Maybe you already have this law firm Web marketing thing figured out. You search engine optimize (SEO) well and rank on the first page of results for all of your major practice areas, you have great results with Google Places and your address is showing up consistently. You should be all set, correct?
What happens when something unexpected happens? What if there is a huge product recall, like the Toyota sudden acceleration problem and subsequent recall or the Vioxx claims a few years ago? Unless you can predict the future, your site probably didn’t contain a lot of information about Toyota or Vioxx before they were all over the news. Since it can sometimes take months to get rankings for any given topic, you need a faster way to get visibility while the topic is still hot. That is where pay per click advertising comes in.
Several Internet avenues are available to obtain law firm cases. Pay per click advertising, or PPC, is an effective way to get quick visibility in search engines and some websites, without having to build up your SEO presence for months. The downside to PPC is that every visitor you receive from it costs you money. That is the “pay” part in the phrase “pay per click.” That means that you are paying search engines or websites to put your ad up so that people will click it to visit your website. It is important to note that pay per click advertising does not have any impact on organic rankings, and you only gain visibility as long as you are paying. Ads can run from a few cents to e.g., $50 to $70 per click for competitive phrases such as “mesothelioma.” While eighty percent of Web users choose organically SEO’d listings, the remaining twenty percent is still significant.
You should first ask yourself “what kind of traffic do we need?” and from there you can decide if it is the kind of traffic you can easily search engine optimize (SEO) for over a long period of time, or if it is something you need to rank quickly for in the case of recalls or other types of cases that require immediate visibility. PPC is almost always more expensive on a per visit basis than SEO. PPC will only give you visibility while you continue to pay. SEO on the other hand, will always give you a leg up on the competition, and is an investment that you can continue to build upon so that you keep up with competitors. Some compare PPC to renting an apartment and organic rankings to owning a home. The work you have done to create a quality relevant site never goes away as long as your site still exists.
Thousands of individuals and companies claim to be able to manage PPC campaigns. Choosing the wrong organization can cost you thousands of dollars.
Qualities and factors you should consider include:
- Control costs while working within your budget to give you the best possible cost per click.
- Relevant ads are what will get visitors to click and visit your site. They are also important for quality score, which has an effect on your cost per click and positioning.
- Choosing the Right Keywords is very important to the success of your ad campaign.
- Geographic Control of your ad campaign is very important and should be discussed with your PPC management company.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these components below.
- Control Costs: We have heard about law firms that have lost tens of thousands of dollars on poorly designed PPC campaigns. PPC can get expensive quickly, which is one of the reasons it is important to have a good pay per click management company to watch things for you. A good PPC manager will have the experience to watch your account and make adjustments to your campaigns over time to control costs. Be sure to work out a budget with your PPC manager that is appropriate for your geographic area and the type of advertising you are doing.
- Relevant Ads: Ad relevance is very important for your marketing efforts in PPC. Ad text should be relevant to your goal, and should contain keywords when possible. Keywords should be constructed in a way that makes sense to readers, not just a string of random words. Usually there is not enough space for complete sentences, but the message should be clear. A good PPC manager will also create more than one ad for each ad group, because Google will show both ads, allowing you to test which one gets the most activity.
- Choosing the Right Keywords: Keywords are extremely important when starting and maintaining a PPC campaign. Every time your ad shows, this is called an “impression” and if you have too many impressions and not enough clicks, it will decrease your quality score. This can happen if your keywords are too broad and your ad is showing every time someone searches for a phrase containing “lawyer” or an equally broad keyword. If the keyword choices are too broad, this can quickly decrease your ad quality score and drop your ad out of sight. Keywords should not be very broad, but should instead focus on what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are trying to get victims of medical malpractice to visit your site, you might choose a keyword like “surgical error lawyer” or something similar. If you chose a broad keyword like “lawyer” you would be getting a great deal of ad views from people looking for family lawyers, divorce lawyers, and all other types of lawyers. They are not going to click on your medical malpractice ad, and Google will soon decide that your ad is irrelevant and get rid of it. It is extremely important to have a keyword strategy in mind when developing a campaign.
- Geographic Control: When advertising online, it is important to understand your target audience. As an attorney you may not have a license to practice law in states other than the state where your practice is located. You may be a small firm that wants to deal directly with people only in your local area. When setting up a campaign, it is important to decide the best geographic area for your ads based upon your goals and budget. A good pay per click management firm will help you decide on an area that fits your firm’s location and budget while still meeting your advertising needs.
As smart phones become more common, many people are accessing the web from their mobile devices. It can sometimes pay to target these devices for your campaign. For example, if someone were in a car accident, they may start searching for an attorney right away from their phone. If they see your ad, they are one touch away from calling your firm and becoming a potential client. When asked about the growing mobile market and how it relates to search advertising, Google’s Senior Product Manager for Ads Quality, Nick Fox, stated “The big thing we found on Android is how the “click to call” feature has taken off. You click the ad and make a call and speak directly to the advertiser. It works incredibly well on the mobile phone.”
Strategic PPC Ads
Supplemental organic campaigns can be combined with strategically placed PPC ads and other law firm marketing areas. A niche area, especially when combined with a locale, can provide a cost-effective method to obtain exposure and inquiries. Additionally, some of our clients wish to have a dominant SEO presence and also appear prominently in PPC ads. This increases the chance that they will receive inquiries.
Social Media Ads
Other websites, including social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn offer pay per click ads. Facebook is now the most visited website on the Web and receives more monthly traffic than even Google.com. Your pay per click consultant can advise you on how to leverage Facebook and other websites in order to gain relevant visibility for your firm. Facebook allows you to target ads based upon demographics. You can target by different demographics such as age, sex, marital status, geographic location, and any likes or jobs that the person has entered. This could be helpful if you are a workers’ compensation attorney interested in construction site injuries, for example, because you can target construction workers with your ads. A good pay per click management company will utilize all of the tools at its disposal to get you the best visibility based on your budget and needs.
Law Firm Competition
If you would like to see the phrases other law firms or your competition are using, feel free to contact us or choose one of the several “PPC spy” programs that are available in a Google search.
For Additional Information
In addition to law firm SEO management, Consultwebs has managed law firm PPC campaigns totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few years. We use sophisticated reporting systems and keep our clients informed on the progress of their campaigns. We can provide numerous references. To learn more about PPC advertising or obtain assistance with your PPC campaign and goals, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-872-6590.