2020 has been a year unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everything from where we go to how much time we spend in our cars; and, tragically, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives too soon as a result of contracting the novel coronavirus.
According to Clio.com, personal injury lawyers have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis—in terms of the impact on their bottom lines. Across all practice areas, Clio.com reports that law firms saw an average reduction in new matters of approximately 30 percent in mid-April, but its data also show that the number new matters firms are bringing in has largely stabilized heading into September. However, for personal injury lawyers, new matters dropped by an average of nearly 50 percent in mid-April, and personal injury firms are still seeing an average drop-off of close to 20 percent.
While there are likely a number of different factors that are attributable to the significant reduction in new personal injury claims in 2020, the practice has not come to a halt in its entirety. This means that there are still clients to be found—and there are still cases to be won. Given this, what can personal injury lawyers do to get the most out of their marketing dollars for the remainder of the year?
While fewer people are going to work and shopping in stores, there are certain essential activities that people simply cannot avoid. Driving hours are down, too, but people still need to drive in order to get to the (limited) places they need to go. Public transit systems are still operating, and truckers are still traversing the United States in all directions.
Nursing homes and hospitals are still operating as well, and in many cases they are overwhelmed. As a result, it seems reasonably likely that claims for nursing home neglect, hospital negligence, and medical malpractice could all remain at relatively high levels. By focusing their marketing efforts on the right types of claims, personal injury lawyers can improve their chances of continuing to land a steady volume new clients throughout the remainder of the year.
Various data sources show that prospective personal injury plaintiffs are increasingly looking for lawyers on their phones. As a result, it is essential for personal injury lawyers to make sure that their paid and organic search results (and their websites) are optimized for mobile devices. If you are not sure what this means, search results and websites load differently on phones than they do on desktops and laptops. Mobile optimization involves making sure that your firm’s advertisements and websites are easy to read and load quickly on phones and other mobile devices. You can also add functionality to your firm’s site that allows prospective clients to call or send a text message with a single click.
With all that is going on in 2020, people are spending an extraordinary amount of time reading news and commentary online. If your firm can effectively execute an advertising campaign that results in getting seen on news websites and social media platforms, this could result in a significant uptick in new inquiries while the campaign is active.
If your firm’s 2019 marketing strategy is not working in 2020, then it may be time to move on. While there was hope at the start of the pandemic that the health and economic impacts would be short-term, it is now clear that this is no longer a possibility. For personal injury law firms in particular, what worked last year may need to be relegated to history. If you are going to grow your practice through the remainder of this year and into 2021, you are going to need to accept today’s reality and tackle it head-on.
Personal injury lawyers in major markets have been experiencing this for years; but, as all markets become more competitive with less new clients out there, lawyers in smaller cities and towns are going to experience it as well: If you are going to compete for new clients online, you are going to need to rely on the advice of experienced law firm marketing professionals. Gone are the days of posting weekly blog articles with a handful of keywords. In order to get found in a competitive market, you are going to need to execute a modern and sophisticated strategy based upon expertise in search engine optimization (SEO), paid ad placement and social media marketing.