Matt Smyers of Consultwebs walks attendees through the latest developments with the new Google Service Ads for law firms.
Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks so much for having us. We’re excited to be here today to talk to you about Google local services, ads, platform, um, a very new and exciting platform from Google that I’m sure most of you have already heard at least something about, um, we’re going to take a deep dive into it. Uh, what is it, how does it work? How do you set it up? Um, how do you pay for it? How do you budget for it? All of the considerations, um, that will be relevant to you in terms of getting this program up and off the ground for your law firm. So first we’re going to touch on what the local services ads are. You’ve probably heard about the, the Google screened, uh, designation we’ll touch on that. And then also we’re going to talk about, uh, an additional designation that is part of this platform called Google guaranteed. So what our Luke local services ads, essentially this is Google’s play, um, to take, you know, optimal prior, you know, organic results. Um, there’s been a heavy focus, uh, by Google, um, in recent years on, on being a hyper-local with their search results and putting a heavy emphasis on reviews. And really what Google has done here is they’ve, they’ve taken that same concept, the idea of delivering highly relevant results to their users. Um, and they’ve, they’ve put it into a pay to play model. Um, and what is unique and exciting about this opportunity is that, um, it’s a pay per lead, uh, arrangement as opposed to, um, you know, the historical pay-per-click that you’re, you might be used to, um, Google is offering this on a pay per lead basis. So the local services unit is going to be shown at the top of a Google search result when someone searches for services, um, in your case, the practice area or the type of law legal services that they’re looking for for the services that you offer in your area, um, the user will be able to click to call, or they will be able to send a message directly through the ad. That message would then be sent on to your law firm, uh, via email, so that you’re, uh, you’re able to get that notification and respond promptly, uh, to the, to the lead, to the inquiry. So we’ve included a screenshot here of what a search result, um, might look like for one of the go Google local services ads. And this was a search using immigration lawyer. And as you can see here, um, a few things to differentiate these results that I want to bring to your attention that we’re going to dive into in more detail as we move along. The first is this green check Mark and the Google screen to designation. You’ll notice that the first two ads and the result have that the third does not. Um, and that’s something to keep in mind, um, and is very relevant. We’ll dive into when start talking about how Google delivers and prioritizes these ads. Yeah, Here’s another example I’m using estate planning attorney. Um, again, notice the Google screen designation. Um, I also want to point out in this example, um, that the, the ad that was shown first is showing up as open now, whereas the ads in the second and third position are showing up as closed that again, as a factor in how these ads are going to be delivered. So it’s something to keep in mind, as you begin to set these campaigns up, um, is what are your office hours? Um, another factor to notice, take note of here is that all three of these ads have a rating of at least 4.9 stars. Um, and quite a few Google reviews, again, another, uh, strong factor for Google when it comes to how these ads are going to be prioritized, ranked and delivered. So let’s talk for a moment about, uh, budgeting. Um, how do you set a budget? How are these ads priced? How are you as the advertiser and as law firm paying for them? Um, so, you know, unlike a pay per click campaign in this instance, as we said, you were, you you’re actually paying for the lead, uh, which is a huge development, uh, with Google, um, and in a radical departure from what we have known out of Google, um, in terms of their paid advertising services. So you’re charged for the lead. Um, as they come in, lead prices are going to vary much like cost per click will vary in a market based on competition, based on demand. Um, Google hasn’t provided us much more, uh, in that regard as to how they’re going to price them, um, other than, um, it is going to be based on, you know, the number of firms that qualify, uh, in a particular market. Um, how many firms are set up to run the ads and then how much of a demand, so you can see here, we’ve provided you with kind of a snapshot into the dashboard view of one of these campaigns. And this is where Google provides you with the budget recommendation. So, uh, somewhat similar to how you would budget for a PPC campaign. Uh, but Google is taking a lot of the other, uh, metrics and statistics like impressions and click through rate out of the equation. And they’re simply telling you that in your market for your service area, uh, in this instance, they’re estimating or recommending a budget of just over a thousand dollars per week or $4,700 per month, uh, and estimating a target number of weekly leads of 19. Uh, and that is, that’s, it, it’s very, it’s, it’s pretty user friendly in terms of how, uh, how a budget is determined and set. Um, you can also see here, um, some of the, the, the fields in the profile, and we’re going to talk a little bit more about how you set up your profile for these campaigns, um, and the types of things that Google requires in order for you to participate. Um, you’ll never pay more for the lead, uh, than your monthly max. Um, so if you set your monthly max at $5,000, a Google is going to make sure that you don’t overspend, um, you will have the ability to reject these leads if they’re not relevant to your firm. Um, if you’re currently using live chat or a similar type of, um, type of program, you’re probably already familiar with a process like that, where you’re able to, um, go through the leads and either accept or reject them based on certain criteria. Exactly what that criteria, uh, is going to be is I think still a little bit up in the air, at least as it pertains to personal injury firms. Um, but suffice to say, you will have the opportunity to, uh, reject certain leads as they come in and you would not have to pay for, so touched on this some