If you’re like the overwhelming majority of people, when you have a question about a topic you start with a search on Google — whether you’re looking for legal advice or wondering what your favorite 90 Day Fiancé couples are up to now.
Law firms trying to increase their top-of-funnel lead volume often rely on Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising to get their ads in front of prospective clients. However, marketing your law firm through PPC ads can be tricky as legal search terms are some of the most competitive (and expensive) keywords being bid on.
That’s why it’s important to understand PPC advertising and how to optimize your ads to maximize your spend. Let’s jump into the basics of Pay-per-Click advertising before reviewing ways to up your paid search law firm marketing strategy.
What is Pay-per-Click advertising?
Pay-per-Click advertising is when an advertiser (your law firm) pays a publisher (a search engine like Google, usually) to display an ad when a person enters a query or search that matches a keyword chosen by the advertiser. Advertisers bid on keywords and then pay for every click on the ad.
Say your law firm specializes in medical malpractice cases. You might bid on keywords related to your area of expertise — for example, “medical malpractice lawyer Los Angeles.” If someone enters this query into Google after your firm sets up a bid on it, your ad might show up in the search engine results if it meets the quality standards.
Pay-per-Click advertising is an essential part of any consumer-oriented law firm’s digital marketing campaign toolkit. It can help you keep your firm at the top of search engine result pages (SERP) for your core legal services. It can even help you attract new clients to your business if you decide to expand into different cases given the current economic climate.
You may be wondering, though: can’t I do keyword-based marketing without paying for ads?
SEO vs PPC advertising
Entire marketing specialties have been developed for organic vs paid marketing. Search engine strategies fall into two major categories: search engine optimization (SEO) vs paid (PPC) advertising.
SEO marketing tries to optimize organic search results but requires an upfront investment in time – and content development – to see traffic increase to the site.
PPC, on the other hand, cuts out that upfront work and almost instantly delivers traffic to your site. Plus, you are only paying when a lead has actually clicked on the search term.
Both avenues are important for law firms to create a comprehensive marketing campaign, but paid advertising is the quickest way to get results. PPC is especially useful if you’re trying to branch off into a new legal speciality or launch a new service offering, and prefer to see results right away rather than organically over time.
Does Google Ads work for law firms?
For law firms, PPC is an important top-of-funnel channel. According to an iLawyerMarketing survey, 85% of respondents prefer using Google as their primary source for research when looking for a lawyer. That means your ads will be seen when your prospects are actively looking for lawyers, which is great if you’re running a campaign to get more clients.
Google Ads is typically the most effective channel for law firms to run PPC ads as Google Ads has an average click-through rate of 2% on average. It is also where your prospective clients spend their time. While you might find advertising on Facebook to be more cost-effective, you can target keywords through Google search that show high intent to get better prospects.
Why is PPC challenging for lawyers?
PPC advertising is challenging for lawyers for several reasons. First, as we’ve mentioned, is cost. Legal-related keywords are incredibly competitive and expensive.
Secondly, lawyers might get clicks to their site, but not see conversions of those clicks into clients. Without targeting the right keywords that will maximize actual clients, law firms can quickly burn through their monthly ad campaign budgets with little new business to show for it.
Why is it important?
For law firms, Google Ads is an absolute must. That’s because advertising through Google Ads is as much a defensive strategy to protect your search engine keyword territory as it is an offensive strategy to go out and get new clients. With so many prospects starting their legal journey through Google search, not showing up in ads for your most important keywords is handing that traffic — and prospective clients — to your competitors.
Ideally, your law firm will have a comprehensive organic and paid search engine strategy. But if you’re going to make the investment for PPC marketing, there are some common mistakes your firm should avoid.
Common PPC mistakes law firms make
When law firms make mistakes with their PPC campaigns, it stings twice: not only are they wasting budget on keywords that don’t convert or the wrong keywords altogether, they’re also missing out on potential clients they could have had with the right keywords.
But there are so many insights to be had through PPC platforms like Google Ads that if you can recognize and fix your mistakes, you can quickly turn your attention to optimizing your PPC budget. Let’s take a look at two of the most common PPC mistakes law firms make.
Not setting up conversion tracking
Measuring the ROI of your marketing is the only way to understand how your spending is working to grow your business. PPC advertising is no exception — you need to know how your ad budget is contributing to your marketing goals and bottom line.
