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5 Tools to Spark Content Ideas for Your Law Firm Blog

Posted in Content Marketing, Law Firm Blog

5 Tools to Spark Content Ideas for Your Law Firm BlogHaving high-quality content on your law firm blog is one of the best ways to improve your Google search ranking and online authority. When people — your prospects — like what you have to say online, you are rewarded by Google as well as by those who are ready to hire an attorney to help them solve their legal problems.

But creating good, consistent content is not easy. Too often, the task of continually pumping out posts falls by the wayside when you get busy doing other things. This is why creating an editorial calendar for your blog is so important. It serves as a guide and a reminder to keep putting that good content out there so you can reap the rewards.

If you think you have exhausted your supply of ideas on what to write about, here are five ways you can gain fresh insights that will generate great content:

  1. Discover what people are asking about online.

Your best content ideas come from questions people are asking about the type of law you practice. There’s a great tool called TextOptimizer that enables you to research these questions in one spot. All you have to do is type in one of your keywords on the Find Content Ideas page; in this example, I typed in “child support” and got these results:

This tool has other features to help you really drill down into content suggestions and helping you find combinations that better match search engine expectations.

  1. Have your intake team record prospects’ questions.

In addition to the standard information your intake team gets from prospects, ask them to start recording the questions they are getting from callers. You can use an app like Slack or Google Docs to build a database of all the questions and then you’ll be able to view them easily in one place.

  1. Take note of seasonal trends.

Include seasonal trends like holidays, back to school, summer vacation travel, Super Bowl, etc., in your content calendar. For example, if you practice family law, you know that divorce and parenting topics are popular around the Christmas holidays. If you practice estate planning, you know that tax topics are popular in the month before April 15.  Wave Video has a free social media calendar on their website that lists every day of the year and what is being celebrated — for example, today is National Small Business Day.

  1. Use keyword research tools.

Keyword research tools are not just for SEO; they can also provide you with some real insight into your potential clients’ interests and questions. There are a couple of tools you can use to generate content ideas:

Kparser — type in the main topic idea and this tool will generate a ton of keyword ideas around that main topic. I typed in “divorce” and it gave me a topic that I’ll bet most of you have never written about: divorce in the bible!

Answer the Public — type in a keyword or phrase and get an aggregated view of the questions people ask Google and Bing. You can download the results in a spreadsheet or in a graphic format. I typed in “child support” and got this:

 

  1. Repackage old content

Create new content by taking some of your best old content and repackaging it into an ebook, webinar, newsletter, podcast, video, infographic , or email series. So what is old becomes new again!

Want to know more proven law firm marketing strategies you can put to work for your law firm?  Check out The Savvy Attorney’s Law Firm Marketing Guide.

 

5 Ways for Lawyers to Attract Your Ideal Client [Infographic]

Posted in Law Firm Development, Law Firm Marketing

Originally published on May 22, 2019; updated with new info on Oct. 10, 2019.

Here’s a lesson that many attorneys learn the hard way: you will never have that lifestyle law firm you want if you keep taking on the wrong types of clients.

These are the people that fall outside a pre-defined category of what constitutes your ideal client.  You need to look at your most profitable clients and create an ideal client profile, then qualify your leads to fit that profile.

These five tried-and-true tips will help you attract your ideal client and keep them coming back to you:

5 Ways for Lawyers to Attract Your Ideal Client

You can find additional tips on identifying, finding, and closing your ideal client in our recently published article entitled The Savvy Attorney’s Law Firm Marketing Guide

If you’re looking for more personalized guidance, take us up on our free offer for a legal marketing strategy session with a Rainmaker expert. Click below for details.

 

 

7 Steps to Polish Your Online Reputation

Posted in SEO for law firms

7 Steps to Polish Your Online ReputationIf you’ve been using professional SEO practices for a while, then you probably think everything about your online reputation is just fine. But there may be some surprises lurking beyond the first page or two of your search results. Perhaps some negative reviews from former clients that you’ve never seen before? Images of you that someone else posted and tagged with your name from that party you’d rather forget? An angry letter you let fly to the local newspaper and now regret?

Is it easy for someone who Googles you to tell immediately what type of law you practice and where you are located? Or do old pages from your former practice pop up to confuse the picture? Are there social media profiles that don’t have a photo and have never been filled out properly so it looks like you abandoned them? Are your blog posts old?

