PPC/Adwords for Law Firms: The Ultimate Guide
Whilst many of our clients regularly note referrals or word of mouth as their main channels for new business, last year brought a significant change in the market when it emerged that more people are likely to search online for a solicitor than rely on recommendations from family and friends. In the digital age, you can not only rely on your loyal customers, family and friends to recommend your services, you can also sell to a wider network that had previously been out of reach.
The World Wide Web has now evolved into the Internet of Things and people are connected everywhere 24/7, through multiple devices, searching for an array of services, goods and information (along with pictures of cats and memes). The real fee-earning opportunities for lawyers and law firms lie online in Google, Bing, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. All of these platforms are there for you to connect with people who need you.
Having a professional, conversion-focused website, with intricate optimisation is the basis for finding more clients (or letting them find you). Regularly updating your website with authoritative content and sharing it through multiple social networks gives you that extra boost to reach more audiences.
However, if you want to push your online presence further and give your firm a competitive edge in a crowded market then you might consider pay per click (PPC) advertising. PPC is a service offered by Google and other search engines in which you pay your way to the top of search engine result pages (SERPS).
Our guide covers:
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Getting PPC right can be tricky. Doing it properly requires time, regular maintenance and optimisation. Many law firms with a lower marketing budget don’t tend to consider PPC as they assume that they won’t be able to compete online. But believe us: you can compete, and you can come out on top if you do it right!
As the majority of searches are carried out on Google, here’s our ultimate guide to Google AdWords PPC for the legal sector.
The key to running a successful AdWords account is to plan ahead. It’s no good rushing into creating an AdWords account unless you have fully considered the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve with paid advertising?
- How will PPC fit into my overall marketing strategy?
- How much time/resource can I dedicate to PPC on a weekly/monthly basis?
- What services do I want to advertise on AdWords?
- How much do I want to spend per month to attract more clients to my website?
- What is my maximum cost per acquisition in order to stay profitable?
- What type of client do I want to attract?
- How competitive are searches for my services?
- How competitive are searches for legal services in my location(s)?
There’s no one formula for a profitable PPC campaign. Your answers to the above will define what your approach to paid marketing will be; whether it will be used to compliment your organic marketing efforts; take a lead role in your overall marketing strategy; or be used as a useful tool to use to promote a select few of your most profitable services.
By taking the time to fully consider your budget and resource limits, understand exactly who you want to target with PPC, and define your end goals you will already have made an excellent start to running a profitable pay per click account.
AdWords accounts can range in size, from 1 campaign and 1 ad group to 10,000 campaigns and 20,000 ad groups. Just thinking about this size of account is daunting, and there’s nothing worse than trying to sieve through a disorganised, confusing account.
The best PPC accounts are structured to reflect the website they lead to. They are easier to design, build, manage and review as you can see which practice areas are bringing in the most profit and which aren’t performing as you had hoped. Your campaigns should reflect your main menu options, and your ad groups should reflect your subpages.
Your law firm might offer a combination of Employment Law services, Criminal Law, Family Law, Commercial Law, Personal Injury, Immigration Law, Private Client, Conveyancing etc. You need to decide which services you want to promote through PPC. It’s important to remember that your website is already working hard to help you rank organically for all services, therefore you can pick and choose which services you want to give that extra boost with PPC.
Budget is also an important factor in account structure. If you have a relatively low daily or monthly budget, then spreading this over too many ad groups won’t get you very far. The most popular terms such as ‘divorce lawyers’ and ‘how much can I claim?’ will eat up your budget very quickly and other service areas won’t get a chance to shine. Make sure to distribute your budget strategically so that you're bidding competitively for your most profitable services.
Assuming you’re advertising on the Google Search Network and not the Display Network, you will be bidding against competitors on search terms that potential clients are typing into Google. Thorough keyword research is crucial to running a successful campaign. There are a number of tools available to help with keyword research:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Suggest
- Ubersuggest etc.
However, the most important resource for keyword research is underneath your very nose: your website landing pages. A successful legal website is full of informative, authoritative and unique content and is a goldmine for finding the long-tailed keywords that push your AdWords quality score that little bit higher. The more relevant your keywords are to your landing page, the less you will have to bid on those keywords!
Each ad group can have up to 5,000 keywords to activate your ads, but make sure to start off by keeping it simple with around 15-30 keywords. This be a lot easier to manage, giving you a sense of what search terms are gaining the most attention (in a positive way and in a negative way) and what one’s aren’t working for you at all. You will accrue keywords over time through continual optimisation, further research, and by using Google's handy Keyword Details tool which shows the real search terms that led to people clicking your ads.
