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Buying Personal Injury Leads vs. Generating Them via Marketing

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Matt Green

So you need more leads for your personal injury practice. You are intrigued by the prospect of simply purchasing personal injury leads from a lead generation company. After all, you are a lawyer, not an advertiser or marketer. You know how to recover compensation for your clients, not necessarily how to get those clients in the door.

 
personal injury leads
Our basic assessment of the situation.

But is buying personal injury leads the best way to invest your growth dollars?

Or, should you invest in building marketing assets whereby you generate your own personal injury leads and cut out the middle man?

Here’s my best advice as someone who has helped grow dozens of personal injury law firms over the last decade:

Buying personal injury leads can be an effective way to generate revenue quickly. However, buying leads produces zero residual value for your law firm. When you stop paying, the leads stop coming. Alternatively, when you invest in marketing for your law firm, the returns on that investment compound over time because you own those assets rather than renting someone else’s.

If you have the resources, it might make sense to both purchase personal injury leads from a lead generation company, and invest in building and marketing your own properties to drive leads directly to your firm. But if it comes down to a choice of one or the other, I say you are always better off investing in marketing your own brand rather than renting someone else’s.

At Juris Digital we do not sell personal injury leads. Instead, we help law firms invest in digital market assets that establish their brand identity and effectively produce consistent and quality personal injury leads in a sustainable fashion.

If that sounds interesting to you, let’s talk.

Note: If you are looking for a comparison of personal injury lead generation companies, this post won’t help you. The only way to know for sure whether a particular lead generation company can deliver on its promise is to engage with them directly and test out their service.


Lead Generation Companies vs. Law Firm Advertising Services

Before we go any further, there is an important distinction that needs to be made between companies that generate and sell you leads, and companies that advertise your law firm on their web property (law firm advertising platforms).

Personal Injury Lead Generation Companies

If you search the web for something like “personal injury leads” you are going to find a smattering of companies who offer something like this:

personal injury lead generation company website
Screenshot of https://www.walkeradvertising.com/legal-leads/personal-injury/

Companies like this advertise for general personal injury representation via TV, radio, SEO, PCC, social media, etc., send the resulting leads to you, and charge you a fee for each lead.

Law Firm Advertising Platforms

On the other hand, there are a plethora of law firm advertising platforms where you can pay to have your firm listed. Examples of this sort of service include websites like Avvo.com, FindLaw.com, and Nolo.com.

findlaw personal injury advertising
Screenshot of the first two ads on https://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/personal-injury-plaintiff/chicago/illinois

Some of these platforms offer some version of a pay-per-lead model. Others simply charge a fee for ad space and do not take the number of leads generated into account whatsoever.

Google offers a pay-per-lead ad service called Google Local Service Ads (LSAs) which it began offering to law firms in 2020. Here’s what these ads look like when someone is searching for a personal injury lawyer on Google:

google local service ads personal injury
Screenshot of Google Local Service Ads in the wild

It’s important to distinguish between buying leads from a lead generation company and advertising your law firm on a platform that may help generate leads for your firm.

When you buy leads from a lead generation company those leads will have zero information about your law firm because lead generation companies don’t advertise your law firm. Instead, they advertise your general services.

Alternatively, when you advertise with Avvo.com, FindLaw.com, Nolo.com, or Google LSAs – while the end goal is the same (to generate leads) – there is the additional value that any given lead will have already had a touch-point with your firm.

In other words, advertising on a law firm ad platform is an exercise in brand building. Buying pre-generated leads is not.


5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Paying for Personal Injury Leads

Let’s take for granted that the lead generation company you end up using delivers on its promise of sending you viable personal injury case leads. Here are the key questions you should ask yourself before deciding whether to buy personal injury leads.

Do I have a system in place to measure my cost per acquisition?

Just like every other marketing initiative, it’s important that you have 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.

Below is an example of how you might calculate and track the cost per acquisition for any given lead generation source. In the example below we use the ROAS formula wherein the return on investment means how much money you make for each $1 you invest in a specific channel.

Lead SourceCases SignedCost Per CaseAvg Case ValueReturn on Investment
SEO10$750$20,000$26.60
Local Service Ads10$1,900$20,000$10.52
Nolo.com10$8,650$20,000$2.31

Tracking these numbers and building a campaign around them will help you make data-informed decisions on your marketing efforts as opposed to anecdotal ones.

Am I confident in my ability to sign up the good leads at a high rate?

With almost any personal injury lead gen company you work with, you are going to pay per lead, not per new case. This means that if you can’t close the good leads you receive at a high rate, your investment will go entirely to waste. Ask yourself:

  • Will I respond to 100% of the leads immediately, day or night?
  • Will I be persistent in following up with good leads?
  • Do I have an effective lead qualification system in place?
  • Am I willing and able to deploy salesmanship to convince good leads to sign with my firm?

If the answer to any of these questions is not a resounding Yes, buying leads might not be right for you.

Am I confident in my ability to effectively follow up with large numbers of leads?

