Before you start reading the rest of this article — really learning how to use AdWords to increase law firm revenue would take you a while. Google AdWords, now known as Google Ads (the pay-per-click advertising program on Google) is far from simple, despite how it appears.
In fact, the only thing that’s truly easy to do with Google Ads is waste money. So, with that in mind, we’re going to approach this subject as a general intro rather than an in-depth how-to course. We’ll look at some marketing fundamentals and then work towards what goes into successful Google Ad campaigns:
By way of a brief explanation, “Google Ads” is an advertising platform. The search engine matches your ad campaign with people searching for your types of legal services.
For some of the millions of matching searches, Google will display your ad in the paid publicity section of the search results. If people click on it when it shows up, you get charged and they get sent to wherever you sent them in your campaign configuration (typically your website).
On a basic level, the Google Ads platform is pretty simple. Publish an ad, and wait for someone to click on it. They land on your website and ideally contact you. There you have it: a new client and new revenue for your firm.
Assuming you’re running successful campaigns, the main challenge is increasing profitability. Revenue is great, but profit is preferable.
Running profitable ad campaigns for lawyers is harder than it is for most other professions. As a law firm, you face heavy competition from people offering comparable services to the exact same market. Especially in practice areas with high potential fees per case, such as high-asset divorce or personal injury plaintiff, you can burn through business development budgets very quickly if you aren’t careful.
We’ll go through some of the ways to overcome this issue in the rest of this article. To really run a successful campaign, however, we suggest you contact us here at Forward Lawyer Marketing. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to put your budget to work.
One of the first things we do as legal marketing professionals is figuring out who’s currently buying a law firm’s services. Where do they live? What is their general education level? We collect as much hard data as we can.
Beyond that, we typically try to answer several key qualitative questions:
Marketing and advertising for lawyers is about identifying a firm’s best potential clients and speaking to them. The best messages are inclusive to all — but most appealing to the clients who will help grow the business.
This concept of focused marketing is especially important when it comes to PPC. You pay for every click, so you want to set yourself up to attract the right clicks for your firm.
The next step is choosing your approach. Not all PPC tools are the same, and certainly not all ad campaigns are the same. To increase revenue for your firm, you’ll need a plan that’s unique to you.
Do you want to attract attention regarding a specific event? Did you get a new partner, and you’re interested in increasing caseload in the expanded practice areas? Do you want to focus on generating leads for a specific geographic area? If you want to advertise at a profit, the exact goal of the campaign should determine its budget, schedule, targeting, and content.
Keywords are the words and phrases that will trigger your ad. Many attorneys make the mistake of just guessing at which keywords to buy. Unfortunately, common sense does not necessarily apply in this situation.
People search in many different ways. You’ll need to know the members of your target market, their search behavior, and the current search data trends if you want to make an educated — read “profitable” — choice about your keywords.
The key is to perform research on specific phrases or ideas you want to target. At this stage, you’re using large sets of data from search engines to determine what will capture the right searches and convert visitors to clients.
Landing pages are usually a big part of an ad campaign’s profitability. Essentially, these landings are special pages on your website. They’re dedicated completely to the campaign, discussing the idea behind the keywords you selected. Landing pages are important for a number of reasons:
Ad campaigns typically generate more revenue when they have dedicated landing pages. People get the information they need from these pages — and the motivation they need to schedule a consultation.
At this point in the process, you have an article about your services. It’s a discussion of the keywords you researched. You’ve published it on your website and you’re ready to publicize — but then you see the prices for your keywords.
AdWords is a pay-per-click model. In other words, you pay for engagement. This is in contrast to conventional print or billboard advertising. In that model, you pay for exposure.
In the pay-for-engagement model, it’s essential that you’re attracting the type of attention you want. Luckily, Google makes it easy to refine your audience. We’ll go into that briefly a little later on. But first, back to that price tag.
So, we’ve established that the stakes are high when it comes to law firm advertising with Google Ads. Legal keywords tend to be high for a combination of reasons:
There are various and sundry ways to spend too much money on AdWords. To make matters more complicated, PPC for lawyers has some of the most expensive keywords out there — you want to reduce costs as much as you can.
It’s possible to make profitable choices independently, but it takes research and effort to get things right consistently. We would, of course, suggest hiring a professional marketing agency. Feel free to contact us directly to get started.
So, how do you reduce keyword price on Google Ads? You use a combination of targeting and in-depth keyword research.
The term “targeting” takes on a specific meaning when you’re talking about AdWords. It means modifying the settings of your campaign so your ad only displays to a specific audience. This is the technical side of defining your market — you need to do more than write ads that appeal to your ideal client.
Keyword research, which we went into in a previous section in this article, is the other side of the general cost-control strategy. In this context, it’s just important to note that specific or long keywords tend to lower the cost of ad campaigns.
After you have honed your strategy and published a successful ad campaign, there’s still work to be done if you want to maximize revenue. Here are some of the ongoing maintenance tasks, upgrades, and adjustments that can make your firm more competitive online:
Whether you want to run a one-off PPC ad for your law firm or you’d like to regularly incorporate paid advertising into your long-term business development strategy, Forward Lawyer Marketing can help. Please contact us to talk about your goals — and how Google Ads fits in.