With Conversion Tracking in Google Ads, you can get clear insights into the actions your ads are driving. Whether you want to see how many calls are coming in when a person sees or clicks on one of your PPC ads, or track downloads for an eBook on a PPC landing page, you can set those goals up and monitor them in Google Ads or within CallRail.
Integrating Google Ads with CallRail will help you overcome one of the biggest marketing measurement challenges: proving the impact of digital marketing for offline conversions. By getting real-time insight into the keywords and landing pages driving phone calls to your firm, you can close the loop on your PPC marketing efforts and get the clearest picture possible.
Not creating dedicated landing pages
Dedicated landing pages are important for creating focused campaigns. The average landing page has a 2.35% conversion rate, though the top 10% of landing pages convert over 11% of visitors. In the legal industry, landing page conversions hover around 3%. Optimizing your landing pages to increase conversion percentages just 2%, for example, can lower your cost-per-conversion by nearly half.
PPC ads are often the first exposure of your brand to the prospect, so you want to ensure that any click-through is meaningful. Rather than send people who click on your ads to the homepage of your site, dedicated landing pages with a single CTA and a headline that ties into your ad’s message can quickly up your conversion rates — and create a better, more streamlined experience.
Strategies to get more calls from pay-per-click ads
Law firms that use PPC advertising will find that, if they invest the time, there are many strategies they can adopt to maximize their ad budget. JC Law, for example, lowered ad spend by 20% while retaining 61% more clients by using CallRail and Hubspot to help them understand which PPC ads were turning into calls and which calls turned into clients.
Here are four strategies every law firm can use to up their PPC ads game.
Pay attention to leads’ needs and adapt your firm and campaign strategy accordingly
One of the traps of PPC advertising is to bid on keywords that reflect the desires of the law firm and not the prospects. When JC Law used CallRail and Hubspot to improve their PPC strategy, they focused on what didn’t work as much as what did.
With insights from your calls, shifting keyword trends, and the ability of your firm to serve different case types, you can consistently refine your PPC campaigns to better align with reality. If your law firm made a pivot to handling additional case types during the pandemic, it might be time to realign your advertising — to match today’s world.
Set up visitor level tracking to understand your clients’ journey
Visitor level tracking can show you how your clients are interacting with your brand and moving across different marketing channels. It allows one to see at an individual level what marketing campaigns are working, or not working, to drive new clients.
With CallRail’s Call Tracking, you can assign a unique phone number to each individual who visits your website after an online search. Then, as they move across your site, that activity is tracked, and you’ll be able to see that activity in CallRail when they call. In turn, this will help give you insight into what the caller needs from your firm.
Track phone calls to know what campaigns drive the most leads
Calls are the most important contact point for any law firm, but you might not have the ability to see what ads are leading to phone call conversions. This is a huge gap in understanding the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns.
With the ability to attribute calls to different PPC campaigns, you can see which ads are driving those calls. Not only does this help you connect more quickly to your prospects, it also allows you insight into which keywords are driving the most calls and delivering the most clients. Use this information to better serve your prospects on their journey to becoming your clients.
Utilize ad extensions
Law firms that use Google Ad Extensions can help improve their ad performance and conversion rates. There are many automated and manual ad extensions to use, but for law firms some of the most valuable are: call extensions, which allow mobile users to click your extension and call your business; dynamic sitelinks, which guide visitors to your site’s most frequented pages; and contact extensions, which enable customers and leaders to contact your business more readily.
Local Service Ads
Local Service Ads are specialized ads that produce up to 33% of all clicks for lawyer-related search terms. These are a recent addition to the advertising world for lawyers but they’re vital to the success of your firm.
When a visitor searches for a lawyer with a location, they might see “Google Screened” lawyer listings with Google business review ratings. These ads are not the traditional PPC model, they are Local Service Ads based on relevant leads, not clicks.
In order to show up in Local Service Ads you must set up a profile and provide your active law license information and proof of professional liability insurance.
Local SEO is important for law firms, and Local Service Ads allow you to take advantage of your targeted locations in a new way through paid advertising that inspires trust and is tied directly to leads, not just clicks.
Next steps to improve PPC success
From keyword research and budgets to ad copy to landing pages, there are many areas that can be improved to make your PPC campaigns more successful. However, if you’re not able to measure them, you’ll never understand the impact of your improvements—or if they’re even improvements at all.
With CallRail, you can supercharge your PPC marketing strategy by bringing new insights like call tracking that help you improve attribution, understand what’s working and what isn’t, and optimize your ad spend over time. See why law firms trust CallRail to spend smarter and compete better.