Recently I was called up for jury duty, which is not unusual in itself, but something happened that I found to be interesting. As a part of a potential jury pool for a DUI case in Phoenix, people in the group and myself were asked a set of questions about whether we could be fair and impartial. Afterward, potential jurors were brought in individually before the prosecutor, judge, and defense attorneys for extra questions. I had listed “internet marketing” as my occupation, and they wanted more details. Since I have worked for a firm that has purchased ads on Google for various local law firms, I brought up that information as well.
This is the part where something unusual happened. The defense attorney appeared to become more interested in the nature of Google AdWords, which he apparently was not aware of. He asked the question “You can put ads for law firms at the top of Google results?” and it struck me that this question had no bearing on the case, but it might have had an impact on the attorney’s marketing plan. It was almost as if my response to his question turned on the proverbial “light bulb” that got him thinking about how this could help his business.
Neither the prosecutor, judge, nor defense attorney was aware of the nature of Pay-Per-Click advertising, so I had to give a brief explanation of how it worked, and comment on the high cost per click for DUI Attorneys in Phoenix. Incidentally, CPC for DUI lawyers is high in Arizona because people who are prosecuted (or plead guilty) get a one day minimum jail sentence, and are required to install breathalyzer interlock devices in their cars. This motivates people to search for DUI attorneys online in greater numbers than in a state with less harsh punishments. Because more people in Arizona search for DUI attorneys, and they are more likely to “convert” as clients, lawyers are willing to pay up to $53.90 per click!
Given Phoenix’s famously high CPC for DUI terms, I would have expected an attorney in that field to have heard of PPC marketing. He certainly seemed intrigued when I mentioned advertising on Google. As I left the courtroom it occurred to me that the field of search engine placement may still be a relatively untapped territory if more people like the attorney are unaware of its existence. As an employee of an internet marketing firm, I am always talking about what I do, and it would seem that there is more opportunity for getting the word out about search marketing in general. As more small, medium, and large sized businesses understand the power of PPC and SEO services, they will increase the pool of leads for agencies like ours.
As it turned out, I was not selected for the jury, perhaps because I helped manage PPC campaigns for attorneys in the same field as the ones involved with the case. Leaving the courthouse, I wondered to myself how many other people in business are completely unaware that you can “buy” a spot at the top of the search engines. Although there are a lot of savvy small and medium sized business owners out there who are exploiting PPC and making a handy profit, it stands to reason that a significant portion of the marketplace remains open. If the search marketing industry can find a way to better communicate to people who may not be aware of search engine placement, then it would seem that the potential for growth in our field is still very good.
Note: If you want to see some of the highest CPC keywords on search engines, SpyFu.com has an interesting list of contenders.