This article was updated in October 2020 to include the new Local Service Ads by Google.
Over the past 11+ years, I have worked with some of the most successful personal injury law firms in the country on a consulting basis.
During this time my job has always been geared towards helping personal injury law firms sign more cases. While a big part of this is running complete marketing plans for these law firms, a piece of this was spent dealing with different lead generation companies.
In this article, I will discuss the common traits behind personal injury lead generation companies and how effective their work has been.
Lead Generation Companies Are Appealing Up Front
If you’re looking to sign new cases and pay per performance, personal injury lead generation companies sound very appealing.
After all, the risk is typically low and you can potentially get clients in the door quickly. Even if these leads come at a premium they can easily be worth it if you track your average fees per case.
The biggest problem is though that many of these lead generation companies do not deliver what they promise (or at least what you think they’re promising).
The good thing is that you can do your research and figure out which companies might be the best fit for your needs. Just like every other marketing initiative, it’s important that you have strong tracking in place to determine your ROI before launching a campaign.
Ultimately this is how you will find out if it’s worth the investment for your law firm.
Most personal injury law firms know their average case value and with this information tied with actual fees, and your cost per lead, you can track how successful the campaign is for your firm.
Below is an example of lead generation sources with an average cost per lead and case. In the example below the return on investment, the column shows how much money you make for each $1 you invest in the specific channel.
Knowing these numbers and building a campaign around this will help you make data-driven decisions on your marketing efforts as opposed to anecdotal ones which can be dangerous.
Lead Generation Companies I Have Worked With
Over the past 10 years, I have hired a number of personal injury lead generation companies to bring in new cases. This involved signing term contracts with companies like:
- Google Local Service Ads
- Martindale Hubbel
Below is an example of how Google displays their local service ads for potential clients.
The companies I’ve tested typically used a variety of methods to generate leads, but the most common sources were online advertising, tv advertising, radio, and other offline methods such as billboards.
Typically the leads generated from these services had to meet the following criteria to make sure they were legitimate. This criterion typically included:
- The lead was in our geographic area where the firm took cases
- The lead was the correct practice area
- It was a new lead. They had not contacted us before.
But there were problems with the leads that came into the firm.
The problems between these experiences were typical between the agencies. They involved things like:
- Leads were not exclusive and were sent to multiple other firms. After all their job is to make money and they can maximize their fees this way. This is NOT the case with Google’s local service ads.
- Leads were not delivered in a timely manner. Poor systems in place reduced lead quality.
- Leads were of low quality. Leads were mostly soft tissue minor issues and therefore expensive for the lead.
Questions to Ask Any Lead Generation Company
If you are seriously considering hiring a lead generation company to drive up business then it’s important to make an informed decision and protect yourself at the same time.
While not all lead generation companies are bad, there are quite a few who will not provide you with a strong return on your investment. That’s why it’s important to do your due diligence before hiring one of these firms.
Here are the questions you should ask along with the answers you should expect.
Will my leads be exclusive to my law firm?
In my opinion, the shadiest thing a lead generation company can do is sell their leads to multiple law firms. This is essentially like playing the lottery.
You’re investing your hard-earned money only to compete with the same lead your competitors have. Unless you have solved the bigger issue of converting more clients quickly through a well-oiled machine this is a gamble that has never been worth the money.
How long will it take between getting the lead and sending it to me?
If your lead is coming from the internet they are likely shopping around. With internet leads speed is everything. If you don’t answer your phone or return a call within seconds you are shooting yourself in the foot.
The most effective law firms are quick to get potential clients on the phone and provide the first impression. If a lead takes 5 minutes to get to your inbox – how many other websites and contact forms could they have filled out in that time?
What are the requirements for the personal injury leads I will pay for?
Most lead generation companies are pretty good with this, but you will want to check with them to specifically find out what constitutes as a “lead”. Typically leads should meet the following requirements:
- They have not contacted your law firm before. They are a new potential client.
- They have sustained an injury due to the negligence of someone else.
- The statute of limitations has not expired on the case.
- They are geographically located in the area where you take the client.
- The lead is fresh (minutes old or less).
- The leads are exclusive to me. You don’t want to fight against your competitors.
Do you have a money-back or a lead replacement guarantee?
Sometimes you will get a lead and then find out that it didn’t meet the requirements due to screening issues or other issues. You should be able to dispute these and get your money back. In my personal experience when we have asked for lead replacements in the past they were low-quality leads.
What methods are you using to generate leads?’
It’s important to understand where the leads are coming from and also understand how the technology works. One of the more common lead generation techniques are through social media and geo-fencing.
Typically this means the leads are coming from paid social in a specific geographic area (say around a hospital). I have reservations about this because it does not work as well as many people claim. High-quality leads will typically come from website sources and referral networks.
Do you have any customers I can speak to?
The proof is in the pudding. If you are considering hiring a personal injury lead generation company its essential that you talk to clients in your practice area. If you can’t speak to happy customers it’s likely because they don’t have any.
Some unreputable companies might tell you that’s because of an NDA in place, but most of the time that is a scam. They should have someone you can talk to that has paid for their services that you can vet and make sure they are real.
Check Their Reputation Online
Unless they are a fly by night company, a simple Google search for the company name + the word reviews will generate some interesting insights for you to review. Here you can find customer reviews of these companies from non-biased sources. Check out a couple of highlights I found from Trustpilot on Nolo and The Law 2.
Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lead Generation Company?
The only personal injury lead generation company I can recommend hiring in 2020 is a company that can help you navigate Google’s Local Service ads for attorneys. But this landscape is changing quickly, so you will want to jump on it right away. At the moment we were able to get a wrongful death lead and sign a case for under $500, but they are switching to a bidding model soon.
While I personally have not had much success with lead gen companies outside of LSA’s it doesn’t mean that you won’t. At the end of the day, this is a business decision based on your business goals. If you follow the advice I have outlined in this article you will be prepared to test and see if lead gen companies are right for you.
Most firms I have worked with have tried these programs and then gotten out quickly due to effective tracking. Also, these companies should typically only be used to supplement new business or as a means to an end. After all, building an organic SEO presence will be a permanent solution to an on-going problem and you will own all of the leads it generates for your firm.