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personal injury lawyer marketing ideas

6 ideas to refresh your personal injury marketing plan

Written by Leigh Ebrom

If you’re like us, you’re sick of click-bait and sales-driven personal injury marketing blogs that make big promises but offer few solutions.

Sure, you know that search engine optimization (SEO) is important, but how do you improve your ranking? Paid advertising can boost your visibility, how do you create landing pages and content that speaks directly to your ideal clients?

Your law firm needs an action plan, not a sales pitch.

Personal injury marketing is remarkably competitive—and it can be costly. As your law firm navigates this reality, it’s a good idea to evaluate your marketing plan and identify opportunities for improvement. For years, LaFleur has helped firms build real-world marketing strategies that rely on both data and our experience working with respected injury lawyers across the nation.

In this blog, we explore practical, data-driven ways you can improve your personal injury marketing plan. And unlike some marketing agencies, we’ll offer advice that you can implement today.

1. Understand the modern legal consumer

For years, personal injury lawyers assumed that when people got into a car accident or suffered an injury, they would pull out the phonebook or maybe ask their friends and family for a recommendation. Then, the person would call a couple lawyers—and likely hire the first one to call them back.

A lot has changed.

We’ve entered an era of increased legal consumerism. More people are researching their legal issues, weighing their options, and shopping around before they hire a lawyer. Consumers are doing their research, going online and interviewing multiple lawyers before making a choice. This applies even if they got a referral—only 10% of those surveyed said they neither researched nor contacted a recommended attorney.

According to a 2020 Avvo survey of more than 3,000 legal consumers, the most important factors in their decision-making process were the lawyers’ communication style or responsiveness, the availability of free consultations, the quality of their reviews, their level of experience, and whether they were a good personality fit.

Research from both Avvo and Findlaw’s surveys suggest that many modern legal consumers have the following traits:

  • They are researching their legal issues online and want to understand personal injury fundamentals.
  • They are comparing lawyers’ credentials, content, and reviews online.
  • Many initially think that enough research and effort, they can represent themselves. (But 49-56% eventually hire a lawyer.)
  • They expect exceptional service, including quick response times and regular communication.
  • Cost is a significant concern, and “free consultation” offers are still enticing.
  • Internet searches and peer recommendations are their most popular first steps. (Findlaw’s 2020 survey suggests recommendations still rank #1, but Avvo’s data says internet searches have unseated them.)

Interestingly, 10% of the consumers surveyed by Westlaw said they started their attorney search on social media. While this might seem like a modest amount, it could be an emerging trend. After all, only 9% of legal consumers used online resources while hiring a lawyer in 2010.

Admittedly, these are nationwide trends, and most small and mid-sized law firms cater to a more local clientele. If you’re not tracking your leads’ journey, now is the time to start. (And if you need help understanding how your leads discover your firm, reach out to us. We can suggest platforms and software that can help.)

2. Encourage client reviews (but follow the rules of professional conduct)

Consumers love reviews because they provide social proof—evidence that something works or is valuable because someone else says so.

Trust, but verify. Show, don’t tell. There are many truisms that apply here. Psychologists refer to this human tendency as a desire for social proof. We tend to believe people’s feedback, even if we don’t know them personally. And the more positive reviews you have, the more persuasive they appear. In fact, 90% of consumers believe your clients’ reviews more than your own statements, according to a 2020 Wyzowl survey.

Additionally, if you want to build up your law firm’s visibility with local services ads, you’ll need a strong five-star rating on Google My Business.

If you’re permitted to ask for reviews, you can create an automated email that directs your happy clients to your Google My Business page, Facebook, and other important review sites. However, many states prohibit you from compensating them for positive reviews, so double-check the rules before you start a promotion.

RELATED: Responding to negative reviews: sticks, stones, and solutions

3. Focus on your clients’ pain points and questions, not keywords

When you have a strong keyword and SEO strategy, your firm will see increased traffic to its website, better leads, and more conversions. However, too many firms focus on their number of keywords instead of the quality.

A successful content strategy will combine your deep understanding of your clients’ needs and concerns with digital marketing best practices. However, the focus should always be on your clients, not the search engines.

Let’s say you write a great, highly optimized product liability blog targeting the keyword “different types of airbags.” You write compellingly about airbag injuries, defective designs, and other important issues. The blog starts ranking well and it brings in a lot of traffic. But you notice that people tend to read the blog and leave your website, never to return. Even worse, no one is filling out the contact form on the page.

What happened? Why isn’t your great content resulting in conversions?

A successful content strategy will combine your deep understanding of your clients’ needs and concerns with digital marketing best practices. However, the focus should always be on your clients, not the search engines.

To understand what’s happening, ask yourself who are the people searching for “different types of airbags.” Are crash victims interested in this term—or are you attracting a population who simply wants to learn more about airbag specifications and design?

