certain level of expertise.
Setting up and launching an effective PPC campaign requires knowing what to do right, while also knowing what you could be doing wrong. You’ll be more likely to see optimal results from the start if you avoid these key mistakes:
Except in specific circumstances that warrant doing so, you typically shouldn’t send users to your homepage or even a service page when they click on an ad in your ad groups. Instead, ads should have dedicated landing pages.
Homepages and service pages can feature far too many distractions. These often limit conversions. With a dedicated landing page featuring limited or no navigation options to minimize distractions, testimonials to build trust, and a call to action, you’ll be more likely to convince a lead to take a certain action.
Tracking conversions is key to measuring your return on investment. However, you have to track conversions properly.
Luckily, tracking conversions the right way doesn’t need to be a major challenge. It involves two simple steps:
Just as you should monitor keyword performance and make adjustments accordingly, so too should you monitor your location targeting to determine when changes need to be made.
For example, you may find that certain areas within your radius are irrelevant in that leads are rarely found in these areas. In this case, you can go to the Locations tab for a given campaign via Google AdWords and click Add to add specific locations within a given radius. You can then choose to exclude those locations to further optimize your targeting.
Again, PPC marketing is a valuable component of a law firm marketing strategy, but it’s just one component. The more you experiment and test the suggestions provided here, the more you’ll appreciate how PPC marketing can complement your other channels. The result? A thriving law firm that consistently attracts clients.