How to Get (More) Personal Injury Clients

Marketing, Legal
24 min read
We’ve had personal injury attorney clients come to us who make less than $119,000 a year (what the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in 2017 was the median for lawyers). We’ve also had attorneys and law firms come to us who make 3, 4 or $500,000 a year. What are they’re doing differently? Are those high-earning lawyers really making more per case, or are they working more cases? The answer is more cases thanks to a steady and predictable stream of prospective clients. Now, if you’re relying primarily on referrals for new business, how will you realistically expect your business to grow?

If you want to get more personal injury clients for your practice, you need a predictable engine for generating more cases on a monthly basis. The days of buying your way to the top of the Yellow Pages are long gone.

Digital marketing for law firms will help you reach your target audience. It will pinpoint prospective clients and keep them coming in on their own if you have the right system in place. And it will give you measurable goals that build up to the endgame of working personal injury more cases and growing your business.

Even if you know 99% of what we’re about to tell you, there’s just as big a chance you’re not doing it all. Having no or even poor digital marketing will hurt your lifestyle—but getting it right isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve outlined all the basics you need to get more personal injury clients in this 6-step ultimate guide.

Step 1: Be where your prospective clients are looking

Prospective clients look for attorneys on Google. And real visibility on Google means being on the first page of search results, or you’re going to miss out on 90% of the action (i.e., clicks to your website).

Step 1: Be where your prospective clients are looking

If you aren’t on page one of Google, you aren’t there. We watch stats on keyword searches for law firms every month, and in your metro area there may routinely be 9, 10, even 15,000 searches for the legal services you provide.

When you search for these keywords, you’re going to see about half a dozen law firms that constantly show up. So, what are these guys doing right?

Showing up on page one is crucial, so we’re going to break down how it’s done. And while we’ll give you the steps, as you follow along you’ll see why gaining Google visibility is easiest for the law firms who hire a digital marketing agency to help. You may be able to do a lot of this on your own, but your time is better spent on other aspects of your business.

First, let’s take a look at the three different kinds of visibility on Google:

1. Organic “findability”

People look up all kinds of information on Google, and SEO for lawyers is a big piece of the puzzle to get flagged by Google as an “expert” and show up in search results. Google uses hundreds of factors as evidence that your website will answer the question each user has, and knowing how to work those factors into your website and digital marketing strategy is what SEO is all about.

In order to get organic search visibility for you or your firm, you need to have two kinds of relevant and valuable information on your site:

Answers to prospects’ questions about the problem they face

Think about the questions prospective clients type in when in need of personal injury services. “What’s the maximum I can come out within a personal injury case?” “How long do personal injury cases last?” “What injuries can I take to court?”

Pay special attention to the types of injuries people most commonly want to know about: car and motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, malpractice, workplace injuries, etc.

You need to be there on page one with those answers. It’s not easy to work up to page one Google search results, but others have done it. We’ll get more into the technicalities on this below.

Information about your law firm - Practice Areas

You also need to be visible when people look specifically for your firm or for information on your services. When was the last time you googled yourself? Do the search results make it clear that you solve the problems your prospects are googling you for?

We’ll give you a solid example: if someone’s heard of you and searches for your website, they want to know if you solve the problem they have. You need to show up on page one so no one else does the talking for you, and you also need to make it clear what you do. Forget about the “practice areas” tab on your website—use language like “problems we solve” to speak to what you can do for the prospect.

2. Local search results

So, to show up in organic search results, you have to answer the questions that prospects googled to find you in the first place. But what’s all this about local search results?

The anatomy of a Google search page is pretty simple. The organic results are actually beneath two other sections: paid ads and local search results. Think about a search for “best Mexican cheese dip in town,” where you get a map of your area with all those red dots for local results. Every one of those results, when clicked, opens a small blurb box about the restaurant with address, ratings and more. You’re also given a short list of links underneath the map to the “best results” highlighted by Google.

Local search results

The next time someone types in “best winning personal injury lawyer in Chicago,” you want to be one of those primary links in the local search results map pack.

