When it comes to finding leads and acquiring clients for personal injury cases, it’s almost certain to be expensive. Especially when you compare it to other types of cases generation such as family law, small property transactions, wills & estates. We’re talking between hundreds and sometimes even low-thousands of dollars to produce just one new client.
Depending on how critical and urgent you require new leads for your practice will determine what methods you should consider using and investing time, money and other resources into.
That’s a cost that will have to be paid in one form or another if you’re serious about building your practice and generating new cases for your firm. We’re going to discuss the different strategies, both short and long term that you can pursue to do just that.
Focus on Activities & Expenditures You Can Measure
Before jumping into the details, the first order of business is going over a general rule of thumb to market and advertise by. Unless you’re a medium to a large-sized law firm, only engage and spend the majority (80-90%) of your marketing budget on activities that you can measure a key metric as a result of that marketing; your cost per case acquisition.
This means you’ll be looking for channels, activities and opportunities that have a direct return on ad spend (ROAS). So every time you run a campaign, you divide the total cost by the cost of new leads or cases generates.
Getting New Cases in the Short Term
If you need to generate new cases quickly, you can spend money to buy leads short term, such as:
- Broadcasting & Advertising using mediums such as:
- TV Ads
- Billboards, Print & Physical Ads
- Lead Generation & Referral Services
- PPC & Search Engine Marketing Ads
1. Broadcasting & Traditional Advertising
While it’s becoming increasingly expensive and decreasingly effective for generating new cases, I not only believe but see second-hand through family, friends and clients that traditional forms of advertising work. It has two major benefits.
The first being that it can have a substantial and immediate effect on generating new cases. The second, which I will discuss later on, is to do with long term effects and what I call marketing inertia. This plays a role in producing synergistic effects for brand building and SEO.
Television: Test the Variables
The key to success is partnering with the right stations, choosing the right slots in terms of the time of day and which programs your ads are running on. If you have a larger budget and hence more room to experiment, then gather data. The important variables to test are:
- Programming Slots
- Time of Day
- Broadcaster / Advertiser
- Time of Year / Seasonality
If you don’t have a large enough budget, then your results can be very hit or miss. That’s why these variables are important. If you don’t have the budget, then you’ll have to take a more methodical approach to your advertising.
For instance, if you advertise on TV, you may want to lean towards choosing times of the year when it’s cold and people are inside looking at the TV. Don’t choose times of year when people are busy and distracted by the holidays or summer when everyone is off camping.
Billboard & Print: Size & Location Matter
The main advantage that you have with physical ads like billboards over TV, is controlling exactly where your ads appear. The original form of Geo-Targeting before Online & Internet marketers started using the buzz phrase to sell local businesses on online ads.
The key is to choose a location that gets a lot of traffic every day and is highly visible. Usually, the billboard ads provider has already done their work finding prime locations for ad angles. However, I encourage you to confirm this for yourself. It could be your next investment after all.
Places like intersections and toll bridges are great examples for prime ad locations. It’s scary to think about, but in today’s world, everyone is looking at their phones. Including many drivers. If you want to capitalize on your ad’s potential as much as possible, choose places where people are more likely to be looking up and/or through their windshields.
2. Lead Generation & Referral Services
If you don’t want to do deal with the headaches and pains of marketing or even hiring a marketing agency, then a lead generation company may be of interest to you. These are services out there provided by some of the Martindale’s and Nolo’s of the world that offer lead generation and referral services. There are even smaller companies and one-man shops that offer such services.
You Pay for Leads, Not Marketing Expenses
Essentially, these companies take care of their own SEO and internet marketing. They then generate leads through inbound contact forms, live chats and phone calls that their websites and online platforms receive.
The lead is then put into a bucket or list, based on where the potential client is located and what type of legal service they’re inquiring into. The lead-gen or referral service then sells the lead’s information to a local law firm for a fixed price. These companies usually work on a pre-determined price based on a contract you have with them. You don’t have to worry about the marketing expenses and associated overhead, just receive emails with the lead’s details and contact info and it’s your responsibility to follow up.
Too Good to Be True?
It sounds like a pretty good deal if you’re a lawyer that wants to focus on practicing the law and trying cases. Just purchase leads and open new files, right?
The biggest issues and complaints I see from attorneys are to do with quality. Many complain that they pay hundreds of dollars for their leads from these generation and referral services and many times, these leads are low value or entirely unqualified.
Furthermore, the referral company is holding all of the cards and power. You’re dependent on paying the price they dictate and lead quality that can only be defined as a wildcard. One day they may even decide to turn the tap off or pull the plug on your completely if they can sell the leads to someone else for a better price.
3. PPC & Search Engine Marketing Ads
Pay-per-click ads can be an effective part of any firm’s marketing strategy to acquire new clients. For lawyers that handle personal injury and car accident cases, it can be particularly useful.
PPC vs SEM Ads
It’s not always a question deciding between pay-per-click or search engine marketing ads. In fact, SEM ads are merely a subset of PPC ads. In different regards, they both serve their own purposes and in many circumstances, they can complement each other. Typically, SEM ads are best for getting clicks with the highest intent, whereas PPC will vary depending on techniques, audiences being targeted and mediums where ads are shown.
