Having been in the personal injury lead generation space for a decade now, I’ve seen the industry evolve quite a bit over the years. I think what we’re going to see in 2020 and in the 20s in general is mainly going to be a shift towards quality. I think firms are evolving and learning a good auto accident lead from a bad one and will demand quality. In turn, personal injury lead generation companies will either have to do the hard work of getting good quality auto accident leads, or probably be left in the dust.
The Changing World of Personal Injury Leads
I say this because personal injury leads have now been around for roughly 15 years, give or take, and they’ve evolved in a number of different ways. They’ve evolved in terms of delivery, they’ve evolved in the methods of getting the leads to begin with, they’ve evolved in terms of pricing and popularity. You’ve had a lot of fly-by-night companies that have popped up, sold law firms a bill of goods, and either delivered poor quality or delivered nothing at all, and then just ran away. And I think in general, from what I’m seeing, law firms are starting to smarten up to that and they’re starting to get a lot better at calculating their return on investment and realizing the true cost of getting junk quality leads that, not only don’t convert, but require a lot of time and resources in trying to get them on the phone, take the time to explain things to them, sign them up, etc.
So, I think largely, what we’re going to see is a consolidation of the law firms who know what they’re doing at this point who are now pretty seasoned lead buyers, who’ve tried a number of companies and have realized that there’s only a handful of lead generation companies that actually provide quality leads that they convert 15%-20% plus, and the rest of them are either selling recycling garbage or doing shady things like robo calls or co-reg leads that are not only costly to the firm in terms of dollars, but costly in terms of time, manpower, etc.
I think the main shift that we’re going to see in 2020 is, firms are going to demand quality, and I think that’s a very good thing. Because as they do, you’re going to see a little less of the fly-by-night companies out there. They’ll still be there, no doubt – lawyers make money, they spend a lot on advertising, and that’s always going to invite a certain element of snake oil salesman and they’re going to promise a bill of goods and then try to actually deliver on that and realize they’re in way over their heads. But I think the heyday of that is going to be over.
Lead Delivery Gets More Sophisticated
Additionally, I think you’re going to see some interesting trends in terms of lead delivery, lead follow up, things like that. Another one of the big trends I’ve seen is, when we first started generating leads for attorneys, everything was hinged on making phone calls. And over the past three to four years, I’ve noticed the first contact that law firms make or that the personal injury lead generation company makes if they’re signing the case or getting a live person on the phone before transferring to the law firm – is almost always made via text message.
In general, and in particular with the younger generation, people don’t want to talk on the phone anymore. They’re used to text messages, direct messages, etc. Rather than taking the time to talk, the preferred method of communication has become typing shorthanded quick little pings. Your average 22 year old is not really used to somebody calling and leaving voicemails, half of them probably aren’t even listening to their voicemails. So, I think you’re going to start to see some clever lead generation companies and some more sophisticated law firms starting to do things with text messaging, do things with social media, do things with automated phone call & SMS follow ups, reaching out at specific times of day and really starting to systemize their follow up and intake and things like that as the industry and MVA lead buyers get more sophisticated.
Survival of the Fittest in Search for Leads
Along with that, going back to the first trend of quality, I think you’re going to start see search based internet marketing get a lot more crowded, because it’s simply a higher quality lead than banner advertising or print or TV. With search based leads, whether that’s paid or organic, there is intent. And with the intent, you have somebody who’s willing to talk and probably needs to talk to somebody now.
You’re not just shotgun approach, trying to just blast your message out to a bunch of people hoping that it might hit the right person at the right time, you’re actually getting in front of the right person at the right time, which we’ve been preaching for years. That said, it’s a hard thing to do. It’s expensive, it takes time, it takes effort, it takes a lot of persistence. So I would expect Darwinism to take effect here, and start seeing some of these fly by night companies who don’t necessarily utilize the best practices for getting good quality auto accident leads fall by the wayside.
Similarly, I bet you’re going to start to see the ones that have stuck around, really double down on the stuff that works. These are some trends that I think we really should watch for in 2020, and I’m curious to see how it all plays out.