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What Law Firms Need to Understand About Google Ads

Nanato Media

There have never been more options for marketing your law firm.

You can buy space on benches, the sides of busses, billboards, and even grocery store receipts.

If you live in the 21st century, though, you can also invest in online marketing that is more affordable and reaches more prospects.

But, even then, you’ll run into a multitude of options. Blog posts might work. You could start a Facebook group. Some firms even run ads on podcasts.

While there’s something to be said about experimenting with different methods (provided you have a lot of patience and a lot of money), nothing has proven as powerful as Google Ads. If your firm isn’t currently using them to attract prospects, especially those from your local Hispanic community, that needs to change.

Now.

Here’s why. 

What Are Google Ads?

Before we jump into the many, many specifics of Google Ads, let’s start by actually defining what they are.

Most people who have heard of Google Ads – formerly Google AdWords – are thinking only of the Google Search Network

Not you, of course. 

You know better.

But just in case someone else decides to read this, it’s worth pointing out that Google Ads actually cover a range of different services. Aside from the Search Network, Google Ads can also appear on specific websites, Google Shopping pages, YouTube videos, and apps. We’ll delve into those options in the next section.

For now, let’s briefly talk about the concept behind Google Ads.

Chances are you’ve seen plenty of them before, unless this is literally your first time using the Internet (in which case, welcome!). 

They’re like virtual billboards that appear online. However, unlike the original version that would appear for every driver, you can decide just who gets to see your Google Ads. This is of the biggest reasons they’ve become such valuable marketing assets for law firms.

For example, with Google Search Ads, you can target only people who are searching for the kinds of legal services you offer. If you work in personal injury, you can make sure your ads appear when someone searches for relevant terms but not general ones (e.g. “lawyer”) or irrelevant ones (“tax attorney”).

You do this by defining your negative keywords for these ads, which means you can tell Google, “Don’t bother showing our ads when someone searches for these terms.” 

Maybe your personal injury firm doesn’t handle medical malpractice cases. It’s a waste of time and money when your marketing efforts bring you those prospects. With negative keywords, you can make sure ads for your firms don’t show up for people who need that kind of help.

That’s not all.

At Nanato Media, we specialize in helping firms market to every segment of the Hispanic population. So, our strategies include different ads for different segments. We know that people who identify as Latinoamericana, Hispano, Americanizado, Nueva Latino, and Ambicultural all have their own unique preferences when it comes to ads. 

Thanks to Google Ads, we can get hyper specific about who sees our partners’ ads and even which ads we show them.

No matter what legal services you offer or whom you want to target, you can do the exact same thing with your Google Ads. The result is a higher marketing ROI and more qualified prospects who are also more likely to become satisfied clients.

Why Google Ads Are Especially Powerful for Attracting Hispanic Prospects

Google Ads are a popular approach for all kinds of different law firms, but they’re especially powerful for attracting Hispanic leads, which is why we always recommend them.

As Google has reported, “66% of U.S. Hispanics say they pay attention to online ads—almost 20 percentage points more than the general online population.”

20% is a massive difference, but it’s not that surprising when you consider how incredibly active Hispanics are online.

 As a bilingual agency, we can make Google Ads that are even more enticing for Hispanic prospects.

There’s also the fact that Hispanics are more likely to spread the word about your legal services to their friends and family. So, if one Hispanic person sees your ad, multiple people may hear about it. That’s an extremely cost-effective way to increase your ROI. 

3 Types of Google Ad Campaigns That Are Effective for Law Firms

As we mentioned above, there are a lot of different Google Ad campaigns you can launch for your law firm. 

That doesn’t mean they’re all equally worth it, though. We cannot overemphasize how important the proper allocation of your Google Ad budget will be to the success of your campaigns. That might seem obvious, but many firms make the mistake of trying to spread their budgets across every type of Google Ad. 