A more targeted topic, like “airbag burn lawsuit” or “average settlement for airbags not deploying” might have been a better choice. People searching these topics are more likely to have personal injury claims than someone searching the broader topic of “different types of airbags.”

Once you’ve found a keyword that speaks to your clients (and attracts solid monthly search volumes), it’s time to write and optimize. We’d encourage you to create content that comprehensively answers your readers’ questions in plain English, linking to related content on your website. This will encourage readers to continue their exploration of your website—and dense, high-quality content with internal links should also attract the search engines’ attention.

RELATED: The fundamentals of SEO for law firms

4. Incorporate video into your content

Video is more valuable than ever. In our post-pandemic world, most people are used to streaming video—especially on their phones and other mobile devices. Adding video to your website also lets your targeted audience see you, hear your voice, and get a sense of your personality.

It also can increase your client acquisition rates. There are numerous studies that link video to increased website traffic, longer visits to more pages, and higher conversion rates.

That doesn’t mean that you need to blow your entire marketing budget on glossy, high-production-value video and ads. Our clients have seen success filming their videos with relatively simple gear, like a DSLR camera on a tripod, in a well-lit room.

You can also work with a full-service marketing agency (like LaFleur) who can write your scripts, craft storyboards, film and edit your video, and share it with the world.

RELATED: Video marketing is trending and you need it for your small business

5. Don’t just brag about your results, share your clients’ stories

Just like a good review, an exceptional client story can build trust, differentiate your firm from the competition, and demonstrate your expertise. A list of settlements can’t do that, no matter how many of them are multi-million-dollar recoveries.

We don’t have to look very far to demonstrate the power of a good storytelling. Many years ago, our president, Chip LaFleur, was filming client testimonials and success stories for a law firm. As he listened to people’s stories, he had a life-changing realization: a truly talented personal injury lawyer could profoundly change someone’s life. Chip wanted to help connect the best lawyers with the clients that needed them most, and this passion led to LaFleur.

You became a personal injury lawyer because you wanted to help people. You have moments with clients that you will never forget. Celebrate them, and not just the numbers. Plus, 77% of people who watch testimonial videos say they contribute to their decision to retain a firm’s services or buy a product.

6. Don’t rest on your laurels

Complacency is the enemy of success, so this is really a two-part recommendation.

1. Values mean more to your clients than legal awards

Unfortunately, most prospective clients don’t care about your awards. In fact, only 4% of the people surveyed in the 2020 Avvo survey said their lawyer’s award contributed to their decision. You might care about them, but your clients don’t. They simply don’t have the insight into the legal industry to understand why these certifications and awards matter so much. A more effective approach is to highlight the work and values that earned you those awards.

2. Long-term success requires consistent upkeep

All digital marketing efforts have a shelf life—and some of them won’t be as effective as you hoped. Don’t assume that your law firm’s website content is performing well or that your top blogs will be perpetually evergreen. Instead, track their performance and adjust your strategies and content when necessary. This applies to your blogs, infographics, PPC campaigns, local services ads, and any other legal marketing tactics you employ.

Our team uses a “AAA” methodology when we monitor our clients’ website and advertising content:

  • Analyze: we monitor our tactics’ performance, using data analytics platforms.
  • Adjust: when tactics aren’t performing as well as they could, we revise them using our insight and relevant datapoints.
  • Attract: we continually gauge our tactics’ KPIs (key performance indicators), making sure we’re attracting the right audience

RELATED: Best practices for tracking digital marketing leads in the legal field

LaFleur: Legal marketing that gets results

We see ourselves as our clients’ partners, and we’re committed to their long-term success. Our digital marketing solutions aim to connect respected law firms with their potential clients, and our team includes talented content strategists, editors, designers, web developers, and others. And unlike some agencies, we truly understand and respect the work that personal injury lawyers do.

If you’d like to learn more about our approach to law firm marketing, complete our online form or call us at  (888) 222-1512. We’re ready to answer your questions and audit your website and marketing campaigns.

References

Sink or Swim: How to Adapt to the New Legal Consumer. (2015). Martindale-Avvo. Retrieved from https://www.martindale-avvo.com/wp-content/uploads/how_to_adapt_to_the_new_legal_consumer_avvo_whitepaper_2016.pdf

Testimonials Statistics 2020. (2020). Wyzowl. Retrieved from https://www.wyzowl.com/testimonials-statistics/

Understanding the Legal Consumer. (2020). Martindale-Avvo. Retrieved from https://www.martindale-avvo.com/blog/understanding-the-legal-consumer-2020/

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. (2020). Findlaw. Retrieved from https://www.lawyermarketing.com/white-papers/history-of-the-legal-consumer/

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.