The terms “lawyer” and “attorney” are the two most expensive keywords on Bing, costing over $100 per click for searches such as personal injury lawyer and criminal DUI attorney.

And that’s just Bing, which is typically less expensive than AdWords. On AdWords, it’s not uncommon to find law firms spending upwards of $50,000 per month on PPC.

Paid advertising is an integral part of your law firm’s success, but there has to be a better way to market your message without spending tens of thousands of dollars each month.

Yes, there is.

Here are 3 tips you can implement today to lower your overall paid marketing efforts, without compromising the impact of your ads.

1. Please don’t forget your geo-targeting!

We get a lot of law firms turning to us to help them rein in their PPC spending. One of the first things we look for – and notice – is that many of these law firms are targeting audiences throughout the state, even if they have just one or two offices in very specific locations.

Geography is a crucial part of your ad management, because most, if not all, of your clients will not travel further than they need to.

We recommend doing some due diligence to determine what radius makes the most sense for you to advertise on. Consider the demographics of the location – do most folks have cars or do they rely on public transportation? Are there major highways that connect your law office to various towns and cities?

Each location is different, but on average you shouldn’t expect to attract clients who have travel an hour to get to your firm.

We also suggest that if you have multiple offices that you separate these into their own campaigns. This will allow you to target your ads as accurately as possible.

To set up your location targeting in AdWords, go to the Settings tab, then to the Locations. Select the city, region, or postal code you’re targeting. If you want to get even more granular, you can click on Advanced Search to target by radius.

2. Factor in Intent and Readiness

When it comes to increasing the return on investment for your ads, relevancy is everything. Hiring a lawyer can be extremely research-intensive for a person looking to sue someone, but can be an instant decision for someone looking to hire a DUI lawyer.

You need to target your ads appropriately, based on where your audience is in their customer journey.

For example, if someone Google’s “Do I Need a DUI Attorney for the First Offense,” an extremely effective ad might be like the third one you see below: First DUI Offense in WA?

This ad speaks directly to the intent of the searcher – they aren’t necessarily looking to hire a DUI lawyer. They want to know if they even need one to begin with. The wording of this ad will likely inspire them to click on.

So, what can you do to build your ads around the intent and readiness of your audience? Structure your account to ensure that your keywords, ads, and landing pages match what the searcher’s intent is.

In our example above, the First DUI Offense in WA ad doesn’t lead to a particularly relevant landing page. It’s a generic landing page with a hard sell for the firm’s services. As a result, there’s a good chance the ad won’t deliver a qualified lead – the searcher might bounce out of the page. Remember, he or she is merely looking to see if they need an attorney. The ideal landing page for this search phrase would answer that question for the searcher in simple terms.

Then, on that landing page, the searcher could be encouraged to contact the law firm to learn more about the process of hiring a DUI lawyer.

3. A $100 phone call is worth much more than a $100 click

Your law firm needs a system in place to capture phone calls, whether it be through desktop landing pages or call-only mobile ads.

That’s because a phone call is worth so much more than a click to a website. Phone calls come from leads that are further down the sales funnel – folks who want to talk to a lawyer now.

How can you drive more phone calls to your law office using PPC?

First and foremost, set up call-only campaigns. These recently made campaign formats help push calls to your firm if someone is searching on a mobile device. What they do is replace the ad headline (that normally directs to a landing page) with a phone number, as seen on the first ad below:

This removes the often unnecessary step of visiting a landing page from the equation. Instead, the searcher is connected directly to an actual person (perhaps even an attorney!).

You’ll also want to set up call extensions, which provide another way for your phone number to be featured on SERPs:

The two ads featured above have their phone numbers featured in extensions. When clicked on, the user can call the number directly.

You should also have a 24/7 answering service in place. During off-hours, calls can be routed to a call center, where employees are trained to follow a script (if the call is urgent, there’s always an attorney on-call).

Pro tip: If you don’t have the budget for a massive paid search campaign, we suggest advertising on mobile only. You may not reach as many prospects this way, however, you’re also more likely to reach people ready to convert.

The most important PPC takeaway for law firms

PPC may not be the same as navigating the intricacies of law; however, it’s also not something you should dive into without proper education. Take the time to understand paid search before you build your first campaign. Better yet, turn to a trusted agency or firm with the reputation of building paid search campaigns for law firms.

When crafted properly, your paid search ads can land you the clients you’re most interested in working with.