LSAs: A Best Practice to Boost Local Case Load
The legal industry is one of fierce competition, and external factors, such as Covid-19, are pushing it towards digitalization. Digital innovation for law firms is paramount today and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In order to maintain your firm’s competitive edge in the legal landscape, both in the online and offline worlds, you will need to find strategies that will allow your firm to remain 2 steps ahead of the game.
Local service ads, can help your firm accomplish just that and score you quality leads that ultimately turn into paying clients. The primary focus of these ads is to help your firm appear to prospects that are in the area and searching the web for services like yours. You can think of LSA as the newest “middle man” between your law firm and clients if you will.
Although Google originally launched local service ads for home services, they are now being served to the prospects of other lines of business as well; law firms were added to the list of eligible industries last year. Since then, LSAs have become the most appealing ad type for search campaigns and your law firm can take advantage of this opportunity, too. Read on to uncover how LSAs may help give your firm the boost it needs to start generating the ROI you always envisioned.
It’s All About Showing Up
Your prospects are in your area and searching for you as we speak. The only way for them to find you is if you make yourself discoverable on Google, and your best bet is through local service ads. How? Let’s first get into the details of what LSAs are and what they aren’t.
What Local Service Ads are
LSA’s are a different advertising program where law firms are pre-vetted and verified on Google. They lead directly to a “click-to-call” functionality. Local Service ads use a completely new ad format above PPC and all other search ads on Google within the search query. One thing to note is that these ads operate on a pay-per-lead basis. One of the advantages of using LSAs is that at least at the beginning they did level the advertising field between large and small law firms, now that statement can be debated.
What Local Service Ads aren’t
Local service ads are not to be mistaken with local search ads. Only their billing and payment system can be managed through Google Ads.
They are Operational on a PPC (pay-per-click) basis.
Local service ads have completely changed Google’s SERP hierarchy and consequently impact the way local businesses partake in advertising. The new hierarchy from top to bottom is the following:
As you can see, LSAs are promoted at the very top of the search results.
If your firm were to build a search strategy around LSAs, the profile of your firm or lawyer representing your firm would appear at the very top of Google’s search results. Here is an example:
As you can see, local ads are Google screened and provides the user with valuable information, such as performance (reviews) and years in business.
Benefits Beyond Your Firm’s Expectations
As a whole, a strong SEO strategy can build on your firm’s long-term success. With SEO it takes a while to notice the fruits of its labor. But with LSAs, you can see a more noticeable impact. Some of the benefits LSAs has on your firm’s growth include the following:
Benefit 1 – Bringing in more calls
LSAs give prospects the option to directly call your firm. Seeing as these ads include specific information on how happy past clients are with your services, as well as other valuable info, they will be more call-happy than with other advertising tactics.
Benefit 2 – Building more trust
LSAs require an extensive verification process.
You can find a step-by-step guide here. [Add link of LSA guideline if we have it somewhere]
After your firm goes through the verification process, it receives a “Google Guaranteed” checkmark and a badge. This, in turn, helps users identify your firm as a legitimate one. Trust is the name of the game, so this gets definite plus points.
Benefit 3 – Helping your website’s traffic
LSAs are ads that are served to prospects, based on their proximity to your firm and their specific needs. This makes this ad type one of the most targeted, and with it, one of the most prone to actually converting into a profitable business.
Benefit 4 – Providing more information
LSAs give users a direct connection to your Google My Business information such as phone number, address, years in business, reviews. Perhaps the most important connection is that it also links to your website so your prospects can scour the content you have on your site for information as well!
Benefit 5 – Managing your budget
The way your investment is managed on the LSA platform is in weekly intervals. By working with weekly budgets, your total investment is carefully monitored and adjustments can easily be made at any time to meet your current needs. Additionally, LSAs work on a pay-per-lead basis! So if a lead wasn’t up to your standards, you can dispute the charge.
Benefit 6 – Showing off your reviews
Having some form of social proof is arguably the most important decision factor for all consumers searching the web. Luckily, local service ads incorporate your firm’s GMB (Google My Business). One of the key elements you benefit from by having a Google My Business page is the possibility to showcase the reviews and ratings your clients have left your firm. This dramatically impacts the decision-making of prospects who are looking to see what has been said of your services, management, and overall support.
Also, another quick note: If you have negative reviews, too, don’t fret. You can take advantage of them as well. Find out how to create a solid review strategy here.
Do’s and Don’ts To Maximize Your Ads’ Performance
Now that we’ve explained the basics, it’s important to keep some best practices in mind before jumping in.
Here are our top five recommendations:
Best Practice 1 – Use the Maximum Paid Ad Budget Recommended
Google gives you a weekly budget recommendation for your paid ads. Although you will never pay more than your monthly max, you should stick to the maximum recommendation. By doing so, you guarantee your investment gets you as much quality traffic as possible.
Best Practice 2 – Slowly Increase the Paid Ad Budget
Don’t go “too big, too fast.” Even if you feel like your firm’s ads are struggling to pop up, it is always best to increase gradually. If you go in and increase your investment abruptly, your local service ads account might be flagged due to suspicious behavior and this will prevent your LSAs from showing at all. (Here’s the kicker: Google does not warn you about this!)
Best Practice 3 – Pay Attention To Your Reviews
LSAs go through two types of reviews.
- The Google My Business (GMB) reviews – They’re automatically attached to your LSA account. It is always a good rule to answer reviews in a timely manner (whether it’s a positive or negative review).
- The verified reviews – These LSA reviews are given priority over the Google My Business reviews. These reviews are left after a client uses your services. Like GMB reviews, they should always be answered in a timely manner (whether it’s a positive or negative review).
Best Practice 4 – Consistently Monitor Your Reports and Dispute On Time
It is best to regularly monitor your LSA reports and review the leads that are coming in. With the insights into your qualified/unqualified leads, you will be able to discern what needs optimizing and how. You can also learn and read the rules and regulations when disputing a lead here.
Best Practice 5 – Have a 24/7 Response
Response time is critical. This can make or break your firm’s credibility and overall client service. The best practice is to provide a 24/7 response time. In order to achieve this, you may want to hire a 3rd party to work through your after-hour calls. If you opt for this route make sure they are able to provide and maintain your quality of service.
On the other hand, if you do not wish for an external entity to tend to your prospects’ calls outside your working hours, make sure your visiting/operating hours are clearly stated. One of the evaluation factors the algorithm takes into account is the number of calls that are answered, so make sure everything is set up correctly!
And, lastly, we can only recommend for you to…
Manage Your Firm’s Marketing Alongside A Google Premier Partner
Overall, LSAs are a very appealing tool for law firms, and though we’ve provided you with a basic understanding of how they should be set up and how they work, it can become a bit confusing without some guidance. Partnering with a Google Premier Partner prevents any issues from occurring and they come with the added benefit of having creative ideas to ensure your firm is always 2 steps ahead of your competition.
At Consultwebs, we have LSA experts on board that can happily assist you in your marketing and search ads endeavors, alongside a dedicated onboarding specialist from the Local Service Ads team.
We are equipped to fight the bidding war by your side!