Doing so doesn’t just lower their ROI. It can completely decimate it because the more you run the right Google Ads, the better they perform. By throwing money at campaigns with no chance of succeeding, you’re actually hurting the others that could.

Okay, no more doom-and-gloom (for now). Let’s look at the three types of Google Ads that work well for law firms and then we’ll even briefly touch on the two you should avoid at all costs.

1. Search Network Campaigns

If you’ve ever searched for anything, you’ve seen ads from the Google Search Network.

If you haven’t searched for something before, go ahead and give it a try real quick and then cancel your Yellow Pages subscription. You don’t need that anymore. 

Alright, did you see all those ads?

That’s the Google Search Network in action. These ads are fantastic because they allow you to get right to the very top of Google’s search results ahead of all of your competitors. Getting to the top organically can easily take years, but, as long as you get the setup right, you could see results from Search Ads tomorrow.

Also, bear in mind that Search Network campaigns target high-intent users. 

For example, if someone had a car accident, they’d probably search for something like “car accident attorney near me” or “abogado de accidentes de auto cerca de mi.” 

If your law firm appears at the top of the page for this search with the right copy (or even second-to-the-top if you have the most appealing ad), you just got your new client to contact you. Your intake process was fast (hopefully) and you have a qualified lead already signed.

2.Display Network Campaign

The Google Display Network (GDN) is another great option for your law firm. Instead of Google’s search result pages, these ads appear on more than two million different sites. 

And yet, it’s an amazing option for your law firm’s marketing campaigns because it tends to be very underutilized compared to Search Ads. 

That’s not all. As HubSpot explains, the GDN offers some other incredible advantages

“The value for GDN boils right down to reach and affordability. Prospecting, brand awareness, and remarketing can come with a hefty price tag when pursued for traditional search ads. GDN, by comparison, bypasses a lot of costly competition from other networks. There are also endless options for customizing your audience targeting.”

Among other things, you can choose the sites on which your ads will appear. If you’ve done your research – or, better yet, you work with an ad agency that has (wink, wink) – you can put your ads on sites you know your market loves. For Hispanic markets, this often means putting Spanish ads on sites that are also in Spanish. You form an immediate connection with your audience and advertise how your firm can help.

3. Video Campaigns 

Google also supports Video Ad campaigns. This includes video ads on YouTube, which Google owns. Obviously, YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the planet, but another reason your firm should run video ads is that viewers have an easier time recalling video messages:

“…viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to a mere 10% when reading it in text. Also, 80% of consumers recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.”

Google also loves ranking videos higher in their results because, again, they own YouTube. 

And if you’re focused on the Hispanic market, you should know that Hispanics watch more videos than other markets. 

2 Types of Google Ad Campaigns You Can Ignore

There are two other options that you’ll come across when considering Google Ads for your law firm, but we generally don’t recommend them to the firms we partner with on marketing campaigns.

As very few law firms have their own mobile apps, this just isn’t a relevant option.

The other option is Google Shopping Ads. As you’re not selling a retail product, there is simply no way to leverage these types of ads for a law firm. 

Understanding How Google Ads Work

Knowing which Google Ads will work best for your law firm is only the first step, though – albeit, an important one.

You still need to understand how to get the best possible results from these Google Ads. Otherwise, you might see an ROI, but you’ll be leaving lots of money on the table. 

As we already covered, Google Ads are like digital billboards that appear on various sites including Google’s actual search results and YouTube. You can control who will see them based on keywords they’re searching for, sites they visit, and YouTube videos they watch.

However, the most important factor to understand about running your ads with Google is that it works on a bidding system.

Here’s how Google explains bidding:

“When you select each keyword, you can choose how much you’re willing to pay whenever a customer searches on that keyword and clicks your ad. This is your keyword’s maximum cost-per-click, or max CPC, bid amount. Some advertisers like the control they maintain with manual bids, while others are comfortable letting the Google Ads system make bids for them.”

