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2023 Guide – Seven Tips for Online Law Firm Advertising

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Last modified: December 5, 2023

Online advertising opens a whole new world of ability to reach a targeted audience. It’s better than placing your number and a catchy CTA on a billboard off a major highway and hoping the right clientele sees it. Online advertising offers the ability to target a specific audience and push your services in front of those who need it. However, it might not be as easy as you think.

Continue reading for a comprehensive guide on PPC advertising in order to either gain a better understanding or to see our tips about it. If you are a law firm wanting to start PPC advertising, schedule a consultation with the professionals at Array Digital.

Using this guide: a flow chart

Array Digital aims to teach our clients as much as we can about pay-per-click (PPC) because we believe that’s going to empower them to meet their needs. However, your knowledge and insights into PPC advertising may be very different than someone else’s. Before you launch PPC campaigns and ineffectively use your marketing and advertising funds, read this guide.

You can start at several portions, each of which will provide you with the type and level of knowledge you need. It’s all valuable, no matter if you are working on your first PPC ads, building your website from the ground up using search engine optimization (SEO) and landing pages to get started before launching ads, or you just need a refresher into the latest updates.

How much do you know about pay-per-click?

Nothing – I’m brand new!

Welcome to expanding your brand and making sure your ads help you bring in the best clientele for your law firm. If you have no experience, start with the “what is PPC for attorneys” section below. It will provide you with everything you need to know.

Some – I know a bit.

If you don’t know much about PPC or how it differs from SEO, start with the “PPC vs. SEO” section to get started. If you do know the difference between SEO and PPC, but you don’t know about the benefits it offers, start with the “Benefits of advertising” section.

If you do know about those benefits and want to get started, start with “Utilizing keywords.”

Good grasp – I know the basics.

For those who know a bit about PPC but aren’t pros (yet!), answer this question. Do you know how to troubleshoot problems with your PPC campaign? If not, start with “Problems with PPC” as your first step.

If you do know about problems and solutions, and you don’t want any tips, we recommend starting on “SEO guide” if you are ready. Or, if you are ready for the next step, set up a consultation with us now to get started.

Great – I know it all!

If you have a good grasp on PPC and you are not having any problems but want to refine the process or launch a more aggressive campaign, we can help you, too. Start with “Why you should consider an agency and tips. Then, schedule your consultation with us today!

Our goal is to get you moving on PPC so you can start to benefit from it. We know advertising, and we specialize and highlighting your legal services on the web. Here’s the insight you need to use this marketing strategy to get new clients and boost your brand and digital marketing ROI in the process.

What is PPC for attorneys?

Google PPC ad example

Pay-per-click, or PPC, is a type of digital advertising you can use for your legal services. The process involves setting a spending limit so you control how much goes into this investment and marketing plan. Each PPC campaign can be different to meet the ultimate goals you have.

With PPC, when someone clicks on the ad they see, you pay a fee for that click. You do not pay for impressions, just clicks. Generally, that means the searcher will go back to your landing page, where you can solve their problems and turn potential clients into paying clients.

The basics of lawyer PPC

Before we go further, you’ll notice numerous types of digital marketing and advertising in this guide. Each component has a different place and benefit to offer you.

CTC

Click-through-rate, or CTC, is a term that represents a formula for the number of people who see your digital ad and the number of people who click on it. Not everyone who sees your ad will take action. This number helps Google to track and judge your ad’s performance.

CPC

Cost-per-click, or CPC, is a term used to describe the costs related to each of the clicks that your ads have. Not all clicks have the same value, and therefore they do not have the same overall cost.

CPA

Cost-per-acquisition, or CPA, takes this one step further. It is a metric that measures how much each ad costs your business. To do that, it shows you the price of receiving a consumer who turns into a client. In other words, it allows you to see how much it is costing you in marketing to turn that viewer into a website visitor and then into a client.

ROAs

Return on Ad Spend, or ROA, is another figure to help you determine how much return you are getting from your digital marketing campaign. It helps to show how efficient and financially beneficial your PPC campaigns are.

Ad Rank

Ad rank is a term you’ll often see when talking about Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords). It is the system that Google employs to place your ad on the search engine results page (SERP) or the list of ads a person sees when they search for services that you offer.

Each of these terms is important to understand because they play a role in the overall success of any online advertising you do. Pay-per-click advertising is highly effective, but you need to utilize it properly, with consistent refinement, to ensure PPC marketing is profitable to you and that your ad spend is not higher than the money you’ll be pulling in from the campaign.

PPC vs. search engine optimization (SEO)

As you seek out new leads and create a marketing plan, do not make the mistake of aligning PPC campaigns the same as SEO. The two are different components of digital marketing.

