Is Lawyer PPC Too Expensive? Maybe – Or Maybe Not

Is lawyer PPC the best investment for your firm? In this guide, you’ll learn what PPC is, whether it’s right for you, and PPC ad best practices.

PPC, or pay-per-click, is a method of advertising where marketers only pay a fee each time their ad is clicked on. Essentially, you pay to show up at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), rather than appearing there organically. One of the most popular PPC platforms is Google Ads.

Here’s how it works: you select keywords to “bid” on by letting Google know the maximum dollar amount you are willing to pay for a click. If you have the highest bid, your ad gets placed at the top. 

There’s a significant catch for lawyer PPC, however. Law-related keywords and phrases are very expensive to bid on. Highly-regarded law firm marketer Robert Ramirez has been quoted saying that law firms can, “easily spend $50,000 to $100,000 per month on PPC.” 

Yes, lawyer PPC is very costly – but done right, you can get an incredibly high return on your investment. 

Let’s put it this way: if you bid on the right keywords, an ad click could cost you $100. But, that click could turn into $25,000 worth of business you might not have had otherwise.

We’ll be upfront with you. PPC is not an easy marketing method. It involves a lot of planning, tweaking, and monitoring in order to be effective. However, it is still possible to do yourself.

In this guide, we’ll give you the tips and tools you need to make the most of your PPC efforts. Here are seven best practices for creating effective lawyer PPC ads to make your investment worthwhile:

1) Target the right focus keywords
2) Choose the right PPC campaign for your ads
3) Compose effective ad copy
4) Craft an effective call-to-action
5) Create a helpful landing page
6) Implement ad extensions
7) Set your location
8) A/B test your ads
BONUS: 3 ways to lower PPC ad costs

1) Target the right focus keywords

The key to choosing the right keywords or phrases is to think about searcher intent. Are they just researching a topic, or does the keyphrase they’ve used indicate that they are ready to hire?

Sometimes it may not be easy to figure this out. It will take in-depth brainstorming, and thinking about the “why” behind each keyword or phrase. 

For example, “contract lawyer” is far too broad of a keyword, and targeting just this could earn you clicks from individuals who aren’t yet ready to hire. They might just be researching what a contract lawyer does and if they need one, whereas the keyphrase “contract lawyer near me” says that the searcher might need one soon. 

“Best small business contract lawyer in Chicago” is even more specific, which would allow you to create an ad targeted to individuals who are seeking out small business contract lawyers in your area. Choosing a very specific keyword like this will dramatically improve the conversion rate of your lawyer PPC strategy because your ads will speak to a niche audience who will resonate with your ad’s content.

Keyword types

Keywords are very technical in nature, and there are different ways of telling Google how you want it to read the keyword or phrase you’re targeting:

  • Exact match keywords: Your ad is displayed to people searching that exact phrase or an incredibly similar phrase. 
  • Broad match keywords: Your ad is displayed to similar searches, misspellings, synonyms, and relevant variations.
  • Phrase match keywords: Your ad is displayed to searches of that exact phrase, close variations, or with additional words before or after it. It will not show if words are added within the phrase.
  • Negative match keywords: Your ad is not displayed to someone who searches for this phrase. 

It’s a best practice to try out a separate ad for each kind of match and fine-tune the quality of your audience with negative matches. Then, you can see how each kind of match performs, keep the best and get rid of those that don’t perform well. You can use negative match keywords to narrow down the audience further.

2) Choose the right PPC campaign for your ads

PPC campaigns refer to the type of ads you run for your law firm. There are two campaign types that can work well for lawyer PPC ad campaigns:

Search ad campaigns

Search ad campaigns are for ads that appear in search engine results pages, like on Google. This campaign type can be effective because your ads will only appear for the keywords you bid on. And, you only pay for the ads that are clicked.

Remarketing campaigns

Remarketing campaigns target people who have visited your firm’s website by showing them ads on Google and on Google’s partner sites. This campaign type is effective because it remarkets to those who have already shown interest in your firm by visiting your website.

Pro tip: exclude those people who have visited “Jobs,” “Career,” or other pages that might indicate they’re not an interested client. 

Display ad campaigns

Some marketers also consider display ad campaigns, which are are graphics that appear in banners or sidebars of sites across the web, to be effective for lawyer PPC. Display ads are graphics that appear in banners or sidebars of sites across the web. And, while there has been some success, many marketers are wary of “banner blindness,” a phenomenon in which users consciously or subconsciously ignore ads in banner or sidebar spaces.