Now to the “how.” Optimizing that little box that pops up when people tap on local options has some technicalities behind it, but you can get a head start with setting up your Google My Business page using these handy steps by the Search Engine Journal.

The thing is, in a city like Chicago, there will be a lot of red dots on the map for many, many possible attorneys. We won’t get into the weeds on the other tactics for leveraging your local listing here, so give us a ring and we’ll walk you through it.

3. Paid listings

Ah yes, the paid listings. These are the results that show at the very top of the page in Google search results. Most traffic will actually go to the organic listings we talked about, but 10% will still go to these top-of-page ads.

The strategies and tactics for successful paid ads on Google can be simplified by knowing how to bid for the right keywords. After all, you want to show up when someone googles “best personal injury attorney,” not “what to do when my grandma slipped and fell.”

You have to show up in all three of these places on Google to be found. If you’re on page three of organic search and nowhere to be found in ads or local listings, you’ll lose the battle against the marketing machines who know how to use Google successfully.

Step 2: Learn how to leverage directories

People love recommendations. But the “immediate gratification” phenomenon of the digital age sometimes gets the better of us, and calling a friend for a referral takes too much time. Directories for lawyers popular (and positively wiped out the phonebook) because people love to look something up and get an immediate list of vetted options with ratings and reviews.

Directories like Avvo, Yelp and SuperLawyers make it easy for consumers to select a list of lawyers to contact. And those consumers quickly become prospects if you’re listed prominently with multiple reviews to back you up.

And yes, you can pay for higher placement on these directory sites. Your ROI here can be easily justified, too. Just look at us. If we were on page 37 of a directory when someone typed in “digital marketing agency chicago,” we might as well be invisible. Bringing it back to your practice area, the attorneys who talk to the prospects first end up getting the business 71% of the time. So you have to be visible on these directories so you can be the first personal injury lawyer prospects call.

You also have to answer those calls and emails FAST—preferably in minutes. Just remember what brought the prospect to a directory in the first place (immediate gratification).

Another reason you want to be on directories is that they do pop up in organic search results. Just look your specialty up, and invariably two of those organic results will be directories.

Step 3: Have fun with YouTube marketing

YouTube is the largest search engine used today to answer questions, and the third most visited site on the web. We talked a little about question-answering and what it does to your search findability. YouTube is the even more engaging side of that coin.

If you want to know how you can use Youtube to attract new personal injury cases – read our article about law firm video marketing

People ask you questions all the time when you talk to them. There are easily two or three dozen questions that prospects ask you repeatedly—and then, a few one-off questions you may have thought were especially shrewd.

You have to provide prospects with the answer to every one of those questions on YouTube to stand a chance at getting found. And this isn’t just about “branding,” or even about being human, relatable and likable (though that’s important)—it’s about proving to prospects that you are knowledgeable and can help them solve their problem.

Have fun with YouTube marketing

Use YouTube as your platform to answer those questions and you will get attention.

In case you’re camera shy, we found some tips Inc.com published on how to look like a YouTube pro.

Step 4: Have a high-performance website that attracts and converts

Webpage optimization for law firms requires a few definitions first:

Have a high-performance website that attracts and converts

Put it all together, and you will never think about how to get more personal injury cases, because your website will become a high-performance tool to attract and convert clients into actionable opportunities.

Let’s look at an example outside of the legal industry. Years ago, I was at a marketing conference and met this retired guy who had just sold his business for eight figures.

Naturally, I was curious. I asked what his business was and how he sold it for so much.

The guy owned a sleep clinic in Alaska and told me that an associate came to him one day to talk. “People call in and always ask the same questions—the very same, time and time again,” the associate said.

So then, to make the associate’s life easier as well as to offer something of value to his prospects, the clinic owner decided to post those questions (and their answers) to their website.

But the way he went about it was interesting. The associate took notes for the following three weeks on questions that came in. And then, the owner took those questions and answered all of them on the website—but with each question on a unique page.

Over the following months, Google saw that expertise and value. Visitors started staying longer on the clinic’s site as they navigated from one question to another, and Google boosted the site’s relevance score even more.

When a bigger sleep clinic in the area bought this guy out, it wasn’t for his services. It wasn’t even for his clientele. It was for his website.

