Don’t Turn a Blind Eye to PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

Is this you?

You’re searching for some information on Google or Bing. At the top of the results page is an ad that relates to the topic you’re researching. The advertisement looks like a standard search-engine result, with title and descriptive text, though it’s also clearly marked “Ad.”

A lightning bolt of inspiration: Maybe I should use this kind of advertising to market my firm. Someone who’s seeking information on a legal topic that you specialize in will find your firm at or near the top of that first page.

So you do another search. You find out that it’s called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. But as you dig deeper into the topic, PPC begins to seem less simple than you thought. It also costs money, of course. Besides, you have a well-designed website that you paid good money to optimize. Why not just leave it at that?

Because that means you could be leaving new business on the table.

A free online publication from FindLaw called “Promoting Your Firm with Pay-Per-Click: A Marketing Playbook for Attorneys” shows why that’s the case. It also demonstrates that PPC is actually easy to understand and use – if you do it right.

It’s Really Not Complicated (or Expensive)

With PPC, your firm creates an ad tied to a set of keywords and topics your prospective clients are likely to search for. If your law firm’s PPC ad is clicked, the consumer is directed to a special landing page your firm has created. (We’ll discuss that more shortly.) And you pay the search engine a small fee.

There’s another element to this. When a legal consumer types in those keywords — say, “lawyer” and “divorce” — the search engine immediately conducts what might be called a “flash auction.” That means you’ll need to establish ahead of time how much you’re willing to pay to have your ad win that coveted top spot.

So why should you consider PPC in your firm’s marketing strategy? However magical digital technology can seem, there is no single online marketing trick that will build your caseload. You need several construction tools – an integrated marketing strategy with elements that work together. Having a great website simply isn’t enough.

Boosting the Power of Search

If anything comes close to being a magic marketing bullet, it’s search. A recent Thomson Reuters survey found that 69 percent of online legal consumers use search engines when they need legal representation. What’s more, these consumers visit an average of only four websites before contacting an attorney.

Clearly, your website is still important. Traditional SEO techniques still matter. But by themselves, they can do only so much. There is no single set of search terms that will bring legal consumers knocking on your digital door. For one thing, it’s likely that your competitors are using many or most of the same terms.

What PPC can do, then, is give the power of search a little extra boost. It offers your firm a shot at a better position before these consumers.

Even if you have a good website, relying on it as your firm’s sole online marketing tool means that that’s all it will be – good. It’s less likely to grow the amount of business you want, and the amount of business your firm has the potential to attract. In other words, it’s dangerous to depend too much upon your site.

A Flexible Strategy

Again, appearing in search results organically is important. But again, this doesn’t position your firm to gain the top spot in results. And it doesn’t give you the flexibility to manage your message like a PPC ad can.

Earlier, we mentioned another component to a PPC ad campaign: a dedicated landing page focused on getting visitors to contact your firm. This page should complement your ad so that visitors know that they’ve come to the right place. The landing page should be designed so that the potential client can easily reach you, whether by phone or contact form (or both). The page’s content, design and language should be concise and direct — focused on what potential clients and what they’re looking for.

It’s this combination of ad and landing page that makes PPC a remarkably flexible strategy. You can time your ad to appear only when you need to. Let’s say your firm is pursuing a class-action suit. You conduct a targeted, limited-time PPC campaign to reach affected patients. The PPC ads and the dedicated landing page mean that your firm’s website doesn’t need to be redone to accommodate this particular case.

Think Long-Term

PPC is a powerful tool, but we should reiterate: There are no magic wands in digital marketing. Most likely, it will take time for a PPC strategy to produce results. You need to commit to it. But taking a pass on PPC could cost your firm down the road.

Developing a successful PPC strategy takes time and planning as well as (some) money. Downloading FindLaw’s “Promoting Your Firm with Pay-Per-Click” playbook can get you in the game. And it won’t cost you a penny.

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