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While there are general legal marketing practices all lawyers should consider, it is also important to stay up to date on the marketing practices that work for your specific practice area. Check out this post if you are a personal injury attorney hoping to up your marketing game.
There are tried-and-true marketing tips that work regardless of your practice area. You want to make sure you have a strong online presence, optimize your website for SEO, effectively manage reviews, share testimonials, and so on. However, every practice area is also a little bit different.
There is a nuance to digital marketing for each practice area. A potential business client may appreciate talking shop over a round of golf on the firm. However, a client who has been injured in a serious car wreck probably does not appreciate a trip to the golf course. Similarly, while an insurance defense attorney probably doesn’t want to appear overly sympathetic to plaintiffs online, a personal injury attorney certainly wants to come across as understanding, empathetic, and caring to his clients.
If you are a personal injury attorney and want some marketing tips geared directly to your practice area, then keep reading.
Reputation & Discovery, Offline & Online
When approaching your marketing strategy, it is important to remember that almost all of your marketing can be categorized into two interrelated areas: Reputation and Discovery.
Having a great reputation leads to more referrals, as well as higher conversion rates for those checking you out before contacting you. There is no better potential client than one who is looking for you after getting a referral from another lawyer or individual. Discovery is about being found when someone is just looking for a personal injury lawyer in general.
Offline: Most offline advertising is about discovery, whether it be television and radio commercials or billboards and yellow page ads. Offline reputation is often promoted through active participation and sharing one’s expertise, such as hosting or speaking at events, hosting an “Ask the Lawyer” radio show or television segment, or leadership positions in bar associations and other community organizations.
Online: There is a greater overlap between discovery and reputation online. This is primarily because of Google’s search algorithm being focused on high-quality content. If you are interested in search engine optimization to help you get “discovered” in Google, you will need to write content that enhances your reputation. More information on controlling your reputation online is available in our recent post Strategies for Effectively Managing Your Firm’s Reputation in Google Search Results.
Tip 1: Content Matters – Lend a Helpful Hand
Digital marketing matters and developing high-quality content is equal parts reputation strategy and discovery strategy. Most of the country is online now and this is even more true in the age of COVID-19. Search engines care about your content for SEO and consumers spend more time researching before making purchasing decisions. Likewise, with the wealth of information available to potential clients on the internet, it is only logical that they are also doing more research before hiring an attorney. Therefore, the content you create does matter more than ever. Developing useful, relevant content must be a focal point in building your marketing strategy.
For a personal injury attorney, many of your clients are likely to be unfamiliar with the legal system. They are also injured and may be experiencing one of the most stressful situations of their lives. Thus, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to navigate the legal process. Your potential clients are hungry for information and want someone to help them figure this out. As such, you want to have very helpful, easy to understand, and easy to navigate content.
You should create a high-quality services page on your website for each of your major practice areas. For example, if you specialize in motorcycle accidents, then you need to have a page for it. Consider adding a FAQ page to your website, if you have not done so already, or developing a blog post highlighting the 10 most frequently asked questions you receive.
You can also create blog posts for other common questions, such as:
- How do you file a lawsuit?
- What to expect after filing a lawsuit?
- Can I sue if I was at fault?
- How much does a lawyer cost?
- Personal Injury Claims v. Workers’ Compensation Claims
- Can you sue for emotional injuries?
- Is medical malpractice a personal injury claim?
- Do I pay taxes on my settlement?
When you practice in a super niche area, such as Uber accidents or foodborne illnesses, this content can be even more rewarding because it boosts consumer confidence that you are equipped to handle their unusual or unique problem. If you need more ideas for your personal injury blog (or website), head to this blog post for additional tips.
As a bonus, this type of content is great for sharing on social media or incorporating into email marketing newsletters. If done well, content and content-sharing may also help drive organic traffic to your website over the long-term future, so it is important to make sure you keep your content up to date.
Tip 2: Be Mobile-Friendly – Know How Clients Look for You
Google has over 92% of the global search engine market share and 63% of all United States Google traffic originates from a mobile device. That number is only likely to increase. Furthermore, research has indicated that more than half of mobile users abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. Moreover, Google has been clear that mobile load time impacts your search rankings.
In terms of our categories, mobile search optimization is largely a discovery play – say 90% – but can also have impacts on your reputation. The data indicates that it is important for any attorney to have a fast mobile-friendly website. In particular, you will want to have your website AMP-enabled and hosted on Google’s CDN.
This is likely even more true for personal injury attorneys. Unlike other practice areas, your clients are not always going to be businesspeople looking for an attorney from the comfort of their office. While some of your potential clients certainly may use a desktop computer to look for you, many more may be searching from the scene of an accident, from a doctor’s office, or on their way home from an incident. The COVID-19 world makes the odds that your client is looking from a mobile device even higher. If your website isn’t fast and working for users on their mobile devices, then you are missing out on potential clients.
Tip 3: Search Engine Marketing – Help Clients Find You
If you want to be the one people see when they search for a lawyer after being hurt, then you will need to consider adding search engine marketing (SEM) to your strategy. When this is your goal, you typically will run Local Services Ads (LSAs) or pay-per-click (PPC) ads as part of a Google Ads campaign in an effort to get your ad to appear on the search engine results page (SERP) of Google. Running these ads is primarily a discovery play to ensure people can find you, especially when they search for certain keywords.