You can do the same. Write out the questions you get asked frequently, then write quality answers and post them individually to your site. Your website will attract personal injury leads – the people who need those questions answered. Think Creative found that websites with these types of questions answered attract 55% more visitors and gather 126% more leads than those without.

Step 5: Leverage referral sources

We said before that the average-earning attorneys we talk to are those relying on referral sources, and that digital marketing for lawyers is the way forward. But referrals will still play a part in that strategy.

For example, if you have a chiropractor who has sent you referrals in the past, and that chiropractor has a blog with content that’s relevant to your services, a backlink from that blog to your website can act as a great indicator to Google that you are a source of authority. These backlinks, in fact, are a big part of SEO for law firms.

However, coming back to our original point…

  1. Meeting other professionals who can do this takes time and effort
  2. Building new relationships also takes time
  3. Referrals are not consistent
  4. There is little traffic gain compared to the other steps of this ultimate guide

Remember that you can dedicate a little time to referral-building efforts, but this should only be done in addition to mass-volume sources.

Step 6: And then, you have to convert

A prospect who’s ready to talk to an attorney is actually the minority. Most people need to see some proof that you can help (and get answers to their questions) before they even make a list of who to call.

We’ll break this down in a few to-dos:

1. First, tell website visitors what you do. It needs to match what they need, so be clear about what problems you solve.

2. Next, show competence. This means talking about your cases and their outcomes. Case studies are the best tool to show what you’re capable of, but some Bar associations don’t allow their use in marketing. Another solution is to list out awards and recognitions.

For example, SuperLawyers.com has a process to “validate” (and highlight) good personal injury lawyers. When you get recognition like this (or any other award in the non-digital world), these are solid examples of your competence that you can share on your website.

Our final word of wisdom on this: be sure not to come on too strong with how impressive you are with all those serious-looking photos and formal writing, or your website will become more about you and less about solving the problems your prospects face.

3. Finally, you need to have trust-building assets. These generally come in the form of reviews and testimonials (because people will only buy when they trust the professional).

But, again, some Bar associations nix the use of reviews in marketing. There are some technical solutions to (ethically) get around this, including asking your Chicago web design agency to install a review site “badge” on your website with a real-time update of your ratings and number of reviews.

Now…let’s talk about converting those clients who aren’t ready to call, who are the majority. If someone has a problem that you can solve and has gotten as far as your website, help them in a way that other law firm websites won’t.

For example, offer these prospects a checklist that will help them organize their personal injury cases. Try “Things You Must Know Before Talking To A Personal Injury Attorney” or something similar. And then, make that checklist downloadable on your website.

Say I’m your client. I’ve googled “how to choose the best personal injury lawyer” and found your site. I see your checklist for the top questions to ask an attorney, and I click to download.

Then your website asks for my name and email address in exchange.

Next, if you use a web design and digital marketing company, they can set up an auto-responder on your website. Over the next few weeks, that responder sends anyone who downloaded that checklist more information that’s relevant to them.

You already know what problems these visitors are facing, and you know you have other answers on your website to more questions they’re probably asking. So you send them links to those answers.

When it comes time, who will that prospect call? You. Because you’ve already proven you can be useful.

When it comes time, who will that prospect call?

Summary of Action to Get More Personal Injury Clients

You read this guide to learn how to attract and convert more personal injury clients. We’ve talked about where you need to be, directories for lawyers, YouTube marketing, your high-performance website, good ol’ referrals, blogging tips for lawyers and how to build your firm reviews

It’s bewildering to us why the vast majority of attorneys aren’t doing this. There’s nothing wrong with calling us for help, either, because we’re as specialized in digital marketing as you are in delivering the best personal injury guidance.

Those Bureau of Labor statistics astounds us. The lawyers earning the average (or less) per year can’t keep on relying on referrals alone. A year from now, where could you be? Call us and talk about your professional goals, and we’ll do our job so you can do more of yours.

Comrade is a Chicago based digital marketing company that specializes in website design and marketing for attorneys. Read more about our content marketing service for law firms.

Written by:
Sasha Berson

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