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Any lawyer’s marketing strategy needs to be responsive to his clientele – the pool of people who are in need of the particular services he offers. Unlike the clientele for, say, corporate lawyers, the clientele for personal injury lawyers consists largely of private citizens who have been injured and are looking for a lawyer. For this reason, both referrals and Internet marketing can be effective personal injury law firm marketing tools.
An injured person might, for example, ask his estate planning lawyer to refer a suitable personal injury lawyer. Alternatively, he might simply punch up Google, enter a search term and browse the rankings. In the former case, you will pay a hefty referral fee (perhaps one-third of what the client pays you), but you will enjoy a high likelihood that the referred client will actually retain you. In the latter case, although hundreds or even thousands of website hits may be necessary to secure a single paying client, your marketing expenses are likely to add up to quite a bit less than referral fees.
The Google Numbers Game
Ranking in the top ten search results (the first page) in Google rankings is critical, because fewer than 10 percent of Google users even bother browsing the second page. Even though people who browse the second and third pages of search results are likely to be highly motivated to find a personal injury lawyer, your best bet is probably the top 10 search results.
Nevertheless, where you rank depends entirely on the specific search terms the user punches in. You’re a lot more likely, for example, to rank in the Google top 10 for “Hattiesburg, MS endocrinology malpractice lawyer” than for “Mississippi personal injury lawyer”, because the former search term is more specific and consequently less competitive. If your website provides an extensive legal blog dedicated to a variety of specific personal injury topics (“Louisiana Damage Awards for Grocery Store Slip and Fall Accidents”, for example), you might rank in the Google top 10 for hundreds or even thousands of search terms.
The phrase “content is king” is never more appropriately used than for Internet search engine marketing. Remember that your bottom line is not how many people visit your website, but how many paying clients you are able to obtain. Even relatively low search engine traffic can result in a booming business if your website content consistently results in a high percentage of visitors retaining your services.
For this reason, your content must contain not only a variety of search terms but also website copy that is both informative and persuasive. Providing your visitors with enough information about a particular topic to show them just how complex it is (thereby underlining their need for a lawyer) and at the same time demonstrating your expertise is likely to get your telephone ringing even without heavy website traffic.
The most effective online marketing strategy will utilize a comprehensive web presence. In addition to creating a website and a legal blog, you will need to have someone optimize your site for the search engines using technical expertise (in areas such as meta-tags, for example) that most lawyers don’t possess. You might also utilize an organized lead generation strategy, an email newsletter, press releases, and a social networking presence on websites..
Since a single personal injury client can generate thousands or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, an intelligent and targeted investment in online marketing has the potential to provide you with disproportionately favorable returns. Ultimately, you might end up with so much business that you will have to start referring clients to other lawyers.