A quick Google search for any type of attorney will return several paid ads. Most law firms are in very competitive markets, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be an effective way to ensure your firm is more easily seen online. But, PPC management can be a daunting task if you’re new to PPC. This guide to the tools available to facilitate and automate your law firm PPC, and how to know when you need them, will help demystify the process and help you decide on the best approach for your firm.
PPC for Law Firms – the Basics
For many attorneys, PPC is roughly synonymous with Google Ads (often called AdWords, though Google rebranded a couple of years ago). Of course, Google has cornered a significant percentage of the search market, both in the U.S. and worldwide. As of February 2020, international web analytics company StatCounter says more than 88% of U.S. searches take place through Google. So, Google Ads are a great starting point for most law firm PPC efforts. But, there are more options out there if and when you decide to invest more fully in PPC campaigns.
The basic system is simple: You create some ads, attach some keywords to those ads, and set the amount you’re willing to pay, then your ads are displayed and you’re charged each time someone clicks. Making the most of your PPC campaigns while minimizing cost is, of course, a bit more complicated.
How Law Firms Can Benefit from PPC Management Software
PPC management can be time consuming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with PPC platforms and how to optimize your campaigns. Often, that means a law firm takes a “set it and forget it” approach to PPC, perhaps tracking just enough information to be sure the ads are yielding more in business than they’re costing.
But, when you don’t invest time in your PPC campaigns, you risk wasting a significant portion of your budget and missing out on good leads. While your campaigns may be turning a profit in the aggregate, there are likely many keywords that aren’t converting at all.
Worse, there are almost certainly keywords that are drawing clicks, but not from prospective clients. That’s just money down the drain. And, the broadest, highest-traffic keywords in the consumer legal industry don’t come cheap. As of this writing, Google put the average cost-per-click for the term “Jacksonville car accident lawyer” at about $123. “Best DUI lawyer Chicago” came in even higher, at just under $167. So, it makes sense to consider tools that will help fine-tune your campaigns without someone on your staff continuously monitoring them and making manual adjustments.
Some of the potential time-saving and cost-cutting benefits of PPC management software include:
- Keyword discovery and analysis
- Bid and budget allocation management
- Optimization suggestions
- Performance tracking
- The ability to create and manage campaigns across multiple PPC platforms in one place
However, PPC management software isn’t necessary for every law firm, and you won’t see the full benefit of these tools unless you’re looking at more than clicks and the overall return on your PPC investment.
Is PPC Software Right for Your Law Firm?
Non-converting clicks are the root of all wasted money on a PPC platform. If you’re just starting to dabble with a small budget, you’re probably not ready for subscription PPC management software. And, if you’re only advertising on a small number of keywords and running a few campaigns, you may not need the technological assist. But, as your law firm PPC efforts increase, so does the importance of good management. And, so does the time required to manage those campaigns manually.
Some signals that your law firm could benefit from good PPC management software include:
- You’re running multiple campaigns with many ad variations and a large number of keywords
- You’re making a profit on your PPC campaigns, but don’t know which keywords are yielding conversions and which are just draining your budget
- You’re ready to analyze the return on your investment and optimize your PPC campaigns, but don’t have a simple, organized way to view data
- You can’t or don’t review your campaigns frequently enough to avoid wasting a significant percentage of your budget on keywords that don’t convert
If you’re on the fence about whether your firm might benefit from PPC management software or you’re looking to improve your PPC performance but not yet ready to invest in software, try the free tools and built-in automation offered by some large PPC platforms.
For example, Google offers built-in conversion tracking, which expands reporting to tell you which keywords and ads result in conversion events such as form completion and phone calls. Once you’ve set up conversion tracking, you can use Smart Bidding, a built-in tool that allows you to optimize campaigns for different goals, such as maximizing conversion.
For a firm making a relatively small investment in PPC across a small number of platforms, these tools may be sufficient. But, they take some work to set up, and they have some limitations. One of the most significant is that since they are built-in or dedicated tools, they work only with one PPC platform. If you want to expand your reach, you’ll have to learn and go through a separate process for each, and will find different tools and limitations associated with different channels.
Choosing PPC Management Software for Your Law Firm
There’s a lot of software available to help manage your law firm PPC campaigns, so the shopping process itself can be overwhelming. To streamline the process, do your research in advance and know what specific tools are most important to you, as well as the other variables you’ll want to consider. Some important non-feature variables include:
- Pricing: PPC management tools range from free to several hundred dollars per month. Consider your budget, but also the value you’ll get for your money. The most expensive product isn’t necessarily the best one for your firm; that high price tag may be attached to features you don’t need.