When you are purchasing personal injury leads, it’s a numbers game. You will most likely need to speak with 10 leads in order to sign a single case, which means you need to have adequate support staff in place to properly follow up with, qualify, and work with those leads. While 80 or 90% of the leads that you pay for are not going to become clients you’ve still got to be able to work every lead like it has potential in order to sign up any cases at all. If you find this prospect upsetting, purchasing personal injury case leads might not be right for you.

Am I willing able to take on a variety of types of cases, and lower-value cases?

If you are only looking for the highest-value serious injury and wrongful death cases, you will almost certainly be disappointed by the leads you get from a lead generation company. While you may on occasion get a high-value lead, the majority of the leads you get are going to be middle-of-the-road injury claims. You need to be willing and able to monetize these cases in order to see a return on your investment.

Is my geographic market large enough to make this viable?

If you practice in California or Texas or Florida sure there is more competition for personal injury leads, but there is also an extreme abundance of cases. Conversely, if you practice in Rhode Island or Wyoming, the volume of leads is so small no lead generation company will be able to produce consistent and quality leads. If you are in a small market you’ll be far better off owning your lead generation sources instead of renting someone else’s.


The Pros and Cons of Buying Personal Injury Leads

There are some obvious benefits to purchasing personal injury leads from a lead generation company rather than investing in marketing and advertising to generate those leads yourself. There are also drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons that I find most important for law firms to consider:

The Benefits of Buying Personal Injury Leads

  • Immediacy – When you engage with a lead generation company to purchase personal injury leads, you drastically cut down on the timeline to see results as compared to investing in your own marketing.
  • Volume – Assuming that the lead generation company you find has the goods, buying personal injury leads can produce a higher volume of leads than doing your own marketing, especially in the early stages.
  • Simplicity – To make the investment in branding and marketing your law firm requires a minimum level of engagement from the stakeholders at your firm. Marketing is also a multi-faceted discipline and so there are decisions to make in terms of prioritization. When you simply purchase leads, you cut out some of that complexity.

The Drawbacks of Buying Personal Injury Leads

  • Paying for Bad Leads – You will be hard-pressed to find a personal injury lead generation service that won’t charge you for leads that aren’t qualified for your services. Buying leads means buying both the good and the bad (and the will be more bad than good).
  • Selling Yourself from Scratch – The leads you speak to will have had zero interaction with your law firm’s brand. They won’t know you from Adam. What this means is that you’ll have to introduce them to your firm and your value propositions from the ground floor.
  • There is No Residual Value – When you buy leads the only value you create is the potential revenue that any given lead will generate for your firm. Alternatively, when you invest in creating marketing assets – brand design, website, videos, articles, blog posts, graphics, social profiles, etc. – you will reap returns from those assets which extend far beyond any single new client.

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of investing in marketing in order to generate your own leads.


The Pros and Cons of Investing in Marketing

The pros and cons of investing in marketing your personal injury law firm in order to create lead-generating assets that you own are more or less the opposites of the pros and cons of buying leads.

The Benefits of Investing in Marketing

  • You Own the Assets – When you invest in marketing the deliverables that are generated become your property. This creates long-term and residual value that buying leads simply doesn’t.
  • It Makes Selling Easier – Effective marketing takes care of the lion’s share of the selling that has to take place to sign up a new client. When you invest in effective marketing you are also investing in more effective selling.
  • You Mitigate Risk with Diversification – When you buy leads from a lead generation company – and you rely on those leads to sustain your law firm – all of your eggs are in one basket. Alternatively, investment in strategic digital marketing means that you won’t rely exclusively on any one source to generate new business, drastically mitigating risk.

The Drawbacks of Investing in Marketing

  • It Takes Longer – Unlike purchasing leads, you won’t be getting new prospective clients on day 1 of your marketing investment. Marketing – especially organic marketing like SEO and content marketing – takes time to bear fruit. If you are desperate for new business NOW, marketing isn’t for you.
  • It Requires Your Participation – As a lawyer, you are marketing you. Accordingly, you’re going to have to play a role. That means sitting for interviews with your marketing agency, providing insights about your clients, giving feedback on messaging and design, etc. None of this is required when you simply buy leads.
  • It’s Not Entirely Predictable – When you invest in marketing, you are competing for a finite number of potential new clients. There are no guarantees that spending more money will mean getting more new business. Your success will rely on the strategic competency and the quality of execution of your marketing provider.

Wrapping it Up

At Juris Digital we encourage our clients to invest in holistic, inbound digital marketing channels – like web design, branding, SEO, and content marketing – because we believe it’s the best way for personal injury law firms to achieve sustainable growth while establishing a brand that makes selling less difficult.

We also recognize the concerns that many firms have with investing in marketing, and we know that under certain circumstances buying personal injury case leads can generate reliable revenue and a positive return on investment.

If you’re trying to solve the problem of getting new clients for your personal injury law firm, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll listen to your position and offer our best advice on how you can achieve your goals.