If you don’t know, paid search ads are the listings that appear at the very top of the page, typically in a tinted block, when you conduct a search online. Search ads can be a significant way to secure new clients for your law firm: In 2012, Google reported that in the U.S., clicks on paid search listings beat out organic clicks by nearly a 2:1 margin for keywords with high commercial intent.
Search ads can also be the quickest route to a high position for your law firm on key search engine results pages (SERPs). You also get to decide the search terms that will put your ad in front of the appropriate audience, while being able to measure the ad’s performance and adjust your strategy accordingly.
There’s More to It Than Just Showing Up
When creating search ads, many people fall into the trap of focusing only on ad bidding. It’s not enough to simply show up for appropriate searches. You need to think about what to include in your ad to entice people — and you need to do it within stringent character and word limitations. Without powerful and persuasive ad copy, potential clients will move on.
Here are some quick tips to help increase your clicks:
Use a compelling headline. Draft a headline that draws people in and also contains information that will help to pre-qualify your prospects. (If you’re an employment lawyer and your headline is about government employees’ rights, those who click on it are likely going to be government employees.) Remember that searchers usually spend more time looking at headlines than at any other part of the ad.
Provide a call to action. Determine what you want readers of your ad to do. Tell them what they should do and invoke a sense of urgency that will encourage people to contact you immediately. For example, “Call today for a free consultation.”
Insert relevant keywords. Keep your ads as keyword-rich as possible, particularly in the headline. Scan the content of your own website to determine the most appropriate keywords. Think like a potential client by looking at the words visitors to your site are searching for.
Demonstrate your value. Showcase your value proposition. People will want to know why they should work with you instead of your competitors. State what makes you different and put a specific offer on the table.
Make it personal. Personalize your copy and speak directly to your prospective clients. Effective advertising copy plays on human emotion. Use pronouns like “you” and “yours” to help you do just that.
Include your contact information. Make it easy for potential clients to get in touch with you and access more information about your practice. Include your phone number and a link to your website — ideally, a customized landing page with a contact form — in the ad.
Court Cunningham is CEO of Yodle, an online marketing company that helps small businesses — including several thousand lawyers — market their services online to help them connect to potential clients. Follow Court on Twitter @YodleCourt, and find more information at www.yodle.com or by contacting the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.