When it comes to integrating a paid search campaign for your law firm, the question isn’t if you should, but rather when you should. There’s no doubt that a carefully considered, well-maintained, and consistently-optimized paid search, display, and/or remarketing campaign can do wonders for your online presence, lead generation, and client acquisition, but that doesn’t mean that you should dive in headfirst without first assessing your end of the pool.
Performing a Web Property Audit
The first step in deciding when to integrate a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign strategy into your overall marketing strategy is to perform a thorough audit of your web properties. The success of your paid search efforts will rely heavily on the quality of your firm’s website, related webpages under your control, social media platforms, e-books and whitepapers, and any other web properties controlled by you and your firm. As such, a paid campaign that is launched before ensuring that your associated web properties are up to snuff will be doomed to fail from the start, wasting thousands in allocated budget and leading to an unwarranted reticence to pursue paid search further.
Here are some important things to look for when auditing your various web properties:
Evaluate the structure and navigability of the site, its user-friendliness, and how it is performing on top search engines such as Google and Bing. A carefully-considered audit paying special attention to website best practices will also unlock hidden or overlooked conversion opportunities, such as lacking service pages or the implementation of effective calls-to-action (CTAs). If nothing else, a thorough content audit will reveal typos or grammar errors that could be causing potential clients to seek help elsewhere.A thorough audit of your firm’s website helps you to improve the performance of the site while also revealing potential fixes. In conducting the audit, you should review both the content and the technical performance, which means optimizing for SEO by implementing proper meta-tags and keywords while also viewing and understanding the analytics of the site, which will help you understand where you can improve.
In reviewing the landing pages you might have already created, you’ll find numerous opportunities for improvement regarding the landing pages you will soon be making for your paid search campaign. If you have yet to create any landing pages, it is considered a best practice to do so in coordination with your paid search campaigns in order to stay on message and increase your conversion rate.
Please bear in mind that landing pages should include four primary elements:
- Offer: The design and content of your webpage should be coordinated in such a way as to clearly highlight what service you are offering. Sure, you might practice several different areas of law, but the point here is to reach a specific audience seeking a specific service (personal injury, tax representation, estate planning, etc.). If someone arrives at your landing page after clicking on an ad targeting individuals who have been injured in a car accident, they’re not likely going to convert on a webpage with content and design built around family law and divorce. Stay on message and state your distinguishing features directly and concisely.
- Web Form: Each landing page should have a quick and convenient web form. If you’re only asking the user to provide an email address, a single horizontal bar just below the title of the page will work nicely. If you’re asking for a name, email address, phone number, address, and/or any other relevant information, it’s best to place your web form on the right panel of the page above the fold, which means that it should be clearly visible before the user has to scroll down the page. Lastly, don’t simply toss a header above the form-fill directing the user to do what they already know they’re supposed to do. Your form-fill CTA should be fun, actionable, and remind the user of the benefits of supplying their contact information (i.e. the excellent informative collateral they are receiving simply for supplying an email address).
- Trust Building: People rely heavily on the internet when making decisions, but that doesn’t mean that they always trust it. And, unfortunately, many consumers are a little apprehensive about working with an attorney. That’s not your fault, but it is your burden. Your landing pages should help inspire and foster trust by adding attributable testimonials, a relevant and useful guarantee (e.g., free consultation, contingent fee, etc.), and any awards or recognitions you and your firm have received within the last 2-3 years. There’s no need to brag, but a little boasting about your actual accomplishments can immediately establish credibility.
- Informational Hierarchy: The informational layout of your page might not seem as important as the elements listed above, but by designing the content of your page conscientiously, you can dictate the eye traffic of your users. A mountain of research suggests that you should lay out your content in an “F pattern” to mimic the reading patterns of users. This means that you should be focusing on headers, bullet points, and sub-headers that combine to create the shape of an “F.” Additionally, any images, video, or visual cues you use should correlate directly with and reinforce the copy you have created.
When performing a social media audit, you should first create a template matrix that will help you keep track of all the information. In this spreadsheet, you should include profile information (name and URL), posting frequency, number of followers, likes and other engagements, and referral traffic, among any other metrics that you deem relevant.
This matrix should also include information that includes the percentage change over the previous calendar year for each metric. You want to determine which channels are performing best in which areas so that you can leverage previous success and jettison underperforming platforms. For instance, Snapchat can be a great tool, but it might simply not feel the brand and personality of your firm.
Rely on the data to give you the insight you need to make informed strategic decisions. Once you have completed your social media audit, you can utilize your platforms in conjunction with your landing pages and incorporate your upcoming remarketing campaign into your existing social user base. Lastly, make sure that your branding remains absolutely consistent across all of these platforms ― for the sake of your social media strategy and to ensure alignment with your pending PPC efforts.
LaFleur: Developing Strategy. Delivering Execution.
With every paid search, display, or remarketing campaign we create ― on behalf of our clients and internally ― we work hard to develop sound, effective strategies before implementing any execution. As soon as we determine a plan of action for paid campaigns, we conduct comprehensive web audits on behalf of each of our clients to ensure that the content, design, informational architecture, and branding elements align throughout their shared properties. We then begin to develop cost-effective paid strategies that focus on your firm’s strengths to increase awareness, generate conversions, and acquire new and better clients.
If you would like to discuss our approach to paid advertising or any other component of legal marketing, please give us a call today at (888) 222-1512 or complete the form on this page to subscribe to our company blog, which includes bi-weekly updates to all aspects of digital marketing for law firms.
Churt, R. (2013, Jan. 24). How to audit your website for improved SEO and conversions. Hubspot. Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34088/How-to-Audit-Your-Website-for-Improved-SEO-and-Conversions.aspx
Jackson, D. (2016, April 25). How to perform a successful social media audit. Sprout Social. Retrieved from http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-audit/
Rondeau, J. (2016, July 27). The 15-point landing page audit. Digital Marketer. Retrieved from http://www.digitalmarketer.com/landing-page-optimization-conversion/