You only need to search the term “lawyers” in Google and you’ll see the plethora of law firms who are running ads.
The exponential growth in the number of law firms who are spending significant money month after month on Google Ads is for a couple of reasons. One, they work and secondly, SEO (getting ranked for keywords organically without paying for Ads) is super-competitive with no guarantee despite how good your SEO agency is that you’ll ever rank #1 #2 or #3.
How Do You Get Great Results with Google Ads?
The fundamental problem for most law firms with their Google Ad campaigns is that they’re being run by agencies who don’t get law firms and the legal industry. This may sound a little self-serving given the fact that Fast Firms only works with law firms and have lawyers working in the agency, but time after time we are surprised by looking at accounts run by others. At times for fun, we’ll search obscure legal terms and sure enough, there are always ads being entertained by legal practices. Worse still, you’ll Google terms that are driving traffic but not the traffic a firm wants and there is always heaps of firms competing, blowing their money, albeit oblivious to them.
Here is our experience in both inheriting badly run Google ad accounts and setting up new accounts for law firms.
Choose the Right Agency
There’s a lot to this! Running Google Ads is complex and in our own agency, it draws from multiple skill-sets. It requires the administrative side of establishing an account, it requires research of relevant keywords and competitor analysis. It requires skill in ad-copy writing, then, of course, the integrating and matching of relevant landing pages or pages on the existing web site that have a strong conversion. It requires an analysis of the data. It requires a thorough knowledge of the ever-changing Ad platform and trends, strategy and methods to stay competitive in the space on multiple fronts.
If your agency has little or no experience in running Ads for law firms and they’re applying a set and forget methodology, you’re in trouble!
Pay for Peanuts Get Peanuts
There are Google Ad agencies out there charging next to nothing to run ads. They make their money by volume. So, in other words, the success of their business is predicated on bringing on as many accounts as they can for a very low margin. At Fast Firms, we’ve been doing marketing for law firms for over 10 years and can tell you that this work cannot be done well for less than 15% of your firm’s ads spend. In other words, if your law firm is spending $10,000 on Ads every month, an agency that is charging you less than $1,500 per month to run the account aren’t doing it right!
If your law firm is serious about doing Ads well, expect to pay upwards of 15%.
Get Broad Expertise
Following on from point 1, there is a lot to getting great returns on your Google Ads spend and for this reason, you don’t want to unnecessarily be using it to get help from allied professionals. In other words, if your law firm is only working with an ads agency that doesn’t do anything else, it will prove problematic when it comes to designing and A/B testing landing pages or website pages generally. In our experience as an agency that does all things related to design, marketing and technology there can be lots of discussion and actions among team members in relation to the different facets of running an effective Ads campaign. It works for us because we have agency breadth, but it opens a can of worms and arguments when you’ve involved too many cooks in the kitchen.
If your firm is working with a single focus agency it’s likely that you’re not getting a great return because of their one-dimensional focus and if they’re working with all others involved in marketing your firm, it probably is the case already that there’s plenty of finger pointing going on.
Workshop with the Agency
We understand the legal industry very well, but even so, we’re not that arrogant to believe that there may be experiences of practitioners within the firm that can add considerable value to your Google Ads campaign.
Getting your Ad agency across not only the nuances of what you do, your target clients, the demographic, their pain points etc but also mapping the client journey through multiple angles can be incredibly useful. For example, recently working with a leading personal injury practice, one of the lawyers alluded to a key relationship in the course of a compensation claim that has proved profitable for the firm in targeting that specific stakeholder and search queries that derive from a potential client’s lack of knowledge about the relevant organisation’s role.
Don’t Expect Massive Wins Quickly
Sure, Google Ads is a quick entry to a growing market of people looking for legal services, but it takes time to effectively establish campaigns. We advise our clients that accept for the first 2 months that the campaign will be finding its feet.
Help Your Agency By Advising of File Opens
Conversion tracking for law firms can often be rubbery. In other words, we’re able to track calls, form completes, website action triggers but at the end of the day it’s all irrelevant if your firm isn’t advising at least monthly of enquiries vs file opens. For example, this month we landed 68 leads for a personal injury firm, of which 8 have resulted in file opens. While you can’t expect 68 leads for 68 file opens, feedback from the firm can assist in potentially screening leads more closely.
Get Out of the Way
Before engaging an agency, ask to see their data relating to their law firm clients (not their retail clients). What you want to see is a great impression share (their client dominating the share of impressions) a CPC that is on the decline, and a good click-through rate (ideally above 2.5% though we have a number of our clients at above 5%).
- Impressions shows how often your ad was shown on a search result page or site on the Google Network.
- Clicks shows how many clicks your ad has received. Clickthrough rate (CTR) shows the percentage of people who could see your ad and clicked on it.
- Conversions show how many people clicked from your ad to your site and did something you valued, such as a purchase, sign-up, phone call, or download.
- Cost per conversion shows how much each ad conversion cost you. (Also called cost per acquisition, CPA.)
- Conversion rate shows how many conversions on your site resulted from an ad click. Example: 50 conversions from 1,000 clicks, 50 ÷ 1000 = 5 percent conversion rate.
Once you have this data and are confident of the agency’s expertise, get out of the way and let the agency do their work and ensure you help them out by handing across enquires vs file opens month after month.