Why Your Law Firm Marketing Should Start with Paid Search

Deploying a paid search advertising campaign used to be a nice add-on to your law firm’s digital marketing strategy. It gave your efforts to attract new clients a boost. But your main priority was your website.

Not anymore.

Instead of being the dessert of your legal marketing meal, paid search is now the hearty appetizer. It can even serve as an entrée, depending on your budget.

Paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, aren’t new. But their importance to lawyers and other professional service providers is increasing.

According to Statista research, spending on paid search campaigns increased about 20% across Health and Pharma, Finance, Insurance and Retail/Consumer Goods in 2017. A report called The CMO Survey adds that, as of 2018, “Consumer Services and Professional Services/Consulting spend the most on Paid Search, at 40.4% and 36.7%, respectively.”

And yet, here at the Firmidable legal marketing firm, we see attorneys hesitant to use paid search. Why?

Some might have used it in the past and didn’t see the results they wanted. Some focus on other marketing efforts—building a website, juicing organic search engine optimization (SEO) results (which are still necessary!).

But our viewpoint? To reach the most prospective clients in the quickest way possible, you should think about shuffling your priority list in favor of paid search.

In this post, we’ll show you how an effective law firm marketing strategy in 2019 starts with paid search. It can do three key things:

  • Snare clients already deep into the process of shopping for lawyers.
  • Keep your costs low with proper monitoring and tweaking.
  • Boost your brand awareness.

No. 1: Get Clients Who Are Ready to Choose a Lawyer

When a potential client is searching for a lawyer, they’re past the point of needing cursory information. They have a problem, and they’re looking to solve it as quickly as possible.

Paid search ads, such as Google Ads, are a more direct way to make your page the first one a client sees on their list of search results. Studies show that the majority of the time, they’re going to click that first link.

“It rarely gets better than getting in front of a person who’s looking exactly for what you provide at that moment,” said Alex Ludwig, senior account executive at Firmidable. “They’re already close to making a decision on who to call.”

Alex gave an example: A potential client saw an ad for a law firm and decided to Google the firm. The first result was a paid search ad for a different law firm, not the one they started out looking for. The client didn’t realize this initially, clicked the ad and called the firm.

Even when they figured out that they reached a different firm from their original search, they hired the lawyer with the paid search ad anyway.

The client’s main concern wasn’t the specific person they were calling. They cared about fixing their problem.

“Hiring a lawyer is not like buying a little trinket from Amazon,” Alex said. “You’re going to put a lot more thought and effort into it. If we can come in and intercept people who are in this process, we absolutely want to.”

No. 2: Why It’s Crucial to Monitor Your Firm’s Campaign

Quickly converting a web searcher into a client sounds like an easy win for your firm. But you won’t be the only lawyer doing paid search advertising.

“In every market I’ve come across, there is someone advertising to be the top search result for whatever your practice area is,” said Mike Crimmins, digital manager at Firmidable. “If you’re not paying for that, someone else is getting that business.”

You may have tried it once with little or no success. So you’ve sworn it off.

A paid search campaign requires intense care, however. You can’t just input it to a computer and let it run. To get the best result, you have to monitor for tweaks and updates along the way.

“If you’re not paying attention to it, you’re going to waste a lot of money,” Mike said. “You might be spending money on a search term you don’t want to pay for. For the campaigns we run, we make hundreds of changes per month.”

Paid search is a bidding game, for the most part. You can read more about the process here. But basically, the more people are searching for a term, the more you’ll pay for it.

If you aren’t monitoring what’s happening on the internet with your search terms, you could end up paying too much for terms that don’t capture the people you want—and missing other opportunities.

Mike gave this example: A car crash happens on a busy highway. A personal injury attorney might bid on the phrase “car accident” in a certain city. Then a huge wreck happens in that targeted area, leading hundreds or even thousands of people to Google “car accident [insert city].” Most of them are looking for news, not lawyers.

But when that happens, your price for that keyword soars. With proper oversight, you can avoid a huge bill for something that hit the wrong target.

“That’s why we monitor daily, weekly, to see how much we’re spending,” Mike said.

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AI and Law Firm Marketing: What To Know

No. 3: Your Law Firm’s Entryway to Blossoming Brand Awareness

A well-executed paid search campaign can get you clients quickly, sure. But as the entry point to a strategic legal marketing plan, it also can cement awareness of your law firm for years to come.

“You build up some wins, build up some cash flow, and then put that back into the marketing strategy,” Alex said. “As you continue building up paid search, you can move on to making sure you have a great website with lots of content, a smart SEO strategy and more traditional tools like TV and print ads.”

And those clients you bring in off your first paid search campaign? They’ll pay off down the road, too.

“Ultimately, you want this to snowball into having a large awareness in the market,” Alex continued. “The more people you pick up from this, the larger the pool of referrals you’ll have, and the more cases you’ll end up getting in the future.”

This is how paid search makes your dollars work for the long-term.

If you want to see how a paid search campaign can work for you—and find a legal marketing agency that can expertly manage your campaign—call Firmidable today for a conversation.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 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.

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About the Author: Chris Branch

Chris Branch is a former digital copywriter at Firmidable. He strategized, produced, implemented and optimized content for law firm websites and Paid Search advertising, helping firms across America reach new clients. Before working in legal marketing, Chris was a sports journalist and a marketer for the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

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