Many attorneys are skeptical about marketing. In many cases, it’s only after being told repeatedly how important it is to establish an online presence that a firm will allocate part of its budget towards a marketing campaign. And once they have, they are in a constant state of worry over whether they’ve made the right decision and is it worth it.
It is very important that you measure the success of every marketing campaign you do, whether it be online or offline. And, there are several ways of doing it. But, the most important thing to remember is that you have to do it, you have to track, you have to measure and you have to hold your service providers accountable.
So, you’re wondering how YOU can track and measure – I have a strong feeling having been in this business for almost 20 years, that you’re probably questioning how important all of this “measuring” really is. You’re thinking, “if my marketing is working, I’ll know it because I know my firm.” Well you’re right about one thing, you do know your firm. But, when it comes to marketing your firm, you may have blinders on. Tracking and measuring your marketing campaigns brings the reality to your marketing. The numbers don’t lie. And, the numbers can help the teams that are helping to implement your marketing gain perspective and direction that is essential to a successful campaign. One small tweak can make a huge difference in the number of quality cases you take in.
What does measuring look like?
- You have to ask perspective clients how they heard about your firm and then you have to ask them what they are looking at right now as they dialed your number. You have to drill down. If they say they saw you on a billboard and you know you’ve never done a billboard, have your intake person as the question again in a different way.
- Make sure you get as much contact info from them as possible so that you can reach out to them in the future for any reason you may have.
- Gather info from your lead management software and your case management software as well as your financial management software so that you can measure and analyze the numbers of cases/practice area, sources and revenue for the month.
- Allow your digital marketing account manager to become a “partner” in setting your goals and in helping to develop your campaigns
- Make sure that your digital marketing agency and account manager instill confidence in you that you are working with someone who knows how to interpret data and implement changes.
Keep in mind that investment over time yields results, but you need a plan. Before we explore some of the ways you can determine whether your campaign is effective, let’s look at two key principles that are the bedrock of success in a law firm’s marketing campaign.
Results Aren’t Free
You can’t expect to make progress if you aren’t willing to invest a substantial amount in your marketing efforts. Everyone always asks,” How much should I spend on marketing?” The best way to gauge that is to look around at your “real” competition (who do you see as your competition?) And, what you’re comfortable “doing” with regards to marketing mediums. (So many lawyers say, “I’ll never be one of THOSE lawyers”, meaning TV advertising lawyers. Because it just doesn’t fit within their “comfort zone” or how they see themselves. It’s important that you follow your gut.) So, the amount of your budget really depends upon how big your “real” budget is, how big your market is and how stiff your competition is.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to spend the same amount of money as your BIG spending competitors. You just need to be smarter with the money you are investing. Firms with smaller marketing budgets can – and do – outperform bigger firms with larger marketing war chests, but they need to know what they’re doing.
Time Matters – Patience Is a Virtue
If you just started your marketing campaign a month ago, you can’t expect to have a long line outside of your law firm’s door. Marketing takes time, and that means you must be patient and stay the course. If you trust your marketing team and the strategic marketing campaigns they have implemented, don’t get frustrated by what you perceive as an apparent lack of results.
Depending on your firm’s market, budget and strategy, your efforts might take several months to see your investment come to fruition. However, once your campaign starts to take off, you will start to notice an increase in inquiries to your firm.
So, now that we’ve talked about the importance of investing the right budget and having patience with your efforts, we can set forth the ways to determine whether your law firm’s marketing budget is working.
Ask and Ask Again
Once your marketing takes root, your firm will start receiving more inquiries. Potential clients will reach out to you through phone calls, emails, online chats and in person. Your firm must establish a habit of finding out how these potential clients first became aware of your firm. Asking how someone learned about your practice is mandatory, and everyone in your office that fields inquiries and takes intakes should not only ask the question, but be well-versed in re-asking the question in a different way if they don’t get a “strong” answer, and then they also need to note the response in a system.
There are many software options available to law firms to store and organize this type of data. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of utilizing such software. There are very affordable, simple options available to your firm. Regardless of how you choose to store and organize this data, your team members should be told of the importance of this part of the process. Even if an inquiry is completely unrelated to your firm’s practice area, gathering information that can help shape your marketing efforts is vital to ensuring better results.
It’s All Greek to Me.
In addition to asking people contacting your firm how they found you, there are many other valuable data points that will inform how you allocate your budget. Every time someone clicks on your website, a batch of valuable data is gathered by search engines that will help your marketing campaign be as effective and efficient as possible.
The data gathered online can tell you more about who is browsing your site and, thus, who your marketing campaign is reaching. This data, combined with the information your team gathers when speaking to first-time inquiries, will yield invaluable data that the person in charge of your marketing will use to determine how and where to spend your budget, which gives you the biggest bang for your buck. It all boils down to hiring a marketing or firm development director who can help gather the important information and then analyze it for you and give you the summary as to the success of your various campaigns. Marketing may be Greek to you, but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right team in place to help you grow your firm.
Hiring a Quarterback to Lead Your Team.
It’s possible that you’re the type who loves marketing and data, in which case, you might be closely involved with your law firm’s marketing campaigns. If you’re not this type of person, don’t worry. Most attorneys or law firm employees aren’t well-versed on this topic. All of the numbers, ever-changing technology and lingo and having to talk to lots of salespeople every day is just too much when all they’re trying to do is just help their clients and practice law. They (you) didn’t go to law school so that you could spend ½ your time dealing with salespeople and trying to decipher what they were trying to sell you and if you even needed it. Plus, you never wanted to know how to market anything!
Well, after sharing all of the information in this article, you should realize that you don’t have to be able to “read Greek”. Working with a law firm development coordinator or marketing director is very common these days. And, what’s even more common and wonderful, is that most firms don’t hire them on staff as permanent employees. Instead, they bring them on in a temporary capacity to help when they need it and until the marketing campaign or project is implemented and completed. They can handle as much or as little of the process as you’d like.
Whether you want to hand off all your firm’s marketing efforts to a firm development coordinator or marketing director that specializes in marketing or you simply want someone to educate and guide your team, you should strongly consider working with someone who understands the process well. Now that you have decided to dedicate a portion of your firm’s budget toward a marketing campaign, you want to be sure it is in good hands.
Measuring your firm’s progress is essential. You then need to be able to interpret data, which can make your marketing efforts more effective. For help with this task, you need someone you can trust, someone who knows what works. Many so-called marketers will gladly take your budget off your hands, but that doesn’t mean that they will deliver the same results.
If you feel like you don’t know where to turn, we encourage you to contact Lauren at LMA to talk about what comes next. We know how to help firms get more from their marketing budgets. We assess law firms’ needs to help them get the most out of their campaigns. We know the tools that are available, and we know who you can trust.
Contact LMA today to discuss what your law firm is doing and how it can be improved to get the results you want. Give us a call at (919) 637-9144 to start the conversation.