One in three people turn to the internet when they need the help of an attorney. These people will see Google Ads for personal injury lawyers when they use the world’s most popular search engine. And those ads are valuable real estate for your firm.
Investing in Google Ads has huge upsides for PI attorneys.
These ads appear at the top of search engine results pages. That means the people who see them are more likely to click on your ad than an organic result further down the page. And businesses that use Google ads see an average return on investment of $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on these ads.
Getting started with Google’s pay-per-click ads offers a big opportunity for you to grow your client base.
But only when you set the ads up for success. Here's what you need to know to succeed with Google Ads as a PI lawyer.
Should Personal Injury Attorneys Use Google Ads?
Personal injury lawyers should use Google Ads if digital advertising fits within their law firm marketing strategy.
Whether Google Ads fits into your personal injury marketing strategy depends on a variety of factors. But two important concepts are that lawyers only benefit from these ads when:
- You're prepared to set aside a budget to get leads and optimize your ads
- You're prepared to respond quickly to all new leads and have a plan for intake
Lawyers who want to use Google Ads need to be at peace with the fact that these ads operate on a pay-to-play model.
An optimized Google Ads campaign will start bringing in leads fast. Many lawyers will see new leads in the first 30 days. But you have to pay Google each time someone clicks on your ad in Google’s search results.
And lawyers who don’t have a plan to deal with their leads are only wasting money on ads.
Too many lawyers gloss over the impact of running ads on their intake systems. Your personal injury law firm needs a system in place to handle the influx of qualified leads as soon as your ads start running. Prepare your intake team in advance so that you can convert those leads into new clients.
One other thing to note is that Google Ads pair well with other forms of digital marketing.
Lawyers who are just beginning to market themselves online have a hard time gaining traction if they start with something like search engine optimization. SEO for lawyers has the advantage of creating a sustainable pipeline of new clients. But it takes a while for your site to gain significant rankings.
Many lawyers start with pay-per-click advertising to get early leads while they wait for their SEO content to gain a foothold.
Setting Up Google Ads for Your Personal Injury Firm
The good news is that Google makes it easy for you to set up your first search ads campaign. The ads platform walks you through the steps when you first sign up. And Google offers detailed guides and documentation on how to create a PPC campaign or a search campaign on Google ads.
The first thing you need to do to get started is go to the Google Ads homepage and then select "Start Now" to begin creating your Google Ads account.
From there, Google will walk you through the following steps:
- Adding your business information
- Setting your campaign's targeting
- Setting the bidding strategy
- Creating your ad groups
- Drafting your first ads
- Setting your initial budget
The setup process for a basic ad campaign is straightforward. But there are a few catches that you should know about before you start running ads.
Google will ask you if you want to set up any advanced targeting beyond geographics. It will allow you to target people based on things like demographics and audience interests.
The reality is that selecting these options doesn’t always move the needle for personal injury lawyers.
Most of what defines a personal injury client are things that happen to people regardless of their interests. Running a campaign for more slip and fall cases doesn’t hinge on things like age or gender. Most PI lawyers are fine with geotargeting alone since anyone could be their potential client.
Choosing the right bidding strategy is the next thing that trips people up when they configure their first ad campaign. Google offers three primary types of bidding strategies:
- Conversions: Ads where the goal is to get people to land on your site and take an action
- Clicks: Ads where the goal is to grow your website traffic
- Impression share: Ads where the goal is to just get people to see your ad in search
Most lawyers who are starting out should choose a conversion-based bidding strategy. Google optimizes your ad placements to get clicks to your site and new leads in your pipeline when you choose conversions.
Tips to Get the Best Results from Your Ads
It's true that Google's ad platform is intelligent. The platform will eventually figure out how to reach your ideal clients, given enough time and ad spend. But you'll lose a lot of money along the way trying to get to that point.
Follow these tips to get faster and less expensive results from your Google ads campaigns.
1. Be Realistic with Your Budget
Personal injury keywords are expensive. The value of your cases and the level of competition among lawyers in your practice area drive up the bidding price for terms with high conversion rate potentials. Lawyers who want to win with Google Ads need an optimized budget to stay competitive.
The exact price of Google ads varies from location to location and based on the keywords you bid on.
