What is Pay Per Click (PPC)?
Also called cost per click, this is an online advertising model where law firms pay a hosting service every time their ad is clicked on. The most common and most successful form of this is where a search engine serves as the platform. With search engines, law firms can bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. For example, the keyword phrase “best new york divorce lawyers” will probably cost you a pretty penny, because it is likely to be a highly searched phrase. With PPC, you only pay for visitors that actually click on the link to your website.
Does PPC Guarantee Business?
PPC is widely considered to be one of the most expensive forms of legal marketing–typically because there is stiff competition for many of the keyword phrases attorneys will be looking to advertise. And, conversion rates can be low compared to other marketing strategies. Generally, getting listed in a legal directory or working with a pay per lead service will provide more bang for your buck. Under current search engine algorithms, legal directories tend to come up at the top of a search anyway, and cost far less than a PPC campaign.
Straight Answers – Give Me the Numbers
PPC campaigns can be extraordinarily expensive without necessarily providing any valuable return on investment. The cost of a PPC campaign will differ depending on your market. For example, a bid for a “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer” will cost you approximately $19.00 per click. A click for a Miami Auto Accident lawyer will cost you approximately $15.00 per click. A New York or Boston DUI or Criminal Lawyer? Between 17 and 24 dollars per click.
For $100 in Los Angeles, you can only generate 5 unique visitors to your website. And there is no guarantee that any of these visitors will end up becoming viable business. Estimates on the conversion rate for these “clicks” is approximately 1 in 20 or 30.
If your firm is to spend approximately $3,000 per month, that would generate approximately 160 unique visitors. Using the generic conversion rate of 1 in 10, this translates to about 16 calls per month, or $187.50 per call. Certainly, you may get a solid case out of one or some of those calls, but there’s no guarantee. When selecting a Pay Per Lead advertiser, it is important to remember to ask about actual leads. Most simply refer to increased web traffic, which doesn’t tell you about conversions.
If you are looking to start out, and have a large advertising budget, Google AdWords is the top pay per click search engine. Other major search engines include Bing/Yahoo, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The PPC Process
There are some questions that anyone should ask a prospective PPC generator. It is critical to your business that you know exactly what you are paying for. Read your contract closely. Legitimate PPC companies should offer complete transparency. Research the business you are contracting with extensively—request client testimonials and referrals from any avenue at your disposal. Ask when they will be using the Google Display Network or the Google Search Network for your ads. With the former, your ads will be displayed next to search engine queries on Google.com. With the latter, your site will be placed differently. The traffic to your site will likely be less numerous. Ask for the names and contact info of who will be handling your account. Ask about actual conversion rates, and whether potential clients filled out your contact form, and pick up the phone after providing their information.