28 min read
Updated: December 22, 2021

PPC for Lawyers: How to Get a Lot of Clients for Law Firms Through Pay-per-Click Marketing

Raise your hand if you’ve ever paid a small fortune for Pay Per Click advertising without seeing great results. Unfortunately, paying for some of Google’s most popular keywords is an extremely expensive way to enhance the visibility of your law firm and it is crucial that you make the best of it, or you’ve just thrown some money down the drain. Still, PPC does work, so the attorneys who succeed in getting clients through PPC must be doing something right. Here’s what it is.

PPC marketing, also called pay-per-click, is an online advertising strategy in which you only pay when prospective clients click on your ad. It’s highly regarded by online advertisers due to its measurability and cost-effectiveness. If you’ve noticed ads on Google, then you’ve seen PPC campaigns at work. And according to Tech Jury, more than 50% of consumers click on PPC ads.

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There’s a lot that goes into crafting targeted and result-driven PPC advertising campaigns. Like the analogy of the committed student who studies hard but not smartly, and fails a test, online marketing efforts need to be executed correctly to yield positive results.

To save you time and ad spend, we’ll go through the following:

  • What PPC for lawyers is
  • The biggest challenges faced by law firms doing PPC
  • Tips on how to get the most out of PPC for law firms
  • Review a Legal PPC case study to illustrate a successful law firm’s PPC campaign in action
  • Answer FAQs

8 Biggest Problems (and Tips) for Lawyers doing PPC Advertising

1. Lawyers Don’t understand What PPC Ads Are, so They Don’t Work

Legal marketing campaigns often overlook and underutilize the importance of Pay-per-click (PPC). This is a form of online advertising whereby a host is paid when a potential customer clicks on an ad. Business ads are charged by the click – without a click, your ad is free.

Law firms and other companies rely on Google Ads the most frequently when it comes to PPC advertising. Almost nine out of ten people search the web through Google.

PPC for lawyers targets specific search interests with their ads. Engaging potential clients online and driving them to your services is the objective of guiding them through the marketing funnel.

The formula is:

Properly-Picked Keywords + Matching Landing Pages + High-Performance Website = Strong New Case Flow

Properly-picked Keywords + Matching Landing Pages + High-performance Website = Strong new Case Flow

Real-time results are possible with a successful PPC campaign. By doing this, law firms can discover how potential clients engage with the advertisement. Ads and other online marketing efforts can benefit from an initial campaign as a valuable foundation.

In order to succeed online, you must cut through the clutter of competition. By strategically directing consumers to your website or app, PPC campaigns can help you reach your target audience.

Keywords and Key Phrases

Building your campaigns on the relevant keywords and key phrases can make a massive difference in how many leads you get and how much they cost you. Google Adwords and other pay-per-click engines score your ad based on audience relevance and helpfulness. Google uses Quality Score to rank your ad, in part because the relevance of the ad copy to the keywords you’re bidding on is higher. Ad placement and cost are calculated based on this.

  1. More leads. The way PPC works is Google auctions the top 3 positions in the search results for certain keywords. Because the space they have to sell is limited — just 3 positions — and because they only get paid when someone clicks on your ad, to Google, it’s extremely important that your ad is well-targeted and click-a-licious. In fact, it’s so important, that the more clicks you get (expressed as a ratio of views to clicks), the lower your cost-per-click (or CPC, in marketing terms).Keywords and key phrases
  2. Low costs. Talking about CPC, pay-per-click advertising could get extremely expensive in the legal industry. It really depends where your law firm is based, but if you’re in a competitive area like Chicago, for example, you could easily be paying as much as $100 per click. So if you’re advertising for certain keywords, but then the page you’re leading your potential clients to is confusing and they hit the back button, congrats! You just paid $100 for nothing. Not only that, but because of your high bounce rate (that’s people who visit your page and immediately leave), now your cost per click is even higher. If you want to keep CPC low, always invest time in choosing the right keywords and phrases.

Landing Pages

Speaking of bounce rate, what PPC newbies often do is design the perfect ad and then lead potential clients to the home page of a website. This is a sure-fire way to increase your bounce rate.

