Going beyond referrals- it’s a challenge most growing law firms face on their path to greatness. Referrals are fantastic, but they are not very scalable. There are many ways to go about scaling up your lead flow, and it can be difficult to decide how to go about it. So what’s an attorney to do?
With so many marketing channels, it can be hard to decide what is right for your law firm. Facebook, Google Ads, SEO, radio, TV… there is just so much to choose from. So, here’s my opinion on the best ways to use marketing to scale up your law firm.
Make Sure Your House is in Order Before You Invite People In
First of all, I believe the most important thing for law firms to do (as pertains to online marketing) is to get your basic SEO in order. You need to make sure your local citations are in order. Your name, address, phone number, and website URL should be consistent across the internet. You need to make sure your website is set up properly to be crawled and indexed by Google (this is known at technical SEO). These things will help ensure that you appear at the top of the search results when someone searches for your brand and will help you show up in organic search results (especially Google Maps.) These are the basics (let me know if you want me to audit your web presence for those factors). But once you’ve got your citations in order and have ensured that your website is technically sound, I believe the best way to quickly drive relevant leads for your law firm is through PPC.
PPC & The “Zero Moment of Truth”
The primary reason I decided to focus on PPC for law firms is that I’ve always known that PPC and law firms go together like peanut butter and jelly! As an example, when someone searches for “personal injury lawyers near me,” they are clearly looking for a personal injury lawyer. There is no better indicator of commercial intent than that. With Facebook, you can target things such as demographics, psychographics, online behaviors, heck, maybe even people who are (supposedly) in the market for the service you provide. But at the end of the day, you are interrupting them with an ad. They are on Facebook to browse their timelines, look at cute puppies, post baby pictures, etc. Even if they are in the market for the legal services you offer, they are most likely not in that mindset at that precise moment. Google AdWords revolutionized the advertising industry by giving you the ability to reach people looking for exactly what you offer at the exact moment that they are in the buying mindset. It’s called the “zero moment of truth.” “Zero moment of truth” is a term that was coined by Google back in the stone ages (like 2011 or so), but it remains as true now as ever. When people need a product or service, they go on the internet to conduct research. PPC enables you to reach those people during their research. It’s how Google got rich.
Facebook can be amazing for some businesses. For example, let’s say you own a gym. It makes a lot of sense to use Facebook to advertise a gym. Fitness and health are things we are thinking about all of the time- it’s not a one time life event. You can serve me with multiple ads offering a free trial at your gym and I may just take you up on that. But what if you served me with ads for divorce lawyers? Unless I happen to be in a situation where I need a divorce lawyer, this ad is going to be completely irrelevant to me. It may even trigger anger if I am going through relationship problems and believe that Facebook is serving me these ads because they are “spying” on me. But if I am Googling “divorce lawyers near me,” I’m not going to get annoyed by an ad for divorce lawyers. As my search suggests, I am clearly looking for divorce lawyers and Google is helping me solve my problem.
Now, it’s not quite as simple as that. Cost per click in the legal industry is high for a reason – it works! PPC ads are an auction, and when there are more people bidding the price goes up. You need to make sure that your landing page is optimized to capture the lead once you’ve paid for the click. You need to make sure that your copy is tailored to appeal to your target market. You need to use negative keywords to avoid paying for clicks from people who can’t afford you who are searching for things like “pro bono” or “cheap lawyers.” You can use things like income targeting. Yes, there are many factors that go into running a successful PPC campaign, but my point is, there is not another advertising channel I know of that gets you in front of your potential customers at the exact moment they are ready to receive your message like PPC does. SEO can work for this, but it is extremely difficult to rank ahead of the Findlaw’s and Justia’s of the world for generic commercial queries like “divorce lawyer.”
By no means am I saying that marketing channels such as Facebook can’t work for lawyers. It absolutely can! However, there is not a better, more scalable advertising channel than PPC for law firms. It is not magic, and it does not relieve one of the need to produce great content and build an audience. However, if you have a marketing budget and are looking for rocket fuel to fill your funnel with potential clients, there is no better solution than paid search.