PPC for law firms seems at first glance to be an easy proposition. You just pay for some of the main keywords you expect potential clients to use when searching for your type of practice and wait for your new clients to come streaming in.
If only it were this simple. In fact, PPC for law firms takes as much thought and preparation as any Search Engine Marketing campaign—though unlike in Search Engine Marketing the results start coming much sooner. When you consider a PPC campaign as part of your law firm marketing, you need to do your homework or hire someone who will do it for you, otherwise you will just be wasting your money.
What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
Pay Per Click advertising is a way to get your website seen on the first page of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) without having to go through the trouble of optimizing your pages for those particular keywords. (Though as you will see, we still recommend that you use SEO as part of your law firm marketing.)
Here is the way it works in a nut shell: You buy a keyword from Google’s Adwords. Google places your ad for that word or phrase in the paid advertisement section of the SERP (demarcated as a paid advertisement at the top or right hand column of the page). An internet user searches for that word or phrase, comes across the page, sees your ad, clicks on it and is taken to the specially designed landing page you created for it. Google then charges your for that click—you pay per click.
Sounds simple enough, right?
In order for your Pay Per Click campaign to actually allow you to convert new clients, however, you must first manage to target the correct keywords and get the right kind of traffic. A well-targeted pay-per-click campaign begins with keyword research to determine which keyword phrases will bring the best ROI (Return on Investment).
Some keywords have such high competition that buying them will simply be too expensive. Other keywords may have less competition but simply not bring the right kind of traffic. For this reason pay per click keyword research must be carefully conducted and monitored to make sure that you get the right keywords.
Once you begin your pay-per-click campaign you then need to carefully monitor it to make sure that it is achieving your goals. In some cases ineffective keyword phrases can be dropped, while in others landing pages or ads need to be refined to better capture web users who are ready to convert. PPC for law firms requires careful monitoring and refining throughout the process.
Fashioning Effective Pay-Per-Click Ads
In addition, you need to be careful to create highly effective ads that draw web users to click on them. This may at first seem slightly irrelevant since you only pay-per-click. However, Google carefully monitors the effectiveness of ads as well, looking for how many clicks an ad gets per number of page views. For Google and the other search engines this is important because when your ad doesn’t get clicked they don’t get money.
Google will then factor this in for the amount that they charge you for buying future Adwords. Thus if your competitor is getting twice the clicks you are, they might get their ads for half the price you do. For this reason it is important to make your ads as sticky as possible. Ineffective ads not only don’t bring you clients as quickly, they also cost you more.
In addition, it is even more important to make your landing pages as effective as possible since each view that they get will cost you. Your landing page needs to be especially designed to get its viewer to “convert”—to perform the action you brought them to the page for, whether it is to leave their contact information or setting up an appointment for a consultation. Each time the landing page’s call-to-action fails to bring this result, your other efforts fail along with it and you have paid for nothing.
For this reason, you should have the pages professionally written and edited, so that you give yourself the best chance possible to gain a client from the page view.
The Big Picture
Finally, the most effective PPC campaigns are usually those that are incorporated into a larger law firm marketing campaign that also mix in SEO for the long term. PPC for law firms by itself can get quite expensive over time. The best way to get the best ROI from such campaigns is to think both short term and long term. Build your website’s traffic with SEO while getting business from difficult to target keywords in the meantime.
Ideally, you want to get to the point where PPC is only a small part of your overall strategy.