What is Pay Per Click advertising? You hear a lot of talk about Google AdWords and Google taking over the world and many lawyers still don't understand what Pay-Per-Click advertising is. Well, it's how Google got started and it's really how Google is making almost all their money these days despite of all the other ventures they've gotten into. So to put it as simply as possible, when you go online to search for something, at the very top of the search results and on the right you see the results labeled Ads. Google is not the only one that offers this type of advertising, a lot of search engines do, for example, Yahoo! and Bing offer these Ads. You can find these Ads on Facebook and on LinkedIn as well.
When someone clicks an Ad the advertising lawyer gets charged a certain amount of money based on a formula that the search engine provider uses. Although, the advertiser gets charged, the person who clicks on the Ads does not. But, because the advertiser gets charged per click, it's called Pay Per Click advertising.
So the question is, "Should you use Pay Per Click advertising as a part of your marketing mix?" Well, that depends what kind of law firm you have and what kind of business you are trying to generate. If you have a firm that generates a lot of business through referral activity, and you are perfectly happy with all the clients you are getting, you may not want to do Pay Per Click advertising. If your firm has been relying on Yellow Pages to generate business, I am probably not going out on a limb very far to say that your business is likely suffering,
So one possible replacement for Yellow Pages advertising is Pay Per Click advertising. You could obviously choose a number of different marketing mixes, but the beauty of Pay Per Click advertising is you can track, down to the keyword and click, exactly how much it's costing you per client, per lead, per click, or whatever you desire. You can target the geographical areas you want your Ads to show in, who you want to see your Ads and how much you are willing to pay to per click. So it evens the playing field, as it doesn't matter whether you're a small firm or a large firm, you've got the same shot at running a successful advertising campaign.
What about the Organic Results or the Natural Results in Google and other search engines? Some people say that your sole focus should be on trying to get on the first page of Google organically, because the Ads and clicks are free. Well, they're free in the sense that you don't pay per click, but they're not free in the sense that it takes a lot of labor - yours or the company who you pay to do it for you - to keep your firm on the first page. For example, somebody has to write and submit articles, optimize your pages, submit blog articles, do video submissions, create back links and whatever else you're using to keep you at the top of the page.
Google is constantly monitoring your website's activity. And if your competitors are optimizing their sites at the same rate as you, and you stop, you will likely fall down below them in the results. So its constant activity and Google can change their algorithm at any time (which is what they use to determine who's going to be on the first page or not.)
That's not to say that you shouldn't try to optimize your organic results, it's just to say that if you're relying on one thing to the exclusion of a number of different channels to generate cases, that puts your firm at risk. My recommendation would be to do both. Your firm invests some work and money into your Search Engine Optimization campaign and you have some money invested in your paid advertising campaign or your law firm Pay Per Click advertising campaign.
The other benefit of this is that your firm's Ads or your website will appear on the search results page in more than one place. If you combine PPC Ads and Organic listings with a Google places listing and maybe an article or video, you could literally be listed all over the results page for important keywords and look like the 800 pound gorilla to somebody who has reached that page after searching for key words that relate to your law firm. This will most likely leave a very favorable impression on them and you are more likely to get clicked on. And that, of course, is the first goal and the reason behind all the effort to get your law firm listed on the first page of Google.