You’re sitting in front of your computer, trying to make sense of the reports you’ve just received from your digital marketing agency.
At first glance, the reports seem to exude an aura of being both intimidating and “glamorous”.
Judging from the way they presented the reports to you, it felt like they were expecting you to gasp repeatedly and marvel at all these tables and numbers.
But alas – they’re hieroglyphics to you.
It’s not that you don’t understand what the numbers mean.
It’s more so because the numbers just don’t add up. Because looking at your CRM pipeline, you still don’t have enough promising prospects (a.k.a. actual qualified leads) flowing in for you to convert into your target number of monthly open cases.
You check your sales for the past 6 months, even hitting refresh twice as if that’s going to magically improve the data showing on the screen…
Nope. No growth.
Despite hiring the “best” agency with the most glowing reviews, you’re still basically dealing with the same old problems.
You feel a knot in your stomach as it dawns on you that you’re still not going to hit your revenue targets for the next quarter.
While you can’t exactly pinpoint what they’re doing “wrong”, something smells off. It doesn’t feel right and you need to find answers.
I just told you the story of almost every law firm client we now have, before they worked with us.
So if you’re in a similar boat…
If you’ve hired an agency to run your Google Ads…
But you haven’t been getting the stellar results you were hoping for, it’s possible that it’s because of one or a combination of the following reasons.
Is Your Google Ads Agency Making These Costly Law Firm Marketing Mistakes?
Unlike other Digital Marketing Agencies, we’ve been at this Google Ads game long enough that we’ve wrestled with (and resolved) almost every issue possible.
The fact that we’ve optimised ads for various businesses across a wide range of industries gives us a certain breadth and depth of Google Ads experience.
So if you’re trying to determine what’s really causing your poor results, you’ve come to the right place.
After auditing 450+ Google Ads campaigns during the past 8 years, I would say that the top wasters of your money and resources are the following:
Top 9 Lead Generation Mistakes: Is Your Ad Agency Making Them?
If you’re unhappy with your Google Ads results, maybe it’s time to cross-examine your PPC Agency.
Are they guilty of the following?
Mistake # 1: Trying to Double Your Leads By Doubling Your Ad Spend.
When your ad campaign is obviously broken, trying to double your results by increasing your ad spend is a lot like trying to pour more petrol into a broken engine — it’s not going to get you very far.
Like my old Maths teacher liked to say: 1 billion x 0 still gives you zero.
It’s actually astonishing that an average of 40% of ad budget goes to waste.
According to the latest Next&Co Digital Media Wastage Report, more than $134.3 million is set to be wasted between January and March 2022.
Good for Google, bad for you.
Now there are many reasons for wasted ad spending. But some of the most common reasons are:
- Click fraud
- Low ad relevance
- Poor targeting
- Wrong strategy
- Poor choice of channels
Wouldn’t it be smarter to figure out how to maximise your ad budget instead?
There are far smarter strategies to get more out of the same ad budget, like:
- Increasing the conversion rate
- Reducing the cost per conversion
- Improving your Google Ad Quality Score
- Executing a sound strategy when it comes to choosing which keywords to bid on (hint: cheapest isn’t necessarily the smartest).
Here at Pixelrush, we treat your budget as our own money, so we take ad budget wastage very seriously.
We track and proactively seek as many ways as possible to maximise your ad spend.
By the way, finding wasted PPC spending is one of the things I identify in my free Video Audits.
Keep reading to see how I may be able to do one for you.
Plus: in Part 2 of this guide, I’ll discuss some of the best ways to maximise your ad budget, so stick around.
Mistake # 2: Do You Have Poorly Structured Ad Campaigns?
This is the case if:
- No segmentation – there’s only one campaign and one ad group.
- You’re bidding on the wrong or sub-optimal keywords.
- You’re using the wrong match types.
- The ad copy is not targeted enough (so it’s not persuasive).
- You’re not bidding on your own brand name.
If your ads are set to the wrong Geotargeting setting (a commonly overlooked error, by the way because you really have to know where to look for it if you want to change the settings for this)…
Then you could end up paying for the clicks of those who are outside of your target geographical area.
