An Argument For Search In Personal Injury Lead Generation

“I’ve tried personal injury lead generation programs like yours before and never had much success”

Here’s the problem with that statement… even the most marketing savvy personal injury attorneys I’ve ever spoken with in a decade of doing lead generation for attorneys, don’t drill into how or where online leads are generated… and those details matter. A lot. There’s a huge difference between someone actively searching for something on google, someone scrolling through their Facebook feed while bored at work, and someone who’s filling out online surveys trying to get a free Starbucks gift card.

In a decade of generating personal injury leads, we’ve tried everything – TV, Radio, Facebook, Google, Bing, Native Ads, etc. For the better half of that decade, nearly every dollar and every resource has been pushed towards search based marketing – mainly google PPC and organic SEO, with a little Bing/Microsoft Ads to round it out. In this post we’ll examine the reasons for this, as well as the psychology behind why these leads are in a different league than all other personal injury leads.

Most personal injury lead generation companies use a blend of advertising mediums in order to keep costs down. Generally speaking, a click on Facebook or twitter is 25%-50% cheaper than a click on google, which can bring a lead gen company’s cost per lead way down, helping to increase their profits. Email campaigns are nearly free, and remnant TV/Radio space can be negotiated for pennies on the dollar if you know what you’re doing. All of these are really good things – if you’re a lead gen company and you’re trying to get leads for the lowest possible cost. This also may work better in other practice areas – for example targeting certain people based on occupation may be a great way to generate bankruptcy leads, or perhaps a facebook advertising strategy targeting people based on changes in relationship status to generate divorce law leads, but with personal injury lead generation it’s very intent driven.

With Personal Injury Lead Generation, You Get What You Pay For

Here’s the problem – you get what you pay for in most cases, and certainly in this case. Because personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, not all clients are created equal, and not all personal injury leads will be “close-able”, for any number of reasons. And since PI attorneys aren’t billing by the hour, they have to be mindful of the time spent on the phone with potential clients who don’t have a viable case, or vetting cases that they’ll never take. Here are some of the main reasons we see for personal injury leads not turning into cases:

  • Not enough damage to make the case worth the attorney’s time & effort
  • Liability was too hard to prove
  • Potential client became unresponsive or decided not to pursue
  • Statute of limitations ran out
  • Hired another attorney

While all of these are valid and are going to happen in even the best personal injury lead generation campaigns, boiling the leads down to the source –the medium of advertising, the ad copy & messaging, the landing page they’re sent to if a digital marketing lead, etc., can be very helpful in minimizing the leads that you end up throwing out, and as a result the amount of time spent on these worthless personal injury leads.

Personal Injury Marketing Is All About Intent

Intent Vs. No-Intent PI Marketing:

While “informative” ad campaigns meant to spark interest for a product or service & help build brand awareness has a place, that place is usually in things like retail goods, travel, etc. But since personal injury lead generation is looking for such a small and targeted segment of the population, the amount of people who respond to a “push” type ad campaign broadcast to a mass audience may be large, but the PERCENTAGE of the applicants who are actually qualified is going to be incredibly small – leading PI firms to spend valuable time & resources chasing down leads that will never amount to a case.

Think about it this way – What percentage of people on Facebook right now fit this criteria:

  • Injured in a car accident (probably a fair amount),
  • Within the last 2 years so they’re within statute of limitations (smaller number, but still probably a lot of people)
  • Was not found at fault for the accident (getting smaller)
  • Hasn’t already hired an attorney for this issue (smaller still)
  • Wasn’t already rejected by another law firm (not essential, but usually if one firm rejects the case, there’s not much of a case or they would have kept it – smaller still)
  • Wants to discuss with an attorney rather than handle the matter themselves (Even smaller number)

This is basically the minimum criteria that a personal injury firm would like to see in an auto accident lead. Contrast that with, let’s say, selling sneakers through an e-commerce website. Here’s what that criteria would probably look like:

  • Active (or fashionable, depending on the sneaker)
  • Employed
  • Has bought a pair of sneakers within the past year

In contrast, it’s easy to see how much better suited selling sneakers online would be to generate a personal injury lead with say, Facebook ads. You can easily target your broad audience by gender, age, likes, buying behavior, employment or marital status. But there’s no real accurate demographic targeting in personal injury lead generation – people old & young, male & female, employed & unemployed all get into car accidents, slip in a store, etc. So, predicting what your target market looks like gets very difficult.

Further, the people who do respond to ads like this tend to be people who aren’t all that serious about speaking to a lawyer about their personal injury issue – if they had, they’d probably be out there looking for one (more on this later). So, what these push ads will typically attract are people who had their case rejected by another firm, people with minuscule injuries or no injuries at all, and people who have accidents that are old and too late to do anything about. So while at first glance things may be great “hey I just generated 50 auto accident leads for $75 per lead”, when the actual viable leads are weeded out that number can easily quadruple.

So how does one get the people with recent accidents and serious cases, who want to talk to a lawyer? One goes where they are looking for a lawyer or looking for information on the legal options they have after an accident. By definition, these people want answers, want a resolution, want some sort of closure… otherwise they wouldn’t have been searching in the first place.

The big difference here is intent – you can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that someone who types the words “car accident lawyer in San Diego” or “Can I sue for a car accident that wasn’t my fault” into a search engine, was probably in a car accident and looking to take legal action about it. With social media, or any sort of marketing that takes the shotgun approach, there is absolutely no way to show your ad ONLY to the smallest of small subsets of people who fit the very narrow criteria requirements of personal injury attorneys. No clever ad copy or great landing page can weed out the people who just don’t fit, and no audience tweaking or programmatic media buying software can figure out the right demographics, and then show them the right ad at exactly the right time.

It just can’t be done.

It can only be accomplished through search engine marketing.

The end.

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