We encourage you to read our comprehensive SEO guide to get a full, immersive understanding of what SEO is and how it plays a role in your ability to brand and bring in new clients through your website and online presence. Let’s talk about some of the differences, though.

PPC is a type of paid method for advertising. You pay a fee in the hopes of getting people who need your services to your website. SEO is about optimizing your website so that the search engines see its value and direct new clients who fit your target audience to your site. In this method, you pay for the work done but not necessarily the leads as they come in. You’ll use relevant keywords to design your SEO efforts based on the type of keyword searches that your target audience are using to find information and resources you offer. The goal is to rank in the search engine results pages as high up as possible so that you are the most visible law firm available.

Which to choose: SEO or PPC for your law firm

We encourage you to look at all components of the process before moving forward. However, both are valuable.

PPC is a fast way to increase traffic to your website. If you have the budget, your ads can appear immediately, bringing in new clients almost instantly. PPC also allows you to rank immediately for a keyword. 

However, PPC does not optimize your website. That means it does not help your website to appear naturally in the SERPs. More so, it cannot rank you for multiple keywords unless you pay for those keywords. 

PPC and SEO have key differences to consider as you start to build your online brand.

If you are a smaller law firm and want to compete with bigger ones right now, and you want to get the same clientele in the door, PPC could help you to reach that same audience quickly. However, due to the competitiveness and speed at which you can attain clients, PPC can be quite costly at first.

Benefits of including both strategies

In legal marketing, both PPC and SEO are valuable. In most situations, you should be using both methods as a way to draw in searchers who are looking for the information, resources, and tools you can offer to them. If you include both strategies, you can take advantage of remarketing through PPC as well.

Ultimately, this means that your law firm marketing goes even further. This means building more prospective clients through quality leads landing on your website.

Managing your PPC

cost per click cost

How much should you spend on law firm marketing? That’s a good question, and for most small to medium-sized law firms, it can feel like there is an endless number of marketing methods requiring an investment. So, where do you start?

Costs are a factor to consider when choosing the right type of marketing strategy for your law firm. Typically, a law firm should allocate between three and 10 percent of its revenue to legal marketing. This figure should cover all of your marketing, including:

  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Other ad spend
  • Other components of digital marketing

There are some firms that spend as little as two percent and get enough quality leads to meet their goals. There are others that spend 18 percent and need to do so to remain competitive within their local community to reach their target audience.

We encourage you to work with our team to help you determine where you need to be regarding costs. It’s possible to adjust your marketing efforts to meet most budgets within that percentage range.

The other component of managing your digital marketing strategy is time. This can be just as important as all other factors when it comes to building your campaign and strengthening your prospective client reach. It takes time to build your marketing, your online presence, and your brand, as well as to see qualified leads coming in.

Key benefits of law firm advertising

Why do all of this anyway? Can you just get website design, pop in the right keywords, and wait for the return on investment to pour in? After all, people need your law firm and legal services. Why put all of this time into building out advertising? Well, there are several key reasons.

Drive traffic to specific web pages

Online marketing like this allows you to get people to specific pages of your website. Let’s say you specialize in family law. You could create a website and build out an ad strategy that focuses heavily on a specific area of family law. Then, when someone is searching for a divorce lawyer, you can provide them with very targeted information they can use to make a decision.

Also, when certain pages of your website are getting more visits, that helps Google to see the value of those pages and may help to boost your SERP rankings.

Reach potential new clients

You can create ad campaigns and website pages that focus on various practice areas or legal services that you offer. When someone visits your home page, you want them to move through your site to learn and then click to contact you.

For many law firms, the goal is to use your website to educate people on their legal rights and options, but most importantly, to get them to call you. By having very high-quality content and specific search terms refined like this, a person who is ready to file for divorce can learn exactly what they need to do to move forward.

Works well with SEO efforts

Your law firm’s PPC campaigns can help to support and work right alongside your SEO efforts. A successful PPC campaign draws in the same targeted audience, just in a different way. The two work well to support each other, but neither one replaces the other in terms of how they work.

Increase brand awareness

Online advertising is a big part of growing your firm’s brand. The return on investment here is often hard to put into actual figures. Yet, for most firms, using a marketing agency to create a well-designed online advertising campaign that links PPC and SEO can help your firm to be easily found and memorable.

Building your brand in itself is an essential tool in growing your firm. All of your advertising efforts are meant to attract new potential clients. Once you get them on your site, support them, and educate them, they’ll remember your law firm brand the next time they need information and make their way back to you.

Types of PPC ads

Writing ad copy and using the same template in various ways isn’t ideal. Rather, you want to customize your law firm’s PPC campaigns to achieve different goals. There are several types of PPC ads your law firm can utilize to do this.