If your online reputation could use some polish, then this is what you need to do:

  1. Get clean.

Scour all your social media pages and eliminate posts with bad language or references to tasteless humor. Take down the Halloween and Christmas party photos. Look over any photo sharing sites you’ve used like Instagram and Pinterest as well as video sharing sites that may contain content that is unflattering. Search for photos on other people’s pages where you’ve been tagged — if they are sketchy, ask your friend to remove them. You don’t want others impacting your online reputation.

  1. Check your privacy settings.

Every social media site has privacy settings that allow you to control who sees your content. If any of them are set to “public,” change the setting. You don’t have to shut everyone out — after all, it’s social media — but you want to only promote content that bolsters your online reputation.

  1. Update your profiles.

First, review your website bio page. Attorney bios are the most frequently visited pages on law firm websites and are one of the first things prospects look at when researching you online. Unfortunately, many of them are as dry as the desert. Your bio is a great opportunity to showcase what you have to offer potential clients and convince them to reach out to you for a consultation. Your bio should:

  • Explain who you are and what you do
  • Tell your story in an engaging manner, relating any personal anecdotes that have led you to the practice of law.
  • Include any community activities, hobbies and charitable work.
  • Have some personality.
  • Include a good photo.

Be sure your bio reflects all your good qualities, not only on your website but also on your social media profiles. Be sure to load it with keywords that prospects use when searching for a lawyer who practices the type of law that you do.

Now turn your attention to your social media profiles. Here’s a blueprint for the perfect LinkedIn profile:

Name: Use your professional name, no nicknames or other superlatives.

Headline: Under your name is your headline, the most important piece of real estate on your profile. Use keywords that people would use to find you — i.e., Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney.

LinkedIn URL: Customize your LinkedIn URL to make it easier for people to find you. You’ll find it in the light gray box below your name.

Profile photo: Use a professional head shot with a neutral background. Have your photo reflect what you do. Look friendly, not stern.

Summary: Develop a succinct description of what you do, using keywords that other people would use to search for you.   Add contact information — website, email, phone, etc. Add video if you have it that gives an overview of your experience.

Experience: Again, if you have video, use it. People engage much more with video than text! Add any content you’ve produced that is pertinent to your professional life. Be precise in listing your past and current roles.

Education: Including information about degrees acquired and schools attended provides an opportunity to connect with other alumni.

Featured Skills & Endorsements: Include skills that define your professional role and experiences. Get endorsements from peers and others you’ve worked with to validate your skills.

Recommendations: Recommendations are written by other LinkedIn members — typically people you’ve worked with or know professionally. They add credibility to your profile. You can solicit recommendations within LinkedIn by clicking on the “Ask to be recommended” link in the Recommendations box and selecting up to three people to receive your request.

Accomplishments: Here is where you list any awards, honors or other recognition you’ve received as a professional. You can also list anything you’ve had published — articles, e-books, etc.

  1. Refresh your pages with new images.

If it’s been a while since you updated your images on your website or social media pages, it’s time to refresh. Put an updated photo on all your online profiles. Make a note to yourself to refresh your cover image on Facebook every quarter.

  1. Visit your competitors.

Look at your competitor’s social media pages and see how you compare. Try to view them through the eyes of prospects. Then make the necessary improvements to your pages to outdo them.

  1. Use social media apps to keep yourself organized.

There are several good social media management tools out there like BufferApp and HootSuite that let you view your social media landscape on one page. This not only makes it easier for you to be sure you maintain a consistent branding message, but also makes managing all your accounts and scheduling posts much easier.

  1. Consolidate.

Did you sign up on every possible social media site as soon as they came out? There’s no way you can maintain all of them, so consolidate into two or three where your prospects are most likely to be found.

Want more SEO tips for attorneys? Check out my Guide to Law Firm SEO.

How to Determine Which Social Media Networks Work Best for Your Firm

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Originally published on Sept. 9, 2015, and updated on Oct. 3, 2019:

One of the most common questions I get from attorneys is how to identify the right social media networks for their firms.  Frankly, it’s not that hard.

The most important thing in identifying the right social media platform is to know your target market.   If you don’t know that, then any marketing you are doing anywhere is just a shot in the dark.

Once you know the characteristics of your market, you can then focus on the social media networks that do the best job of reaching that audience.  Here are demographic breakdowns on the most popular social networks from SproutSocial:

 

 

 

 

 

If your market is business-to-business, you want to have a robust presence on LinkedIn.  If you market to consumers, then Facebook is your best bet.  If you want to go after a female clientele, then be sure you have some presence on Pinterest.

