Geographic targeting (a.k.a. “geotargeting”) is a marketing strategy designed to help law firms reach a local prospective client base. If a marketing firm tries to sell you on the success of its geo-targeting program, and you are solely a mass torts practice, you should probably think twice. Geo-targeting tends to work much better for practice areas like personal injury—practice areas that draw on one-off, single event incidents, like a car accident or a slip-and-fall.
There are various ways to accomplish geotargeting: it can be done (with varying degrees of success) by targeting IP addresses, or utilizing keyword targeting with a specific city/state/region in mind. There are several variations of this. For example, a DWI lawyer may want to investigate which nearby communities have the highest rate of DWI arrests. Using these as keywords instead of the “quiet” adjacent town where their office is located can result in greater conversion rates. An effective geo-targeting campaign should run across the Internet, including ensuring visibility on sites like Facebook and YouTube.
One of the major changes impacting geo-targeting is the increasing reliance on mobile devices. Have you ever gotten in your car, turned on your GPS only to have it tell you “you are 30 minutes from work,” yet you input your work address into your phone? Apps often run in the background, tracking our movement without our knowledge. This is great for mobile marketing campaigns. It enables law firms and other advertisers to target customers with real time ads relevant to their physical location. However, such services are likely worthless for a mass tort campaign that have no nexus to a person’s physical location.
Marketing for a mass tort requires an entirely different strategy, because these cases tend to draw on a national client base. Approximately two to four million people are injured each year in mass tort cases. Federal class-action cases are waning in popularity, because of the difficulty it is to get a class certified. Many attorneys are now taking advantage of the federal multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) system that efficiently consolidates cases of individual plaintiffs against large, corporate defendants.
If you have a mass tort practice, geo-targeting is a waste of resources. Instead, focus on investing in a content-driven website with an informative blog. Steer away from using language that emphasizes financial recovery. We are all familiar with the “you may be entitled to compensation” tagline. Just don’t go there. Most people searching the Internet for information about a mass tort injury are looking to learn about their symptoms, which can often be devastating and upsetting. Include information about the type of injuries caused by the device, medical treatment options, testing and monitoring options, and information provided by the FDA on a lengthy webpage and frequent blog updates. Be strategic with your marketing budget and make sure that what you are paying for makes sense.