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While billboards and magazine ads still exist, we’re focusing on digital advertising in this guide. (We’re online, after all.)
And does digital advertising work for lawyers?
Over 80% of consumers use search to find local businesses—including law firms. This is where your clients live.
While print and billboards have their charms, digital paid advertising is generally more effective than traditional advertising. After all, your potential clients now spend more time viewing digital media than traditional media.
Also, unlike billboards where you have to hope the right person is driving on that street, digital advertising lets you place your message in front of your ideal clients and likely buyers.
But how much cash should you put down on advertising? That’s the million-dollar question. Just like everything in law, the answer is: It depends. How much your law firm spends on paid advertising depends on your goals, vision, and overall budget.
Start by considering your gross revenue goal for next year.
How much will you need to increase your current revenue to meet your target growth?
If you’ve spent zero on law firm marketing up until now, we recommend setting aside 6-10% of your revenue as your advertising budget.
Need an example? Take Labster Sara Danilson.
She and her husband Jeremy lost a huge referral source. They were scrambling to figure out what to do next. They’d counted on that source! They needed to drum up business right away and tried several avenues before settling on Google Ads.
While Google Ads can depend on your market and location, they found quickly setting up ads returned an ROI of 600%, which more than made up for the lost referral source. With a careful strategy, your returns will be well worth the investment.
While there’s no correct answer for which combination of digital advertising you should choose, there are guidelines to help you.
Let’s start with some definitions first.
Google Ads is probably the platform you’re most familiar with. Google offers two types of ads:
Search ads. These ads appear when your client is already searching for your firm or offering. This is when the keyword research we mentioned comes in handy. You pay Google to show your firm’s ad when your potential clients search your selected keywords.
Display ads. You know those banner ads you see on websites, linking to other products or sites? These are display ads.
Which type you choose depends on your goals. If you’re newer and want brand awareness, you might choose a display ad. If you’re ready to start converting prospects into clients, you might go with search ads.
Each time a visitor clicks on your ad, you pay Google a small fee. This is the essence of the pay-per-click or PPC ad. You’ll set a budget ahead of time, which means the ad will no longer show up to clients once you’ve hit the budget.
And like Labsters Sara and Jeremy figured out, Google Ads is by far the most popular digital ads platform. Why? Google currently dominates with a search engine market share of 91.43%, meaning over 90% of worldwide searches are handled via Google.
Create a free account for your law firm to get started with Google Ads.
Similar to Google Ads, Facebook Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) platform. Around 2.45 billion people use Facebook each month, making it a prime spot for advertising your law firm.
Facebook also offers a feature Google doesn’t: You can “boost” your Facebook posts. This means you can write a post on your firm page, then pay Facebook to show it to the demographic you choose, beyond your firm page’s audience.
If you want a quick, cost-effective way to get in front of your audience, Facebook Ads is a great choice. Think of Facebook Ads as an option for clients in the middle of their journey. They know they have a problem and are searching for a solution. The call-to-action on your ad can offer them this solution.
Facebook also offers more targeting options than Google currently does.
Facebook Ads are simple to set up and use for beginners, plus it’s budget-friendly. Most daily minimum budgets range from $1 to $5.
A warning about Facebook ads: Facebook makes it incredibly easy to spend a whole bunch of money at the click of a button. They have a fun interface, and you can get lost playing with it—and before you know it, you’ve run an ad to a demographic you don’t want in a country where you don’t practice. This is a prime example of why having a marketing strategy and budget before you start is essential.
Ads aren’t the only way to advertise. In fact, there’s another way to get your message across. We’ll talk more about social media marketing for law firms in Chapter 5.