I’ve dealt with a lot of attorneys who have a practice that is stuck in second gear. A lot of lawyers are in the same place; they’re making a decent living but want their firm to grow and can’t seem to get over that hump. They put a lot of effort into growth and it goes nowhere. Such a situation makes a lawyer feel like this guy:

Sad-Lawyer

There’s good news. If you’re in this situation then you are probably an attorney who can increase profitability by decreasing reliance on pay-per-click advertising. Let’s talk about how to do so and you’ll start looking more like this guy:

Happy lawyer cartoon

Are you ready to increase your firm’s profitability?

Attorneys need to stop relying on pay-per-click advertising

Many lawyers base their entire web marketing strategy on pay-per-click. Their only response, when I bring up how ridiculously expensive it is, is to say “I know.” First of all, those paid ads only reach about six percent of potential clients as the other 94 percent go straight to the organic results[i]. Second, these ads are risky. How do you know another attorney won’t outbid you for certain keywords tomorrow? When I started my practice at the end of 2006 a family law attorney in my city could get first page pay-per-click placement for about five dollars per click. Today that number is about $25 per click and it’s only going higher. So if you’re using these ads you’re missing out on most of the market and the cost is only going to go up.

I’m not saying that PPC campaigns can’t be profitable in the sense that the revenue they generate can be higher than their cost. But it’s time for attorneys to start thinking about a little concept called return on investment. While that money you’re sinking into PPC may be yielding a profit, there are several other avenues you could be placing your advertising dollars into that will give you better results. Let’s talk about them.

Attorneys who wish to grow their practice need to be active bloggers

I’ve talked at length about why blogging is critical to attorney marketing as well as how attorneys who update their blogs frequently will get more consultations. If you blog effectively (which is something most attorneys fail to do) you’ll increase your organic traffic substantially and won’t have to rely on the profit depleting money pit that is Google AdWords.

I’ve heard every excuse there is from attorneys as to why they don’t blog. I wrote frequently when I started my firm’s blog in 2008 and was blogging frequently when I had three associates. You can choose to keep watching your money go to Google for AdWords or you can take the time to write a few effective blog series to bump up your search performance. Google’s stock, at the time of this writing, is trading at over $1,200 per share. Do they really need any more of your money?

Attorneys who wish to grow their legal practice need to focus on conversions

“My phone doesn’t ring enough!” “People have stopped calling!” This is the common attorney statement when they’re not getting new clients. When I did some consulting for a solo firm in early 2013 we grew the attorney’s revenue from around $10,000 per month to roughly $30,000 per month in 90 days. Guess what? This attorney, who already had really good web marketing, thought his problem was that his phone wasn’t ringing.

It turns out this attorney’s phone was ringing; he just wasn’t converting those calls. The first week I was there helping I answered the phones as part of training the receptionist. My answering the phones led to, what was at that time, the most profitable week of his legal career. We made some tweaks to his website so clients were more encouraged to contact him online (such as adding a contact pop up), and developing a standardized phone pitch for the receptionist, business suddenly took off.

Attorneys who say “my phone isn’t ringing” often respond by increasing their pay-per-click budget. If you’re not converting the calls you’re getting (which you can) then why are you going to spend more money on additional phone calls that you’re unlikely to convert anyway due to poor conversion policies?

Attorney marketing often makes poor use of video

Want to drive conversions and decrease your PPC budget? Video is a great way to do so. There are plenty of stats on how well-done videos can increase conversions and I won’t repeat them here. That being said, there’s a lot of bad attorney video out there. Attorneys often shoot their own videos with low quality equipment. Getting a professionally done video, where the videographer will help you find talking points that resonate with potential clients, is pretty cheap. This video, which we shot for SEO for Lawyers, cost us a whopping $200 from our videographer and he was the one who developed the bulk of the dialogue/talking points:

Now let’s think about return on investment. You can have a video like this for about $200. You then own it forever and will receive value from it, in terms of search ranking and increased conversions, for the rest of your legal career. How far does $200 go on your PPC campaign?

Making these changes will go light years in terms of increasing your bottom line. Then your days can start to look like this:

Raining Money

How reliant is your firm on PPC advertising? Feel free to chime in on the comment form below.

[i] Search Engine Watch – August 23rd, 2012. Accessed at: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2200730/Organic-vs.-Paid-Search-Results-Organic-Wins-94-of-Time