Personal Injury Attorneys Beware – It’s A Jungle Out There
These days, running a personal injury firm is not for the faint of heart. With so much competition, law practices need to do everything they can to distinguish themselves. It is no longer enough to run an ad in the Yellow Pages and hope your phone will ring. And although client referrals are still one of the best marketing tools a firm has, this avenue alone may not be enough to build long-term stability.
In recent years, there has been a major shift among legal consumers, particularly Millennial’s and Gen-Xers. The majority of individuals from these generations now look for a personal injury attorney online after they suffer an injury. They are very tech savvy, and they will often spend hours researching to find out about their type of case and what they need to know.
In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift toward online commerce. At this point, having a strong digital presence is not just an optional strategy for personal injury firms, it is a must.
If you want to compete in the 2020s and beyond, you need to show up online, and you need to do everything possible to establish authority in your area of practice. Build your web properties correctly, and they will do most of the selling for you, so you can focus on what you do best – practicing law.
Tips for Marketing your Personal Injury Practice
Here are five of the most effective steps you can take to market your personal injury firm online:
Focus on the Low Hanging Fruit First
A surprising number of attorneys and law firms do not even complete the basic steps to developing an online presence. Even before we talk about websites, you need to understand where many legal consumers look to find an attorney and be sure that you are there as well. For example, have you claimed your Avvo profile yet?
Avvo is the largest and most popular online legal directory; and it is one of the first places a consumer will look to see how reputable an attorney is. Ideally, you want to have an Avvo rating of 9 to 10, which means “superb.” And you definitely want to avoid being on the middle or lower end of that rating scale.
Maximizing your Avvo rating can be done with fairly minimal effort. It is a one-time investment of your time that will pay dividends on an ongoing basis. Whether you know it or not, you most likely already have an Avvo profile. So, the first step is for you to claim it and fill in all of the necessary information.
Put in your education, years of experience, areas of practice, licenses, recognitions and awards, contact information, photo, etc. Also be sure to submit your bar number to Avvo, so they can verify your identity.
Finally, your Avvo rating is partially determined by external sources. Specifically, you will need to request peer endorsements, which you can do within the Avvo system.
Endorsements from other attorneys are best, but you can also get endorsements from friends, family members, former coworkers, or others you have worked with in the past. Avvo client reviews are also very helpful, so be sure to request them when you successfully handle a case.
Create an Attractive and Engaging Website
Get your profiles optimized in Avvo and other widely used legal directories, then focus on your most valuable online property, your website. A law firm website is more than just an online calling card; it houses several pages of content that describes your firm, background, why people should hire you, each of your areas of practice, a blog where you can publish helpful information for legal consumers, and maybe a section to list all of your verdicts and settlements (if that is something you want to highlight).
Your website is essentially the vehicle that drives your online marketing strategy. You can also think of it as the digital version of your physical office. An effective website is one that is professional, user-friendly, attractive and aesthetically pleasing, and engaging to potential clients.
When a visitor arrives, they should find a website that is easy to navigate, clearly explains who you are and what you can do for them, and provides the opportunity to interact via a chat box and online contact form. Keep in mind also that a growing percentage of the population connects online using a mobile device, so your website should look good on both tablets and smartphones.
Develop an SEO-Friendly Content Marketing Strategy
You have an Avvo rating of 10 and a beautiful website that is ready to convert visitors into clients. Now what?
These are important pieces to the online marketing puzzle, but there is still one more essential ingredient you need to add – targeted traffic. The best website in the world will do you no good if nobody ever sees it, so you need a consistent strategy to make sure you are continually bringing in targeted visitors.
There are two main ways to drive targeted traffic to your online properties; search engine optimization (SEO) and paid advertising. With SEO, the object is to rank on the first page of Google (and ideally in one of the top three to five spots) for keywords that your target market is searching for. With Google pay per click advertising (which is one of the most common forms of paid search advertising), your ad is displayed on the top of the page or on the right-hand side, and you pay each time someone clicks on the ad.
The challenge with paid ads for personal injury law firms is that they can be extremely expensive. For example, the keyword “best mesothelioma lawyer” costs more than $900 per click. Of course, winning a mesothelioma case could be worth millions, but a lot of personal injury firms do not have the budget to spend thousands of dollars up front just to bring a handful of visitors to their website.
Effective SEO gives you organic rankings that will last much longer than a paid ad, provided you are not doing anything to manipulate Google’s algorithms. One of the best ways to drive traffic organically through SEO is by consistently publishing blogs. This method is commonly known as “content marketing.”
There are a few essential elements of a strong content marketing strategy:
- Choose the Right Article Topics: An SEO-friendly content marketing strategy starts with creating blogs/articles with the right titles/topics. Go for topics that will be relevant to a larger number of readers and try not to get too specific. Find keywords that a lot of legal consumers are searching for and look for common questions that your audience is asking. Articles that answer frequently asked questions tend to work very well for both SEO and reader engagement.
- Make your Content Understandable: It might be tempting to use a lot of legal terminology in your articles and doing some of that certainly helps establish your authority on the topic. That said, be careful not to overuse legal jargon. The best legal article is one that takes complex topics and makes them understandable to the average layperson.
- Make your Content Practical: Always give your readers practical and helpful advice, so they will come away feeling that reading your article was worth their time. A good example would be an article that gives readers an inside look at what to expect during each step of the accident injury claims process. Another type of article that readers appreciate is helpful advice on avoiding auto accidents, or steps to take if they get into an accident.
- Make your Content Readable: Most people do not read an article all the way through – there is simply too much information out there online and not enough time in the day. If they click on your page and see a huge block of text, the reaction of many will be to go somewhere else for their information. Make sure your content is readable and scannable with plenty of subheadings, bullet points, and bolded text.
Think of each web page and blog post as another avenue that allows legal consumers can reach your website. The more pages and posts you create, the more chances you have to rank them for keywords that are searched for by members of your audience. Do not stress too much over ranking one specific page or article – the key here is consistency, and if you keep this strategy up over time, you can drive a ton of targeted traffic to your website.
Build Relationships with Your Audience through Social Media and Newsletters
Even if someone has not become a client yet, you can still build a relationship with them through the use of email and social media. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are more relaxed settings where you can show your human side and build rapport with those you interact with. You can connect with past clients and associates, and you can build up a network of followers who appreciate the useful content that you put out.
If you want to take your online relationship building to the next level, consider publishing a biweekly or monthly newsletter. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, just something that updates readers about what is happening in your firm, recent cases you have won, and maybe some interesting things that are going on in the world of personal injury law.
When a reader receives a newsletter from you regularly, that keeps you in the front of their mind, and you will be the first firm they think of when they need help with a personal injury claim.
Be Flexible in Your Approach
One thing we can be absolutely certain of when it comes to the online world is that it is always changing. New technologies will emerge, and new platforms will come on the scene, and some of these new trends could be useful for personal injury attorneys to grow their clientele. As we have seen recently, societal disruptions like COVID-19 can also force firms to adapt their strategies in order to survive and grow.
Test and tweak your online marketing methods, find out what is working best and do more of that, and eliminate campaigns that are not performing. Stay flexible in everything you do online, and always be prepared to make shifts when necessary. Finally, if you need any help marketing your personal injury firm online, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation.
About Sundown Legal Marketing
Sundown Legal Marketing specializes in helping law firms review their current internet footprint, developing a comprehensive internet marketing plan and implementing every aspect of that plan. Contact us today for a free website evaluation and a no obligation assessment of your internet marketing plan. Call us today at (800) 864-1764 or online at Sundown Marketing.