Search ads

Search ads target the search engine results page. Here, you will build the ad campaign around specific keywords. Then, the ads will show up on Google search pages or other search engine pages when someone searches for those terms.

Display ads

This type of ad shows up on a website as people browse it. The website is using retargeting, which means they are showing ads based on what people searched for in the past. When a person on the page sees that reminder of something they were previously viewing, they can then click on the ad to go back to that step.

Social media ads

As their name implies, social media ads appear on social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They can also show results based on the searcher’s past search history. This is a good way to keep your brand in focus.

Utilizing keywords for Google PPC ads

Google receives 93.37% of all search volume globally. Let’s put that into perspective. Lesser utilized search engines tend to see such a small amount of traffic. When they were first launched, many search engines saw an uptick in use. However, today, Bing has about 2.81%, and Yahoo has about 1.13% of global searches. This is why if you are a business, it is important to be seen in the SERPs of Google.

Paying for Google Ads can help you to do that. However, in order to do so, you need to ensure you are being seen in the right place to attract the correct audience.

How does Google decide which ads are viewed?

While many factors go into the placement of ads, the ads that you see at the top of the search results are Google Ads. In particular, these tend to be the most valuable to seek out for law firms. The display of them is dependent on a few key factors. Ad rank, or when your ads are displayed, centers around keywords. This process will focus on a few factors.

Competitiveness of the auction

Your ads are not the only ads that Google has available to them to position in front of searchers. They have numerous law firms jockeying for the same ad placement. Considering that, the competitiveness of the auction — or whose ads show up — is a big factor. If two ads are competing for the same position and have similar ad ranks, then each has the opportunity to obtain that position. However, gaps in ad rank will occur, and as that gap builds, the firm with the higher-ranking ad will win the auction. This firm may also pay a higher price for winning that position.

Ad rank thresholds

Before your ad can even receive consideration, Google must pass it through a few thresholds. Several components are factored in here, including:

  • The quality of the ad: a high-quality ad experience for the consumer is always desirable.
  • Ad position: Those ads that appear higher on the SERPs have a higher threshold than the ad that appears on the lower portion of the page.
  • User signals and attributes: This includes things like the location of the device being used and the type of device they are using.
  • The topic and nature of the search: Thresholds vary based on the user’s search terms, based on what people are actually trying to look for.
  • Related auctions: The related queries auctions can also impact thresholds.

Importance of keywords

Why do keywords matter? You may know that in organic search, which supports SEO efforts, you’ll want the right keywords guiding the strategy for your website. Long-tail keywords, for example, are very specific phrases that can help people looking for that information to find you.

With PPC services, you also need to factor in keywords but in a slightly different manner. Any successful PPC campaign is built based on proper keyword selection. This helps determine where your ads will appear, as well as how much you pay for them.

The selection of the best keywords for your business is dependent on your goals. However, if you use the right PPC management while selecting keywords, you will see the following:

  • Better access to your target audience
  • Optimization of your budget for your Google Ads campaign
  • Increase in your conversation rate, which is the number of people that get to your website and become your client

In creating your campaign, you will tell the advertising platforms which words you are targeting. Then, you learn the cost and the competition for those keywords.

Identifying and avoiding keyword stuffing

Long ago, keyword research often involved learning every word someone may put into the search bar to land on a desired site. That meant that, for example, personal injury law firms would fill the law firm’s website with every version of the practice area and services they offer in the hope of showing Google how valuable the site is.

PPC’s use of keywords can lead to the same outcome — putting a lot of keywords in the hopes of something sticking. However, Google has significantly changed its algorithm. It is no longer acceptable or desirable to use keyword stuffing, and instead of helping your content rank, it is likely to be hurting your content.

Your campaign and online advertising efforts will be heavily penalized by Google if it believes you are doing this. That’s because Google views keyword stuffing as spam. Google’s goal is to help its searchers to get to pages that meet their needs. Spam-filled sites do just the opposite.

Notable problems with PPC advertising for attorneys

Ahrefs competitive keyword list

As an attorney, advertising online may be a newer concept to you or one that will take too much of your time and attention to learn and invest. No one likes to spend money if there are no results, either. Instead of wasting your PPC budget, we encourage you to focus on the most common problems that occur with PPC advertising to help you avoid negative outcomes.

Investing money but not seeing a return

Unfortunately, this is one of the most common problems clients see. They often use different ads and frequently alter their calls to action in the hopes of getting results. Yet, if you are using the wrong information and tools from the start, it is impossible to get ahead.

PPC ads are expensive, but when used masterfully, they can be an excellent tool to drive traffic to your website. However, for that to happen, you have to do the research to really understand how to create them, refine them, and test them.