LSAs are sponsored listings that appear at the top of the SERP, even above the PPC ads. These LSAs are Pay-Per-Lead instead of PPC. What does this mean? It means you only pay when you receive a contact through your ad, either by phone call or text message. You can choose from several practice areas for your featured LSAs. More information on LSAs can be found in our previous post Seven Things Your Law Firm Needs to Know About Google’s LSAs.
PPC Ads are the ads that Google shows above the search results but after any LSAs. To effectively run these, you need to optimize for each of your keywords, your ad text, ad extensions, landing page, and bidding strategy.
Tip 4: Video Marketing – Engage Your Potential Clients
Video Marketing is here to stay. 86% of businesses are using video as a marketing tool and 91% of marketers feel the COVID-19 pandemic has made video even more important for their brands. Nothing indicates that attorneys would be an exception to this rule. Instead, your clients are increasingly expecting to see videos on websites, on social media, and in their search results.
While this is mostly a reputation and awareness tactic, you can also optimize YouTube videos to make them a part of your discovery strategy.
What does this mean? You should create some videos. Put a high-quality, branded video on your website homepage. Share other videos on YouTube, social media, or even on important landing pages for your site.
Whenever you decide to begin video marketing, make sure you pay attention to the details. You want to have a high-quality video with high-quality visuals. Choose topics that focus on questions your actual clients or consults often have. While your narration should flow naturally, you will want to prepare in advance and know what you are going to say. You aren’t trying to show off, so avoid using too much legal jargon. Instead, you want to be conversational and keep your information short and direct.
End with a call to action (CTA). Ask the viewer to subscribe to your YouTube channel, connect with you on social media, or call your firm for more information. This CTA should be tailored depending upon the channel where you have shared the content and the purpose of the video.
Finally, you can also consider using video to record client testimonials to share online. This makes the testimonial seem more authentic and personalized for your potential clients.
Tip 5: Building Awareness – Traditional Advertising
As you may have guessed from this title, much of traditional advertising is a discovery tactic but don’t forget that your reputation and brand are often intertwined with discovery. Yes, most law firms want (and need) to build awareness of their firm. However, this is especially important for personal injury attorneys. You want to be the first person someone thinks of when they are in a car accident, slip and fall, or otherwise think they may be owed compensation for an injury. If you are doing the reputation piece well, then people are more likely to search directly for you or your firm when they need a personal injury attorney.
There is a reason that you see so many billboards on the highway and see so many ads on commercial breaks for personal injury firms. This tried-and-true marketing has its benefits, even if the return on investment is not immediately apparent in dollars and cents. Everyone has someone they think of when they think of a personal injury attorney.
For example, Morris Bart – a personal injury attorney with offices across four states in the Gulf South – has used these traditional methods to build huge awareness for his firm and is synonymous with his slogan “One Call, That’s All!” In the digital era, this slogan has adjusted to include “One Click, That’s It!” His campaigns have been so successful at building awareness that a Louisiana toddler had a Morris Bart-themed birthday party that garnered national attention and was even featured on Jimmy Kimmel.
This type of brand awareness can keep you at the top of your potential clients’ minds, even in unconscious ways. Consider billboards, bus ads, bench ads, local TV commercials, and radio ads. Some of these, such as billboards, may be less seen during the pandemic as people work from home. However, that does not mean you should abandon these strategies entirely. Instead, you need to weigh the anticipated benefits, both short and long-term, for your firm through each of these mediums.
Remember, regardless of which method you choose to advertise, you will want to be conscious of your brand and messaging in these ads. You may even need to consult with a marketing and/or design professional to make sure you get it right.
You can also build awareness through other less-obvious promotion tactics, such as donations to local charities, community event sponsorships, giveaways, and free media, such as local news appearances to discuss current legal issues. For example, some firms engage in this type of marketing through bicycle helmet giveaways and free New Year’s Eve Uber rides. Others sponsor sporting events or appear on weekly TV Shows, such as LawCall, where they answer legal questions for free.
Social media, though a less traditional medium, can also be a free resource for building awareness of your firm by engaging with users in your community. You can share content you have developed and information about your firm and community events. You can also engage with users directly to build relationships. However, you will need to be cognizant of the volatile nature of social media. Make sure you never engage in a social media fight and always be sure you don’t post content that you wouldn’t want to go viral and be seen by anyone in the world.
Tip 6: Data is King – Track, Track, Track
With any marketing campaign, you want to hold yourself accountable for the time and money you are spending on these efforts. Set specific and measurable goals for your campaigns. Leverage analytics data to evaluate performance. Pay attention to calls, leads, and conversions as well as the sources through which you receive new leads. Look at the reach of your campaigns to see how many people see you and how often.
Remember, you will need to be flexible in this process. If you incorporate something into your marketing strategy that data indicates is not working, change it. As technology and consumer behavior change, adjust your marketing strategy. You want to be ahead of the game, not running to play catch up.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
You want to be sure you are spending your marketing money and energy on tactics that work for your practice. Marketing a personal injury practice is not the same as marketing a family law practice, a criminal law practice, or a business law practice. You want to stay on top of the marketing efforts that matter to all firms, but also make sure you are incorporating marketing strategies that are tailored to you.