Increase New Client Acquisition and Start Getting the ROI You Want from Your Law Firm’s PPC Campaigns
Law Firm PPC in 2024
A Guide for Attorneys and Law Firms
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing platforms like Google Ads are a great way for law firms to start getting prospective clients to their website. With PPC, you can quickly get your law firm in front of potential clients at the moment they are searching for your legal services.
Law firms that have a paid search strategy combined with a solid SEO plan have a massive competitive advantage in 2024. This is especially true of law firms targeting consumer facing legal services such as personal injury, criminal defense, family law, employment, bankruptcy, estate planning, immigration and more.
Fifteen years ago, your only option was to purchase a yellow page ad then sit back and wait, hoping prospective clients would call. Today, law firm digital marketing, including tools like PPC have entirely changed the game. You can now create a massive competitive advantage for your legal practice or law firm.
Most digital marketing strategies are long-term oriented. Law firm content marketing and SEO for attorneys are extremely effective, but they take time to start showing results. The results from PPC can be much faster. That is why it’s a good idea to implement PPC marketing as part of a well-balanced law firm marketing strategy.
What is Pay-Per-Click Marketing?
Pay-per-click (often referred to as PPC), is a type of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee every time one of their ads are clicked by someone searching specific phrases (keywords) on a search engine like Google. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your website rather than getting those visits organically (through SEO).
It involves creating text-based ads to display when someone searches for your practice area within a specific geographic location. You then only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement, taking them to your website. You can control exactly how much is spent by setting a maximum monthly budget.
Is PPC Right for Your Legal Practice or Law Firm?
If you have a legal practice of law firm that serves consumer facing legal needs as mentioned above, and you want more clients each month, then the simple answer is yes! PPC is one of the fastest and most effective ways to get your business in front of potential clients at the moment they are searching for your legal services.
That said, there are some things to keep in mind before starting a PPC campaign for your legal practice or law firm.
First and foremost, law-related keywords can be expensive. The cost per click for legal services keywords such as “injury lawyer” can be as high as $80+ per click and for terms like “dui attorney” around $25+ per click (heavily depending on your geographic market). At these prices, having good conversion rates is paramount to a positive ROI.
You can very easily spend $2,000+ on PPC and get zero new clients. It’s also very realistic to spend that same amount and get 10 or more new clients. The difference comes down to the details of your PPC strategy and how well it’s executed.
This is why the vast majority of lawyers and law firms think PPC doesn’t work. They’re simple not doing it correctly. To run a successful PPC campaign, you have to look at it from a comprehensive point of view. Not taking into consideration how other marketing channels work together (like your website, Google reviews, or your content) can absolutely hinder your PPC efforts.
5 Keys to a Positive ROI for Your Law Firm’s PPC Campaigns
As mentioned above, the difference between a PPC campaign with a negative ROI and one with a 20x ROI comes down to the details. These are the key elements that can help ensure your PPC campaign is a success one.
1. Your Website
Your website must be setup to convert prospects into clients before you start paying to send traffic to it. If you are sending paid traffic to a bad website (one with an unprofessional appearance and thin content) it won’t work. You’re essentially lighting those marketing dollars on fire.
It’s vital that you learn about what makes a good law firm website and then implement that before ever sending paid traffic to it.
Use Keyword Targeted Landing Pages
Hiring a lawyer can be a research-heavy process for some, but for others the process can happen instantly. A common mistake we see lawyers make when running PPC campaigns is not having dedicated landing pages specifically for each of their ad groups. It’s very importance to direct certain keywords to targeted landing pages.
For example, if you practice criminal defense law and somebody clicks on one of your DUI ads, make sure that ad takes them to your DUI page and not your homepage. Or, if someone Googles “how can an accident attorney help me?” you’re much more likely to get their business if your ad speaks to their question and directs them to an F.A.Q. page.
Separate Yourself from Your Competitors
This means highlighting what makes you better. Does your law firm have 24-hour customer service or offer free consultations? Were you a former prosecuting attorney who now offers criminal defense?
Leverage your experience, reviews, awards, and results, to your advantage. Tell your prospect why they should choose you over the law firm down the street.
