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How attorneys can use remarketing to get more leads

How attorneys can use remarketing to get more leads

Successful marketing campaigns prompt people to take action. Whether the connection is direct — a prospect sees an advertisement and makes an immediate purchase decision — or the result of a sustained brand awareness effort, marketing works when people are convinced to do something.

In the case of law firm SEO, getting people to your website is step one. Once visitors have landed on your site, you must convince them to stay, look around and ultimately to contact your firm.

The average conversion rate for legal websites performing in the top 10 percent within their industry is 6.46 percent. The median attorney website conversion rate is 2.07 percent. Given these statistics, it is likely that over 95 percent of your visitors leave your site without performing a measurable action.

Although they did not convert the first time, these visitors may still be valuable leads. One strategy for turning lost visitors to actual clients is to stay visible to them and to continue encouraging them to revisit your site.

Remarketing is a tool that allows attorneys to reach people who have left their websites undecided, as well as those who may not quite be ready to hire an attorney but who will need one in the future.

What is remarketing?

Remarketing is a pay-per-click product. It differs from other PPC services in that it allows very detailed targeting of ads to people who have already visited your website. With remarketing, you can show specific ads to segmented audiences based on the actions people did (or did not) take when visiting your site.

Remarketing relies on cookies, or small pieces of data that are stored on a visitor's browser. When a visitor meets a set of criteria that you define, like visiting a certain page or clicking on a specific link, a cookie is placed in their browser. That cookie ID must then be added to your remarketing list. After the visitor leaves your site, he or she will continue to see your ads — either text, banner or both depending on your preferences — on sites throughout Google's Display Network.

What are the advantages of remarketing?

People do not always make immediate purchasing decisions. A visitor may be in research mode looking for material that will help him or her make a choice in the future. Or, a visitor may be distracted from a page by one of the many interruptions we all experience in our age of information overload. People's attention is already stretched thin, and you cannot stop a visitor's attention from being drawn elsewhere.

You can, however, attempt to re-engage people who have already shown an interest in your services. People who return to your site for a second or third time are significantly more likely to convert than first-time visitors. Remarketing allows you to reach these potential leads.

Some people shy away from remarketing because of the perception that users will be creeped out by ads that follow them around the web, or that they will become irritated because they are tired of seeing the same ads over and over.

Statistics, however, show that these concerns are overblown. One analysis performed by Wordstream showed that conversion rates from remarketing campaigns actually increase over time. People who have seen an ad six times are twice as likely to convert as those who have only seen it once. Click-through rates may decrease over time, but those who do click are more likely to become leads. Additionally, filters that allow you to drop a cookie ID after a certain period of time address the issue of ad fatigue.

Talk to people who are already interested

Remarketing allows you to serve highly relevant ads. For example, if a visitor spent time on your estate planning page, you can show ads encouraging him or her to start planning. You can serve different ads to mobile visitors and desktop visitors. You can show different ads to people who have downloaded an ebook than to those who have visited your contact page. You can strategically target specific urls or combinations of urls according to your firm's client intake goals.

You are not charged for impressions with remarketing — people will see your ad for free. Fees apply only when a user clicks on an ad. And clicks on remarketing ads are often less expensive than clicks for competing paid search products. As with other PPC products, you can set caps on click charges and block ads from displaying on certain websites. You can also specify how long a cookie ID should stay on any given remarketing list, and you can prevent users from seeing an ad again after they have seen it a certain number of times.

Always be careful not to show too many ads to users who are not responding. Displaying too many ads that do not receive clicks can lower your quality score and increase your cost-per-click.

What unique challenges do attorneys face with remarketing?

In 2014, Google was found guilty of violating Canada's privacy laws because a user's sensitive health information was displayed in a remarketing banner. The man who filed the complaint had visited sites related to devices for sleep apnea, and he was then targeted with ads for sleep apnea products on other pages. He said, and Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner agreed, that it was inappropriate to use medical information as a basis for ad targeting.

As a result, Google strengthened its monitoring and enforcement of remarketing ads related to sensitive topics. According to Google's guidelines, you cannot “use any sensitive information about your site or app visitors” when creating remarketing lists. Sensitive information includes financial information, allegation of any crime, and any information relating to marital status or divorce.

According to these guidelines, a divorce firm cannot, for example, show ads to people who have visited its site that say, “Looking for a divorce attorney? Click here!” Nor can a bankruptcy attorney imply a visitor might have financial issues or a criminal attorney imply someone has been accused of a crime. No “Charged with a DUI? Talk to an attorney!” will be accepted.

This does not mean that attorneys cannot use remarketing. It does mean that attorneys, particularly those in certain areas, must be very careful of the language they use, or their ads may be pulled for violating Google's policies.

Getting Started

Remarketing campaigns are based on rules you set within AdWords or Bing Ads. To establish these rules, first start by developing a strategy for who you would like to see your ads. Some basic questions are helpful, such as:

1. Do you want to target all visitors to your site?

2. Are there practice areas for which you are trying to attract new clients?

3. Which pages receive the most traffic? Is it worth it to make ads specific to these pages?

4. How many different campaigns are you interested in running?

In a spreadsheet, list all the possible urls you may want to target. After you have made this list, consider possible combinations of urls. These may include multiple pages a user visited in one session, or a mix of pages a user visited and did not visit. For example, you may want to show ads to someone who visited a practice area sub page and not a thank you page. Or, you may want to show ads to someone who visited a practice area sub page and a contact page, but who abandoned the form without submitting it. You may want to show different ads to someone who visited your home page only but downloaded a free ebook.

Start with one or two lists and begin testing different ad language. Be as direct as you can in encouraging people to contact you while staying within Google's privacy guidelines. Personal injury firms, for example, can say “If you are in a car accident...” instead of “Have you been injured...” since the first statement does not imply the visitor has already suffered any harm. Limit pictures and other distracting elements and focus on one core message per ad series.

Setting up a campaign requires several technical steps. You must create a remarketing list, generate a code for that list and place that code on to all applicable web pages. This can be done as many times and for as many lists as you would like. Your IT team or SEO company can help create and implement the correct code.

Up to 95 percent of your website visitors may leave without following through and contacting your firm. Don't lose all of these potentially valuable leads. With remarketing you can bring some visitors back and get another chance at turning them into leads.

Kristen Friend
Kristen Friend holds two bachelors degrees from Indiana University and an associates degreee from the International Academy of Design. As Art Director for Custom Legal Marketing, her work has been awarded Webby Honorees, WebAwards, Davey Awards, Muse Awards, W3 Awards, and many others. She is also a contributor to Entrpreneur Magazine through the Entrepreneur Leadership Network.