Unlocking the Power of Google Ads for Lawyers
Unlocking the power of paid search advertising such as Google Ads can be a valuable tool for businesses looking to engage with prospective clients online. That’s especially true when it comes to law firms. After all, people rarely search for legal terms unless they’re actively looking to hire a lawyer. As a result platforms like Google Ads provides an opportunity to intercept these prospects, making sure your firm’s website is front of mind in their search for representation.
The problem is that effective campaigns aren’t straightforward. They also require investment and, to complicate matters further, competition is fierce when it comes to the legal sector.
The fact that you’re here, reading this blog, means that you are interested in finding out if paid search advertising can help you better connect with your customers online.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising are the two most effective ways to market your law firm online. Each has their own merits and both can be extremely effective at driving potential clients to your firm’s site. But what is the difference between them? Each has their pros and cons.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or paid search platforms like Google Ads operate on a cost per action model. Advertisers can pay for top exposure in search result pages (SERPs), with the hopes of generating a click (lead).
Every time an ad is clicked, the advertiser pays Google a small fee. The payment model is based on market demand where advertisers ‘bid’ for position in an auction system. The higher the demand the more the cost per click. Once the budget has been exhausted, your ads no longer display.
Google Ads Pros
✔ Time. Unlike organic SEO, PPC campaigns can be ranked instantaneously.
✔ Targeting. PPC campaigns can be specifically tailored to reach targeted audiences.
✔ Prospects. PPC typically delivers better quality prospects than organic search. Particularly for bigger purchase decisions such as appointing a lawyer or law firm.
✔ Control. PPC puts you in control by enabling you to promote unique areas of content and drive targeted prospects to them. PPC enables you to point people to specific solutions based on their specific intents.
✔ Measurable. PPC provides excellent reporting, enabling you to better understand your customers and how they are engaging with your firm. This information can be leveraged to make adjustments and improve conversions.
Google Ads Cons
✖ Cost. The more competitive the search term, the more it is going to cost you per click.
✖ Expertise. Expertise is required for PPC campaigns to be successful and to attract qualified traffic without a high cost.
✖ Distrust. In certain sectors consumers don’t trust paid ads.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the process of generating 'free' or 'organic' traffic to your website by pushing it higher in natural search result pages.
✔ Trust. With high organic search engine rankings comes a perception of credibility. This is because the people searching believe that if you rank highly, you must naturally warrant that exposure.
✔ Evergreen longterm. Evergreen content is content that has virtually no expiration date, like practice area and profile pages. So focussing on the SEO for these pages will typically benefit your firm in the long term.
✔ Clickthrough rates (CTR). Clicks over impressions = CTR. SEO that ranks high (page 1) tends to deliver higher clickthrough rates (and vice versa, it is believed that this relationship is interconnected). Whereas with paid search advertising, your ad may or may not resonate with the user and the ad only exists until your daily budget is exhausted.
✖ Time. There is no quick fix when it comes to best-practice SEO. It may take months or even up to a year to achieve high rankings.
✖ Resources. High rankings require investment in terms of effort, time, tactics and content creation.
✖ Prospects. While SEO can deliver significant traffic, it tends to come from casual browsers who may require further marketing efforts to convert them.
What impact can Google Ads have on your law firm?
Google Ads can be a highly effective tool to drive traffic to your website, where prospects can then find out more about your services and eventually convert into clients. Google Ads generally has a higher conversion rate (direct email, phone call, or intake form) than traditional search, because prospects are further along in the sales funnel. These prospects are actively researching lawyers and AdWords lets you target them and direct them to the specific section of your website that speaks to their intentions.
Google Ads is often the first step that we recommend to clients after they have finished launching their new website.
A successfully managed campaign delivers immediate results, exposing your services to the right people, at the right time, in the right place. Adwords marketing is particularly appealing due to the control that you can have over it, something that is relevant to reach targeted people in a distinct situation.
For example, if you’re a Toronto-based law firm that focuses on dealing with divorce, then you can target your marketing on a granular level to ensure that you are only reaching out to prospects with high net worth, in the right city, with the right age, gender, income and situation. This not only saves you time, money and effort, but ensures that a stream of qualified leads are being driven to your site.
Google Ads is also scalable. Our clients receive a measurable return (ROI) on their monthly PPC budget. We calculate figures using a standardized benchmark ROI = (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment. The in-depth reporting enables you to see what is working and what isn’t, in real time. We can scale your budget and refine the campaign as we go, and over time the more return you see for your investment the more you can explore AdWords’ potential. Ultimately our clients invest in AdWords because it works for them.
When should you employ Google Ads?
PPC like Google Ads can be an effective tool to generate immediate results for your law firm. It can be a particularly effective tactic when first launching your new site, generating some much-needed exposure and building brand awareness. It can also be used to promote lucrative areas of your practice, enabling you to quickly and effectively generate a return.
Statistically, SEO does offer better value over the long term, which is why we recommend a holistic approach that utilizes both advertising techniques to deliver maximum impact.
Indeed Google Ads can actually help to inform your SEO by enabling us to tap into a rich source of data which can be used to improve these efforts. It also helps to maximize results as running PPC alongside search terms that you rank organically for is a highly effective way of capturing a market, and showcase the size and scope of your firm.
Why you shouldn’t go it alone
It can be tempting to go it alone when it comes to PPC and Google knows it. In fact, Google AdWords Express has made it incredibly easy for anyone to set up their own account and get started. But this approach can quickly suck up your budget without delivering results, after all there’s a reason why the search engine giant posts profits in the $billions.
Careful management and insight are required to deliver campaigns that produce profitable results. That’s where the support of a good Search Engine Marketing agency comes in.
The right agency will use their expertise and experience to ensure that you get the biggest return for your dollar. They will also inject some all-important strategy into your PPC activity, helping to ensure you cut through the competition, and make sure that your PPC is connected to your other marketing efforts so that everything is working in harmony to generate and convert leads.
It’s not easy, which is why Google has developed a Premier Partner accreditation program for agencies to prove that they have the skills, experience, and expertise to deliver successful campaigns.
If you’d like to find out more about how Google Ads can be used to unlock the potential of your law firms website, please do get in touch. We know what makes phones ring and we’d be more than happy to share it with you.