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    As an estate planning lawyer with a private practice, standing out in a bustling digital landscape can be challenging. In a sea of legal expertise, how do you ensure your firm is the beacon that troubled navigators see first?

    The answer lies, in part, with local services ads for lawyers. Today, we’re diving into navigating the world of Google’s local services ads (LSAs) and maximizing their potential for estate planning attorneys.

    Understanding Local Services Ads for Lawyers

    Google local services ads are strategically placed, paid advertisements designed with a singular goal: to help service-focused businesses, like your law firm, accumulate high-quality leads via direct phone calls and messaging requests. Local services ads operate distinctly from traditional pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. With LSAs, you pay per lead, not per click, making sure your advertising budget is used for serious inquiries only. These ads are Google’s answer to ground-level marketing, placing your name and number at the proverbial doorstep of those searching for your services.

    These are not broad-reaching banners but rather targeted signposts, directing qualified leads right to your office number or message box. Most importantly, they live where eyes most frequently wander: at the very top of Google search results, making Google local search ads a coveted piece of digital real estate.

    Are LSAs Right for Your Estate Planning Practice?

    Not all legal realms have equal access to LSAs. Google curates its list of supported service categories and locations, allowing businesses such as law firms in the US to capitalize. Since estate planning is a meticulous and nuanced field, LSAs present a strategic advantage in soliciting localized search queries by stamping your expertise where it counts.

    Related: Local Service Ads (LSAs) vs PPC: What’s Right for Your Law Firm?

    However, this advertising avenue is not just another anonymous sign-up-and-launch process. Google safeguards its LSA platform with a screening and verification process, including checks on your business registration, insurance, and practice license—an essential step to building trust with your potential clients. This screening process can take a couple days or up to weeks in some cases, so keep that timeframe in mind while planning your launch.

    Setting Up Your LSAs

    The setup process of LSAs for attorneys follows a few essential steps:

    1. Verify eligibility. Head to Google’s local services ads page and start your journey by confirming your business’s eligibility based on your services and location. Populate your profile with all your business particulars—the more detailed, the better your prospects for approval.
    1. Make sure you have an active Google Business profile. To effectively use Google local services ads, having a Google Business profile is crucial. Not only does the person completing the business checks on local services ads need to be a profile owner or manager, but the advertisements themselves also show a preview of your Google Business profile. It is critical to make sure this information accurately represents your firm, as it can significantly impact the success of your marketing efforts.
    2. Prove your business’s trustworthiness. Play by Google’s book and add all required certifications, licenses, and credentials. Remember, reviews from your Google Business profile count, so keep your client satisfaction high and visible.
    3. Manage budget and billing. This is where you control the purse strings. Your cost per lead is not set in stone; it fluctuates with the market dynamics. This means it is important to choose a weekly budget compatible with your firm’s size and lead processing capacity.

    Once you’re all set up to begin an LSA campaign, it’s time to make sure your ad stands out in a crowded marketplace.

    Standing Out: Maximizing LSA Performance

    Once you’ve navigated the initial setup and your local services ad is approved, managing your campaign effectively will be critical to attracting new leads. LSAs offer a user-friendly dashboard that allows you to stay in full control of your advertisements, budgets, and more.

    To get started, log into your account and navigate to the “Live Accounts” section. Initially, your ads will be set to “paused,” so make sure to activate them by switching the toggle on your account page. This action kickstarts your LSAs, making them live for potential customers to see.

    The management interface is designed to provide a concise overview of your services ad’s performance and settings. Notice the “Budget” box where you can keep an eye on your weekly budget and bidding mode. Here’s a pro tip: Regularly review your bid strategy and budget to ensure you’re maximizing the return on investment. Adjusting the budget is simple—click the pencil icon to edit and save your preferences.

    In the “Job types” section, you’ll find a list of services your business provides. The LSA platform is dynamic and allows you to add or remove services as your business evolves. An accurate list ensures that you’re targeting the most relevant leads.

