Paid search marketing is about generating website traffic by purchasing advertisements on search engines. It is also commonly called CPC (cost-per-click) or PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.
You might also hear paid search called SEM. However, we use SEM (search engine marketing) to encompass both paid search advertising and organic SEO (search engine optimization).
The environment for legal paid search ads is extremely competitive which can significantly drive up the price. Optimizing your keywords, ad copy and landing pages can be a full-time job in and of itself. In fact, many law firms have firm time personnel managing their paid search campaigns.
Before you sink a lot of money into paid search advertising, make sure to do a lot of research. You’ll want to compile your relevant search terms, set your budget, do an incognito search for your firm name and name to see if others are bidding on your name- if so, make sure to bid on your name as well. Otherwise, unnecessary. Your PPC budget depends on geographic area, keyword competitiveness, and specificity.
Retargeting ads can be done on Facebook or across the web via a code/Pixel/cookie on your website that stores the information of that web visitor, which you can use in your PPC campaign.
Tip: base this on specific URL visits like your contact page or a landing page so you re-engage people who may be closer to a decision.
The first step in keyword discovery should start with brainstorming. You’ll want a blank document or spreadsheet for your keyword research.
Once you've brainstormed, it's time to collect some data about your keyword and search hypotheses. There are a variety of tools you can use to gauge web search interest. Some of my favorites are Google Trends and conducting your own Google search and looking at the People Also Ask or related search boxes. For an advanced search, using a tool like SEMRush will show you related search terms and their popularity.
Generally speaking, lawyers (particularly personal injury lawyers) are willing to pay a lot on PPC because of the high value of the fees that they are able to obtain from a significant injury case.
For example, if a lawyer spends $100,000 on AdWords with an average cost-per-click of $100, they can purchase 1,000 highly-targeted clicks from users who are searching for their services. If only one percent of those clicks lead to an inquiry from a potential client, that equals one-hundred potential client inquiries. If only one percent of those inquiries turn into a case with a $200,000 fee, the lawyer has realized a return on ad spend (ROAS) of 200%.
When you work with AttorneySync to determine your PPC budget, we will consider your geographic area, practice area(s), desired outcome, and your target lead volume.
Keywords and the paid search platform (Google or Bing, mostly) are also important factors in your PPC cost. As we mentioned above, bidding on keywords like “lawyer” are typically ineffective and prohibitively expensive. It will probably be more effective to tailor your keywords to your specific audience goals.
Beyond keywords, where you put your ads will affect the cost. Because the majority of online searches happen on Google, the cost-per-click will be higher simply because search volume is higher. Bing is sometimes overlooked but is a great option for smaller paid media budgets. You may not get the volume result, but your budget will go further.
The cost of paid search with AttorneySync varies, based on the monthly spend of that client. Our paid media management fee is a percentage of ad spend, with a $1,000 minimum.
We have found the greatest success with attorneys who able to make the necessary financial investment to set up a campaign with higher market coverage. Generally speaking, for Family and Criminal Defense attorneys this is $5,000 a month, and can be much higher for Personal Injury focused campaigns.
Should Lawyers Pay Someone to Manage Paid Search Media (PPC)?
Ultimately, this question comes down to:
Why is PPC so expensive for lawyers?
Many lawyers tend to overpay for keywords. Some lawyers who manage their own AdWords campaigns simply have no idea what they're doing. They'll do things like broad match to legal terms (i.e. lawyer, attorney, etc). They'll set their maximum CPC (the most they're willing to pay for a click) with the intent to maintain an average number one position. Sometimes this is can be attributed to inexperience. Other times, to ego. Whatever the reasons, when auditing legal PPC campaigns, bids are set without much regard to conversion.
To be fair, it isn't always the lawyers who are unnecessarily driving the costs of clicks. Many paid search management agencies are compensated on the percent of ad spend basis. This means that they are paid a fee based on the amount of money their lawyer-client spends on AdWords. The more money they persuade their client to spend on AdWords, the higher their fee.