Once you have done the necessary homework on knowing your prospect inside and out, then it’s much easier to find the best places to reach them.

Next, to create a social media plan for your law firm, take the following six-step approach:

Step 1:  Choose your social media networks.  Frankly, you don’t want or need to participate on every social media network out there.   Where you need to be is where your clients and prospects are – see above to figure that out.

Step 2:  Complete your profiles.  Once you have selected your social media networks, you need to complete your profile on each network.  Include both visuals and text and make your profiles consistent across all the platforms.  Be sure to include your address for local SEO and to let people find you easily.  Include your main keywords.  Keep the content fresh by updating.

Step 3:  Find your voice.  Spend some time on each social network you have chosen to participate on to discover the right tone and voice for your posts.  Since social media networking is much like offline networking, be yourself.  Learn what is appropriate — and not — to share.

Step 4:  Schedule your posts.  Participating on social networks means just that — participating!  Research shows that you should be posting on Facebook 5-10x/week, Twitter at least 5x/day, and LinkedIn once every weekday. Try to include an image with most if not all posts — research also shows posts with photos get shared up to 35% more.

Step 5:  Analyze, test and repeat.  Check your stats on your social media networks to see what posts are getting the most traction online — you can use a reporting tool like Buffer Analytics to create a dashboard for all your networks so you can review stats at a glance.   Then repeat your successes.

Step 6:  Automate and engage.  There are several online tools you can use to automate the scheduling of your posts that will save you a lot of time and enable you to keep things running smoothly when you’re too busy or away.  However, there does need to be a person responsible for monitoring your social media networks so comments or questions are answered promptly.

Need more guidance? Read this recent post on social media marketing for law firms: 7 Social Media Marketing Essentials for Attorneys.  Then click below for my free Lawyer’s Guide to Social Media Rainmaking:

SEO Efforts a Bust? Here are 10 Reasons Why

Posted in SEO for law firms

SEO Efforts a Bust? Here are 10 Reasons WhyOriginally published on March 8, 2019, and updated on Oct. 1, 2019:

You know the importance of digital marketing for law firm business development. You realize that much of your online success — if and when it comes — depends on doing the right things SEO-wise so your law firm website shows up on the first page of Google. You know that you certainly do not have the time (nor the inclination, probably) to become an SEO expert. You did not go to law school for this.

So you hire someone to take this on — either someone on your staff or an external resource. Because it’s important. It must be done and done right. So why aren’t you seeing the results you want?

A recent post at Search Engine Watch provides 10 reasons why your SEO campaign might not be working:

  1. Poor content.

Poor content is the #1 reason why SEO campaigns fail. If the traffic on your site is close to abysmal, this has a real (bad) effect on your SEO. People are only going to stay on your site if they find something of value; absent that, they will leave as soon as they arrive and will not come back. Your content must be original and error-free and include a good mix of various types of content — text, photos, video, infographics, etc.

  1. Poor host.

If the company hosting your website is unreliable, the performance of your site will be compromised and that results in loss of rank. Don’t make your decision of a website host provider based on price; base this important decision on reliability and competence.

  1. Lack of links.

The content you have on your website and blog needs to have backlinks from authoritative websites as well as hyperlinks that help attract visitors to your site. Curate these carefully, as Google will know if you are buying backlinks and penalize your site.

  1. Not keeping up with Google algorithm updates.

Google is constantly changing its algorithm in a series of updates that must be taken into consideration by your SEO strategy or the search results for your site will be affected in significant ways.

  1. High bounce rate.

If people are leaving your site after viewing just one page, you will incur a high bounce rate and that is bad for SEO. You need to routinely check your Google Analytics to monitor the bounce rate for your site.

  1. Outdated SEO strategy.

Change is the name of the SEO game, so if you are still deploying old SEO strategies, you are going to get hurt. Most importantly, be sure you are on top of your Local SEO game — being on the first page of search results when someone is searching for an attorney “near me” is critical to business development! (See recent post on 6 Ways You Can Improve Your Local SEO Right Now.)

  1. Dwell time is short.

If people are leaving your home page, landing page, or blog right after they get there, your SEO suffers.

  1. Too great expectations.

You won’t see SEO results overnight, so you need to adjust your expectations. Your SEO efforts will take at least three months before bearing fruit, so be patient.

