As mentioned in Part 1, if the first step of your lead generation system is off performance and profitability will suffer. However, when each piece has been fine-tuned, you can generate 5X or more than your original investment each month. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend $2,000 on ads that add another $15,000 in case revenue to your firm? What about spending $10,000 and adding $60,000 in case revenue? It’s not unheard of if you are committed and recognize the opportunity that lead generation presents to your firm. We’ll begin where prospects enter the funnel. The traffic source. Bad traffic means nothing will work right. Getting clicks that generate quality leads should be your focus. Which leads us to Google Search Ads.
Why Google Ads?
Google has the highest-quality ad platform and is the largest traffic source around. Yes, even bigger and better than Facebook. You just can’t beat advertising to people who are in the middle of searching for your services with an intent to hire. If you’re an attorney looking to get leads from the Internet quickly, Google Ads should be your first stop and sole focus until you maximize the opportunity in your market.
There are core reasons why this guide is centered around Google Ads:
1. Google Ads is Consistent – People use Google to find what they need today, and they will continue to do it tomorrow, and the next day, etc. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
2. Google Ads is High-Quality – When done right, the targeting capabilities allow you to reach only people who need, and are searching for your services. Find a better prospect than someone who is in your market and looking for exactly what you sell.
3. Google Ads Can Be Scaled – Everyone uses Google. The user-base of Google is absolutely massive and constantly growing. There are trillions of searches every year. This represents a large opportunity to scale your business.
Search Marketing Funnel
Much like the traditional marketing funnel, there are levels of intent associated with how people search on Google. For example, someone searching for “advice if I’m considering divorce” is a longer time period away from hiring a lawyer than someone who searches for “divorce lawyer near me.” The diagrams below explain the different steps of the traditional marketing funnel, and conveys how different Google or Bing searches would fit into each step of the search marketing funnel. The diagrams also shows how likely conversions are at each step of the funnel. You’ll see that the search queries associated with the Awareness (blue) step are much different from those in the Action (red) step. The intent, life-stage, and mindset of a prospect at the time of their search all have an effect on their chances of becoming a client.
10 Pro-Tips When Building Custom Google Ads Campaigns For Your Firm:
- Search Network Only – There are many different campaign types in Google Ads; Youtube, Display, Search, Search with Display Network, Gmail, Call-Only, etc. There are also Google Ads ‘Smart’ campaigns which used to be Google Ads Express. It can be very overwhelming and you can waste a lot of money if you don’t know what to look for or do at each step of a campaign’s life. If you are a beginner and absolutely determined to manage your Google Ads account on your own, study in Google Academy for Ads and then take the Google Ads Fundamentals & Search certification course first. They’re both free. After that, carefully create your first campaign using the tips I’ve outlined below and my recommended settings at the end of this section. You will have a good head start.
- …Okay, now that you are Google Ads Certified, you only want to create campaigns that target the Search Network and Search Partners. Don’t waste your time or money with any other campaign types to start. The vast majority of good leads are gathered from Google Search. Yes, the text ads look boring, but boring works.
- Create Simple Campaigns – Don’t over-complicate your Google Ads campaigns, straightforward campaigns do the best.
- What do I mean by that?
- Don’t jam more than one case-type into a campaign. Want Divorce, Child Custody, & other Family Law related cases? Build 3 different campaigns: 1 Divorce, 1 Child Custody, and 1 General Family Law campaign. Inside of your campaigns you shouldn’t have one ad group with one long list of keywords. If you do, break those keywords out into new, relevant ad groups with new ads so your keywords are more relevant to your ads. Ideally, you have a specific landing page for each ad group that is relevant to your target keywords.
- What do I mean by that?
- Use Manual CPC and ‘Check the Box’ for Enhanced CPC – Enhanced CPC gives Google a small amount of control over your manual bids. It allows the algorithm to adjust your manual keyword bids by 20% (up or down) based on Google’s predicted likelihood of a conversion. I don’t like to give Google complete control over my campaigns, but I will allow a small degree of machine-learning to help out. I’ve seen mixed results with fully-automated bidding, even after speaking with a Google rep to set up a test and testing for a full 30 days. I always see better results using manual bidding with eCPC (enhanced CPC). Don’t get me wrong, I’m always experimenting to find new ways to get cheaper leads, but this is my default, tried and true, method to start every new campaign.
