Local Services Ads for
LSAs are a powerful new pay-per CALL platform that shows at the top of results (even above Google Ads/PPC!)Let's Talk
Local Services Ads in a Nutshell
Imagine that SEO and Google ads had a baby...well they did and that baby is called Local Service Ads (LSA) or Google Screened. The legal industry is incredibly competitive making it very hard for the average small solo law firm to get noticed online, let alone generate leads and convert them into clients. But there's a new way to get to the top of search engines and drive qualified leads: Google Local Service Ads (also known as "Google Guaranteed" or "LSA"). We've been closely involved with this program since its inception in the legal industry and it's really shaking up the search engine results page (SERPs) across all of legal. So let's set the groundwork on how to navigate this no ads platform and frame some basics before you jump in:
- Why are LSAs important?
- How do LSAs differ from Google Ads / pay-per-click?
- How much do the leads cost?
- What are the advantages (or disadvantages) of this platform?
- What is involved with managing these myself vs outsourcing this to an agency?
- My city doesn't have LSAs showing up for my practice area, now what?
Well, let's address these one by one...
How are Local Services Ads (LSAs) important to your legal strategy?
Most law firms don't have an endless war chest of funds and need diversified strategies that can guarantee some type of lead flow without overextending their ability to pay. In a way, LSAs do just this by balancing performance and giving law firms a way to "dispute" leads should they not fit certain criteria. Google will refund qualifying disputes back to your account allowing you to capture the maximum lead volume and lead quality for your dollar.
How do they differ from pay-per-click (i.e. Google Ads?)
LSAs are incredibly important to have in your marketing arsenal because it's the first "performance-based" paid platform Google has ever done, meaning, you pay per LEAD not by click.
Local Service Ads are a completely separate platform from traditional Google Ads/PPC and are prominently displayed at the top of search results, above Google Ads/PPC, the organic listings, AND map results. Google will only charge you for leads and will credit you back for unqualified leads (this dispute process needs to be done regularly and consistently.)
How much do leads cost?
So, because you only pay when a potential client actually contacts you, you're probably wondering how much these leads actually cost, right? Generally, the prices range dramatically based on the competitive landscape (how many law firms are using it and the practice area) and their respective bids (i.e. how much are they willing to pay for a lead). We've found that lead can range from $30-40 for rural less competitive practice areas like estate planning to $150-200+ for more competitive cities and practice areas (like personal injury and criminal defense). If you would like an estimate for your market and practice area please contact us.
What are the pros and cons of LSAs?
Pros: The absolute best Google visibility available today, only pay for calls, and get credits for unqualified calls. Bottom line: you have recourse if the lead isn't qualified, so refunds/credits are totally possible. For example, if someone calls you and they are asking for a service you don't provide...you can get a credit. If they call you and they're in another state and you can't help them...you can get a credit. However, if a lead calls you and they just don't have a case...you'll pay for a lead. That said, our team is 95% effective in processing leads and getting credits for our clients. 🙂 This is the main reason why law firms hire Nifty to begin with.
- Momentum: The algorithm heavily favors advertisers with a history and reputation of consistently answering calls.
- The "New" Factor - Many law firms have been slow to adopt the new ad platform, making this a huge opportunity to capture your market.
- Eliminate risks and exposure that other marketing options pose
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What are some other considerations for law firms considering Local Services Ads?
What is involved with managing these myself vs outsourcing this to an agency?
This is a big one...we've spoken with 1000s of law firm owners and a LOT of them have been burned by poorly executed paid campaigns. So you're not alone in being skeptical! Truth is - you may not need an agency's help at all. If you have in-house personnel dedicated to managing this channel, you may be in a place to have them handle the lead processing (refunds/credits) portion of this channel. There are other account considerations that should be taken into thought through before just taking this on yourself, here's a few:
- Setup: many have tried but some are unsuccessful because of the types of hoops Google wants you to hop through (i.e. business license verifications, identity background checks, proper photos and headshots, geographic selections, bid settings, etc.).
- Lead processing:We have a helpful sheet we can give you for free to help keep track of LSA lead attribution, disputes, and management (reach out and we can grant you access). That said, this can be very time-consuming and not all employees are going to be effective at properly following the protocols to maximize refunds to your account. With each lead being $40-200+ there's a sizable risk involved if the disputes aren't managed properly (and consistently!). So, you may find yourself in a "tripping over a dollar to pick up a dime" type situation.
Aren't local service ads set it and forget it?
Not quite. If you compare LSA strictly to Google Ads/PPC, then local service ads are "set it and forget it" in that there aren't ad creatives and destination urls to be updated like Google Ads/PPC. However, consider the sheer volume of feature updates the platform has had in the past 12months, the complex relationship of LSA bids vs budget settings, and the manual process involved in processing and disputing leads.
At the core of our LSA offering is our inside scoop on what moves the needle for the LSA algorithm, and our specialty in being able to manage the incoming leads and processing the refunds you're owed. This can be time-consuming and frankly, at $50-200 per call (depending on practice area) you'll need our help to ensure you're not paying for leads that are irrelevant to your practice.
So, what's it take to win at LSAs?
LSA's are a new way of advertising, but potential clients will still look to reviews to make their decision. If you don't have any, we recommend getting started. Nifty has review acquisition services that can be added to your LSA management. That said, "reviews" by themselves aren't really what moves the dial - but - RECENCY of reviews is a big indicator to Google on who should and shouldn't be in these ad results.
Answer All Calls
You'll be charged for the lead when the potential client calls, so it's important to make sure you have someone available to answer the phone. Straight up - if you miss calls Google will demote your placement and your lead flow will dry up. If you answer calls, Google will love you. If you miss ANY calls... RIP.
This channel works with a certain amount of "momentum" so if you start-stop budget - you'll likely get less visibility. It's crucial that once lead flow begins, we lead it on and manage these leads by seeking disputes and refunds. Once you have lead quality dialed in, start thinking of Local Services Ads as a referral partner, not a budget-restricted ad platform.
What if these ads aren't currently running or showing in my area, am I out of luck?
NO! The good news is you really do have an opportunity on your hands because early adopters have a huge advantage in Google's algorithm on how these ads work. However, LSAs are getting competitive, so if you're in PI or other large population areas, you'll frankly have to speak with us before we can be confident you can even get visibility. For example, if you search "Atlanta personal injury lawyer" you'll see 10s of 100s of law firms in the LSA component of that search. So how can you, a small/solo law firm breakthrough? That's where Nifty comes in. To sum it up, Google definitely favors first adoptors and the larger the market and more competitive the practice area, the more challenging it will be to "win" in this channel, and the longer it will take to crack top positions.
To summarize, here's what you get for Nifty LSA Management services:
- Ongoing Optimization
- Bid Management
- Credit/Refund Management
- Status and Policy Monitoring
- Call Quality Auditing (call recording and booking rate)
- New Feature Implementation
- Review Monitoring (volume, rating, recency)
- Weekly Lead Processing
- Intake Monitoring (Missed calls)
- Monthly Reporting
Get LSA for your law firm today. LSA's are different from traditional online advertising, which is why it's important to have a team that specializes in them. If you're interested in learning more about LSA's or how we can help your firm get started, please contact us.