  1. Neglecting social media.

Google uses social media signals to gauge the popularity of your online properties, so be sure you are active on the social media sites where your target market likes to hang out.

  1. Your site is not mobile-first.

This is a basic requirement since Google made mobile-first a ranking priority three years ago. In 2019, your sites need to be responsive and mobile-friendly so they display content correctly no matter what device is used to access those sites.

TIP: Get more insight into how to right your SEO wrongs by reading our SEO Guide for Attorneys.

8 Simple Steps to Create a Referral Network of Other Attorneys

Posted in Generating Referrals for Attorneys, Strategic Referrals

8 Simple Steps to Create a Referral Network of Other Attorneys Originally published on Feb. 20, 2017; updated on Sept. 26, 2019.

A strong referral base is only built over a period of time and is based on cultivating great relationships with referral sources. Developing those relationships is a two-way street, especially when it comes to building a referral network of other, noncompeting attorneys.

Achieving this goal is impossible if you are only asking your legal peers for referrals when you see them.  It requires regular contact and you showing as much concern for their business as you are asking them to show for yours.

Here are my 8 simple steps attorneys can use to create a referral network of other attorneys: 

Step 1:  Identify your best possible referral sources. These will be other attorneys you either don’t compete with or those who may also practice your type of law but could potentially refer their overflow to you. Keep in mind that you want to choose those that have the best connection with your ideal client.

Step 2:  Create a database of 100-200 contacts in your local area. This should include every attorney who has ever referred someone to you as well as your identified best possible referral sources (research potential sources on Avvo.com and your local or state bar association websites).

Step 3:  Write up a letter of introduction to serve as a template. Here’s an example of a letter you would send to a noncompeting attorney:

REFERRAL LETTER TO NONCOMPETING ATTORNEY

My name is __________of the law firm _____________ in (city, state).

I’m writing to see if you would be interested in getting together with me to learn about each other’s services and respective target markets. It is my hope that such a meeting can lead to the creation of a referral relationship that would benefit both of our firms.

We have been in business since ______, and we focus our practice on (your area of practice). We are constantly looking to expand our network of professional advisors in the local area, from whom we can identify potential referrals for our clients.

For more information about our firm, we invite you to visit our website at: ________________

In the next week, you’ll receive a call from my assistant to see if you are interested in getting together in person.

I look forward to meeting you soon, face-to-face.

Sincerely,

Step 4:  Have your assistant mail out 10-20 letters per week. Do not send a bunch of letters at once — pace yourself.

Step 5:  For each letter you send out, plan on having your assistant make 3-4 calls to try and reach the person you sent the letter to. The purpose of your call is two-fold: to see if they are interested in getting together and to set an appointment if they are.  This is not a direct solicitation or a sales pitch – it is simply a follow-up call to see if they are interested in meeting with you face-to-face.

 Prepare a simple phone script for your assistant that includes this information:

  • How long you’ve been in business
  • Your ideal client
  • Your office location(s)
  • Your primary practice area
  • Your website URL
  • How you found the potential referral source (they’ll ask)

Be sure your assistant asks a few questions of your potential referral source:

  • Who is your ideal client? What kind of client do you enjoy working with the most?
  • Do you currently have a (your practice area) attorney you refer cases/clients to?
  • Are you open to discussing developing a referral relationship with our law firm if there’s a good connection?
  • Do you seek to make referrals to other non-competing professionals?
  • How many clients do you serve in a typical year?
  • Where is your office located?

If they are interested, have your assistant schedule a lunch meeting.  Another option is to set up a brief meeting at first just to see if there’s a good connection. Offer to meet them at their office for 30 minutes (lower risk and very convenient for them). The first meeting or two needs to be face-to-face in order to establish rapport and build the relationship.

If they are not interested, tell them, “No problem. I’m sorry to have bothered you. We will immediately remove you from our list of referral sources.”

Here’s the truth…they will WELCOME the call! We have made thousands of follow-up calls for our clients and scheduled hundreds of face-to-face meetings for them and only a handful has said ‘No.’ Remember—this is NOT a sales pitch—it’s just lunch!

Your assistant will need to call each contact 3-4 times just to get through. Don’t get discouraged!

Step 6:  The goal is to set 3 to 6 face-to-face meetings per month. At the face-to-face meeting, you want to spend 80% of the time getting to know them and their practice to determine if it’s a good fit.

Ask LOTS of questions:

  • How did you first get started in _____?
  • What do you like best/least about your work?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you are facing?
  • How do you find most of your clients?
  • What does your typical client look like?