2. Target the Right Keywords
Knowing the right keywords to use (and which ones you shouldn’t use) is the single most important element in running a successful PPC campaign.
Only target keywords that speak to the searcher’s intent and readiness to hire an attorney in your specific legal practice area. You don’t want to target keywords as broad as “lawyer” or “law firm.” These keywords can cost as much as $50 per click and will convert at a very low rate (if at all).
You only want to pay for your ad to show up for extremely specific keywords related to your practice area(s) (i.e. “divorce lawyer Seattle”). Paying for traffic from keywords that are too broad is the fastest way to waste your PPC budget with no results to show for it.
Avoid “Broad Match” Keywords
This is another common mistake we see. Google Ads has 3 main types of keyword targets. They are exact match, phrase match, and broad match.
If your campaign is setup to run the broad match keyword “probate attorney” for example, it can (and will) still show your ad when someone types a keyword even loosely related. When setup like this the keyword “attorney” alone could trigger your ad. For this reason, broad match keywords almost always lead to lower conversion rates, so it’s best to avoid them.
By setting all of your keywords to either phrase match, or exact match, you’re telling Google to only show your ad when someone searches for that keyword specifically.
Refine Your Traffic with Negative Keywords
Negative keywords are terms that you don’t want your ad to show up for. For attorneys and law firms it’s important to include negative keywords such as “jobs” and “salary” to prevent your ad from being clicked by employment seekers.
There are many other negative keywords you may want to include as well, such as local competitors and specific keywords pertaining to cases that are not ideal for your firm.
3. Make Sure Your Geotargeting is Set Up Correctly
Targeting too broad of an area is another way to quickly spend ad budget without a return. Take the time to look into your target market and know what areas they would be searching from. If you have multiple locations, separate these into their own campaigns so you can target each accurately and individually. You can target your ads at zip codes, cities, and even a radius around a specific address (such as your office).
Pro Tip: Google Ads has multiple settings for geotargeting, and the default setting will show to the largest amount of people. That may sound good, except many of these people may not actually be in your service area.
The default setting is “in, or who show interest in…” you want to change that. Set it to “people in or regularly in.” This will prevent your ad from showing to someone in Chicago when your law firm is in Miami, simply because they searched for something like “hotels in Miami” last week.
4. Prioritize Calls Over All Else
It’s amazing how few attorneys and law firms actually answer their phones. If a potential client calls and can’t reach you right away, they’re moving on to the next listing on Google.
Don’t waste time, money and energy getting more traffic to your website if you don’t have a good system in place to have a real person answer every phone call (at a minimum during regular business hours).
And yes, it is important that a real person answer the phone and not an automated response asking them to press 1, or 2, or 3. Most people will hang up, and that just cost you $10, $20, or $30+.
5. Track Conversions
This is another step that we quite often see being overlooked. You will never know how successful your marketing dollars are, or how to optimize your campaigns for more success unless you track conversions.
You can track your conversions by setting up “Goals” in Google Analytics. The two most important conversions you want to track are phone calls and contact form submissions.
You can track “click to call” buttons and contact form submissions for free by integrating Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics. Or, if you want more precise data on your phone call conversions, you can integrate paid tools like CallRail.
Don’t Forget About Bing
When people think of PPC they tend to automatically default to Google Ads. This is for good reason, as Google has roughly a 70 percent market share on internet searches. That said, Bing and Yahoo together still get around 15 percent (when you use Bing Ads, your ads can also automatically appear on Yahoo if you choose).
If you’ve tried PPC in the past and it didn’t work, don’t give up. In nearly every case we have looked at, this was due to poor campaign management and a lack of cohesiveness throughout other digital marketing channels.
Use the keys to a positive pay-per-click ROI above and take another hard look at your website, your Google reviews, and the content currently on your site. When implemented correctly, we’ve seen unbelievably positive results for lawyers and law firms when utilizing PPC campaigns. Take action today and start getting more of the clients you want with a PPC campaign for your legal practice or law firm!
About the Author
Chris is a legal marketing consultant who has been helping attorneys and law firms grow their revenue and scale their legal practices for the past 13 years. His areas of expertise are in content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), digital PR & branding, and conversion rate optimization (CRO).