Here’s how potential clients choose a personal injury law firm on the internet and how your website can aid in making those decisions. While the survey is specific to PI firms, the insights gained can be applied to any law firm. iLawyerMarketing, a respected company specializing in internet marketing for law firms, recently conducted a study to find out how prospective clients search for and choose a personal injury law firm using the internet as their primary source of information. The study consisted of over 1000 participants,  60% female and 40% male, 57% between the ages of 21-39,  35% between 40-59, and 5% at 60+.  The survey asked ten questions. After each response, we’ll offer a tip on how to optimize your website based on the study. Question 1:  If you were involved in a car accident that was not your fault and you were seriously injured, would you consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you recover money for all the costs related to your accident?

The respondents were more inclined to sue than you may think. An overwhelming 92% answered “yes.” 8% of prospective clients said they would not seek compensation.

Website Tip: Develop content on your website that specifically addresses car accident victims, their concerns, and the questions they most frequently ask.

Question 2: If you were trying to find a lawyer online, which of the following would you use as your primary source for researching which lawyer to choose?

Of the choices given, 86% chose Google, 9% Yelp Reviews,  2% Bing, 2% Facebook, and 1% Yahoo.

Website Tip: As Google is the overwhelming choice, pay attention to your Google ranking and make sure your firm keeps your Google My Business listing up to date. Include all pertinent information and post any updates or news to your Google My Business(GMB) listing. The more robust your GMB listing is, the more likely it is that your firm will be one of the three firms displayed organically in the local maps section of Google search engine results pages.  Most people do not go beyond the first page in their search. Due to the competition level of the legal industry, especially for PI firms, it’s recommended that you utilize a skilled Search Engine Optimization team to help your firm rank on page one of Google for the most relevant keywords for your firm.

 Question 3:What device(s) would you primarily use for researching what law firm to hire?

23% answered mobile, 24% answered desktop or laptop, and 53% answered both.

Website Tip: You won’t know if your prospect discovered you on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device, so your website must work optimally on all devices. How effective is your mobile site? Here is a link to increasing performance and responses on your mobile website.

Question 4: How many law firms do you think you would need to talk to before deciding which one to hire?

A whopping 84% of study participants said they would want to talk to at least 3 law firms before deciding. How your website compares to the competition can make a difference in your firm being selected as one of the firms a potential client speaks with.

Website Tip: Your website is your first impression, so make it reflect the essence and expertise of your firm. Besides looking professional, it should be easy to navigate.  Make your online intake process easy. How friendly are your people to those who call? First impressions are everything when your potential clients are comparing your firm to competing law firms.

Question 5: What age would you prefer the lawyer you hire to be?

While 42% of consumers said the age of the lawyer they hire doesn’t matter, others have a preference. A challenge for young lawyers is only 2% said they preferred a lawyer who is 25-34. On the other hand, only a small percentage chose a lawyer over 55. 35-54 is the sweet spot, with 50% surveyed preferring this age group.

Website Tip: If you are under 34 or over 55 and look your age, don’t feature a picture of yourself alone on your website. Include other staff in the shot, so you show the age variation of the people on your team. As an alternative, if you are a young attorney, feature a shot where you are counseling an older person and vice versa if you are over 55.

Question 6: How do personal injury lawyers charge for their services?

It may surprise you that  65% of people said they didn’t know how personal injury lawyers charge for their services. Only 35% of study participants said, “contingency fee”.

Website Tip: Stating somewhere on your site. “Call for a free consultation” is not the same as saying “You Pay Nothing Unless We Recover” or words to that effect. Ensure prospects quickly see and understand there is no fee for your services unless you recover money on their behalf. One way is to attach the “No Fee “verbiage to “Free Consultation” and say both every time you prompt a call.

Question 7: How long would you spend researching online before first contacting a lawyer?

While 5% chose 15 minutes or less and 17% would take 1 hour or less, 78% of people stated they would take more than a day doing research.