And the most important referral question of all: How would I know if someone would be a great referral for you?

Step 7:  Invite them to a second meeting if the first meeting goes well. If your initial meeting goes well, immediately invite them to a second one where you can go into more detail about your practice area and how the two of you could start cross-referring some business.

Remember—you cannot promise them referrals, you cannot guarantee referrals nor can you pay them a referral fee! Most of them don’t want a referral fee and their professional code of ethics doesn’t allow it either.

Exception: Some state bar associations allow for the payment of a referral fee to another attorney under specific circumstances. Please verify with your state bar prior to giving any referral fees.

Step 8:  Follow up! When it comes to getting more referrals from other attorneys, the fortune is in the follow-up! Here are some tips:

  • Send an email immediately after you meet with them. Send the same day when possible.
  • Send a handwritten thank you card or form letter about 2-3 days after your initial meeting.
  • After your meeting put a “to do” or task item on your calendar for approximately 6-8 weeks after your initial meeting.
  • Set up “lunch and learns” where several professionals informally get together over lunch to exchange leads, discuss business, and encourage each other.
  • Make your next meeting more about the relationship than business. Meet at the golf course, over drinks or at a casual place.
  • Send them a copy of your published articles.
  • Create and send out a separate monthly newsletter just for Referral Sources
  • Use social media to stay connected – invite them to connect to you on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

At the Rainmaker Institute, we have taught this easy step-by-step system to thousands of attorneys and they have used this exact process to quickly build networks of 50-60 new referral sources in 90 days.

Imagine what would happen to your law practice if you could have 20, 40, or even 60 new referral sources every single year that consistently send you new clients. You can make it happen if you create a referral system that delivers real – not random – results.

Here’s more on building your referral network:

Beyond building a referral network of attorneys, you also need to have a standardized referral process for clients.  Learn how to do that by reading a recent post on my other blog: 8 Steps to Build a Referral Program for Your Law Firm.

2 Critical Numbers Every Law Firm Must Know

Posted in Business Development for Law Firms, Law Firm Management

2 Critical Numbers Every Law Firm Must Know This post was originally published on Dec. 18, 2018, and updated on Sept. 24, 2019:

Do you know how much money each lead is really costing you? How much does it cost you to get a new client? Knowing the answers to these questions can mean the difference between a profitable firm and a struggling one.  These numbers are known as “KPIs” — Key Performance Indicators. They are the critical numbers or metrics that run your law firm.

Two of the most important KPIs that every law firm should be tracking include: (1) your Cost Per Lead (CPL) and (2) your Cost Per Client (CPC). 

There are some simple ways to calculate your KPIs to help you maximize your marketing efforts:

Measuring Your Average Cost Per Lead 

Every law firm must have a solid grasp on how much it costs their company to generate a lead. I’m going to share with you how you can quickly estimate your CPL. Notice I said “estimate” as this is not a perfect calculation, but it will give you a pretty good indication and it’s a lot better than what most of you are currently doing to find out… which is nothing.

The first step is to create a clear definition of what a “lead” is. I have been in far too many firms where the partners had one definition of a “lead,” which was completely different from the definition the associates and staff had. Everyone in the firm must all have the same clear definition of what a lead is.

Here are the 3 criteria we use at The Rainmaker Institute to define a “lead”: 

  1. Someone who has never done business with you before. Regardless of whether you handled a matter for them six months ago or six years ago, that person or company is not a “lead;” they are a repeat client.
  2. They express an interest in your services.
  3. Everyone who contacts your firm, whether it’s by phone, email, a referral, showing up at a seminar you are giving, filling out a form on your website, being sent to you by a pay per lead company, or any other way.

A lead is counted upon the initial contact with the firm, not after an appointment is set, not after their appointment is kept and certainly not after they sign up to be a new client. At the very least, every person who answers the phone in your office should have a lead-tracking sheet in order to keep track of all the leads your firm receives in a month.

Once you have a good handle on truly how many leads your firm is already generating in a month (from all sources) you can estimate your Cost Per Lead (CPL) by using the following formula:

  1. Select a time frame (a month, a quarter or a year).
  2. Determine how many “leads” were produced during that time frame.
  3. Add up how much money the firm invested in marketing and business development during that same time frame.
  4. Divide the amount of money by the number of new leads produced.

