Reaching your potential law firm clients online is a necessity these days, especially as people use their phones and computers more and more every day.
Pay-per-click advertising programs, which can include both Google ads for lawyers and other platforms like social media ads on Facebook, are more effective when you align your messaging, delivery, and creative with what your prospective clients want.
One way to do this is by applying marketing and sales funnel concepts to your law firm's PPC efforts.
Funnel marketing requires serious thought about who you want to reach and what information you'll share for that person's position in the marketing funnel.
What is a PPC Funnel?
A PPC funnel is just one part of the digital marketing strategy for your law firm.
A law firm's PPC funnel mirrors any other marketing funnel but focuses only on your pay-per-click efforts.
A marketing funnel explains how a prospective client moves from discovering you to taking action and becoming a new case.
Picture it as a reverse pyramid. Many people might enter at the top, but that number decreases at each level, leaving a small amount who are ready to work with you at the bottom of the funnel.
A marketing funnel is typically visualized in five stages:
- Unaware: People who don't know they have a problem or won't admit it yet
- Problem aware: People who know they have a problem but don't know of the solutions
- Solution aware: People who are aware of solutions but not specific ones
- Service aware: People who are aware of a particular solution but are not convinced
- Most aware: People who are familiar with solutions but haven't yet purchased
Like your content marketing funnel, a good PPC funnel reaches potential clients at each stage of the funnel with valuable content. Law firms often get this wrong by missing the intent or the temperature of people at various stages.
Targeting the right person but with the wrong timing, place, or message could reduce your chances of PPC funnel success.
The Importance of Timing, Place, and Message
To get the best return on investment in a PPC funnel, you must focus your advertising on delivering at the right time, place, and message.
People, including your potential new clients for your law firm, want different things, in different ways, at different times.
Your ability to properly align these components can make a world of difference in how well your PPC performs. And remember, that performance may not be an actual conversion but your level of success in moving that person along your PPC funnel.
Things, ways, and time to deliver messages align with your funnel in these ways:
- Things: Maps the message you're sending to people
- Ways: Maps to the channel you’re using to reach people
- Time: Maps to the stage of the funnel they're in
There are no one-size-fits-all PPC ads for lawyers. This is because you must consider your target audience and what would be most helpful for them to see right now.
Your audience members fall into three groups at different points of the funnel: cold, warm, or hot.
Cold audience members are least familiar with you and your solution. Hot audience members are those most likely to hire you. Warm audience members are somewhere in between.
These 3 audience segments align with the awareness stages of the marketing funnel.
As you create ads for your funnel, limit the friction. The more you ask of someone, the more friction you create.
In turn, this creates a higher barrier to entry. Asking someone to contact you today for a consultation to hire you is a big ask and one that turns cold audiences away.
By asking too much of them too early on, when they don't know you yet or may not yet have a problem, you run the risk of them ignoring your ad and forgetting about you.
Cold traffic is the least aware of the problem and of you. This means you must build a connection with them. Targeting an ad to cold traffic does not mean you should expect immediate conversions.
The goal with a cold audience is to get their attention and to build a memorable impression. Don't oversell with ads to cold traffic. Instead, show how you can relate to them and a potential future problem.
For someone to remember your name later on, they have to meet you and like you first. Jumping too quickly into the problem and solution is overwhelming and irrelevant for cold audience members.
Once you've introduced yourself to this audience, the second phase of your interaction is to educate them about the problems and potential solutions.
Cold audience members are not ready to contact and hire you, so it's important you target them with educational information and not overly promotional messages.
The example ad above is not appropriate for cold audience members. It's geared towards a client who needs an aggressive lawyer right now. Someone who hasn't yet been hurt in an accident is not thinking about lawyer fees or fighting big corporations.
Sometimes this happens when lawyers target keywords related to their practice area where the searcher has another intent. For example, symptoms of whiplash could be typed in by plenty of people who are not ready for or interested in hiring a lawyer.
Similarly, this ad assumes the person reading it already has a legal matter. Further, there's no human connection with this law firm since the image is the law firm's office rather than an actual person. The copy might be good for someone deeper in the funnel, but most cold traffic audiences will scroll right past this.
Make a strong impression with ads to cold traffic so people will remember you when you have a problem later.
It might seem counterintuitive to run ads to this audience well before they have a legal problem, but these impressions can work. There's a reason why ads for vehicles run on channels where most viewers aren't even old enough to drive yet.
