Running a successful personal injury law firm is tough. It’s a crowded and extremely competitive market to get PI cases. You can pay for leads by sinking more budget into advertising but the personal injury lead cost keeps going up year over year.
The more affordable (and sustainable) option is to invest in the long-term benefits of organic traffic through content marketing. You can help your firm stand out from the crowd, attract new leads, and generate more business with high-quality content.
You can’t just write whatever you want and publish it on your site though. If that’s your current strategy, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. To get the most value out of your content marketing budget, you’ll want to map your editorial calendar out using the content marketing funnel framework.
What is the Content Marketing Funnel?
The content marketing funnel is a model that visualizes the journey that people take from the moment they become aware of a problem they want to solve all the way to when they become customers or clients of a business.
There are three primary phases in the standard model of the marketing funnel. Large groups of prospective leads enter at the top and a small fraction make it through to the bottom to become clients or customers. Businesses use this framework to create content designed to encourage people to keep moving through each stage of the funnel.
Like most models, they work in theory but don’t always map one-to-one in the real world — especially when we try to apply them to personal injury marketing.
Marketing Funnel Phases for Personal Injury
Personal injury law firms don’t have the luxury of attracting people to them the same way most businesses do. For a person to become a prospective lead for an injury case, a lot of criteria need to be met that aren’t all that easy to predict.
In the awareness phase, people are unaware of your firm and how you can help them. However, that doesn’t mean they are unaware they have a problem. Once someone gets injured, the first thing that pops into their mind isn’t your firm.
Someone who’s recently been injured could also fall into this phase of the funnel. They may be aware that they can get help recovering lost wages, medical costs, etc. but aren’t aware your firm exists. People in this stage usually start to search for answers and become aware of their options.
This can also apply to people who have been injured but aren’t aware that they may be entitled to compensation. They start by searching for answers about the chest pain they’re experiencing and if it might be related to the recent car accident they were in a few days ago. Creating content aimed at people in this situation will help educate them on their options and how a firm like yours can help. This leads them into the next step: the evaluation phase.
Goal: Create top-of-mind awareness that your firm exists and what it does.
How: Create educational content with wide applications that can rank on Google and be interesting enough to warrant sharing/promoting on social media.
Content Types for the Awareness Phase
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Radio & TV ads
During the evaluation phase, people have moved to what we call the middle of the funnel. These are people who are injured (or know someone who is) are trying to determine whether they need a personal injury lawyer and if so, whether or not you're the right one to retain.
It’s important that you focus on building trust with people here by continuing to be helpful without being pushy. This doesn’t mean you can’t sell yourself and make a case for why your firm is worthy of their case.
We’re trying to get people to take the next step and actually contact your firm (whether that be via a form, chat, or phone). With that in mind, the content should remain educational and inviting but can also benefit from examples of how you’ve helped clients just like them in the past.
Goal: Establish expertise and build trust.
How: Build trust with testimonials, case results, and highlighting reviews.
Content Types for the Evaluation Phase
- Case results
- Explainer video that walks people through the process
In personal injury marketing, the conversion stage (also known as bottom of the funnel) is where someone is ready to make the decision whether or not to contact you for a consultation or retain you or your firm.
Ways to Convert: For consultations, this means having clear call-to-action buttons and paths the visitor can take to contact you, such as a click-to-call button, a contact form, or live chat.
Following Up: The same paths for consultations work for retainers as well. However, you can increase your signed case rate by taking additional steps to interact with leads that have already reached out for a consultation. This is where a lot of injury firms leave cases on the table by not implementing any sort of lead nurturing process or outsourcing intake.
Let’s say someone has contacted your firm for a consultation but an attorney wasn’t available to take their call at the moment. What’s your process look like to get back in touch with them? Do you only try them by phone and email? Try text messaging and see if that doesn’t increase your rate of signed cases.
Goal: Get people to contact you for a consultation or sign you as their counsel of record.
How: Makeit easy for them to get a hold of you.
Tip: Talk to your current or previous clients. How did they discover you? What did you do to convince them to become your client? When you create content, think about what will be most helpful to the client.
Content Types for the Conversion Phase
- Click to call buttons
- Live chat
- Contact forms
- Call to action buttons
Things shouldn’t end once you’ve signed a new client—that’s how you lose current and future clients. Continue to put effort into keeping current and former clients happy. Over 200 people per month search for ways to fire their personal injury attorney. That may not seem like a lot but in a market as hypercompetitive as PI but losing a lead to another firm isn’t something you want to risk.
You can keep your current and former clients delighted in several ways:
- Add them to an email sequence that continues to educate them on how the injury lawsuit process works.
- Share recent settlement wins with them whenever it's allowed (people like to hire firms who win, don’t let them forget you win).
- Check in on them and give them an update on progress with a phone call, personal email, or text message, which is very effective and saves time.
By turning a current client into an advocate, you’ll also dramatically increase the chances that they will refer you to someone else in the future. Keep people happy and you’ll get a greater return in the future through word of mouth referrals.
Goal: Turn clients into brand advocates.
How: Reminding them they’re important to you throughout the lifetime of their case and into the future.
Content Types for the Delight Phase
- Text message updates on their case.
- Calls now and then to see how they’re recovering.
- Birthday cards every year, highlighting them in your case results and not the firm.
That last one is a secret weapon a lot of law firms don’t execute well. How many firms have you seen that make themselves out to be the hero over their clients? That’s the antithesis of the hero’s journey.
Key Considerations to Take Someone from a Lead to a Signed Client
Personal injury marketing can start before people even have a need for your legal representation. However, unlike most customer journeys, there isn’t a way to ethically create a demand for personal injury cases because we can’t predict when people will get injured. Because of this, the key is to focus on two primary goals:
- Be top of mind whenever someone needs your services (or know someone who does);
- Be the resource people find when they don’t know where to turn and go searching for answers.
