Why You Should Consider Google’s New Local Services Ads for Lawyers
Early results for a new type of online advertising—Google Local Services Ads (LSAs) for lawyers—suggest you should seriously consider them at your law firm.
Firmidable compiled data for five law firm marketing clients around the country who’ve started using LSAs. Over their first several months, we found the ads brought in more first-time callers to the law firms than most other sources. And once people called, they stayed on the phone longer, a sign that intake teams thought the callers had new cases with good potential.
This blog post will explore why Local Services Ads could be a game changer for your law firm marketing.
Not only do you get a box that stands out boldly at the top of the page with your name, photo, online review rating and a “Google Screened” badge to give potential clients reassurance—but the ads work.
Why are these Google ads so powerful?
One reason is that they may be the main thing people see on a small smartphone screen. Another major reason is that they answer what digital marketers call “high-intent” searches—people who are ready to find a lawyer.
Google shows them to people who use words like “lawyer,” “attorney” and “law firm” in their search queries. Other types of search engine marketing may reach people who search legal topics, such as “what to do after a work injury” or “how to file for bankruptcy,” but some of those people will still be in research mode, not yet calling law firms.
LSAs reach more of the right people with high intent—and give them that final incentive to call.
Let’s look closer.
First, What Makes Local Services Ads Different from Other Digital Marketing for Lawyers?
Google’s Local Services Ads for lawyers prominently feature law firm star ratings from online reviews and other indicators of credibility.
In addition to appearing in the prized position at the very top of online search results and reaching an audience with a high intent to find lawyers, LSAs have some other compelling characteristics.
Here are five advantages of LSAs:
1. LSAs Give an Instant Snapshot of Your Firm’s Trustworthiness.
In a very tight ad display, LSAs quickly convey this information:
- How long your firm has been in business
- Your average star rating from past clients who left reviews on Google
- A green checkmark saying you are “Google Screened”—meaning Google reviewed your law license, insurance, and background information
Trust is important for anyone shopping for a lawyer. Potential clients may have a distressing problem in their life. And LSAs signal trust above all else, offering some peace of mind.
“This ad is serving up trust indicators first and foremost,” said Katie Baxter, vice president at Firmidable overseeing digital operations.
2. LSAs Provide the Basics About Your Firm Up Front.
Another thing LSAs serve up fast are the essential details people need to contact your firm:
- Your practice areas
- Locations you serve
- Your office hours
- Whether you have bilingual services
This helps make LSAs an expedient way for new clients to reach you.
3. LSAs Shorten the Path a New Client Takes Before Calling Your Firm.
When someone clicks on a traditional Paid Search ad for your law firm, they first arrive on a landing page that expands on the brief message they saw in their internet search results.
Once on the landing page, they can read, scroll, click to contact you—or bounce from the page and onto something else entirely.
But with LSAs, said Katie. “It’s just a two-click process to get on the phone.”
“It streamlines the user journey from search to talking to a live person at your law firm.”
4. LSAs Zero In on Local Areas.
When you have a local law firm that serves certain communities, getting your message in front of exactly the right people in the right places is central to your law firm marketing success.
With the word “local” right in the name, LSAs are one of the most geographically targeted forms of advertising you can find.
LSAs are tied to your Google Business Profile (the box of key information about your firm that appears to the side of Google search results). The business profile confirms your office locations—giving you local credibility for those places.
For years, one of the staples of online advertising for lawyers has been reaching people who searched “lawyers near me.”
Now, LSAs provide a turbocharged way to attract those clients.
5. LSAs Only Charge You Per Lead, Not Per Click.
Other forms of advertising on the internet require you to pay Google, or platforms like Bing, any time someone clicks on your ad—even if the person turned out not to be a solid potential case.
If you don’t provide the service someone is seeking, if they contacted you entirely in error, you still pay for the click.
Not so with LSAs.
With this type of ad, you only pay when you get a valid potential client, making the ads low risk for you.
“You’re not going to get charged for experimenting with different things,” Katie said. “You’re only going to get charged when it works.”
Google Local Services Ads for lawyers proved effective at getting new clients to call law firms.
The Results: Local Services Ads for Lawyers Brought in More First-Time Callers.
Firmidable’s study found that 76 percent of people who called our five sample firms from LSAs were unique callers. In other words, they only called once after seeing an LSA, so they weren’t people with ongoing business with the firm, possibly using the LSA in place of remembering the phone number.
At 76 percent, the LSAs beat traditional Google Paid Search ads law firm websites, law firm television ads, and Google Business Profile listings for bringing in unique callers. (Note, television’s major strength is building brand awareness, so online searchers may be more likely to click on a firm’s LSA, instead of someone else’s, if the searcher recognized the firm from television.)
We also looked at first-time callers, meaning the callers had never contacted the firm before through any means. We found 91 percent of LSA callers were first timers, essentially tying with phone calls to the lawyers’ TV commercials and still beating all the other methods.
Tying with TV ads is an excellent sign for LSAs, because TV is both historically and currently one of the most potent forms of advertising for law firms.
