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No consumer law firm will survive long without marketing online. And if you are not on the first page of search results for your practice area(s), you will need to turn your attention to paid search, otherwise known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Does paid search have its challenges for lawyers? You bet!

First, it can be hideously expensive. Law-related terms like “lawyer” and “attorney” are two of the most expensive keywords on Google and Bing. When you are paying a lot ($100+) for each click on your paid search ad, you need to see a good return right away.

Second, it’s really competitive. This is because there are lots of attorneys who are bidding on the same keywords.

And third, depending on your practice area, it can be difficult to find qualified leads. For example, some personal injury law firms only take high-dollar catastrophic injury cases. Finding searchers with these types of injuries can be a gamble.

So how do attorneys make paid search pay off? Here are some PPC tips to help you get the best possible return on your paid search spend:

PPC Tip #1: Research your competitors and then differentiate yourself.

In the highly competitive online landscape for legal services, you need to first evaluate what your competitors are doing so you can do it better. Take the keywords you have identified for your firm and type each one into a search engine. Look at the ads that pop up and you’ll get a good feel for the competitive environment.

Next, find a way to stand out by featuring the attributes that set you apart. 24/7 response. Credit card payments. 100+ 5-star reviews. Whatever you offer that your competitors don’t, use it (just be sure it’s meaningful to prospects).

PPC Tip #2: Tighten up your geo-targeting.

Because clients will rarely travel that far for legal services, geo-targeting is really important or you will be wasting a lot of online marketing dollars. If you have just one location, determine the exact radius that makes sense (typically 10-15 miles unless your practice is highly specialized). If you have multiple locations, have separate campaigns for each office so you can be more accurate with your targeting.


PPC Tip #3: Create ads that speak to search intent.

If you want qualified leads without wasting money, you need to be sure that your ads match a searcher’s intent. Basically, there are two different kinds of searchers — those who are in the research phase and have more time to deal with their legal matter, and those who need to hire a lawyer right away for a pressing legal problem. Your ads need to speak to the intent of the person searching and where they are in the buying cycle.

PPC Tip #4: Prioritize calls over clicks.

More Google searches are performed on mobile phones than any other device, so you should consider focusing on call-only paid advertising campaigns. Google has a call-only ad option where your ad will feature your phone number that connects a searcher to your intake team. Just be sure you have the capability to have your phones answered 24/7 before opting for call-only campaigns. These campaigns can work great for personal injury firms where someone who’s just been in an accident or is lying in a hospital bed can reach out quickly.

PPC Tip #5: Use video on PPC landing pages.

Your PPC landing page — the singularly dedicated web page that you direct your PPC ad traffic to — should feature video to increase the trust factor. Shoot a video of yourself explaining what their first visit to your office will entail or talk about what your firm does, focusing on what differentiates you from other firms. If you can, include testimonials from clients — videos are best, but at the very least, include some written reviews. People doing research online for lawyers are skeptical; video can go a long way to alleviating that skepticism.

PPC Tip #6: Have a live chat feature on your website.

Everyone searching for a lawyer believes their problem is unique, even if it’s a problem you deal with all the time with clients. Giving prospects an opportunity to ask a question or talk to someone online helps them feel more comfortable taking the next step. Many people prefer the anonymity of live chat over making a phone call — get them comfortable with interacting with you first, then lead them to the call and the appointment.

PPC Tip #7: Utilize display ads and remarketing.

One of the keys to standing out among your competition is to invest in remarketing via ads on Google’s Display Network. Display ads are banners that you see on other sites across the Internet. Have you ever wondered how a website you visited keeps following you around when you’re on other sites? This is remarketing and you don’t need a big budget to do it. Most prospects visit more than one website when researching attorneys, and remarketing gives you a great opportunity to stay top of mind when prospects are doing their homework.

PPC Tip #8: Try Bing.

Most people think of Bing as the little search engine that could…maybe. Actually, there are 500 million searches done on Bing every month in the U.S. So, maybe not so little. Yes, it pales in comparison to Google’s search volume, but participating in paid search on Bing is also way cheaper and less competitive. So give it a try. You may strike client gold without have to spend a lot of yours.

PPC Tip #9: Track everything.

You will waste a lot of money on doing things that don’t work unless you track everything you are doing. Just because you get a lot of clicks — and remember you are paying for each one! — does not mean those clicks are translating into qualified leads. A/B testing allows you to see what’s working and what’s not. Keep trying new strategies until you hit on the winning formula, then replicate your success.

Sound like a lot to manage?

At The Rainmaker Institute, we use Google Best Practices, daily campaign reviews, deep-dive optimizations, and client collaboration to create successful PPC campaigns for consumer law firms that result in significant increases in conversion and click-through rates as well as reductions in cost per conversion. Here are some recent examples:

Practice area: Personal Injury

Our client’s conversion rate increased over 250% since TRI took over their PPC campaign less than one year ago. The CTR increased by 66%, which is an indicator of an increase in the quality of the campaign. Google rewards high-quality campaigns with a decrease in cost per click.

First quarter data:

  • Conversion rate: 12.12%
  • Click-Through rate (CTR): 3.08%

Current last quarter data:

  • Conversion rate: 44.12%
  • Click-Through rate (CTR): 5.14%

Practice area: Personal Injury focusing on car accidents

This client’s previous agency had opted their campaigns into partner networks where the client was seeing a high cost per conversion. Upon The Rainmaker Institute taking over the PPC efforts, a new campaign was created per Google Best Practices, resulting in a 50% drop in the cost per conversion.

Practice area: Family Law

A Family Law campaign was built using Google Best Practices and earned an above-average conversion rate per Google’s historical data within five weeks. Implementing Google Best Practices from inception can make a significant impact across multiple key factors within a new campaign.

  • 15 phone conversions within the platform
  • Conversion rate: 23%
  • CTR: 5.08%

PPC can be complicated, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. If that’s the case, then talk with us about our PPC lead generation services during your complimentary marketing strategy session with one of our Rainmaker marketing experts: