Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a wise investment for any law firm looking to make a strong impression with prospective clients in search. And, according to Google, there’s a lot of money to be made from those paid advertising efforts if you use Google AdWords.
Google estimates that advertisers stand to earn $8 for every $1 spent in AdWords. That, of course, is assuming you have done everything you can to properly optimize your firm’s paid search ad campaign.
And therein lies the problem.
While Google does offer tools like AdWords Express and startup guides like this setup checklist to get business owners started, there is a tradeoff with those cheaper, quicker, and more hands-off options. But what exactly do you sacrifice when you allow Google to set up your AdWords account for you? And would it eventually pay off in the end?
Let’s dig into why you should never let Google set up your AdWords account and what you can do instead that won’t leave you intimidated, disgruntled, or broke from the whole pay-per-click system.
Why You Should Never Let Google Set Up Your AdWords Account
Look, it’s not as though Google is working against you and your law firm. In fact, they’re rooting for you to stay in business and to do well. Because the more success you see from your paid search advertising efforts, the more you’re going to use them—and that’s what keeps Google the #1 search engine.
But think of the default AdWords account settings (or the AdWords Express service) the same way you would a casino. You dump all your money into the slots or lay it out on the poker table, only to allow the machine or luck of the draw to determine what your winnings are, if any. Why gamble with your law firm’s hard-earned money if there’s a tried-and-true way to do PPC marketing?
What it ultimately boils down to is this: if you have the right AdWords account structure in place, you can win in search. But you need to take control of the game; you can’t allow the house to determine whether you win or lose.
So, let’s talk about what actually makes for a good AdWords account structure and what can happen if you don’t set it up the right way.
The Importance of an Optimized AdWords Account Structure
In an article written by Wayfair’s Brian Wood, he talks about how more search clicks are shifting from organic search results to paid. While his team’s findings pertain specifically to ecommerce companies trying to rank in search, the same likely holds true for local businesses—like your law firm—battling for the top spots in search.
With so many paid ads occupying prime real estate at the top of search—especially on mobile devices which require users to scroll numerous times in order to even find organic listings—it’s important now more than ever to get a solid PPC program in place.
PPC advertising is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your site as it ensures your law firm appears within the coveted top slots in search… but it will cost you. And this is why having an optimized AdWords account structure is essential.
If you want to do AdWords the right way, then you need to have control over:
- Your keyword set (including negative keywords).
- The kind of match you want keywords to make (Google sets the default to “Broad”, which generally doesn’t lead to the best results).
- The grouping of keywords and allocation of them to your ads.
- What kinds of ad extensions are appended to your listing (like customer ratings, physical address, relevant links to your site, and so on).
- With whom your ads are shared.
- When exactly those ads are shared with them.
- The positioning of your ads in search.
- Rules that keep your ad budget from becoming unwieldy.
Without a well-thought-out structure in place, you risk allowing your ad budget to leak away on bad search matches. In other words, the more poorly your ads match with users, the more expensive it becomes to run your ads… and then what’s the point?
Obviously, I don’t mean to disparage what Google has done here. They’ve given us a fantastic tool in AdWords. It’s just that the quick-and-dirty way of using it is totally ineffective and costly for companies like yours that want to make the most of their paid search investment.
How to Make the Most of PPC Advertising
Alright, so here’s the part where I talk about what you can do to make PPC advertising work for you. In other words, hire a PPC advertising agency with extensive experience handling paid search marketing campaigns for attorneys and law firms.
Here are the 7 things you need to look for:
The very first thing to look for when shopping around for a search marketing agency is their Google Partner status. These individuals and agencies are trained by Google to become proficient experts in all matters related to advertising.
Without entry into the Google Partner program, a marketing agency cannot become a certified expert in Google AdWords, so this is the very first thing that needs to be in place. And, if you’re curious about whether or not Trial Law Digital is a Google Partner, we are indeed. Specifically, we have attained Google Premier Partner status.
Google AdWords Certification
Next, you’ll want to look for Google AdWords Certification. As Google Partners complete training in the various basic and advanced search modules available, they become accredited to offer those search marketing services to clients. With this certification in place, Google then acknowledges these partners as trusted experts.
Trial Law Digital is currently certified in the following areas:
Once you have identified an agency as a certified Google partner and expert, it’s time to look over their qualifications.
Every industry and business niche has a different way in which they win in search, which is why PPC advertising can be so difficult to do well. With the guidance of a marketing agency that has experience managing PPC advertising for lawyers, you’ll be in good hands.
Trial Law Digital has experience managing AdWords campaigns for lawyers all over the country, with some budgets as small as $1,000 per month and others as large as $75,000 per month.
