Pay-per-Lead Versus Pay-per-Click Marketing for Attorneys
The legal industry is more competitive now than ever, and to have a constant pool of clients, your law firm needs a solid marketing plan. Two popular tactics to generate prospective clients for your law firm are pay-per-lead (PPL) and pay-per-click (PPC) — but what’s the difference?
Both options are effective ways to increase your law firm’s online visibility, drive traffic to your website, and generate leads. However, if you have a limited budget, you may have to choose between the two.
Deciding which one is right for you depends on your marketing budget, your skillset, your goals, and how involved you want to be in your online advertising. Read on to understand the difference between pay-per-lead and pay-per-click, their pros and cons, and how each can fit into your marketing approach.
Law Firm Lead Generation
The purpose of any online marketing campaign for a law firm is to generate leads, improve reputation, and get a leg up on the competition.
What’s a lead?
A lead is a person or an organization that has shown interest in using your legal service. This can be by applying for a free consultation, making an inquiry, or joining your email list. Once you have their contact info, you can follow up with them and convert them into clients.
Pay-per-Lead Versus Pay-per-Click Marketing for Attorneys
PPL is an advertising model where you only pay for a lead successfully generated by a third party. In other words, you only pay when appropriate prospects for your practice submit their contact information. The contact information can be as short as an email address or phone number, or as detailed as a filled-out consultation form.
If you have yet to build a digital presence for your law firm, a legal pay-per-lead service is often a good place to start. By leveraging the third parties’ marketing expertise, you can have a pool of prospects who may have never heard about you sent your way. PPL also makes sense for established practices seeking to boost the volume of leads they receive.
PPC is an advertising model where an ad buyer pays for each click their ad gets, and the price is usually set by bidding. Google and Meta (Facebook, Instagram, et. al.) are the major providers of PPC advertising. In purchasing PPC ads, you’re taking advantage of the fact that many legal consumers turn to search engines when they’re looking for legal services.
Advantages of PPL
Predictable advertising cost
In many advertising strategies, you often cannot predict how much it will cost you to achieve a specific result or get your target audience to take a specific action. But, in PPL, you pay a specific amount for every lead you get. Not only that, but your return on investment with PPL is easily tracked. So if you’re buying leads for $100 per lead, and your average case is worth 100k, and it takes you 20 leads on average to convert a lead into a new client, your ROI on this example would be 4,900%.
Although there’s no guarantee that you will be able to convert any given lead into a client, you know how much a lead will cost.
Leverage expert knowledge
Running successful advertising requires a specific skillset that you may not have as an attorney, like writing marketing copy and researching SEO keywords to target the right prospects. You will either have to develop those skills or employ an in-house team that can. With PPL, the providers do all the heavy marketing lifting for you, and you only pay for the results they generate.
In PPL advertising, the leads received have indicated an interest in the legal services you provide. Because they are pre-qualified leads that meet your set criteria, you already have some information about them, which can help convert them to clients faster.
Effective marketing channels
With PPL, you don’t have to go through trial and error to discover what works. You can simply tap into marketing channels and platforms that deliver quality leads.
Disadvantages of PPL
No opportunity to understand your market
Every advertising campaign you run helps you gather marketing intelligence and gain deeper insights into your market. When you understand your market’s pain points and its evolving needs, you’re able to connect more with potential clients. Depending on which PPL company you use, you might be handed contacts without learning about the state of the legal industry.
Advantages of PPC
When you have the skills, PPC ads are relatively easy to set up. A successful PPC campaign can start bringing a return on investment as soon as it is up and running. You can start generating more traffic to your website and more leads as soon as possible. Over time, the increased traffic to your website from PPC can lead to higher organic rankings.
With PPC, you have control over your campaigns: you (or your vendor) is in charge of the keywords you bid for and the marketing messages used to attract clients. This way, you can ensure that you’re attracting the right kind of clients you want to work with.
You can also monitor your campaigns’ performances and adjust them to be more successful. From there, you can scale up immediately or can take a break and re-strategize if you’re not seeing the results you want.
Complements other marketing channels
Your law firm marketing strategy should go beyond PPL and PPC to other marketing tactics, like content marketing. As you develop your content strategy and plan your content calendar, PPC can help amplify what you’re doing and bring it to a larger audience.
Provides retargeting opportunity
No website visitor generated by a PPC campaign is a waste, even if you might not convert them right away. Sometimes, people don’t need your legal services just yet, but they may need them later. PPC gives you the ability to retarget them. Retargeting means showing your ads to people that have visited your website. With retargeting, you have a higher chance of converting them because they are already familiar with your law firm.
Disadvantages of PPC
Fiercely competitive & expensive
Keywords related to the legal industry have some of the highest costs per click (CPC). Many keywords are above $100, and some have gone as high as $770. It may be tough to find a keyword that’s priced economically, and those with the means to pay even more for the select keyword will edge you out.
Requires time to manage
You can’t set up a PPC campaign and go to sleep. You must closely monitor it to see what’s working and what’s not working. You have to test ad copy, design, and keywords to find your winning formula. Setting up a PPC campaign requires you to:
- Ensure your website complies with the PPC platform standards
- Write ad copy for the sales funnel
- Design your creatives
- Optimize your website for conversion and speed
No guaranteed result
People clicking on your link does not guarantee that they will perform the action you want them to. A lot of skill and testing is required to run successful PPC campaigns.
Should Your Law Firm Use PPL or PPC?
PPL and PPC are two marketing tactics that can quickly deliver leads for your law firm. The key difference between them is that with PPL, a third party does the marketing for you, whereas, with PPC, you are involved in the entire advertising process, and you’ll need skills to do so.
Your advertising strategy should comprise both short-term plans and long-term plans — know what you’re doing to get clients now as well as what you will be doing to ensure a system that attracts clients to you years later. Both PPL and PPC can get the clients your law firm needs to grow while building your digital presence and long-term marketing plan, but what’s right for you may vary drastically in comparison to someone who has more time to devote to marketing.
Martindale-Avvo: Your Guide to Law Firm Marketing
Ready to generate a high volume of qualified leads without compromising on quality? Our pay-per-lead program with Martindale-Nolo can help you get started.