The 2024 Guide to PPC Marketing for Lawyers
By Conversion Legends – The specialist PPC agency for Law Firms
What is PPC marketing for lawyers?
PPC stands for Pay Per Click. It’s a very effective and highly trackable advertising method that is great for lawyers. As the name suggests you only pay when a user clicks on your adverts.
Where do the adverts appear?
In terms of the UK law industry PPC is primarily associated with advertising on the Google and Bing search engines. You can expect around 90% of the searches to take place on Google due to its market dominance. Therefore, I’ll focus purely on Google Ads (advertising in this article), formally known as AdWords. As a general rule for lawyer related searches, you’ll see four PPC adverts at the top of the search results and three at the bottom. In the middle there will be then organic listings. These organic listings do not charge you per click. However, it takes a lot of time and effort via Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to rank for them, which is still in reality a resource and opportunity cost.
What are the benefits of PPC over Organic results?
In reality it is a good idea to utilise both PPC advertising and SEO for lawyer websites. However, PPC has some significant benefits over its SEO sibling:
- It’s significantly faster to rank highly in Google via PPC – for instance ‘Conversion Legends‘ can rank almost any lawyer website in the top Google search results for almost any related keyword within the space of an hour. Obviously this is based on a simple account build but does demonstrate the speed well. Via SEO you would be looking at a minimum of 3 to 6 months with no guarantee of success.
- With PPC you can rank highly for a wide range of related lawyer keywords – This is not the case with SEO as it is impractical for most law firms to do this due to the time and effort involved.
- PPC is highly trackable – PPC is probably the most trackable form of advertising out there. Basically if you need evidence of how much it costs you per lead via the channel then you can get it. In terms of lawyers this would cover phone leads, chat form leads and email leads. All can be accurately tracked back to the channel and that data is used for further optimisations. This is not as easy via SEO.
- It is very quick to setup A/B tests on adverts and landing pages – This allows you to quickly find out what text phrasing, buttons, colours, images, calls to action, unique selling points, etc work best. This A/B testing is nowhere near as viable via SEO.
How does PPC advertising for lawyers work?
In its most simplistic form, a law firm or their agency will target a selection of keywords on Google. These keywords will each have a max bid. They will also have adverts and landing pages associated with them. When a user types in one of the keywords in question into Google e.g. ‘lawyers near me’ their advert will ideally be shown providing they have bid high enough relative to their competitors. Once a user clicks on the advert, the intention is to then send them to a tailored website landing page focused on selling in the law services and generating a lead either via a phone call, instant chat message, contact form submission or email.
That doesn’t sound very tailored?
That examples was in its most simplistic form. In order for the law firm PPC campaign to be effective more targeting options should be overlayed and optimised over time such as:
- Geographic targeting – e.g. within 3 miles of a postcode
- Ad Schedules – e.g. only show adverts on these days and times
- Device adjustments – e.g. increase mobile bids by 10% due to a better conversion rate
- Different campaign budgets
- Keyword match types – i.e. Exact, Phrase and Broad.
- Negative keywords – These stop your ads from displaying if they are included in the search phrase
- Demographic adjustments – Age, gender, etc
- IP exclusions – Blocking competitors from seeing your ads
Overall PPC is highly customisable and the more you can tailor your offering to the target market, the cheaper the cost per lead will be.
So if I bid the most surely I’ll always appear at the top?
Not so fast cowboy! To ensure high quality search results, Google also multiplies everyone’s bid by a Quality Score (QS) between 1 to 10. This score is mainly based on: The click through rate (CTR) of the adverts – The higher the better The advert relevance – The more relevant the advert is to the search the better The landing page experience – This is most likely highly related to bounce rate i.e. The proportion of users that click back to Google straight after clicking on your advert. The lower the better of course. This calculation of Bid X QS = Ad Rank. Every advert has one of these and the higher it is relative to the other competing adverts, the higher the ad will appear in the search results. Therefore you don’t necessarily have to pay the most per click to appear top in Google.
So how much does PPC advertising cost?