For example, if you opt for the “Maximize Clicks” automated bidding strategy, you won’t define individual bid amounts for your ad groups, keywords, or placements. You’ll just define your average daily budget and let Google automatically choose your maximum CPC bid amount to get you as many clicks as possible. You can still set a CPC limit, though.

If you’d rather have more control, you can manually set your CPC bids for individual keywords or at the ad group level. The default bid amount for an ad group will apply to every keyword in that campaign, but you can change that amount or any of your keywords whenever you like.

This bidding structure means your CPC will fluctuate even for the same keyword or placement. Google is actively managing all of the other bids it’s receiving, as well. That changing level of competition means some keywords may cost more one week than they did the week before. Of course, the opposite can happen, too.

There’s also your Google Quality Score to consider, which we’ll cover in just a moment.

3 Central Metrics for the Success of Your Law Firm’s Google Ads

Before you place any bids, you have to understand three very important metrics or your foray into Google Ads is going be as short-lived as it is expensive.

1. Average Lifetime Value of Your Clients

Even if you never intend on running a single Google Ad, you should calculate the average lifetime value of your clients. Also, this article probably isn’t for you, because that’s literally all we’re going to talk about here.

Once you know how much you can expect to earn from a client, you’ll have a better idea of how much it’s worth spending to acquire them. In turn, this will make it much easier to decide how much you should bid to earn new business.

2. Ideal Cost Per Acquisition

Ideally, your cost per acquisition (CPA) would be zero.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

It’s one of the many reasons so many law firms focus on Hispanic clients. As we mentioned earlier, Hispanics love telling their friends and family about online ads they’ve seen, which means they may send you completely free referrals.

Nonetheless, it’s not realistic to plan for a nonexistent CPA. The more competitive your local market is, the more your CPA will most likely be. While Google Ads are amazing for generating new leads, they’re not a get-rich-quick-scheme, either. You have to pay for every single lead, whether they become clients or not.

For a good idea of your ideal CPA, you’ll need know your:

  • Average Lifetime Value of Your Clients
  • Your Current CPA
  • How Many Leads You Need Before You Have a New Client

Take that third amount and multiply it by your current CPA. Subtract this number from the average lifetime value of a client and you’ll have your profit margin.

Knowing that, you can now decide what you want your ideal acquisition cost to be for your Google Ads.

3. Your Average Conversion Rate

You probably don’t have an average conversion rate yet for your Google Ad campaigns yet, but don’t worry. We have you covered.

The average conversion rate for the legal industry is 7% for Google Ads run on the Search Network and 1.8%. for Display.

However, if you work with an experienced agency, your conversion rate should not be below 30%. It could be as high as 75%, and depending on your market and practice area, one of every 2 or 3 calls should convert into a signed client. If anyone guarantees that every call you receive will be a signed client, you should run away. But, for someone managing Google Ads for the first time on their own, reaching the average conversion rate for the legal industry is a good place to start and optimize.

The best way to explain a Google Ads conversion is that not every click on your ad will actually convert, and not every “conversion” will become a signed client.

Therefore, to understand your CPA, you need to watch your conversion rate (rate in which clicks convert) and the rate at which your conversions are signed.

If it takes ten clicks on your ads before someone becomes a signed client, you have to divide your desired CPA by 10 for the amount you’ll bid on each click in the Search Network.

Here, we also need to address that in the case of personal injury, workers compensation, and other practice areas, some leads will turn out to be your average client, others will not turn into signed clients at all, but, every once in a while, you will land a client with a potential 7 or 8 figure settlement.

Take into account your average value per case, what your desired cost per case is (remember to be realistic), and don’t forget to add those 7 or 8 figure cases that you will get from Google Ads every now and then. Include all of these in your calculations. 

The point here is that your Google Ads need to be set up taking into consideration the numbers mentioned above so that they will be profitable for your law firm.

Why You Should Prioritize the Search Network 

Speaking of the Search Network, it’s our favorite option for the law firms with which we partner. For one thing, Hispanic people are very comfortable using Google to find the solutions they need. 