For example, if you invested $20,000 in marketing and business development over the course of three months and generated 100 leads, then your average CPL is $200. The question you want to ask yourself is, is that good or bad?

Well, it depends on two things: what your average client value (ACV) is and how good your lead conversion system is. If your ACV is only $1,500, like for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, then $200 per lead may be acceptable, but it’s not fantastic.

However, if you’re a commercial litigation attorney and your ACV is $20,000, then paying $200 for a lead is a no-brainer.

If you have a very low conversion rate of 5-15% (measured by how many new clients you sign up/retain for every 100 leads you produce) and a low ACV, then you likely cannot afford to pay $200 per lead. But if you have a high lead conversion rate of 30-50%, then paying $200 per lead will work even if your ACV is on the low end.

Once you have a solid estimate of your average Cost Per Lead you should measure it monthly, quarterly, and annually. Some marketing expenses may only come once per year (like a big ad campaign or a new website) while others can be a monthly investment. Comparing them month over month, quarter over quarter, and year over year will give you great insight into how effective your lead generation efforts are.

Measuring Your Average Cost Per Client

The next number you need to know for your law firm is your average Cost Per Client (CPC) – i.e., how much does it actually cost your business to produce one new client? Not how much it costs you to perform the work, but just to get a new client to sign up or retain your firm.

Similar to CPL, you first need to define what a “new client” is for your law firm. This is much more straightforward for most firms. We define a new client as someone who pays you money or signs a retainer agreement if you are a contingency-based law firm.

To estimate your average CPC use the following four steps:  

  1. Select a time frame (a month, a quarter or a year).
  2. Determine how many “new clients” were produced during that time frame.
  3. Add up how much money the firm invested in marketing and business development during that same time frame.
  4. Divide the amount of money by the number of new clients.

For example, if you invested $20,000 in marketing and business development over the course of three months and generated 100 leads, then your average CPL is $200. If those 100 leads turned into 10 new clients, then your average Cost Per Client is $2,000. The question you should be asking again is, is that good or bad?

It depends upon your Average Client Value (ACV). If you practice estate planning law, paying $2,000 for a new client is untenable. However, if you focus almost exclusively on asset protection and your ACV is $10,000 to $20,000, then paying $2,000 for a new client is very acceptable. It still leaves you enough money to perform the work and have a healthy profit margin.

As you review your efforts and results from this past year and consider the changes you need to make next year in order to achieve your goals, I invite you to make a commitment to yourself and to your business that you will get a handle on these two critical numbers: Cost Per Lead and Cost Per Client.

Based on our experience of working with over 20,000 attorneys, without these two numbers you will continue to struggle and fall short of building a lifestyle law firm — a firm that produces enough money to give you the ability to lead the life you want to lead, enjoying your friends and family, taking more vacations, and eventually to leave the legacy you want to leave.

If you’re ready to take your firm to the next level and would like some assistance in achieving your financial goals, I invite you to sign up for a complimentary strategy session with one of our trained Rainmaker Advisors. We have helped attorneys across the country discover the secrets in building a financially successful and personally satisfying legal practice and we would love to have your law firm be our next success story!

I also invite you to check out this blog post on 8 Things You Need to Do to Run Your Law Firm Like a Business.  It’s over on our new blog, which has even more law firm marketing and management information I know you can use to promote your law firm.

 

8 Tips to Boost Your ROI on Google PPC Ads

Posted in PPC Advertising

Google Adwords: 8 Tips to Amplify Your ROI on PPC Ads

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) for law firms can really pay off for lead generation, but only if you know what you’re doing. Eighty percent of the most expensive Google PPC keywords are related to the legal profession, so you want to be sure you are putting your money into PPC efforts that can yield the best results.

Here are the top eight tips that will enable you to create PPC campaigns for your law firm that will deliver more clicks that convert at a lower cost, bolstering your ROI:

  1. Create a unique landing page for your Google ad.

You can’t send your PPC traffic to your website and get results; you need to create a unique landing page for every Google ad you run, with content that delivers on the promise you made in the ad. Each unique landing page should mirror the keyword(s) from the ad that was clicked and offer enough information for the potential new client to conclude that your firm is “the one.” Caveat: the click-to-call mobile ads that we’ll discuss in tip number eight do not require landing pages.

Consider including video on your landing pages to increase the trust factor. Shoot a video of yourself (yes, you can use your phone) explaining what their first visit to your office will entail or talk about what your firm does, focusing on what differentiates you from other firms. Testimonials from former clients, video or written, add credibility and are recommended.