Working with high-priced clicks

Let’s be clear. You’ll spend money on PPC, but you don’t have to tap your entire marketing budget on a single keyword. Going for high-priced keywords means you’re going up against much competition. Often, it’s better to choose a lower-priced keyword that gets you some traffic for less cost and then make the most out of that.

Unable to target the correct audience

You likely have many prospective clients you want to target with your PPC campaigns. However, it’s always important to know as much as you can about the demographics, needs, and pain points of your particular clients so you can zero in on them. The more focused your efforts are, the higher the results will be for the lowest budget possible.

Competitor ads seeing more traffic

There are some situations where your competitors may get more traffic than you. Why is that?

  • Do you have solid ad copy that truly pulls in their attention?
  • Do you showcase your expert knowledge?
  • Can your clients trust you based on what is solely in your ads and on your website?

It’s not always about spending more to get better results. Rather, you need to refine your PPC advertising to achieve your desired outcome.

Remember, constantly focusing on your competitors’ success and attempting to reverse engineer their campaign wastes your time. Instead, focus on continuously improving your own PPC campaign and providing information to help your prospective clients as much as possible.

Seven tips to drastically shift your online advertising

It’s time to boost those quality scores and get better results for your law firm. To help you to do well, focus on these seven core areas first.

#1: Set up your goals

Before going any further, set up your goals. Answer this question: What do you want your PPC campaign to do for your business?

Create clear goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). These goals should outline how many leads you want to get, how you plan to do it, and how you will gauge your success. How many leads do you want to see your law firm get? How many of those leads need to become clients? When do you want to reach this goal in your advertising?

Understand that the more data you have at your disposal, the more realistic you can make your goals.

#2: Target your audience

Define who your most likely client is. Use demographics about your client base now or your desired expansion to get more insight. Create the target persona, the most likely person to use your services. Consider factors like:

  • Their likes and dislikes
  • Age
  • Average income
  • Gender
  • Challenges they face
  • Values they have
  • Type of work they do
  • Education level

The more specific you are, the better. You can also complete a competitor analysis of this information so you know what your competitors are targeting.

#3: Create landing pages

Your website should have designated landing pages for ads. Landing pages should include your name, phone number, and address. Furthermore, you should incorporate clear information about your practice and answer common questions. Your landing pages need to have high-quality scores that clearly show their value to Google.

You also want to create landing pages based on the information the client is seeking. For example, personal injury lawyers will have a higher CTR if they offer a free case review.

#4: Choose relevant keywords

Thorough research is necessary to determine the most effective keywords for your law firm. Keep in mind that this takes more than just guessing. You need to ensure that testing is done (a and b tests, for example, to compare the way various keywords work for you). You also need to have a solid understanding of the market competition for those keywords.

#5: Advertise on mobile

When it comes to building your law firm’s success in online advertising, do not focus just on the people using a laptop at home. Mobile is a big opportunity for reaching your target audience and getting big results.

Mobile is one of the best tools for attorneys. When someone searches for information on a legal service they need on their phone, they can see your ad, click on it, and even call you directly at that moment. That turns a lead into a client fast.

#6: Use different match types

Match types are the ways in which a search engine values your site. For example, a match is when the two terms mean the same thing – such as “attorney” and “lawyer” – you want people typing lawyers to also find you for keywords related to attorneys.

Also, note the use and benefits of negative keywords. These are words that have nothing to do with your website, but search engines may misunderstand them. For example, if you do not practice in a certain area, you may want to incorporate negative keywords, which means the search engines will not position your ads for these searches.

Here’s how it works:

  • Broad match type: This is the most general form and allows for all variations and related searches to display your ad in front. Google uses synonyms to help here.
  • Phrase match type: This type of match will include a part of a phrase or the keyword’s meaning.
  • Exact match: This is the most stringent in which the ad will only display when the exact match occurs.

#7: Check your performance

Now that you are doing all of the work to build your site, don’t stop there. You also need to ensure you are consistently monitoring the performance of your ad campaigns and, as a result, making adjustments as you go. Some factors to consider include the following:

  • Quality score
  • Conversion rate
  • Clickthrough rate
  • Wasted spend
  • Cost per conversion

How well are these areas doing? Can you see improvement by making a few changes? Adjusting your performance over time keeps your business at the forefront of PPC advertising.

Innovate your ads with a free, no-hassle consultation

Let our team help you build your law firm’s success. Set up a consultation to discuss your advertising needs. Contact us by filling out our form or calling 757-333-3021 today.

Written By Gary Honold
I am a digital marketer and SEO manager with 30+ years’ experience driving web traffic, leads, and conversions for clients in highly competitive markets.