Stop Wasting Advertising Dollars on Advertising Mistakes


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Advertising online can be a reliable and profitable source of new business for your law firm. But it also comes with some big pitfalls. Google Adwords makes it very easy to spend a lot of money very quickly. If you do not know what you are doing, you may end up spending much more than you think you should to generate a call from a prospective client.

Keep in mind that Google makes 90% of its revenue from advertising. When you speak with the Google Adwords rep to help you set up your advertising account, they may not be trying to help you spend as efficiently as possible.

Here are some costly mistakes that law firms make when creating advertising campaigns.

Negative Keywords

Even if you advertise for terms like “personal injury lawyer” you may also find that your ad shows up for terms like “personal injury lawyer salary,” “personal injury lawyer jobs,” or “pro bono personal injury lawyer.” Chances are, you do not want to attract people typing these terms. These are not high-quality leads nor are they likely to become clients. Unless you add negative keywords, they may click on your ad.

Google lets you stay out of certain search queries by adding negative keywords. Just like how you can add keywords to your campaigns to show up for certain terms, you can also add negative keywords so you don’t show up in certain queries.

Some good negative keywords to add to your Adwords campaigns:

  • Job / career terms
  • Free, affordable, cheap, or pro bono
  • How to or laws (these terms suggest people are not looking for a lawyer, but rather information. Some lawyers may advertise for these terms, but it’s up to you based on your budget)

When you think about negative keywords, think about what kinds of questions and queries you get that hit a red flag for you. Those queries and keywords should be filtered by using negative keywords.

Search Terms

You can actually see what search terms people type in before they click on your ad. In the keyword tab in Adwords there is a section called Search terms that lets you see what terms people typed to see your ad.

Adwords search terms

If you see a lot of search terms that seem unrelated, add them as negative keywords. Very frequently, I look at the recent search terms to see if the queries people are typing to find my campaigns are relevant or not. If they are not, they are added to my negative keyword list. If you see some terms that you don’t already have set up as keywords, add them.

This one is an easy way to build up your campaign effectively and is overlooked often.

Ad Testing

Some firms create one or two ads and let them run continuously. This doesn’t tell us whether the ad is performing optimally. It could be that by just changing the wording of an ad, you could be generating more clicks.

There are a few ways to test out ads. One way is by creating multiple ads, asking that Google rotate the ads indefinitely so the ads display at an equal rate, and then reviewing after 30 or so days. To make the ads “rotate indefinitely” you will need to edit your particular campaign’s settings.

Try out different headlines and taglines. A strong “Call For A Consultation” call-to-action may be more effective than “Over 25 Years of Experience.” You never know until you test it out.

Do not rely on any assumptions or preconceptions. Your hunch is no match for good data. You may end up being pleasantly surprised by the insights you get.

Landing Pages

Here is another often overlooked element to online advertising.

What page do people go to when they click on your ad? You landing page should not be your homepage. Instead, use a specially created landing page designed in mind for people clicking on a specific ad.

The landing page should be designed working backwards from your goal. The goal for most law firms is going to be getting the visitor to fill out a contact form or pick up the phone and call. With the goal in mind, get rid of any distractions that do not help you to achieve this goal. For example, remove any sidebars or menu navigation elements that link away to other pages.

Your landing page should:

  • Have a title and headings that mimic your ads and create continuity so the visitor knows they are in the right place
  • Have very clear and concise “calls to action” to tell visitors to call you or fill out a contact form
  • Provides concise information about the one practice area your visitor is searching for (not a list of everything your firm does)
  • Eliminate the navigation menu (menus are distracting and will cause people to leave)
  • Feature “social proof” such as client testimonials or reviews or awards to build trust

You should be testing your landing pages too. You can create multiple ads with the same copy but different landing pages. Adwords also has an “experiments” feature that allows you to test different ads. Try a set of ads with the same exact copy but different landing pages, and see which get you more calls and form submissions.

Your landing pages can always be improved upon. Everything from the title and headings to the color of your submit button on your forms can make a difference in the chance your visitors reach out to you.

These tips can help you drastically reduce your wasted ad spend and help you spend your marketing dollars wiser.

Managing your firm’s advertising campaign can be a lot of work, but it can save you tremendous amounts of money if done right. Two of the top ten most expensive keywords are “lawyer” and “attorney,” it is critical that you run an efficient ad campaign. If you do not have the time to invest in this, hiring an internet marketing agency to make the necessary edits to your campaign.

Featured image: “experienced-businessman-looking-at-financial-data-with-graphics-and-charts” from Shutterstock.


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