It’s important to also consider what keywords you don’t want to trigger your ads and add these to your account as negative keywords – either at campaign level or ad group level. For instance, your keyword ‘divorce lawyer’ might show for the search term ‘traineeship to be a divorce lawyer’. Therefore you might want to add ‘traineeship’ as a negative keyword.
When first entering a website it can take someone as little as one twentieth of a second to make up their mind about your services. Which this in mind, think how little time you have to impress people when your advertisement shows on a results page full of competitor ads and organic results, all of which are in the exact same format, size and colours! Think: what can you do to stand out in a crowded SERP?!
Make sure you know what you need to differentiate yourself. Carry out multiple searches on Google for keywords you hope will trigger your ads and see what your competitors have written. Is there anything there that immediately catches your eye? Is there anything that would put you off as a potential customer? What do you offer that these law firms don’t?
Google ads have a limit of 95 characters for your own text and another 35 characters for the display URL. Writing ad copy within a small character limit is tricky, and writing ad copy for the legal sector can be even more challenging, especially if the service you’re offering can be particularly sensitive. For the perfect advertisement, your copy should:
- Reflect your service offering exactly
- Include keywords
- Link to the most suitable landing page for the user
- Make the best possible use of the character limit
- Show what’s unique about you
- Be grammatically correct and easy to understand
- And most importantly, speak to real people.
People in need of legal services want a real person – someone approachable, understanding and professional. All of which can be difficult to articulate in a total of 95 characters. Perfecting your ad copy takes time, and by testing ads against one another you will get a sense of what speaks to your customers the best.
Have you ever carried out a search and wondered why some ads had a lot more real estate than others? Google gives you the opportunity to enhance your paid advertisements with a variety of useful extensions, including Location, Sitelink, Callouts, App, Review and Calls. For the legal sector we find some more essential than others.
By enabling the location extension, your business address can appear beside your ad, potentially encouraging more clients who live nearby to contact you. An added benefit of showing your ads on mobile devices is that the location extension features a map with your physical location marked on it, along with directions from the user’s location to your business. When trying to stand out amongst competitors who are all fighting to attract more clients, showcasing how accessible your law firm is and that you have a physical location is a real advantage.
Your website might be full of great content which, of course, you want promote to people seeking your services. The sitelink extension allows you to add a number of extra links to your ads to provide users with a variety of reasons to click on your ads. You pay the same CPC for each of these clicks and you might end up leading someone to the right landing page that encourages them to convert.
Google AdWords limit of 95 characters sometimes just isn’t enough to get across just how special your law firm is! The call out extension allows you to add extra 25 character selling points to your ads. Do you offer free initial consultations, competitive fees or are you opened out with regular office hours? Make sure to get these extra points across to potential clients through callout extensions. They might just be the thing that makes you stand out and win new business.
If you build an AdWords account and leave it to fend for itself, chances are it won’t work very well. Google likes to see regular activity on PPC accounts and if you give it the time and attention it deserves, you will see the rewards.
Make sure you review your account regularly. Find out what keywords are working best for you, which ones aren’t working at all, and which ones are too expensive and using up all of your budget. Discover what people are actually searching for and add these as extra keywords. Use these to improve your website content and quality score. Pause underperforming ads. Test new ads against one another. Optimise ads for mobile. Update your sitelink extensions withh new content on your website. Try bid adjustments. Target new locations. Start a remarketing campaign. Tackle the display network and design image ads. Try Bing Ads. The list goes on and on. There is no end to the improvements you can make!
Don’t Have The Time To Do All Of This Yourself? We Can Run Your Pay Per Click Accounts For You!
There are many digital marketing agencies out there who are all offering to run the best PPC accounts for you. So why should you choose us instead?
Well, for a starter, we’re not just a general digital marketing agency; we specialise in the Legal Sector. This gives us that extra knowledge that helps us to get your PPC account just right. We are an official Google Partner, certified in Google AdWords, and we design, implement and manage PPC for law firms of all sizes throughout over the UK.
Whilst there are number of useful tools out there to automate PPC management, we provide the human touch. All of our research is done in person and we design your PPC accounts with your brand’s identity, business goals and unique selling points in mind. We give each and every account the attention it needs on a monthly basis – so you’re at ease knowing that your account is being cared for.
Also, we don’t just specialise in PPC for the legal sector – we’re the whole legal marketing package. Keeping ourselves constantly updated on the latest trends in digital marketing and legal news, we can build your website, carry out ongoing SEO, run your social media accounts and more! Even if you already have all of that in hand, we can use our extensive knowledge of best practices to recommend website improvements you can do for your PPC account to perform even better.
Contact Our Legal PPC Specialists
If you fancy an informal chat about your marketing activities and whether you would benefit from paid advertising, contact us on 03333 442 722 and ask for Chris.