Search engine marketing ads will show above and below the search results in search engines like Google and Bing. Google is the most popular with it’s AdWords platform. Personal injury and car accident lawyers can greatly benefit from AdWords. There are such large segments of people that don’t know of a personal injury lawyer, therefore they search for them online. This can be your place to show up in front of them.
High CPC, Higher Intent, Heavy Competition
Because you’re able to pay and show up in front of potential clients searching for an injury lawyer like you – here and now – in a search engine, it means that these ads are among the most relevant you could hope to advertise with, anywhere. So many law firms are using it as a means to generate more clients. That also means it comes at a hefty price tag, cost-per-clicks (CPC) for firms advertising on Google represents the most expensive CPC segment of almost any industry. Accident and injury lawyers pay the most. Clicks can easily start $50 and go up to several hundred dollars per click.
This may seem beyond exorbitant, but prices are set through an auction. This means, that other competitors in your area are willing to pay the same prices. AdWords management and campaigns can be a full-time job on their own. However, when performed correctly, they can bring in a substantial number of intakes and new cases.
Long Term Methods to Generating New Personal Injury Cases
There are multiple and creative ways to generating new leads, however, we’re going to cover some of the more modern yet conventional and proven methods of getting new clients. These include:
- Building or participating in specific, targeted communities
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Writing and Blogging to your target audience
- Building a brand presence in your market
- Becoming a Legal Authority
These are strategies you can invest in now and profit from starting anywhere from 6 months onward and benefit from for years to come. These methods take time, but if you work with the right partners, find the right groups and have the right ideas.
Think of it like planting a seed, nurturing it and benefiting from the shade that a mighty oak can one day provide.
1. Niche & Target Communities
The thing about injury lawyers and litigators broadcasting and mass-media advertising is that you’re going to be advertising to a large population. The problem with this is that a very small portion of the audience you’re advertising to actually need your services.
By finding the right niche and target communities, you can narrow down to a much smaller audience, to begin with. While smaller, the key is focusing in on people who are much more likely to need your services.
Behaviour Pre, Intra & Post-Accident or Injury Claim
Few others will no better than an injury lawyer, which led their clients to them.
Had they been to see a doctor, chiropractor, physiotherapist?
What purchases have they had to make their lives a little easier living with pain, partial or total disability?
By answering these questions and more, you’ll be able to create a customer persona not just based on demographics, but behavioral patterns. These patterns will help you identify where you can find people and reach them.
Ideas to Illustrate
On Facebook, you can create or join a group of people. As an accident or injury attorney, you could create a group for motorcyclists in your state or province. Keep them updated with safety information, changes to any pertinent laws as well as news and events related or of interest to the biking community.
Find local organizations and coalitions for motorcyclists, MADD groups or even bicycle enthusiasts to join and sponsor.
Advertise specifically to in-market audiences that are looking for services like chiropractors in your area. While people get chiropractors for many different reasons, people who have been injured are likely to end up in their waiting rooms too.
Think About What You Can Offer Them
However you end up targeting your audience, you need to go above and beyond the norm. The key is to stand out by becoming a valued member of the group or community. The way to do that is by adding a value that the community can’t ignore. By adding value in profound or meaningful ways, your firm will stay top of mind with your groups.
2. SEO – Search Engine Optimization
SEO is one of the best ways to get a virtually endless amount of leads for your practice. People are searching for lawyers in Google every single day. In fact, 96% of people seeking answers to their legal questions use a search engine like Google.
Free & Organic Traffic is Extremely Valuable
While you don’t pay Google for the organic traffic you get, you’re going to have to invest in your website’s SEO in order to reap the benefits. It’s likely that if you perform a search for ‘personal injury lawyer’ + your target city that the first page is already chock-full with the top competitors in your city and surrounding areas. Note that I didn’t say your city, but your target city.
If your firm isn’t situated in the target city you’re looking to get cases in, don’t worry you can still rank. It’s just more difficult. When you do though, you can expect it to generate many more leads and phone calls.
3. Blogging & Writing to Your Target Audience
A large part of SEO today is not just in ranking your website’s homepage and core service pages, but your blog articles and information pages. Think about your target audience like any other market of savvy consumers.
Just like any well-informed consumer before making a major purchase, it’s important to know what you’re going to purchase. Choosing a lawyer and having their legal issues resolved properly is no different. These aren’t people going directly to the “buy now” button on Amazon.
Instead, they are going to do their due diligence, read reviews, understand if this is really the purchase that’s going to handle their problem.
Answer Their Burning Legal Questions
A great way to become trusted in the eyes of savvy and informed shoppers is by creating articles that are laser-focused at answering their legal questions. By doing this, you’re building brand awareness and top of mind advertising at the most critical time possible – before the hire a lawyer.
Compile a list of questions that they ask you most often and put the pen to the pad. Start with the FAQs and go further by answering more specific questions on relevant topics and issues.
