Does Google Adwords work for lawyers? Clearly, since there are so many personal injury ads that display in the righthand column when one types "New York personal injury lawyer" into Google (or any other geographic location).
But it could be Google Adwords only works for attorneys who are happy with securing a high volume of inquiries from budget-conscious prospects. It may not work as well for lawyers looking for affluent clients willing to pay top dollar for high end service. As a recent blog post by San Francisco estate planning lawyer Peter Myers attests.
Peter Myers runs an eponymous law firm in San Francisco specializing in estate and retirement planning. According to a May 13, 2008 blog post, Myers decided to launch a Google Adwords campaign using the keyphrase "San Francisco estate planner." However, the results were disappointing. As Myers puts it, while the ads increased site traffic, the inquiries generated were primarily from price-sensitive consumers who did not appear to appreciate the premium service that Myers' firm provides. As an example, he cites an inquiry from a woman with what sounds like a complicated estate planning situation who twice asks Myers to quote a fee. One is reminded of the adage, "if you have to ask how much it costs, then you can't afford it." Anyway, Myers says he responded with a letter that basically says he can't quote a fee until he reviews the woman's entire financial and family situation, and that this will not be an inexpensive process (Myers bills $600/hour).
Myers concludes that Google Adwords commoditizes legal services, and that this is detrimental to his business model since, as he puts it, "when your service becomes a commodity, the only remaining determinant between your ounce of gold and someone else's ounce of gold (or whatever commodity) is . . . price." Instead of intangibles like experience, insight, diligence, precision and commitment.
On the other hand, we have one client - a major California firm - that seems to have had success with Google Adwords since the ads are still running after several years.
Any thoughts, dear readers? We'd be happy to publish any stories you have.