The world of advertising has changed, particularly when it comes to digital formats. Today’s advertising doesn’t bombard people with overtly ‘salesy’ messaging – it can be contextual, relevant, highly targeted, and even helpful. The landscape is constantly changing, though. Here’s what lawyers need to know to navigate the current world of online advertising strategy.
What Is Paid Advertising?
Paid advertising is any type of advertisement that a law firm pays for, as opposed to earned or owned media which are acquired without paying a separate entity.
Paid advertising follows a structure where those that want to advertise their business pay entities like social platforms or Google to participate in real-time auctions, in which advertisers bid for users’ clicks on their ads.
Overall, paid advertising may sound costly, but if done correctly, firms can budget their spending so that they garner a healthy ROI from their ads.
Benefits of Paid Advertising?
Ads Are Affordable
With advertising, you’re able to reach a very targeted audience while keeping track of the money you’ve spent along the way. Law firms can set daily and total budgets to ensure they don’t spend too much.
Alongside that, the creation process for ads is also pretty simple. Graphics and copy for ads can easily be created in a short amount of time, and these ads can last you for a while, as opposed to organic social media pages which have to be updated constantly.
Better Targeting Options
Paid advertising allows for specific and granulated targeting. Through paid ads, your law firm can easily reach the right people by targeting visitors based on demographics, brand interest, personas, etc.
In the end, this means you’ll waste less money, as those you’re targeting are more likely to convert.
Paid ads are also easily and highly measurable. You won’t have to guess your ROI, how much money you’ve spent, or whether any visitors were converted. And you won’t need to leverage high-tech assets to do so, as most paid advertising avenues will tell you the money spent, click-through rate, clicks, and conversions right on the platform.
Once a visitor has interacted with your ad, you can easily run a retargeting campaign. This type of campaign offers an opportunity to target promising leads and move them down the sales funnel with new content/ offers. Since your initial ads will allow you to easily view each lead’s actions, you can identify and retarget the “warm” leads who would be easiest to convert this time around.
How to Advertise Online
A whopping 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. That means online advertising is a great channel for getting in front of your desired audience. To advertise effectively, start with your target audience in mind. Think about who you want to reach and ways that feel natural for placing your message in their path.
Savvy web advertisers begin by performing research to see where their target audience spends the most time. Research their most-used social media channels and most-searched keywords. From here, translate these insights into both organic and paid marketing formats.
Not all forms of online marketing cost money. Keep in mind that social media in general is free. Creating a page and content for platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram won’t require an investment. However, pay-per-click is often worth your time and money when it comes to online channels. Experts agree that there is a relationship between PPC and organic efforts, with paid advertising supporting organic strategies in the following ways:
- Brand awareness is increased because your firm will be promoted to people inside and outside your network.
- You can better understand (and target) your audiences by leveraging the analytics that paid platforms provide.
- Understanding what ad content is resonating with paid tactics can guide you in refining and optimizing other parts of your marketing strategy.
The bottom line of any advertising strategy is that you want to get a positive return on investment (ROI). That means it’s critical to understand the bidding system used by ad networks. The bidding system works like an auction, with your bid being the maximum amount of money you’re willing to pay for the desired action on your ad. At the same time, ad networks have limited space, and so they rely on these bids to determine whose ad will be displayed at any given time. The highest bidder wins. That being said, keep in mind that each ad network will only make you pay the lowest amount possible to win the bid. There is certainly a science to understanding keywords, effective bidding strategy, and optimizing campaigns. It often makes sense to consult with an expert when you’re starting out. Doing so can ensure you make the most of your budget and get the results you’re hoping for instead of wasting time and resources.
Types of Online Advertising
So what is the best platform to advertise on? That depends on a number of factors, but first, you should know what your options are.
1. Social Media Advertising
This platform has a tremendous audience, while at the same time offering methods to reach a highly targeted audience. Most channels offer a variety of ad formats, allowing you to tailor your efforts to your goals. You can try:
- Facebook (Using three types of audiences: core, custom, or lookalike). You can choose from photo, video, Story, or lead ads, and you can also advertise through Facebook Messenger.
- Instagram – By promoting posts or stories within Instagram you are combining efforts with Facebook to promote on both platforms.
- LinkedIn tends to be highly relevant to lawyers. Marketers can advertise through targeted message campaigns. (Related: The Law Firm Guide to LinkedIn Advertising eBook.)
- Twitter is less used for paid advertising, but ads can still be effective. Twitter designs advertising programs around goals like awareness or follows.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine (after Google), so it can be highly effective to target demographic information and interests with advertising on the platform.
- Snapchat is more popular with a younger demographic and can offer a few ad types including augmented reality (AR) lenses.
- TikTok is newer and gaining in popularity every day. Their advertising options are limited.
2. Paid Search Advertising
Often, people searching online are looking for something specific and will click on the first result they see. In most cases, this is a paid advertisement. Search ads appear first on the search engine results page above organic results. By anticipating the wants and needs of your target audience, you can serve them highly contextual ads. Over time, the analytics of these advertising efforts can help with other content-creation efforts as well. Most advertising in this space falls into two categories:
- Brand – A word or phrase that includes your firm’s name or variations of it.
- Non-brand – Relevant keywords that don’t contain your firm’s name but are related to your services.
3. Native Advertising
Certain publishers are able to consistently create content that resonates with their followers. One way they make money is by helping other companies do it too. Posts or videos that are created following this publisher’s successful formula are called native advertising. These publishers then distribute the advertising content to their audience and on social platforms. Generally speaking, native advertising feels “right at home” with the other content published on these platforms.
4. Display Advertising
This type of advertising has become controversial in recent years. In the past, some advertisers used misleading tactics to get people to click on ads, which caused many people to download ad blockers and take other measures to prevent seeing these ads. On the other hand, display advertising has evolved and now uses machine learning and data to offer more relevant advertising. The most common ad networks available are Google Display Network and Facebook’s Audience Network.
Paid Advertising Tips
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, timely)
- Define your target audience right away, and use those insights to create ideal client profiles This will dictate your campaign
- Use this free guide to get started with creating an ideal client profile: A Law Firm’s Guide to Creating an Ideal Client Profile
- Use organic post-performance to help dictate your ad campaign, its copy, its CTA, and its graphics
- Consider running a cross-platform strategy so you can target different audiences and leverage different features
- Always retarget after you’ve warmed some leads
- Optimize your landing pages for conversions by having a goal in mind, optimizing for mobile, not having a cluttered design, tracking analytics, and testing new elements
Hopefully, this post has taught you plenty about the types of online advertising that are available – but there’s a lot more to learn. The next step is to learn how to leverage the right ads for your firm in order to achieve your unique goals. Want to use online advertising to draw in leads at your firm? Start by having a conversation with our paid advertising experts today.
This post has been edited and republished from Dec. 29, 2021.