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How to Run Effective PPC for Law Firms on a Budget


How do lawyers get more clients in this digital age? Ideally, potential clients would search for an attorney near them, and your firm would pop up as the first organic result on Google. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to rank for certain law-related keywords, and that top position on the search results page may be out of reach. 

While organic traffic is important, paid search can also be a valuable source of leads for law firms. If you’re looking for a way to complement your SEO efforts, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising might be exactly what you need to drive traffic. A carefully crafted PPC campaign can target the potential customers you’re interested in and get them to your site—or to your office. We’ve put together a helpful guide for law firms hoping to run PPC ads on a budget. Take a look! 

What You’re Up Against

If you’re working on a tight budget, there are a few things to keep in mind as you plan out your PPC campaign. 

Expensive Keywords

Does AdWords work for lawyers? Yes, but law-related keywords can be quite pricey. Think about all of your direct competitors in your area, and then picture them all fighting over the top keywords. A digital version of that happens in a real-time auction setting in which you set a maximum bid amount. You’ll find that the most highly coveted keywords just aren’t affordable on a budget. 


Geography drastically affects the cost of your PPC campaign. Every market is different, so you’ll have to analyze the existing market around your practice to determine the lay of the land. For instance, major markets in Florida will have more competition—so PPC will wind up costing you hundreds of dollars per click. But the same kind of attorney in Indiana might find success by paying just $25 per click. 

Large Firms With Large Budgets

Massive law firms have the budget to drop tens of thousands of dollars on PPC marketing each month. Unfortunately, they are more likely to win auctions and take advantage of those costly keywords. If you represent a smaller law firm, you probably have a comparatively smaller budget and can’t afford to throw money into the bottomless pit of the internet. Take a step back and analyze your current marketing strategy to determine whether PPC is really the right path, or whether you could generate more leads through a different avenue.

PPC Management for Lawyers 

While you will face a number of challenges, it can still be possible to run an effective PPC campaign while working with a smaller budget. Here are some tips for how to go about doing just that. 

Forecast and Plan 

PPC advertising involves a real-time bidding system. Depending on how many advertisers are in the auction, you may need a big budget to even bid on certain terms, so be sure to do your research to identify some realistic keywords. You should also take into account that attorneys are bidding on both phrase match and different broad match terms, so while long-tail keywords like “auto accident attorney in Miami,” might seem perfectly attainable, someone could also be bidding on “accident attorney.” 

Take a look at your location. If your practice is in a small town, you can probably run a PPC campaign for comparatively little. If you’re in a more competitive market, you may want to focus on one theme, whether it’s personal injury or motorcycle accident. Find out which vertical is relatively affordable in your location, and then go after that. Run some Google searches and inspect the waterfall of suggested terms or the related searches to identify other potentially useful keywords.

Isolate Your Unique Value Proposition

There are other lawyers and law firms in your area, and they’re all fighting over the same valuable keywords—so when you do win a bid and get your ad in front of potential clients, you need to capture their attention right away. Maybe you offer unbeatable rates, extended hours, or a free consultation. Isolate what sets your law firm apart from others, and make sure that this special something is included in any PPC ad copy

Write Strong CTAs

In addition to telling potential clients why you’re better than your competitors, you need to tell them what you want them to do. Phone calls have the highest closing rate, so write ad copy that guides viewers towards making a call. Once you get them on the phone, you have a much better chance of getting them to come into your office and sign paperwork! And since mobile search is only becoming more popular, you should optimize your ads so potential clients can get in touch with a single tap. 

Utilize Online Tools

Remember when we said geography was important? You can use your location to your advantage by starting off small—and we mean small.

When a potential client does a location-specific Google search, a few businesses will show up in what is called the Google Maps Pack on the right side of the search results page. These listings generate over 50% of calls, so it stands to reason that you’d want your firm to appear here! The bottom three results in this area are SEO-related—but the top spot is an ad, which Google selectively serves based on location. 

If your firm is running PPC on a limited budget, set up a small radius (think 5-10 miles) around your location and have your Google Maps ad extension activated. This can help capture searchers who are nearby and in need of your services—your ideal clients!

Be Patient

If you’re a new advertiser, it usually takes up to a month to get into a positional on Google. The algorithm wants to see that you’re going to continue to spend money, so it will analyze your click-through rate and slowly work you into the auction—assuming your preliminary ads are getting clicks. Before kicking off a PPC campaign, you should be absolutely sure you can afford to stick around and see that campaign through. 

Get the Most Out of PPC With Ten Golden Rules

Whether you need help setting up a PPC campaign or streamlining an existing strategy, our team of search engine marketing experts can help. We’re dedicated to understanding your conversion goals and working to reach them through a variety of digital marketing tactics and tools. Reach out today to learn more about how we can maximize your marketing budget.