Today we answer the most common questions attorneys have about law firm PPC. Mostly because we receive calls from dozens of firms a week, most frustrated by their current marketing company for one reason or another, but primarily because they are getting taken advantage of and paying top dollar for poor quality leads. The problem for most attorneys and firms is they know very little about the process and what their agency should be doing for them. This lends itself to marketing agencies taking advantage of the firm and creating more problems for agencies who do good work and are honest in their approach.

Educating clients is a top priority for our company and is something we take a lot of pride in. Below are some common questions we often get regarding paid advertising,  I hope they help you better understand how law firm PPC works and how it can help your firm grow.

If you would like more information on our law firm PPC services, schedule an appointment with our team today. We are happy to review your current campaigns or give you a market analysis and opportunity report.

13 Frequently-Asked Questions

1. Why pay for clicks when traffic can be obtained for free?

2. Which law firms are candidates for PPC ads?

3. How much does a typical PPC campaign cost?

4. Does PPC work better for some specialties than others?

5. Between Google and Bing, where do you recommend we place ads?

6. Can a team member or I create and manage these ads ourselves?

7. How long does it take to get a PPC campaign up and running?

8. What work is done once a campaign is in place?

9. What percent of law firms succeed with their PPC efforts?

10. How soon will I know whether PPC will be effective for my firm?

11. How much work will be required from me?

12. What questions should I ask prospective PPC providers?

13. If I already have a PPC ad program in place but want that effort reviewed, what will you examine?

1. Why pay for clicks when traffic can be obtained for free?

It used to be the case that only law firms who wanted to rapidly and aggressively expand their lead flow needed to invest in pay-per-click advertising (PPC).

But three trends have converged to make PPC a critical element of marketing plans in far more law firms:

a. 7 out of 10 searches for lawyers are now performed on smartphones

The small screens of smartphones limit what is seen without scrolling.  Pay-per-click ads appear at the top of searches – above both local results and organic listings.

The vast majority of searches for lawyers thus result in only paid listings initially appearing on screen.  

 

b. Paid ads have been redesigned to obtain more clicks

  • PPC ads used to appear on a yellow background that distinguished them from the free listings.  That background has been removed and now over half of searchers do not discern between paid ads and free listings.
  • Ads now occupy more space. Three ads formerly were shown at the top of the listings.  Four ads now regularly appear. And each PPC ad used to be smaller. The size of each ad has been increased.

 

c. Searchers who want to buy something click paid listings nearly 2:1 over free listings

65% of people who are looking to spend money (as opposed to, say, answer a question) click a paid ad while 35% click an organic listing.

So someone who searches “personal injury attorney Austin Texas for truck accident” is almost two times more likely to click a paid listing than a free listing.  But someone who searches for “how soon must I file a claim for a truck accident?” is more likely to click a free listing.

The end result is that the volume of clicks from paid ads has been steadily increasing year-over-year while clicks from free listings have held steady, and more important to you, searchers ready to retain counsel overwhelmingly click paid listings over free listings.

Unless you believe smartphone use is going to decline, or that Google will stop driving searchers to its paid listings, or that searchers will change their habits, you will want to weigh the potential ROI from pay-per-click advertising against that of your current marketing efforts.

Cost per lead, cost per new client, and quality of each are what really matter, not what channel delivered those leads and clients.

Do you want help with your paid advertising campaigns? Schedule an appointment today and we will review your current campaigns and give you our recommendations, for free.

2. Which law firms are candidates for PPC ads?

Your firm needs two items in place to move forward with paid listings:

a. Effective client intake

If you are not successfully working your existing leads, there is little point in paying to get more … no matter how good they will be.

For example, we handle the marketing for one law firm which was using an answering service to receive all its leads.  The problem occurred not due to that scenario, but in the handoff. The law firm was receiving its leads so tardily and returning the calls so slowly that when reached the prospects had already set appointments with other firms.

b. Sufficient marketing budget

If your total marketing spend is capped at $1,000/month, your firm is better off investing that sum in local SEO and online reviews.  We recommend a minimum of $1,500/month for an effective law firm PPC campaign.

c. CRM with marketing automation

Marketing automation is a necessity for a firm who has PPC campaigns in place. We believe running PPC campaigns without automation setup is a bad practice and ultimately will increase your cost per hire. Technology has improved significantly over the last two years and when paired with great content that our team develops for each client conversion rates increase by more than 20% across all practice areas.