In addition, you need to name your landing page URL properly. Having a landing page URL that reinforces your ad promise and keywords will help your ad’s quality score (we’ll get to quality score in tip #2. Use a concise phrase in your landing page URL like “www.yourURL.com/Free-Consultation,” instead of something generic like “/landing.”

  1. What is a quality score and why you should care?

Your ads’ quality scores are a big deal. They are the shiny trophy on your mantle in Google’s eyes. You want to have the highest possible quality scores because high scores will lower your Adwords cost per click and cost per conversion, give your ads better positioning on search engine results pages (SERP) which means more potential for conversion of new clients, plus it gives you the satisfaction of knowing you’re managing Adwords the right way.

For reference, quality scores range from one to 10. Four is the lowest score you should accept and always strive for better. The higher the score, the more signed clients for you at the lowest cost.

To determine your ad’s quality score, Google uses an algorithm that weighs many factors such as:

  • Landing page relevance and quality.
  • Each keyword’s relevance to its ad group (An ad group contains several ads written for a specific topic; several ad groups comprise an ad words campaign. The campaign hierarchy works like this: Your campaign is titled Personal Injury. Within this campaign you have three ad groups: Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Wrongful Death. The number of practice areas you have typically determine the number of campaigns you’ll need. You can have as many ad groups, campaigns and keywords as you need).
  • The relevance of your ad copy (features, benefits, call to action).
  • Your click through rate (CTR).
  1. Why CTR is important.

Click through rate is determined by the total number of clicks on your ad divided by total impressions during a selected time frame. The higher the CTR, the higher your quality score and the lower your cost becomes. CTR has the highest weight in determining your quality score.

What is your law firm’s ideal CTR? Due to the strong competition within the legal profession, it holds one the lowest CTR across all Adwords categories. That said, don’t compare your CTR with your brother-in-law’s e-commerce store, as it is known to have the highest CTR of all industries. In other words, set the benchmark for your law firm’s CTR to 1.35 percent. If you exceed it, celebrate. If you fall below it consistently, you need to keep fine-tuning and testing your ads, keywords and landing pages to create the iterations that score well.

  1. Use the right keywords in your ads.

An easy way to think of keywords is to imagine what potential new clients might type into Google search to find the services you offer. Make a list and see what you come up with, then compare them with what you find in one or more free top-rated keyword finder tools:

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner (you already have this!).
  • WordStream Free Keyword Tool.
  • KWFinder
  • MOZ’s Keyword Explorer.
  • SEMrush

A keyword is one word such as “lawyer;” a keyword phrase is usually several words like “experienced trial lawyer,” but you’ll hear them used interchangeably, so don’t get them confused. A longtail keyword is when someone searches for a “top child custody lawyer who can help me keep my kids.”

What about negative keywords? Use them, as they will save you money from unwanted clicks. For example, you’re a bankruptcy attorney but you keep getting people clicking on your ads (and you pay for that) who need help with a traffic ticket or a lease dispute. Simply add “Lease, landlord, tenant, rental” to your negative keywords list and next time someone searches for a tenant dispute lawyer in your area, your ad will not be shown. Just remember, positive keywords invite them in; negative ones keep them out. In your Google Ads dashboard, use the Search Terms Report to see the search queries people typed into Google to trigger your ads. You’ll find lots of negative and positive keywords there.

Your main keyword or key phrase needs to be incorporated in your ads along with a relevant benefit and call-to-action. Don’t be afraid to experiment to discover what speaks loudest to your target market.

  1. Narrow your focus with keyword match types.

Keyword match types are parameters used to control your keywords to trigger ads. The four different types of Google Ads keywords match types are: Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match and Exact Match. You may want to think of each keyword match type as a fishing net. For example, if you had a broad match keyword phrase of “divorce and custody attorney consultations,” your ad will trigger any searches for divorce, custody, consultations, attorney and any possible variation of those words including misspellings, synonyms and relevant variations. You could end up paying for clicks for someone looking for “cheap divorce lawyer” “men’s divorce lawyer,” etc. Broad Match is Google Ads’ default setting, so be careful there. The legal profession has little or no reason to ever use broad match.

But there is a relatively new Broad Match Modifier — lovingly called “Broad Mod” by users — that allows you to append a “+” to a specific word in your keyword phrase that you want to use. For example, if you are using “divorce attorney,” add “+” in front of divorce to ensure only “divorce attorney” will trigger your ad, instead of every type of attorney that a Broad Match would trigger. Broad Mod is a Google Ads user’s favorite because of its power and flexibility.

