Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Simply put, Search Engine Marketing is where a business uses search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo to get Internet users to visit their sites when users are searching for specific terms. These search terms are generally related to the products and services the businesses are offering.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) are two different Search Engine marketing methods (SEM). Used in combination, they provide very effective results. SEO is generally a long-term approach, but PPC can be used as a short term or seasonal marketing strategy.
So, how does Search Engine marketing help a business like a law firm?
Let’s suppose your law firm is challenged with generating qualified leads at a reasonable cost. If your traditional approach of attending networking events, advertising on radio, Yellowpages, and print, etc., is not delivering the results you are expecting, you may want to continue reading!
The cool thing about SEM is that you don’t have to pitch or solicit unqualified and cold leads. You show up on the radar (or search results in this case) of prospects when they’re actively looking for your services! When the prospects pursue you, you have a much better chance of getting their business. Statistics indicate that the average conversion rate is over 2.35% for SEO and 3.75% for PPC. With optimized landing pages, the conversion can be over 5% for both PPC and SEO.
Inbound marketing, where a random prospect that is searching for your services comes across your business on the Internet and becomes your client, is an ideal situation. Sounds perfect, right? But how does this work, and is this practical?
Let’s say that you or your firm serves people seeking personal injury-related legal services in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Assuming your website is optimized for SEO when people search for personal injury attorneys or related services (depending on the optimized keywords), your name/law-firm shows up at the top of search results. However, if you have not optimized your site, competing law-firms are most likely to be at the top of the search results, and are more likely to get a call from these prospects!
For both SEO and PPC, you need to have a professionally created website with great content. Having an intuitive, easily navigable, and fast website is a start. Website content needs to have appropriate keywords and backlinks, but the most important thing is to provide the information that the user is looking for when they’re on your site.
Writing content and making websites work for SEO and PPC is a full-time job for many marketing professionals! But as a business owner, you can always provide the subject matter expertise and guide your marketing team to provide the content that is most likely to benefit your prospective clients.
PPC is the quicker of the two search marketing options. For every click, the business pays a bid amount to the search engines. This fee can quickly add up to a substantial amount. Many businesses opt for PPC service because they can quickly get on the first page of the search results and start seeing returns in a matter of days, although at a slightly higher cost than SEO. If time is of the essence, PPC is worth considering. Studies indicate that PPC helps SEO click rate because people tend to click SEO results, having seen the same brand at the top of the page for PPC.
SEO is a long game. It takes anything from 6 to 9 months to see some meaningful results for high return keywords. The effort and time depend on the competition and the keywords you want to rank for. SEO needs a dedicated team of experts working on your content, backlinks, and website maintenance. SEO is never done; it’s always a work in progress!
While SEO is not rocket science, it’s very involved work. It needs deliberately prepared content (blogs, videos, infographics, case studies, etc.) and technical skills to create and maintain a fast, intuitive, and engaging website.
While both SEO and PPC are proven marketing strategies for businesses in general, are they effective for bringing in business for law-firms?
In most metropolitan areas, law-firms spend in the range of $2500-$20000 per month on search engine-related services. In smaller cities, it may start at $1500 per month. In the post-pandemic virtual economy, digital marketing strategies such as SEO and PPC can either complement or replace your traditional marketing approaches safely and effectively.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) = SEO + PPC
Best results are seen when both SEO and PPC are used together.
Both SEO and PPC are proven digital marketing strategies practiced by top businesses across all industries. Not only can these strategies be tracked, measured, but they’re also scalable. The ability to granularly target your prospects in a particular geographical area or for a specific service makes your campaign very efficient and successful.
Inbound marketing aspects of digital marketing where you don’t have to solicit prospects, but prospects seek your services may make these strategies especially attractive for law firms.
In this pandemic and post-pandemic economy where your non-digital options are limited, Online Marketing strategies such as SEM may be the best way to hedge your options! For most businesses, the cost of not doing marketing is far greater than the cost of marketing.
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