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PPC for Lawyers: Your Guide

October, 11 2019
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Jo Stephens
adwords for law firms

An increasingly popular and effective marketing tool is “pay per click” ads, or PPC for short. When law firms utilize PPC marketing, they can increase traffic to their website while incurring minimal expenses. This will increase your law firm’s exposure and potentially increase your prospective client pool.

What is PPC?

On different websites that you have visited, you may have noticed various ads that appear on the website. When you click on these ads, you are redirected to a different website related to the ad. This is part of the PPC process: the website your were browsing receives payment when you click on an ad—and the website your are redirected to has paid for your click.PPC is an effective marketing option because the ads are often going to be related to the website the person is visiting, and their general browsing activity. For example, if a person is visiting a website about family law issues (and has been actively looking through similar sites), then there may be an ad on the website advertising a family law firm. If the visitor to the website clicks on the ad, then the owner of the initial website is compensated—and the owner of the law firm has paid for that click.

These ads are placed by companies like Google or Facebook that utilize complex technologies to read into browser patterns and demographics, and show them ads that they are likely to click on. While that’s all very interesting, you may be wondering how it relates to your law firm.

What is the benefit of PPC for law firms?

Because search engine results often include a variety of different law firm websites, it makes it difficult for potential clients to sort through all of the options to find a firm. Through PPC advertisements, your law firm will be highlighted on relevant websites, which will increase the chance of the person visiting your site. This will give your firm an advantage over other law firm websites, as it will be an additional way to attract new clients beyond the search results page.

What is Adwords?

Adwords, or Google Ads (as it is now called) is a marketing platform where you can create ads that will appear on Google. Google has created some pretty nuanced options for creating ads and ad campaigns based on what you’re looking to do.

Search ads are text-based ads that will mostly appear in the search results. You’ve probably seen these ads any time you type something into Google—the first few spots are taken up by paid search ads.

Display ads are embedded in web pages. In our previous example about browsing a website in search of information about family lawyers, the ads you saw embedded in the article are display ads, which often contain images.

There are also shopping campaigns, video campaigns, and universal campaigns that cover everything. While you probably won’t be using the shopping campaign, don’t write off the possibility of getting in front of web browsers on YouTube (where your video ad campaign would be seen).

The Google Ads dashboard is the place from which you’ll manage setting up your ads and funding your campaign. Again, these ads are pay per click, which is unlike traditional advertising; you will only pay once someone actually clicks through your ad to your website.

Keep in mind there are a few different platforms that allow you to create PPC ads, but Google and Facebook are the most commonly used platforms.

How to Use Paid Search (PPC) to Generate New Clients

Creating effective PPC campaigns is an art form onto itself, but there are a few simple tips and tricks you can leverage to greatly increase their effectiveness.

#1: Use the right words…keywords, that is. 

Not all pay per click prices are equally priced. In fact, the prices for different types of ads are very different, and based on a complex science that you can be sure is meant to maximize the profit of the platform you’re using. Terms like lawyer and attorney cost a pretty penny. In fact, on Bing’s PPC prices the terms lawyer and attorney can cost as much as $100 per click.

With prices like that, you do not want to be paying for casual browsers who may or may not be interested in your law firm. You simply cannot afford to be that generic. Instead, it’s better to rely on more focused terminology that may not only be priced lower than competitive terms, but will also only attract potential clients who are truly interested in what your offer. 

A little more background: there are three different categories of keywords in terms of SEO. Head Keywords are single-word terms that have a lot of competition (like lawyers). Body Keywords are phrases that are 2-3 words in length, but have less competition. Long Tail Keywords have 4 or more words per phrase, the lowest amount of competition, the most specificity.

Medical malpractice lawyer free consultation

Workplace compensation attorney Wichita Kansas

Probate attorney intestate estates

Notice that these terms are very specific. You will not have people clicking on these words unless they actually need your services, reducing the number of casual browsers.

#2: Be negative…about words you need to exclude.

Google (as one example) also lets you input some keywords you do not want to be associated with. These might include geographic locations outside the area you cover, searches relating to careers (you’re not looking to hire anyone, you’re looking for clients), searches relating to cheap or free services, and so on. If you elect these words as negative keywords, your ads won’t show up on these types of searches, which is good.

#3: Get pinpointed about targeting areas.

Most likely you do not practice law across the entire 50 states (though in some cases, you might). That said, you might think it sufficient to target your ads to a particular state or city, but you should get even more pinpointed engineering your ad campaigns.

Instead, target your ads by zip code. This will allow you to zone in on particular areas of your city or state where you feel your typical clients live and/or work, rather than wasting money on a too-broad area of coverage. That type of zoning may not be legal in politics or real estate, but it’s perfectly fine (and good business practice) when using PPC ads.

#4: Respond to what works and what doesn’t.

A/B testing will help improve the efficiency of your ad campaigns. All it involves is running to different versions of an ad to compare them (if you start running more than 2 at once, it becomes too nuanced to analyze). Google (and most other platforms) will allow you to run multiple versions of an ad and compare the results.

Respond accordingly by continuing to run the ad that has more clicks. A/B testing will allow you to figure out what terms are most compelling, and what written (or visual) content gets people clicking over to your website. Keep in mind that A/B testing is not a one-and-done practice; you should always be A/B testing to continually refine your ads, especially because the web in general is constantly changing, as are browser behaviors.

#5: Wash, rinse, and remarket.

One of the most fascinating tools developed by the PPC industry is the remarketing campaign. To keep it simple, remarketing is a way to show your ads to potential clients who clicked on you ad, went to your website…and then moved on with their life. Remarketing first involves dropping “cookies” (pieces of code) into the web browser of visitors to your site, which platforms like Google then in turn will use to follow them around the internet and show them your ads (again). 

Of course, you won’t just show them the same as they clicked on the first time. You can set up a tailored remarketing campaign, and this time around, you can make the ads a little more focused (some might say…aggressive). After all, these browsers did express an interest in your firm. Maybe they just need to hear about it twice. As it turns out, remarketing is an incredibly effective tool, especially in an era when most browsers do not seal the deal on a transaction or connection the first time they visit a site.

So Does Adwords Work For Lawyers?

Adwords works for everyone, if they’re used the right way. Remember, these ads are being shown to browsers who need what you’re offering, and have indicated such by either searching for it directly or browsing around the web in search for more information about it.

Moreover, while organic SEO is certainly necessary for your business, PPC will allow you to show up in front of potential clients even after they’ve already clicked on over to something else to do on the web.

Some PPC platforms, like Facebook, have incredible amounts of data on its users, allowing you to develop PPC campaigns that are geared toward very specific demographics. There is no other type of marketing like PPC, which is so direct and responsive to the behavior of browsers.

However, as you might have seen from our above tips, managing a PPC campaign is quite the combination of art and science. If you do not feel up to the challenge, you may consider outsourcing that task to someone with PPC experience.

How can Law Firm Sites help?

Law Firm Sites can help you utilize PPC options and will develop ways to best market your firm. We are experienced with website design for law firms and can provide advice for your firm. If you need assistance with website design for law firms, then contact us to learn how we can help.

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