What you spend in your location will be much different from a peer in another location. This leads to a huge range in what you can expect to pay for your ads. A healthy budget for some service areas can be as low as $5K per month, while lawyers in more competitive spaces need to allocate up to $100K per month.
The variations in cost per click (CPC) make intuitive sense most of the time.
A lawyer in Baton Rouge, for instance, will spend less than an NYC attorney because the local competition isn’t as fierce. But there are some places in the U.S. with high prices you wouldn’t expect. Myrtle Beach, for example, has high bid prices.
All of this means that doing your research will let you figure out what your initial budget should be.
The best way to do that is by hiring an expert. A PPC expert will be able to analyze your potential ad search terms before you start targeting those specific keywords. They will give you a clear understanding of what it costs to win the top-of-page bid. A law firm Google Ads Agency will also help you find the right terms to win in your market.
An expert will also be able to advise you if you’re on a smaller budget.
A good partner will help you optimize your ad spend so you can see results. Success is possible for lawyers in competitive markets who take the time to look for the less obvious opportunities. It takes longer than just flipping on the ads switch, but optimizing tactics still leads to results.
The longer you run ads, the better handle you’ll have on their actual cost.
You’ll be able to optimize your budget once you know what you spend to get a lead. Track the flow of ad clicks to leads to new cases signed. Tying all of that together will help you create better budgets in the future.
2. Be Vigilant in Choosing Your Geographic Area
Selecting the locations where your ads should show up is an unmissable step in setting up your ads. Google asks you to choose locations before your ads start running.
But that doesn't mean the setup is foolproof.
Selecting the areas you don’t want to show up in is critical.
Most lawyers should only show ads in their service area. PPC ads experts suggest excluding any locations that you don’t want to serve. That’s an exhaustive list, but it protects you from unforeseen costs and clicks from people you cannot help.
The last thing you need is to pay for an errant click from an expensive area where you don’t operate.
For example, a lawyer in Tulsa runs an ad for an important personal injury keyword. The average cost per click in Tulsa for that term is around $50. But the geotargeting on this lawyer’s campaign also allows that same ad to show up in Miami, where the cost per click is closer to $900. A click from a possible client in Miami isn't useful to an Oklahoma lawyer, and it costs that Tulsa attorney an unexpected $900 each time someone in Florida clicks it.
There are some exceptions to blacking out areas you don’t serve, though.
Some lawyers run ads when they’re planning on expanding their markets. They start running ads in a region close to their current service area to lay the groundwork for attracting new clients. Lawyers running campaigns for national cases won’t need to black out large swaths of the country either.
3. Optimize Your Ad Copy and Include Calls to Action
Launching a successful ad doesn’t stop with finding the perfect terms to bid on.
A high-quality ad is one that compels an action out of your target audience. It needs to give your potential client a reason to click on it. There are two parts of your ad that you can optimize for an improved clickthrough rate (CTR):
- Your headline
- Your description
Use a clear headline that makes what you do obvious. They don’t have to be complex. For example, a headline like "Car Accident Lawyer in Mobile, AL" is as clear as it gets for a car accident victim searching for help.
There’s a little more room for creativity in your description.
Your description’s goal is to compel your potential client to click on it. The most successful ads have a hook and a clear call to action (CTA) that shows the searcher their next step. Here’s an example from a search for the term motorcycle accident lawyer in Miami:
The ad on top has a clear value proposition with the words “Let’s make them pay.” It also has a call to action—click here and call us today. The ad on the bottom does not have a clear call to action in the description, opting for a long hook instead.
What complicates writing a description is that you only have room for 90 characters.
That means you’ll need to spend time crafting it so that each word you choose is as impactful as possible. Aim for a short, potent description that entices a click from the searcher.
An expert tip here is to think of ways to mix bragging rights with social proof to show the viewer what your firm can do. A lawyer who can say things like "Over $1B recovered for clients" in their ad description showcases a winning track record. That firm is much more likely to get a click from someone searching for an attorney.
4. Create a Conversion-Focused Landing Page
Spending too much time crafting an ad and not enough time thinking about where that ad goes is a huge mistake.
There's no doubt that getting someone to click on your ad is important. But the rubber meets the road with what happens after someone clicks on your ad. Sending someone to a standard page on your website leads to spending a lot of money on ads with very little to show for it.