Offer Them Value for Free
We writing and blogging on your site, it’s not enough to write a 500-word article anymore. Anyone can do that and everyone has done it. You need to go beyond the basics and get as detailed as possible.
Why should they call a lawyer for free legal advice when they can do almost unlimited amounts of research on their iPad from the comfort of their own home. It doesn’t mean at all that they’ll end up handling the case at all. Most likely, they’re just going to be better informed about their case walking into an attorney’s office. They’re going to be better informed when choosing which lawyer to choose.
This is where the more experience a lawyer has and the better they are at settling, gathering objective evidence and going to trial, the more value they can provide in a blog article.
Yet, I see time and time again that lawyers are ‘too busy’ to invest the time or effort. However, their high-volume firm counterparts and competitors do. The firms more concerned with marketing than actually being great lawyers are the ones writing the majority of these articles and winning new clients over with their free, valuable blog articles.
If you put in the work and just go that extra 10-20% in value-added info, Google and Bing will reward you by ranking your articles in the top results. You’ll be ultimately rewarded in the form of new cases and clients, from the hearts and minds you won over by giving them something for nothing.
4. Building Brand Presence in Your Market
A key to most any business’ long term marketing strategy is building a strong brand presence. If you want to learn more about building a brand presence, then check out this article. Creating a beautiful and captivating brand is important. Policing it and making sure that your advertisers, sponsors and business partners follow your branding guidelines to the tee is equally critical.
Ceteris paribus, knowing how to and where to promote your firm’s brand is an article of its own. Below we’re simply going to discuss more of the synergies that exist between building a brand and other marketing activities written above.
Improves Rankings & SEO Efforts
The first synergy we’ll discuss is how branding affects your SEO efforts. Branded search is really important to your law firm’s SEO success. In essence, many people who work with you, whether they be vendors, clients or others, will look up your contact details or some other information on your website. When they do this, they’ll type in your firm’s name into Google. It’s much simpler than typing in or guessing a URL. When people search for ‘ABC Law Firm’ in Google and click on your site, this tells Google that your brand is important to people.
Furthermore, Google keeps track of how many times per month people search for your brand. When trying to rank for other keywords, Google is more likely to trust a respected brand than a no-name or less credible site claiming to be a local personal injury attorney. Such a trust signal is used by them to give your site credit for ranking for keywords.
Added Synergy in Search Engine Marketing
When you’re advertising with PPC display ads or with AdWords for legal keywords in search results, your brand-building advertising and marketing efforts can really help here. While these are two different campaigns and separate budgets, your firm may experience higher click-through and conversion rates due to brand recognition than if you ran PPC and SEM without mass broadcast advertising.
Commercial & Traditional Advertising
Yes, your local advertising efforts are going to play a big role in generating new cases almost immediately. It’s also going to have a residual effect in building your brand presence. Planning to spend dollars advertising locally through TV, print and other mediums over the long haul with keeping you top of mind and build a name in your market.
Local Goodwill, Partnerships & Sponsorships
When we discussed building and participating in groups and communities, this heavily ties into building your firm’s brand. Especially when you consider the concentration of people in these groups that are likely to either someday need your services or refer someone to you.
With that said, a word of caution to those with smaller budgets or in their earlier days of marketing. These can quickly veer away from activities that you can directly measure your ROAS and cost per client acquisition.
5. Become a Legal Authority
Becoming an authority on areas of law which you practice isn’t all that difficult. It requires some work and in many cases investing some facetime. The benefits of this help in many different campaigns and independently as well. Building your authority can take a number of different forms, which will depend on the ripple effects you desire it to have. This can help keep you top of mind with other lawyers, acquaintances and past clients within your market. Staying top of mind with these particular sources can be a phenomenal source of client referrals.
Journalist, Media & Local Bloggers
Newsworthy events occur all the time. Many of those will have to do with the law. This can be used to your advantage. Journalists and media groups are constantly looking for interviews as well as interesting comments, takes and opinions on a particular matter. Getting involved can help promote your practice and shed some spotlight on your brand name in your market.
Social Media & Your Blogging
You don’t have to try to go to the media initially or even directly. Instead try blogging about newsworthy content on your firm’s website, or even your personal blog. Doing this can then be shared with others, including the media and journalists who may want to quote or mention you, re-share your posts or speak with you directly.
Blogging has another and more major effect in terms of becoming an authority on your areas of practice. This is by having people looking for answers to their legal questions via a search performed on Google or Bing. It’s easy to answer questions in a blog format and have it rank in search results for highly specific queries. You can build trust and authority with this audience through blogging. People who have done their research and come across your blog are more likely to hire you when they’re ready to take action and call a lawyer.
Injury and accident lawyers have many different avenues for generating more leads and clients. Different tactics will put more of the responsibility on them, but generally, the cost is going to be higher than other areas of practice. However, this shouldn’t come as discouraging to these practitioners. It’s a cost tied to the industry, especially due to the competitive nature and high returns that goes along with this area of law.