    An LSA campaign launch is just the beginning. To turn your LSAs into a powerhouse for lead generation, consider the following:

    • Rack up those reviews. Your rating influence is cumulative; the higher your aggregate satisfaction score, the brighter you shine. Solicit reviews from satisfied clients using email, SMS, and other contact methods to bolster your online reputation.
    • Respond swiftly. The digital era waits for no one. A swift response to inquiries from an LSA can prove to be a determining factor in converting leads to clients.
    • Bid strategically. While you can let Google automate your bid per lead, your niche specialization as an estate planner may benefit from a tailored approach. Adjust your maximum bid based on peak planning seasons or competitive market shifts.
    • Leverage the Google Screened badge. The Google Screened checkmark elicits trust. It assures clients you’re a vetted, insured, and reputable practitioner—crucial for sensitive matters like estate planning.
    • Filter with precision. Ensure your service types and filters are set to capture leads that align perfectly with your practice areas. Any clicks from outside these criteria will be a waste of money.
    • Use quality imagery. A picture speaks volumes. Use high-quality images that resonate with your firm’s ethos. Users will expect professional photos, not smartphone snaps.

    Remember, if you don’t put the work in to optimize your LSA campaign, your ads will never perform the way you hope they will!

    Dealing with the Fine Print

    There are some stipulations and caveats with LSAs. You only pay for valid leads, with defined criteria for what constitutes validity to Google. Understanding these nuances is critical, as is the need for consistent budget monitoring to prevent overspending. Basically, valid leads can be generated when you receive a text or email from the customer (United States and Canada only), you receive a voicemail from the customer, or you answer a phone call and speak with the customer.

    Google will not keep an eye on your budget for you! If your monthly cap is reached, your LSAs pause unless you decide to adjust your financial limits. Use Google’s LSA budget tool to set a budget that works for you, and remember that you can always adjust your budget at any time. 

    Integrating LSAs with Broader Strategies

    LSAs serve their purpose, but they’re not a standalone solution; they should be part of a more comprehensive strategy of how to advertise a law firm. Think of LSAs as your local megaphone, Google local search ads as your extended outreach, and your overall digital marketing strategy as the master plan of which they are a part.

    Coordinate them alongside organic SEO efforts, insightful blog posts, informative content, and broader PPC campaigns. This integration ensures you cater to various stages of the client discovery process.

    Monitoring and Adjusting

    The world of LSAs does not endorse a “set-and-forget” method. You must track the performance, understand the metrics provided within the LSA dashboard, and adjust as necessary. If a particular type of lead isn’t converting, assess whether it’s your response or the nature of the inquiries.

    Awesome provider. They have helped our business grow from start up to profitability in less than a year. Cannot recommend highly enough!

    Attorney Jason McConnell

    Get Started with LSAs Today

    There really is no better online marketing than having your face appear at the top of a Google search! For the industrious estate planning lawyer, local services ads in combination with local search ads on Google Maps can quickly open the door to a stream of qualified, local prospects. By setting up and refining your LSAs tactfully, you can carve out a more prominent local presence and achieve a higher conversion rate.

    Remember, your legal prowess deserves to be advertised! LSAs are just one of the many tools to get you there. By following the tips and best practices in this guide, your LSA campaign will be off to a strong start or optimized for better performance if you’re already running one. As with any strategic marketing effort, it’s always about fine-tuning until you strike the right chord with your prospective clients.

    Sound daunting? You don’t have to go it alone! For personalized guidance on setting up or optimizing local services ads for your estate planning practice, reach out to our team at Juris Digital. Our law firm marketing specialists are industry-leading experts in helping lawyers like you maximize your online presence and attract the clients you serve best.

    Leann Pickard Leann Pickard serves as Chief Operations Officer at Juris Digital. After joining Juris in 2016, Leann held several positions within the organization before becoming COO — this experience led her to become a dynamic, versatile, and charismatic leader, championing next-level digital marketing practices. Leann combines her technical knowledge, entrepreneurial thinking, and passion for leadership to scale up operational success.
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