Considering that the average cost per lead for the legal industry is the highest at $73.70, (for context, according to Wordstream’s 2021 Ad benchmark Report, the average CPL across all industries is $41.40; For dentists, it’s $42.95, and for business services, it’s $62.18), the costs from this one mistake alone could add up!
Granted, those are US-based figures.
For Australia, based on what I’ve seen, I would say the average CPL for the legal industry is around $100 but keep in mind there are many areas of law and some are easier to acquire than others. (i.e. we’ve been successfully getting crime law leads for $30).
Note that it’s the average figure.
You can defy industry benchmarks if you know what you’re doing.
This is why your agency’s ad strategy should consider:
- Your target CPL
- Lead quality
- The stages of the typical buying cycle
- How many “touches” or interactions with a typical prospect it usually takes for you to convert them.
- Geographic location
- Search VS Display Network
- Device (desktop or tablet VS mobile)
They should also consider how many qualified leads you need to be talking to per month in order to reach your target number of open cases per month.
For example, if you need at least 20 new open cases per month and your average lead-to-open-case conversion rate is 20%, then you need a PPC lead goal of at least 100 per month.
To make room for slow months, longer sales cycles and economic downturns, let’s double that PPC lead goal.
So they need to give you 200 qualified leads per month in order for you to get at least 20 new open cases a month.
If your cost per lead is $100, that means $100 x 200 = $20,000/month ad spend.
Can you imagine the difference it would make to your bottom line if you half your CPL (cost per lead) alone?
How about if you improve your lead-to-open-cases close rate as well as halving your CPL?
You’ll have more than 2x open cases per month at half the previous ad spend.
Well, you know what’s one of the fastest ways to raise your lead-to-open-cases conversion rate?
Getting more highly qualified leads in the first place.
Because if the majority of the leads your agency is giving you are already pre-vetted and highly qualified, there should really be very little reason why you can’t close most of them.
The higher the quality of the leads you talk to, the higher your chances of being able to persuade them how your firm fits their needs.
This is one of the major things we optimised for when we worked with Gibbs Wright Litigation.
And after just 5 months we were able to increase the leads they were getting by 35% more and also reduce their CPL by 68%.
Keep reading because later I’ll discuss other key CPL-reducing strategies that you’d definitely want to apply!
Mistake # 3:
Is Your Budget Being Spent on Wasteful Keywords a.k.a. Traffic Traps?
These are keywords that are either irrelevant or used by people who will never convert.
Watch Out for Fake Conversions.
When we first audited the Google Ads campaigns of one of our lawyer clients (this was before we worked with them), they were advertising on YouTube and also on Google Display Network (GDN).
Their analytics was reporting conversions on GDN as high as 128%.
A conversion rate of 128% means that they were getting 1.28 leads out of 1 visitor. Obviously, that’s not even mathematically possible.
It showed having had 17 conversions at that time with a CPC of A$104.99.
Moreover, their Display conversions ranged from 33%, 50%,100%, and 128%.
Whereas their search conversion rate was in the range of 1% to 4%.
To put things in perspective, a conversion rate of 128% means you’re getting 1.28 leads for every 1 visitor?
So something was obviously not right there. Considering the high CPC, that’s practically a bleeding artery that needed to be stitched.
That’s how we knew those were spam conversions. Unfortunately, this is quite common in those channels.
We also spotted a similar trend when we first audited the PPC account of other law firms.
So if these issues apply (or you suspect they might be) to you, it’s possible that third parties might be doing it to generate ad revenue or to try to hide the costs by faking conversions of some kind.
On face value it’s easy to be impressed by these numbers, but how can you spot anomalies that prove that you’re simply wasting your money.
Not Treating GDN Traffic Differently.
Don’t get me wrong — there’s a long list of good reasons to advertise on GDN. You can target by keywords, interests, affinity, similar audiences, the list is endless.
So I’m not knocking it.
But because GDN audiences are typically ice cold, you have to approach them differently than you would search traffic.
Because they are much colder, typically you have to start with a different mechanic like a quiz to attract them and entice them into your “funnel”.
