Pay per Lead Versus Pay per Click Marketing for Attorneys

PPC, pay per click, ad campaign

The legal industry is more competitive now than ever. To have a constant pool of clients, your law firm needs to have a solid marketing plan. Pay per lead (PPL) and pay per click (PPC) are two marketing tactics you can adopt to generate leads for your law firm. 

Both options, when done right, are effective ways to increase your law firm’s online visibility, drive traffic to your website, and generate leads. If you have a limited budget, however, 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 will fit into your marketing approach.

Law Firm Lead Generation

The purpose of any online marketing campaign for a law firm is to generate leads. 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

Pay per lead 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.  Pay per lead also makes sense for established practices seeking to boost the volume of leads they receive.

Pay per click (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 (formerly called Facebook) are 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 Pay per Lead

Pay per lead has the following benefits:

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 pay per lead, you pay a specific amount for every lead you get. 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 you.

Leverage expert knowledge

Running successful advertising requires specific skill sets that you may not have as an attorney, like writing marketing copy and doing keyword research to target the right prospects. You will either have to develop those skills yourselves or employ an in-house team that can. With pay per lead, the providers do all the heavy marketing lifting for you, and you only pay for the results they generate.

Qualified leads

In pay per lead advertising, the leads you get are people that have indicated an interest in the legal services you provide. Because they are pre-qualified leads that meet your criteria, you already have some information about them, which can help you convert them to clients faster.

Effective marketing channels

With pay per lead, 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 Pay per Lead

Although using pay per lead offers some benefits, it has its drawbacks. They include:

Low-quality leads

In pay per lead, you’re not in control of the quality of the leads you get. Some providers prioritize quantity over quality. Besides that, some lead providers send the same lead to multiple law firms, so you might find yourself competing with other firms to convert that lead. A way to avoid this is to work with reputable providers who send you quality leads based on your predetermined parameters.

Leads may not be nurtured

You need to get a prospect to know, like, and trust you. With pay per lead, you are contacting leads that you have built no rapport with. An attorney-client relationship requires a high level of trust for it to work, and you may have to work harder to establish that trust.

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. In pay per lead, you’re just handed contacts, which means you don’t need to learn anything about the state of the market.

Advantages of Pay per Click

Fast results

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. 

More control

With PPC, you have more control over your campaigns. You or your vendor is in charge of the keywords you bid for and the marketing messages you are using to attract clients. This way, you can ensure that you’re attracting the kind of clients you want to work with.

You can also monitor your campaigns’ performances and adjust them to perform better. When you have a successful campaign, you can scale up immediately, and you can take a break and re-strategize when 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 don’t 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 Pay per Click

Fiercely competitive

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.

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. 

When 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 all the marketing for you, whereas, with PPC, you are involved in the entire advertising process, and you need some skill sets to do so.

If you want the opportunity to be involved in your lead generation and learn more about your market, PPC is a good choice. But, if you’d rather just follow up on leads, go with PPL.

Your advertising strategy should comprise both short-term plans and long-term plans — you should know what you’re doing to get clients now and what you will be doing to ensure that, years down the line, you have built a system that attracts clients to you. Both PPL and PPC are great tactics to get the clients your law firm needs to grow while building your digital presence and long-term marketing plan.

Martindale-Avvo: Your Guide to Law Firm Marketing

Ready to run a successful pay per click campaign or generate a high volume of qualified leads without compromising on quality? Our pay per click service and pay per lead program can help you get started.

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