3) Compose effective ad copy

You have a 30 character limit for your headline and 90 characters for your ad’s description to connect with and convince the searcher that your firm is worth learning more about. It is tricky, but not impossible to write ads that connect with searchers. After all, many ads that are out there get clicked on.

Here are three tips for composing effective copy for your lawyer PPC ads:

Be clear and succinct

Steer away from legal jargon whenever possible, and be as clear and to-the-point as you can be when writing your ads. If the searcher doesn’t understand what you’re saying in your headline, they’ll skip over it and skim the next result.

Here are a few examples of great, clear headlines from lawyer PPC ads:

Notice some key factors in these headlines that make them effective:

  • Clear mention of “who.” Each ad headline has a mention of “injury,” and either clearly implies or states that the ad is coming from a personal injury lawyer.
  • Succinct and honest “hook.” Each ad headline ends with a succinct but powerful statement that tells the searcher what’s in it for them. Two headlines appeal to cost factors, while one appeals to a deeper emotion. 
  • Good use of character limit. Each ad headline has separators that allow for two or even three headlines to appear in the space. This is highly recommended to make the most of the 30 characters you are given.

Use context words

There is no magic, fill-in-the-blank formula for writing great ad copy, but this dictionary of context words can strengthen what you’ve already got, or inspire fresh ideas when you’re in a rut. 

Context words can help your target audience develop emotional engagement with your ads. These are words that have been known to lift interest or engage someone’s attention in your message.

You can also use the Headline Analyzer from the Advanced Marketing Institute to see how your headline might resonate with those who are reading it. Use the dictionary and this tool with a grain of salt, however, as there is no perfect system for developing a “flawless” headline. They are simply available as guides, should you need them.

Focus on what makes you the best choice

Do you offer free phone consultations, or 24-hour customer service? Perhaps you don’t charge a fee if you don’t win the case, or you have 20 years of experience in your field. There is something about your practice that sets you apart – and it doesn’t have to be cost-related. Identify that and use it as a hook in your ads.

4) Craft an effective call-to-action

A call-to-action, or CTA,  tells the searcher what you want them to do next. This little bit of text is very important when converting a click into a paying client.

Your CTA should be used within your ad, either in the headline or the description, as well as across throughout your landing page, which we’ll break down further in the next section.

Here are a few tips for crafting an effective CTA for your lawyer PPC ads:

  • Begin with a strong verb. “Get,” “Discover,” “Call,” and “Learn” are a few examples of powerful command verbs, which invite – and almost demand – searchers to take action.
  • Say what’s in it for them. “Call now for a free consultation” or “Contact us to get the justice you deserve” are two examples of CTAs that expand on why they should call or contact your firm.
  • Use it more than once. Your CTA should appear in the headline or description of your ad, as well as throughout the landing page you create.

5) Create a helpful landing page

It’s not a best practice to send the user directly to your site’s homepage, which can be distracting and cause them to click away. Instead, you should create a new webpage that specifically addresses questions or provides more information relevant to the ad.

Here’s an example of a helpful, effective landing page:

Here’s what makes it effective:

  • Proof in numbers. While it is unethical for lawyers to list a “success rate,” there are ways you can effectively use numbers. This landing page shows this attorney’s years of experience and the number of cases he has represented.
  • Emotional engagement. After just a few bullet points, a potential client understands their criminal case can be evaluated for free, that this attorney understands the emotional difficulty of the situation, and that there is no obligation. This causes a potential client to feel safe and understood – which is vital.
  • Relevant information. This attorney has chosen to highlight his experience, which is extensive, and list his areas of criminal defense expertise.
  • Highlighted CTAs. The most important part of an effective landing page is highlighted call-to-action buttons. It’s a best practice to include your CTA at the top of your landing page, in the middle, and at the very end. Another best practice for implementing CTAs is using a distinct color for them that causes them to stand out, as this attorney has done.

Quality Score

Landing pages affect your overall Quality Score, which is determined by Google and affects ad placement, the cost-per-click you end up paying, and the overall success of your ad. 

Here are some things you can do to improve your landing page quality score:

  • Include keywords in page title and body content. Your landing pages should include keywords that are a part of the search term the ad is targeting.
  • Ensure your page loads quickly. Large video or image files can negatively impact page load speed times.
  • Make the content flow. The better the flow, the more time an individual is likely to spend on your landing page. Time spent on a landing page improves overall quality score.
  • Match your ads and landing pages. Make sure the content lines up in your ads and landing pages.

Find out your Google Ads quality score by following these instructions.