Once they’re in your email list, then you can nurture them until they turn into a much warmer lead.
Not selling to them right away is the smart way to treat GDN traffic. Otherwise, it’s like asking someone to marry you minutes after you found their profile on a dating app (you’re not even on the first date).
So if your PPC agency isn’t making these kinds of distinctions, then they’re likely bleeding your ad spend by the bucketloads.
Another ad budget black hole is when your ads keep showing up for searches your ads shouldn’t be showing up for.
If your PPC agency keeps burning through your ad budget AND giving you lots of leads but most of them are unqualified, this could be the culprit.
Here at Pixelrush, we always analyse the keywords getting the clicks but that are not converting.
We identify the intent behind these keywords.
Sometimes the reason why these are high-impression, high-click yet low-converting keywords is because they are irrelevant to what you offer to begin with. When that is the case, we add it as part of our Negative Keywords List.
For example, this ad is showing up for “litigation lawyer salary Australia”
This ad is hugely irrelevant to someone wanting information about lawyers’ salaries. You don’t want this to happen to your ads.
This is just one of the many reasons why refining your Negative Keywords List regularly is a must.
The more we do this, the less unqualified leads find you and the more qualified leads find you. This tends to drive up the conversion rate.
Mistake # 4: Do Your Ads Lead Prospects To Poorly Crafted Landing Pages?
You have poorly crafted landing pages if the following are true:
The Content is Irrelevant to The Visitor.
This is the case if your prospects are being taken to a landing page that is inconsistent with the ad they clicked.
For example, if a prospect searches for “how to get back my rental bond deposit from the residential tenancies authority” and your ad leads them to your default contact us page, then they are going to just click away.
But if you lead them to a resource page where you answer several questions like:
“All about Bond Disputes”
“A tenant’s rights and responsibilities”
“When is it considered breaking and breaching the lease”
“The Residential Tenancies Authority’s process for bond refunds”
Then they are more likely to stay on the page and even devour every word.
The page is not ultra-targeted.
We know we’re preaching to the converted when we say that the more personalised your messaging is, the more persuasive it is.
The same applies to your Google Ads landing pages.
If a prospect goes to Google and types “wrongful dismissal” and finds one of your pages…
And that visitor has been wrongfully dismissed after 20 years of service but if the page he got served is talking about workplace harassment or wrongful demotion only, then he is less likely to convert into a lead because it’s not addressing his particular issue.
This is why keeping everything consistent between your ads and the corresponding landing pages they lead to has a direct impact on your conversions.
And this is also why you shouldn’t just direct all your ads to your website’s home page by default.
If you want highly qualified leads, then you also need to craft dedicated landing pages — these are hyper-focused, ultra-targeted Google Ads landing pages.
The Page Doesn’t Set You Apart From Your Competitors.
Either your Unique Value Proposition is unclear or lacking, or it’s not being conveyed skillfully at all.
If the messaging does not highlight the compelling reasons why your prospects should choose you over your competitors, or your site design looks cheap or outdated, then you won’t come across as credible.
Your landing pages must highlight what makes your service better than the rest. Your visitors must be able to easily identify the key differentiators between you and your competitors.
In your case, maybe it’s all about demonstrating the exceptional client experience your prospects can look forward to. Or maybe it’s about your unmatched expertise in a particular area. Whatever it is, your prospects must get it right away when they land on your website or landing pages.
Sometimes what makes perfect sense to you is actually discombobulating for your visitors.
Even having more than two different CTA buttons instead of only one can make certain people click away.
If the landing page is not cohesive with your branding, it could backfire later, too. There must be congruence between your landing page and your website.
Not Optimised For Mobile Users.
We live in an increasingly mobile world.
According to Statista’s figures for the 4th quarter of 2021, about 54.4% of all online traffic comes from mobile devices (excluding tablets).
As such, if your website and/or landing pages are not mobile responsive and/or cross-browser compatible, you’re definitely losing leads.
If your desktop traffic is converting a lot more than your mobile traffic, mobile unresponsiveness could be part of the issue.