already, but I want to kind of dive into how was Google delivering these ads and what are they using to determine when they show the ad and what position your ad is shown. Um, so several factors that can affect your ranking, um, your review score and the number of reviews you receive. So, as I showed in that prior example, uh, those firms all had a very high review score, a 4.9 or higher, um, at a pretty healthy number of reviews. That’s always been important for Google since reviews became available and, uh, has, has become an even greater factor, um, in recent years in organic search results. Um, so, you know, hopefully you already have a pretty healthy, uh, system in place, robust system for, um, you know, for managing your Google reviews. Um, and so that when you go and apply for this program, um, you will already be eligible your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests. And this is, you know, sort of, uh, similar to, uh, you know, ongoing performance, um, with a Google ads campaign. So, um, it’s not just how you set up the campaign with Google ads, PPC. It’s not just how you set up the campaign and how much you bid, but it’s how often your ads are clicked on, um, at a number of other performance related factors, um, that all kind of speak to the relevance of your ad, uh, that are, are used for Google to determine, um, when they deliver your ad. Um, and in what position, so in this case, your responsiveness to customer inquiries, um, are you answering the phone calls? Are you responding, um, you know, to all of those, um, to all those inquiries in a timely manner, uh, proximity to pertinent potential customers locations, uh, again, this is just, uh, taking the Google’s concept of delivering, uh, hyper-local extremely relevant results to their, to their users, um, you know, on a local basis. So your proximity is going to play a, a factor here, uh, much like it does with SEO. Um, you know, PPC, fortunately you have the ability to pretty much target wherever you want, regardless of your, of your location. Um, these ads work a little bit differently in that your location, um, is going to play a factor. So if you’ve got, um, you know, an office across town and a competitor, uh, who is, you know, who is located downtown, and that user is, you know, within a few blocks of your competitor, decent chance, your competitor’s ad is going to show up, um, you know, above yours in this instance, because of the high value that they’re going to place on the, the location of the individual, conducting the search, uh, your business hours, as I showed in the, one of the previous examples, your business hours are actually listed in the results. Um, and if you’re open at the time of the search, um, that’s going to play a part in where your ad ranks and where and how it’s delivered. So that’s something to keep in mind as you’re setting up your profile. Um, you know, we always encourage a 24 hour coverage, um, you know, on the phones for our clients. And this is just one more example of how important that can be. Um, and then whether or not Google has received any serious or repeated complaints about your business will play a part. Uh, just also want to mention, and this really kind of speaks to the, the budgeting from the prior slide, but if you set a, a budget, a monthly budget, Google is going to attempt to spread that out, um, over time. So what you might find is, you know, if you, if you set a $5,000 budget, for example, and you know, you’re on pace to exhaust that budget in the first week, Google is, is automatically going to slow that down. Um, and they’re going to do it in, in one of several ways. Um, you know, they’re either going to pause your campaign completely, uh, to avoid you, you overspending during your budget period, uh, or exhausting your budget prematurely, um, or they’re going to start delivering your ads in lower positions, uh, making it less likely for them to be clicked on, uh, and less likely for a lead to be delivered. So that’s something to keep in mind as you’re setting these campaigns up and to keep an eye on, um, to make sure that, you know, you may, maybe you’re not missing out on the opportunity to get more leads, uh, because your budget might be limited. So the first step in this process is going to be to set up a local services profile, and we’ve provided you a snapshot here of what those profiles look like. And I’m going to dive into some of the requirements a little bit later on, but just to kind of give you the highlight here of what a profile looks like in the back end, um, you know, of the system, and you can see here, uh, the overview, the, you know, the number of years in business, you’ve passed your background, check your license in the state, et cetera. Again, this is all information that, um, you know, the Google obtains from you during the setup process, uh, and, and, and creating that profile, and then Google screened is yet another designation, um, that I, I showed you in some of those screenshot examples, um, that we’re going to talk about as well. So the first step in this process is get your profile set up, consult webs is already helping our clients with this process. Um, it’s, it’s a repeatable. Um, so, you know, we already have a pretty good understanding of how to, how to gather all this information and manage that process for our clients. Um, it’s really not extremely difficult. Um, it’s really more administrative work than anything else, and really mostly information that you probably have pretty readily on hand, uh, anyway, just in the normal course of conducting your business. Um, so while it’s, it’s, it’s comprehensive, um, I don’t think that it’s such an onerous process, um, you know, that it makes it difficult to get signed up. So Google screened, I’ve mentioned it a few times and you see it once again here, and this, this sample search results, um, where the first ad is showing that Google screened designation. Um, so what exactly is that and how do you, how do you obtain it in order to, uh, you know, to help your, your local services ads campaign, uh, deliver more ads, get more leads? So here are the eligibility requirements for Google screen, um, general requirements for, uh, and these, these ads are being offered for more than just the legal industry. So general requirements, um, are a 3.0 star rating, uh, minimum star rating, uh, for all of your Google reviews, um, a business level background check, a business