Put yourself in the shoes of your prospects. They have a specific problem, they’re looking for a specific solution — say, elderly law lawyer in Mississippi, and just when they think they’ve found it, they land on a page that talks about criminal defense lawyers and personal injury lawyers, and corporate lawyers, and, yeah, elder law…

 elderly abuse lawyer in chicago - google

It’s great that your law firm is multidisciplinary, but when it comes to PPC marketing for lawyers, it’s essential that you keep things simple. You should create a landing page for each of your ads and its content should answer your potential client’s question as clearly as possible.

High-Performance Website

A great way to increase the effectiveness of your PPC marketing even further is to make sure that the people who land on your page take action. This requires effective calls to action — at least one per page, but in most cases we recommend two.

People clicking on PPC ads are usually people who are ready to talk to an attorney, so, from the landing page that answers their question, show them a call to action that takes them to a contact page where they can take the next step.

Our end goal is for your clients to pick up the phone and call you, or to fill out a contact form. Once they do that, you’ve “converted” them from a website visitor to a warm lead.

High-performance website

So let’s put his into perspective. If 10,000 people see your ad and say 2.4% click on it, that’s 240 people. Out of these 240 people that land on your website, on average about 2,35% will contact you — that’s 5-6 people. And out of these 5-6 people, how many will become paying clients?

A highly converting attorney website should convert in the high single digits or low double digits — so between 8%-15% of visitors. Most of our client’s websites convert at that level.

Let’s put these numbers in the example above. If 240 people click on your ad and, say, 10% of them contact you, that’s 24 people. If historically, one out of three or four becomes a client, you get great results off such a PPC campaign.

Tip 1: Pay-per-click advertising is a great way for you to get clients fast, but in order for it to work, you should always consider your end goals, your budget and choose a top marketing agency to manage your ads for optimum results.

2. Lawyers Invest a lot of Money into PPC Campaigns but Get Zero ROI

Pay-per-click advertising uses audience targeting to ensure your ads land up in front of relevant prospects. This involves separating your client base into different segments depending on their needs, and other demographic data. The more specific your ads are, the higher their engagement rate will be.

Remember, law firm PPC campaigns can vary according to their objectives. It could be that one ad is about divorce and the other about wills. These will likely appeal to different clients. So, as a first step, you have to know your law firm’s specialties and your target market.

You also need to know what metrics to pay attention to. PPC advertising platforms provide access to real-time data, so you can tweak campaigns, but to do so effectively, you need to be familiar with the metrics below:


Return on investment (ROI) is the ratio of your net profit to your total costs. When advertisers speak about ROI in the context of PPC, they’re actually referring to ROAS, which is the return on ad span. To work it out, divide your revenue by your PPC ad spend.


The lifetime value or LTV is the average revenue estimate a client will generate throughout their lifespan as a client. A client’s worth can help determine legal marketing acquisition strategies and marketing budget spend.

CPC (click)

Cost-per-click (CPC) is the price paid for each click in a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaign. For CPC bidding campaigns, law firms can set a maximum cost-per-click bid (the highest they’re willing to pay for a potential client to click on their ad).

CPC (Conversion)

Cost-per-conversion is the metric used to identify how much it costs to acquire a client that pays for your services. The cost includes all the traffic for the duration of a PPC campaign.

MQL to SQL Conversion

The MQL to SQL conversion rate measures the percentage of qualified marketing leads that become sales qualified leads. It helps determine how effectively the marketing team is stocking the sales pipeline with high-quality leads.

Tip 2: Use SMART. Developed by Austrian-American management consultant Peter Drucker in the 1980s, SMART is a mnemonic acronym and established tool used to guide goal-setting that is applicable to PPC advertising. To make sure your law firm’s PPC campaigns are achievable and that you’re spending PPC budget effectively, each one should be:
Specific / Measurable / Achievable / Relevant / Time-bound

3. Lawyers Don’t Know How to Work with Expensive Clicks

A successful PPC campaign bids on relevant keywords. A bid represents the amount of money you are willing to spend for a single click on a given keyword in Google Adwords. Your bidding amount will dictate where your PPC ads show up in Google search engine results. The process is similar to an auction, except it’s for placement in Google search rankings for a search term or keyword that is queried.

