2 Mistakes That Are Causing Your Law Firm Adwords Campaign to Fail

How to Tell if Your Law Firm’s Adwords Campaign is Failing

If managed properly, a Google Adwords Campaign can generate significant new leads for your law firm. Many attorneys outsource their Google Adwords campaigns to agencies who, supposedly, are setting up, monitoring, and managing those campaigns to ensure success. However, because Google Adwords is such a mystery to most attorneys, many lawyers simply have no clue as to whether their digital marketing agency is running the Adwords campaign the right way. Not to worry! In this article, I will explain two key things you can easily check to see whether your marketing agency is doing a poor job of managing your law firm’s Adwords campaign. First, let’s look at the goals of most law firm Adwords campaigns so that we can understand why many of these campaigns fail due to poor management.

Typical Goals of a Law Firm Google Adwords Campaign

If you’re running a Google Adwords campaign, you want searchers to take three specific actions, two of which occur online and one of which takes place on your end: (1) click on your Ad to be taken to your law firm website; (2) take the desired action when they reach your site such as filling out a contact form or calling your office; and (3) convert into a new client. The first two actions sound simple, right? If a searcher clicks on your ad, then surely they will take the second action (contacting you) when they hit your website, right? Well, things are not as simple as that. In fact, here are two mistakes I repeatedly see being made with Adwords campaigns for lawyers:

1st Common Mistake With Google Adwords for Law Firms – Irrelevant Ads

With Google Adwords, it is possible to target your ads with pinpoint precision through the use of geographic restrictions, keywords and negative keywords (words and phrases that you want to exclude from triggering your ads such as “lawyer jokes”), and much more that is beyond the scope of this article. The point is that if your law firm’s Adwords campaign isn’t targeted, then you’ll either get very few clicks for all the times your ad was shown or you will pay for clicks from searchers who aren’t interested in your legal services. Here are two simple ways to check whether your marketing agency is dropping the ball on your Adwords campaign(s):

1) Check to See Whether Your Ad Displays for Irrelevant Search Terms:

All you need to do is run a search for your location and practice area and check to see what Google displays. In the screenshot below, I searched for “charleston criminal lawyers,” yet the first ad displayed is targeting dog bite injuries. In all likelihood, the agency set this campaign up to display when the user searches using broad keyword searches such as “lawyers” and “Charleston” regardless of the firm’s practice areas.

Sure enough, when I ran a second broad-based search for “charleston lawyers” the same ad appeared.

The takeaway here is that this campaign could easily be tailored for success by displaying it only for searches relevant to dog bite injuries or, on a broader basis, personal injury claims.

2) Check to See Whether Your Ad Displays for the Wrong Locations:

As I mentioned, Google Adwords is highly sophisticated. For example, you can limit your ads to display in any geographic region in the U.S based on factors such a radius of miles from your office or states, cities, counties. Additionally, you can control the display of your ads to appear in other parts of the US where a searcher may be looking for an attorney in your city or trigger your ad to display based on the location of the searcher when they run their search.

To find out whether your ads are displaying for the wrong location, simply search for your practice area, such as “divorce lawyers” and a random geographic region other than yours. In the next example, I am physically located in Charleston, South Carolina (area code 843) and ran a search for “divorce lawyers Michigan.” As you can see from the ad area codes, all four of the ads displayed are from divorce lawyers in Charleston!

Irrelevant GeographyAgain, these ads could easily be tweaked to ensure that they display relevantly including searches that are tied into geographic locations.

2nd Common Mistake With Google Adwords for Attorneys – Missing Optimized Landing Page

A landing page is a webpage where people end up after they click your ad. For each ad, there should be a specific final URL (webpage) to where people are taken when they click your ad. Landing pages have the power to convert webpage visitors into active users — if done well.

Trying to run a successful law firm Adwords campaign without an optimized landing page is like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel.

Landing page optimization (LPO), also known as conversion optimization or conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of designing specific landing pages with one single goal in mind – to improve the percentage of visitors to the website that become leads and clients. LPO is sophisticated and can involve A/B testing (testing two different versions of a landing page simultaneously, while making a change in one single element on one of the pages, to compare results) and Multivariate testing (MVT) (changing multiple variables on the page such as body copy, page layout, calls to action, and button designs in different combinations to choose the design combination that best reaches your goals.

If you don’t have an optimized landing page, then you may be paying for leads/clicks that never bother to contact your firm. What’s worse is that MANY of the ads I see on the web don’t lead to an optimized landing page at all, which is a digital marketing “fail.”

Here’s two simple way to check whether your marketing agency is dropping the ball on your landing pages:

1) Check to See Whether Your Ad Displays Have a Landing Page:

Before you do this, remember that clicking on your own ads may cost you money unless your marketing agency has excluded your computer or network IP addresses from the campaign! To save yourself the cost, ask your agency to give you the specific URL of each landing page for each ad.

Here’s an example of an ad that has no landing page but, instead, points to the law firm’s homepage. Below is a screenshot of the ads that are displayed when I search “charleston criminal lawyers.” I clicked on the fourth ad:

Clicking on the fourth ad took me to the law firm’s homepage:

Because the ad directs the searcher to the home page, the site visitor sees no call to action, no prominent form to contact the firm, no clickable call button for mobile, and an assortment of menu options, many of which have nothing to do with my search for a criminal lawyer. In other words, the homepage isn’t optimized to achieve the desired goal – capturing a new criminal client lead.

For a second example, I clicked on the second ad for my search for “charleston criminal lawyers.”

Clicking on the ad took me to the law firm’s criminal defense practice areas page:

In this example, at least the ad was tied into the firm’s criminal defense page. However, this “landing” page isn’t optimized to convert a visitor into a lead. The page is missing prominent calls to action, there is no fillable form to send the firm a message, and there is no clickable button to call the firm on a mobile device.

Final Thoughts

If your firm is running a Google Adwords campaign, then you know it isn’t cheap between the cost of agency fees and your Adwords daily budget. At the very least, you should check behind your digital marketing agency’s work for irrelevant ad placements and optimized landing pages. If you find issues with both, you have two choices. First, you can fuss at your agency to correct these mistakes. However, if your agency didn’t take the time to properly set up your campaigns, then chances are that your agency doesn’t bother to monitor the campaign for ongoing performance tweaks. In other words, your best bet is option #2 – hire another online marketing agency! Speaking of which, if you need help setting up or maintaining a successful online marketing campaign, including Google Adwords, then please contact JustLegal Marketing.



    Your Name:

    Your Phone:

    Your Email:

    Your Website:

    Your Message:


    Digital Marketing for Lawyers

    Get Your Free Copy of “Digital Marketing for Lawyers,” written by the country’s leading expert on law firm marketing, Stephan Futeral, Esq.

    Pin It on Pinterest