We successfully manage multiple AdWords & Bing campaigns and have extensive experience managing campaigns for the following areas of practice:
- Asset protection
- Criminal (all types)
- Family/Child Custody
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Personal Injury
- White Collar Crime
Obviously, if you’re already planning to spend a lot of money to get greater exposure in search, taking the cheap, automated route of letting Google set up your AdWords account might seem like the wise choice. However, as we’ve already discussed, Google doesn’t always have advertisers’ best interests in mind when devising these settings. Sure, you might make some money, but they won’t be the optimal settings to get you the biggest payoff for your efforts.
If you work with Trial Law Digital, we offer flat fees starting at $1,000 for setup, and a flat 25% rate based on the total spend amount, so we keep costs predictable and manageable on your end.
Ease of Use
Similar to the Google quick-setup option, working with an expert marketing agency makes the process of setting up and running PPC ad campaigns for your law firm a cinch.
We understand your industry. We know what your audience is looking for. So, let us take care of making the most out of your PPC advertising campaigns.
When you put your PPC advertising in the hands of a trusted third-party like Trial Law Digital, we take care of the analytical side of Google AdWords, too. This means integrating with your Google Analytics in order to track leads and conversions, as well as integrating call tracking with your website.
And, of course, you want proof that the money you’re investing in paid search will net you that 8-for-1 return on investment, as Google estimated.
When you work with Trial Law Digital, we take care of providing you with detailed reports that outline your campaign performance. In addition, we provide recommendations on how to improve your account setup in the coming months to maximize your campaign’s performance.
What You Get When You Choose Trial Law Digital
Remember: Google is like a casino. Yes, they want you to win, but only enough so that you keep coming back for more. While it might seem like the economical choice to use their automated setup and services, you’re not going to see the best (or even very good) results if you go that route.
If you want to get in front of new clients—and the right kinds of new clients who not only click on your ads, but also convert—then you need to work with a trusted partner who knows the Google paid search system inside and out. And that partner is Trial Law Digital.
For those of you looking to get started with Trial Law Digital’s PPC Advertising services, give us a call today at (205) 451-3376. If you’re still on the fence and wondering what it is we can do for you, have a look at what you get with our PPC Advertising Services below.
Trial Law Digital: PPC Advertising
Setting Up Your AdWords Account
By the time you’ve appointed us for PPC management, then we’ve already had an initial look at your website, your ad space competitors, and your search space, and will have developed a rough idea about your account structure in connection with giving you a PPC Quote.
Appropriate PPC Campaign Structure
The first step in the management engagement is to plan your initial PPC account structure in terms of campaigns. To do so, we have to know your overall ad budget, and forecast some costs per click for your account. So, if we haven’t already done so during the PPC Quote process, then we may ask you some questions, and possibly even ask you to complete a questionnaire initially.
We also use our extensive library of law firm search marketing data to build out your campaigns quickly and efficiently.
Preliminary Keyword List
Once we’ve identified your PPC account structure, then we begin building a preliminary keyword list. Since we already have clients in quite a few industries, we may already have a pretty good idea about what keywords may work for you. Regardless, we customize a keyword list for you by analyzing your website, your competitors, and through our own research techniques.
Optimal Ad Groups
As we develop your keywords, we also begin categorizing the keywords into ad groups. Determining the appropriate ad groups for your account is critical to creating a successful campaign. We apply our research, judgement, and experience in determining which ad groups will work best for you. The final decisions for ad groups is always made by one of our most senior qualified PPC Professionals.
Initial Keyword List
Once we have established the appropriate ad groups for your account, then we begin buffing out the keywords within those ad groups. This generally involves increasing the number of keywords by a factor of 5x the preliminary lists. During this process we also develop a negative keyword list.
Once the keyword research is done, and we fully understand the relative keyword values within each ad group as well as your competitors’ ad text, then we plan your positioning within your own ad space and begin writing your ads. Your own website will give us ideas for your ads.
Aside from that, we have our own survey tools which help us catalog ads which have been used across the U.S. by similar companies. We write a minimum of four ads per ad group. This enables us to perform ad split testing as a means of improving your ad content over time. We often maintain themes for ads across ad groups; however, every ad within a single campaign is unique.
Replication and Campaign Settings
Once the work at the ad group level is completed then we may replicate ad groups across campaigns, if necessary, adjust your campaign-level settings and test all of your ads as the final step in setting up your new PPC account.
Depending on what we have agreed in advance for the PPC management engagement, once we have completed the setup, we may offer you a chance to review the account before turning on the campaigns. Activating your ads, requires entering your credit card information within your Google / Bing account. So, if we haven’t already done so, then this would be completed before your ads can run.
With the increase in average CPCs over the last few years, you have to really be careful with your money. All the more reason to hire a team with experience!