Table of Contents
Read along for an overview of online PI marketing, including scalable tips and ideas that deliver results — based on our years of experience working with law firms.
Personal Injury Marketing: A Primer
Every legal practice area is different, and the personal injury niche happens to be an insanely competitive one. According to IBISWorld, personal injury is a $38.4 billion legal industry in 2021 with 1.5% year over year average growth from 2016 to 2021.
With that much money being tossed around and millions of personal injury attorneys in the U.S., many attorneys are willing to try whatever it takes in order to take their share of the proverbial pie.
So, while no one will get physically hurt jockeying for clients in this cutthroat business, it’s certainly possible to drain your law firm marketing budget OR miss out on the best opportunities if you don’t position yourself in the best way possible.
The solution that will give you a steady stream of clients without breaking your firm’s budget is to craft a clear and foolproof law firm marketing strategy that separates you from the rest.
A foolproof strategy means you can’t spread yourself too thin trying to be everywhere for everyone to see. Take a pause before signing up (and footing the bill) for cheesy TV spots, plastering your face on billboards, and posting TikToks and Reels 24/7 on social media all at the same time!
Going after all of these strategies is ideal if you can afford them and if all these tactics generate revenue to your bottom line — which is definitely not always the case.
Unless you have really deep pockets for your marketing budget, it’s best to focus on repeatable strategies that provide return on investment (ROI). The key to effective marketing is to identify tactics and strategies that will generate the most conversions and revenue.
Even if you end up only using one or two tactics, as long as they work and grow your business, that’s all that matters. It’s all about leveraging what has the most impact over time.
The Problem with Traditional Advertising Strategies
Before we dig into the strategies you SHOULD focus on, let’s take a minute to review why some of the first tactics that come to mind — traditional advertising methods like billboards, flyers, or tv advertising and radio spots — aren’t the best way to generate leads for most lawyers.
Let’s take billboards as an example. On the positive side, studies show that 71% of people “often look at the messages on roadside billboards.” Most personal injury law firms have taken stats like this to heart and invested heavily in billboards — especially in the injury space, where car accidents are much of an injury law firm’s bread and butter. Doesn’t it make sense to be visible right there on the side of the road, with your name and number spelled out in letters 10 feet high?
Well, sure it does, IF your prospective client has a wreck right there or IF they happen to remember your information later on. Those are a couple of big ifs. To add to that, billboard marketing is hard to measure. Unlike digital law firm marketing (and particularly search engines marketing and PPC ads marketing), you can’t easily quantify how many potential clients come to your law firm because of a billboard. That means it’s hard to justify the cost of the billboard — whereas with digital strategies, you can see the cost of acquisition of each new client. And speaking of cost, billboards are pretty pricey with costs in the thousands of dollars per month.
That being said, billboards, radio ads, TV spots, and other forms of traditional media can be good for general brand awareness. If someone sees or hears the name of your personal injury firms practice often enough, you just might be the one to get the call when they or a family member are hurt.
But… don’t you want a little MORE out of your marketing strategy?
Don’t you want to be able to TARGET your ideal client, whether that’s a worker who gets hurt on the job, a person injured in a bad car accident, or a person with personal injury claims, etc.? With a digital ad campaign, you can target potential clients down to specifics like profession, location, income level, and more. You can even target timing so that your ads are online when your clients are, and you’re not wasting money when everyone’s offline.
Don’t you want to be able to MEASURE the results of your marketing campaign? When using SEO tactics, PPC ads, and other online strategies, there are tools that allow you to pinpoint the cost of each client acquisition. Then, you can tag that cost to how much revenue is generated from each client and make sure the numbers all make sense for your firm.
Finally, don’t you want to keep that market BUDGET in check as much as possible? Although a robust digital strategy isn’t cheap, it shouldn’t cost as much as billboards ($14k+ per month in urban areas) or TV ads, where you have to pay for ad production as well as the actual air time. SEO is a strategy where, with regular monthly investment, your efforts compound by themselves over time.
With all that in mind… Let’s take a look at what a successful marketing tactic could look like for your firm.
Key Elements of Your Personal Injury Lawyer Marketing Plan
So, if traditional marketing isn’t it, what does a successful marketing tactic for a PI firm look like?
Based on our experience helping attorneys across the country increase the number of leads, here’s a quick outline of our best personal injury marketing plan.
Each of these elements helps to position your law firm in a such a way that your target audience will clearly see you.