6) Implement ad extensions

Ad extensions are like bonuses for your PPC ads. Depending on what a user searches for, Google will pull from the ad extensions you’ve set up to make your ad look even more appealing. There is no additional charge to implement ad extensions. 

Here are the kinds of ad extensions that are most effective for lawyer PPC campaigns, with examples:

Sitelink extensions

Sitelink extensions are additional links to your site that provide more information that is relevant to the searcher’s enquiry. You could add a sitelink extension for each of the law services you offer, if there are more than one, like this practice:

Location extensions

The location extension highlights your address to show searchers where you are located. This feature is effective because potential clients are likely to go somewhere they know, or somewhere that is close to them. Here’s how it appears:

Enabling this extension also allows for your practice to appear on Google Maps:

Structured snippet extensions

This extension allows you to highlight several key aspects of your firm. This would be an excellent way to highlight your service areas:

Call extensions

Call extensions display your practice’s phone number beside your URL. On mobile, users can click on the phone number to call you:

7) Set your location

This may sound obvious, but it is imperative that you correctly set a location for your lawyer PPC ad campaign.

There are many local businesses that have lost valuable marketing dollars by forgetting to change their ad location from the default “United States” to a more specific region. If your ads are served beyond where a client would be willing to drive for your services, then they will be ineffective.

8) A/B test your ads

Once you’ve crafted your ads, it’s time to test them to see what is most effective with your audience.

This is a theme throughout all of PPC. Whatever you think will work is just a hypothesis. Once you put it out into the world, measure how well it actually works. Then keep what works – maybe even put more ad spend budget into it – and get rid of what doesn’t.

BONUS: 3 ways to lower PPC ad costs

If you’re going to invest thousands of dollars each month into a PPC strategy, it’s only natural to wonder if you’re doing everything you can to increase conversion rates and lower the ad costs.

Here are three ways to lower lawyer PPC costs – and increase conversion rates – to help you get the most from each click:

Become a trust-driven law firm

The trust-driven business method puts client trust above all else when doing business. Trust-driven businesses are proven to get more clients, able to charge higher rates for their services, have increased retention rates and – you guessed it – pay less for marketing services like PPC ads.

Here’s how: Through the Seller Ratings extension, Google can show reviews in your lawyer PPC ads. A high rating can increase the click-through-rate (CTR), which means that you can bid less than a competing ad with a lower CTR rate and win against it. This is because Google makes its money off of clicks – not impressions – and favors those high CTR ads, even if the bid is lower.

Get good online reviews

As we mentioned in the earlier point, Google can pull your online reviews through the Seller Ratings extension. A high rating makes your ad more intriguing, earning that click from relevant searchers. This can increase your click-through-rate, causing Google to favor your ad over another – even if your bid is less than a competitor’s, if their CTR is lower.

Online reviews also have a significant pull for those who are considering who to hire. They impact where a client is willing to go, as 70 percent of individuals looking to hire lawyers are more likely to travel further for a lawyer with better reviews than visit one closer to them. And, 65 percent of people found online reviews “extremely influential” in their final decision.

This begs the question, how do lawyers get more reviews? Is it ethical to ask, and what’s the best platform for getting more reviews?

The answers are: more easily than you think, yes, and Google – respectively.

Here’s how to get more positive reviews of your law firm online:

  • Earn client trust. In line with our first point of this section, trust matters if you want positive online reviews. Focus on that first.
  • Learn how to get Google reviews if you want a solid start – or continuation – of establishing a positive online reputation. This is the most important review platform for lawyers because it’s the number one online search engine and people trust the reviews they find there.
  • Send follow-ups. Clients can receive an email from you requesting they leave a review and intend to follow through but forget. Send a follow-up if you haven’t heard from them in a week, and you can double the number of reviews you get overall.
  • Send review requests often. Send out a new batch of review requests at least once a week, when the experience at your firm is still fresh in the minds of your clients.
  • Automate the process with our FREE trial. We know you don’t have the time to manually ask each client for a review. Instead, you can customize emails and automate the process with our free two-week trial.

Boost SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website’s pages so they appear early on in search engine results. This process is a bit more involved than PPC, and the results aren’t as immediate, but it can help you in the long-run.

Implementing good attorney SEO practices can complement your PPC efforts very well by increasing your visibility on Google’s search engine results page. Traffic that appears organically costs you nothing per click, and by combining these efforts, your content is taking up more real estate on the search engine results page for that term. 

Or, if you decide PPC is too expensive for you to begin with, you can instead invest in SEO help boost your site’s ranking organically instead of paying for ads.