It’s 2015, and consumers aren’t just wading through the Internet anymore. They are swimming through information that can form their purchase decisions in an instant. If your firm doesn’t acquire quality leads through the use of online marketing, pay-per-click advertising and SEO, you’re effectively handing cases to your web-savvy competitors.
The Zero Moment of Truth
When consumers shop for a lawyer, they almost always start by searching online. This moment has been labeled by Google as the “ZMOT,” or “Zero Moment Of Truth.” More specifically, Google says ZMOT is “that precise moment when (a consumer) has a need, intent or question they want answered online.” Your firm’s online presence in this moment is critical to its overall health and growth potential. A firm that shines during this ZMOT gets the work; everyone else is left hoping for business.
When potential clients search for legal representation on Google, Bing or Yahoo, their search results tend to lead them in two major directions: paid search results and organic search results. Clients are also exposed to customer reviews from sites like Yelp and Google+, as well as remarketing ads. Here’s an overview of how each marketing approach works.
Pay per click (PPC). PPC advertising drives targeted, keyword-specific search traffic to produce high return-on-investment ratios. With PPC ads, law firms pay to target specific geographic areas, specific keywords and terms. The cost of PPC ads vary greatly, depending on the popularity of the specific terms, practice area and location. For example, a recent search for “criminal defense Boston” yielded a $35 cost per click, while “criminal defense Arizona,” one of the most competitive markets in the U.S., yielded a $153 cost per click. PPC can be complicated and costly, but when handled well, the campaign can often produce a firm’s most lucrative cases month after month.
Remarketing. Remarketing ads help your firm continue to advertise to people after they’ve visited your website. Your banner ads will appear throughout various websites that are connected to the Google Display Network as users surf the web, further reinforcing your brand and reminding the user of your presence.
Organic search. Type your law firm’s name into Google, and the list of results that do not say “Ad” next to them are organic search results. These are listings that appear in order according to their relevance to the original search term or phrase. Search engine optimization creates valuable real estate in this regard. Roughly 70 percent of search clicks come from organic results, and unlike PPC campaigns, organic search clicks don’t cost a dime. Positioning on the list is highly competitive, as a search page’s relevance, authority and total clicks are highest in position No. 1 and decrease incrementally as it falls down the search results list.
SEO is the craft of raising a web page’s ranking on the results page by tuning the website’s content, coding and quality to make it more appealing to the search engine algorithm. Listing your practice in relevant directories like Avvo, Google, lawfirmdirectory.org, and countless others raise organic rankings as well. SEO is an area where you may wish to seek help from experts.
Additionally, online marketing captures demand created by offline marketing. For example, after a potential client watches a TV commercial for a personal injury law firm, the client typically grabs a device and searches Google to research the firm.
Jamie Adams (@jdadams) is Chief Revenue Officer at Scorpion. He has spent the past nine years as a sales and marketing leader in local online marketing, across legal, automotive, franchise, health care and home services.
Attorney at Work is a Media Sponsor of Lawyernomics 2015.