Customer Spotlight: Growing a Law Firm as a One-Woman Team
Aaron here – director of acquisition on the marketing team at WordStream. Last month I had the pleasure of speaking with WordStream customer Jessica Richardson, the director of marketing for Murphy Law Firm, about her business and her advertising strategy. We covered a lot of ground, from her challenges as a marketing soloist to the competitive nature of the legal industry to the tools she's using now to grow her firm and drastically reduce her CPA. Our conversation is below.
What does Murphy Law Firm specialize in?
We handle personal injury and worker’s compensation cases. We help people who are injured on the job or in a car accident, specifically.
What geographic regions do you serve?
We serve western Georgia.
How do you acquire the majority of your clients? How do people find Murphy Law Firm?
Our main source is the Internet, which represents about 56% of our clientele. It’s pretty balanced between paid search and organic search. We do get some clients directly from social media, but we mostly use that avenue for branding and to build trust. The other 44%, I would say, is distributed pretty evenly into community and grassroot marketing categories. Over the years, I’ve seen our online presence improve when we do more in the community. On top of that, we do direct mail marketing. My marketing department is BUSY, to say the least. (To be clear, I am the marketing team!)
Do you mind sharing more about which channels you use?
Since the bulk of our clients are from the Internet, let’s talk more about that. Having a strong website has been our bread and butter for years, and I put a lot of effort into healthy link-building, great content, and user experience – and that’s all still important, don’t get me wrong, but within just the past year or two, I’ve noticed a significant shift in the Google game. With the legal field being one of the most competitive, you can’t afford not to be doing paid ads, not just to get a lead, but to fill another slot on the SERP with YOUR brand. Every search is now bombarded with Google properties, whether it’s their paid listings, knowledge panel, review carousel, image carousel, etc… You’ve got to occupy as many slots as you can to effectively grab your buyers.
In my opinion, SEO optimization is still a great way to get business, but if you want to be King, you need to use Google products effectively.
My real challenge was getting an expert handle on PPC. PPC is a beast, and a full-time job without the right tools. I was really lucky to come across some of my favorite tools – WordStream, LuckyOrange, and CallRail. The biggest game-changer in terms of ROI was WordStream. We have been using them for over a year, and I have seen much better ROI and click-through rates. Our cost per action (CPA) used to be insanely high. One month, it was like, $1920 for two leads. This month alone, I’m up to 11 leads, at only $516 CPA. The numbers really speak for themselves.
Other channels – like social media and YouTube – well, I would say the effectiveness with these tools fluctuates, at least, in the legal field. When doing straight up advertising on Facebook, we saw very little return. No one wants a car accident attorney eating up their feed – unless it has nothing to do with car accidents. Who wants to think about getting into a car accident? YouTube is effective for answering frequently asked questions, and we do get some clients from our videos. And now that YouTubeTV is growing, it may be a less expensive route to try “T.V. advertising.”
Was click-through rate the main KPI you were looking to improve or was it form fills or are you guys tracking all the way down to new customers?
Well, a click is worthless unless it becomes a lead. With the legal industry being one of the most competitive for PPC, you can’t afford empty clicks for long. One click can cost an attorney $1000, easy, depending on their practice, and that doesn’t even promise there will be a client on the other end of that click. For us, personal injury clicks in our market range anywhere from $80 to $200 per click. But if you don’t have the right ads, or strong landing pages, you might as well throw your money in the toilet. Same return – nothing. In the past, and this is pre-WordStream I’m talking about here, we could spend $2,600 and not see a single call. That was hard to explain to my boss.
About a year ago, I went to MozCon and met some of the people at WordStream. Chatting with them was informative and I liked the product, but I was still leery. I’ve become bit of a hard-sell when it comes to outsourcing anything, especially after having such a terrible experience with the web design firm that set up our AdWords account. They did a poor job, and it cost us a lot of money. What piqued my interest with WordStream was that it kept our AdWords account in-house, and in our control, while benefiting from the intel that WordStream gathered. The rep I worked with graciously allowed me to have two free weeks to really test it out. As it turns out, I loved everything about WordStream, from the 20-Minute Work Week tool, to the premier consulting calls each month that helped me create campaigns that work better and better each month.
For the first six months especially, I noticed a 42% decrease in costs on AdWords, and a 28% increase in CTR. We’re also using CallRail and LuckyOrange along with WordStream, so I get to literally watch a click turn into client. To a diehard marketer, there is no greater feeling.
Yeah, that’s amazing. So you’re seeing a 42% reduction in overall spend?
What did you end up doing with that savings?
Some of it we’ve invested in other marketing strategies. To be honest though, we’ve doubled our spending in AdWords just this year. The more we put in, the better we perform. We’ve had a 25% increase in caseload in our first quarter of 2018.
Wow, that’s really awesome. In general, how would you say WordStream improves your day-to-day?
First, WordStream has been a big stress reducer! It takes out the guesswork and hours of research. My favorite tool by far is the 20-Minute Work Week tool. I log in once a week, review the performance of my campaigns, and read over the suggestions. The suggestions are really where you’ll see your biggest savings. It will tell you to “Spend more on this device” or “make this keyword a negative keyword since it hasn’t brought in any business.”
You’ll be surprised at the intel you’ll get. There was a keyword I thought for sure would generate calls. Nope. Empty clicks. And when a campaign isn’t performing well, that’s when the premiere consulting has been invaluable to me. My representative is straight up honest with me, and I like it that way. A few months ago when we had our call, and he said, “Jessica, we’ve gotta talk. Your landing pages need to be improved.” He was right, too.
Between getting more cases and saving hours each week from having to do my own keyword research, it’s saved the business money, and made the business money. Win win.
So you would literally spend hours each week in AdWords?
Yeah. It took so much time, just trying to figure out which keywords were not making us money.
It sounds like the conversation internally about the success of AdWords has shifted away from “how much are we paying for a given click” and more towards “how much business are we getting out of this.” Do you have a sense of whether there was an increase in the number of leads or the number of calls or anything?
I think before, AdWords generated maybe 10% of our cases, and now it’s hovering at about 18-20%, on top of a 25% increase in cases in general. I mean, for us, a case can be worth anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands. So, if we land even ONE good case because of AdWords, it can potentially pay for an entire year of running AdWords.
Apart from the 20-Minute Work Week, what are a few of your favorite features in WordStream?
To be honest with you, I love the copy and paste feature for keywords, campaigns, and ads, especially with the accompanying ad-grader that tells you how to improve the ad. Split testing is easy, and no guesswork on whether a campaign is performing or not. All the numbers are there for you to see.
What about your interactions with WordStream content? Do you find yourself visiting the blog? Do you attend any webinars or anything like that?
When it comes to WordStream, I love having access to all the webinars. I’ve attended quite a few and have been able to make changes to the website and to our AdWords campaigns as a result. And that has always given a boost to performance. I like to learn with video, so the webinars were impactful to me.
What advice would you give to another law firm, if they were just starting out?
Start sooner! If you haven’t started doing PPC, you should. And if you are outsourcing it and paying the big bucks to some third party, know that you don’t have to. Managing your own AdWords account is possible, and you can do it better with WordStream. You don’t have to be an AdWords genius anymore to figure this stuff out.
Today’s the best day to start today, right?