Six key insights about law firms and digital advertising
By Robert J. Hoglund
President and Founder of Hoglund Advertising & Analytics
General Partner and Owner of Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, P.L.L.C.
Getting started using digital advertising is a piece of cake. The real question is, how do you get digital ads to work? How do you make more money from your ads than they cost you – and how can they become a driving force behind your firm’s growth? A few key insights can mean the difference between ads that create expenses and ads that create leads.
Art Armani is our Director of Advertising and Analytics at Hoglund Advertising & Analytics. When asked a series of questions about how law firms can get results from digital advertising, here is how he responded.
- For a law firm, what are the advantages of digital advertising?
“Digital advertising allows three things: tracking, targeting and easy changes.
With digital ads, you can track behavior in detail. You can track where and when people are responding to your ads. You can see which ads and keywords attract the most web traffic. With effective tracking, you can see what you’re getting per dollar spent.
Tracking tells you where you should spend your advertising dollars. And targeting allows you to follow this advice. You can target a specific audience, such as a particular zip code. If you’re getting a better return on your investment in a certain city, you can concentrate your resources there.
And when you want to make changes to your campaigns, digital advertising makes it easy. With a few clicks you can change both your message and your budget. With traditional advertising such as television and radio, any changes to your message need to go through several steps and a long process. Or with print ads, once an ad is published, it’s published. But with digital advertising, you can change your ads with a few clicks. The same goes for your budget.”
- What are some common mistakes you see lawyers making with their digital advertising?
“One common mistake I see is the lack of tracking. For example, firms might send all of their digital advertising traffic to the same web address, without any tracking mechanisms in place to see how the traffic got there. Or, firms might not take advantage of the ability to see how much traffic is coming from mobile devices or certain search engines.
Further, sometimes I see firms not taking advantage of tools to target potential clients. There are detailed location settings available, and it’s important to use them. Make sure to deliver your ads to the geographic area you really want.
Another common mistake is when advertisers don’t take steps to screen out people not interested in their service. With pay-per-click, you are often being charged each time someone clicks on your advertising. So you don’t want your ads to show up in irrelevant searches. In Google AdWords, you can specify that you do not want your ads to appear when people search for certain terms. For example, you can keep your digital ads from showing up when a search contains the words ‘free’ or ‘classes’.
Your advertising agency needs to take advantage of tools like this. If not, you could be missing your chance to hone in on your target audience. And you could be getting a lower return on your advertising investment.”
- What do you wish more lawyers knew about digital advertising?
“First of all, targeting – and how effective it can be. Zero in on the specific audience you’re seeking. Also, I recommend a well-diversified marketing portfolio. You’ve heard of a well-diversified financial portfolio: Advertising works the same way. Digital by itself is great. TV or radio by itself is great. But you should have a well-diversified marketing portfolio: Radio, print and digital support each other. But of these channels, digital is a must.
Why is digital a must? Think about the number of eyes that seem to be magnetically drawn to their cellphones and laptop computers. Digital is a must because of volume, visibility, search and return on investment. With radio or TV advertising, people happen to hear your message while they’re cleaning out the garage or going to the kitchen for snacks. On the other hand, when you use paid search ads, you are reaching people who are actively searching for your service or product. You’re not just delivering your ad to a broad group of people. You’re reaching people who typed in a search containing certain keywords. These people are further along in the sales process. They consciously made a decision to search for your topic. Paid search ads can help deliver your message to these actively interested prospects.”
- Once people run a relevant search and your ad appears, what does it take to get them to contact you?
“After web users have run a search and your ad appears, it becomes a matter of messaging and ad text. Your ad needs to be relevant to your service. It needs to incent people to visit your website.
Then, it comes down to your landing page. A landing page is one specific web page designed to receive traffic. In most cases, you don’t want your digital ads to simply bring people to your regular homepage. If people find themselves on your homepage, they may click from page to page around your website without being driven to contact you. Instead, you want your digital ads to bring visitors to one carefully designed landing page. This page should provide compelling information and then encourage people to get in touch with you right away.
And, your landing page needs to match what your digital ad states. If visitors are looking for a bankruptcy attorney, don’t send them to a personal injury landing page. Continue the same messaging on your landing page that you began in your ad. Otherwise people will not find what they want, and they’ll leave your site.”
- How would you summarize an effective campaign strategy?
“Call tracking, down to the campaign level. In other words, have separate campaigns for different cities and subject matters. Track what success you have for each one. If you’re having more success in one campaign, put more dollars into it. If you’re not getting a return on another campaign, stop putting money into it. And don’t track success by clicks and calls – look at the quality of the calls, and the end result.”
- What other advice do you have, for a successful digital ad campaign?
“Differentiate yourself from your competition, in your market.
Use convincing ads that take advantage of the options and capabilities that are available in Google AdWords. Attract attention, take up space on the screen and show readers why they should choose you.
Have a system for tracking, in detail, where leads came from.
Understand the difference between organic search and paid search. Organic search is when people run a search online and your website comes up in the listings, through the regular search engine. Paid search is when people run a search and your website comes up in the text ads that appear.
And finally, have a willingness to learn from your campaigns. Don’t assume what will work or what people want. Let the data speak for itself.”