Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Advertising for Law Firms and PPC
Spoiler Alert: the answer is an emphatic yes.
Ads on Facebook work. That’s true in general, and it’s certainly true for law firms in particular.
But how should you be using Facebook Ads? What’s the difference between a regular Facebook post and a Facebook Ad? Can one take the place of the other? And what’s the magic trick for getting results from a Facebook advertising campaign? (Spoiler Alert #2: there isn’t a magic trick per se.)
In case you haven’t heard, Facebook Ads have become a major player in digital marketing over the last few years. No longer merely a network for socializing, Facebook is now a legitimate moneymaker for businesses all around the world — including small businesses, law firms, and even solo practitioners.
There’s a lot to know, though, so let’s dive in: how Facebook Ads work, why they work, and how lawyers should be using them to get a best-case, cost-effective return.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising: A Primer
Facebook Ads is, at its core, a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising platform.
PPC is like traditional advertising in that you craft a message (that is, an ad) and send it out to a wide audience of people, hoping enough of them will respond to justify your investment in the ad and build up your business far beyond that.
PPC is radically different from traditional advertising, though, in at least two key respects:
- In PPC, your audience isn’t nearly as broad. Because PPC ads allow you to target specific users according to the websites they visit or the terms they search for, you reduce the risk of paying for people who simply aren’t interested. (As we’ll see below, Facebook Ads allow you to get even more precise — scarily precise.)
- With traditional advertising, you pay for the entirety of the audience… not only those who are interested and take action but also those who change the channel or roll their eyes. Not so with PPC. As its name implies, you only pay when someone takes action — that is, when they click on the ad — meaning everyone who merely sees the ad but doesn’t click it (known in the industry as an “impression”) is a freebie for you.
Pay-Per-Click advertising is a massive industry. Google AdWords is the leading platform, and it rakes in some $68 billion in PPC revenue every single year.
Facebook isn’t far behind. Its Ads program ranks at #2 in the PPC industry, with more than $17 billion in PPC revenue — a number that has grown exponentially each year and shows no sign of slowing down.
But if Google AdWords is #1, why should lawyers advertise on Facebook? To be clear: we aren’t arguing against AdWords. Far from it. (Google AdWords is a major part of our attorney PPC strategy here at Black Fin.)
But Facebook Ads offer certain unique benefits that are of particular interest to law firms as they face an ever-crowded market…
The Benefits of Running Law Firm PPC Ads on Facebook
While there are innumerable benefits to running PPC Ads, we’ve identified four that make Facebook’s platform stand out:
- Data, Demographics, and Targeting: If Google AdWords is the “mother” of all PPC advertising, Facebook Ads is the “Big Brother.” It’s no secret anymore than Zuckerberg & Co. have amassed detailed data about each and every user — who they are, what they like, what they want, how they spend, etc. Facebook even knows things like:
- What they’ve been reading online lately
- Which kinds of ads they typically click on (and which ones they don’t)
- What they’ve talked about to their friends in recent online conversations
- How often they take action on social posts, ads, and articles
- Where they live, where they’re located at the moment, and where they usually are when logged in online
- Their political leanings, interests, hobbies, and causes
- And much more
Facebook Ads allow you to target different campaigns to incredibly specific groups of people. Moreover, Facebook can automatically direct your ads to the people who are most likely to take action on them.
The ability to limit your ad to particular geographic regions is especially useful to law firms, which typically limit their practice to a specific city, county, region, or jurisdiction.
- Budget Controls: As with Google AdWords, a Facebook Ads campaign can grow outrageously expensive if you aren’t careful with your controls. Fortunately, both of these platforms allow you to define parameters and exercise expert discretion, ensuring that your budget never gets blown. Facebook’s budgeting is especially customizable, and monitoring / analytics are available in real time.
