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Marketing For Personal Injury Attorneys, Is It Worth It?

Phone and internet marketing for personal injury attorneys

Over the course of my almost 19 years of practice, I have been contacted numerous times by companies that want to market my law firm on the internet or send me potential clients from a 1-800 call center. Like everyone else out there, sure, I would love to expand my business, but at what cost is the risk worth the reward?

 For a while, many companies would reach out to me to see if I wanted to purchase a geographic area, where they advertise on TV or on the radio and where I am guaranteed to get any and all leads that call in within that specific geographic location. One company went so far as to guarantee me at least 10 leads per month!! How can you do that, I asked? How do you know that in any given month that there will be at least 10 people with potential personal injury claims in that specific area? And what is the cost for this amazing service? Well, the cost was $3,000.00 per month, and they required that I commit to a 12 month contract. Doing the quick math on that, I would have spent $36,000.00 in a year for a minimum of 120 new personal injury leads. What that means for a personal injury attorney is that I would have to settle $108,000.00 in cases from these leads over the course of the year just to break even. I had so many questions and issues with this plan so pressed them with some questions. What I found out was that they do their best to screen these calls, but do not guarantee anything. They said that on average I would sign up 3 out of every 10 leads that they sent me. I asked them if I could do a short 1-3 month trial period to see if what they were saying was actually true and they said no. I asked them what would stop them from sending me fake leads if the end of the month was approaching and they needed to send me leads to meet the guaranteed 10 leads and they said that they would not do that. I then asked them, if this is such a great thing and attorneys are doing so well, then why is this specific geographic area now open? They really had no answer for that question. Needless to say, I decided not to sign up with this company.

One thing that I learned early on in life is that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The fact of the matter is that they cannot possibly promise me a specific number of leads because they have absolutely no way of knowing how many calls will come in during any given month. And the fact that they would not allow me to do a short trial period made me think that there is no way that they can follow through on their promise. If I got the 30 leads that they said I would get in a 3 month trial then I would certainly sign up for the year, so why wouldn’t they let me try it out and see what they can do?

The internet marketing that has emerged over the past 5 or so years is a bit different. Here, they want me to pay a monthly fee for them to either put my name on a website or get my law firm’s website to appear closer to the top in Google searches. Most of these companies want a year commitment, but I was able to find one that let me do a 3 month trial period. There was no certain number of leads that I was promised, and yes I did get some phone calls, 7 to be exact over the 3 month period, but none of which turned into a viable case where I was able to make money. The calls were either for cases that I did not handle, cases that were too old for me to take, or just random people trying to make something out of nothing. 

One of my biggest issues with spending money on this kind of marketing is that I really have a difficult time believing that when people get into a car accident or have a slip and fall incident, that the first place they turn for help is the internet or the TV. Maybe I am wrong, and maybe there are some law firms out there that are killing it with this kind of marketing. I just have a hard time rationalizing spending that kind of money when I know that I have to settle cases for three times the amount that I am spending just to break even. (Attorney’s fees on personal injury cases are one third.) Also, with a lot of these marketing companies, the potential clients are not calling them right away, they are usually getting to them too late for them to be able to pursue a claim. The other down side to this type of marketing is that the attorney is opening him or herself up to a lot of calls that are just a complete waste of time. I do not believe that the screening process is that great because if it were, it would be harder for the companies to hit their guaranteed target number of leads per month.

These are merely my own personal opinions on this topic and as I said before, maybe there are some personal injury attorneys out there who do very well with these types of marketing companies. However, based on my experiences with this and my common sense, I have a very hard time believing that the risk is worth the reward here.
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Law Office of Ryan M. Rosenthal
Formerly:
The Law Offices of Richard S. Sennett.
Practicing Law For Over 60 Years

Ryan M. Rosenthal - Partner
Main Office:
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Suite 150
Northbrook, Illinois 60062
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Chicago, Illinois

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