And, as we mentioned in the section on the Search Network, this option lets you get right at the very top of Google for your relevant keywords. There’s no waiting months or even years to organically beat the competition. 

Making the Display Network and Videos Work for Your Law Firm

With that being said, we’re also big fans of Display Networks and Video Ads, too. They can feature much lower CPCs and represent great opportunities to turn low-intent users into high-intent leads. 

Display Ads are great for building trust with Hispanic users, which is an extremely important step toward winning their business. The more they see you on sites they already trust, the more you’ll earn it by proxy.

Remarketing: A Potentially Powerful Strategy 

Remarketing is a very popular marketing strategy. In short, it lets you remarket prospects who have “…previously interacted with your website or mobile app. It allows you to strategically position your ads in front of these audiences as they browse Google or its partner websites, thus helping you increase your brand awareness or remind those audiences to make a purchase.”

However, as we just touched on, remarketing can backfire for some practice areas, namely those that often deal with issues of a sensitive nature. For example, if you practice criminal defense, your prospect may start to worry when they begin seeing ads again and again long after their initial search. Even though it wouldn’t display any of their personal information, your prospect may feel victimized. They may also not want other people who use their computer to catch on when they start seeing these ads all over.

If you do want to try remarketing, consider using Display Ads. They’ll only show up on the sites you choose and will keep your firm top-of-mind with users who need your help.

The Google Quality Score: Your Key to Successful Ads

One of the best reasons your firm should invest in Google Ads is because Google makes it extremely easy to improve on your results.

That might sound like a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t Google want your ads to work? It ensures you’ll continue to buy more ads in the future, which is great for both you and Google.

However, you don’t get the same kind of feedback from other marketing initiatives. WordPress isn’t going to let you know if your blogs have room for improvement. MailChimp isn’t going to score your emails, so you know which ones need the most help.

These and other platforms offer you feedback, but only Google Ads gives you an actual score for every one of your initiatives. Even better, they’re very clear about how you can improve your score. Again, they do this for free because they know it will help their bottom line as much as yours if your ads see more success.

Best of all, the way they provide you with this feedback is extremely user-friendly: the Google Quality Score. Here’s how Google describes it:

“Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions…The Quality Score is reported on a 1-1- scale and includes expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience…The more relevant your ads and landing pages are to the user, the more likely it is that you’ll see higher Quality Scores…Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of your overall performance in ad auctions…”

So, although you don’t have to be a seasoned marketer to understand your Quality Score – it’s literally just a number between 1 and 10 – it’s still an incredibly powerful measurement. Your score doesn’t just tell you if your ad will be relevant to your prospects, either. It will even consider your predicted CTR and how likely your landing page is to convert potential clients.

How to Improve Your Google Quality Score

That said, just looking at your score isn’t going to do much to help your ads.

Instead, here are the six steps you need to take to consistently improve your law firm’s Google Quality Score.

1. Using Highly-Relevant Keywords for Each Ad Group

One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll hear about Google Ads is that your “Quality Score begins with keywords.”

You can check every other box, but if you don’t have the right keywords for your ads, you won’t get any conversions. You’ll just get really, really frustrated.

Group similar keywords together for each of your ads, but only pick terms that are 100% relevant for your specific market. If someone isn’t searching for the kinds of services you offer, don’t try to convince them with an irrelevant ad. No one who is looking for help with OSHA law is going to click your ad for tax mediation, even though they might be a business owner who may need your assistance at some point in the future.

The name of the game with keywords is relevance.

Choose keywords that make sense for your audience and your Quality Score will improve.   

2. The Relevance of Your Ad Copy

Keywords aren’t enough to ensure a high Google Quality Score, though. Believe it or not, people who need your help will actually read your ads. For some reason, a lot of firms seem to forget about this. Their ad copy is the same thing over and over again. They just switch out their keywords.

Don’t do that.

Create unique, high-quality ad copy for each of your different segments. 

