Pay-per-click advertising, sometimes abbreviated to PPC, is a digital marketing technique that has been around for almost as long as search engines have existed, but should your law firm start (or continue) paying for it? Does it work? Is lawyer PPC worth it? Let's take a look.
How PPC for Lawyers Works
Your law firm bids money to have its ad appear on the results page when someone searches for a certain keyword or phrase. If your bid is high enough and the search engine you're bidding on determines your ad copy and website landing page is relevant to the user, your law firm's PPC ads will be displayed when users search those keywords or keyword phrases.
See the green box that says "Ad" in the screenshot below? Those are PPC ads for lawyers on Google. Bing and other search engines have a very similar service.
Advantages of PPC for Lawyers
It's fast. As soon as you pay and set up your ads, they start appearing.
It's easy. There's not a whole lot of work involved. You don't have to change anything on your law firm's website to appear on the search engine results page although there are certainly landing page best practices that can help improve your PPC performance.
It's accurate. You get to choose which keywords or terms you want your law firm's ad to appear for, and can appear on as many as you can afford. They could be keywords like "lawyer wisconsin" like the example above, or something more specific like "drunk driving attorney madison wisconsin".
It won't change. Google is always updating the algorithm that determines how to order organic search results, so the position your law firm's website has in the those search results is always in danger of dropping down the page (where people are less likely to look). PPC guarantees your law firm's ad will appear on the very first page, buying you you a lot of attention.
Disadvantages of PPC for Lawyers
It costs a lot. You get what you pay for, and what you're getting is one of the top spots in Google's search results and the attention of a lot of people who are searching for a lawyer near them. Also, if another business bids significantly more than you for the same keyword, there is little you can do to keep them from pushing you further down the ad listings. Even if your ad copy is solid and your ad landing page experiences are very good, if your bid is too low your ads simply will not be served.
It's short-term. Very few law firms, indeed very few businesses in general, can afford to do PPC over a long period of time unless they're consistent in their ability to generate business attributable to their PPC campaigns. Once you stop paying for your ad to appear, your law firm's presence on the search engine disappears, unless you've also been working on search engine optimization and producing high-quality content for search engines to find.
Potential for low return on investment (ROI). PPC can cost law firms thousands of dollars each month, and even if lots of people click on your ads, not every single one of them is going to become your client. In addition, it can be hard to zero-in on which keywords are worth bidding for and which ones are just a drain on your resources.
Consumers are getting smart. They know when they're being manipulated, and often will only skim over the ads and dive straight into the organic search results below them.
How to create a cost-effective and successful PPC campaign for your law firm
How do lawyers create successful PPC campaigns?
Step 1: Law firms need to start by researching keywords their prospects are searching for.
Step 2: Set up dedicated landing pages that correspond with your ads and offers, which corresponds with your keywords you plan to bid on.
Step 3: Write compelling and focused ad copy.
Step 4: Start small. Test and see what's working and what doesn't bring results. Once you have a good idea of where you're seeing a positive ROI, figure out how to do more of that.
Step 5: Understand that a successful PPC campaign in the legal industry is not going to be cheap. It may be best to run a small PPC campaign as a supplemental marketing strategy to your inbound marketing plan.