- Shareable Content: On Facebook, an ad isn’t just an ad. It’s also content. People can share your ads on their own newsfeeds. They can tag their friends in the comments. They can even use Facebook Messenger to send the ad to a friend who’s currently in need of a good lawyer. This viral effect is something that other PPC platforms don’t offer on quite the same scale.
- Social Media Presence: A Facebook ad has the added benefit of extending (or establishing) your firm’s social presence online. While paid posts aren’t exactly the same thing as ordinary “status updates” or social posts, merely by having your ad pop up in people’s newsfeeds, you are contributing to your firm’s social standing and top-of-mind awareness.
Don’t Make the Mistake of Treating a Facebook Ad Like Other Ads
People log onto Facebook for all sorts of reasons: funny memes, live video streams, catching up with old friends, etc.
One thing they definitely didn’t come for: the smiling mug of yet another “hire me” attorney.
Those kinds of ads may be commercial, but they certainly aren’t social. And on Facebook, your advertising ought to be both.
Ideally, any paid Facebook placement will have a visual component — an original photograph or graphic design item that catches the eye. Videos are even better.
Facebook is a fundamentally visual medium, and studies show that paid ads with visual content perform remarkably better.
Just above that visual, try a pithy, one-or-two-sentence tagline… something to hook the reader without pushing a hard sell.
You’ll also want the ad to link to something worthwhile — a landing page, an FAQ, or a terrific blog article. Timely legal blog articles make excellent “social sharers,” the industry term for content that users are likely to send to their friends online.
Ultimately, you want your paid post to look as much like an organic post as possible. That’s how you avoid annoying your audience and get them to engage instead.
Black Fin’s Approach to Facebook Ads for Lawyers
Black Fin is pretty aggressive about getting results. So when we log onto Facebook to launch a new ad, we aren’t just throwing darts. We’re executing a plan of attack. Those plans succeed because we make sure they succeed.
How? With this approach:
- Only pay when the advertising works. We’re obsessed with analytics. We constantly monitor our PPC campaigns to make sure they’re working. The second we see that something’s off (literally, the very second we see it), we start tweaking the campaign to maximize results.
- Find the sweet spot: Low Cost / High Reward. PPC costs can skyrocket fast. Your goal is to keep that from happening. Our job is to make sure it doesn’t. The difference between an expertly managed PPC rollout and a failed campaign is in the ratio of money spent to money earned — ROI.
- Target your market when & where they need you. Facebook advertising for lawyers is all about targeting Facebook users who are likely to become actual clients for your law firm. We strap a rocket on our ads and aim them directly at real prospects.
- Be interesting. Social content can’t look, read, or feel like other advertising. Every post, every ad, every image must be something that users find worthwhile. In that sense, on Facebook, we aren’t just advertisers. We’re content creators, too.
- Only the best. The Black Fin team has rocked law firm PPC for over 8 years. Brandon Koerner, who heads our PPC team, is Google AdWords-certified, is renowned for his expertise in paid search advertising, and is an absolute superstar when it comes to nailing a Facebook Ads campaign.
- No contracts. We don’t lock our clients into anything — ever. You can cancel anytime.
Beat Your Competition Using Facebook Ads for Law Firms. Let Black Fin Get You Started.
It’s time to start growing your law firm into bigger cases, better clients, and a higher positioning within your local market.
PPC advertising works. It’s as simple as that. It wouldn’t be a multi-billion-dollar market otherwise. But results vary widely, depending on the strategies employed. An expert approach yields game-changing results.
We don’t require any contracts because we know our process works. (We have proof, by the way. Just ask to look at our results.) We’re looking for law firm partners who are interested in long-term, ongoing success.
At Black Fin, we do one thing and one thing only: digital marketing for law firms and attorneys. And we’re good at what we do.
We’ve helped some of this country’s most successful law firms take their marketing efforts to new heights, and we’re also responsible for our fair share of Cinderella stories — law firms that went from a negligible web presence to powerhouse results.
The process requires the right attitude, and it takes time, but we know how to make it happen. Learn more about partnering with Black Fin on our hire us page.