Staying Top of Mind
You can improve your odds of being top of mind by directing some of your marketing and advertising efforts on social media, tv, radio, billboards, etc. Like traditional advertising, the goal here is to be memorable enough (recall) that when the time comes that someone needs a lawyer, your name is one of the few they can remember.
People often ask others for recommendations when it comes to hiring a lawyer as well. As such, your marketing efforts shouldn’t solely focused on attracting injured people but have a wide enough reach that people who aren’t injured remember your brand when they get asked for advice as well.
Becoming a Recognized & Authoritative Resource
You can become a recognized resource that people turn to to get answers by taking an SEO-focused approach to content marketing. In doing so, when people have problems, your website is the one there with the answers, which helps build both recall and trust.
Tip: You can get even more value out of the visits to your site by leveraging the power of retargeting with advertisements on platforms like Facebook and Google Ads.
Measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing funnel is not always straightforward. Unlike paid acquisition, the results are not always immediate nor direct.
The metrics you track should vary depending on what stage of the funnel your content falls in.
Share of Voice Tracking Share of Voice (SOV) is a key metric to watch because it has a strong relationship with market share.
It’s difficult to precisely calculate, but we like to establish a baseline using two separate methods in a tool called Ahrefs.
The first method involves adding main keywords to Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker tool. These should be the broad keywords that capture the most clicks and search volume relevant to your firm. If you take cases nationally, you can use keywords like:
- personal injury lawyer
- car accident lawyer
- brain injury lawyer
- accident lawyer
Adding Keywords to Ahrefs Rank Tracker
Note: We like to add the tag <span class="inline-code">SOV</span> to these keywords when we track them so it’s easier for us to filter and evaluate them on their own apart from all of the other keywords we track.
However, if you operate locally, you’ll want to use keywords that are specific to your practice area. For example:
- <span class="inline-code">philadelphia personal injury lawyer</span>
- <span class="inline-code">philadelphia car accident lawyer</span>
- <span class="inline-code">philadelphia brain injury lawyer</span>
- <span class="inline-code">philadelphia accident lawyer</span>
Adding Location-Specific Keywords to Ahrefs Rank Tracker
If you don’t make the keywords locational specific, you’ll be comparing your market share (which is local) to firms who capture market share nationally (e.g. Morgan & Morgan).
Ahrefs allows you to add specific competitors that you want to track over a period of time to help you gauge your own performance relative to theirs using the Competitors Overview report.
Here we can see that one of our client’s websites (dolmanlaw.com) is capturing a significant percentage of the total visibility relative to other firms — largely in part due to the market share we’ve taken from Morgan & Morgan.
Another way to get a quick overview of market share that’s more ad hoc involves using the Keywords Explorer Traffic Share by Domains report in Ahrefs.
This report shows the distribution of the estimated monthly organic search traffic from the target keywords in a given country among the ranking pages. It uses keyword metrics and ranking positions from Ahrefs Site Explorer database to estimate traffic.
This approach is especially helpful whenever we’re working with new clients or looking to help clients expand into new locations or target new case types. It gives us a quick idea of what the competitive landscape might look like and gauge how much effort the campaign could call for.
Time on Site (Average Session Duration)
Tracking how long people spend on your site is useful for understanding how engaging your website’s content is.
You can use the landing page report in Google Analytics to track this metric.
Key metrics to track how well the consideration stage is performing for personal injury law firms are the number of chats started and the number of leads generated.
If you’re using a chat service like Ngage or Apex, you can have your web development or analytics team speak with your account rep to get the information they need to track these goals within Google Analytics.
Qualified Leads: Every person who submits a form, starts a chat, or calls the office won’t be qualified. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t record them for reporting purposes though. In doing so, you can then calculate what percentage of total leads are qualified leads.
If you find yourself getting a lot of unqualified leads, you might want to reconsider the type of content you’re publishing or modifying the layouts of those pages to make it a bit more difficult for people to contact you. For example, you could remove your live chat widget or contact forms from those pages.
Close Rate: In addition to tracking the number of qualified leads, you should also track your close rate. To do that, just take the number of cases you sign during the period and divide it by the total number of qualified leads for that period.
Referrals: To track how well you’re doing during the advocacy stage, keep a record of the number of referrals you get from former clients and/or their family members. If one person has sent you a lot of leads, it could be worth your while to try to figure out why. For example, is the attorney who handled their case doing something unique that other attorneys in your firm aren’t doing? If so, figure out a way to turn that into a process that everyone else implements.
Email Open Rate: If you’re running any sort of email marketing campaign that goes out to current or former clients, track the open rate. Once you’ve established a baseline, keep an eye on how it ebbs and flows over time. If you see it consistently dropping you’ll want to evaluate the type of content you’re emailing people as well as the frequency.
Online Reviews: The final (and easiest) indicator to track how well you’re doing in the advocacy stage is your online reviews. You’ll want to have systems in place to get them consistently while also monitoring what people are actually saying about the firm over time. Google reviews are a great place to start but don’t neglect your ratings on social media platforms. It doesn’t hurt to track Avvo endorsements from other attorneys over time as well — in addition to building up client advocates, putting effort into your attorney-to-attorney relationships will be impactful too.
Getting the Most Value
If you want to increase the value you get from your content, it's important that you understand how your clients think. Using the framework and examples we've provided will help you do this more effectively.
If you still need help or want the best people working on this problem for you, let us know. We know PI marketing like no other agency out there and have the results to back it up.