“That tells us that the ads are speaking very well to people actively looking for a solution, searching with high intent—and they have never called before,” said Doug Cardinale, senior account executive at Firmidable.
These are the kinds of callers who represent new growth opportunities for a law firm.
Google’s Local Services Ads for lawyers drew callers who stayed on the phone longer, indicating quality leads for the law firms.
Local Services Ads for Lawyers Attracted Callers Who Stayed on the Line Longer. What Does that Mean?
The data, which covered calls for a period after each law firm started using LSAs in 2021, also found LSAs beating the other forms of legal marketing for call length.
Callers from LSAs stayed on their calls for an average of almost seven minutes.
“For a law firm that’s doing a lot of marketing, that’s a long time,” Doug said. “The more you’re in the market, typically that call length starts trending shorter, because there are more people calling you, more people who don’t have a good case, more tire kickers, more people with a different type of case from what the firm handles, more people calling in error. Those off-target calls will often end in 30 seconds or 60 seconds.”
But when nine out of 10 calls are coming from first-time callers, and the firms are keeping them engaged for six to seven minutes, it’s a strong indication these calls are highly relevant to the firm.
The longer average call time also shows that the potential clients have found the kind of law firm they wanted to reach.
This is the power of going after those high-intent searches that LSAs are so adept at satisfying.
You can see in the call times how the LSAs successfully connected firms and clients—which ultimately leads to more cases and revenue.
One Law Firm’s Experience with Local Services Ads for Lawyers
One firm in the Firmidable legal marketing agency study was Workers’ Compensation, LLC which focuses on workers’ comp cases throughout the state of Louisiana.
Workers’ Compensation, LLC, has been increasing its profile in the markets it serves. Like many workers’ comp law firms, it competes for new clients against a crowded field of comp attorneys, including many personal injury law firms that also pursue workers’ comp cases.
In this environment, you’re always looking for an advantage, which helped lead Daren Sarphie, partner and co-manager of the firm, to LSAs.
“Competition is relentless in the legal market, so we jumped at this chance to put our name and face at the very top of the search results,” he said. “Because these ads appear above the traditional pay-per-click lawyer ads and above the regular website links, this is definitely a place we wanted to be.”
The newness of LSAs also appealed to Daren.
“On the internet, things can change fast,” he said. “The law firms that stay on top of the latest online opportunities are the ones that stand to gain the most.”
How Online Reputation Management for Lawyers Helps
As you can tell from the heavy focus on trust signals in LSAs, it’s important to pay attention to the online reviews your law firm receives.
In fact, that’s a prerequisite by Google for being able to use LSAs at all.
Online reputation management has grown increasingly important to all forms of digital marketing for lawyers.
Your online review rating already influences Google in deciding whether to point people to your website. LSAs are raising this to another level.
When your rating is the first thing people see about your firm, you need to increase your number of reviews and push up your average.
You can do this ethically by creating a process for asking happy clients to submit reviews.
You should also respond to reviews, both positive and negative, in constructive ways. Google pays attention to your level of engagement.
For more on cultivating an effective strategy, read our overview about how to do online reputation management for law firms.
We also wrote about how you can deal with particularly frustrating negative reviews.
What Kinds of Lawyers Can Use Local Services Ads?
When Google first rolled out LSAs, they were available to limited types of businesses, but not law firms.
Google opened them to law firms in mid-2020. Specifically, Google has identified 17 types of practices that can use LSAs:
- Bankruptcy attorneys
- Business lawyers
- Contract law
- Criminal lawyers
- Disability lawyers
- DUI lawyers
- Estate lawyers
- Family law
- Immigration lawyers
- Intellectual property
- Labor law (including practices such as workers’ comp and employment law)
- Malpractice attorneys (including medical malpractice)
- Personal injury
- Real estate law
- Tax attorneys
- Traffic lawyers
If you don’t see your practice area on the list, check with our marketing agency for lawyers. Firmidable can review your internet marketing options with you.
How Do You Start Using LSAs for Your Law Firm?
From this post, you can see how LSAs can bring in more new callers—and relevant callers highly intent on finding a lawyer.
And you can see how they accomplish this in a straight-to-the-point fashion.
So how do you get started? And how do LSAs fit into your overall legal marketing strategy?
Doug, Firmidable’s account executive, noted that LSAs on their own don’t build your name recognition or brand awareness.
They answer highly specific queries from people highly motivated to find legal services in their local areas.
That makes LSAs powerful, but not an entire law firm marketing strategy in themselves.
And compared with longer-running forms of search engine advertising, LSAs—at least so far—provide you less data and less ability to customize and fine-tune your campaigns, for example by bidding on certain keywords.
But they are a new and compelling addition to the suite of tools you can use to grow your law firm.
“This is something that is not going away and that cannot be ignored,” said Katie, the Firmidable vice president.
Firmidable can look at your firm’s unique situation and help you determine how and how much to use LSAs. To seize this new opportunity in digital marketing, contact our marketing agency for lawyers today.
Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.