Creating a PPC Account – Setup, Ad Groups, Ads, and Keywords

If you still wish to embark on this journey, perhaps the easiest and quickest way to get your hands dirty is through PPC advertising. PPC advertising denotes bidding on certain keywords and having custom ads appears (i.e., sponsored listings) for those searches. Each time your ad is clicked, you incur a charge (hence, “pay-per-click”). PPC advertising has become a mainstay of any internet campaign on account of its usability and ability to generate swift results. Setting up a PPC account is relatively simple. With a few clicks and some basic configuration, your site can start appearing for targeted terms within minutes.

Time to delve in. You have just designed a stunningly sleek website for your law firm and cannot wait to start receiving leads. You navigate to one of the major search engines (e.g., Google, Bing) and set up an advertising account for your firm. After creating the account and providing a method of payment, you will enter your site’s URL and the name of the ad group you wish to create.

Think of an ad group as a thematic grouping of related keywords. For this example, let’s call the ad group Disability Lawyer. Thus, all of the words within this group should be semantic variations of “disability lawyer.” Next, you will write an ad for your ad group. Again, multiple ads are allowed, but only one is required. A sample text ad may look something like this:

Boston Social Security Attorney Have you been denied disability benefits? Get free case evaluation today!

This ad contains a title, call-to-action, and display URL. Remember, your ad will be competing with many others, so it is imperative to render your copy as appealing as possible. The search engines reward high-performing ads, that is, those with high clickthrough-rates (CTR), by moving them to more attractive positions on the page.

Your ad will never appear unless you populate the ad group with some keywords. Some keywords might include: disability lawyer
social security disability lawyer
social security lawyer
disability benefits lawyer

Next, you will be asked to designate a match type. This may be slightly confusing, but bear with us. Three principal match types exist: broad, exact, and phrase. Broad match allows your ad to show when either the keyword itself or similar phrases and variations are searched. Setting social security disability lawyer to a broad match type may result in your ad showing for social security disability lawyer, social security disability attorney, disability benefits lawyer, or any other similar search term. While broad match is ideal for those seeking as many clicks as possible, you must be careful because you could end up paying for irrelevant traffic. For example, with the above keywords, your ad may appear for terms like lawyer, attorney, or social security disability. While the number of visitors to your site may increase with such a configuration, much of the traffic will be untargeted and thus needlessly increase your cost-per-signed case. In short, CPC novices should beware of broad match types.

Exact match does what the name suggests: Ads appear only for searches that match your keywords exactly. Unless the exact search term is entered (capitalization ignored), your ad will not appear. Exact match is highly recommended when starting a new PPC campaign, as it will allow you to hone in on the high-performing keywords.

Phrase match represents a combination of the previous two match types. With phrase match, ads appear for searches that contain a specific phrase. If disability lawyer were set to phrase match, your ad would be eligible to appear for disability lawyer boston, disability lawyer social security, or disability lawyer help, as all of these variations contain the phrase “disability lawyer.”

Again, when first starting your PPC campaign, it is advised to use only exact match types and to add additional keywords gradually. This will prevent your campaign from spiraling out of control and wasting money. As you gain more experience with PPC advertising, both phrase and broad match types can be leveraged to increase site traffic significantly.

Keyword Match Types

Broad match keyword Ads eligible to show for
computer software computer
buy computer software

Phrase match keyword Ads eligible to show for Ads won’t show for
“computer software” cheap computer software software for computer
new computer software computer program

Exact match keyword Ads eligible to show for Ads won’t show for
[computer software] computer software cheap computer software
need software

You can now devote your attention to the finer details of your campaign, which include managing budgets, ad scheduling, targeting geographic locations and more. While there is no single preferred configuration, it is crucial to read through each setting carefully and to verify that the overall campaign architecture corresponds to your advertising goals. The keys to success with PPC advertising are thorough data analysis, experimentation, and patience.

While it is certainly possible to create a successful PPC campaign from scratch, you should proceed with caution, as it often proves quite easy to exhaust a large portion of your budget within a short amount of time. Further, depending on the terms on which you are bidding, national advertisers may possess the upper hand in acquiring more leads at a lower cost. Thus, before delving in too deeply, conduct the appropriate amount of research and do not be afraid to defer to experts for your PPC and other lead generation needs.

The Organic Abyss – SEO

In stark contrast to PPC advertising and sponsored listings stands the organic position of your website. Unlike PPC, where your site’s position on the page is heavily influenced by your campaign spending limit and keyword bids, organic listings are completely independent of sponsored ads and denote the search engine’s rating of how relevant your site is to a particular search term. You can usually distinguish organic and sponsored results by the background color and page placement of the link. On Google, for example, sponsored results appear both on the top of the page with a beige background or on the right-hand side. Most web neophytes do not realize this, namely, that the results directly below the top sponsored ones are most relevant to their search.