Nail Your Personal Injury Law Firm Website nad Get Your First Visitor
It goes without saying that you need to have a functional website that contains all your business information so that prospective clients can find you online anytime.
Of course, accurate business information isn’t the only thing your site should contain if you’re looking to maximize your personal injury marketing initiatives efforts.
Unlike other online properties, a self-hosted website allows you to have complete control of not only your marketing but also other assets you can leverage to achieve your desired goals. More on this later!
SEO-Optimized Content for Personal Injury Lawyers
One of the main assets of your website is your content, from main pages to blog post. As you’ll find out later, each article or content piece that helps to answer people’s questions about personal injury law firm is a valuable asset in promoting your services.
Landing Pages and PPC Ad Campaigns
If your intent is to turn casual site visitors into leads and clients, well-designed landing pages are key to converting as many visitors as possible.
These pages are where you’ll direct potential clients (target audience) from your pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign, so they should be brief, attractive, and very clear about how someone can take the next step to contact you.
Social Media Accounts
Social media pages for your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other channels create additional touch points and build trust with potential clients.In and of itself, social media doesn’t necessarily generate a ton of leads, but it IS an important component of a robust digital marketing tactic.
What Are Your Marketing Goals as Personal Injury Lawyers?
Now that you have the dominant digital strategies for a personal injury law firm marketing in mind, the next step is to identify what goals you have for your upcoming campaigns.
For many firms, the purpose of marketing is to get as many clients as possible. However, some firms may only want certain types of clients, and you also have to factor in that not all prospects are ready to become clients.
As you think about expanding your prospects, it’s important to understand that marketing works alongside a sales funnel. Your funnel is made up of different stages that identify where your prospects are. Below is an example of a sales funnel: Source: Medium
This depicts how your prospects could be at different stages from each other: some may just be looking for general information before they decide to hire an attorney, whereas others may be urgently trying to retain counsel.
To achieve your goal of closing more clients for your PI firm, you need to find a way on how to bring all of them down the funnel to being clients.
Below is a simplified approach to developing your sales funnel using the marketing campaign elements we identified earlier:
Increase Website Traffic
This will serve as your top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) stage. Your goal here is to reach people who may be looking for a personal injury law firm and lawyers but don’t know your firm exists.
To get them to notice you, you will likely need to create assets on your website or social media that display your expertise, record of success, and deep knowledge about the law.
As your middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) stage, you’ll be connecting with people who already know about your service but are unsure of whether to hire you as their personal injury lawyer.
People in the bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) stage are ready to hire you as their PI attorney.
It’s just a matter of making yourself easy to find online presence and demonstrating that you’re the perfect person for the job.
Personal Injury Attorneys Marketing Ideas
Of course, understanding the sales funnel doesn’t mean you can execute on it just like that. Next, you must identify the right tactics for each stage in order to build your marketing strategies.
In this section, we will talk about the top law firm marketing ideas and tactics you can use to build a robust personal injury lawyer marketing plan. We’ll also discuss different tools you can use to help carry out the tasks under each tactic.
Search Engine Optimization
The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to rank on the first-page of Google’s organic search results. To do this, you must be ready for a battle.
PI keywords are THE most competitive real estate in the search engine results (SERPs) out of any personal injury practice areas. We know from speaking with other agencies that personal injury firms in competitive markets are spending as much as $10,000 per month on SEO services.
If you can fit that type of line item into your budget, you should definitely be headed for more traffic and a lucrative stream of conversions. However, you can also do a lot with less!
Stealth SEO for Personal Injury Law Firms
If you’re just starting out or don’t have the budget to spend millions of dollars on marketing, it can feel hopeless. But, don’t worry. There is a way to punch above your weight and carve out a segment of the market.
Stealth Tip #1 – Look for low-hanging fruit keywords to optimize on your site pages. These are also known as long-tail keywords. You might not be able to rank for “Personal Injury Attorney New York,” but maybe you can hit #1 on Google for “What to do after a motorcycle wreck in NY” — that’s a long-tail keyword.
In doing so, your law firm’s website might be able to rank higher than the competition on search engines results pages and thus generate the most click-throughs and traffic, leading to a greater number of conversions.
In order to identify this type of keyword, you need a tool that will show you different keywords related to PI. From there, you can filter the results according to monthly searches and difficulty.
Stealth Tip #2 – Find a niche within PI and focus your efforts. The big players have the budget to go after every segment, but you don’t. Pick one area, like dog bites or ride share, and run with it. You may not be able to get marketshare across all practice areas, but if you’re a leading voice in one area, you still stand to gain significantly.