 

3. How much does a typical PPC campaign cost?

$2,000/month.  $1,500 is invested in ads and $500 in campaign management.

Larger firms can and will invest more, but $1,500 is a good budget to begin with.  After lead flow increases and your client intake is effectively handling those leads, you can consider expanding further.

 

4. Does PPC work better for some specialties than others?

Law firm PPC works for all industries and we strongly recommend putting the majority of the budget toward ads facing consumers who are actively searching for your services. The first 3 to 4 results of any high-intent keyword phrase will be ads.

 

5. Between Google and Bing, where do you recommend we place ads?

We like and use both.  Bing ads have much lower traffic, but also costs a lot less.  For each new campaign we test both Google and Bing ads. We recommend tracking and A/B testing to determine the best ROI for your budget and practice. Bing pulls a particular and different demographic from Google.

 

6. Can a team member or I create and manage these ads ourselves?

If you are fortunate enough to have a Google Adwords certified team member with extra time available, sure.  Otherwise, we recommend against going it alone with law firm PPC ads.

Unlike other marketing efforts like blogging, with PPC you are paying for each click obtained.  If you lack experience and sophistication, it is easy to generate the wrong kind of clicks and quickly burn through your budget generating unsuitable traffic.

Similarly, regular monitoring and testing are required with law firm PPC.  You cannot set it and forget it. If you get distracted with client or firm management matters, you are likely to waste funds on inefficient spending.

If despite this admonition you still want to move forward on your own, be sure to:

  • Narrowly focus your practice niche
  • Tightly geo-target
  • Seek calls over clicks
  • Use simple landing pages
  • Track client sources

 

7. How long does it take to get a PPC campaign up and running?

2-3 weeks is typical.  If a lawyer is prompt about providing approvals, the time can be shortened.

The initial time is spent learning what types of clients are desired, researching the competition’s ads and spending, writing ads, designing landing pages, and setting up ad tracking.

 

8. What work is done once a campaign is in place?

The main tasks are monitoring results, testing improvements, hearing from you about lead quality, providing guidance on client intake, and adjusting the campaign as needed.

We will talk to you every other week immediately after launch, and then monthly once the campaign is running smoothly.

 

9. What percent of law firms succeed with their PPC efforts?

Law firms with a strong client intake process nearly always succeed.  Lower success rates occur with firms that don’t have their intake procedures fully dialed in.

If needed, we can provide guidance, scripts, content, and training helping improve your lead conversion results.

 

10. How soon will I know whether PPC will be effective for my firm?

Two months of spending will be sufficient.  Since most law firms succeed with PPC, the primary question will be how many more good leads will be received, not whether they will be obtained at reasonable cost.

 

11. How much work will be required from me?

For campaign setup we will want you to review and approve the ad copy and landing page proof.  

We ask that you defer to our expertise regarding mundane landing page matters like layout, colors and the like.  The ultimate arbiter over time will be results from A/B tests, but due to our experience with campaigns for other law firms we have a good sense of what to begin with.

After the campaign is in place, we ask that you take a few minutes each month to review with us the results received.

We handle everything else.

 

12. What questions should I ask prospective law firm PPC providers?

As with nearly every type of work project, what counts most is the quality of work done by the individual handling your job.

  • Who will be doing the frontline work on my campaign?
  • Is that individual Google Adwords certified?
  • Tell me about that individual’s Adwords experience.
  • Has he or she managed campaigns for lawyers in my specialty?
  • With what results?
  • What does that person recommend for my campaign?

Ideally, before deciding whether to move forward you will talk directly to the person who will be managing your campaign. At a larger law firm PPC provider, your initial conversation will likely be with a salesperson. In that case, ask to also speak with the individual who will be doing the work.

 

13. If I already have a PPC ad program in place but want that effort reviewed, what will you examine?

To determine how and where results of your law firm PPC spending can be improved, we review the following during our audit:

  • Account settings
  • Key performance indicators, determining the correct metrics for the account
  • Account structure: campaign names are clear and relevant, and ad groups are configured with the correct number of keywords and are properly focused
  • Keywords: match types, bids too high or low, negative keywords properly used
  • Ads: relevant to law practice, destination links pointed at the correct landing pages
  • Extensions: relevant to the practice and producing clicks
  • Networks: ads correctly distributed to relevant topics and categories
  • Analytics: properly attached, code installed correctly, goals set up and recording