Get right to the point with why your firm is the best option for this person’s needs. For example, because our clients focus on the Hispanic market, their ad copy usually mentions that they have staff members who can speak Spanish. Even if the prospect is searching in English, this has still proven powerful because so many people are searching on behalf of family members who prefer Spanish. 

Experimentation is important here, too. Once you know which keywords are most important for your firm, try out different ways of highlighting why your firm is so great. It’s worth the extra time to get more clicks and improve that all-important Quality Score.

3. Always Prioritize Improving Your CTR

If you’re new to Google Ads or you’ve struggled with it in the past, it might be hard to believe that, someday, you might reach a CTR that feels “good enough.” 

Again, right now, if you’re not getting many – or any – clicks, that might be difficult to imagine, but we’ve seen it before. Eventually, a firm reaches a reliable CTR that regularly brings them new business, month-after-month. They no longer feel the need to keep improving it and focus on other goals instead.

Do not make this mistake. 

Increasing the CTR of your Google Ads will mean more clicks, but it will also lead to a lower CPC, which means a much better ROI. 

3. Don’t Let Your Landing Page Drop the Ball

Last but not least – and we really cannot stress this part enough – do not redirect users who click on your ads to your website, where they will be served with generic information and will get distracted with more CTAs. 

Landing pages are built to drive traffic for a specific marketing campaign goal. The intent is to focus the visitor solely on the intent of the page, such as a free case review form submission. 

No distractions. 

No other options. 

Simply inform and get your user to take the single action noted.

So, if you see an impressive CTR from your Google Ads, but you’re not seeing conversions and your Google Quality Score is lacking, your landing page is probably the problem.

This kind of disconnect can be jarring for potential clients. It feels like you promised them something, but then didn’t follow through. While some of these prospects may still contact you, that number won’t be nearly as high as it would be if you created a landing page that was relevant to the ad.

Other smart ways to improve your landing pages include keeping load times to below five seconds, optimizing for mobile users, and including a picture of you and/or your staff. You want to show that there are actual human beings at your firm who really do want to help. 

5. Your Account’s Historical Performance

As you’re probably already well aware, reputation is everything for your law firm. You want to be known as a firm that gets results for your clients. You want to be known as a firm that makes your clients feel comfortable, listens to their problems, and provides empathetic responses.

Reputation is equally important for your Quality Score, too.

The better your ads are again and again, the better your Quality Score will be. Google will realize that your account understands how to create great ads and will reward you accordingly. 

6. Work with Experts Who Understand Your Market

Finally, you probably also know how important it is to be an expert in a specific type of law. You can’t be a firm that’s great at family law and criminal law and bankruptcy law and environmental law.

As the old saying goes, you don’t want to be a jack of all trades but a master of none. 

Similarly, you probably don’t have the time to master a completely different discipline, either. Instead, it makes more sense to work with an agency that specializes in Google Ads, especially if you’re trying to generate business from a market as unique as the Hispanic population.

Let your competitors make the mistake of trying to run their own ads every week on top of the 100 other things they need to do. Let them make the mistake of hiring an agency that claims they can succeed with any market.

Google’s entire business model for their ads is built on serving relevant listings to their users. That’s why they went to the trouble of creating the Quality Score. If you’re not working with an agency that has experience creating Google Ads that are proven to work with the Hispanic market, you’re doing the equivalent of throwing away your hard-earned money.

Highly-relevant ads will always outperform generic versions in terms of Quality Score, CTR, and CPC. There’s just no reason to not work with an expert (unless you hate money). 

Use Google Ads to Skyrocket Your Law Firm’s Business

As you can see, Google Ads are the secret weapons of firms all over the country, especially those that market to the Hispanic community. There’s no just no better way to get in front of these prospects in an engaging way.

Well, actually, the best way to get in front of those prospects and turn them into clients would be to partner with Nanato Media. Contact us today to find out how we can help your firm grow.

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