Search behavior, trends, and volumes have changed. How does this affect your campaigns, and how should you navigate your SEM campaigns amid COVID-19? A guide that will help your law firm stay on top during the pandemic. 

March was the month that signified a need to adapt. Businesses had to initially deal with remote working, and leaders had to weigh their options and make important decisions. The online world is also rapidly changing; during the previous month, Google introduced alterations on Google My Business, limiting several GMB functions and providing tools to update the listing to match the status amid COVID-19. Today, we’ll dive into the world of SEM and how you should navigate your Ad campaigns through the pandemic.

Google recently released an official announcement on the help center, giving initial guidelines and tips on general DOs and DONTs, let’s break them down and make it specific for attorneys and law firms.

Already investing in PPC campaigns? Evaluate them, following the checklist below.

  1. Assess and review your Ad copy. It is valuable to ensure that your law firm’s copies respect the tone and context, especially when referring to COVID-19. Google suggests being especially careful when using words like protection, checkup, prevention, or virus. How would this apply to your law firm? For example, if you are a firm working with family law, pay attention to how you will use these terms in your PPC campaigns, showing empathy to people who search and are potential clients. If you are proactive and you are investing in Hispanic SEM, make sure that the people who write your Spanish Ad copies are native speakers who understand the specific cultural elements.
  2. Deliver a helpful message. Your customers need to know that you are still there, open for business, you can handle their cases, and you can do it remotely and safely. It is crucial to communicate all your new procedures and provide your clients with ease of mind, knowing that you value their business while staying safe.
  3. Consider your assets, especially if you are investing in the display network. Social distancing is part of our new reality, and large gatherings are prohibited. This means that a banner you would use a couple of months ago is no longer relevant, and you have to rework on your designs to match the current conditions. You’d also need to asses all other pictures, for example, if you are a personal injury attorney, you might want to add a positive vibe to your messages. Another critical point is your landing pages. Make sure they are revamped, following the best practices amid COVID-19.
  4. Communicate any status changes, regarding opening hours. If your schedule changed, remember to also add it to your Ad copy (similar to what you did with your GMB page).

The market is dynamic and everchanging, adapt to the new conditions.

  1. Your local community is your audience, your potential, and existing clients. Knowing what’s happening locally is important, and understanding what searchers are interested in is critical. You can find valuable information on the Google trends page. Remember, location is key, so refine the results geographically, by region or city.
  2.  Monitor and evaluate device-level search volumes. Recent reports show that desktop is gaining ground in search amid COVID-19. We always explain that mobile is high intent for law firms, as conversion rate is higher, but desktop volumes are significant and can be converted. Consider adding the right call to actions for each campaign, a live chat could prove to be a relevant solution, especially for cases that need discreet handlings such as family law and domestic violence. 
  3. Review your KPIs and objectives. It could be beneficial to consider launching some campaigns with the scope of building and enhancing brand awareness. Retargeting, for example, could be an idea for the display networks.
  4. Emphasize on your bidding. In such a rapidly changing environment, we strongly suggest keeping strict track of your Ad bids. If you activate your campaigns for mobile and desktop, handle your bidding accordingly. If you are showing Google Ads in several locations, then be aware of the local conditions and evaluate your Ads budget. If you have Smart Bidding activated, then we’d urge you to research and perform all the necessary changes. If you need any assistance, we are here to help.
  5. Are all your Ads still relevant? Evaluate them, it doesn’t matter if a specific campaign or an Ad group used to yield the best results; this can change any time for markets or practice areas. Do you need to pause any of your campaigns?  For example, if you are an attorney specializing in dog bites and they’re not happening anymore because people stay inside, stop showing the campaign until it becomes relevant again.

What if you aren’t investing in Ads already?

  1. Define your strategy and your goals. Marketing during COVID-19 can be a profitable move if implemented correctly.
  2. Know your market and promote the most relevant practice areas. Bankruptcy cases are expected to increase due to recession. If your law firm handles such cases, it’s the time to step in and dominate the market.
  3. Be prepared for mobile and desktop searches. Add the appropriate calls to action, and make sure they stay prominent when a visitor gets on your Website.  
  4. Consider Hispanics. They can be your ticket to a blue ocean strategy in your market.
  5. Create content that shows empathy and considers the pandemic environment.

What are the key takeaways?

  • It is important to deliver the right message. Make sure it’s appropriate and empathetic.
  • Revamp all your assets. Display elements and landing pages have to be redesigned to reflect the current status. 
  • Communicate your working status and any new technologies you follow for remote processes.
  • Monitor your bidding and concentrate on areas and practices that remain relevant.
  • Monitor search trends and refine the results geographically.
  • Be willing to adapt to dynamic market conditions. Change your KPIs or pause some Ad groups.