The same concept applies to asking for a lawyer referral from someone else. If the person your potential client asks has seen enough of your ads to remember you, they are more likely to recommend you.
With a cold audience, you can always retarget them later with additional ads that reinforce your brand.
The best content to advertise to cold visitors are attention-getting messages that associate your brand with a category.
These are not videos of you talking about how great you are, links to blog posts, or videos with disembodied foreboding voiceovers talking about how bad their life is after a serious injury.
The best ads strike a balance between education and entertainment.
Rather than taking your best guess from the beginning about what might work, test out your content on organic channels first. See what gets the most engagement.
For example, you can create videos on TikTok. For those that got the most engagement, you could convert them directly into video ads for other platforms or use the original TikTok concept to remake the ad for another platform.
Here are some strong examples of how to create content that creates an impression without selling legal services. These plant the seed and are extremely relatable for viewers.
These work because they're short, entertaining, and make the lawyer seem approachable. Notice that they aren't offering free consultations or asking anyone to fill out a form, either.
Warm traffic audiences are made up of people who are solution aware or service aware. They’re in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.
Effective advertising to warm traffic builds on the foundation you built with good ads to cold traffic. The best warm traffic ads continue to educate people about potential solutions to their problema while now beginning to incorporate the benefits of your solution.
You can do this by:
- Going deeper on topics to answer questions they care about.
- Showing you understand your audience.
- Introducing examples of how you've helped other people like them.
The goal with warm traffic is to get viewers to consider your solution as a possible option.
This is not the time, however, to get people to shift from their existing channel to your website or put in a call to your law firm. Instead, build trust and educate with asks that don't require much of your prospective client.
If someone is eventually going to hire you, they need to feel that you understand what they're going through, both the legal issue and its repercussions on their life. Legal clients want to work with someone they know, like, and trust.
How you achieve this depends on the chosen channel and the viewer's behavior.
On social media, algorithms can help with targeting. You can narrow your audience by basing it off of actions that person took, such as whether they've visited your site, followed your social media, or engaged with your awareness ads. You can do the same thing with display ads.
On search engines, you can base this on the queries the person typed in and send them to content that's most relevant for their intent.
For example, you can create valuable guides based on generic search terms like chest pain after car accident or what to do after getting rear ended. Each piece of content you create should align with your intended reader's position in the funnel.
For a middle of funnel reader, for example, continue to nurture their relationship with you without jumping to a sales push.
Effectively advertising to hot traffic focuses on making it as simple as possible for people who are ready to contact or hire you to convert into clients.
At this point, the potential client knows you're the right person to help them with their problem. They have made their decision. You just need to guide them into what action to take.
These are your bottom of funnel potential clients. These are the people who are ready to hire you. Simplify the process of reaching you so that it’s as easy as possible for them to get in touch.
On search engines, bid on bottom of funnel search terms and direct them to landing pages with titles that assure your reader they're in the right place. Include one clear call to action, such as a form, on the landing page.
On social media, these are the classic ads you see with a picture of the lawyer and their phone number or messages like "Click Here to Talk to an Attorney" or "Call Me Now."
Use these ads strategically and only when someone has shown interest in your services, such as:
- When someone comes to your site and starts to fill out a form but abandons it halfway.
- When someone calls you, and you miss the call. Then when you call back, you don’t get an answer.
- Someone starts a chat on your site but doesn’t finish the chat.
- Someone clicks the call button but doesn’t go through with it.
Provide multiple ways for your prospective law firm client to get in touch with you so they can choose their preference.
Once they've reached out to you, time is of the essence. Get back in touch with them quickly, such as pushing them to a different phone line at your firm or into a high-priority queue.
Usually, it's best to only show hot audience ads to people who have shown interest in some way. One other tactic that might work from time to time is to run ads intended for your hot audiences to warm audiences instead.
These warm audience members haven't shown intent yet. Sometimes that may be because they need a small nudge toward a decision. This should not be your primary tactic for converting leads into clients, but it can tip some people over the edge who are ready to hire a lawyer.
The Final Conversion: Turning Traffic Into Leads
Law firms who know how to use PPC campaign ads will both build better relationships with new clients and convert better.
By understanding the different kinds of intent and how they map to a PPC funnel, you can create more effective ad programs that reach people where they are at.
These different ads in your sales funnel will introduce you to cold audiences, nurture warm audiences, and give the final push to hot audiences.
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