owner, background check, and then a couple of factors specific just to law firms to keep in mind, uh, proof of malpractice insurance, um, state bar license check for every lawyer at the firm. Um, again, things that you probably have readily on hand, um, it’s just, you know, some administrative work to provide all that information, uh, to Google to earn this, this screening, uh, the Google screen designation, um, certainly worth the effort, uh, to go through that, uh, when you’re setting up your profile and to try to achieve that Google screened again, because, you know, it’s only going to add that much more credibility to your ad. Um, and it’s also going to improve, um, how often your ad shown and more importantly, where it is shown, um, in terms of the, the ad position, Google guarantee. Um, you may have heard of this as well, and it’s been discussed quite a bit recently as sort of, you know, the, the next step above being Google screened. Um, and what was exciting about this is that Google is talking about, um, if you are, if you’re, you’re designated as a Google guarantee, um, Google is actually backing, uh, your service offerings and offering the consumer, um, you know, up to $2,000, um, in, in refund for services rendered. If you’re not satisfied, if the consumer is not satisfied, uh, with the advertisers, uh, work or services, um, we had also been told that, um, Google was also going to add an additional goo Google guarantee badge, uh, for your GMB listing. Um, that would be a profile upgrade, uh, to your GMB listing at an additional cost of $50 per month. Um, something that everybody was very interested in and excited about. We had been asking how, you know, how are we going to as law firms, uh, go about getting this designation? And, uh, unfortunately we just found out within the last couple of days from Google, um, that Google guarantee is not going to be available for law firms. Uh, we’re not sure if that decision is permanent. Um, as you can see in the example here, you’ll see what this Google guaranteed would have looked like. Um, this is an assert a search for, uh, electrician. Um, so at the moment, um, whether it’s because the fees are too high, we’re not exactly sure, but Google has confirmed with us that, uh, Google guarantee is not going to be available. So if you’ve already kind of started to go down that road, um, you might want to reconsider and just kind of hold off on that. Um, as we get more information, if that changes, we’ll make sure to update everyone and let you know, but suffice to say for the moment, Google guarantee is not going to be in play for law firms. So how does this impact your law? Firm’s current digital marketing strategy. This is a question we’ve been addressing and, and actually kicking around internally and talking to our own clients. And, you know, it, depending on who you talk to there, there’s, there’s quite a bit of excitement about this program, uh, in the digital marketing space. Um, and I think there’s, there’s potential for this to do, to do very well. Um, but there is quite a bit that is unknown at this point. Um, you know, I think the big question that everyone has is are the leads going to be quality leads is Google going to be able to, um, you know, through their, their algorithms and through this system, are they going to be able to deliver quality leads to law firms, um, to make the spend worthwhile, um, what is pricing going to look like as more firms jump in and it becomes more competitive, um, will they simply price some firms out of it because it just becomes too much. We don’t know that yet. Um, but you know, really our approach with, with this new opportunity is no different than it is with, with anything else new that comes along in the digital marketing space. We’re on top of it, we’ve investigated it, you know, we’re, We tend to apply, you know, longstanding, uh, marketing principles to all of these campaigns. And, you know, marketing is, it’s an iterative process, right? You plan discover, create, deploy, and measure. Um, and we do that over and over again. Um, you know, so our, our strategy at the moment is obviously to get our, our firms set up, um, get the profiles, set up, figure out a budget that makes sense for the law firm, uh, in the market and test these campaigns, um, our suggestion, uh, you know, to our clients and when it comes to the local services, ads is, you know, let’s not take money away from existing campaigns to test this because I think if you want to get a true representation, you know, apples to apples comparison, how is this performing versus your PPC versus your organic results? I think it’s important to set the campaign up independently without making any other significant changes to your strategy, um, and measure the results, you know, find out what is the cost per lead, what is the cost per case? And that’s, you know, what we plan on doing for our clients as these campaigns start to launch and go live. And that’s really the only way you’re going to be able to determine the effectiveness, um, you know, and truly comparing it against your, your other digital marketing efforts. Um, so that would certainly be our recommendation. Um, go ahead and get set up. I think there is an advantage to getting an early, uh, before a lot of other firms start to jump in. Um, there is some time involved in getting yourself, uh, getting your firm, you know, set up approved, certified, and getting that campaign going. So I think the sooner you’re able to do that the better. Um, and then from there, from there, just make sure that you’re, you know, you’re measuring this against all of your other digital marketing efforts to determine the effectiveness, your cost per lead cost per case, et cetera. So, um, that’s what we had for you. Um, it just kind of a quick summary of what this program is all about. Again, uh, we are excited about it looking forward to getting these campaigns live with some of our clients. Um, we’re happy to address any questions that you have, whether it’s now, um, or at, at some other point where we’re always happy to answer. Um, our team is working directly with Google, um, and getting these campaigns set up, um, and they’re providing us with information as it becomes available. Um, so please be on the lookout for any updates or additional information for us, um, as this changes. Thanks so much for, uh, for joining us today and look forward to speaking with you very soon.