- Ease of use: You’re choosing this software in part to simplify your PPC efforts, so the last thing you want is a platform you find counter-intuitive or that has a long learning curve. Make sure you or the staff members managing your law firm PPC are comfortable with the interface. Some platforms offer free trials or a smaller set of free tools so you can test the waters.
- Customer service: Chances are good that you’ll encounter a few bumps—or, at least, questions—on the path to mastering PPC for your law firm. If you’re tech-savvy and already familiar with PPC and just want to streamline the process, this aspect may be less important to you. But, if you’re just learning your way around, you’ll want to factor access to support into your decision.
The features that matter most to your firm will depend on the type of campaigns you’re running, where you’re running them, the knowledge and time commitment of the person running your PPC campaigns, and other factors. Some key features to consider include:
- The ability to work across platforms: Some PPC management tools are specifically geared toward Google Ads, and if you’re just starting out that may be the only platform you’re using. But, as you get more comfortable with PPC advertising and learn to fine-tune your campaigns to increase conversion, you may want to expand beyond Google Ads.
- Automation: The extent to which your PPC management software will adjust bids and make other alterations to your campaigns to maximize clicks, conversions, and other outcomes varies. If you’re looking for a mostly hands-off approach to Google Ads and other PPC advertising, make sure the software you choose automates key aspects of the process.
- Data insights and reporting: Optimizing conversions is key to successful PPC management. Even if your tool is sophisticated enough to make changes based on that data without your participation, you should have access to easy-to-understand information about what’s working and what isn’t.
If you’re testing out a PPC management solution, you’ll also want to be sure you know whether and for how long you’re locked in to a contract.
A Sampling of PPC Management Platforms
There are so many tools available to assist with PPC management that the search for the right tool can seem as complicated as managing your own campaigns. Here are a few well-known options to consider:
WordStream Advisor: WordStream’s PPC advisor is a mid-priced platform that offers tiered pricing based on your monthly ad spend. As of this writing, it’s $199/month for a $1,000 monthly budget and $349/month for budgets of $2,000 to $5,000. WordStream assists with onboarding and offers chat and phone support.
Features include a keyword research tool, smart ad creation, conversion tracking, multi-platform integration (including Google Ads, Bing, and Facebook) and a landing page creator. One of WordStream’s key selling points is the “20 minute work week,” which provides feedback that allows you to manage and improve on your PPC campaigns quickly and efficiently based on recommendations from the system.
WordStream offers a free trial.
Adalysis: Adalysis is an affordable PPC management solution, at $99/month for monthly ad budgets of up to $50,000.
Adalysis integrates with Google Ads and Bing, and offers keyword research tools, performance analysis and alerts, the ability to build campaigns within the platform, bulk ad management and landing page analysis.
Adalysis offers a free 14-day trial.
Optmyzr: Optmyzr is a robust PPC tool and that’s reflected in the pricing, which starts at $499/month.
Tools for creating, optimizing, and reporting on campaigns include the all of the fundamentals plus A/B testing for ads, integrated reporting across multiple platforms, the ability to add multiple users, automated budgets and implementation of if/then rules.
Optmyzr bills its solution as enterprise-level tools without the hefty price tag, and that’s probably a fair assessment for those in need of enterprise-level tools. For most law firms, though, it’s probably more solution than you need at a higher price point than solutions tailored more to smaller businesses.
Optmyzer offers a free trial.
SEMRush PPC ToolKit: SEMRush offers a different type of tool, starting at $99/month. In addition to PPC tools like sophisticated keyword research and ad monitoring, SEMRush includes competitor research and copy suggestions. This platform also extends to both organic search efforts and social media marketing, which simplifies management and assists with integrated strategy for those engaging in all three efforts.
This wealth of information can definitely be helpful for any business making a serious investment in PPC advertising, particularly if the firm is also focused on SEO and/or social media marketing. But, you won’t see the focus some of the other platforms offer on tracking and quick optimization suggestions—both of key value to a law firm managing PPC in-house.
SEMRush offers a free trial.
Outsourcing PPC Management
PPC management software can cut back on the time you invest in PPC campaigns and increase their effectiveness. But, law firm PPC campaigns will always require some skilled human management, even after you’ve made the time investment in set-up and integration.
If the prospect of managing your own PPC advertising still seems too challenging, or if you simply want to focus on what you do best and leave the marketing to a law firm SEO expert, DAGMAR Marketing can help. We’ve helped law firms with a wide range of digital marketing services, including PPC, SEO and content marketing, and we’d love to discuss how we might be able to help your firm.
You can schedule a free consultation by calling 904-270-9778 or filling out our contact form.
Want to learn more first? Check out this law firm PPC case study.