Website Tip: If you have never used retargeting ads to follow visitors of your website, it can be a productive tool for reminding prospects about your firm while browsing other sites. You can install Facebook Pixel on your website, which allows your firm to run a retargeting campaign on Facebook. Another great option is to use Google Analytics in combination with Google Ads to do other types of retargeting campaigns, including both display and search ads.

Question 8: Would you research the online reviews of the attorney before you hire the firm?

If you don’t monitor and manage your firm’s online reviews, your firm is making a massive and costly mistake. A whopping 98% of respondents said they would research reviews before contacting a law firm.

Website Tip: Make it easy for website visitors to find reviews on your site. When listing reviews on your website, it’s best to use third-party reviews left on your firm’s Google My Business listing and third-party review sites, including Yelp, Facebook, AVVO.com, and Lawyers.com. Make sure when you list the reviews on your website that you link them to the original third-party review source, as this will build credibility and trust not only with your potential clients but also with search engines. Glowing reviews on your website are not enough, as some people may think they are fake, while third-party sites are trusted. Your firm should set up review schema, as this allows your reviews to be displayed in search engine results, and it helps with your firm’s Search Engine Optimization efforts. If possible, use a plugin on your website to display recent reviews left on third-party review sites automatically.

 Question 9: What review sites matter to you?

Study participants were allowed to pick more than one site. Out of 1,040 participants, 936 said that Google reviews matter to them. Nearly 69% said Yelp, 35% said Facebook and just 13% said AVVO reviews matter (most consumers don’t know what Avvo is).

Website Tip: Make sure your reviews show up on the top sites-Google and Yelp- and encourage current and past clients to review you on these sites. As stated above, highlight these third-party reviews on your website and link back to them to create. In addition, your firm should be monitoring and managing reviews. There are solutions available that allow businesses to easily monitor reviews across the web in one convenient platform. Many of these solutions also allow you to respond to reviews. Some solutions, like Yext, have powerful insights allowing you to easily track trends in your firm’s reviews while composing responses quickly using a system that utilizes AI to personalize the responses.

 Question 10: What is the average review score/stars a law firm would need to have (on Yelp, Google, etc.) before you hired them?

An amazing number of consumers – 89% – say that your firm needs to have 4 -star ratings or higher or they wouldn’t hire you. If you don’t think online reviews are important, think again.

Website Tip: A great review starts with a great experience, and for most prospects, it begins on your website. Take a good look at your site to see how you can improve the initial user experience and make sure you are requesting and promoting great third-party reviews.

 While many elements make up an outstanding client experience, as previously mentioned, the right first impression can reflect positively or negatively on how prospects view your firm. Being upfront with your clients is paramount. Does your firm front all fees, or does “No Fee” mean no attorney fees? Suppose your firm charges upfront fees for expenses such as travel, investigative services, expert witnesses, etc.  In that case, you should offer the ability to pay for said expenses using consumers’ preferred payment method, including credit or debit cards.  If you don’t accept credit card payments, you may be surprised to learn that over 80% of consumers prefer paying with a credit or debit card. Accepting credit cards not only demonstrates you care about your clients, but your business may increase as well. There are many merchant processing companies to choose from, but they are not all the same. Generic merchant processing companies not explicitly designed to comply with the rules and regulations that govern how the legal profession can accept credit card and ACH payments are not a viable option. As a law firm, you must ensure compliance in handling your accounts receivables which in most cases requires an operating account and trust account.  When it comes to selecting a payment processor that meets the compliance requirements of the legal industry set by the ABA and other entities, there are not many options available. A great option your firm can consider is LexActum, a reliable credit card processing company designed for the legal industry. At LexActum, set up time is quick and easy. Merchant account applications are processed immediately, and your law practice is ready to process credit card sales within 24 to 48 hours. For a free statement audit, or to get started, call us at 321-972-9838. Source: iLawyerMarketing – New Study: How Consumers Choose Lawyers Online in 2020/2021