When researching “marketing” for personal injury attorneys we often come across articles suggesting you need a great website, or that content marketing is important, or SEO is a must. All of these are fine tactics if used correctly. But they are not “marketing”. If you don’t understand marketing fundamentals for PI attorneys, then your tactics may well fall flat.

What is marketing? It is the act of driving profitable customer action. It spans the full scope of strategies and tactics organizations use to position products and services in the marketplace, and motivate target audiences to make a purchase.  In traditional marketing we refer to the 4 P’s of Product, Price, Place and Promotion. When it comes to Personal Injury marketing, we take a slightly different view.

The Four P’s of PI Marketing

Personal Injury firms do not offer a product, they are service providers. But the concepts do not change. Whether you are offering a product or service you need to make it irresistible to the target audience. The firm is a brand. A brand is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer. It is the way a company wants to be perceived by its customers. Your brand will convey what makes you Unique (your Unique Value Proposition) and your key differentiators. You are not the same as all of the other run-of-the mill PI firms.

It is very easy when creating your brand to get focused on yourself and your firm. “We are the Hammer” does not help the prospective client. As a well-known branding consultant often says, “No one cares about you, they care about the problem you solve and for whom”. People buy because they have a need, they are afraid of losing something or they are looking to improve their situation. Your messaging needs to play to that.

Price is usually not a factor in selecting a PI firm beyond the standard “No Fee unless we win”. There can be exceptions. If your firm does not work on contingency, then your value proposition may need to advocate your position.

The concept of Place refers to where the transaction takes place. For Personal Injury that is the jurisdiction in which the case will be tried if it goes to court. For most firms, that will govern the business area in which you will concentrate your marketing. If you are not willing to travel there for a trial, don’t market there.

While place is a physical designation People is the demographic and psychographic target that you want to reach with your marketing. You really need to know your target audience. Ideally, you can distill it down to a single profile. We call this your client avatar. A client avatar will include age, gender, income, family status and behaviors. Many businesses name their client avatar so that they are crystal clear on their target.

Client Avatars

Having a client avatar will inform how you speak with them as you bring them through the sales funnel. Your language may change if addressing a Baby Boomer vs a Gen Z prospect. Who your target is will also impact the media you choose to communicate with. Marketing to Gen Z on the evening news is not likely to succeed, but you will reach lots of Boomers there.

The Sales Funnel

When constructing the second phase of your marketing plan think in terms of your sales funnel. How does your target audience find your firm? (Awareness) Once they learn you exist where do the learn about you, what makes you different/better?(Engagement)  And finally, how do you get them to take action?(Conversion) Do you prefer a certain kind of conversion, say a phone call or a form-fill?

Before you jump into tactics, determine your marketing budget. While having a budget may seem obvious, too often many firms don’t think this through. Your budget should be an annual allocation. Successful marketing revolves around reach and frequency. It is hard to achieve either if you are not consistent. The most successful firms market regularly.

Marketing Fundamentals for PI Attorneys

Now you are ready to think about the tactics to attract new prospects, get them interested in your firm, and elicit a conversion. To be fair, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very effective at helping with Awareness. A website is almost always part of the Engagement phase. And anyone of a number of tactics drives conversions (ex. Paid search)

Marketing is much more than throwing together a few tactics. If you don’t understand marketing fundamentals for PI attorneys you will most likely lack the foundation for success. If you know who your target audience is, exactly what it is you want them to do, and then craft messaging that speaks to them you will grow your firm.