When it comes to getting found online, search engine optimization (SEO) is still your best long-term bet. But what if you want to quickly boost visibility in a unique niche? Or target a specific audience — such as people searching for “oil spill attorney?”
In those cases, paid search advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC), can be a smart option. PPC programs allow you to bid on, buy and create ads that match specific keywords or phrases. When a Web user types the word or phrase you’ve purchased into a search engine, your ad appears in a special section, usually next to the top of the organic search results. You only pay if someone clicks on your ad (hence the “pay-per-click” name).
Yes, PPC can deliver serious and fast ROI. But as with any marketing effort, there are no guarantees. Here are four factors that can make the difference between a successful PPC campaign and a flop.
Factor #1: Choose the right provider
You have options, including Google AdWordsTM, Bing Ads, Facebook Paid Ads and a host of smaller providers. Each has unique characteristics. Bing Ads appear on both Bing and Yahoo! search results. Facebook Paid Ads let you precisely target specific demographic types. And Google offers unmatched audience reach, along with a wealth of customization options such as the ability to quickly revise your ad.
Factor #2: Get a handle on the bidding process
This is where it can get tricky. You have to identify the right keywords and how much you’re willing to spend. You then submit a bid in an auction against other law firms looking to use the same words. Point to note: High bids don’t always win. Google, for example, weighs both your bid and what it terms “quality score” — a ranking of your firm’s relevance to potential clients. The highest and most relevant bidders get the prime positions.
Factor #3: Create the right ad copy
Even with a top-shelf position, users will ignore your ad if it doesn’t speak to them. You need to concisely convey how your firm will solve their problem(s) — and why they should click on your ad.
With that in mind, you need to understand your prospects:
- Who are they?
- What messages will resonate with them?
- What words or phrases would they be likely to type into a search engine?
Factor #4: Consider what happens after the click
Say a prospect clicks on your “oil spill attorney” ad. Unless your firm only deals with oil spills, don’t send the user to your home page. Remember, he or she wants specifics. The better alternative is to create a landing page that highlights your oil spill expertise and features a robust call to action, all designed to help convert readers from prospects into clients.
Final point: Managing a PPC initiative is a big job, and it’s not hard to find companies that will offer to run a campaign for you. Your best option is one that understands how PPC fits into a larger marketing plan. And don’t ignore external credentials. Official certification from Bing or Google (e.g., Google Certified AdWordsTM Partner) is a tip-off that you’re dealing with a legitimate PPC specialist.
If you would like to learn more about how FindLaw’s legal marketing solutions can help your firm, contact us for a free consultation.