Why won’t sharks attack lawyers?
A professional courtesy. Ha!
I’m just kidding. All the lawyers I know are wonderful people with big hearts, however, that doesn’t change the fact that they operate within a brutal vertical like personal injury law.
For reference, personal injury law is a hyper-competitive space in all channels. In PPC, you’ll regularly see average CPCs of $110 or more for the more generic, higher traffic, terms.
When you’re potentially paying that much for each click, it becomes so incredibly important to make every click count by only bringing in the most qualified traffic, although that’s easier said than done!
In this post, I’ll use my experience managing personal injury law with paid search to provide some actionable insights and tips that you can use to better compete within this space!
Compete at the Local Level
The CPCs you saw in the images above, where CPCs were estimated to be around $130, were national estimates. While most law firms can and do take cases from all over the country, the majority of a firm’s cases come from the state that the firm operates in, although plenty of cases do come from out of state.
With many of the cases coming from the same state that the firm operates in, it then makes sense to focus the majority of your advertising dollars within that same state, right? Luckily for us, when we narrow our location targeting in PPC, we regularly see cheaper CPCs as a result. For example, that $133 CPC for “personal injury lawyer” at the national level drops to $44 when targeting only the state of Florida. That’s still a relatively high CPC but it’s significantly better than $133. I would also recommend taking this a step further and adding a city name to your keyword. For example, +personal +injury +lawyer +Bloomington, rather than just +personal +injury +lawyer. This should also help bring your CPCs down.
Furthermore, we’ve seen evidence that suggests that most people sign with firms for two major reasons. The first reason is the experience a firm has. Potential clients want to sign with the firm that has a proven track record of winning cases, no surprise here. The second reason is the location. People want to be able to meet their lawyers face-to-face, as it builds rapport and trust. Given the general reputation that personal injury lawyers have, this isn’t too much of a surprise either.
Lastly, you might try including city location customizers in your ad copy =city.location. That’ll make the ad seem more relevant and if nothing else, the boosted quality score should help you stretch your ad dollars even further. Advertise the fact that you’re a local firm!
If you aren’t already, I highly recommend refining your location targeting to the areas that have the most value to you, whether that be an entire state or even just a 20-mile radius around your office. It’s simply not prudent or efficient to try to compete with all the law firms at the national level. Chances are there are competitors out there with significantly deeper pockets and bigger egos which “need” to be in the top spot of the SERP, regardless of cost. Trust me, the last thing you want is to be in a bidding war for the absolute top spot between your firm and a rival firm. No one wins in that scenario.
Make Every Click Count
When you’re paying such high CPCs, making every click count truly matters. This means focusing both on pre-qualifying your leads as much as possible while simultaneously investing in CRO/post-click optimizations so that those users are not bouncing off your page (I don’t know about you, but if I’m paying $50 for that click the last thing I want the user to do is bounce).
I’ll start by speaking to pre-qualifying users. The best way I’ve found to do this is through the ad copy, naturally, as we can manage the user’s expectations before they click the ad. As such, we often test language that sets the expectation that there are certain circumstances/criteria that need to be met in order for the firm to actually take the case.
It’s near impossible with what limited ad copy space we have to let users know exactly what all that criteria might be, but the point is that we want the user to at least start thinking about that.
One example is, the user needs to have insurance coverage and you’d be surprised just how many people call in with a legitimate case, but the firm is forced to deny them because they don’t have insurance.
Another example is when someone is involved in a car accident (these are usually the most profitable cases for PI law firms and as such are incredibly valuable). Most law firms won’t take the case of the party at fault for the accident, so we try our best to let the user know that before clicking our ad.
Furthermore, there also needs to be an actual injury to the persons involved in the accident in order for the case to be taken. There is a surprising number of users clicking our ads who have no injuries whatsoever and those are literally all wasted clicks!
I recommend testing out ad copy that specifically addresses your most common pain point. If you’re having issues with uninsured people calling in, be upfront in the ad copy and test something like, “Call If You Have Insurance”. It might not be the most enticing call-to-action, but for every poor quality click, we prevent we save ourselves $50 or more. Seems worth it to me!
Speaking to post-click optimization now, we need to do everything we can to get a potential client to engage with us now that they’ve landed on our page. We’ve paid for their click and we’re not just going to let them bounce off the page, right? Right!
Phone calls are inherently more valuable than a form fill, so encouraging them to call for a free case consultation (even though it’s far from a unique differentiator, as every firm ever offers free consultations) works well. However, be careful with including “free case consultation” language in the ad copy, as it could encourage shopping around and we definitely don’t want too much of that!
If a form fill is the most common way people reach out to you, perhaps try making the form shorter. Making the form shorter would potentially force more people to call you to get their point across, allowing you to get an attorney on the phone with them right then and there, which is always a good thing. Having a shorter form also seems less intimidating and like less work, which would likely go a long way in increasing form completion rates. You won’t know until you try!
If you think post-click is where you’re lacking, I would encourage you to look more into CRO (conversion rate optimization)
Hopefully, there are some nuggets of info here to help you better manage your personal injury law spend. It’s a cutthroat vertical to work in and the learning curve is steep, as there isn’t a ton of room for error when you’re paying such high CPCs.
I recommend trying all, or at least some of, these ideas before you go the “let’s just throw more money at it” route, as that tactic delivers less than stellar results, in my experience.