The dilemmas of law firm pay-per-click advertising

PPC advertising for law firmsIn a previous blog article, we talked about whether or not pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is an instant jolt for law firms.  After all, many marketing companies are pushing PPC advertising on law firms.  Some of these same marketing companies literally work with multiple law firms that practice in the same area of law — in the same market — with their PPC advertising.

This is an interesting dynamic because these companies literally have multiple clients that they are working with who are bidding against each other online.  In legal land, this would be a conflict of interest that would be prohibited.  But in marketing land, this is apparently acceptable.  And, quite ironically, many law firms are glad to hire the same company that is doing PPC for their top competitors.

As more and more competitor law firm get into PPC advertising in the same market, the price of the clicks goes up to stay on page one.  As the price of the clicks go up, guess who benefits?  Usually, the marketing company that is doing the PPC advertising for the law firms.  And if one law firm decides to bow out of PPC, usually, another law firm is willing to jump in — at least for a while until they decide to bow out.

Why law firms are okay with this, and why law firms don’t see the conflict of interest, is frankly pretty befuddling.  Many marketing companies work with multiple law firms on their webpage itself.  But where advertising dollars are literally flying on PPC advertising on a daily basis, the ranking of a law firm online becomes dependent upon who gives the marketing company more money.

At the end of the day, pay-per-click advertising can have some positive effects.  For law firms that have deep pockets, and who want to blitz a particular market, pay-per-click advertising can have effect of getting the word out quickly, just like radio or television advertising.

The issue is if you ever end up having enough of the PPC advertising, what will you have to show for it?  Like a tenant who rents a house, if you don’t renew the lease, you have to find someplace new to live.  And you haven’t built up your equity in anything.  It’s the same with PPC advertising.

If a law firm stops feeding the monster, this literally results in a law firm’s past marketing dollars going up in flames.  So, for all the money spent on the PPC marketing, there is nothing of any value sustaining.  There is no equity.  There is nothing built up.

While PPC marketing is here to stay, law firms really should really think long and hard about making PPC advertising their singular advertising approach.  Law firms need to think of ways to build up equity (figuratively speaking) with their advertising dollars.

Law firms should also be skeptical of marketing companies who are running PPC for multiple law firms — where the same marketing company has multiple clients of their own bidding against each other for top spots in the same market.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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