As a service provider to personal injury attorneys, and other sector clients, within a number of areas including SEO and PPC my function pertains to me getting my clients’ telephones to ring – that is the long and short of it. So when I come across studies like the one published here, I tend to become pretty alarmed at the prospective opportunity lost for my clients, and many other injury attorneys out there.
One may expect that the average consumer would be hesitant to secure the services of an attorney due to the perception of costs associated to hiring an attorney, but that was not the case, with University of Illinois Professor, Rebecca Sandefur stating “It’s that they think about these problems in a way that channels them away from attorneys, and often channels them away from anybody helping them outside their immediate social network” – that is pretty significant!
What I found to be more intriguing was the data that was published. Based upon the sample used: a “random sample of 668 adults in a middle-sized Midwestern city” (location not disclosed), I have created the following graph, which is a breakdown of the 66% of the sample who “had experienced at least one civil justice situation during the previous 18 months“. An average actual number of civil justice occurrences reported within the 66% of respondents being 3.3 (occurrences). This in itself is significant in that the sample, being relatively small, still had such a large affirmation of such civil justice situations being reported, together with the average being 3 times more than just a single event!
Breaking this down further is where concerns are raised, in that of the initial 668 adults within the sample, we are left with only two thirds of the respondents which would therefore be representative of the prospective Personal Injury Market, agreed?
A total of 78% of the mentioned two thirds are opportunities lost to the civil litigation attorney!
The above 22% that sought help from a 3rd party did not necessarily involve an attorney or firm either, but these were included within the percentage quoted. Despite the fact that almost half of the respondents were affected negatively on a significant basis (47%), the extent of these negative consequences impacted 27% of the respondents’ mental or physical health.
Delving further into the full study, located here; the following reasons as to not seeking professional assistance were provided:
Source: Page 13
Click image enlarge
Intelligence for Marketing
The reasons listed above gives the attorney (and their marketers of course) prospective marketing elements to consider focusing upon, in order to overcome these viewpoints, or excuses if you will.
- No Need for Advice:
- Opportunity to highlight the mistakes that some make when accepting a settlement that is too low, or asking for one that is too high.
- Mistakes in giving statements too early or even incorrectly.
- Perhaps the victim firmly believes that he or she can handle the entire process themselves – in other words not appreciating the complexity of the law.
- Statute of Limitations
- Illustration of Settlements with and without a lawyer
- Wouldn’t make any difference:
- Victim believes that their suffering is minor and does not take into account any long term repercussions
- Downplaying of the actual severity and effects.
- Cost too much:
- We all know PI lawyers do not charge and work on a contingency basis. Perhaps we need to reiterate this, or detail on our websites as to why and how fees are recovered, and that the lawyer is in fact taking the case on their own risk?
- Reiteration of No Win No Fee, Free Evaluation and so on.
- As stated above, refer to settlements, even after contingency, that the victim may potentially be forfeiting by not securing the services of an attorney
- Don’t Know How:
- Case studies detailing the process, and how you as a professional firm take control and ownership of the situation, whilst they focus on their recovery and well being.
- Posts on discussing the matter with an attorney, how the attorney operates and so forth. Take on the “more you tell, the more you sell” mentality.
- Too stressful:
- See above, you as the representative attorney will handle the stressful negotiations and processes, ensuring that they (the victims) can focusing on their recovery where applicable, or their well being in general.
I honestly believe that research of this nature, together with the published findings present a unique (and golden) opportunity for marketing to the prospects’ emotional needs and state after suffering a civil justice “event”, and more so when this negatively impacts upon their health or financial well being as stated by the researcher. Besides seizing the opportunity of addressing these needs on your website, this should be rolled out into your other marketing efforts too, both online and off. As an example your PPC campaigns may well stand to benefit from a differentiated call to action that can speak to them on the emotional level as highlighted by the responses in the research. Further to this, and staying within the PPC marketing activity, this also highlights the opportunity for advertising outside of the search network (Google Display, Other Ad Exchanges) from a branding, awareness, and perhaps more importantly, educational perspective – allowing your prospects to view your services in a positive light, as opposed to seeking out ‘unqualified’ help from friends and family or aiming to resolve these issues by themselves.
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