Phrase Match is a favorite amongGoogle Ads users and it works best when using a two-word keyword phrase. Let’s use the Phrase Match “accident attorney.” Your ad will be triggered for any type of accident attorney, such as an auto accident lawyer, a car accident attorney, a bicycle accident attorney, etc.

Exact Match is just that. It’s the most restrictive match type that you’ll probably use as rarely as you use Broad Match, but for the opposite reason. Exact Match’s fishing net is tiny and garners few results.

  1. Prioritize calls over clicks. No landing page needed.

More Google searches are performed on mobile phones than any other device, so you should consider focusing on call-only paid mobile advertising campaigns. Google launched its new call-only campaign last year. Instead of a headline, your ad will feature your phone number that connects a searcher to your intake team. Just be sure you have the capability to have your phones answered 24/7 before opting for call-only campaigns. These campaigns can work great for personal injury firms where someone who’s just been in an accident or is lying in a hospital bed can reach out quickly.

  1. Use ad extensions and site links.

Ad extensions are a set of features, or “snippets,” that increase the size, or footprint, of your ads as they allow you to offer more compelling information that you couldn’t fit into the limited character count of your ad. Ad extensions make your ad stand out, improve your quality score and your click through rate.

An ad extension can include location, phone, reviews, site links, callouts and many more information bites that assist potential clients in making a buying decision. As you might imagine, Google has an algorithm that determines which ad extension(s) or site links take precedence.

Google also offers a click-to-text messaging extension where potential clients can text you their questions. Again, be certain you have someone on-call to answer incoming text messages. Personal injury clients and their families who need immediate help use this service most often. Engagement via text messaging increases when you use this Google service.

  1. Invest in display ads and retargeting

One of the keys to standing out among your competition is to invest in remarketing via ads on Google’s Display Network. Display ads are banners that you see on other sites across the Internet. Have you ever wondered how a website you visited keeps following you around when you’re on other sites? This is remarketing and you don’t need a big budget to do it. Most prospects visit more than one website when researching attorneys, and remarketing gives you a great opportunity to stay top of mind when prospects are doing their homework.

Google isn’t the only game in town in terms of a self-service retargeting tool, but it may be your easiest bet. With a small retargeting budget, it doesn’t make financial sense to hire a retargeting agency, so the self-service tools such as AdRoll, ReTargeter, Facebook, Perfect Audience and ExactDrive are smart alternatives.

 

How Google Defines High Quality Content

Posted in Content Marketing

How Google Defines Quality ContentGetting Google to rank your website high is a much harder task than you might imagine. In fact, there is an entire industry that has been created based upon helping businesses get their websites ranked high on the search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are so many tricks of the trade that it is rarely worth the time for any attorney to attempt to become an expert. Instead, hire one.

However, you don’t have to become an SEO expert to control one of the most important things that determines if your website is served up on page one or page 20 of Google search results: quality content.

So just how does Google judge whether or not your content is high quality? Last year, Google published an SEO guide that details how quality content is evaluated. Here are the primary characteristics of a high quality website:

A high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EAT)

Websites that are considered by Google to be high quality need sufficient expertise on a particular topic to be authoritative and trustworthy. According to Google, the standard for expertise depends on the topic of a particular page. Each page must have a purpose and then that purpose must be fulfilled with expert content — words, videos, etc.

A satisfying amount of high quality main content (MC)

The quality of the main content is one of the most important ranking criteria. For law firm websites, your content must be accurate, factual, clearly written and comprehensive. If the topic of the page is broad, the content is expected to have a lot of information on that topic. If the topic is narrow, the content may not be as lengthy. Both can still rank as high quality content. Navigation also plays a role here in helping users find the information they are searching for quickly and easily.

Satisfying information about who is responsible for the website

In order for users to feel they can trust the site, including information about the site’s owners is important. This means not only having your law firm address, maps, email and phone information displayed on the site, but also attorney bios and testimonials that would predispose a user to trust your site.

Positive website reputation

Reputation is also considered an important part of the EAT equation. Titling pages in a way that entices a user to click on them and then not having content that matches what those users are searching for is considered misleading and would get a poor reputation rating from Google. Other reputation factors are inclusion of an About Us page, ease of contact, positive consumer reviews, and up-to-date content.