Assessing Online Advertising

Jeff Berman
June 29, 2010

There is certainly no shortage of online advertising opportunities for law firms. From Google to legal directories, to local business listings, there are an overwhelming number of choices. However, while some online advertising opportunities produce excellent returns on investment, may more quickly become bottomless money pits. So how can you decide which are most likely to produce results?

The truth is, there is no silver bullet law firm Internet advertising that will work for every law firm, every time.

Here are a couple of tips for identifying new advertising opportunities:

  1. Identify Search Visibility
  2. Identify Firm Visibility
  3. Make Short-Term Investments
  4. Measure Results
  5. Optimize Advertisements

Identify Search Visibility

The first step in determining what kind of results a potential advertising outlet may produce is to determine how much visibility the ad will have in search engines. Generally speaking, if you're advertising with a search engine (like Google Adwords), your ad can have maximum search visibility. On the other hand, if you're considering a legal directory, your ad's search visibility depends on the visibility of the legal directory. Take a look at how well your prospective advertisement will "rank" for key phrases relevant to your practice.

Identify Firm Visibility

Next, it's helpful to identify what visibility your firm's advertisement will have. Again, if you're advertising on Google Adwords, your ad's visibility will be a function of your bid and quality score. If you're considering a legal directory, your firm's ad visibility may depend on how many listings appear in the directory, or what type of listing you purchase (i.e. standard, premium, etc). Keep in mind that the more a potential client has to dig for your listing, the less likely they will find you.

Short-Term Investments

Don't commit to long-term advertising commitments. Again, there are no magic pills here. Just because your colleague or competition is having success with a particular advertising outlet, doesn't mean you will. Keep your ad commitments to between 3 and 6 months.

Measure Results

The first part to measuring results is to be sure that there are measuring systems in place. Search engines, as well as, major advertising directories, will provide analytical data. The second part is to actual analyze the data. From impressions, to clicks, to conversions, to clients, any advertising is only worth the return it produces. Don't judge your advertising with your "gut".

Optimize Ads

Once you have some data, identify what's working and what's not. Perhaps you need to target different key phrases. Perhaps you need to re-think your ad copy. Maybe you need to change something on your directory listing. Don't be stagnant! Remember, that if nothing changes, nothing changes. Don't continue the insanity cycle of doing the same advertising and expecting a different result.

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman, is co-founder of AttorneySync. "Properly marketing a law firm online is about producing relevant content that helps a prospective client understand your expertise and how you are able to help them. Finally, it’s about getting that content found by the people you are trying to help."
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