Paid ads promise lawyers more traffic, more leads, and ultimately, more clients.
While paid advertising does work for some lawyers, it’s not the most effective way to market legal services online because it leads to very high expenses without promising results.
In a digital environment where 56.1% of all ad impressions go unseen, according to Google, lawyers who rely on paid ads to build their online reputation and bring potential clients to their website are making a big mistake.
The Dangers of Paid Ads for Lawyers and Law Firms
Paid ads are not bad in themselves, but they are just not as effective as other marketing strategies for lawyers and law firms. Here is why:
- Ads make the wrong impression. In the legal industry, clients value trust and authority. Ads, unlike informative or educational blog or social media content, do not convey such values. When someone sees an ad for a product, they may act on it and buy that product without much thought. But when it comes to ads for legal services, an ad is seldom enough to persuade someone to use the services of that lawyer of law firm.
- Many people use ad-blockers. Ads are everywhere: online, on television, on the radio, in print, and on the street – and people are sick and tired of them. Advanced ad-blocking technologies are available for free online, and many people use them to enjoy an ad-free online experience.
- Your competitors may deliberately click on your pay-per-click ads, bleeding your marketing budget. This doesn’t happen all the time, but you never know.
- Unscrupulous advertising agencies may click on your ads to create a false sense that your advertising campaign is working. The result can be many ad views or impressions but few new clients.
- Ads are generally more expensive than organic marketing strategies such as content marketing or on-page social media optimization. In the long run, they can be many times more expensive than content marketing, draining you of hundreds or even of thousands of dollars every month.
- Once they consume your marketing budget, ads disappear from the web and won’t leave you with any lasting marketing assets that you can use later on.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Budget
As a private practice lawyer or law firm, the best approach to marketing your legal services online is to create an engaging SEO-optimzied website with a regularly updated blog, and to engage in content marketing, and especially in social media marketing.
This essentially means creating valuable content related to your areas of practice and the cases you work on most frequently and share your insight to build trust and authority. Optimizing your content for local searches, you can attract local clients in a natural and effective way, at a lower cost than running paid ads.
In the end, creating trust is far more important for your law firm than selling your services, which is why you don’t want to put all your marketing hopes in paid ads. If you decide to use ads, use them to complement your content marketing and search engine optimization efforts.