You can’t expect the same graphic image (that is created for desktop) with the same copy and design to render the same way on mobile. The text size, button size and placements, copy, etc will need to be adjusted accordingly to create a smooth mobile experience.
Another factor to consider is speed.
Think back to the last time you clicked on an ad from your mobile phone.
Did the page load quickly?
Did the content satisfy your expectations based on what you clicked?
Did it engage you enough to continue reading?
Or did you click away immediately?
Getting someone to click on your ad only for them to bounce right away is exactly what you want to avoid.
But what is considered “fast” and what’s “slow”?
If your site loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than approximately 25% of the web.
If your site loads in 2.9 seconds, it is faster than approximately 50% of the web.
If your site loads in 1.7 seconds, it is faster than approximately 75% of the web.
Aiming to get your pages to load within 3 seconds or less is a good speed to aim for. Then you can keep optimising from there.
If you’ve already hired someone to take care of your website, they should already be optimising for speed without you needing to ask.
But if this isn’t the case, tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights will help you identify the elements on your page that are taking a long time to load.
Weak or Confusing Calls to Action.
There are several ways one can get the CTA wrong:
- It’s camouflaged or buried somewhere. CTAs that blend in with the background rarely get noticed.
- The timing is wrong. Too soon or too late CTAs don’t get the clicks.
- Far too many Calls to Action. When there are too many to choose from, most people usually opt for none.
- The benefits they will get by clicking is unclear, so they don’t take action. You’re telling them what to do without first giving them the appropriate context or reasons (that serve them, not you) why they should do it.
There are many more elements that can hurt your conversions, but those are the major ones.
If you’re getting a decent amount of clicks but things go downhill because of your low-converting landing pages, you’re not alone. It’s actually quite common.
This is why we created Client Convert™ — our solution for low-converting websites and landing pages.
With Client Convert™, you won’t even have to think about these mistakes because they’re specifically designed and developed with built-in persuasion mechanisms.
But if you want me to take a look at your landing pages and the ads leading to them, I’ll be able to tell you what the possible issues are and how you might be able to solve them by conducting an audit of your Google Ads campaign.
Sounds good? Get your free video audit here.
Mistake # 5: Are You Tracking The Results of Your Marketing Efforts and Campaigns?
When you clearly understand which areas of your marketing are performing best, you know exactly where to invest to get more results, and which elements are just a waste of time.
The implications of not tracking (or not doing it properly) are enormous:
- Without accurate data, you can’t make data-driven decisions.
- If you don’t know which traffic sources are producing your highest-converting prospects, how can you pump more money into the ads and campaigns that led them to you?
- If you don’t know which ads or landing pages are performing poorly, you will just continue losing money on them while not knowing any better.
- Without knowing which ones are your worst and most lucrative campaigns, you can’t scale or optimise efficiently.
In one of my video audits, for example, their data showed that prospects were interacting with their ads on desktop but they’re converting mostly on mobile. That’s valuable info they could leverage.
In another video audit for a big law firm, we identified that they had a phone number on every page of their website but they were not tracking calls from it.
So I told them about a free call forwarding script they could use. You place a script onto the site and it will hunt for the phone number and dynamically swap that number with a Google Ads tracking number allowing you to track the phone calls.
I’ll give you an example.
Let’s say we spend $1000 dollars and we generate ten phone calls but we aren’t tracking them. You see the 10 calls and get ready to go for the “high five”. At the same time, I haven’t seen the calls in Google Ads, all I see is $1000 dollars that didn’t convert. It’s at this point where it’s easy to say “hey, this is waste, I’m going to be awesome and get rid of it”. In actual fact, you’re making bad decisions based on the lack of data.
I can appreciate why some businesses are uncomfortable with call tracking, but to be able to fine-tune your campaigns effectively we need to be tracking all key conversion actions like people picking up the phone and calling.
Some agencies do track when people click on a phone number from your site. But if you’re dealing with people who are more likely to be dialing from their landline or smartphone instead, this is important to track. Tracking clicks versus actual phone calls means your data is always skewed towards mobiles.
