PPC for Law Firms: To PPC or Not to PPC? That is the Question

As a lawyer, you want to have a robust online presence. Potential clients should be able to search your name and find your firm, click on your website’s link, and get in touch immediately.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like this. With the quantity of law firms out there, merely putting your website online isn’t usually enough to draw in a sufficient customer base. Even if you do some keyword targeting and SEO work on your site, you’re not guaranteed to be at the top of that coveted Google search page.

Enter, Pay-Per-Click ads. These personalized, tailored ads can ensure you’re at the top of the search page, every time. And unless 100% of your clients know who you are, you’re always at the top of their mind, or you’re just killing it all the time in your field, you should be using them. If you want to learn more about these useful marketing tools, read on.

What Are Pay-Per-Click Ads?

If you’ve ever seen a group of links above the “organic” search results, you’ve seen a Pay-Per-Click ad. The reason they’re generally placed above organic search results is that the higher up on the search page you are, the more likely a customer is going to click on your link. This makes Pay-Per-Click ads extremely useful marketing tools for businesses of all sizes. Trying to garner the top search result spot using organic techniques—keyword targeting, SEO practices, and other website optimizations, for example—is very difficult, and could cost you thousands of dollars without any return. Pay-Per-Click ads are the guaranteed way to expose and market your company to your ideal audience.

After a client sees the link to your website on the Google search page, they will likely click it to get more information. You’ll be paying per click, which means that every time someone clicks on those ads, you’ll have to pay a set fee to Google for the exposure. This makes it imperative to get your ads right, which includes knowing who your audience is, narrowing down your keywords, and target the right people.

Myths about Pay-Per-Click Ads

Before jumping into how to create effective pay-per-click ads and grow your firm, it’s important to understand that these marketing tools have some misconceptions surrounding them. While some of these myths might technically be true, there are ways to optimize your use of Pay-Per-Click ads and make them as useful—if not much more effective—than your organic SEO work. Take a look at some of these common myths about Pay-Per-Click Ads and how they might impact your marketing.

Myth: Pay-Per-Click Ads Only Attract Bad Potential Clients

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding Pay-Per-Click ads is that they’re too broad. We’ve all seen ads at the top of our search page that has nothing to do with what we’re searching for. For example, let’s say I am in Dallas searching for a “Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer.” Odds are, a bunch of Dallas law firms is going to show up in the results. Many people believe that Pay-Per-Click ads are a waste of money and time for this very reason; they just don’t target your ideal audience.

But actually, it doesn’t have to be this way. PPC ads are complicated, but it’s easy to control who you are reaching. They might be paying $20 to $30 to merely appear in the wrong search, which of course is wasting them money. However, you can easily avoid this by taking the proper steps and changing some simple settings to ensure you’re only targeting the people you want to focus on—in your location, field, and service area.

Myth: Pay-Per-Click Ads Are Too Expensive

This one is partially true; Pay-Per-Click ads can get pricey, mainly if your firm or business is based in a large city like Chicago or New York. It might cost $70 for one person to click on your ad, and if that person doesn’t become a customer, you just paid $70 for nothing. Things could get costly pretty quickly.

Yet, again, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ve outlined a budget and are committed to sticking to it, you’ll know exactly how much money you have to pay per new client. You can also do some research and try to estimate the ratio of clicks to follow-through customers, which can help you understand just how much you’ll need to spend and how much gain you’ll see from your efforts. For example, if you know that you gain 1 paying customer for every 10 clicks you receive, you’ll know how much money it’ll take to get 10, 20, or 30 paying customers.

Myth: You Don’t Need a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy with Pay-Per-Click Ads

Many companies think that when they pay for Pay-Per-Click ads, the marketing journey ends there. Make your announcement, pay per click, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple—not by a long shot. To make the most of your Pay-Per-Click ads, you need a comprehensive online marketing strategy that includes leveraging other marketing channels.

While the Pay-Per-Click ad might lead a customer to your website, it’s your website that’s going to sell them on your services. The process is all about moving the customer from the research phase into the action phase, which occurs when they click your ad and look over your website. Without a comprehensive marketing strategy, you’ll get the clicks—but not the follow-through.

Using Pay-Per-Click Ads to Expand Your Business

Now that you’ve sorted through the myths of Pay-Per-Click ads and understand that they can be a valuable tool if used correctly, how exactly can they benefit your business? The truth is, Pay-Per-Click ads can become the core of your business if you just pay attention to a few key details.

Benefit: Cherry-Pick Your Ideal Client

The great thing about Pay-Per-Click ads is that you can target your ideal client. Think about who you would want clicking on your ad, and adjust your Pay-Per-Click settings accordingly. Is your perfect client younger, or older? Do they have a certain level of wealth? Where do they live? Are they interested in certain things? Are they men or women, or both? The better ideal client picture you have, the better you can target them.

For example, let’s say you want to run a Dallas divorce campaign to get clients in that area to contact you for legal services. First, you’ll want to exclude by age; in this case, you know it’s a waste of time if someone under the age of 45 clicks on this ad. Second, you decide you want only high-end clientele, which means your ads will solely focus on high net worth clients. Third, Dallas is a huge city, so you’ll need to narrow it down further—perhaps to a specific neighborhood or zip code. You might also want to segment by household income or family size.  

Narrowing your ideal client base down will help ensure your ad will show up to the right people, the people you want to target. This increases your chances of having potential customers click on your ad, as well as the chances they’ll stick with you for the long run—especially if your web copy relevantly speaks to them.

Benefit: Focus On the Practice Areas Where You Want More Business

Not every firm is the same. One lawyer might offer divorce services only, while another attorney might provide special education legal services. Pay-Per-Click ads allow you to pick words related to your specific services. For example, if you pick words about special education law, you’ll get people who are looking for protection for their bullied children. If you choose to focus on collaborative law, you’ll get divorce clients who want to settle their separation through mediation and fruitful conversation. This helps clients who are seeking a particular service, and it also saves you time, since your clients will know exactly what you offer before they even pick up the phone to contact you.

Benefit: PPC Can become a Core Piece of Your Marketing Strategy

If you’re running a law firm, you’re asking your clients to trust you with many thousands of dollars, not to mention their time. This isn’t an easy decision to make, and more often than not clients fall away from their goal of getting an attorney during their research phase. PPC ads can be a great driver of qualified clients. That said, it should not necessarily be used alone.

What happens if a client clicks on your ad and gets distracted by a phone call, or just decides to put their decision to contact you off until a day that never comes?  You can enhance your PPC ad performance by incorporating social media marketing to retarget interested prospects and remain top-of-mind.

Who Should Use Pay-Per-Click Ads?

While Pay-Per-Click ads can be a valuable resource for most everyone, that doesn’t mean every firm has to use them exclusively to be successful. For some law firms, Pay-Per-Click ads might be a small piece of their marketing strategy, while the more significant portion involves enhancing their referrals. For others, Pay-Per-Click ads could be the lifeblood of their marketing strategy, along with a well-kept website and reviews. But overall, there is a place for Pay-Per-Click ads in every business, whether that entails $100 a month or $20,000 a month investment into Google.

Pay-Per-Click ads are a great way to dominate your local market, gain new loyal clients, and solidify your online marketing strategy. When done correctly, they can open up a world of opportunities with clients you might otherwise never meet. Countless businesses have seen their customer base increase within a matter of months after using Pay-Per-Click ads, and you could certainly be one of them.