The average cost per click is normally quite unique to each keyword and law firm. These tend to range from around £3.50 for very budget law related keywords e.g. ‘Lawyer’ plus a location to over £11 for high value terms such as ‘divorce solicitors’. It really depends though on your quality score as mentioned above. What is more important though is not how much it costs per click but how much it costs you per lead. Overall people don’t search for lawyers for a laugh, so the likelihood of a lead off the back of a click is very high. As a rule of thumb providing your website is well set up and the PPC account is professionally built you’ll see leads at a low cost relative to the revenue you make back.
For reference I am counting a lead as a unique phone call, email send, contact form submission or chat form submission. All of the above will also be dependent on the competition in your target area and the quality of your website. Considering though the average value per converted customer and their lifetime value too these costs are quite insignificant.
Won’t my competitors just click on our ads to run up our costs?
Maybe, but Google automatically monitors this and excludes the costs from clicks that it deems to be fraudulent. After all they need you to have a profitable experience using their advertising channel in order to retain you as a customer. However, sophisticated advertisers (like Conversion Legends) also use third-party software that monitors the IP addresses of users that click on your ads. If that software sees multiple clicks from the same IP address over a specific period it autoblocks the user from seeing your ads in future. This works very well.
So should our law firm be using PPC?
Providing your website is well setup relative to your competitors, then yes. If not focus your money on fixing that first as it will make your PPC advertising a lot cheaper and more effective.
OK I’m ready to start…
That’s great news. In a nutshell here’s what you’ll need to think about.
Setting your goals
First off you need to decide what the goals are for your PPC campaigns. Basically ‘if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else’. In advertising that normally means broke. So let’s avoid that… As an initial goal I recommend ‘profitable lead generation’. This is the safest way to ensure that your advertising remains viable. Don’t buy into the let’s just go for website visits mentality, that’s just a fast way to waste money. Google Searchers in the law field tend to already be further down the sales funnel and looking for a lawyer to provide a service, so you may as well go for gold (i.e. leads).
How to setup your Google Ads account
To setup an account go to Google Ads and sign up. You should get an option during the process of using either ‘Smart Mode’ or ‘Expert Mode’. Ideally select ‘Expert Mode’ although you can migrate to it at a later date. Expert mode will give you a lot more control of your advertising and targeting resulting in lower cost per lead
Once you have a Google Ads account you’ll want to decide on what lawyer related keywords to target. This is done in steps.
- Step one – Firstly look at your website and note down on some paper the services you provide.
- Step two – Brainstorm a selection of keywords/phrases that users might type into Google to find the services you provide.
- Step three – Go to the Google Ads keyword research tool and enter your initial selection of potential keywords/phrases. This will then show you what people actually type and the search volumes. Some of these may surprise you.
- Step four – You will now need to download that list in MS Excel format. Then thin out all the junk keywords that you don’t want to target. You’ll probably need to repeat step three and four multiple times in order get to a final list you are happy with.
Once you have a final list of the keywords you wish to target you’ll need to group the keywords into Campaigns and Ad Groups. Campaigns should be focused on themes e.g.
- Solicitors Generic
- Family Law
Ad Groups sit within the campaigns. These are groups of similar related keywords that you can essentially use the same adverts for. For example, the ‘Family Law’ campaign could include ad groups such as:
- Divorce Solicitor
- Family Law Solicitor
- Divorce Generic
- Family Law Generic
The more tailored these are the lower the cost per lead is likely to be. It is a double edged sword though, because if you take it too far you won’t get the search volume to correctly optimise it.
Keyword Match Types
There are three match types in PPC:
How they match against searches gets more lenient as you go down the list.
Just like in any industry the law field also contains keywords that you may not want to target even if they appear next to your positive search phrase. E.g.
In our law accounts we have over 1,800 of these and it keeps growing. You should brainstorm these and then add in an initial list before you start advertising. Plus when the campaigns are running you’ll need to continually monitor the ‘search query’ reports in Google Ads to see what specific phrases triggered your law ads to display. If any of them look unsuitable they’ll need to be added to your negative keyword list too. This will save you a fortune over time.
Creating adverts that sell in your law firm
In terms of creating PPC adverts you’ll basically want to give people what they want. With that in mind you should do the following:
- Include the keyword being searched – ideally in the headline and if possible in the description line.