When we manage your Google Ads, we always pay attention to these metrics:
- Cost per click
- Cost per conversion
- Return on ad spend
- Quality Score
- Impression share
- Conversion rate of everything
- Success rate of your sales calls
More importantly, the reports we send you highlight all the important actionable insights you can leverage for your day-to-day business decisions and big-picture strategies.
Mistake # 6: Do your Lead Generation Systems have built-in “filters” that keep unqualified leads out?
“We’re getting leads but 95% of them are crap.”
If only we had a dollar every time we heard that.
Even dealing with just, say, 20 low-quality leads per month seems inconsequential, actually, they can put a significant and unnecessary strain on your resources.
If, like Spencer from Gibbs Wright Lawyers, you have higher outgoings because you are employing educated, qualified people to answer your prospects’ questions in order to provide top-notch client experience right from the get-go…
Then you definitely want to avoid inundating them with low-quality leads.
To do so would be a huge money suck for your firm.
But what if your leads go through an effective filtering process so that only the ones you actually want get to talk to you or your staff?
If your staff never get to waste even a second talking to unqualified leads, how much would that affect your firm’s closing rates?
Filtering your leads is exactly what Client Pathway™ does.
It’s like a diagnostic quiz that we’ll ask your prospects to fill out.
And they’ll be happy to oblige because in the end, they’ll get tailored answers relevant to their situation.
We can customise it accordingly to fulfil your purposes and the use cases are endless.
Client Pathway™ forms accomplish the following jobs:
1) By getting personalised answers to some of your prospects’ most pressing concerns, your prospects get a sense of progress — without it taking any of your time (that is, beyond the initial set up).
2) By getting prospects to answer important questions, you get to pre-qualify them based on their answers!
After we implemented our Client Pathway™ system with Spencer and the Gibbs Wright team,
Gibbs Wright saved $55,000 in additional staff costs by improving the quality of leads prior to the initial consultation.
In fact, in Spencer’s own words…
Mistake # 7: Is your PPC Agency pulling the “set and forget” wool over your eyes?
Tracking can get convoluted when advertisers use several conversion tags for various purposes, import conversions from CRMs, or import conversion events from your Analytics app.
While it provides invaluable nuance to our data, it also makes it harder to realise when conversions are double-counted or if obsolete ones are still populating.
That’s why, if left unchecked for even just a few months, these tags could get obsolete, duplicate conversion counts, mess with bidding algorithms, and create data noise.
That’s why you need to observe a religious “cleaning up” routine at least quarterly.
If you want profitable campaigns, it can’t be a “set and forget” kind of deal.
Sadly, this is actually quite common in our industry.
Unlike some PPC Agencies, we never “set and forget” your campaigns. We keep an eye on every metric, constantly analyse your campaigns, and fine-tune them in every way possible.
We always know what we’re tracking, where from, and why, and we keep everything “clean” and updated.
More importantly, you get constant updates so you always know your vitals.
You also have access to live dashboards so you know exactly what’s going on, at any given time. Everything we do is 100% transparent.
Mistake # 8: Are you protecting your campaigns from fraudulent and invalid clicks?
No one is immune to click fraud nowadays.
You may be a victim of click fraud if you identify any of the following:
- Repetitive clicks from similar ISPs but showing zero conversions.
- Spikes in costs that exceed the norm or expectations.
- Unexplainable anomalies in performance data.
Let’s look at some data.
According to PPC Protect’s Click Fraud Report for 2020-21, here are the percentages of fraudulent or invalid clicks per channel:
- 36% of display ad clicks.
- 11% of search ad clicks.
- 17% of CTV (connected TV) impressions.
The report was based on first-hand data from their database of almost 1 billion ad clicks and 100 billion data points.
Their findings showed that only 13% of accounts monitored had little to no fraudulent/invalid activity.
Not surprisingly, Display Ads is the most vulnerable channel (to click fraud).
“Primarily down to the incentive of revenue share from every click, many fraud rings and criminal gangs spend a considerable amount of time defrauding advertisers with fake websites.”
~ Click Fraud Report for 2020-21
Search ads were found to have only 11% fraudulent clicks.
However, although clicking on other people’s search ads represents no monetary gain for fraud rings, unethical competitors do gain by engaging in search ads click fraud.