You need a compelling, conversion-focused landing page to encourage potential new clients to contact you for a free consultation.
Here's what to do on that landing page to get searchers to contact you:
- Catch their attention with a strong headline and copy toward the top of the page
- Put a "hero image" above the fold to forge a connection and evoke an emotional response in the visitor (an injured person, for example)
- Include a call to action above the fold (such as a contact form or phone call button)
- Use testimonials when possible so the visitor hears about you from someone like them
And one more big rule: don't make it hard for someone to figure out how to contact you.
Hire a professional marketing expert or copywriter to help with a landing page. Getting someone to your website with an ad is great, but only if that momentum carries through. Landing pages that don’t convert will only waste the money you spend on the ad clicks.
5. Create Varied Ads and Ad Groups
Google organizes its ads into a hierarchy of ads nested under ad groups. Having one ad group for all your ads is a common mistake. Running ads for car accident cases in the same group as ads for premises liability cases will make it impossible to make those ads effective.
The better way to organize your campaigns is by creating ad groups for each legal service you want to advertise.
Google recommends creating at least three PPC ads for each of your ad groups. This allows Google to show variations of the same ad. And it allows you to test out different ads to see what language works best for converting potential clients.
One way to test ads against each other is to vary the “ad strength” of two ads in the same group.
Ad strength is a metric the Google Ads platform uses as an indicator of how your ads will perform. This metric is based on things like the relevance of the keywords in your description and rich features in your ad.
And there are some advanced features you can add to up your ad strength and vary your ads.
Some ads include elements like site links or call extensions. These let potential clients visit different pages on your website or make a call from your ad. Other ways to increase the ad strength include listing your phone number or business hours.
But the fact is that high-strength ads aren't always winners.
Google’s ads platform may show that an ad has a high score, but that ad may not perform as expected in the wild. Trying out low-strength ads alongside high-strength ads lets you see what performs best with real people.
6. Build a Negative Keywords List
The keywords you don't want to trigger your ad are just as important as the ones that you do.
Plenty of keywords get a ton of monthly search traffic but don't represent conversion-ready searchers. For example, 600 people a month search for what is personal injury. But the people who account for that search volume aren’t interested in hiring a lawyer yet.
Creating a negative keyword list lets you exclude certain terms from triggering your ads.
Your ad campaigns will be more cost-effective when your ads don’t show up for terms that carry no value for you. You’ll think of some obvious poor fits to start with (like the example above). And you’ll discover other problematic terms as your campaign progresses.
Generating your negative keyword list is an ongoing process.
Google Ads’ algorithms will try to find new keywords for you that it thinks will be effective. Some of these terms are good. But you’ll need to add others to your negative keywords list. Some campaigns require you to refine your negative keywords list every day as data rolls in.
7. Work with an Expert in Personal Injury Advertising
Google certainly makes it easy for you to spend money on their advertising platform. And even an unoptimized campaign will create some results. But there’s still a whole lot that goes into creating an effective, high-performing campaign.
Working with an expert will save you time and bring in better results through online advertising than trying to DIY your Google Ads campaign.
The real magic happens when you work with a dedicated expert to:
- Analyze the most effective keywords for you
- Build a reasonable budget
- Test and optimize ads
- Create and maintain a negative keywords list
- Develop effective landing pages
All of those steps take time and expertise. Your efforts are better spent working on your firm or serving clients. Look for a PPC expert who understands legal marketing to take that burden off your shoulders. Someone with deep experience in the legal industry will stay on the cutting edge of what's working and maximize your return on ad spend.
Get More Clients with Google Ads
Lawyers who are willing to commit the resources to Google Ads will see an increase in new case leads. The success of your campaigns relies on your ability to handle those new leads and a willingness to stick with testing and optimizing your ads.
Attracting valuable clients through Google Ads requires serious expertise, but the end result is a powerful lead generation tool.
But the effort it takes to get the best results is not the best use of most lawyers’ own time. Working with an experienced law firm marketing partner will allow you to reap the benefits of PPC advertising without sacrificing your time.
Rankings.io works exclusively with attorneys. We are experts in growing the caseloads of personal injury firms just like yours. Contact us today to see how we can help you with our Google Ads services for attorneys.