You may then ask yourself: “Why would I ever use PPC advertising? Organic traffic is free.” Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Achieving a competitive organic position can take months or even years of link building, content addition, and constant optimization, resulting in a significant finanicial investment. However, in the event you are able to obtain a coveted organic position, you can hedge against PPC price fluctuations and work toward the long-term success of your lead generation campaign.

Beware of pricy SEO “experts,” who guarantee organic presence within days or weeks of contracting them. Many charlatans permeate this space, and in consonance with the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Link building and content addition are constant, long-term processes, and shortcuts will at most result in temporary performance.

Third Party Lead Generation. Yea or Nay?

Okay, you have managed to wrap your mind around internet lead generation, PPC advertising, and organic search. Now comes the hard part: implementation.

It is quite probable that at some point during your tenure as a Social Security lawyer you have been contacted by a lead generation company. These companies are ubiquitous, often generate thousands of leads per week, and regularly contact lawyers and other business owners across the country. While some companies offer quality services and products, the vast majority will try to lure you in with bargain prices.

Assuming you find a reputable company, there are some advantages to working with a third-party lead generator. Most evidently, a quality lead generation company will eliminate almost all the headaches from the lead generation process and provide a near complete hands-off solution to your case augmentation needs. You simply select a territory, set a budget, and watch the leads arrive in your inbox. You will still need to establish an efficient lead follow-up system, but at least you will have eliminated one of the most difficult aspects of growing your Social Security practice: generating the actual leads.

Working with a lead generation service is rarely a bed of roses. In fact, unless you’re dealing with a respectable company, you may find yourself entrenched in an interminable nightmare. However, even with a great company, you should consider the disadvantages of third-party services.

When buying leads from a third-party provider, you are choosing to outsource one of the most pivotal parts of growing your business. As you continue to buy more leads and hire employees, you increase your exposure to and reliance on third-party companies. What if your principal lead provider goes out of business? What if they institute an egregious price increase? Suddenly, you may be forced to pay more for your leads and thereby reduce your profitability or to impede your expansion efforts. While neither of these scenarios is terribly probable, you should still examine their likelihood before committing significant capital to a single lead generator.

In an ideal world, you would generate as many leads as you desire at a cost-effective price without dependence upon a third-party. Generating leads in-house may offer freedom and peace of mind, but you may throw away thousands of dollars trying to figure out the process. Further, it may never be feasible for smaller firms, as large lead generators have the resources and budget to generate leads in higher volumes and at lower costs. Nevertheless, if you are still inclined to pursue in-house lead generation, perhaps the best strategy would be to use a third-party initially and slowly reduce your third-party reliance as your own efforts begin producing profitable results.

Given the disproportionate ratio of bad lead generation companies to good ones, we deemed it best to provide some helpful tips when rating a potential service.

Do they specialize in Social Security Disability?

Most lead generators do not have experience with Social Security Disability leads. In fact, only a handful do. Thus, it is advisable to stick with companies who have a track record within this industry.

Beware of Minimums and Retainers.

Some companies will sell you leads only if you commit to a weekly or monthly budget. While this may not affect a national firm, it can cripple the advertising budget of small firm or sole practitioner. Perform your due diligence and work with the company that seems to coincide best with your firm’s needs.

Lastly, be dubious of retainers. A company may require payment of an upfront retainer and still offer a great deal, but this is often not the case.

Lead Exclusivity

This is huge. Make sure that the leads you are buying are being sent only to your firm. A company may offer leads at $5 per lead but send them to ten different lawyers. Since attorney’s fees in Social Security cases are mandated by federal law, most firms will offer the same rates and features, thereby diminishing the appeal of non-exclusive leads. Further, a company offering non-exclusive leads is a telltale sign of their unfamiliarity with Social Security law.

Real-time Leads

Real-time leads are pivotal to building a profitable advertising campaign. Many people looking for help online will fill out contact forms on multiple websites. Thus, unless the leads are delivered to your inbox immediately after form submission, their value diminishes drastically, as another attorney could have already made contact before you. Stale leads are useless.

In summary, when dealing with third-party lead generators, remember the following:

  • Specialization
    • Some companies specialize in leads that have nothing to do with Social Security law and have only recently begun selling them. Inquire about the company’s background and experience in the market.
  • Beware of Minimums and Upfront Retainers
    • These are far from necessary and should be acceptable only when a service offers an enticing cost-quality combination.
  • Lead Exclusivity
    • Beware of those selling leads to multiple firms. They usually lure you in with low-cost leads, often being cryptic about the fact that the leads are sold to more than attorney.
  • Real-time Leads
    • Demand “live,” real-time leads. It’s that simple.

While these tips are by no means comprehensive, they should provide a solid foundation for exploring third-party lead generation. Whether you elect in-house efforts or a third-party lead generator, do your homework and do not rush into anything. Careful planning and willingness to adapt to the market will dictate your firm’s lasting success with internet leads.

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