Every time a search is made in Google, it runs results through its algorithm and ranks an ad according to how high the bidding price is and what the quality score for that term is. Unfortunately, some industries don’t have relative affordability of average-costing CPCs. Wordstream notes “attorney” is the 4th most expensive keyword for PPC and costs $47.07 per click, followed by “lawyer” in 6th place at $42.51.

So, an expensive long-tail keyword like “Personal injury lawyer Chicago” might cost $150 per single click. Now, imagine if there are twenty clicks per day? It’s not inherently incorrect to bid on this keyword, but it’s only really advisable if you know how to convert every lead. “Attorney” and “lawyer” are high volume, high competition keywords, and while high volume is good because it will bring in traffic to a law firm’s website, you ideally want low competition keywords because they’re cheaper.

However, the cheapest bids may rake up wasteful spending because users clicking on them may not be your target audience. They could be searching for “how to open a law firm?” for example. Therefore, to succeed at PPC, you need to bid on the right keywords to increase clicks conversions to your website.

Tip 3: Find a Middle Ground. It might be naive to compete with large legal firms for the top three keywords with a CPC of $150, if there are twenty smaller keywords with smilair quality but only cost $30 per-click, for instance. Legal services keywords will naturally be expensive, so you have to weigh money vs time spend and settle on a bidding price range that’s worthwhile.

4. Lawyers Can’t Get Clicks From the Right Audience

No digital advertising should take place without keyword research and the development of buyer personas. Keyword research is the practice of finding the search terms or keyword phrases that potential clients enter into search engines when looking for legal services. “Personal injury law firm” can be a keyword, for example.

You need to know what keywords your clients do and don’t use and where they search. Knowing if they use Google, attorney directories, or Google Maps, will determine where to place your ideal PPC campaign. The purpose of keyword research is to gain a more profound insight into your audience, so you can effectively market to them. Keyword research is also the cornerstone for content marketing and can guide which topics and themes to generate content about.

Once you’ve done keyword research, you’ll want to develop buyer personas. In digital marketing, buyer personas are fictional representations of an ideal client or target audience. These research-based profiles describe the demographics, challenges, and decision-making processes of each client segment. Most businesses, and law firms, for that matter, will have multiple buyer personas.

Each persona will have different criteria for evaluating your product, and you’ll need different strategies to address their needs and nudge them down the marketing funnel. When you have a clear idea of whom you’re marketing to, it’s easier to develop effective search ads, whether display ads or video ads, that speak to their personal narrative.

Tip 4: Check if your PPC campaign is optimised for the right audience. If not, make the necessary tweaks, and remember that you can run multiple campaigns with different ad groups to target specific personas.

5. Clients Click on Competitor Ads Instead

Different ads appeal to different audiences. If your competitors’ social media and Google Ads are better than yours, you may have to invest more time in crafting the right message in the right medium. Producing PPC ad copy and selecting accompanying visual material that’s search engine optimized and appealing to your audience is an art.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to research what your competitors are doing not to copy but to understand where and how your marketing efforts fit into the greater scheme of things, as well as what you can build upon and improve.

A diverse ad approach enhances brand perception, increases effectiveness, boosts purchase intent, and grows customer trust and loyalty. You might consider the following types of PPC ads on social media, email, and search engines other than Google, for example:

  • Search ads
  • display ads
  • remarketing ads
  • video ads
  • paid social ads
  • shopping ads
  • Gmail sponsored ads

Tip 5: Diversify your ad approach to reach different audience segments in a way that meets them where they are, and appeals to their online habits and buying persona narratives. Baby boomers, for example, are 19% more likely to share content than any other generation, and 58% more likely than millenials to click through to a business’ website from a social media post. Understanding your clients’ habits reveals what types ads to use and where to place them.