By targeting lower-competition keywords that lots of people search for, you can maximize your chances of ranking on Google search results. Below is a short list of keyword tools you can use to identify what keywords to pursue:
- Google Keyword Planner – free tool to help you find keyword suggestions and their respective range of monthly searches. Good for basics, but not very accurate.
- Keywords Everywhere – provides additional keyword data such as more precise search volume, keyword difficulty, and more.
- Ahrefs (Our pick, it’s the best!) – more than just a keyword tool as it can power your entire search engine marketing tactic with features for link building, competitive research, and more.
Once you have the keywords you want to target, you have everything you need to start optimizing content to fill out the different stages of your sales funnel.
As an example, for folks in the TOFU stage, you can create articles and informative guides to answer questions they might ask regarding personal injuries. Here, you can showcase your knowledge and expertise in the subject by writing excellent content that answers the questions of your audience — and brings that audience into your funnel.
For MOFU and BOFU, you can optimize your landing page for their respective keywords. One option is to create pages with the intent of getting visitors to join your mailing list by signing up for your opt-in form. Or even better, you can go after a ranking for your high-converting landing page that turns visitors into clients with calls-to-action such as your phone number for a consultation or a contact form they can fill out.
Case Study: The Amazing Earning Power of SEO
SEO is a powerful tool for personal injury attorneys because it’s a limitless strategy. Unlike advertising, you hold the keys to your organic search visibility. As you write more, your visibility generally continues to increase over time.
You can also use this medium to cover a wide-range of topics beyond the most obvious keywords used by personal injury attorneys. And with the huge ROI potential of many personal injury cases, you only need a couple of big wins to make it all worthwhile. We’re going to look at Conosocienti & Ledbetter, who were able to secure a big payday from a single case.
The Challenge As everyone knows, personal injury law is THE most competitive practice area. PI firms are routinely spending above $10,000 per month on SEO to be on the first page. In a city like Atlanta, this is no different: the competition is fierce. So, how can a firm that splits their time between criminal and civil compete with some of the major players in the area who dedicate millions a year to marketing?
The Payoff We helped Conoscienti & Ledbetter earn $142,000 from a single case! All through SEO. The key is to niche down into areas that may not get as much attention from the big boys. In this case, we were targeting ride share car accidents. We found the most popular keyword on the Internet and constructed a page that made it on to the first-page of Google. The point here is that you don’t have to be #1 for “Auto Accident Lawyer in CITY” (typically the most competitive keyword out there) to get results. Be crafty, be first to market when a new trend is happening in the market and you’ll be able to reap the rewards!
Local SEO for a Personal Injury Law Firm
Aside from content and keywords, you need to worry about local SEO for law firms as well.
Since you’re competing against nearby PI lawyers and law firm, you need to set up shop using Google My Business. By claiming your GMB account, you take control of your local SEO search presence.
From here, you can do the following:
- Set up your business NAP (name, address, phone number)
- Publish Google posts and photos, a la social media
- Answer questions from people about your personal injury law practice
- List the practice areas your firm covers
- Collect and respond to customer online reviews
By managing your profile actively, you can make your business profile appear on Google’s “local 3 pack” and get even more clicks and inquiries about your services.
Unlike other tactics, paid ad campaigns (often done on Google or Facebook ads) require you to dedicate a budget in order to launch the campaign. Once the ad budget is depleted, you can replenish the funds if you choose to.
There are different types of paid ads, but the most common kind is the ads that appear on Google SERPs at the very top of the page, before any organic search results.
Also known as a pay-per-click or PPC ad campaign, with this strategy you must bid on the keywords for which you want your ad to appear on Google search. Each keyword corresponds to a particular amount when users click on it. For instance, if the keyword bid costs $1, then you pay Google $1 per click.
Current click costs on Google are OUTRAGEOUS. Just take a look at these examples!
Case Study: Negatives are Your Best Friend
If you are a glutton for punishment, consider starting a Google Ads campaign for your personal injury law firm. Click costs for personal injury-related terms were already through the roof, but then COVID-19 hit. Fewer people on the road meant fewer accidents and you guessed it, fewer cases.
We used to think that a $100 click was insane. But, those were simpler times. We are now routinely seeing one single click for an auto accident keyword going for above $300! How can a personal injury firm actually see a return on their investment with these click costs? The answer is having a well-constructed advertising campaign.
