With many law firms having their Local Service Ads approval process underway (mostly waiting for the background check to come through – an arguably meaningless process considering regulatory efforts from state and local bars), many lawyers are now wondering what kind of budget they should expect to have, and what else they can be doing to prepare for one of the coveted top 3 spots.
We have to acknowledge the fact that once people start getting approval, especially in competitive markets, there could potentially be dozens of firms committed to the program, and the majority will never benefit from it because either the required spend per lead is prohibitive to their budget, and/or the organic components of placement (responsiveness, proximity, and reviews) are not sufficient for their ads being served. While responsiveness will not be a criteria that can even be included until the ads are live and the law firms access the leads, proximity will be one to decipher, as the program allows you to select your geography. This insinuates that your main office location should not be the most determinant factor in the proximity component.
Getting the Most from Your Google Screened Local Service Ads
One factor that law firms can definitely get behind the ball on is reviews. We have exhaustive resources on the importance of reviews (especially on Google), best practices on how to get them, handling negative reviews, and how to leverage them for all of your marketing. Since the LSAs will pull in reviews from your GMB account, this is yet another head-to-head situation when it comes to differentiating yourself from other results, like the 3-pack of maps results. Much like the listing that has the most reviews often times gets the most clicks, you can venture to guess the same thing will often happen for those top 3 results.
While we could dedicate plenty of time talking solely about the importance of reviews within the Local Service Ads, there are also other factors that will assist with click-through rates, and it makes me recall for the first time best practices when it comes to your listing within a directory. Namely, because of a headshot. It isn’t surprising that consumers will click on certain ads based off of the appearance of the lawyer, so I’d advise doing incremental changes to your ads (if they are consistently in the top 3), to see what results in more leads.
Other minute factors you’ll find within Local Service Ads will also be:
- Number of years in business
- If you’re setting up the ad to represent the firm as the whole firm, or an individual attorney
- Hours of availability. See below – each attorney set their hours to standard business hours, likely 9-5. The attorney that had staff on-call, a call center etc. would be open, effectively getting all leads after hours and on weekends. Keep that in mind – 24 hour availability in some situations positions you to receive leads for more than double the amount of time your competition says they’re available.
- Local numbers vs. vanity numbers.
While we don’t have to scramble to augment and perfect our ads as much as traditional Google Ads to avoid wasted money on clicks, we do want to take the time to ensure they stand out as much as possible to get leads much sooner than later.
Some Advantages of Getting Local Service Ads Set Up as a Law Firm
The first law firms to market will likely get an influx of quality leads at a reasonable price point, until the auction markets that be create the demand that pushes costs up, immediately making leads cost-prohibitive to plenty of firms. This may also weaken the ROI for firms that have the marketing budgets for these campaigns, but that may not see the value of them if the leads end up being a waste of time or money. This is always a possibility since you’re not actively bidding on specific keywords; instead, you are selecting your practice area categories and sub-categories and entrusting Google to show the Local Service Ads to people that have a high likelihood of intent.
As much as I’d like to revisit the importance of reviews, we have acknowledged plenty of other factors that will more than likely contribute to the success of an LSA campaign. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic back in May, we saw a surge in the expectations people had for the Google reviews of professional services. At its peak, people were expecting:
- An average Google rating of 4.1
- A minimum of almost 40 reviews
Fortunately, those numbers have come back down to earth, with respondents reporting that a 3.8 Google rating is appropriate along with a minimum of 18 reviews. Nevertheless, you’ll only be as good as the lawyers you’re juxtaposed against in the Local Service Ads.
Below, I asked 250 people which ad they would select from these three Google Screened Local Service Ads if they hypothetically needed the legal assistance of an estate planning attorney in San Diego.
The results were as follows:
I plan on doing a few more sample scenarios, since we can’t judge the most pertinent qualities from one survey alone. We did get specific feedback on why people selected certain ones, though, which will help us paint a picture of what can help your own LSAs be as competitive as they can be.
Top Reasons for 1
- Had the most reviews (by far most answered)
- Looks the most accurate
- First one on the list
Top Reasons for 2
- 20 Years in Business
- Google Screened (yes, 1 has this as well and wasn’t mentioned)
Top Reasons for 3
- Is ‘Open Now’
- The name of the law firm “Pacific Coast Trust” sounds, well, trustworthy
- Has a perfect 5.0 rating
I would have actually thought 3 would have had more respondents than 2 with the review rating, but the absence of the Google Screened and the Years in Business seems to have had enough of an impact to place it in third.
It is evident that there are plenty of features and components within your control (to an extent) to encourage the highest level of click-throughs and in turn, leads for your campaign.
You won’t have to have 30 years in business and/or 100 5-star reviews to stand out in your region. You just have to be a little bit better than the ads that will go live around you.
Local Service Ads for Lawyers in 2021?
As it turns out, Local Service ads have indeed had a big impact on the lead generation of many businesses, including law firms. When we first started doing surveys for LSAs back in August, about 10% of respondents felt like they could use this new Google feature to find a reliable professional service. Since then, the number has doubled to 20%, and is starting to edge out Google Ads in many markets.
That being said, Google Ads still allows you to specifically target keywords you want, with LSAs almost feeling like a “free for all” in some instances. Either way, this is a prominent listing that will remain for years to come – it is just a matter of time before we find out if escalating costs per lead are going to eventually become cost-prohibitive.
New to Google Screened Local Service Ads?
To make the most of Google’s latest feature, it’s imperative to get started with Local Service Ads right away. The sooner you do, the better a position you could secure. For law firms especially, this is a prime opportunity to take advantage of the novelty of LSAs to attract low-cost leads.
Visit our blog for some Q&A on Google Screened LSAs.
At Market My Market, we’ve already started the process of setting up local service ads for qualified clients. If you’re eager to learn more about Google Screened LSAs, talk to us for a free consultation with our legal marketing team. We can also walk you through the initial setup via video consultation:
Feel free to use the following link to book a time:
Don’t miss your chance to shine!