6. Law firms Can’t Convert Clicks They Get into New Leads

User experience design is rooted in cognitive and behavioral psychology. Every business website and landing page with a solid user experience design achieves two main purposes; clearly relays to visitors what services or products they offer and convinces visitors to do business with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a home page or blog; every page must encourage visitors to act.

Your law firm website should also be aesthetically pleasing and offer a positive user experience. Nearly 60% of internet searches are conducted on mobile devices, so the site needs to be optimized to work across all devices. Site speed is also important to get right as it affects your Google search results ranking. We’ve all abandoned websites that take too long to load, and you don’t want yours to fall into that category.

There’s no use in having a website that no one can find, which is where search engine optimization (SEO) plays a massive role. Digital marketing contemporary Neil Patel defines SEO as “the process of taking steps to help a website rank high on Google,” so it shows at the top of the page when users search online. This incorporates keyword research and optimizing on-page, off-page, and technical elements to make it easy for search engines to index your website.

Tip 6: Ensure you have a compelling website that’s correctly optimised. At Comrade Web, we have a full development team that can design your perfect website. Because websites are often a clients’ first-port-of-call, it’s crucial to leave a good impression, and sometimes that means hiring experts to help you get it done.

7. Lawyers Get Leads but Fail to Turn Them into Clients

If you’re getting leads from your PPC campaign, but they’re not converting into clients, it could be one of two problems; either they’re not qualified, or your sales team isn’t performing. Some organizations even divide their sales team in two; one part handles existing clients, and another takes care of new business to better manage the sales pipeline.

Of course, because law firms provide specific services, it’s not quite the same, but the point is that you need a sales team that knows how to move quickly and keep leads warm. You may need to review how your team talks to leads and initiate a sales script, as well as integrate a call tracking system like Call Rail so you or your marketing team can track calls.

When reviewing your internal process, think about the following:

  • How do you initiate contact after capturing a lead? Through email or phone?
  • How do you keep track of lead data?
  • Do you keep leads warm through content marketing?

Creating the right processes, so your sales team can move rapidly, is paramount. This applies to all stages of the sales process. While your lead may not be ready to hire your services, you can still follow up with them and ask if they want to be part of your mailing list, which displays good customer service and helps nurture them too. Excellent customer service extracts more value from clients and recoups client acquisition costs through building a loyal client base who recommends your services to others.

Tip 7: Assess and review your sales team’s tactics and operations. Using customer relationship management (CRM) platforms can help automate the processes and optimiste your sales funnel.

8. Attorneys Don’t Know How to Interpret Analytics Correctly to Adjust their PPC Campaigns

When it comes to lawyers PPC analytics, you want to review three mission-critical analytics; click-through rate, conversion rate, and cost per conversion to your PPC advertising success. But, while these are important to understand, the real crux is whether you have the time and resources to execute PPC advertising yourself, and do you really want to?

It’s easier and way more effective to outsource PPC to a marketing agency that has specialists who know what they’re doing. It then becomes their job to interpret the data and report back the following:

  • Overall ROI or ROAS from the campaign
  • Number of clicks
  • Number of conversion MQL’s
  • Number of sales conversions SQL’s
  • What does and doesn’t work
  • Website performance, including weak areas that need improvement
  • Strategies they’re going to implement to move your law firm closer to its digital marketing goals

Remember, it’s your digital marketing team’s job to lead your law firm towards its business objective and not the other way around!

Tip 8: Learn exactly what you need to look at in analytics, as aimless analysis won’t get you anywhere. While you don’t need to know everything, having a basic understanding can help, and also ensures your marketing team can’t bamboozle you.

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Pay-per-click is one of the most rewarding digital marketing strategies that require careful planning and constant monitoring. At Comrade Web, we’ll provide you with the best PPC ROI, whether you need to fine-tune an existing campaign or start from scratch. For the past 12 years, we’ve excelled at converting leads into sales through pay-per-click advertising. Click here to receive an obligation-free PPC & retargeting assessment.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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About the Author
Sasha Berson
Sasha serves as Managing Partner and VP of Client Solutions for Comrade Digital Marketing, a Chicago-based marketing agency dedicated to solving client’s most pressing digital challenges.
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