Our Approach Google Ads is one of those things that is sneaky difficult. You may be thinking, “Oh, it sounds easy enough to put in some words, pay for clicks and watch the cases roll in.” But, it’s way more complicated than that. Google Ads can be your ally, but they are not your friend. They want to show your ads to anyone on the planet who could be remotely interested in your services. Without strict controls, you’ll pay thousands of dollars for bad clicks.
These are the key parts of a successful campaign:
- Utilize a large, well-developed negatives list
- Set strict location settings so ads only show you in your area
- Develop ads based off existing campaigns with high CTR
- Use landing pages with obvious calls-to-action
- Only show ads when you are next to your phone
How Did it Work?
Using these strategies, we were able to deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue for the firm at a respectable cost per acquisition. To be fair, it took some time to hone-in on the right configuration, but that is typical with an ads campaign. After we got rolling, the conversion rate started to jump and lowered the cost per acquisition.
Google Ads can be an extremely sustainable and profitable tool for personal injury lawyers. But make sure you have a good team managing your campaign or you could end up on a runaway train before you know what happened!
Another popular type of ad is found on social media. Facebook Ads are probably the most popular of these, but you can also run paid advertising campaigns on other networks like Instagram and LinkedIn.
Unlike Google Ads, for most paid social media advertising you’ll need to identify the demographics of the users whom you want to see your ad. The campaign will last for a period of time and will make your ad appear in the newsfeeds of users who meet the specified demographics.
Similar to Google ads, your campaign depends on the budget you allot for the ad. While you won’t pay per click, your budget dictates the reach and duration of your ad campaign.
What’s the bottom line on paid ads? They can be expensive, and they require you to shell out cash from the onset. This reason is why this tactic is best used to target your audience in the MOFU and BOFU stages, not waste it on tire-kickers at the top of the funnel.
Finally, both paid ad types complement each other so a winning strategy can be to use both at the same time unless of choosing one over the other.
Social Media Is Not the Most Productive Law Firm Marketing Strategy
Due to the volume of people on social media, it’s expected that your personal injury law firm has a presence across these channels.
Some personal injury lawyers swear by social media for engaging with clients and getting leads, but our view is a little different. This pie chart shows a fairly average breakdown of where we see leads coming from — notice social is just a tiny slice compared to organic search.Of course we have our preferences, but we’re also agnostic as to where you cultivate business. You know your audience best and have unique insight into what the best channels for reaching out to your prospects may be. However, we’re always happy to share the data on what we’ve seen work, time after time.
According to an Attorney at Work study, Facebook and LinkedIn are the most effective social media channels for bringing in new business (31% and 27%, respectively).
If social media marketing is your plan, you need to set up social media marketing strategies that hits on all the stages of your sales funnel.
We’ve already discussed the use of social media ads to convert visitors into clients. You can also use social media at the top of the funnel to increase brand awareness and visibility to help familiarize your audience about your knowledge as a personal injury lawyer.
First, you can leverage social media for sharing blog posts or news about personal injury. If you do, make sure to take this opportunity to engage with your contacts by asking questions, replying to their comments, and more. The idea is to open lines of communication where your target audience can engage with you.
When it comes to finding prospects, you can perform social media listening to see what people are saying about your topic online. Then, reach out to and engage with them in the hopes of turning them into followers, if not clients.
You can do this manually by searching for your topic on social media sites. But to automate the process, use tools like Awario, BrandMentions, and the like to gather posts across different social platforms and answer each.
Your personal injury law firm marketing strategy is how you present yourself to the public, and as such it will determine your success as a personal injury lawyer.
While we’ve discussed the key principles that will govern your law firm marketing plan, you need to understand one last thing: Niches = riches. In other words, you must focus on your core competencies as personal injury lawyers. Don’t waste your time promoting yourself as something you’re not.
Use the tactics above to flesh out who you are as a personal injury lawyer, which will help send more leads and personal injury clients your way.
Finally, once you get the ball rolling with your marketing campaign, don’t stop! To be fair, things will get difficult. There will be times you won’t be able to hit your goals or you’ll run out of budget to fund your marketing campaign. From here, it’s easy to submit to failure and fall back to old habits. But just start with what you can commit to, and make sure to keep going. With SEO especially, success builds on itself over time.
Getting your personal injury law firm marketing right takes commitment and perseverance. You can’t expect people to hire a lawyer who won’t even fight to land clients. Take this as an opportunity to show your grit and relentlessness as lawyers who won’t quit until they win.