- Create Specific Ad Group Themes – You don’t want to go too broad with your ad groups. I’m pretty sure Google recommends 20 keywords per ad group. I don’t do this, except maybe for more mature campaigns. It simply doesn’t provide specific enough ads to your targeted searches to win high a Click-Through Rate (CTR) and low Cost-Per-Click. Do you want to get a 4% CTR and $25+ CPC, or 7% CTR and $21 CPC? A sample ad group would be: “Divorce Lawyer Orlando.” Some sample keywords would be: +divorce +lawyer +orlando, “divorce lawyer orlando”, and [divorce lawyer orlando]. As mentioned before, ideally you have a landing page specific to “Orlando Divorce Lawyer” to send your clicks to from your “Divorce Lawyer Orlando” ad group.
- Write Ad Copy That Clicks – You’re going to need to create a lot of ads. (Get ready to copy/paste and find/replace alot.) Some of my campaigns have 30+ ad groups and 90+ ads. It sounds excessive, but there’s a reason for this. There are 3 ads written that are triggered for only specific keywords in an ad group. This means that the ads should be written to contain the specific keywords that are in each ad group. If the keywords are +divorce +lawyer +orlando, “divorce lawyer orlando”, and [divorce lawyer orlando], your ads’ headline 1 should be “Orlando Divorce Lawyer,” or “Divorce Lawyer in Orlando.” Many firms are tempted to put their name in the first headline. People want to see the words that they searched for, so give it to them. This trick alone could help you increase your click-through rate by 50% or more.
- Create Extensions & Use Up Your Space In Ads – You might be tempted to write short descriptions in your ads, or not fill in as much text as possible. Resist! Fill out each part of your ad as complete as possible. If there’s 30 spaces, try to get close to 30 characters while being relevant to your target keywords. It might not sound like it would do much, but full ads with extensions will nearly always get more clicks at a cheaper cost per click.
- Location Settings for Your Market (more on this in My Recommended Campaign Settings section below)
- There are 3 “Target” and 2 “Exclude” settings. These are very important. Setting this wrong could potentially tank your campaign and cause you to get leads outside of your market/service area.
- “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations (recommended).” – Don’t let the “(recommended)” suggestion fool you. I would not recommend this for 95% of campaigns. “People who show interest in your targeted locations” could be someone hundreds or even thousands of miles away. However, this setting can be useful to scale a mature campaign, but only if you’ve topped out your performance while using the next location setting I’m about to mention.
- “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” – This is what I would suggest you set all of your law firm’s campaigns to if you primarily service local clients. With this setting you are reaching people in your target area, or people who move into and out of your target area regularly. For example, commuters or anyone who is in your target area often and for extended periods. This setting lets you reach the best prospects and those most likely convert in your local market.
- “People searching for your targeted locations.” – Steer clear of this for your local law firm. This is geared more toward the travel industry.
- “People in, or who show interest in, your excluded locations (recommended)” – If you are running a local campaign, much of the time you won’t need to exclude an area. But, if you do, use this setting to eliminate the change your ad shows to anyone in the excluded area, and also anyone who has expressed and interest in your excluded area.
- “People in your excluded locations” – This is fairly straightforward and only excludes people if they are physically in your excluded area. If they are interested in your excluded area, but in your target area, your ad could show.
- Pay Attention To Your Search Impression Share – Search impression share shows the percentage of impressions that your ads showed up for out of all available impressions your keywords are targeting. Another word for this which is used in other marketing mediums is Share of Voice. Put simply, it is your ad campaign’s search market share. Ideally, you’re showing up for a high percentage of actionable searches in your market. It is also a great way to see if you’re spending too much in an area, and should consider target more locations. If you reach 90% or higher, you should consider adding more locations because you are topping-out and likely paying a higher than avg. Cost-Per-Click.
- Negate Cities & Countries – Think about all of the searches that contain cities you don’t want to get clicks on. For example, if your law firm is located in New York City, you don’t want to show up for “divorce lawyer in seattle” if someone in New York City made that search. They won’t hire you. They clearly want someone in Seattle. It’s best to negate “seattle” by adding it to your negative keyword list. You’ll save money because your ads won’t show up on searches that contain “seattle.” Do the same for countries and other cities.
- Negate Window-Shoppers – Searches with cost, price, fees, how much, etc. are all indicative of someone who either can’t afford an average retainer, or they are looking for a deal. There are many others, but these are a few off the top of my head. Either way, searches with these words are typically clicks and leads that I avoid. I don’t want my clients to waste time with these type of prospects, and wouldn’t want you to waste time either if you decide to build your own campaign using my recommended settings below.
Google Ads Campaign Settings To Use To Create An Efficient Search Campaign:
Below are my recommended settings to use when preparing a search campaign. I go into each step of the settings before you get to the part where you build your ad groups.