- Include a call to action
- Include unique selling points
- Perhaps include the brand name if it is well known in the area
You should also A/B test two adverts per ad group unless you are using the new dynamic adverts called RSAs (Responsive Search Ads). Advert character limits are as follows:
- Headline One: 30 Characters
- Headline Two: 30 Characters
- Headline Three: 30 Characters but it might not always display.
- Description One: 90 Characters
- Description Two: 90 Characters but it might not always display
- URL Path: 15 Characters after the main domain
With RSAs you enter up to 15 headlines and four description lines and Google auto tests the potential combinations to get to the one that generates the most clicks/conversions. Since Google will automatically test the combinations you can just run with one advert but don’t fill it with junk. All potential headlines and description lines must be decent. Advanced PPC advertisers, such as Conversion Legends, may even run with multiple RSAs with minimal combinations so that they can have more control. Over time you will learn what works and more importantly what doesn’t.
In Google Ads there are multiple things you can adjust in the settings. In terms of a law campaign, I recommend the following:
- Ad Schedules – This is basically when your ads will display. Depending on your budget I would initially mimic your opening hours and then expand out from there if budget and performance permits.
- Location targeting – You can either select a radius around certain postcodes or specific geographic areas. Overall, the tighter your geographic targeting the lower the cost per lead but volume also goes down significantly too so it is a balancing act.
- Device percentage bid adjustments – Leave these alone until you have cost per lead data to help you optimise them.
- Demographic adjustments – Leave these alone too until you have some data to work off.
- Budget per campaign – These will need to be several multiples of your highest bid in the specific campaigns.
Tracking your law campaigns
In order for your PPC advertising to be a successful you must accurately track leads (these are called conversions in Google Ads). Without this tracking you are driving blind and will ultimately crash. The leads you need to track off the back of the adverts are:
- Phone calls – You can use software to swap your normal phone numbers on site with similar tracking numbers when a user visits it via a PPC advert.
- Contact form submissions
- Chat form submissions
- Email clicks – My least favourite as you don’t know if an email was actually sent
Tracking is one of the more complicated areas of PPC so I highly recommend you always get a specialist to set this up. Just make sure you test it thoroughly though. Also always ensure that you are only tracking one conversion per click. For instance you don’t want to track multiple phone calls back to the same click as it will inflate your results. This is a very common ploy by less scrupulous agencies so watch out.
The best approach here is to keep things simple. Start with a flat bid specific to each campaign or ad group that you are comfortable with. If you don’t show for many impressions on the first day increase it. If you show too often and blow through your daily budget decrease it. You can get more scientific about it once you have more data. At a later point you can even consider automated bidding. I wouldn’t though recommend it straight away as the system needs a good chunk of initial conversions to work at its best.
In the ideal world your PPC law campaigns will all point to their own dedicated landing pages. These may even be custom to your PPC campaign as it is likely to lower your cost per lead. This is something you should ideally strive towards especially for specific service campaigns like Family Law, LPA, Employment, etc. However, this does not mean that you cannot still successfully utilise your normal website pages. Like most things in marketing, it really depends on their quality and the competition. If you have a modern website that is responsive to device type and has professionally written copy with clear calls to action, then it can be worth trialing the standard pages. I have seen these work surprisingly well especially since a lot of the competition tend to be behind the times even in 2023. These standard pages can then form your baseline pages that can be A/B tested against using dedicated PPC landing pages. Overall, the main things with lawyer PPC landing pages is to have them:
- Line up with the ad copy
- Be fast loading
- Be responsive to device type
- Be professionally written with clear calls to action
You’ll also want to keep testing and refining them.
Not sure you want to manage the PPC campaigns yourself?
Thanks for reading this far. As you will have gathered from the above, doing PPC well in the law industry is quite complicated and time consuming. After all, it is one of the more competitive PPC markets due to the value of the potential lawyer billings. It is possible to set it up and run it yourself in-house but there is no beating having a specialist do it. When done well it will make your money back multiple times every month.
Overall the guide above was basically an introduction to PPC for law firms but in reality we are just touching the surface.
If you would be interested in having Conversion Legends setup and/or run your Law firm PPC accounts then please contact us for a no obligation quote. We would be delighted to discuss your requirements. Please bear in mind that we only do PPC marketing for Lawyers so we know this industry like the back of our hands. So be wary of lesser agencies that are jacks of all trades, we will be in a completely different league to them.