Now you’re probably thinking: Wait up. So there are fraud rings, criminal gangs, competitors… anyone else I should know about?
Well yes. Actually, they found that 38% of fraudulent activities are due to automated bots.
In the Legal industry, the click fraud rate in 2020 was 16.54% (the highest was Education (31.14%), next was Local Trades (21.26%) and 3rd was Financial (18.73%) ).
And that’s not all. It’s also forecasted to only get worse.
If we compare the 2020 figures with 2019 (based on the largest ad markets) and look at the click fraud rate change by country, Australia and India are leading the pack at 37% increase.
So what can you do about it?
The easiest way is to use click fraud prevention platforms.
With Pixelrush, we won’t let your competition or anything else take advantage of you; All our campaigns are protected by PPC Protect to reduce fraudulent and invalid clicks, and thus save you money.
We chose PPC Protect because they exercise transparency, accountability, and reliability from what we have seen so far.
For example, we like how they publish their false positives rate. This makes total sense because if you’re going to trust someone to block fraudulent clicks for you, you would want them to report accurate figures and not inflated ones just to make themselves look good.
We also get access to all ad clicks because they get logged, so we can track and manually analyse where these clicks are coming from to recognise red flags for you.
Mistake # 9:
Not having an efficient system for nurturing, following up with, and closing leads.
According to Salesforce, it takes a business 6 to 8 marketing “touches” on average to generate a viable “sales-ready” lead.
Am I saying that turning leads into open cases is part of your ad agency’s responsibility?
After all, getting highly qualified leads coming in steadily and in droves is one thing. But converting them into paying clients is another.
While following up with leads and nurturing them falls more on your sales staff’s shoulders, yes I’m advocating that if your ad agency is really committed to your growth, they should have systems in place designed to magnify and elevate your sales team’s efficiency and effectiveness.
That’s how we at Pixelrush do it because we see this as a partnership. If we do everything we can to grow your business, it impacts us directly.
We recognise that not all leads are equal. Some leads have engaged with your marketing in some way but aren’t necessarily fully convinced yet that hiring your firm is their best option. They still need more information.
Some leads are farther along the buying cycle. They’ve shown strong interest and have already taken crucial steps and they’re much closer to signing on the dotted line.
We know that your sales team can be more effective if they have a system that honours the phase where each lead is and then nurtures and converts them appropriately.
On the other hand, there’s your prospects and their concerns. Due to the nature of their situation, your prospects will always have questions. Some of those questions can be answered by a paralegal, while some require specialist expertise from higher up members of your team.
Therefore, having readily accessible resources that get prospects immediate clarity on certain topics could help you move them along the buying cycle without it actually taking your time.
This is another benefit you can gain from using our Client Pathway™ system (which we discussed briefly in Mistake #6).
How Client Pathway™ works for your prospects:
- Guides prospects on what and how much information to provide.
(which is often an unknown and a scary experience for them).
- Helps prospects benefit from your knowledge even before you make direct contact with them.
Result: they see you as more professional and trustworthy.
- Encourages leads to give more specific information (e.g., “describe your dispute”).
Result: Builds trust + saves lawyers time when they call.
In fact, one of lawyer clients has this to say about Client Pathway™:
“We have had an uptick in online enquiries.
The presentation of the enquiries’ information
in the email has been super convenient. The
step-by-step teasing out of information is prompting
people to be more detailed in their ‘additional information
about matter’ section, which is great!”
~ Karsen Haseler
If this is something you could see working for you, your sales staff and your prospects, stay tuned because we’ll discuss the solutions in greater detail in Part 2 of this series.
Get Your Free Video Audit Today.
So there you have it.
If you’re ready to tackle the above issues, read Part 2 of this article series to find out all about the solutions we recommend.
Meanwhile, if you suspect your PPC agency is committing many of the above mistakes, or you’re simply not too happy with the results you’re getting from your Google ad campaigns…
You can find out your biggest opportunities and the “low-hanging fruits” (issues the are relatively easy to fix but can produce substantial gains) by getting a free video audit from me.