First things first, don’t waste your time with ‘Smart Campaigns,’ previously Google Ads Express. They are not efficient and are really just and easy button for business owners who want to get some very basic, limited ads going. This section outlines the exact settings I use, with step-by-step instructions, to generate Standard Google Ads Search campaigns that generate high-intent clicks and leads. Note: This section only goes over my campaign settings. Campaign settings are very important and a wrong setting for a targeting feature could be the difference between ending in the red or black. I do not go into specifics about how I structure my ad groups or ads, but you can glean a lot of information in the “10 Pro-Tips” mentioned previously.
Campaign Goal: Leads
Campaign Type: Search
Select the ways you’d like to reach your goal:
For lawyers this would be website visits, phone calls, and lead form submissions. However, this is not a required step to create a campaign and could be skipped.
Choose Your Network:
This is where many newbies to Google Ads make a critical mistake. You have 3 options: Search Network , Search Network with Search Partners, and/or Display Network. When attempting to get legal leads you do not want to spend money in the Display Network. It says, “Don’t miss the opportunity to reach more people across 3 million sites and apps.” below the Display network option. Do not be fooled. You’ll waste essentially all of your budget by reaching people too high in the funnel, not interested, or bot traffic (which can be 30-50% of all Display network clicks). You only want to target the Search Network. (Including search partners is fine, I normally include it in all of my campaigns.) This is where you get good leads that are ready to buy.
Show More Settings:
You only need to worry about start and end dates (if you want to have an end date at all. Most of the time, I have a start date and campaigns run continuously until I pause them.
Campaign URL options & Dynamic Search Ads setting is advanced and typically not worth worrying about for a local law firm.
This is another setting that the recommendation often times results in worse performance for your campaign.
As you can see, you have options to choose specific locations to target. You can target by country, state/province, DMA region, city, zip code, neighborhood and radius around a location.
In addition to the geographic target of your ads, there are also “location options.” Location options are extremely important to understand before starting a campaign. Each settings gives you a vastly different result.
“People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations” is the recommended setting. However, i don’t recommend this for local law firms. People could be located far outside your service area and people could see, and click, on your ads. There are a few cases this is a good setting to use, but not until a campaign is mature.
“People in or regularly in your targeted locations” is the setting I opt for in all of my local search campaigns. This setting ensures that the people who see your ads are located in the area you are targeting, or are in your target area often. For example, if someone lives in your target area, but commutes outside of your target area on weekdays. There would be a chance of your ad showing up for this person because they are regularly in your target area.
“People searching for your targeted locations” is not recommended, as anyone, anywhere in the world, could potentially see your ad if their search triggers it.
Exclude settings: Use the recommended setting.
English for the majority of US lawyers. If you need to target spanish speakers, contact me with any questions.
Do not worry about this area unless you know that your practice area allows remarketing. If it does, the only time you would use audiences in the search network is for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs), a more advanced tactic and campaign type I will not cover.
Very straightforward setting. Set your daily budget based on how much you would like to spend in a month. Remember to account for if you are only running ads during weekdays.
There a many automated bidding strategies in Google Ads, but they really only work well if your account and campaigns have some historical data to work on. Even still, I nearly always opt for Manual Bidding with Enhanced CPC to have more control over the quality of leads I’m providing.
To select manual Bidding with Enhanced CPC, select “select a bid strategy directly (not recommended).”
Click the drop-down menu and select manual CPC.
Check the box for Enhanced CPC.
Show More Settings: Conversions
You have 2 options, and I primarily use the first option, unless an ad account already has multiple old conversions. In that case, I’ll select “choose conversion actions for this campaign” to create my own conversion action set for my campaigns, such as phone calls & contact form submits.
Use the account-level “Include in ‘Conversions'” settings
Ad scheduling is important if you are only available, or want, to receive calls during certain times of the day and days of the week. Most clients run ads during business days and hours so they can immediately service leads.
My default is “Optimize for best performing ads.”
Ad extensions are extremely important. They help make your ad more prominent and are critical to showing off your firm and appearing trustworthy. They also help lower your cost per click.
Utilize as many as are relevant for your firm. In my opinion, a law firm should use Sitelink, Callout, Call, Lead Form, Structured Snippet, Message & Location Extensions. That’s 7 total extensions you, or your agency, should be using.
I won’t go into detail about how to create ad extensions, but you can find more information about them here.
That’s it for Part 2: Traffic of my guide to Law Firm Client-Acquisition. I hope you found some useful tips to use in your campaigns and marketing strategy overall. If you have ANY questions about this portion of the guide, please email my at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on LinkedIn. I’m happy to answer any questions.