This is the next post in a series on my feelings about PPC for lawyers and law firms. My last article gave a quick overview of topics which this series will be addressing. I also explained how attorney profits have been declining even while the amount spent on law firm marketing has been increasing. I strongly, strongly, strongly, strongly (strongly) believe that relying on pay-per-click, especially when it’s being managed by a third-party, will only facilitate this trend. In short, letting a company manage your pay-per-click will leave you looking like this:

man with empty pockets

While ol’ boy managing your PPC will wind up looking like this:

Greedy man with money

I’m sure that your goal, when you started your firm, was to make more money and not to subsidize the guy in the second photo. Let’s take a look at why lawyers need to stop having people manage their pay-per-click.

If you follow this blog then you know that I regularly rant about discuss why attorneys should avoid pay-per-click altogether. I’ve also written before on why attorneys should avoid pay-per-click management companies if they do choose to go the PPC route. The latter of those discussions looked at the inherent conflict of interests that such management companies have and how the conflict drives up the cost for law firms while lining the pockets of the marketing companies. Here’s the big thing about that conflict – it puts you in a spot of either foregoing important marketing opportunities or having to overpay in order to gain those opportunities. Let’s look at what I mean.

Suppose Company “X” manages a PPC campaign for a family law attorney in “Some City.” As part of the manager’s job he or she will collect data on how the family law attorney’s campaign is doing. The manager will learn, for example, which phrases are popular in search and which ones aren’t. Now suppose that the same marketer signs up a second family law attorney who is also in Some City. That marketer already knows which phrases are popular and which ones aren’t so they can do one of two things. First, they could choose to leverage the data they have to help the second client, which will drive up costs for the first client now that the two attorneys are bidding against each other for the same keywords. Second, they could choose to not bid on the popular keywords for the latter attorney, to avoid running up costs for the first, and leave the second firm with a less effective campaign. Either way, one or both of the two firms are being done a disservice.  This is why I would say that if you are going to use a pay-per-click manager (again, I don’t think you should use pay-per-click at all) then you should ask them if they are going to work with any other attorneys in your area.

The approach we take with our law firm website design and SEO services deals with the inherent problems of pay-per-click. First, we make sure that a firm’s marketing dollars are going into content which they will own outright. This provides the firm with an ongoing return which is far more effective than renting ad space from third-parties (which is all PPC is). Second, we only work with one attorney, per practice area, in a given geography. This prevents us from having conflicts of interests in regards to those whom we serve. Want to make more money in 2018? First, stop using pay-per-click completely. Second, if you are going to use it then manage it yourself. Self management is easy and Google has a customer service number which will help you with the process.

Why do you think so many attorney rely on someone else to manage their paid online marketing? Please chime in through the comment form below.